Sunday, February 22, 2015

Dr. Mantena's Special - Beetroot Halwa

Today’s special in Dr. Mantena’s Kitchen is Beetroot Halwa. Beetroot is a root vegetable with dark, purple skin and pink/purple flesh. Its earthy, rich and sweet flavor and vibrant color lends itself to a variety of both sweet and savory dishes.

Beetroot is a close relative of spinach and chard and has an earthy flavor and a good nutritional content - it's also reckoned to be a good detoxifier. Moreover it is inexpensive and available throughout the year but February and March is the right time to find good quality beets.

Beetroot is a rich source of micro-nutrients like Potassium, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin C and Iron. People also say that consuming beetroots will increase the hemoglobin count.  I am not sure how true is that but I can certainly tell you that it helps in free bowel movement.

Now without wasting much time let us go into the details of making this wonderful Beet Root Halwa.


1. Beet Root            –        1 big size

2. Milk                    -        1 glass

3. Honey                 -        5 tbsp

4. Cardamom           -        4 nos.

5. Cashew nuts        -        ½ cup

6. Milk Cream          -        2 tbsp


1. Thoroughly rinse the beetroot, remove the skin and scrape it into small pieces with a scraper and store it in a bowl.


2. Light on the stove and roast the cashews in a pan till light brown. Cashew gives great taste to the halwa. You can use the milk cream (meegada) to fry the cashews if available. Or else you can fry without it as we did here.

3. Add scraped beetroot and cook till the water of the beet evaporates and becomes dry.

4. Now add a glass of milk and cook on a small flame with lid closed till the beetroot cooks. It normally takes 15-20 minutes to cook the beets. 20 minutes later remove the lid and cook till the water evaporates and becomes dry again. Adding milk removes the raw flavor of the beet and gives a delicious taste.

5. Now add cardamom powder into it and add 4-5 tbsp of honey and sauté. Cook for another 5 minutes and remove.

6. Now serve the delicious beetroot halwa seasoned with few cashews over it.

Whenever you and your children feel like having a dessert or sweet after lunch or dinner, instead of buying from a sweet store, you can make this healthy and delicious recipe at home without much effort. Basically people make this halwa frying deeply in ghee and sugar which leads to diabetes, cholesterol and obesity etc in the long run. This recipe is completely harmless and equally delicious. You and the children will also enjoy it without any concerns. Give a try and find out.

I hope you like this and keep watching this space for more updates. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Dr. Mantena's Special Dosa

Recently I heard one gentleman saying on TV with aggression “this fellow (referring to Dr. Raju) tells not to eat salt, sugar, ghee, masala and recommends eating only raw food. Life is to be enjoyed and what is the use of such a dull, boring and tasteless life?”

In a way he is absolutely true. I also believe that life is to be enjoyed fully. One has to live the life completely without any regrets. One has to eat whatever he likes or enjoys but that doesn't mean you become addicted to it and become its slave and harm yourself. Dr. Raju has never forced anyone to follow what he is following. He is simply sharing his experiences and it is totally an individual choice to follow or not. If you don’t want to do it or can’t do it just ignore it. It is no point in criticizing others for what you don’t want to do or can’t do. Anyone who wants to try his health tips are absolutely free.

One must also remember that he never said to eat only raw food all the time. Secondly, he also never said not to enjoy the tastes. Had he been against the taste then why would he design special recipes substituting the harmful tastes? He is only asking you to supplement these tastes. Let me know one thing, why we eat sugar? The answer is for sweetness. He recommends to substitute sugar with honey which is a natural sweetener. Why we eat salt? For sodium. He says, pickup those vegetables which are already rich in Sodium.

Being a Yog sadhaka I believe, every individual has his own body type, its own requirements and its own intelligence. One should not blindly follow anyone without asking a question. Don’t try to ask question to others. Ask yourself and try to find out the answer yourself. When you ask yourself then you make the effort to find on your own without relying on others.

When I am writing this blog post I don’t expect that people read and make the recipe. I am sharing my experience and it is purely an individual choice. If someone finds it useful he will and if some one does not he ignores.

With this understanding now let us try to make the dosa in Dr. Mantena’s way.

Dosa is the south India’s regular breakfast meal and is very popular up north and other parts of the World as well. Dosa is one of the main breakfast meals that people in the south prefer on regular basis. It has gained World recognition as a South Indian Special dish. Majority of south Indians prefer Dosa as their daily breakfast but in the North it’s a non-regular special recipe and therefore they prepare occasionally during special events.

Nevertheless Dosa is liked by one and all irrespective of boundaries. Even the foreign tourists visiting India cannot stay away from it. Had you been to a restaurant and no matter what you have ordered, if your eyes fall on a plate of Dosa it definitely tease and tempts your senses. The crispy brown Dosa immediately catches your attention. Such is the attraction of Dosa. Many people love their food crispy and crunchy and Dosa delivers exactly the same. The vegetable masala and the chutney served along with Dosa add further taste to it.

Busy lifestyle and fast food culture over the years has led to the emergence of hundreds of restaurants in metro cities and smaller towns of south India serving with vast varieties of breakfast and meals. Some of the breakfasts that are usually eaten in the south like Idli, dosa, vada etc., requires lot of preparation time and therefore households are not preparing them regularly. This very reason has given life to the emergence of so many restaurants. It takes no time to eat but takes lot of time to prepare. Thankfully restaurants are taking all the pain to serve you ready made breakfast and meals. People think by paying 20-40 rupees you are getting a ready made breakfast and the problem is solved. Actually the problem begins from there. Remember that success of hotels and restaurants are purely based upon taste of food they serve; quality and service comes next. Mind you, no restaurant or hotel prepares food keeping the customer’s health in mind and if he does so he has to shut his business forever. They make every effort to make the food tasty to get their customers back. They exactly knew the weakness of the foodies and they make every effort to catch that pulse. In order to make the food tasty they use plenty of oil, ghee, masala and other spices that harm the body slowly and gently without your knowledge. I am not blaming those restaurants and hotels for spoiling your health. We are so addicted to unhealthy, junk food over the years that we have forgotten the real taste. We are to be blamed for that.

Exactly contrary to the hotel food, Dr. Mantena Satyanarayana Raju has designed recipes that are cooked without any of these harmful tastes like oil, ghee, salt, sugar, tamarind, red chili powder and masalas and yet tasty.

Inspired from his teachings we tried this wonderful recipe of dosa at home and was really tasty and healthy. Without talking much let us now go into the details of preparation.


(a) Dosa:

Brown Rice                        -        1 Cup
Flattened brown rice           -        1 Cup
Whole black gram               -        ½ Cup
Cumin Seeds                     -        1 tbsp


As told before it takes a longer time to prepare but it’s worth trying at home. The time consumes more in preparing the batter than in making it. Therefore if you wish to make Dosa for your breakfast, you must plan it before 24 hours. For your easy understanding I have divided the entire cooking process in two steps. Here is how:

Step 1: Preparation of Batter: -

Keep some of these things in mind. To have a great dosa for your breakfast, soak the rice and gram in the morning before you leave to work, prepare the batter when you get back from work and let the batter ferment the whole night and make dosa in your breakfast early in the morning before leaving to your work again. 


1. Take 1 cup of brown rice and 1 cup of flattened brown rice in a vessel, rinse and soak them for about 4 to 6 hours. Usually people prepare dosa with white rice but we chose to make it with brown rice as it is rich in nutrients compared to white rice. To know more about brown rice, visit my blog  

We are using brown flattened rice as well. It is called Mudi Biyyam Atuku in Telugu and Poha in Hindi. It makes the dosa crispy and crunchy and at the same time retains the softness. Instead of flattened rice you can use another cup of brown rice.


2. Soak ½ cup of whole black gram in another vessel and soak for almost the same time. People usually use husked black gram but I prefer to use whole that means un-husked black grams. You can also use split grams un-husked. It is because when the husk is removed it loses plenty of nutrients that are essential for the body.

3. 6 hours later drain the water and grind brown rice, flattened rice, black gram and cumin seeds in a vessel and keep it aside. Grind the black grams into a fine batter using the water used for soaking and keep it aside in a vessel.

4. Now drain and grind the brown rice, flattened rice and cumin seeds into a very fine batter using the water used for soaking. You should be little careful in adding water while grinding. The batter should not be too thick or too thin. At the same time the batter should be finely ground. On examining with your fingers you should not find the batter grainy.

5. Now add this with the batter of black gram and mix well. Add some water if necessary and stir well to mix it. The batter is now ready to be kept for fermentation. Close the lid of the vessel and keep it in a warm place undisturbed for another 8 to 10 hours. Don’t use the air tight lid. If you live in cold temperature keep the vessel in a warm place.

6. After the fermentation the batter rises and doubles as you can see in the picture below. The batter now turns sour due to fermentation which gives a great taste to the dosa.

Step 2: Preparation of Dosa:-

1. Heat a non-stick pan on a high flame and turn the flame to medium once the pan is sufficiently heated.

2. Once the pan is heated pour a ladle of batter in the center spread the batter in a circular motion using back of the ladle as shown in the picture below and close it with a lid.

3. Once the edges starts turning brown and the dosa is cooked, reduce the flame and fold the dosa in a triangular shape as shown in the picture or you can half-fold it. Since the lid is covered we need not turn the dosa to cook on the other side.

4. Remove the dosa and serve hot with chutney. I already posted the procedure of making chutney in my previous blog. You can refer it for making a chutney.

This is going to be a light and healthy dosa. Takes time but worth making it. Keep watching the space for more updates.


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