Secrets of Health from the Indian Kitchen

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Did you know that a couple of bananas a day can lower your blood pressure? That nineteenth century sailors used to eat potatoes to fight scurvy? That Ayurveda considers rice the perfect healing food? That turmeric could have anti-carcinogenic properties? That urad dal is an aphrodisiac?

Ratna Rajaiah takes a walk down memory lane, only to find it redolent with the aromas of her mother’s and grandmother’s kitchens, and lined with the spices and condiments of her youth. Pausing often, she meets old culinary friends – coconuts and chillies, mangoes and jackfruit, ragi and channa dal, ghee. and jaggery, mustard seeds and curry leaves – and introduces us to almost-forgotten joys, like the sight of steaming kanji or the scent of freshly cut ginger. Taking detours, she shares recipes for old favourites (often with a surprising twist!) and reveals delightful slivers of trivia and fascinating nuggets of gastronomic history.

Delving deep, she discovers that traditional fare is much more than comfort food (many local ingredients are health-giving and healing too!) and that much of what the West is discovering about herbs and spices has been known to our ancestors for centuries.

An unabashed and wonderful ode to the blessings of simple, traditional vegetarian food.

About the Author

Ratna Rajaiah left a career in advertising to explore the world of television and cinema. She started by working with Shekhar Kapur, and went on to direct Meri Awaz Suno, a singing talent contest produced by Yash Chopra’s television software company. At the same time, she began writing a column for Mid-Day, a humorous, irreverent take on anything and everything. Her weekly column in the New Indian Express, called New Age Living , was an attempt to revisit ancient wisdoms like Ayurveda, yoga, spirituality and traditional food and make them relevant to modern living. The success of that column led to the conception of this book.

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