To market, to market....

Gluten free grains and flours in India

More and more people the world over suffer from some kind of gluten intolerance. It is worth listing the large variety of gluten free grains and foods available so abundantly in India .

Widely used during fasts, these grains are becoming a regular source of nutrients often substituting for wheat in the daily diet.

Gluten free grains and flours in India with local names

- Rice (all forms, even glutinous),( chawal , tandul) Common Indian foods with rice - khichadi, biryani, dosa, idli, NOT RAwa Idli,

- Corn/maize, Makka, flour made with corn  Makki ka atta

- Potato, Alu

- Soy

- Tapioca/cassava, Ratalu

- Arrowroot, Araru, Araruta

- Sago – Sabudana, Indian food sabudana khichadi and vada

- Lentil/pea (besan, urid, gram flour) Besan pancakes, chila, pakodas made in besan batter

- Amaranth- Rajgira,  Amaranth flour- Rajgira atta,

- Sorghum- Jowar, Sorghum flour- Jowar Atta

- Millet – Millet Flour ( bajri)

-Foxtail Millet, ( Kangni, Korra)

-Pearl millet, (Bajra)

- Finger Millet, ( Mandua, Ragi or Nachni),

-Kodo Millet, (Kodra, Varagu)

-Little MIllet, (KutkiSamai)

-Proso Millet ( Barri, Varigulu,Baragu

- Barnyard Millet ( Jhangora,Baghar , Vari cha tandul)

Strawberry Fair 2012



Do you associate strawberries with India? I think of Wimbledon, the Beatles (remember Strawberry Fields Forever ? ), Strawberry Woman- from the musical Porgy and Bess,  all in all not very Indian connections. It a bit of a shock this year to find every corner stand on the roads throughout Pune covered with mounds of huge strawberries for sale.


Maharashtra is slowly becoming the strawberry centre of the sub continent. The temperate climate of Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani has always been ideal for strawberry  cultivation and now areas under this crop have extended to other areas of Satara like Koregaon, Patan and Jawali as well as around Pune and Nasik.

There is an active Strawberry Growers Association and they have been instrumental in organising a STRAWBERRY FAIR in Pune this weekend.

Unfortunately the fair isnt exactly what you would expect! There were exactly 2

farmers as against the 300 promised . Two pathetic varieties were available between

which the "farmers" could not distinguish. There were about 50 packets of strawberries

on sale at a rate higher than one can get in the market.

It was all very disappointing indeed.

None of the many varietes now growing in India were on show.

Neither the   Californian  Solana, Torrey and Toiga  nor the Olympus,
 Hood & Shuksan which have a good red colour and
 are excellent for ice cream making and jams,
least of all the  Beauty, Cardinal, Midway, Midland and
 Redchief varieties which are good for processing into juices.
Other kinds which would have been nice to see and taste
 are the Srinagar or Bangalore varieties
 (developed in India) and the ones that do
well in hilly areas like Royal Sovereign and Dilpasand.
Oh well the report was just another bit of PR for an
organisation badly run and probably wasting the
 money of its members.


Fishy Secret- The Best Seafood in Pune


This Sunday at the crack of dawn we were out and about. A short drive through the uncharacteristically  deserted lanes of the old city and then, turning the corner to Laxmi Road, we were in mayhem.Trucks line up on the side of the narrow roads , each spewing out blue, heavy duty crates, full to the brim with fish on ice. We follow the line of people, each with a bag under the arm) in a winding slushy tramp through a filthy street.The crowd goes from a trickle to a riot in the space of 200 yards and we can barely enter the gates where three wheelers, porters, vendors and buyers all jostle for space.

If we didnt know it before we know it now...the appropriateness of the term- fish market.


This teeming crowd, shouting, yelling, ankle deep in mud and slime, smells of the sea, of garbage and sweat ,all mingling in the excitement of making a large bargain before the sun rises.


This is the wholesale market for fish  placed in the very heart of Pune, behind Alpana Cinema,at Dulya Maruti Chowk in Ganesh Peth, where shark and prawns, eels and bombli and a host of other fish lie gleaming in the early morning light .


This is where fishmongers from the rest of the city come to pick up their catch of the day to resell at substantial profit to seafood lovers all across town.Buyers for five star hotels and local restaurant alike.


We picked up two kilos of the very best large prawns after ascertaining the market price. It is at least 50% less than what I would pay at my local fishmonger.

Delighted with my haul I squeeze my way through the crowd in the general direction of the guys who clean and prepare your fish. They charge Rs 20 a kilo and its well worth it. Nobody there today and so I look forward to a morning of shelling and deveining prawns . Hmm...not so wonderful.

But the end result ,Kerala prawn curry with freshly ground pepper and just squeezed coconut milk, piled on plates and polished off by our guests was well worth it . Wonderfully fresh with a bite and sooo much better than the tasteless stuff that sells as "Prawns" in our fanciest supermarket's frozen food section !