Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Quinoa from Indian farmers : 3 recipes using Indian Quinoa


I never used Quinoa in my home cooking earlier because we always had Amaranth grains (pseudo grains) that make a much better choice if you consider the nutrient value available closer home. Imported Quinoa doesn't make sense when we have the super grain Amaranth growing abundantly in our country. Eating locally available food is not just to minimize the carbon footprint but also to support the local farmers who must get buyers for whatever they grow.


But then in the last few years Quinoa was tagged as a super food so aggressively that the prices skyrocketed and some Indian farmers started thinking of growing it too. Last year I got to know that CFTRI helped many farmers to grow Quinoa and I appreciate the initiative as the farmers do need some cash crops in their crop rotation cycle so they can sustain farming better. So when I virtually met a farmer who is growing and selling Quinoa, I bought some for myself and started using it frequently for my everyday meals.

I normally eat soups and khichdi a lot for my everyday meals and quinoa works wonderfully for such meals, just like any other millet or rice varieties. Quinoa cooks so quickly (20 minutes) and can absorb a lot of water while cooking, making it lighter for a meal. A cup of quinoa absorbs about 3.5 cup of water but can be cooked with lesser water if you want a bite to the cooked grains.


I normally cook half a cup of quinoa with a hint of salt and keep refrigerated for 3-4 days. Adding this cooked quinoa to my soups and other meals is so much easier.

Here I am sharing three ideas to cook healthy balanced meals with quinoa.

Quinoa and sweet potato burger 
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This sweet potato and quinoa burger is a meal in itself and you don't need any burger bun with this. But you can use it for making a vegetarian burger too.


I tried this recipe last year when I dug out a few of my sweet potatoes and loved it so much that it has become a regular at home. I have tweaked my initial recipe to get more texture and flavour into the burger and to make it easier to cook too. Incidentally this recipe uses up all the finger thin sweet potatoes that I dig from my garden.

I generally boil sweet potatoes with skin in pressure cooker in the night and let it stay on the kitchen platform (without opening the cooker lid) till next morning when I mash the sweet potatoes along with cooked quinoa to make the burgers for lunch. This saves a lot of time.

ingredients
(makes 6-8 burger patties)

1 cup of boiled, cooled, chopped and mashed sweet potatoes (with skin)
1 cup of cooked quinoa 
3 tbsp chopped walnuts
1 tbsp or more minced ginger
2 tsp minced green chillies
pinch or garam masala
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp anardana powder (or use a little amchoor powder) 
1 tsp ghee or a little more per burger patty to be shallow fried 

procedure 

It is important to use cold (boiled) sweet potatoes for this recipe to get the right texture of quinoa burger patty. Boiled and refrigerated sweet potatoes and quinoa work really well for this recipe.

Mash everything in the ingredient list, adjust seasoning and make medium sized patties. Shallow fry on a hot griddle and serve with salad or as a part of the regular burger. I like crumbling some feta cheese over it and some onion rings too.

The burger patty made with sweet potatoes and quinoa is quite moist and has a sweetish taste that feels really good with walnuts and feta cheese over it. Some rucola does wonders to this meal too.


I served a little Star fruit chutney on the side that actually tasted great with it.

chunky Quinoa and tomato soup 
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This is one of the soups that can be had hot or at room temperature. I have made it several times and it can accommodate some baby spinach, some zucchini, green peas or even some cabbage making the soup a wholesome satisfying meal. Of course it cooks within 20 minutes even if you cook quinoa and boil eggs on the side burners.


ingredients 
(2-3 servings for meal)

1/3 cup quinoa (cooked to become 1 cup)
500 gm ripe tomatoes diced in small pieces (with the skin)
2 tsp butter or ghee
5-6 fat garlic cloves chopped fine
1/2 tsp roasted chilli flakes
a spring of rosemary and a spring of Marjoram or any herb that you like
salt and pepper to taste
One hard boiled egg per serving 
spot of sugar to balance if needed

I usually add some more vegetables to this soup, in this version a small zucchini was diced and added. Adjust seasonings according to the vegetables you use.

procedure 

Heat the butter with chopped garlic and chilli flakes and let them sizzle for a few seconds. Tip in the diced tomatoes at once and stir to mix.

Add the salt and cook covered for a couple of minutes. Smash the tomatoes as they start softening.

Add the herbs and zucchini and cook till the vegetables are cooked and become mushy. You can liquidize everything if you want a smooth soup but I generally keep it chunky for ourselves.

Add the cooked quinoa, balance seasoning and add some stock or water if required. Simmer for a minute and serve hot with boiled or fried eggs on top, or reserve the cooked soup for later use.


Quinoa in coconut milk served with stir fried vegetables 
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This coconut milk quinoa tastes really good with Thai herbs or with a south Indian treatment. This recipe is inspired by south Indian coconut milk rice.

ingredients 

3/4 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 springs of curry leaves 
salt and pepper to taste

for the stir fry vegetables 

500 gm vegetables of your choice
1 tsp sesame oil or ghee 
2 tsp sambar masala or to taste
salt and pepper to taste

procedure 

Mix the coconut milk with the cooked quinoa and simmer till thickened and sticky.

Heat the ghee and stir fry the vegetables with salt and pepper till done to your choice. Sprinkle sambar powder and cook till everything gets nicely seasoned and a little spicy.


Serve the stir fried vegetables over coconut milk quinoa and serve it hot or warm. I generally add some eggs to this meal too. Eggs are used a lot in my kitchen you can see. And there is always a large heap of vegetables on my platter too.

Hoping you will try these Quinoa recipes and will try and get local sources of quinoa and all the food ingredients that you use.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

a fine mix of European and Asian flavours at Dirty Apron and a Jazz club in the city


If you are looking for places with live music, especially Jazz in Delhi the chances are you will end up stepping up on that Piano keyboard floor. The Pianoman Jazz Club has a nice and warm ambiance, a mezzanine level seating that is quite intimate and functional. Very intelligent use of space, dimly lit brick walls and vibrant energy that I could feel even in the day time when a band called Bolly Jazz was practicing.

We were there for lunch at Dirty Apron which is more open with bright natural light and greenery laced windows. Promise of good food, some peppy fusion of European and Asian flavours and some good chitchat with a few blogger friends is what took us there on a weekend. It is always good to be with more people when you go for food tasting so you can take your bites from everyone's plate to see what you like.

review of Dity Apron

I started with a piña colada that was very good. The beverage menu is quite interesting with quirky names and the drinks look gorgeous. 

I had ordered a Vietnamese Chicken Pho Soup that comes with a grilled strip of tofu. It was just okay taste wise with few chunks of chicken and noodles. I tasted the Hungarian Mushroom soup from my friend's bowl and loved it absolutely. Very flavourful and rich tasting, this soup is a must try if you like mushrooms. The Seafood Chowder served in a crusty bun was superbly flavourful.

Among the appetizers I loved the taste of Stuffed Mushrooms Nonya Sauce. A few bites from the Korean Nacho also felt good. I liked the use of homemade Kimchi and peanuts in the Nacho salad. 

review of Dity Apron

For main course Masamman Grilled Snapper was my choice, I found the fish nice but loved the slices of sweet potatoes and wilted spinach with sesame it comes with. Red Curry Marinated Lamb Chops were quite good, the bed of miso mashed potatoes was even better. 

Herb crusted Sea Bass with sweet chilly Sambal comes on a bed of Wasabi mash and it quite delectable. I loved the way mashed potato is made so playful, the end result is delicious.

The flavours of Chicken Laksa Risotto and Keemaroni (keema with Mac n Cheese) are addictive to say the least. These two dishes that we tried were the most cheesy, the flavours doing a tango, I could see everyone loving these two dishes. 

My favourite was the vegetarian Coconut rice with Sambal and Okra topped with Crispy Onions and Lime. This was my kind of coconut rice with the sweetness of onions, umami of sambal and creaminess of the coconut rice.

The Pork Chops with Apricot Brandy (not in the collage above) sounded exciting but failed to impress. The rib chops were really baby size so may be that was the reason, flavours were nice though. Thai Curry and Pumpkin Gorgonzola Ravioli was unimpressive. Too mushy even though I like pumpkin a lot.

On the other hand I loved the Ratatouille which is a dish with mushy vegetables where a measured precision of mushiness was bang on. Flavours were balanced too and I took second helpings, I never need brad with Ratatouille but the Focaccia that came with it was really nice.

The citrus Creme brulee was nice, presented beautifully.

My good friend Ruchira Hoon has done the menu at Dirty Apron and I knew it will be delicious food all over, but I believe some credit must go to the kitchen team to be able to follow the blueprint and keep cooking the food consistently good. I found quite a number of dishes that I would order again when I go.

The best thing about the menu is that everyone would be able to find according to taste and diet preference, I found a lot of healthy meal choices that are so delicious you wont ever regret not choosing something sinful, the coconut rice with okra and grille fish dishes fit the bill absolutely. There are a lot of indulgent foods and a lot of salad meal choices are there too. Something that works for me absolutely. 

A filling 3-4 course meal will cost about 2000 INR for 2 and it is value for money too. 

The menu at the Jazz club is different, more of small nibbles served like finger food so the food doesn't come into the way of music. Long time I attended a live concert so I am planning we will keep a track of their calendar now. I heard they are not repeating bands for six weeks and they are playing live Jazz everyday. That is quite an achievement indeed.






Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Mediterranean flavours for Sunday brunch at NYC, Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi | one of the most healthy cuisine to be relished closer home


Mediterranean food is considered the healthiest. Though I don't agree with the healthiest tag because every traditional cuisine that has survived innumerable generations is healthy by default, there are a few festive indulgences that are not meant to be eaten everyday. Same is the case with Mediterranean cuisine and I think Indian cuisine also falls in the same category. So does every cuisine whose history can be traced to the same land.

So when you are choosing your favourites from a fully loaded Mezze counter you have your choices. You get your marinated Beets, fried Aubergines, Chickpea salad, Hummus, Baba Ghanouj, Muhammara, Tahini etc along with Tabbouleh, Warak Anab (rice stuffed grape leaves) and Tahini Turp Salatasi (radish and tahini salad) to choose from.  Several types of Pita and Lavash breads too.

Mediterranean Sunday Brunch at NYC, Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi

We were at NYC restaurant of Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi last Sunday and they are featuring Mediterranean cuisine for all Sunday brunches through March. The Mezze spread was amazing and I loved the tart and flavourful Warak Anab, very nice and nutty Tahini Turp Salatasi and their Eggplant Feta dip. The Chicken Shawarma was also good. We loved the Tabbouleh a lot, this could be a meal in itself but we had to taste more.

I took second helpings of Marinated Beets and Marinated Mushrooms, both were very flavourful, almost pickled.

Whenever you are at NYC, do not miss their individual serving salads. You will find a new favourite among those salads every time you go. This time I tried Seared Fig with Blue Cheese and Walnut and loved it. Green curry marinated Fish with Pomelo was also good.

Among the Mediterranean main course I loved the Cauliflower and feta baked with dill and onions which is called Firinda Karanabahar Mucveri. It was rich in flavours and yet light to eat. The Paella Valenciana was okay, the prawns in the paella were really good. I found the Shrimp Saganaki a bit under-seasoned.

The Tunisian Couscous with dates, apricots and herbs was really nice but the Turkish Lamb Palau was a thing of art. The Turkish palau was so comparable to a perfectly done Biryani and yet had it's distinct identity. We both loved it.

The other favourite was Pork loin with Navy beans. This stew was smooth, flavourful and delicate, very comforting. There was Moroccan Harissa spiced fish that I found okay. The Chicken pot pie was also good, a few more things on the menu that I didn't bother to taste. The elaborate antipasti counter was ignored in favour of more flavours from the land.

It is worth if I find a few favourites to remember, here I found the Turkish Palau that makes me crave for it. Pork loin stew with navy beans comes second.

Mediterranean Sunday Brunch at NYC, Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi

My friend and Arvind saved space for desserts and we really found some good ones too. Umm ali was good, my friend loved the Zeppole (custard stuffed doughnut), Arvind loved the Muhallabiah, Samali was not impressive but the Baklava was loved by all.

Baklava

Nice and nutty, not too sweet just the way we like it. Just the right serving size too.

The Indian buffet also goes on at NYC and one can choose the Hyderabadi Biryani or a paneer tikka if required, desserts also had many more options. I always fill my plate with some pineapple and kiwi here as they help digest the food better. 

They have three more Sundays till this Mediterranean flavours lasts at the Sunday Brunch at NYC. Go enjoy if you love this cuisine as much as we do. You might not like some of the things but the ones you like will make a lasting impression.

Enjoying the flavours and yet not overloading your system even if you eat a bit more is possible with Mediterranean buffet. Also, Mediterranean cuisine is one of those that you would like even if you are experiencing it for the first time. The similarity of ingredients will make you comfortable and the freshness of flavours will keep you interested into each bite.



Tuesday, March 8, 2016

some delicious naturally enriched milkshakes for breakfast | 6 easy protein enriched milkshakes for breakfast


easy almond protein enriched milkshake recipes

Children doing tantrums on breakfast table is quite common and ‘parents feeling guilty about not being able to make them drink enough milk’ is the story of every Indian home. Even as adults we feel accomplished if we have had our quota of milk for the day for breakfast. Milk with fruits, may be an egg and may be some cereal is what most people think when they plan for breakfast. 

Making a milkshake that packs some more proteins and is delicious makes sense if you want an instant option every day. Homemade from scratch and yet instant for consumption I mean, not the chemically flavoured cereals and malted drinks. 

Is that possible?

The other day my sister was telling how her 5 year old son doesn’t eat enough protein although he loves fruits and small servings of homemade snacks. Like most mothers she also thinks that the morning breakfast time milk could be a little enriched with protein so the kid gets a good start of the day. 

Another friend of mine whose adult son keeps a close watch on his diet on week days and binges on weekends was discussing how she could make something for a week so he could have a quick milkshake that is fortified with protein and yet tasty. Most of us like milk but it gets boring if it is the same plain milk every day. Fortifying the fresh milk with some protein from nuts and seeds can make a delicious healthy breakfast everyday.

The problem with young working adults is that the work schedules are erratic and breakfast takes the toll. Many of them just skip breakfast which is not as bad contrary to the belief, those who opt for packaged instant cereals or get a loaded sandwich from office canteen need to fix the breakfast a little better. It actually doesn’t take as much effort as it looks like. High time we start seeing good old milk as a staple meal just as we did some 3 decades ago.

In fact one can do all the work once a week and get a ready milk based breakfast every day. Some 30 minutes a week for a nourishing protein rich breakfast every day I mean. Isn’t that something you could do? 

easy almond protein enriched milkshake recipes

Say yes.

All of us depend on milk a lot as I mentioned. I love milk too, making flavoured drinks with milk is easy even if you want to stay away from chemical flavours and colours. Please don’t use packaged rose syrups or jams to make the milkshake your family loves so much. A few real ingredients are not that difficult to process at home.
 
I like adding almonds to my milk a lot. Just soak some almonds and make a paste the next day, skin and all. No filtering not straining. Then add some real food flavourings to the paste and add to fresh milk, preferably full fat. Make different flavourings for different days, different family members and so on. Your breakfast is sorted for the week. 

To make almond protein enriched milk I use a mix of 100 gm almonds and 50 gm melon seeds for 2 L full fat fresh milk. Once the nuts and seeds are soaked with water, blended smooth with a little more water it results into about 2.5 L flavoured milk. 

Here are the ways I like flavouring my milk and actually adding value to the protein enriched milk for my breakfast. 

Vanilla almond milkshake

Vanilla Almond milkshake 

To the above protein enriched milk I add some pure Vanilla extract to make it nice vanilla almond milkshake. We love it this way the most.

I normally eat my fruits for lunch but Arvind likes having a banana or apple along with his milk in the morning. You can have anything you like with it, or have only the almond and melon seeds enriched milk for breakfast. 

matcha almond milkshake

Matcha almond milk is my favourite. Health benefits of Matcha are well known, the flavour feels grassy to many people but I like it chilled.

I use 2 tsp Matcha powder for 500 ml almond enriched milk, blend it nicely and refrigerate till needed. It keeps well for 4 days refrigerated. 

dark chocolate almond milkshake

Dark chocolate almond milkshake 

I am not a fan of chocolate but dark chocolate in chilled milk becomes my evening snack sometimes. It definitely a great breakfast too but when you have a few bottles refrigerated already it becomes a nice snack or small meal whenever needed.  

To make dark chocolate almond milk I melt 2 heaped tbsp dark chocolate chips (Callebout) in 100 ml fresh milk, then blend the melted chocolate with 500 ml of prepared almond milk. This chocolate version refrigerates well for a week.

You can use good quality unsweetened cocoa powder instead of dark chocolate chips. 

Ragi malt almond milkshake

Ragi malt almond milkshake 

The ragi malt version of the almond enriched milk is a favourite of both of us. I don't add sugar to these milkshakes but this ragi malt version is so delicious and has a nice aroma that you don't feel like adding any sweetener to it. 

To make ragi malt version just dissolve 3 tbsp powder ragi malt (available online) with 150 ml water, cook till it bubbles and blend with 500 ml of the almond milk mix. It refrigerates well for 5-6 days. 

Date almond milkshake

Date Almond milkshake 

Date milk is seen as tonic and rejuvenating in ancient systems of medicine and we have been told many times how dates cooked with fresh milk become so healthy and strengthening. 

To make the dates version of the almond milk I blend 4 dates per 500 ml of the almond milk and refrigerate immediately. It keeps well for a week if refrigerated immediately after making.

turmeric ginger almond milk

Turmeric Ginger Almond milk 

Turmeric is known to be healing, rejuvenating and antioxidant. Ginger and black pepper help the actions of turmeric in the body and it makes really good flavour profile with the almond enriched milk too. Even kids have loved this version of haldi wala doodh (turmeric milk) trust me.

For 500 ml almond milk made the way mentioned above, I use 30 gm fresh turmeric root and 20 gm fresh ginger root along with 10 peppercorns. Blend them all with 2 tsp water, squeeze the juice and add to the milk. There is no need to heat as the active compound (curcumin) works really well with this combination. The leftover pulp of turmeric and ginger makes wonderful ginger chai this way.

The serving portions of all these enriched milkshakes may be different for children and adults if it is being consumed as standalone breakfast.

Now that you have a few flavour options for the milkshake breakfast, let me tell you how important it is to include milk especially for women and children. 

Dr. Sharad Pandey, an Ayurveda practitioner believes that full fat milk is essential for everyone. Even for making yogurt and other milk products the fat content should not be skimmed he says, skimmed milk reduces the chances of nutrient absorption and metabolisation by the body. Dr Pandey says good quality fresh milk should be arranged on priority for growing children as it is very critical for their growth and bones. Low fat skimmed milk can cause Vit D deficiency.

Tanya Joshi, the senior dietitian and nutritionist at Freshmen's Valley says that being a complete food, milk ranks as one of the best choices available as a part of a nutritious breakfast for the jump start of the day and remain healthy and energetic throughout.  

Milk is a rich source of calcium for building bones, muscles,teeth in growing children and vitamin D for its best absorption thus preventing bone diseases like osteoporosis in later stages.

Milk protein fulfills body’s overall growth and physiological needs. Gives feeling of fullness for long time resulting in sensible eating, preventing binge eating.

Good fats provides energy to perform daily activities. Fats are essential for the absorption of all fat soluble vitamins from milk and other foods.  

High quality vitamins, minerals and electrolytes in milk provides strength, boost immune power and maintains fluid balance.

Do you need more reasons to include milk in your breakfast everyday? Enrich it with proteins from nuts and seeds and make it a filling meal that keeps you full till lunch time.
  

Thursday, March 3, 2016

an interview with Chef Clayton Donovan, more power to the native culinary traditions


an interview with Chef Clayton Donovan
  
I got an opportunity to interview Chef Clayton Donovan, Australia's highest acclaimed Indigenous cuisines Chef who had come to Australian high commission as part of the Australian indigenous creativity showcase. Chef Clayton Donovan received the Chef's hat from the Australian Good Food Guide in 2011 for his unique and contemporary take on indigenous cuisine and ingredients.

As I myself work a lot on native Indian foods and wild uncultivated foods from our land, it was a great experience talking to a chef who cooks and promotes indigenous foods professionally. Chef Clayton is a Passionate cook who believes in promoting organic ways of growing food and foraging as much as possible. He told me he was lured by his aunt at a very early age to find and forage edible plants from the backyard, he credits his aunt for encouraging a bored child to explore nature in much meaningful ways. Do parents get the hint?

He had brought a few herb blends and spice rubs with him and those were used to cook some wonderful dishes for the dinner later. We talked about how we must take care while promoting wild foods as super foods, because this gives way to either the wild food becoming a commodity or become endangered. Chef Clayton told me he keeps organizing meals in fields around local farms and these meal experiences are getting popular and that shows people are becoming more aware about where their food comes from and they want to see and experience their food at source.

Knowing that Chef was indoctrinated into foraging herbs and greens from his very own backyard, I asked him how we can motivate young children to value real food and stay away from the processed food. He told me his own kids are always excited about organic and indigenous food workshops he keeps doing and this is one of the best ways to keep children and adults into the habit of eating real foods.

After my experience with the Amaranth farmers of the Uttarakhand Mountains I am always a bit skeptical about making indigenous foods fashionable (read super foods) for the urban populations. Hence my questions were more directed towards how we can bring back the ancient wisdom and yet make the wild and foraged foods sustainable. I could see Chef Clayton was also concerned about the same issues and said we should work on making sure someone or the other starts growing these foods on a larger scale or the foraging is done judiciously. 

Cultivating or harvesting the wild produce sustainably is possible only when the local communities value their own produce. They would make sure the native, indigenous foods are not lost to the market forces, once they know how important is to save natural habitats of such naturally available foods.

I asked him whether he believes in preserving and popularizing the indigenous and traditional recipes in their original form too. Chef told me he loves to give modern contemporary foods a touch of native cultures and flavours as capturing the imagination of the audience is as important as preserving the ancient wisdom. 

I agree. We need a multi pronged approach towards preserving the living wisdom we have in our indigenous cultures and everyone should be able to connect with it in whatever possible way, as long as sustainability is not compromised.

Chef Clayton has been working to preserve the indigenous culture in various ways. He is even working on a dictionary of indigenous languages. He loves enjoying the country life whenever possible and loves surfing and skateboarding in his native beach town. The several tattoos on his arms indicate his life events as he told, he wears a Chef’s apron with a tribal motif like a true mascot of indigenous cultures. 
an interview with Chef Clayton Donovan

Later at dinner time we enjoyed food prepared by The Park Hotel team. The herbs and spice rubs brought by Chef Clayton were used in simple yet flavorful ways. The Lamb with Native Mint rub, River Sole with Lemon Myrtle and Macadamia oil, Chicken breast with Australian bbq rub and Thyme were quite flavourful. Plum prawns sautéed with Mountain pepper and Anisata Myrtle was quite interesting. 

an interview with Chef Clayton Donovan

I was expecting a full fledged indigenous cuisine menu but having a glimpse of the native herbs was also a good experience.

Chef Clayton loves using the New Zealand spinach or Warrigal greens. The Mountain pepper is a leafy green that packs a punch. I got to smell and taste some of these herbs. I think it is a great idea to use the indigenous herbs in really innovative ways so that one gets the medicinal benefits too. 

Imagine if we start using our Wood Sorrel  as a rub for meats or to make a chutney how it will help us getting a beneficial herb right into our gardens. Wood Sorrel grows wild, doesn't need any resources to grow and can be a good alternative to exotic salad greens that we buy from the supermarket. Wood Sorrel is a good meat tenderizer and gives a slight tartness to the curries or grilled meats.  

Have you started looking for indigenous herbs in your backyard?



Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Rait the Spa at Suryagarh Jaisalmer | a completely rejuvenating wellness destination


I believe in making myself exhausted by the end of the day so the body prepares to sedate itself naturally. Working out and getting the muscles work is the best way to switch on the natural healing process of the body. When muscles are worked out and get exhausted the endocrine system releases Endorphins to relax the muscles and to put the mind to sleep and that is one of the most fascinating ways the body works to heal itself, relax and rejuvenate. The same happens when we walk long distances, trek or hike. We get tired and fall asleep easily.

In fact I could manage to kick away my own insomnia using this same quality of our own system. I believe our body can heal itself only if given a chance. Sometimes years of abuse or stress makes our body to resort to stress metabolism that eventually affects sleep patterns, body weight and even leads to depression if the cause of stress prolongs. Thankfully I could manage my health after a prolonged stressful time and that is why I believe our body gives us ample chance to fix our health issues if we listen to it.

Incidentally the stress hormones also give tell tale signs and Endorphins the healing hormones also make their presence felt in more ways than one.

By the way we can ‘awaken’ the Endorphins and Serotonins by moving our body, working out the muscles. The joyous feeling after a nice workout or a nice long walk isn’t just a feeling of achievement; it is the effect of the Endorphins and Serotonins that release after a good workout.

The same happens when the body gets a good massage too. A good masseur massages and kneads the muscles and deep connective tissues in such a way that it relaxes the muscles at multiple levels. A good massage for an hour or so helps release Endorphins too and makes one feel completely at ease, more energetic.


I shall tell you how my last spa experience was. We visited Suryagarh Jaisalmer last month and while the beautiful property is a delight to stay the spa treatments really make you feel rejuvenated. The spa is named as Rait, keeping with the theme of the Thar Desert. Rait the spa is like a jewel in the huge fortress that this property is.

Incidentally I wrote a long account of our stay at Suryagargh 2 weeks ago but some accidental happening deleted the article that had many beautiful pictures of the property too. I was really upset with the loss of a heartfelt blogpost for a while but I am writing it again. You will get to see how beautiful this place is and how they indulge you every moment of your stay there. 

Rait the Spa at Suryagarh Jaisalmer

Let me recount the spa experience first. The spa facility is located conveniently to one side of the central courtyard and Mr. Mahesh, the Spa Manager greets you with a gentle smile before analyzing your constitution and allergies, any inflamed spots etc.

Rait the Spa at Suryagarh Jaisalmer

I had a splitting headache that day because we were on the Thar Desert the whole day and it was a scorching hot sunny day. We enjoyed the Thar trail organized and conducted really well by Nakul Hada, got to see and experience this unique topography and landscape, hear the stories of the past. I will share about the Thar trail too.
For the spa treatment I was skeptical because of my headache and was thinking of cancelling my appointment, but then Mr Mahesh advised me to get a massage with oil infused with Frankincense and Myrhh along with the thermal salt treatment. I trusted him and went ahead to have a luxurious experience that left me energized and fresh.

The therapists at Rait the Spa cleanse the aura by Reiki after using IMRS device for cellular re-balancing, something I have known very little about but it worked on me apparently. There was no trace of headache after the first 10 minutes of massage and I actually went into sleep. 

Warm poultice made of salt and dipped with infused oil was used to massage the deeper tissues.

Rait the Spa at Suryagarh Jaisalmer

After a nice and deep tissue massage I was made to lie down on a salt bed, more salt was sprinkled generously all over the body and multiple layers of warm towels were wrapped above that. This made me feel comfortably coccooned in warming salt layers. It was really very soothing and I fell asleep once again, surrounded with soft light of the salt crystal lamps around me.

Rait the Spa at Suryagarh Jaisalmer

Some 30 minutes into this thermal salt bed and a sauna and warm bath later I felt spring in my steps when I came out  to sip on my green tea. Endorphins awakened, blood circulation enhanced and all my senses relaxed with the essential oil treatment. I never knew Frankincense and Myrhh could do this magic though I use it in my vaporizer sometimes.

Of course the hot salt poultice dipped in the infused oil and being worked along my spinal ganglia did a wonderful trick. The deft hands of the masseur finds the 'knots' as they call the painful spots and ease them out. Easing our my 'knots' was so therapeutic at the thermal salt spa that I am already craving for it again.

Rait the Spa at Suryagarh Jaisalmer

The salt for this treatment comes from the Looni river that flows through the Desert. This salt is considered therapeutic and I could feel that really well. Mr Mahesh told me they keep adding new treatments every year and keep redoing their massage rooms too. I just hope they retain this thermal salt treatment forever so whenever I go next I can have it once again. I know for sure that Rait the Spa will be one of the reasons whenever I go back to Suryagargh. 

If you plan your holidays just for spa treatments, this is the place for you trust me. Far from city life this beautiful fortress provides the ultimate relaxation for mind, body and soul. And you get great food to enjoy as well.