Flaxseed and Fenugreek Steamed Cakes

Flaxseed n Fenugreek cake

Flaxseed & Fenugreek Savoury cakes (mushti)

I learnt this delicious, low fat recipe from my late mother-in-law Mrs. Meera Andar. In the year 1980, I was 23 years of age and just married. This was the first recipe she taught me and I cook it even after 35+ years of marriage. Called mushti in Konkani, this is a favourite dish with all the family members. I have added flax seeds in the recipe with equally tasty results. Please do try it out. Any suggestions or variations in the recipe are most welcome. I am a foodie and love to experiment.

Preparation time: 10 mins

Cooking time: 10 mins


One bunch fresh fenugreek (methi) – cleaned and chopped finely

4 medium sized onions finely chopped

Approximately ½ cup chickpea flour (besan)

1.1/2 to 2 tsp red chilli powder

½ tsp turmeric (haldi) powder

1 tsp garam masala

½ tsp asafoetida (hing)

1 tsp dry mango powder (amchur)

2 tsp flaxseeds (alsi, javas)

2 tsp salt or to taste

2 tsp sugar

½ cup coconut gratings

Ingredients for tempering

1 tsp oil

1 tsp mustard seeds (mohri)


In a mixing bowl add fenugreek, flax seeds, onions, salt, sugar, chilli powder, hing, garam masala, amchur and haldi.

Mix this together for 2-3 minutes, till the mixture feels moist.

Now add the coconut gratings and mix well.

Add the besan or chickpea flour 1 tbsp at a time and mix well.

When you can make a sticky ball from the mixture you don’t need to add any more besan flour.

Grease two cooker pans. Divide the mixture into 2 equal portions and put in the pans. Level the surfaces.

In a pressure cooker or steamer, steam the mixture for 10 minutes.

Remove and cool for 5 minutes.

Cut into squares and keep aside.


On medium heat, in a non-stick frying pan (tava), add 1 tsp oil and 1 tsp mustard seeds.

When they start to splutter, place the squares and shallow fry for one minute.

Turn the pieces over and fry for another minute.

Serve hot with steamed rice and dal.

King Fish in Spicy Coconut Curry


Fish 1

I recently learnt the recipe for King Fish in Spicy Coconut Curry from my niece Niyati Bajekal. Since a child, Niyati has been a foodie and I have enjoyed cooking for her. Now that she had graduated, her passion has turned towards cooking her favourite dishes for us. We had a scrumptious meal of fish curry with steamed rice and I’d love to share the recipe with you…

Ingredients for marinade:

King Fish or Seer Fish 1 kg cut into pieces

2 tsp red chilli powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp turmeric powder

Ingredients for the coconut paste:

Half coconut grated or 3 tbsp coconut powder

½ tsp coconut oil

1/2 tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds

1 tsp mustard (mohri) seeds

1 tbsp Tamarind powder or raw mango powder or lemon juice

6-8 whole red chillies

6-7 curry leaves

Ingredients for the curry

1 tsp mustard seeds

½ tsp fenugreek seeds

1 tbsp powder of roasted coriander (dhania) seeds

1 tbsp powder of roasted cumin (jeera) seeds

½ tsp turmeric powder

8-10 curry leaves

2 tsp ginger-garlic paste

1 tsp grated nutmeg (jaiphal)

1 bay leaf

1 large onion chopped finely

2 tbsp coconut oil (or any cooking oil)

1 tsp salt or as per taste


Wash and marinate the fish pieces and keep aside.

Take a heavy bottomed pan. In coconut oil, over low flame, sauté the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, half the quantity of curry leaves and all the red chillies, till the chillies change colour slightly. Remove into a bowl and keep aside.

In the same pan roast the coconut gratings on low flame till the gratings change colour slightly and give off a mild aroma. Do not fry for more than 2-3 minutes and keep stirring throughout.

Combine the gratings, tamarind and chilli mixture and grind into a smooth paste with a little water. Keep aside.

In the pan add coconut oil. When heated, add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, bay leaf, and finely chopped onion. Sauté till onions are golden brown in colour.

Add ginger-garlic paste and stir for 2 minutes.

Add coconut paste and stir for 2-3 minutes till it mixes well.

Add water about 1 glass, salt and fish pieces. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add nutmeg powder, coriander seed powder, cumin powder and stir gently. Boil for 2 minutes and serve hot with steamed rice and salad.

Note: Do not cook the fish for more than 4-5 minutes or the pieces will break easily.




Home facial 1

Would you like a superb trick for glowing soft skin when you have only half an hour to get ready for a party? There’s no time to go across to the stores or browse through a vast range of products. Besides, why spend a fortune when you can mix daily use-items from your own kitchen? Read on for a home facial that takes very little time but the effect is superlative.

There are four basic steps in a facial – cleansing, scrubbing, steaming and applying face mask. I have tried this home facial and it works. It is good for oily, combined and dry skin types. In fact, if you follow this procedure once a week, you won’t need to buy pricey beauty products ever again.

CLEANSE Take 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. With your fingers apply it gently all over the face and neck. Rinse if off.

SCRUB Mix together 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon grain sugar and 1 teaspoon of honey in a bowl. You can use olive oil, almond oil or coconut oil; whichever is readily available at home. The oil is a natural moisturiser, the grain sugar scrubs off the dead skin and honey is a natural bleaching agent.

There is a right way of doing things. Don’t take chances with your skin! A scrub should never be rubbed hard over the face even if you are in a hurry! Take a tablespoon of the mixture and rub it over the face and neck in a gentle circular motion, till it feels slightly dry on your fingertips. This should take about 2-3 minutes. Rinse it off with water.

STEAM No need to go purchasing or borrowing a steamer. Just dip a cotton hand towel in hot water and dab it gently over the face and neck. Repeat this for a couple of minutes, till the skin feels warm to the touch.

FACE MASK This is the only step in the home facial process that takes a little time, but the result will be worth it. For different skin types use different mixtures:

  • Oily skin – Take 2 tablespoons yogurt. Mix it thoroughly with 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder.
  • Normal to dry skin – Mix together 2 tablespoons of milk cream and 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder.

Apply the appropriate face mask and leave it to dry for 10 minutes. Gently wipe it off with a moist tissue or cotton ball. Do not wash the skin with soap. Rub a cube of ice over the face and neck to close the pores.

The entire process can be done in 15 minutes max and will have you looking drop dead gorgeous. So when you want to pamper your skin, just pick these times from your kitchen and wow the world!

You can also read “8 Home Remedies for Age Blemishes that Work”  for some more tips on skin care.

Stress Buster Artistic Hobbies For Women Of 40 Plus

Art 1 collage

One doesn’t have to be a Barbara Kruger or Eileen Agar to indulge in art. At 40plus, most women experience additional stress caused by hormonal changes. If neglected, this could lead to other health issues like hypertension or diabetes, obesity, etc. To prevent this downward trend, here are some interesting ideas in stress buster artistic hobbies for women of 40+:

Sketching – Pencil drawing is one of the easiest artwork to try. This hobby requires very little investment. Purchase a few sheets of white A-4 size paper and a couple of pencils, erasers and pencil-sharpener. Google search for images of pencil sketches. Try out a few at weekends. Once you have a steady hand and can get the shapes right, you can purchase different pencils for different shading.

Painting – Watercolours, a few brushes and paper is all you will need. Paint brushes of varying sizes are available so you can pick a few as your hobby develops into a regular pastime. From scenery to modernistic, you can paint to your heart’s content. This is one of the best stress buster artistic hobbies and is for your own pleasure.

MosaicMaterials for mosaic include marbles and/or glass pieces, adhesive and cutters. Like most other artistic hobbies, you can give a full reign to your imagination and create beautiful mosaic designs. Here’s a great idea – try out mosaic art on tiles. These can be glued to decorate bare walls, entrances, doors, bathrooms, or just used as a decorative.

Crochet – Where is the art in needlework? Of course there is! You can make the most artistic lace with a crochet hook and fine thread. The size of a crochet needle will depend on the thickness of the thread you are using is. Before buying, check out what size needles you really need.

Bead weaving – Design your own jewellery by stringing coloured beads on nylon twine. Once you have got the hang of it, make mobile covers, clutch bags, handbags, etc – the choice is unlimited.

Artistic hobbies are just what we need to pass the time on boring weekends. These ideas of stress buster artistic hobbies are cheap and do not involve vigorous physical effort. They are easy to learn and easy to sustain over a long period. Be creative…


8 Awesome Tricks To Save For Higher Education


Save for higher education

Statistics show that the cost of higher education per child is about INR 20 lakhs or approximately 30,000 USD. This takes up a huge chunk of one’s income. So how does a family save for higher education? Here are some simple tricks that work:

  1. Pre-plan menus – How often do you order a pizza or burger online? Your budget is busted every time! Plan your week’s dinner in advance. One example – At the weekend, prepare some vegetable/meat patties, wrap them in foil and freeze. When needed, shallow-fry and serve with brown bread. You have a tasty meal at one-tenth the cost.

2. Check stock – Once you have planned the week’s meals see which ingredients are in stock. If something is missing check for alternatives. Now your shopping list has come down to the bare minimum. See if you need any household essentials and make just one trip to the supermarket and save gas.

3. Reusable containers – It is worth investing in steel or aluminium boxes for storing provisions. Also, refill packets cost less than their packaged varieties. Cotton cloth towels can be washed with the daily laundry and reused. Look for other disposable items you could replace with the reusable containers.

4. Budget trips – You can search online for scenic weekend getaways around your town/city instead of travelling far. If you are staying overnight, look for a resort that offers tents as they are a lot cheaper. This is a simple trick that helps to save for higher education and you don’t have to forgo pleasure.

5. Buy second hand – Pre-used furniture, home appliances, televisions, bikes, automobiles, etc are easily available online. Keep a lookout for clearance sales offered by local shops. Convert saris or dresses that are in a reasonably good condition into curtains and cushion covers. Sofa-cum-beds with storage space will reduce the cost of wardrobes.

6. Save energy – Make it a rule that all the family members spend time together for at least 2 hours in the living room each evening. This will help in two ways

  • You will get more quality time as a family;
  • You can switch off all the lights, fans, ACs, TVs, heaters, music systems, etc in the other rooms.

7. Borrow, don’t buy – There are some items that you use just once like books and magazines. Wouldn’t a lending library be a cheaper option? But borrowing DVDs should be limited to once a month because if you forget to return you have to pay a fine!

8. Enjoy fresh air – Instead of the movies an hour at the jogger’s park with the family will give more pleasure and cost nothing. Carry a ball or Frisbee and have fun! You can buy some board games for rainy days. Give incentives to kids and take their help with gardening. Whoever tends the plants gets to select the TV channel. Whoever mows the lawn decides Saturday dinner menu, and so on.

You might ask – Will saving a dollar make you a fortune? Take my word for it. These steps may be apparently very simple to follow, but implementing them will help you to save for higher education to a large extent.

8 Home Remedies for Age Blemishes That Work

Who doesn’t want to look gorgeous at 40 plus? There is no rule that says a woman shouldn’t. But sometimes age spots or pigmentation appear on the skin at the age of 40+. Blemishes are painless in the medical sense but can be very distressing. There is no need for expensive treatments. Here’s a list of simple home remedies for age blemishes:

  • Raw potato – Peel a raw potato and grate it. Squeeze out the juice through a handkerchief. The extract is a natural skin whitener suitable for all skin types. Apply the juice and let it dry for 15-20 minutes. Rinse off with cool water. Repeat the process daily for about 30 days or more.
  • Lemon or Vinegar – Apply the juice of a lemon and keep for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with cool water. Make this your daily routine and it will reduce hyper-pigmentation considerably. The citric acid content prevents acne. You can also use apple cider vinegar instead. These remedies are better suited for oily skin types.
  • Aloe Vera – Polysaccharides contained in aloe vera are perfect for regeneration of skin tissue. It has anti-inflammatory and healing properties. Scrape out the gel from the leaf and apply it daily at bedtime. Rinse it with water after 20 minutes.
  • Tomato – Tomatoes contain antioxidants and Vitamin C. They are also rich in lycopene which cures age spots and blemishes. Extract the pulp of a tomato and squeeze it through a handkerchief. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes and rinse with water. Repeat the process daily till the blemishes are gone. Don’t forget to add tomatoes in your daily diet.
  • Turmeric – Milk cream + turmeric has been in use in India since Vedic times. Mix a teaspoon each of turmeric powder and milk cream. Apply with a ball of cotton and leave for 20 minutes. It lightens spots and adds a glow to the face.
  • Almond and milk – Soak 5-6 almonds overnight in water. Next morning, remove the peel and grind the almonds into a paste with 2 teaspoons milk. Apply over the blemishes and leave for 20-30 minutes. Rinse off with lukewarm water. Repeat this process for a month for a 30+ look. Add almonds and milk in your diet as well.
  • Neem – The leaves of the neem tree have anti-bacterial properties. This is another ancient remedy from India. In the powder form it is easily available in most parts of the world. Mix together 1 teaspoon neem powder, 1 teaspoon chickpea flour and sufficient water to make a smooth paste. Apply and leave it on for 15-20 minutes. Wash it off with cool water. With regular application of this paste you can forget about age spots forever.
  • Honey – This is a natural bleaching agent. Apply a teaspoon of honey, leave it on the face for 15 minutes and rinse it off as usual. Add this process to your daily routine and in no time the age spots will disappear.

The usual causes of age spots are hormonal changes, long term medication, old scars or freckles, blackheads, neglect, etc. Before trying one of the options listed above, please do a test application on an unexposed part of your body. Being natural, in most cases these home remedies for age blemishes will not produce allergies. Stay beautiful…

Top 5 Trending Fitness Programs


Yoga 1 (2)

Today fitness programs are not restricted to just losing weight. The reasons for selecting a particular program would depend on the person’s requirements. The most popular ones in the year 2016 are:

  1. Gym – The most common reason for joining a gym are slimming and body sculpting. With specific exercise routine and an appropriate diet regime, trainers can get you into shape in a matter of months. This makes it the best choice for sports persons or those connected with television and showbiz. But there are special fitness sessions for older adults just to remain healthy.
  2. Yoga – This is the most popular form of fitness activity. The asanas (exercises) and pranayam (breathing techniques) help all age groups. Some asanas improve retentive power and concentration.
  3. These are especially useful for children. Personality development is another good effect of fitness program. Adults can benefit by improving self control, mental endurance, and develop a positive attitude in life. It prevents health issues as well as to cures them. You have plenty of options like Power Yoga, Ashtanga, Kundalini, Vinyasa and Bikram.
  4. Dance – When you want to lose weight, develop speed and agility, and enjoy at the same time dance is the best idea. No shortage of choices there. Currently, Zumba and Salsa are in. These forms appeal to most age groups and any gender. If you want to focus on abs belly dancing is a brilliant choice. Body sculpting happens automatically while you are having fun.
  5. Martial arts – This is serious business! Martial art as a fitness program needs dedication. There are many forms like Aikido or Karate, western boxing or kickboxing, swordsmanship or archery which are popular today. Every martial art requires years of exercises and practice to build physical and mental endurance, speed and agility, alertness and quick response, etc. The main goal of this type of fitness program is self defence. But it is also a stress reliever, as you can get rid of all the pent up tension during your practice sessions. You don’t need to worry about a separate routine for slimming. Martial art does it all.
  6. Pilates – This involves proper breathing techniques, muscle control, endurance, concentration, mobility of joints, and flexibility. Some exercises focus on cardio. In short, Pilates is an all-in-one fitness program. It builds up stamina in a slow and controlled manner.

Popularity of wearable fitness monitors

Wristwatches that track your exercise routine are an inseparable part of your fitness program. The sensors in the watches monitor your heart rate, sleep cycles, breathlessness, etc. They also give a status report and tell you if you are cheating.

A plethora of wearable trackers are available at affordable prices. The Apple Watch is compatible with iPhone4 series and later models. There are innumerable watches like the Garmin Forerunner or Fitbit One that co-ordinate well with Android mobile phones.

Whether you select one of the trending fitness programs or an easier alternative, the key to a healthier “you” lies in dedication and persistence.

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