Ajwain Curry – The immune booster

This dish is something that works miraculously when anyone in my family gets a cough/cold/fever. The benefits of ajwain leaf were posted earlier and this post is about a recipe with ajwain leaf.
I make this curry when my 3 year old falls sick and she bounces back to normal within a few hours. This is an easy and tasty way to ward off cold/flu.

Both ajwain leaf and seeds contain a compound ‘thymol’ , an antibacterial essential oil which strengthens the immunity of body and heals the gut by inhibiting the growth of undesired pathogen/bacteria and helping the good flora flourish well.

The curry also contains curd/buttermilk which is a probiotic and coconut that gives right amount of fibre , fatty acids and other nutrients. The cumin seeds,turmeric and pepper boost the digestion, has anti inflammatory and anti bacterial properties which helps the immune system.
While gut flora( good bacteria in intestine) is adversely affected by many medicines taken for cold/flu, this curry boosts the immune system , helps heal the gut and flourish the beneficial bacteria.


6-7 Ajwain leaves
3 tbsp of fresh grated coconut
1 tbsp each of cumin seed and pepper
A pinch of turmeric powder
1/2 cup of buttermilk
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
sprig of curry leaves
1 green chilly (optional)
Salt to taste
1 tsp of Jaggery/unrefined sugar ( optional)


  1. Roast the pepper and cumin seeds in a tbsp of coconut oil for 30 seconds and keep it aside.
  2. Wash and chop the ajwain leaves and stir fry the same till the leaves change color about 30 seconds.
  3. Grind the leaves, roasted cumin seeds & pepper with coconut and green chilly in a mixer/blender.
  4. Transfer the paste to a vessel and add a pinch of turmeric and salt.
  5. Boil this for a minute or two till the mixture bubbles/froths.
  6. Add Jaggery/brown sugar now if you like.
  7. Remove it from the fire and add the buttermilk and mix well.
  8. Temper mustard seeds in a tbsp of coconut oil, throw in some curry leaves and mix well with the boiled mixture.

Serve with hot rice or roti.

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Olan – The simple health food.

Olan is a dish which is native to the southern state of India, Kerala. This is an inevitable dish in any Kerala feast, mainly due to its property to neutralize the acidity caused by other spicy dishes. It is made with pumpkin, ash gourd and red cow peas in creamy coconut milk .

Why should you have it?

  1. It is high on protein, fibre and anti-oxidants
  2. It is a good source of Iron , Magnesium and Vitamin B, A & C.
  3. It ensures a healthy lipid profile/ cholesterol
  4. It improves heart health , blood circulation and  metabolism

Who should have it?

  1. If you have acidity, constipation or bloating
  2. If you want to sleep well at night and wake up fresh in the morning
  3. If you want to feel energetic and have stable blood sugars through the day
  4. If you are looking for blemish free skin and healthy hair.
  5. If you don’t want to reach out for the wrong foods after your meal

How to make it?

Preparation time – 10  minutes

Cook time – 15 minutes


  1. Ash gourd &  Pumpkin – 3 Cups each, chopped into small cubes
  2. Red or Black eyed Cowpeas – 1/4 cup
  3. Green Chilly (slit) – 1 or 2
  4. Curry leaf – 6 or7 leaves
  5. Grated coconut  – 2 cups
  6. Coconut Oil – 1 tbsp
  7. Jaggery – Optional
  8. Salt to taste
  9. Water


For the Coconut milk

  1. Put the grated coconut in a blender jar.
  2. Blend on high till the coconut is ground well.
  3. Strain in a muslin cloth or a fine sieve
  4. Collect the extract in a bowl or pan. This will be used as thick coconut milk
  5. Take the residue in the muslin cloth, add 1/2 cup water
  6. Blend on high till it mixes well.
  7. Again strain in a muslin cloth or a fine sieve
  8. Collect the extract in a bowl or pan. This will be used as thin coconut milk

For the Olan

  1. Soak the cow peas for 2 hours. This will ensure it cooks faster.
  2. Mix the soaked cow peas, ash gourd, pumpkin, slit green chilly, salt and thin coconut milk.
  3. Add water so that vegetables are just immersed.
  4. Cook this in a pressure cooker  (for 2-3 whistles)
  5. Take it out from the cooker.
  6. Add a pinch jaggery (if a slightly sweet taste is desired).
  7. Mix the thick coconut milk, curry leaf and drizzle some coconut oil.
  8. Stir well but ensure you do not mash the vegetables while doing so.
  9. Serve with rice.

When was the last time you had olan? Let us know in comments.

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Ajwain caraway-nature’s own medicine.


Wondering how to reduce the number of sick days this winter and improve the immunity of your kids and family?   Have you seen this plant in your garden or in the roadside bush?

Omavalli/karpooravalli/ajwain leaf/panikoorka as it is called in different languages has various uses.

It’s seed (which is generally added while making Rotis) is great for arthritis/rheumatoid pain. It also aids in better digestion. So, the next time you feel bloated /gassy or have indigestion or acidity , just roast a few seeds and chew it with a pinch of jaggery/sugar.

The leaf helps in fighting cold/cough/sinus/fever without harming your gut bacteria and immunity, like standard ‘medicines’ do.  It has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-fungal properties too.

Squeeze a few drops of this juice leaf while boiling milk. To this add a pinch of turmeric & pepper. Give this to your child when they catch cold/cough next time. It works miraculously. Alternatively, make a kadhi with it, or a chutney or hot bajji during cold winter. Anything that suits your palette and blends with your traditional cuisine.

 Try using this leaf before you reach out to that paracetamol, cough syrup or Tylenol/Advil. Your immune system and gut microbiome will surely thank you. The next time you see this on the roadside bush , or neighbour’s garden, don’t hesitate to cut  a stem and grow it in a pot in your patio.

Checkout a quick healthy recipe that uses this leaf.

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Have you used this leaf? Let us know your thoughts in comments.

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