10 Commandments for a Healthy Life

  1. Drink 8 glasses of water every day
  2. Limit Sugar, Caffeine & Alcohol intake to 2 servings per day (in total)
  3. Include fresh fruits, vegetables, spices & legumes in the diet
  4. Exercise 4 times per week
  5. Meditate 30 minutes everyday
  6. Plan ahead to Explore, Experiment & Experience
  7. Be on time (or 10 minutes early)
  8. Spend time with Family
  9. Meet old friends often & also nurture new friendships
  10. Surprise friends/family with gifts & timely gestures

Burnt Chilly Chutney!

There is something about the smell of Burnt Chillies.. the air is filled with a fragrance that leads you to think theres something delicious cooking on the stove. And it’s true.

Burnt Chilly Chutney – sounds spicy, and it is..

Part 1: The Chutney

What you need:

  • 2 TBSP oil
  • Red Chilly – 3 to infinity* (see Large print below)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup cut Veggies / Nuts (see options below)
  • 1 TSP thick Tamarind Juice
  • 1 TSP Jaggery / Sugar
  • Salt to taste

How to:

  1. Oil in hot stove
  2. Add Chillies & scald
  3. Add rest of the ingredients & Roast on slow fire until combined
  4. Grind after completely cool

Part 2: Tempering

What you need:

  • 1 TSP oil
  • Mustard Seeds
  • Asafotedia
  • Curry Leaves

How to:

  1. Oil in hot stove
  2. Add Mustard Seeds, Asafotedia / Hing, Curry Leaves
  3. Add the Ground Paste & cook for 2 minutes
  4. Serve with Rice, Naan, Idly, Dosa, Bread, Yogurt… anything!

Choose 2-3 from these Veggie / Nut options: Onion, Garlic, Ginger, Tomatoes, Squash, Spinach, Mint leaves, Coriander Leaves, Roasted Eggplant, Peanuts, Cashew

Large print:

  • According to the desired spice level, start with 3 chillies and then adjust up or down depending on the taste & heat of the chilly
  • Of course, the seeds can be taken off to reduce the heat, and still get the great taste of the Burnt Chillies 🙂




We use Cumin (Jeera) for almost all indian food – curries, gravy, stuffed chapattis, rice mixes etc, but I never learned the power of cumin until one day, I read this article. I was looking for a cure for a hair growth & heat boils on my skin, and suddenly read that the little spice is filled with iron, vitamin E & C; and is an anti-carcinogenic, antibacterial & antioxidant agent because of other ingredients found in it. It also has properties that cool & clear the system.

Here’s how I have started using Cumin:

  • Cumin Tea: Boil 4 cups of water with 2 TSP of Cumin seeds; Drink hot, warm or cool throughout the day.
  • Cumin Infused water: Add 2 TSP of Cumin seeds in 1 Liter of water and let it soak overnight. As you drink up the water, you can refill the bottle for unto 2 days.
  • Cumin infused Oil: Add 1 TSP of ground Cumin seeds in 2 TBSP of Coconut Oil & use on Hair, Face & Body for an Anti-bacterial rub & wash off after 20 min
  • Cumin Pack: Add 1 TSP of ground Cumin seeds with water to apply on Wounds / Bruises & Cuts to speed the healing process
  • Of course in Jeera Rice/Pulao, Jeera Daal, Jeera Powder, Jeera Lassi etc.

Castor Oil Skin Rub

My grand mother uses Castor oil for all skin problems, I didn’t understand why, until… I recently read the benefits of Castor Oil and thought it was worth giving it a try! The results have been successful so far! Specifically, use on hair (to strengthen), eyebrow (to stimulate growth), eye lashes (to thicken), bruises/boils (to heal) & overall skin (to moisturize)!

  • Mix Castor Oil with Turmeric to heal wounds
  • Mix Castor Oil with coconut oil for all other topical applications.


Rahasya – Hair Straightening Cream

How many of us have walked into a parlor and slathered chemicals on our hair to make it Straight? or Smooth?

Here’s a cool DIY, natural cream to try. Yes it’s cheaper than the store bought versions & is natural!

What you need:

  1. 1 Cup thick coconut milk
  2. Juice from 1 Lemon (no seeds & strained please)
  3. 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  4. 3 Tablespoons Corn Starch

How to:

  1. Mix the cornstarch into the Lemon Juice without lumps
  2. Add the Olive Oil & Coconut Milk
  3. Heat on the stove & simmer until the texture is like store bought hair conditioner
  4. Store in a glass jar


Apply on the hair & cover with a hot towel, leave for 1-2 hours & then rinse off with shampoo

Rahasya – Henna Oil

Henna’s protein & antibacterial properties make it a staple in many hair routines. The bright red color helps cover the grays (some of us need this!) & adds sheen to the hair. Henna, when used with water, makes the hair dry, however, since its combined with oil in this natural DIY recipe, it makes the hair smooth & shiny.

What you need:

  1. 2 tablespoons Henna Powder
  2. 1 Tablespoon Fenugreek (Methi) Seeds
  3. 1 Cup Coconut or Olive Oil

How to:

  1. Mix Henna Powder & Fenugreek Seeds with 1 Cup Oil
  2. Microwave/Heat on the stove for 1 min
  3. Store in a Glass Jar (cover the Jar after the oil is completely cool)


Heat the Henna Oil for 10-20 seconds & apply the warm oil on the scalp. Wash off with shampoo after 30 min.

Try it & let me know how it works.

Note: Henna is very cooling for the body; we may likely catch a cold if the oil is left on the hair for more than 30 min. 

Nutella Cream Popsicles

This recipe is inspiring, original & very easy… just a single step, a “Blend it all” recipe!

A perfect after dinner treat for the entire family. Makes you happy!

You will need the following for 6-8 popsicles

  • 2 cups Whole Milk
  • 1/4 cup Heavy Cream or 2 TBSP Thick Cream
  • 4 TBSP Nutella
  • 1 TBSP Cocoa Powder

Blend the above & pour in a Popsicle Mold & Freeze for minimum 4 hours.

Quick tip to remove the popsicle:

  • Heat hot water in a Mug (minute in the Microwave)
  • Immerse the Mold in the hot water for 20 seconds
  • Carefully remove the popsicle & Enjoy!

Banana Dosa

shhhh (Dakshin Copycat Recipe)

This recipe is inspired by Park Sheraton Dakshin’s famous Banana Dosa, and is from my mom. My daughters love this as a snack or dinner. This is also one of my favorite “office-snacks”. These little dosas can be refrigerated and warmed up in the microwave before serving.

What you need:

  • 2 Ripe Bananas
  • 1 Cup Wheat Flour
  • 1 TBSP Rice Flour
  • 1 Pinch Cardamom Powder
  • ½ cup Jaggery/Sugar
  • Coconut Flakes/Bits – 3 TBSP (Optional)
  • 1 ½ to 2 Cups Water
  • Butter/Ghee/Oil for pan frying

Here’s how the cute lil banana dosas are made:

  1. Boil the Sugar/Jaggery with ½ cup water. Keep aside to cool once it comes to a rolling boil. Strain into a mixing bowl
  2. Add to the mixing bowl: mashed banana, wheat flour, rice flour, cardamom powder
  3. Mix remaining water to make a batter (pan-cake batter consistency)
  4. Heat a pan and add a little butter/oil/ghee
  5. Drop 1 spoon of batter onto the pan. Turn & cook the other side till brown. Add a little more butter/oil/ghee for extra yum!


I love Michigan. I love Coffee. I love Baking. I love Rowing. I love Madras.

All that I love, I discovered in Michigan.

Michigan, a stepping stone to a wonderful life… a life that has come full circle as I am back in Madras.

my home, my love! Madras & Michigan.

I left Madras to go to Michigan.  I have left Michigan to return back to Madras.

Waiting to go back, waiting to come home, the heart meanders from Michigan to Madras & Madras to Michigan.

Home now, namma Chennai, er Madras.

Why this “Holiday Cheer” Theme? Because I immediately think of Snow when I think of Michigan, & I think of the Holiday Season when I think of Snow! How I miss the combination of the Snow, Holiday Season & Michigan!