Indian mythology and history are complete with brave tales of our heroes, but a little browsing and you will see that some of them were chefs par excellence. Bhimasena, the second Pandava was also skilful in culinary art. It is widely known that when each of the Pandavas chose to live in a disguise during their one year of exile, Bhima lived as a cook in Virata’s Kitchen by the name Vallabha.
Being an Ayurveda Physician, my entry today, “क्षेमकुतूहलम्सुदशास्त्र ” (Ancient Royal Cuisine), draws heavily from the works of Kshemsharma, the Royal physician in the court of King Vikram, in 16th Century B.C. who had thoroughly studied the Ayurveda works of Charaka, Sushruta, Vagbhata, Bhima, Harita. He wrote it all down in his book, “Kshemakutuhalam” (Kshemsharma’s Curiosity).
I have used a smaller number of spices & ingredients, but these are all परिपूर्ण (perfectly blend) with all nutrients & minerals as well as the six types of “Rasas” in Ayurvedic classics. “Shadrasas” are the six different tastes that are known to taste buds viz. sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent. I have referred the latest book by Vaidya Abhijit Saraf titled, “Sudshaastra”, that aptly captures our ancient Indian wisdom.
I am sure you all गहृ स्वामिनीs (Glory of your respective households) will relate to these recipes; which are being made in Indian households since ages. The wisdom that has gone into these recipes is something that we all need to be proud as Indians and should continue to cultivate this rich heritage.
क्षेमकुतूहलम ्सुदशास्त्र – Recipes
भक्त/Bhakta – White Rice : Steam rice cooked with water in pressure cooker
कृ शिा/Krishara – Moongdaal khichari – Equal quantity of moong daal and red rice cooked
with a blend of spices & ingredients like asafoetida, ghee, cumin, turmeric.
मुद्ग सूप/Mudga Soop – Moong Daal : Traditional Maharashtrian recipe, also called “Varan”,
prepared by cooking moong daal and then seasoned with cumin seeds, turmeric, ghee and
गव्य घृत/Gavya Ghrit – Clarified Butter (from Cow’s milk) : Gentle melting of traditional butter
(prepared from Cow’s milk) in a saucepan over medium low heat. Clarified butter will float
between the foam (at the top) and the milk solids (at the bottom).
आर्द्णक उपदंश/Aardrak Updansh – Ginger Chutney – Add ginger, coriander, chilly, lemon, peanut
powder, salt and pinch of sugar in a bowl and then grind it as a coarse mixture.
पपणट/Parpat – Poppadam : Very famous, thin, crisp, round & fried flatbread made from black
gram flour (urad dal).
ककण टीफल सट्टक/Karkatifal Sattak – Cucumber Raita : In a bowl mix together curd, peanut
powder, coriander leaves, sugar and salt. Then mix with grated cucumbers. Mix well.
जूर्ण अंगाि ककण टी/Jurna Angaar Karkati – Jowar Bhakri : Traditional Maharashtrian roti (flat
bread) made on fire with Jowar millet flour.
पपपिका/Pishtika – Chickpea Raita : Maharashtrian “Vatli Daal” recipe, simple and flavoured
condiment recipe made with grinding soaked chana daal, ripened mango(in traditional recipe,
raw mango is used), chilly, coriander, ginger and then seasoned with tadka.
तुम्बीफल शाकम्/Tumbifal Shakam – Pumpkin Masala : Simple stir fried sabzi made by using
chunks of yellow pumpkin, that is tossed with tempered mustard seeds, cumin and curry leaves;
flavoured with chilly.
िाजमाषापद शाकम् /Rajmashadi Shakam – Rajma Masala : Red Kidney Beans Masala is a dish
prepared from boiled beans simmered in a rich onion based gravy. It also has some everyday
spices such as coriander powder, turmeric powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, roasted cumin
powder and garam masala powder, which adds a lot of flavour to the onion base of this
dish. Don’t forget to add fresh coriander leaves and a bit of yogurt at the end, it adds a beautiful
color and freshness to the curry.
पाललक्यपत्र शाकम्/Palikyapatra Shakam – Spinach Fry : Paalakchi Bhaji (Spinach Dish) is a high
protein Maharashtrian style spinach dish fried and tossed with peanuts, coconut, yogurt, chilly
घोलवटकम्/Gholvatakam – Blackgram Pakora & Curd : Dahi vada is a popular north Indian
recipe. These are made by soaking vada in thick curd. These vada are made from a mixture of urad
dal, ginger, chilly, coriander; and then deep fried. The curd is topped up with red chilli, sugar and
चर्क लड्डूक/Chanak Laddooka – Besan Laddu (Gram Flour Balls) : Besan laddo is undoubtedly
one of the most loved comfort foods among Indian desserts. Lightly heat ghee in a big kadhai or a
heavy-bottomed vessel. When the ghee melts, add the besan. Roast the besan on medium flame
for about 45 minutes, mixing continuously until it turns a shade slightly deeper than golden
brown. Remove from the flame. Add milk and quickly mix to avoid lumps. Add sugar, cardamom
powder and raisins and mix well. Allow the mixture to cool completely. Divide the mixture into
equal portions and make small laddoos.
आम्रफल मण्ड्कम्/Aamrafal Mandakam- Mango Delight : Aamras (or amras) is a sweet dish
featuring in the cuisine of the Indian subcontinent and made from the pulp of the mango fruit. The
pulp of a ripe mango is extracted, usually by hand, Sometimes ghee and milk are added to the
pulp to enhance its flavour. Sugar, cardamom and nutmeg are added to adjust the sweetness.
चंर्द्प्रभा लिरिका/Chandraprabha Kshirika – Rice Pudding : Heat a nonstick pan and dry roast rice
on medium heat until it gets slight brown color. Grind roasted rice coarsely. Then
grind cashew nuts, dates and almonds together to a fine powder. Keep it aside. Boil 2 and 1/4 cups
of water in a heavy bottomed vessel. Once the water comes to a boil, add ground rice
and cook until rice is cooked completely. Then add sugar. Blend well and then add the ground dry
fruits powder and a pinch of salt. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes. Next, add the ghee. Then
add the milk and let it boil. Keep stirring in between. Finally, add cardamom powder and mix
well. Allow kheer to simmer on low heat for 10 minutes until it thickens nicely. Due to the addition
of dry fruits powder, kheer becomes thick. Garnish with sliced almonds and serve warm.
पिम्बूफल पेय/Nimbufal Pey – Lemon Sharbat : Lemon Sharbat is a simple recipe made by mixing
Nimbu with a few spices (trikatu – ginger, black pepper, long pepper) and sugar to chilled water;
and garnished with mint leaves.
गौिीतक्रम् /Gauritkram – Buttermilk : Buttermilk, “Maharashtrian Taak” is a perfect thirst quencher
with cooling properties but also aids digestion with all the infused spices. Roast the cumin seeds
in a dry pan for a minute on a medium heat. Coarsely grind the seeds in pestle & mortar. Set aside.
In a blender add the ginger, chilli, yoghurt, water & salt. Add the crushed cumin and chopped
coriander. Stir well and chill. Make sure to give it a stir before serving in glasses.
अम्लिका खजूणि पेय/Amlika Kharjoor Pey – Tamarind-Date Sharbat : Combine the tamarind & date
paste, sugar and water in a small pot and bring to a simmer on medium low heat. Stir while sugar
dissolves. You should have a syrup the consistency of maple syrup. If it’s thicker add a bit of water
and cook another minute. This will thicken up a bit when cool but still pourable. To serve combine
1/4 cup syrup with 1/2 cup water or sparkling water, stir and add 3 or 4 ice cubes.
धान्यजीिकअधणश्रुतजलम्/Dhanyajeerakardhshrutjalam – Coriander, Cumin, Fennel infused water :
Infuse water with coriander, cumin and fennel powder; this aids in digestion.