The secret of a healthy mane | Homemade organic shampoo

But something not everyone knows is that shampoo was in fact originated in India, and is derived from the word, ‘ champo’ in Hindi, meaning to massage. Traditionally, a shampoo is made by boiling saponin-rich soapberries or soapnuts with various herbs and fruits to get a lathery liquid that is used to rinse the hair along with various health benefits. This has been exploited by the industries and alternated with harmful chemicals to counter the high cost of using natural ingredients. Therefore, rinsing your already brittle hair with a fragrant mixture of Diethanolamine (DEA), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate(SLS), DMDM hydantoin, Diazolidinyl urea and whatnot, can be less appealing indeed. Not to forget the number of dolphins and whales they are killing in the name of lustrous hair.

Now, the cosmetic industry cannot be closed overnight. But something we can do is to substitute the chemical-based Shampoo with the traditional plant-based ones, with actual health benefits and of course, happy dolphins. So, here are a set of homemade shampoos my grandmother had been using during her prime days.

The benefits of stained teeth | Ele adike

Not just in interms of cuisine, but the Ele adike has a cultural significance of its own. Right from its rightful place on the brass plate ( Hariwana) during marriages to being stuffed inside the deseased’s mouth, the betle leaf climber is found in everyone’s garden. The arrival of guests has some unspoken rules. And one of them is to get the freshest betle leaves plucked and neatly placed on the brass plate, alongside pieces of the gifted arecanut from the coastal relatives and an old yet faithful dibba, full of slaked lime. This is placed on the table for the guests to devour and gossip, after a hefty meal.

Homemade plant-based kajal for healthy eyes and thicker eyelashes

Having a history of more than 5,000 years, kajal is an adornment worn by babies and old women alike. It is a black dye obtained from the soot of the lamp-lit by ghee, which is mixed with butter or oil and applied to the eyes. It gives a sharp and mysterious look to one’s eyes and has numerous health benefits, if organic. Kajal of course is commercialized and the lead used in the chemical ones can be pretty harmful to the eyes. Which completely contradicts its purpose.

Nevertheless, an organic kajal has many health benefits and equally different methods of preparation. Let us learn about one such method, which involves a key ingredient, i.e., Honagane or sessile joyweed ( Alternanthera sessilis ).

The toadstool’s tale!

Toadstools or mushrooms are something that has created an unofficial Olympics for Mushroom hunting amongst families, from generations. I would rather bravely state that, mushroom is a cursed treasure unspoken of. I mean it literally because you would never find a person who’d yell at the top of his lungs about the mushrooms he’d found in his estate. If yes, that person is either a fool or not a localite. A person in Kodagu might leave a gold coin behind but never a mushroom. Be it even in somebody else’s estate, you see it first, it’s all yours. Such are its bewitching powers.
As soon as the first showers hit the dry earth and the lightning cracks it open, people after milking their cows head to the secret places, passed on from generation to generation. The sacred place where the mushroom grows, which is the place where the dormant spores lie from the last year…

A life before toothpaste!

Irrespective of the generation, the era, or the presence or absence of beauty pageants, the woman always wants to look pretty. The only difference is that my grandma had a slight gruesome method for beautification compared to my stick of Lakme colossal kajal. ” A species of small bat’s blood was used to make Kajal.

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The Paper boat series #1

We’ve all sipped on the mango flavored Paper boat brand of juices which claims to remind us of our childhood. I am not sure about the feeling of nostalgia but I find the marketing strategy very clever. So, here I am. Writing the Paper boat series of stories of my childhood away from the harsh pixel world. Let us all have our doses of Paper boat and actually indulge in nostalgia, shall we?

Maddhu or aati payasam | A medicinal desert made once every year

Maddhu or aati payasam is made from the leaves of maddhu soppu or Justicia wynaadensis leaves, a medicinal plant, endemic to the Western Ghats. This plant grows in the shades of the Kodagu belt and has many medicinal properties. Traditionally, it is believed that this plant, if cooked on the 18th day after the onset of Aati thinga, has 18 types of medicines. It can be cooked any other time though. Let’s get on to the recipe, shall we?

A crabby tale

The art of hunting crabs involves only two things- guts and more guts. The department I lacked in especially in this case. My guts was limited to flipping rocks and catching defenseless crab babies and letting them go. Repeating the process in a corner while the professionals handled the food classified, big crabs with sharp sphincters.

Let me introduce you to the art of hunting crabs. The crab hunting can be done all throughout the year but sometimes depends on the species. But the probability of catching one is more in the rainy season since these sassy crustaceans crawl out of the rivers and lives in the water channels and paddy fields. The crabs lay the eggs during December or January i.e., during the harvest season. The crabs store the eggs on the underside towards the back of their shells with fat pigments. These appear as red or scarlet coloured beads. The freshwater crabs unlike the salt water crabs do not undergo larval stages. The freshwater crabs hatch as young crabs and undergo larval stages when they are still in the eggs. The eggs hatch in April or May i.e., after 2 months of incubation. The mother crabs during this time are seen having hundreds of baby crabs under their belly.

Pathrode | Coorg style traditional recipe

Pathrode is a unique coastal dish with its name and style differing from region to region. Belonging originally to the Konkani household, it is a dish that is seen on an everyday basis. But in Kodagu, this dish is limited to the cold downpours and like any other Coorg cuisine has its own unique way of preparation, which differs from the original recipe. Pathrode or Pathra vada is a dish made from Arbi pathha or mara kesu ( Remusatia vivipara ) and rice. I’d admit that it is a complex recipe with a unique flavor profile but is a traditional recipe that the moms take pride in preparing, not to forget the hard work in doing the same.

The key feature is to select the Pathrode leaves. The Pathrode leaf or Remusatia vivipara is an epiphyte and in the wild, you’ll find it dangling from a tree. It looks similar to a Colocasia leaf. Too old leaves can cause itchiness to the throat. Look for mature leaves with vibrant green color. If you are rolling the leaves like in the traditional recipe, make sure that the leaves aren’t torn at the corners. But this is not necessary for this recipe. Let’s get on to the recipe, shall we?

Colocasia curry | ಕೆಸುವಿನ ಗೊಜ್ಜು | Coorg style

Colocasia. This miracle vegetable is a zero-waste, edible from head to toe prodigy. It has various delicacies revolving around it by utilizing its leaves, stems, roots, and also its tuber. It is of many types, black colocasia ( black stem elephant ears), pathrode leaves, white colocasia ( Taro ) etc,.

This recipe specifically calls for the black colocasia. This is a purple stemmed Colocasia found near marshy areas and is a perennial plant. As a cuisine, the young leaves and the stems of this taro is used. The vegetable alone can be very itchy during preparation. If the itchiness is intolerable, some tamarind juice or black vinegar ( something mildly acidic) can be applied. It’s an excellent source of fibre and has many health benefits. Let’s get onto the recipe, shall we?

Kaadu mavina saaru / wild mango curry

Along with the chilling weather of Coorg, tags along the spicy, sweet, and sour wild mango curry with a finger-licking taste. Not only in Coorg but this recipe is passed from generations in all parts of the western ghats. Here’s the recipe on what you’re missing out in Coorg or something you can whip up at home with simple ingredients.