CHENNAI: Ten months of pregnancy followed by a painful labour can cause stress and strain on the womb. To recuperate from childbirth, physically and mentally, takes time. So, it is important to replenish the nutritional levels to quicken the process of recovery. And for this precise reason, our ancestors resorted to the traditional pathiya samayal post-delivery.
The diet eliminates consumption of spicy, acidic and fried foods by turning the spotlight on homegrown vegetables, fruits, spices and herbs that aid in secretion of breast milk and improve gut health. If you have never heard of pathiya samayal or do not live with elders who can help you with traditional delicacies, fret not.
City-based homechef Yogambal Sundar, who specialises in south Indian cuisine, guides us through food items that should and should not be included in a postpartum diet. “While a carefully curated prenatal diet is mandatory, a postnatal diet is equally important. A lot has changed from our times to yours. While your doctor or hospital may prescribe a specific diet for the first day, there are a few staples that are given to new mothers,” emphasises Yogambal.
Parboiled rice (puzhungal arisi): ½ cup
Ajwain: ¼ tsp
Milk: as required
Dried ginger powder: ½ tsp
Cardamom powder: ½ tsp
Brown sugar: as required
In a pan, saute parboiled rice and ajwain.
Grind it into a fine powder.
Add the powder in a bowl and add three cups of water to it.
Pressure-cook it for three whistles.
Add milk to dilute the consistency.
Add dry ginger, cardamom and brown sugar.
Mix well for two to three minutes and serve.
Note: Pathiya kanji tops the list when it comes to postpartum diet. It’s light on the stomach, easy to digest and cleanses the body. It’s given on the second day after delivery.
Kandathippili sticks (long pepper sticks): 4-5
Toor dal: 1 tsp
Coriander seeds: 1 tsp
Black pepper:1/2 tsp
Tamarind: Gooseberry size
Salt to taste
Cumin seeds:1/2 tsp
Asafoetida (hing): 1/2 tsp
Mustard: 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves: few
Red chilli: 1
Roast all the ingredients except those for tempering. Turn off the stove once the toor dal turns golden brown.
Let the roasted ingredients cool down and then grind it coarsely in a mortar.
For this rasam, we do not add tomatoes because it reduces the medicinal value.
Meanwhile, boil one cup of tamarind juice with required salt and a pinch of turmeric. Boil for five minutes. The quantity will get reduced.
Add the roasted mixture to the boiling juice and let it boil for two minutes.
While it’s boiling, add exactly one cup of water to the juice. Let it boil further.
When you see froth-like formation, turn off the stove. For tempering, use the above mentioned ingredients. Add the tempering to the juice and close the vessel with a lid.
The rasam is ready for consumption.
Note: Kandathippili rasam helps to cure cold, soothes cough and also helps with digestive and stomach troubles. It also boosts immunity.
Vepampoo (neem flower): 100 g, dry
Dry ginger (1 inch size): 3 pieces
Sittharathai (Lesser galangal): 1 inch stick
Sundakkai (Turkey berry): 1 tbsp
Manathakkali Kai Vathal (Black nightshade berries): 1 tbsp
Black pepper: 1.5 tbsp
Toor dal: 1 tbsp
Jeera: 1 tbsp Pirangai katti: 2 Turkey berry size (In case, it’s not available, add one tsp of asafoetida powder)
A few curry leaves
Add all the ingredients to a pan and dryroast them till you get the aroma of the ingredients.
Let the mixture cool down and then add rock salt as per your requirement and grind it in the mortar.
Take a big sieve and add this powdered mixture so that the big molecules are not found in the final product of the podi.
You can also fine-grind this mixture to ensure you don’t lose out on any of the ingredients in the sieve.
This is to be served by adding the mixture to hot rice accompanied by 2-3 tsp of ghee.
Note: Angaya podi is nutritious with immense medicinal value. It relieves stomach upset, cures indigestion and vomiting, loss of appetite and so on.
Black cumin: 2 tbsp
Yaela arisi: 2 tbsp
Palm jaggery: 200 g
Coriander seeds: 2 tbsp
Pepper: 2 tbsp
Turmeric: 1 piece
galangal): 2 pieces
Kandathippili and Arisithipilli (long pepper): 5 to 6
Dry ginger: 2 inch
Ajwain: 2 tbsp
Cumin seed: 2 tbsp
Ginger: 100 g
Ghee: 2 tbsp
Sesame oil: ¼ cup
Extract juice out of ginger and keep separately.
Grind coriander seeds, pepper, sitharathai, turmeric, kandathippili, arisithippili, ajwain and dry ginger. Keep it aside.
Add the ginger extract to the powder and mix.
Boil water in a vessel.
Add palm jaggery to it. Boil and then filter.
Now, add the mixture to palm jaggery.
Add sesame oil to the mix. Keep stirring until ghee and oil separate from the mixture.
Note: This is a good immunebooster. In the good-old days, this was given before every meal. It also helps heal the wound in the mother’s stomach. It cures heartburn, improves appetite and digestion. It should be taken for three months after delivery.
Black urad dal kali
Black urad dal with skin: 200 g
Palm jaggery: 200 g
Gingelly oil: 100 ml
Ghee: 2 tbsp
Cardamom for aroma
Dry ginger: 1 tsp
Heat a pan and dry-roast urad dal until it exudes an aroma.
Add two tablespoons of washed raw rice and dry-roast until it decolourises.
Grind the two into a coarse mixture.
Add palm jaggery in a kadai, wash and filter it.
Add water to the ground mixture and make it into a paste.
In another pan, add this paste mix to boiling water and mix till a thick consistency
Add jaggery, cardamom, ghee and dry ginger to complete the process.
Note: It’s traditionally eaten with jaggery and gingelly oil. This dish is considered to be a storehouse of proteins. Urad dal is known for its rich fibre content and hence, enhances digestion and is helpful in
reducing cholesterol. This kali is given to girls, who reach puberty, and also during pregnancy to strengthen bones and muscles. It also nourishes the pelvic muscles.
Amla (Nellikai/ Indian gooseberry): 8-10
Green chili: 2
Ginger: ½ tsp, finely chopped
Gingelly oil (sesame oil): 4 tbsp
Mustard: ½ tsp
Urad dal: 1 tsp
Chana dal: 1 tsp
Groundnut: as required
Curry leaves: A few
Turmeric powder: ½ tsp
Asafoetida: ½ tsp
Red chilli: 2
Salt: to taste
Grate nellikkai in a medium-sized grater. Ensure that it isn’t too fine.
In a vessel, add all the ingredients except grated gooseberry.
Once all the ingredients are well-roasted in oil, add the grated gooseberry and required salt.
Sauté the mix for five minutes and add rice. Mix them all together.
You can have this rice with chips, appalam or vadam.
Note: Indian gooseberry is well-known for its health benefits and is proved to be one of the best immune boosters. It is high in vitamin C and a great source of antioxidants. It helps control diabetes, heart diseases and protects us from cancer. Due to its high antioxidants, it slows down ageing.