Navadarshanam's Unpolished Rice Idli Mix

and a memorial for Jyoti Ananthu

I came to Bangalore in 2005, on the train I mentioned the relocation to a co-passenger. The lady traveling with me was my age and did not have a reservation. She had roamed the coach all night. I let her share my berth though it is risky doing that with a stranger. I was convinced she was from a good family. As we talked we found a common interest in traveling. She handed out to me a pamphlet where she had visited as a newly wed. The info on the pamphlet was impressive. I had decided that once settled down I would go to the place to relax. That was my introduction to Navadarshanam.

A month later I took some family friends with me and went to Navadarshanam for the first time. The drive was long and through hamlets where time stands still. The surrounding area looked barren while there was this young forest in the middle. Some houses could be spotted in that land from far. My family friends who are Bangalore bred were not really impressed but for me a Mumbai bred this was a promising sight.

While co-ordinating the trip I had spoken to Ananthuji but on reaching Navadarshanam and meeting him and his wife Jyotiji I instantly felt at home. As we got talking she was thrilled to speak Marathi with me, she was born and brought up in Mumbai!

Navadarshanam is an eco-aware community set up by a group of old time IITians. They experiment here on alternative way of life and how one can live with a minimum carbon footprint. Read the ND story here.

One must visit Navadarshanam if you love nature and its ways but if you are looking for a landscaped resort then this is just not for you. There is beauty in the wild and the miracles in nature that grab your attention.

In the last 4 yrs that I have been visiting Navadarshanam Jyotiji became Jyoti Aunty for me. The smiling face, a beauty with the inner serenity reflecting on her face. I always loved to give her a hug when I visited and this time missed her a lot. This post is in her memory. It is a year today since she left for a greater journey. There was a memorial held today for her in Mumbai and Ananthuji mentioned that it was attended by about 100 people. All of those who loved her and Navadarshanam.


One new years eve we went to Navadarshanam and Lata the cook was on a maternity break so I was helping Jyoti aunty in the kitchen. I offered to make the cabbage bhaaji. as I was pouring oil for the seasoning she said "Pure pure (enough in Marathi)...Navadarshanam way of cooking uses minimal oil!". That has become my way too now!

Navadarshanam has always encouraged healthier eating and I love these Navadarshanam's idlis made of unpolished red rice. It is one thing you must not miss when you visit there. This time too I came back with 2 packets of the ready mix.

The unpolished rice idlis are reddish in color. Since this batter is fermented for long hours it gets a sweet yeasty smell which I love only in these idlis. They are slightly less soft than white rice idlis if you make them as instructed on the pack. However what I do to get softer idlis is, after mixing water, grind it for 5 mins. Then leave it for fermentation for 12 hrs or 24 hrs depending on the weather. These high nutrition idlis are for people determined to change the way they eat.

On friday I made these idli's for dinner. There were some leftovers which I converted in the morning to this.


leftover idlis
mustard seeds
Chutney pudi
Curry leaves

I have not given any proportions here as it is a free to fit recipe for your taste and preferences. Heat the ghee. Splutter mustard seeds and crushed curry leaves. Fry the idlis in the seasonings. Sprinkle chutney pudi. Enjoy!

It is amazing how life comes full circle. My background is in Environmental and Pollution control technology but I quit the field due to health reasons and also because I was working for companies that were compromising on their Environmental goals. I chose to move on to IT after getting certified in a fancy thing which anyways I am not using now. Then came this opportunity to be a volunteer for my organization's Environmental initiative. I feel less guilty now of quitting the Environmental field. Some weeks ago I took along a group of like minds to Navadarshanam. So here I am sharing the pictures from the trip.

Looking forward to many more...

All material on this blog is Copyright © 2006, 2007 to Anna Parabrahma

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