Friday, August 28, 2009



                Henna has been used as a cosmetic, as well as for its supposed healing properties for at least 5000 years. It is native to tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, southern Asia, and northern Australasia in semi-arid zones. Henna was regarded as having "Barakah," blessings, and was applied for luck as well as joy and beauty.
                People keep mehandi in hands and foot as tatoo for its bright red color. Often, mehandi keeping is celebrated as a function in Indian marriages before the day of marriage. Lawsonia Enermis , henna contains lawsone (a chemical molecule), which brings the color after exposed to air and sunlight. Henna excellence and color depends on which country it is grown in, how fresh the powder is and what is added to it.

How to prepare henna paste:
  1. Take a cup of henna powder.
  2. Add 2-3 drops essential oil of eucalyptus
  3. Add 2 teaspoons of strong black tea. Add sufficient water.
  4. Now stir it well in one direction making its consistency like toothpaste.
  5. A polythene sheet is folded into a cone shape with its edge having a tiny hole.
  6. Put the paste into the cone as much as needed and paste the opening with a thick tape.
  7. Pressure is given smoothly and suitable design is drawn on hands.
  8. Sugar water can be applied on the design with a cotton piece once when henna has completely dried.
Medicinal value:
Henna is not only used for decorative purpose, but also as a hair conditioner, treats dandruff , to cool scalp and skin and in reducing temperature , to ease the burn pains and preventing from any infections and on the nails to mummify the pharaohs.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tulasi - the sacred plant!

Once we hear the word Tulasi, Holy Basil ,we remember two major things - one its great medicinal value and the other a holy plant kept at home and worshipped. The courtyards of Hindu houses have a special structure to house the tulasi plant. It is called the tulasi maadam. There are many interesting stories about this plant.

It has been said that when the gods and the demons (the Devas and the Asuras) churned the Ocean of Milk, to obtain nectar, the tulasi plant emerged from it.

Once when the King of Gods, Indra, angered Lord Shiva. Shiva's anger fell as a tongue of fire into the sea, and changed into a demon. The King of the Seas, Lord Varuna, adopted this demon and named him Jalandharaa. Jalandharaa proved to be a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva. And in due course, married Kalanemi's daughter Brinda. He was also granted a boon that whenever the moment Brinda ceased to be a chaste wife, Jalandharaa would meet his doom. Jalandharaa,true to his demoniac nature, started harassing the Gods.
None could vanquish him, except his Creator, Lord Shiva. One fine day they met on the battlefield and engaged in a fiery battle, but Jalandharaa proved to be very strong. To vanquish him, Lord Vishnu disguised as Jalandharaa, spent the night with Brinda. In this way, the Asura was destroyed.
Brinda was incensed at this deception; she cursed Vishnu that in a future incarnation, he would be cruelly separated from his wife and he would live on earth as a shapeless stone(shaaligraama). Brinda immolated herself on her husband's funeral pyre and was reborn as a tulasi plant. Since she was a staunch devotee of Vishnu, it is said that she became his wife in this birth.

Tulasi also symbolises Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Lord Vishnu. Those who wish to be righteous and have a happy family life worship the tulasi.
Tulasi is married to the Lord with all pomp and show as in any wedding.
This is because according to another legend, the Lord blessed her to be His consort. Satyabhama once weighed Lord Krishna against all her legendary wealth. The scales did not balance till Rukmini placed a single tulasi leaf along with the wealth on the scale with devotion. Thus the tulasi played the vital role of demonstrating to the world that even a small object offered with devotion means more to the Lord than all the wealth in the world.

Tulasi, the two varieties famous are the Green leaved (Lakshmi Tulasi) & Purple leaved (Krishna Tulasi) has medicinal and mythological power, as believed.

The four months which span the days of August to November are known as Chathur Masyam or the four months of fasting. It is during this time that the tulasi is specially worshipped.

Medicinal value:
A few Tulasi leaves taken daily keeps us healthy. It cures fever, common cold, coughs, kidney stone, headaches, insect bites, cancer, heart related diseases, helps in good digestion and reduces stress and acidity problem. It also purifies the surrounding environment.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

விநாயகர் சதுர்த்தி/Vinayagar chadhurthi special kolukattai!

It is a custom that we offer Modagam/Kolukattai to Lord Vinayaga on His birthday, "Vinayagar chadhurthi"(விநாயகர் சதுர்த்தி) . Let us see an easy to do, delicious kolukattai here.


  1. Readymade Idiyappam flour - 2 cups
  2. Salt to taste
  3. Hot water

For Pooranam:

  1. Chana dal - a little (soaked in water for three hours and then boiled)
  2. Karuppatti/Jaggery/Sugar
  3. Coconut grated - 1/2 cup
How to prepare:

  1. Add a little salt to Idiyappam flour and then mix it well with hot water to dough.
  2. Chana dal, karuppatti and coconut are all mixed together to get what we call it the pooranam.
  3. A lemon sized Idiyappam flour is taken and cup shape is given. A little of the pooranam is placed at the centre and then is covered fully with the idiyappam flour.
  4. The shape should look like a bulb of garlic.
  5. Steam the kolukattai as we do for idli and your delicious kolukattai is ready in a few minutes.

May Lord Ganapathi give you success in all that you do! Happy Vinayagar Chadhurthi !

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A colorful wedding couple silhouette!

A wedding couple silhouette with sea shell frame is a perfect wall hanger gift for a wedding couple!

Items required:
  1. A thick cardboard cut into a circle
  2. Sea shells
  3. White chart cut into a circle with same circumference as the cardboard
  4. Acrylic colors
  5. Lamination sheet
  6. White adhesive
How to do the silhouette:
  1. In the white chart, the picture as shown above is drawn and is painted with acrylic colors.
  2. It is fixed on the cardboard with white adhesive and laminated with the lamination sheet.
  3. Sea shells are pasted on its sides to create a frame.
  4. Allow it to dry for a day time.
  5. This can be either used as a wall hanger or as a frame on your desk.
  6. A thread is tied at the top end for a wall hanger/ a stand made with the cardboard is fixed at the back side of the frame for support.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Methi / Fenugreek leaves (வெந்தய கீரை) Chappati!

A slight variation in preparing methi leaves chappati compared to methi leaves dosa.

  1. Wheat flour - 1 cup
  2. Methi leaves - a handful amount
  3. Red chillie powder - 1tsp.
  4. Cumin seed powder - 1tsp.
  5. Ginger garlic paste - 1tsp.
  6. Salt to Taste
How to Prepare:
  1. Mix all the ingredients by adding water and knead the dough for a few minutes.
  2. Leave it for an hour.
  3. Make small balls, smear them with dry flour and roll them out on a rolling board.
  4. Put the chappati on the heated pan and turn both the sides every one minute till it gets roasted well.
  5. Enjoy the hot, delicious chappati with pudina chutney or any other gravy that goes fine with chappati.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Methi / Fenugreek leaves (வெந்தய கீரை) Dosa!

Fenugreek leaves are enriched with minerals like potassium, calcium, and iron. Fresh leaves comprises 3 to 5 % of protein. The Vitamin K from fenugreek greens are comparable to spinach. Though these leaves taste bitter, they boost cooking flavour. Here let us enjoy our dosa prepared with methi leaves.

  1. Dosa flour - 1 cup
  2. Methi leaves - a handful amount
  3. Asafoetida powder - a pinch
  4. Red chillie powder - 1 tsp
  5. Turmeric powder - a pinch
  6. Cumin seeds powder - 1/2 tsp.
  7. Salt to taste
  8. Chopped tomato and capsicum to garnish (optional)
How to Prepare:
  1. Mix the chopped methi leaves with the dosa flour.
  2. Add asafoetida, red chillie powder, turmeric powder, cumin seeds powder and salt to taste and mix well.
  3. Pour it on dosa pan and spread it out to a dosa.
  4. Tomato and capsicum can be used to garnish finally.
  5. Tasty, healthy dosa is ready in a few minutes.
  6. Serve hot with coconut or pudina(mint leaves) chutney.
Note: Methi leaves and their seeds act as a good appetizer and hair tonic.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Traditional Chukku Coffee!

When you have head ache and need a sip of brisk flavoured drink to boost up, just try out the traditional Chukku coffee. This herbal coffee has so many health factors like it relieves you from head ache, keeps the kidneys to work efficiently and for good digestion. Also the strong aroma and flavour refreshes your body.


1. A handful of coriander seeds
2. A lemon size Chukku/ Saunth/ Dry ginger
3. A few black pepper corns
4. A few Tulasi leaves
5. Jaggery/ Karuppatti or sugar

How to prepare:

1. Just grind the coriander seeds, chukku and peppercorns to powder.
2. In 4 cups of water, add the powder and tulasi leaves.
3. Add karuppatti (or sugar) to water and boil with all ingredients.
4. Boil well and filter it.
5. Pour it to a coffee mug and enjoy immediately the aroma rising from the coffee. You will feel refreshed in each sip.