Sakthi Kitchen

Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin.

Tin resists corrosion from water, but can be attacked by acids and alkalis. Tin can be highly polished and is used as a protective coat for other metals.[6] A protective oxide (passivation) layer prevents further oxidation, the same that forms on pewter and other tin alloys.

The tin has been added to inhibit dezincification (the leaching of zinc from brass alloys) in many environments. This group has low sensitivity to dezincification, moderate strength, high atmospheric and aqueous corrosion resistance and excellent electrical conductivity. They possess good hot forgeability and good cold formability. 


Bell metal of Mannar

A unique metal which is a harmonious blend of tin and copper, bell metal reflects the elegance of a craft, the tradition of which dates back to several centuries. Typified by its sonorous quality when struck, bell metal provides a fine medium for the craftsmen to cast both religious artifacts as well as domestic utensils.

Mannar, a small town by the side of Pampa River between Mavelikkara and Thiruvalla in Alappuzha district of Kerala state, is well known for its association with bell metal. Mannar has been in the mercantile maps of Kerala for quite a long time. Take a stroll through the comforting constrains of this Bell metal town and soon you will observe all your attention being absorbed by the gleam of bell metal utensils.

Crowded with an assortment of traditional alas or forges Mannar has been engaged in this business for centuries. The artisans of these alas produce an array of bell metal products that include household utensils like Uruli (a wide mouthed vessel), Nilavilakku(a wick lamp), Kindi (a spouted pitcher) and idols of Hindu Gods like Lord Shiva, Lord Krishna and Goddess Lakshmi. These elegant artifices over the years have crossed the Arabian Sea to spread the fame of this small town and to capture a range of markets in different parts of the world.

Bellmetal is an alloy of Copper and Tin. It is a variety of Bronze(copper-tin alloy) with 78%-22% copper-tin combination. It is used for making bells as the particular combination gives strength and not easily giving for abrasions. This combination gives a particular 'clang' sound clear and distinct and reverberating, so it is used for bells.
The other variety of bronze is the white bell metal which has still more percentage of Tin in it. Vessels made of bell metal (or 'Vengalam' or Vellodu in Malayalam) were and still to some extent commonly used for cooking items like Payasam(Kheer) or boiling milk in temples and other big social functions in Kerala. They are less corrosive and less prone to abrasions in comparison to brass and copper vessels. While brass vessels and copper vessel become corroded and get the 'verdigris', bell metal or white bell metal vessels are not prone to catch verdigris*. They are commonly used in temples and homes for puja purposes and also cooking, and for making Ayurvedic medicines which need long time heating and boiling.
*(verdigris is the dark green or bluish green colour formation on the surface of brass and copper vessels exposed to air and humidity.)

As knowledge about metal and alloys are known to humans, even bell metal is produced in other countries, and in many places in our own country. However craftsmanship, unique methods of making and polishing etc make each one famous in its own way. For example in Kerala places like Nadavarambu, Mannar etc are more known as there are certain traditional families who have the expertise coming from many generations.

Bronze/bell metal is used for making cannons due to the strength and less corrosiveness it offers. 
Variation in combinations, different shape, thickness or hollow all can affect the sound coming from a metallic product.



Ananthoo - good on bring mud back



rajiv says:

Sir, good to see ayurvedic doctors advocating organic food. Also we must avoid processed food stuffs like ‘table salt’, ‘white sugar’, ‘white polished rice/maida’, ‘refined oil’. Better to stick with raw sea salt, Jaggery powder and full rice and full wheat atta, cold-pressed oil. Ayurvedic doctors must also advocate healthy cooking utensils. Nowadays all our traditional cooking utensils have disappeared and replaced with toxic Stainless Steel, Aluminium, and newer vessels from the west have even more toxic coatings like Teflon,etc.

Even most of the Ayurvedic medicines today are cooked in stainless steel vessel. Depending of the grade of stainless steel, it contains alloyed amounts of Chromium and Nickel with Iron. Chromium and Nickel both are very toxic. While Stainless steel is a wonderful metal for industrial applications it should be kept away from the kitchen or even if used in kitchen it should be coated with a layer of tin like traditional vessels.

Our traditional vessels for cooking food consisted of
1) Pure Copper vessel: Used to boil and store water. Even today most temples store water in copper vessel only. Copper is also one of the best conductors of heat and hence water boiled in copper vessel has a very pleasant taste, unlike water boiled in Stainless Steel vessel. Copper though can’t be used for cooking food as the metal corrodes when it comes in contact with food.

2) Bell Metal or Bronze: Most famous is ‘uruli/vaarpu’ cooking vessel from Kerala. Besides Kerala, Assam, Odisha also famous for traditional Bell meal. Tamil Nadu also famous nowadays for making brass/bronze Pongal vessel. Bell Metal is made from mainly Copper and with alloying of Zinc+Tin and maybe small amounts of lead+mercury(not sure about composition as the bell-metal makers usually keep composition a secret. Besides the metals certain barks also used in metal making). Of course Lead+Mercury when alloyed with Copper in very small amounts generally not toxic.
Bell metal ideally suited for making semi-dry items in water-based cooking/steaming like Pongal/Khichdi/Upma/Idly. Also ideal for making Ayurvedic Lehyas like Chyawanaprasha.
Bell Metal can also be used for frying. I’ve seen traditional Bell-Metal frying vessels from Andhra Pradesh.

3) Tin: Usually Tin-coated brass vessels used for water based cooking i.e making soups like rasam/dal/sambar, also used for ayurvedic preparations like Kashayam/Arishtam,etc. Tinning called ‘Kalai’ in north India. Chemically Tin much more inert compared to bell-metal and does not corrode at all. But Tin has a very low melting point hence water should always be in contact with Tin, else the metal coating will melt away. Can be used only for making soups, cannot be used for dry/semi-dry cooking or cooking with oil/frying, etc.

4) Cast Iron: Ideal for cooking with oil(frying), and cooking with ghee. Cast Iron also ideal for for roasting/dry cooking like making Dosa,Chapati. I assume Taila and Ghrita most ideally should be made in cast iron vessel. Also Cast Iron(Loha) is not Stainless Steel!! even though both contain Iron. Cast Iron and Stainless Steel exhibit quite different medicinal and thermal properties!!

5) Clay: For those poor people who cannot afford Bell-metal/Brass due to due high cost of Copper and Tin, can use clay cooking pots. Clay also good for storing water just like Copper.

6) Besides the above metals and clay, certain special stone vessels also used for cooking, but I don’t have much idea about those.

Vessels for storing and serving food:
1) Glass is the cheapest and one of the best materials for storing and serving food.
2) China-ware or Traditional Chinese ceramics. Very good for storing/serving food but costly!!
3) Bell-Metal vessels very good for storing/serving food.
4) Tin coated brass vessels also very good for storing/serving food.
5) Clay also good for storing/serving food.

Plastics/Stainless Steel generally to be avoided for serving/storing food. Stainless Steel could be used for storing/serving food when coated with a layer of Tin.

Besides cooking vessels even using cosmetics like soap,shaving cream,shampoo,etc can be injurious to health. It is better to bath using only sesame oil + bath powder like Shikakai or Gram flour.

So using traditional cooking vessels along with avoiding cosmetics like soap for bath and using oil+shikakai for bath can go a long way in curbing modern diseases like cancer and other modern diseases. Since Ayurveda isn’t mere herbalism/ mineral medicines but is also a way of life, such important aspects like bathing cosmetics, toxic cooking vessels cannot be ignored when trying to cure lifestyle diseases.

Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

Thanks for insightful inputs.

Forgot to add that washing vessels is preferably to be done with soapnut powders like shikakai and reetha only. Synthetic dishwashing liquid/bars/powders are to be avoided as they leave a residue in the vessels which can enter into the food being cooked.

Also forgot to add that cast iron vessels should not be used for water based cooking of soups like dal,sambar,rasam, as Water and Iron are incompatible. Also Iron rusts when it comes in contact with water. Cast iron vessels should only be used for making chapati,dosa. And for stir frying vegetables. Deep frying using oil. And also ghee based cooking.

For cleaning cast Iron vessels, after cleaning with shikakai powder, the iron vessel should be heated in a stove till all the water evaporates, as keeping the iron vessel inside with moisture, it may rust.


Vegan Recipes


Sakthi's Chutney Recipes

These chutneys go with rice, tortilla, chapattis, and pastas or noodles 

Orange Peel Chutney


Orange peel Half of an orange Coconut ½
Flavor mix 2 Spoon Tamarind 1 Piece
Ginger 1 Piece Mint leaves 4 Leaves
Coriander leaves Handful Salt ½ Tea Spoon


orangepeelAdd the ingredients in a blender with half a cup water and grind to a paste .

This can be had as a side dish for rice or pancakes. This tastes good when spread over bread and eaten.

Preparation time: 7 minutes.

Benefits: Excellent for varicose veins and cancers. The peel is rich in rutin that is good for strengthening the blood capillaries. The anti-oxidants rich peels are found to inhibit the growth of cancer in experiments mice by a study conducted by National Institute of Health (NIH).

Orange, Tangerine Peels Could Be Better Than Drugs For Lowering Cholesterol. A compound found in the peels of citrus fruit has the potential to lower cholesterol more effectively than some prescription drugs, and without side effects, according to a study by U.S. and Canadian researchers.

    A joint study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and KGK Synergize, a Canadian nutraceutical company, identified a class of compounds isolated from orange and tangerine peels that shows promise in animal studies as a potent, natural alternative for lowering LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), without the possible side effects, such as liver disease and muscle weakness, of conventional cholesterol-lowering drugs. It also offers other  health benefits, including protection against cancer, heart disease and inflammation. All benefits were increased when this was given with foods rich in vitamin E.

Oranges rich in vitamin C offer another important yet lesser-known nutritional bonus: citrus limonoids. In laboratory tests with animals and with human cells, citrus limonoids have been shown to help fight cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon.
 In other early work, Manners and colleagues found that limonin may lower cholesterol. The researchers showed that, when exposed to limonin, human liver cells in petri dishes produced less apo B, a compound associated with higher cholesterol levels.

Citrus Shows Promise For Certain Childhood Cancer. Research by Texas Agriculture Experiment Station scientists has shown that citrus compounds called limonoids targeted and stopped neuroblastoma cells in the lab. 
"Limonoids are unique to citrus," Patil said. "They are not present in any other fruits or vegetables. My goal is to find the direct benefits of citrus on human health. "Neuroblastomas account for about 10 percent of all cancer in children, Harris said, and is usually a solid tumor in the neck, chest, spinal cord or adrenal gland. The finding in citrus is promising not only for its potential to arrest cancer, but because limonoids induce no side affects, December 1, 2004

Celery Onion Chutney


Celery leaves 1 Cup Urad dal 2 Tablespoon
Green chili 1 Olive oil 2 Teaspoon
Salt 1 Teaspoon Water 1 Tablespoon
Onion chopped ½ Cup Grated ginger ½ Teaspoon
Tamarind or lime juice 1 Teaspoon    


Heat oil in a pan and sauté urad dal for two minutes till light brown in color. Blend this with green chili, chopped onions, grated ginger, tamarind or lime juice and salt in a blender to form a thick paste by adding required water.

Serve with rice, bread, chapatti, pasta.

Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Benefits:  The anti-oxidants rich onions and celery inhibit the growth of cancer and so very good for curing and preventing cancer.

Curry Leaves Chutney


curry leaves 1 Bunch Coconut grated ½ Cup
Lemon juice 1 Tablespoon Flavor mix 1 Teaspoon
Ginger grated 1 Teaspoon Garlic minced 1 Pod
Salt ½ Teaspoon    



Fry lightly grated coconut scraping in oil, with grated ginger and garlic and flavor mix and salt to taste. Put in a blender with the leaves and lemon juice and grind into a paste using sufficient water and serve.

Serve with rice, bread, tortillas.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Benefits:  Curry leaves are very good for the bones. For any bone problems the medicinal value of this chutney enhances by adding one teaspoon of fenugreek powder and one teaspoon of turmeric powder.

Coriander  Chutney


Coriander leaves 1 Cup Urad dal 2 Tablespoon
Green chili 1 Olive oil 2 Teaspoon
Salt 1 Teaspoon Water 1 Tablespoon


Heat oil in a pan and sauté urad dal for two minutes till light brown in color. Grind corainder leaves, heated urad dal, green chilies along with salt and water in a blender to form a thick paste.


Corainder chutney can also be prepared by adding chopped onions - 2 teaspoon, grated ginger - ½ teaspoon, lime juice or tamarind juice - 1 teaspoon along with the above ingredients and grind all the ingredients together.

Serve with rice, bread, chapatti, pasta.

Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Benefits:  Coriander leaves are very good for heavy metals detoxification. Several studies shows that eating fresh coriander leaves increase the excretion of  heavy metals in urine. 


Deepavali Legiyam

  Deepavali festival is not only sparkling of lights, but also tickles and sparkles the taste buds with a plethora of food varieties. Nonetheless, after a marathon session of hand-to-mouth activity, it is heavy work fo stomach, pancreas and the liver to digest and transform them into energy in the body.

   Sweets, fried food, junk food, crunchy tit-bits  brought in by neighbors, family, friends and business associates results in a global malady that occurs on these five days of festivity.

The ancients had an answer to this collective indigestion. There is a unique tradition in many South Indian homes that is part of the early morning festivities of
Deepavali. A little dollop of a black lehiyam or chooran is given to the family members immediately after the ritual oil bath. Then the sweets and savouries are given to start of the celebrations. This lehiyam is also called marundu or medicine. It is not really like the western concept of pills and potions. It is a tasty mixture of herbs and spices cooked in ghee and jaggery/vellam/gur and consumed during the festivals.

How - Medicinal?:
 The herbs are rich in anti-oxidants neutralizing the heavy oxidative sugary components of the sweets and the fried oil toxic compounds. The toxic garbage of chemicals needs to be thrown out of the body. These herbal ingredients help in the detoxification process.

Consuming sweets the immune system gets down for four to six hours. It causes damage to blood cells. The phyto-nutrients of these herbs prevent this damage and
boosts the immune system. What deep insight of our ancestors.

The original recipe for this marundu can be quite elaborate and incomprehensible.
Each family has its own version.

This medicine is also given to women who have delivered babies as
after delivery care.

Recipe 1:


Alpina calcarata (siddharathai)- 10g          Kandathippili (long Pepper) -10g
Omam (
Alpina calcarata seeds) -100g
Nutmeg-half .                                       Lavangapattai (cinnamon)-- 2 gms
kasakasa (poppy seeds) -- one spoon      Sombu (aniseeds) -- 2gms.
Krambu (clove) --. 2peices                     Licorice-Vasambu -- 2 pieces.
Pepper -- 50 grams.                             Cumin seeds (Jeera) --2 gms.
Inji (ginger) -- -10g                             Sathukudi (orange) -- 1(juice).
Ghee -- 100gm.                                  Gingily oil (sesame oil) -- 4 tsp.
Honey -- 1 ladle full.                            Vellam (Jaggery) -- 250 Gms.
cardomom - 5g

Siththarathai -
Alpina calcarata (galangal) is also known as rasna in Sanskrit, kulainjan in Hindi and chittaratha in Malayalam. indigenous system of medicine for relieving throat inflammation, stimulating digestion, purifying blood, improving voice and marinating youthful vigour. Alpinia Calcarata rose, a family of medicinal ginger used for stomach disorders. The two bis-labdanic diterpenoids showed cytotoxic activity against human KB cells in vitro.


Pound the hard ingredients like sukku and dry them in the sun with the other items. Heat the pan and fry the items one by one to golden brown and keep aside. Grind them to powder in a Mixie (blender)and sieve the flour. Store the flour in an air tight container.
 Wash the Ginger nicely, grind it using one ladle of water and make juice out of it. Make juice out of the Orange and filter it. Pour both the Ginger juice and Orange juice into the pan. Powder the jaggery and add it to the juice mixture. Heat the mixture. Do not add water.
 Once the jaggery dissolves, filter it to remove the dirt. Wash the pan, pour the mixture again and boil it for 2 minutes.  Then add the prepared flour slowly and when it becomes like a gravy, stop adding the flour. Add Ghee and sesame oil. Cook on a medium flame.
 Touch and see, if non-sticky remove from fire and add honey. Stir well. Cool the mixture. Store in a bottle or a container. The remaining flour can be used if and when needed.
 Note: This Legiyam can be given to women after delivery (

Recipe 2- Deepavali Legiyam
This marundu is also given to women who have delivered babies with the addition of garlic.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Makes 1 - 2 cups of legiyam

½ cup pepper
¼ cup coriander seeds (dhania)
1 tbsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1 tbsp thyme seeds (ajwain)
A one-rupee coin sized piece of dry ginger
10 cardamoms (elaichi)
10 cloves (lavang)
½ cup ghee
2 - 2 ½ tbsp of honey
Around 1 ½ - 2 cups of powdered jaggery (depends on the quantity of paste obtained)


1. Soak all the ingredients (except honey, ghee and jaggery) in hot water for half an hour or till they are soft.
2. Drain the water and grind the soaked ingredients in a mixer-grinder using required amount of the same water in which they were soaked, to make a thick smooth paste. Measure this ground paste.
3. The amount of jaggery to be used can be 1 ½ to 2 times the amount of paste obtained, according to your taste. That is, if you get 1 portion of ground paste, you can use 1 ½ - 2 portions of powdered jaggery.
4. In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat required water. Add the powdered jaggery and continue heating till it dissolves completely. Filter the jaggery water to remove any impurities.
5. Add the ground paste to the jaggery water. Add more water if required to obtain a gravy-like consistency. (For the raw smell to go, the paste should cook for some time before it becomes semi-solid. So make sure you add enough water and start with a gravy/ sambhar-like consistency).
6. Then keep it on the stove and continue heating, stirring constantly. The final consistency of the legiyam after cooling should be like chyawanprash, but remember that the legiyam will definitely thicken a little on cooling. So, continue heating only till the paste cooks well, the raw smell goes and the mixture comes to a semi-solid (like idly batter) consistency.
7. Then, add the ghee and mix well. Now, when the legiyam curls and leaves the sides of the vessel, remove from fire, add honey and mix well.
8. Allow to cool. The legiyam will solidify. Then, store in an air-tight container.
This can be kept for close to a year, till next Diwali essentially!

Recipe 3:

To make 250 grms of the lehiyam:
Peppercorn              2 Tsps            Cumin seeds Jeera             21/2 tsps     
Coriander seeds        2 1/2 tsps       Bishop weed seeds/Ajwain   25 grms/3tbsps
Dry or fresh ginger  30 gm              Cardamom                         1gm/2 to 3            Nutmeg or jaadhikkai  ½   piece      Ghee or clarified butter  100gms                        KandaThipli (Desavaram Pipala mool)   10 to 12 sticks      
Crumbled Jaggery (equal to the amount of ground paste) 50 grms                      

1. Smash all the dry and medicinal ingredients in a mortar and pestle.
2. Pour some water and soak them for about 10 - 15 minutes
3. Grind into a soft paste in a blender.
4. Add 1/2 cup water and thoroughly mix up the paste and place in a heavy bottomed wok or vessel
5. Cook it on a slow flame, stirring it all the time with a flat ladle so that no lumps are formed.
6. When the water is nearly evaporated add the crumbled jaggery and stir it in.
7. Add spoonfuls of ghee and keep stirring.
8. When the lehiyam comes together in a ball and the ghee is separated from it, turn
off the heat.
9. Stir in the honey and store in an airtight container.
10. Take one spoon of lehiyam on Deepavali after taking bath and before you eat anything else.

PS: This lehiyam can also be made using readymade powders that are available in many local medicine shops. Mix the powder with two times the water and cook in a heavy bottom vessel. Add jaggery and ghee until the lehiyam comes together and the ghee is separated.

     Sakthi Lunch -3

Few model recipes with beans.

Green Gram and Spinach

(Green gram is whole mung dal, which is green in color)


  • Spinach chopped            3 cups                          

  • Dal                               1 cup

  • Turmeric powder            ½ teaspoon                  

  • Tomato                         1                     

  • Ginger grated                 1 teaspoon                    

  • Onion                            chopped   2    

  • Green chilli                     3                                    

  • Coconut oil                    1 teaspoon     

  • Water                           3 cups                           

  • Salt                              1 teaspoon     

  • Masala powder                ¼ teaspoon


Wash and soak green gram dal for a while (soaking minimum overnight is good. However if soaked for long time two days, it will be sprouted, which is more good). Cook spinach. Fry sliced onion, ginger, chopped in oil for few minutes. Add turmeric powder and salt and chili powder and add sliced tomato and sizzle for few minutes and then add the dal. Add cooked spinach to it. Stir well add water and boil well to cook the dal. Add masala powder and stir well and serve.

Serve with rice, pasta, chapathi (roti).

Preparation time: 20 minutes.

Medicinal benefit: Green mung bean is highly praised by Ayurveda  among all other bean varieties. After several thousands of years modern science has understood that mung bean has high amounts of an enzyme called super-oxide dis-mutase. This enzyme is an important antioxidant defense in nearly all cells exposed to oxygen. SOD greatly reduces the ambient level of the dangerous superoxide radical.

        The presence of SOD has been shown to help protect many types of cells from the free radical damage which otherwise causes aging, and ischemic tissue damage. SOD also helps protect cells from DNA damage, lipid peroxidation, ionizing radiation damage, protein denaturation, and many other forms of progressive cell degradation.

      Mung has always been used as the best cosmetic to prevent ageing due to these reasons. Internally also when eaten it gives good benefits. Sprouted green mung is rich in vitamin C and folic acid.

        In Traditional Chinese Medicine the liver (Wood Element) governs the nerves, and the nerve inflammations of Multiple Sclerosis respond to anti-inflammatory and yin-building foods and herbs. Among the most beneficial yin tonics for MS are: leafy green vegetables, mung beans and mung sprouts, millet.

Mung Bean helps to neutralise acids. Mung bean is a highly nutritious protein food, which promotes healthy blood cells. Traditionally used for inflammatory conditions. Also helps to eliminate toxins.* Promotes good liver and gallbladder health.

Cauliflower recipe


Beet Root red gram (channa) curry


  • Beet-Root  chopped              1 cup                             

  • Red gram                            1 cup

  • Red chilies                           2                                    

  • Salt                                   1 teaspoon                    

  • Curry leaves chopped            1 teaspoon                     

  • Water                                 2 cups

    • Sesame oil                           2 teaspoon                         

  • Flavor mix                            1 teaspoon

  • Coriander leaves chopped       1 teaspoon                

  • Turmeric powder                  ½ teaspoon

  • Coconut grated                     ½ cup


Steam cook the beet-root and red gram in a pressure cooker or in a container with water. Heat  oil in  a pan and add  flavor mix to it. After two minutes add  red chilies chopped and grated coconut and stir well. Then add turmeric powder and  cooked beet-root and red gram and salt  to it. Mix well and remove from fire.  Garnish with chopped curry  and coriander leaves.

Serve with rice, bread, pasta, tortillas.

Preparation time: 15 minutes.

Tofu-mushroom curry

  • Tofu - one pack                           

  •   garlic one clove

  • Ginger one piece                           

  • mushroom one pack ( ten small sized)

  • Black pepper corns  5 to 6                

  • olive oil one tablespoonful

  • Turmeric powder one spoon

 Saute  washed mushroom with olive oil and once cooked add tofu in it and sort for two minutes. Grind ginger garlic, pepper and salt in a blender and add to the tofu mushroom mix. Add a teaspoon of turmeric powder and serve hot.

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