Satya, Chitta, and Ananda

All of my favorite health and wellness bloggers were making delightfully wholesome round sweets such as truffles and macaroons for the holidays and I decided that it was time for me to make a handcrafted contribution to the spherically sweet corner of the culinary universe. It was a given that the confectionary(s) had to be gluten-free, dairy-free and nut-free. The ingredients and sweeteners making up the treats had to be nourishing and wholesome. And what is the point in creating ‘treats’ if they are not delicious? They had to serenade the tongue. But that was not all, I was looking for something ineffable quality that would make them achingly good.

I had been reading “Women who Run with the Wolves’ by Clarissa Pinkola Estes and was re-introduced to the word numinous in it. I had encountered the concept of numinous earlier in Carl Jung’s writings. Numinous, in Jung’s writings refers to extraordinary and awe-inspiring moments of awareness. Modern dictionaries define numinous as a reverential quality, a quality that encompasses divinity. Although I’m relatively new to the concept of numinous and don’t understand it completely (perhaps, because it is beyond logical understanding), I’m awed enough that it stays in my consciousness. The word itself has a palpable vibration that stirs me in a way that is not easily describable.

The Laddoos

The laddoos were inspired by the word numinous.

Satya, Chitta and Ananda were born. Sat-Chitt-Ananda is a compound Sanskrit word and a yogic concept that refers to the presence of divinity in all of us. Our essential or true nature is Satya, Chitta and Ananada. Satya means absolute or truth, chitta is consciousness and ananda is bliss.

Just like Jung’s concept of Self refers to the unchanging and god-image part of the psyche, Sat-Chitt-Ananda refers to our true nature that is already transcendent and divine. We don’t have to improve or embellish anything, instead we just have to meet that part of our Self that is already whole.

Inspired by these concepts, the laddoos are not created to remedy or cure any sickness, they are intended to put you in touch with your essential nature, that is already divine and whole.

The Nitty Gritty

Oats and sesame seeds were going to be the core ingredients for all the treats. Oats (gluten-free) are calming, soothing, anti-inflammatory and rich in Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 boosts levels of serotonin in the body and creates a feeling of peacefulness and well-being. Sesame seeds are a powerhouse of essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, copper, manganese and zinc. The seeds also contain beneficial fibers called lignans that induce cholesterol reduction and protect the liver. In addition, Yogic scriptures praise sesame seeds for their ability to absorb and emit high amounts of Sattva (a calm, steady and peaceful state) frequency.

I powdered gluten-free oats into a fine powder in a Vitamix dry grinder and used organic tahini for all of the recipes. I don’t have exact quantities for the ingredients as this was a very intuitive (and magical) exercise for me, but I’m sharing all the ingredients and the method I used here.



  • Gluten-free rolled oats powdered fine in a high speed blender
  • Organic Tahini
  • Sunflower Seed Butter
  • Sweetened Organic Montomorency Cherries
  • Madre Labs Cococeps (combination of raw cacoa, reishi and cordyceps mushrooms)

The sunflower seed butter and Montomorency cherries used were already sweetened, so I did not use additional sweeteners in this recipe. Montomorency cherries are packed with antioxidants and their bright red color adds a lovely hue to this treat. Raw cacoa, in addition to its deliciousness, is a powerful heart opener. In Chinese medicine, medicinal mushrooms such as cordyceps and reishi are said to promote Shen (spiritual radiance). The sea-salt in the sunflower seed butter and the natural bitterness of the mushrooms suggest an alchemical return to Satya.



  • Gluten-free rolled oats powdered fine in a high speed blender
  • Organic Tahini
  • Ashitaba
  • Ashwagandha
  • Bella/Gur/Jaggery as the sweetener
  • Cardamom

Bella or Jaggery, the honest country cousin of white sugar, used in this recipe is chockfull of minerals and has a complex and a nuanced sweetness. A rich source of vitamin B6 and B 12, Ashitaba, is known to be a vegan blood builder. In traditional Chinese medicine it is prescribed both for boosting the immune system, and for nourishing the ‘heart-mind’. Cardamom is calming and acts like a catalyst for all the other herbs. Ashwagandha is known as an elixir of life in Ayurvedic medicine and encourages a calm internal state of awareness and Chitta.



  • Gluten-free rolled oats powdered fine in a high speed blender
  • Organic Tahini
  • Sun Potion’s Anandamide
  • Dates
  • Maple Syrup
  • Vanilla

Sun Potion’s Anandamide has a abundance of herbs and spices in it such as Mucuna Puriens, reishi mushrooms, astralagus, suma, turmeric, rose, cinnamon, etc that promote a surge of happiness as soon as it is ingested. Dates are a great source of iron and are a dream to combine into any dessert recipe. Maple syrup, with its woody buttery flavor and reminiscence of lush green forests, sweetly sweetens the laddoo. Vanilla, though rarely used for medicinal purposes these days, is an aromatic well-being inducing agent. Together these ingredients take you towards bliss or ananda.


Process all the ingredients in a food processor or blender until they are well-combined into a cookie dough like consistency. Roll into small laddooos.

What’s Left to Say?

These recipes, rather than being absolute, are conceptual. Throughout history, alchemists and magicians have shared the ingredients of, but never the exact amounts of the ingredients of their potions. Keeping in line with this tradition, my recipes are intended to be catalysts to make your own magic. Hope that these spark an idea to create your own laddoos. Here is to meeting your Sat-Chitta-Ananda state in 2016. May your new-year be filled with numinous moments.

Perfumed Kehva, a Fragrant Winter Tea

I had tried and loved kehva as a teenager when our family visited Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir. The steaming cup of the mildly spicy perfumed beverage unexpectedly re-entered my memory today, after more than 25 years, and I wanted to make and drink it right away. Having a sensitive palate (which is both a blessing and challenge), reverse engineering a dish or a drink comes naturally to me. So I decided to create my cup of kehva without looking for a recipe online. I wanted my cup quickly, instantly actually, and so I simultaneously put on my thinking cap and started rummaging through my pantry, after I turned my electric kettle on.

Here is how I made my version of Kehva.




Remember, I wanted my kehva instantly, so I did not bother with a pot or a stove. The cup is where the alchemy and magic happened. After dunking the tea bag in the boiling water for about a minute, I took it out and tossed it, as I did not want the drink to have a strong taste of black tea.

Next, the saffron strands and the ginger-honey crystals went into the cup. The melody of the Pahadi music in the background and the intention in my heart seemed to transfer to my fingertips as I coaxed the ginger-honey crystals to melt in the cup and the saffron strands to infuse the tea with fragrance. Then, I added a heaping spoon of Vitamin D and E rich Tocos into the cup and mixed it in. Tocos, made from rice bran, is a recent ‘superfood’ discovery that adds creamy goodness to beverages and desserts. A new and beloved (and somewhat expensive) food crush, I drink beverages all day long just so that I can add a spoon of Tocos to them. As a finishing touch, I added a sprinkling of powdered cardamom to the cup.

The hallowed cup was ready and supremely satisfying.

After finishing off the cup, I discovered online that kehva is traditionally made with green tea leaves. Cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds and slivered almonds are also added to the drink and milk is usually omitted. At least I got that part right.

If a cup of chai is delicious, a cup of kehva can put you in a state of bliss. It is like the Pahadi raga in a cup. It is also a tonic in a cup. Saffron has been clinically proven to ward off depression. Zingiber officinale (ginger) is your everyday, highly accessible and affordable, superfood. A powerful antioxidant, it is also a cherished anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial spice. Research studies suggest that ginger can help maintain cognitive function in middle aged women. Everyone must have at least one robust and honest encounter with it everyday. In addition, ginger and cardamom are excellent for digestion and circulation. Black tea is black tea. And oh, that beautiful Tocos, I could write another paragraph about it, but I have already raved about it

Whether you make kehva the traditional way, my hip-hop way, or your own way, this gorgeous drink will make this winter a little more cozy, a tad warmer and a lot more fragrant. Do give it a whirl.

A Big Bowl of Kindness

What could be more comforting than a big bowl of warming, energizing and immune-boosting soup full of antioxidants? I make this soup whenever I feel like my kids could use an extra dose of smiles and kindness. A typical peasant soup made with the most elemental vegetables, onions, carrots, potatoes and zucchini, a cup or two of satiating beans and a further dash of deliciousness and antioxidants in the form of cilantro, ginger and garlic, this soup is like the warmth of the sun on a icy-cold day. It has great potential to increase your bounce-back-ability quotient.

It’s easy to make and so tasty! Honestly, what is the point in eating healthy foods if they do nothing for your taste buds? The recipe is roughly adapted from a soup recipe in the phenomenal cookbook The Complete Superfoods Cookbook by Michael Van Straten, but as always it has taken a few twists and turns in the zone of my kitchen. I get requests for the recipe very often, so without further delay, and with immense gratitude to Mr. Van Straten, here is the recipe.

IMG_0500 IMG_0497 IMG_0499 IMG_0495 Ingredients

  • 1 large, actually make it humungous onion
  • 3-4 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • A small piece of ginger
  • 1 or 2 potatoes grated with skin
  • 2 to 3 carrots peeled and grated
  • 2 to 3 zucchini with the ends trimmed and grated
  • 5 to 6 cups of vegetable stock
  • 3 cups of cooked chickpeas or cannellini or kidney beans
  • A bunch of the greenest cilantro you can find

Here is How you Make it

In a large pan, heat the oil. Add the onions, garlic and ginger and sweat them for about 10 minutes in gentle heat.

Add the grated vegetables and continue to cook for five to six  minutes. You will have to stand there and stir the vegetables around to prevent the potatoes from sticking to the pan, even if you are tempted to leave to check your new notifications or friend requests on Facebook. Stand there, be present and watch the fresh vegetables and spices do their magical mingling. While you are at it, enjoy the aroma.

soup galaPour in the stock, mix well and let the soup simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. At this point, with the riot of colors and lovely aromas, it looks like a gala is in full swing in the pan. Turn off the heat and add the washed cilantro bunch (stems and all) into this mix. I don’t worry about chopping the cilantro, but if you have the energy and the inclination to do the chopping, go for it. The cilantro adds a nice color and taste punch to the soup, but it isn’t mandatory. So if you don’t like cilantro, feel free to skip it. You can add a bunch of baby spinach instead.

Let the vegetable and broth mix cool. Transfer the mix to a blender and whizz till it is smooth. Return the blended mix to the pan.

Add the cooked beans into the blended mix and gently heat for five more minutes.

Wasn’t that easy? Bless the soup. Serve and eat with reverence and gratitude. 

Savory Turmeric Beverage/Soup

Turmeric (the powdered kind) has always held a special spot in my spice cabinet and recently fresh turmeric root also has been getting some serious veneration in my kitchen. Containing ostentatious amounts of anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and immune building compounds, the spice recently graced the pages of the prestigious Wall Street Journal. Dubbed ‘snow day superfood’ by the journal, turmeric makes a great addition to your spice cabinet (if it is not already in there) for the upcoming winter season. Whether you are almost sick, already sick or far from sick drinking a cup (or two) of a beverage laced with the spice is an excellent idea. If you are sick, it will make you well and if you are well, it will make you thrive.

Delicious and warming, turmeric milk is an age-old Ayurvedic and home remedy to cure the chills. It is usually sweetened with sugar or honey, but I wanted to try making a savory version incorporating both powdered and fresh turmeric root and other warming spices such as ginger, cumin and black pepper. You can have it in a cup and call it a beverage or have it in a bowl call it a soup. Your wish.

Here is what you will need.

  • A cup of unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • ½  teaspoon of turmeric
  • ½ inch slice of fresh turmeric root cut into small pieces
  • ½ inch slice of fresh ginger root cut into small pieces
  • Black peppercorns
  • Roasted cumin powder (Just toast a few cumin seeds in a pan and grind into a fine powder)
  • Salt to taste (I used Himalayan casino online salt)
  • Steamed vegetables (optional)
  • A dab of coconut oil or pastured butter (optional)

Here is how you will make it.

  • Warm a cup of almond, hemp or coconut milk on the stove-top.
  • Add half a teaspoon of turmeric to the milk and stir till the turmeric is completely dissolved. At this point the milk in the saucepan will look bright yellow. Bring the milk to a gentle boil and turn off the stove.
  • Crush 4 peppercorns in a mortar and pestle and add to the milk. Black pepper is said to increase the bio-availability of turmeric. Skip this step if you are making the turmeric milk for a child or for a person with a severe cough.
  • Pour the milk (with turmeric) into a cup or a bowl and add the fresh and powdered spices. Add salt to taste
  • Add steamed vegetables, herbs, and a pat of coconut oil or pastured butter if you want to turn the beverage into something more substantial.

Drink this hard-core turmeric beverage to rock the Winter of 2014! The flu or any other virus will have nothing on you.


Wall Street Journal; Snow Day Superfood

Planta Medicine; Influence of Piperine on the Pharmacokinetics of Curcumin in Animals and Human Volunteers

Have a Yummy Diwali!

Diwali is here! Well, it is almost here; I enjoy the days leading unto Diwali as much as the days of the festival themselves. We gather in the kitchen, the entire family gets involved and whip up some sweets that often get consumed before d-day(s). I think that indulgent treats, especially when they are home-made with love, should be a part of everyone’s diet. Absolutely no guilt involved. Here are some treats that we have been making.

Date, Almond and Walnut Laddo Date-Almond-Walnut-Laddoo

1 cup of almonds
1 cup of walnuts
12 Mejdool dates
A tablespoon of ghee
Cardomom Powder 1/2 a teaspoon
Saffron: a few strands soaked in a tiny bit of almond milk

Pan roast the almonds and walnuts for a slight crunch. Leave them raw, if you don’t desire the crunch in your munch. Grind the nuts into to a coarse powder, so that they resemble breadcrumbs. Pulverize the dates and ghee in a food processor until you have smooth buttery paste. Transfer the nut flours and the date paste into a large dish. Add the cardamom powder and saffron slush. Mix until the ingredients mingle and unify. Taking small balls of the mixture, roll between the palms of your hands to form soft laddoos. So simple, no? Bursting with energy, eat one(or four) to trump over the afternoon slump. Or whenever you feel like it.

Almond coconut cookies Almond-Coconut Cookies with Saffron Sprinkles

2 cups of almond flour
1/4th cup of coconut oil
1/4th cup of honey
A splash of vanilla extract.
Cardamom powder
Saffron strands

The first three ingredients are sourced from Costco. Convenient. Mix the first five ingredients until they are combined, cut into circles, stars or whatever you fancy, and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. I decorated my cookies (before baking) with saffron strands to give it a festive Indian twist. Try making them, they are unbelievably easy and rather tasty. The original recipe is from Ms. Detoxionista, I just gave it that saffrony sprinkle. And skipped the frosting.

Halvah Halvah

A jar of Tahini (mine was 26 oz)
3 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil
1/2 a cup of maple syrup
A teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of black elderberry syrup
Bee Pollen for rustic decoration and nutrition

Gently melt the coconut oil. Mix it with the maple syrup, black elderberry syrup and vanilla. In a large mixing pot, scoop out all the tahini and add the coconut-maple-elderberry-vanilla liquid. Integrate the ingredients until you have a aromatic slush. Pour it into a stainless steel thali like I did, or into any other container. Wrap it with seran wrap and freeze for 2 hours. Bring the dish out, sprinkle with bee pollen and cut into pieces. Put it back into the freezer and freeze for a few more hours. The original recipe is from the phenomenally talented Susan Jane White. I skipped the nuts since the other two sweets were nut based. And added the blackberry syrup for a dose of color and immune-supporting flavonoids. The sprinkle of bee pollen adds an additional dose of immune support to this treat. Pop one of these into your mouth, and you’ll be led, from darkness into light. Instant nirvana guaranteed.

A happy and yummy Diwali from our family to yours! May the festival of lights bring joy, peace and harmony into your life.

Featured Image Credit: Sridhar Chandrashekar


Drink to your Health: Green Smoothies

It is a feeling that we can all relate to, your eyes are bleary, your brain feels foggy and getting out of bed seems, an act of courage. If you have felt like this day after day, you are probably more than ready to give your body a new lease on life. Could your diet, especially your substantial breakfast, be responsible for the energy drain? Continue reading Drink to your Health: Green Smoothies

How to Prevent Ear Infections

Ear infections in children are a common childhood illness. While common, they can cause extreme discomfort in children and often result in a trip to the doctor”s office and a prescription for an antibiotic. In addition, sometimes children who suffer an ear infection cannot hear well for sometime after the infection clears. Children suffering frequent ear infections may have language delays due to having hearing problems in a developmental phase that is critical for language acquisition. Some simple proactive steps go a long way in preventing this painful condition. Continue reading How to Prevent Ear Infections

It takes a Mango and Some Kefir: Mango Lassi

Mangoes and cardamom in the smoothie promote digestion

Mango lassi is a traditional drink from India made with mangoes and yogurt. Made popular by Indian restaurants all over North America, mango lassis are yogurt based smoothies made with canned mango pulp, sugar, and whole milk yogurt. Although the restaurant version is not exactly junk food, it is high in sugar, fat and calories. Made at home, a little twist to the traditional recipe can turn mango lassi into a healthy, refreshing, digestion promoting drink that is absolutely delicious! Learning to make it at home is easy. Continue reading It takes a Mango and Some Kefir: Mango Lassi