Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Sutkeri ko Ausedhi or Masalaa - सुत्केरी को औसधि - सुत्केरी को मसला

Delicious ground nuts, seeds, dried fruits and edible- gum-based medicinal sweet confectionery prepared especially for lactating mothers


Enjoy the sample of sutkeri ko ausadhi and have a complete Nepali experience!
Dear reader of Taste of Nepal blog -  I would like to thank you for your interest in my blog and hope you will enjoy the new topic of this month: Sutkeri ko Ausadhi (सुत्केरी को औषधि)

 Sutkeri ko Ausedhi  is a nutritious, delicious, and sweet medicinal confectionery that has been prepared in Nepal for centuries. "Sutkeri" is a Nepali term used to describe a mother after giving birth to a baby.   The "ausedhi" refers to specially prepared medicine.  According to ancient customs, new mothers are given the sutkeri ko ausedhi along with other nutritious foods after child birth. It is ultimate health supplement to recover from postpartum healing, to boost energy and to encourage milk supply to a lactating mother.



Sutkeri ko Ausedhi is also known as Sutkeri Masalaa (सुत्केरी मसला), Mishri Paakh (मिश्री पाख), Battissa ko Paakh (बत्तिसा को पाख).  In Newari, it is known as Pokhuna washaw ( aushadhi) पोखुना वासा औषधि Phaku Bansa Pakh (फकु बंसा पाख), Pokhuna Jwala (पोखुना ज्वाला), Mishri Pakh Jwala (मिश्री पाख ज्वाला).

It is made by mixing several medicinal herbs and spices, clarified butter, edible gum, khuwaa (thickened and concentrated milk products), rock sugar, and largely dominated by ground nuts, seeds and dry fruits (almond, cashew, pistachio, coconut, dates, raisins etc).  Another important ingredients are Battisaa powder, Jesthalangwagi churna which is medicinal herbal plants mixture consisting of 32 different herbal plants in different proportions.  The mixture is cooked until it becomes a fudge-like consistency, somewhat a little chewy, rich and sweet.  The delicious and nutritious sutkeri ko ausedhi is typically eaten one to two tablespoons at a time, in the morning and evening along with warm milk.

The old traditions and ancient customs are a part of everyday life in Nepal. The pregnancy, child birth, and post-postpartum care is taken seriously and it is called "sutkeri ko syahaar- सुत्केरी को स्याहार" in Nepali. New mothers are not allowed to work or lift any heavy objects. They are relieved of all household responsibilities, and are encouraged to stay in-doors for at least 4-6 weeks to have complete rest and recovery. Furthermore, cultural beliefs dictate that a mother may not go out and be exposed to wind, cold air rain, which in Nepali is called "cheeso laglaa" (चीसो लाग्ला). This custom helps new mother heal and recover rapidly and restore health as they are nurtured, and cared for via nutritious foods.  Mostly, older family members or an experienced helper is assigned the task of taking care of new mother, to prepare foods and to take care of the newborn. The sutkeri and the baby is given warm mustard oil massage right after delivery to speed up postpartum healing. In some families, the mother and her newborn gets a full body massage two to three times a day.  Elder relatives are always reminding the new mothers by saying, "sutkeri maa syahaar ne gare, jeu bigrincha सुत्केरी मा स्याहार नगरे जीउ बिग्रिन्छ" - (translation - widely believed that if one does not take care of body during post-postpartum period it could lead to serious illness later in life. If nourishing food is not eaten, one can suffer from back pain, premature aging, joint pain, and digestive disorder.


In addition to complete rest, certain  postpartum diets are prepared using traditional recipes that is passed down from generations.  They include broth-soup made out of any variety of meat served with buttered rice (gheu haaleko ko bhaat re maasu ko ras) that helps to speed up recovery.   Another common and ultimate sutkeri food is ajowain soup (jwaano ko ras) is so beneficial to boost milk supplies, and known to soothe gas pain.  Some people even combine goat leg bone to the soup to make it more nutritious. Another popular meal is served right after delivery is gheu-chaaku-bhaat; chaaku is Nepali jaggery, gheu is pure clarified butter and bhaat is rice.  Other foods include simple, nourishing, comfort foods, and digestible foods with vital nutrients.  For instance, boiled milk with honey, lentil soups, fresh vegetables cooked with minimum spices, and fresh fruits are given.  Heavily spiced foods, chilies, caffeine, deep fried foods, sour foods and ice cold foods are avoided.

I have been asked by so many people about sutkeri ko ausadhi and how to make it. Some food memory of our childhood stay with us forever and sutkeri ko ausadhi is one that goes back to when my mother was giving birth to my younger siblings. I still remember as a young child tasting and enjoying the traditional postpartum diet of my mother after my younger siblings were born. According to the old custom the medicinal ausedhi is only given to new mothers after 22 days of delivery.  While growing up in Kathmandu, I can still remember the aroma of cooking the medicinal food in my grandmother's kitchen. Within a week of delivery, the older family members or experienced lactation team will come and gather together in the kitchen helping, cutting, grinding the different ingredients and gently cooking and stirring in a large, heavy-bottomed pan called karai. The ausedhi was ready when the clarified butter started to separate from the side of karai, becoming thick and brown would last for 2/3 months. To me it was a beautiful family affair and enjoyable cooking experience.

Here is the list of ingredients given to me from one of the most popular Baidya Ausedhi Pasal in  Kathmandu
Believe it or not, I have been wanting to write a blog about sutkeri ko ausedhi for quite a while. When my daughter gave birth to a baby, I was determined to figure out how to make this medicinal food – the authentic way! I started calling friends and family for their authentic recipes.  Many people were not sure about the proportions, the hand gesture of "alikiti" or a little bit more or less was not a proper guide. One of my cousin remembered her mother-in-law making the ausedhi by adding generous amount of soaked fenugreek seeds.  The soaked water is always discarded. She preferred not to grind the seeds as soaking process softened the spice.  One of my friends told me not to grind the dry nut into powder, instead just chop halfway for a better texture.  Some people use fennel seeds  sparingly. I found that each family had their own selection of ingredients, and own preferred method of cooking which has been passed down from their grandmothers, mothers and other family members.

I would like to thank my daughter's good friend, Rosy Aryal for calling her mother in Nepal to get the classic recipe. I am proud to say that Rosy has a passion for food, is a wonderful cook and simply loves to create traditional Nepali masterpiece from simple ingredients. I also like to add that she has a commitment to get anything she cooks right. Thank you again Rosy for being there one afternoon, when we attempted to make sutkeri ko ausedhi.  After several attempts we finally figured out a recipe that looks just as good as it tastes.



Sutkeri ko Masalaa (Major Ingredients)
Please note that the selection of ingredients and amounts varies from family to family, please adjust according to your taste
Ingredients
1 cup fenugreek seeds - (methi ko geda मेथी को गेडा)
1/2 cup ajowain seeds - (jwaano ज्वानो)
2 cups fennel seeds - (saunp or saunf सौंप सौन्फ़)
3 cups clarified butter - (gheu घीउ) or unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups edible gum - gum arabic - (goond गूंद)**
Ayurvedic Herbs and Spices
1 cup Battisaa powder (बत्तिसा को धुलो) - powdered mixture of 32 variety of locally available medicinal plants**
1/2 cup Jesthalangwadi powder - (जेस्थालाबंगारी को धुलो) powdered mixture of medicinal and herbal plants**
7-8 cups of milk khuwaa - (खुवा) - (Khuwaa is milk cooked down to the consistency of soft cream cheese and basis of many Nepali sweets)**

** - these ingredients are available to purchase at Nepali, Indian and Asian stores
Nuts, seeds and dry fruits - lightly toasted and chopped
2 1/2 cups whole raw almonds (badaam बदाम)
1 cup raw pistachios - (pistachu पिस्ताचु)
1 cup raw cashews - (kaaju काजु)
1 cup pecans - (peekaan पीकान नट)
1 1/2 cups shelled walnut - (okkhar ओखर)
1 cup unsweetened coconut chips - (Nariwal नरिवल)
1 cup raisins (kishmiss or monakka - किशमिस, मुनक्का)
2 1/2 cups dry dates (chowara छोहरा)
Other spices
Seeds of 15 cardamom pods, finely ground (sukumel सुकुमेल
)
Seeds of 10 black cardamom pods, finely ground (alainchi अलैंची)
1 tablespoon cinnamon powder - (daalchini दालचिनी को धुलो)
1 teaspoon clove powder - (lwaang ल्वाङ्ग)
5 small whole nutmeg, finely ground - (jaiphal जाइफल)
1 cup pumpkins seeds - (pharsi ko beyaa फर्सी को बीयाँ)  (melon seeds, ash gourd seeds, pumpkin seeds),  1/2 cup for decorated topping
3 1/2  cups granulated sugar (or rock sugar or sugar crystal) - (mishri मिश्री)

 
Cooking Directions
1. In a medium-size saucepan, combine fenugreek, ajowain and fennel seeds and enough water to cover, and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and continue cooking until the spices are soft, about 10 minutes or less.  Remove and drain, but save the water (to facilitate blending later).  When cooled, place the drained spice mixture in a food processor or blender and process adding up to 1/2 cup water to make a semi-thick puree.  You may want to do this in two batches if needed. Transfer the puree in a bowl and reserve.

2. Heat 1 cup clarified butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat and add the gum and fry until it puffs up stirring constantly. With a slotted spoon, transfer the gum to paper towels to drain and set aside.

3. In the same pan with the remaining hot butter, fry almonds, stirring constantly, until they start to get browned toasted through.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels.  Similarly, fry cashews, pistachios, walnut, pecan, coconut chips, dates and raisins, one by one until they are toasted through.  Remove immediately and drain.  Don't get it burned as they will continue to cook after being removed from the heat.

4. Chop the toasted nuts into small pieces or use food processor.  For the best texture, chop nuts by hand. Set aside.

5.  In a separate large saucepan, heat 2 cups clarified butter over medium-high heat and add Battisaa Powder and Jesthalangwadi powder and  stir until well mixed.   Mix in the ground fenugreek, ajowan and fennel paste and khuwaa, and cook until the liquid has almost evaporated. Add toasted-chopped nuts mixture (almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnut, pecan, coconut chips, dates raisins) and mix well. Add all ground spices (cardamon, black cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg) and pumpkins seeds and mix well. Cook, stirring from time to time, until the mixture has thickened and has reduced, about 25 minutes.  Add sugar and continue cooking, stirring, scraping the sides of the pan, until the mixture begins to pull away from the sides of the pan to create a thick solid mass and butter starts separating from the pan.

6.  Mix in edible fried gum and stir well.  Remove the sutkeri ko ausedhi from the heat and let it cool completely and transfer into a serving tray.  Sprinkle with the melon or pumpkin seeds and remaining fried gums.





I would like to thank, Mr. Manik Kazi Shakya from Baidya Ausidhi Pasal, Kilagad, Kathmandu for taking his time to list the most authentic major ingredients to prepare the medicinal ausedhi.



What is Battisa Powder?
It is a powdered mixture of 32 Ayurvedic herbs and spices. 
It contains locally available medicinal and herbal plants. The powder is added with other ingredients to make special kind of food suited for pregnant and lactating women. It is widely believed that it possesses beneficial or curative effects to the women who have health problems such as, excessive bleeding, pain in lower abdomen, miscarriage, etc.  It has been used not only as food but also as Ayurvedic medicine.  The amount of Battisa powder mixture - in sutkeri ko ausedhi production varies from family to family. 

Here is the list with Nepali name and English name of ingredients - Amalaa (gooseberry), Arjun (terminalia arjuna), Ashwogandha (winter celery), Baayubidanga (embelia), Barro (terminalia bellirica), Bel (Bengal quince), Bhringaraaj (trailing eclipta), Daalchinee (cinnamon), Gurjo (heart shaped moonseed), Gokhur (calthrops), Harro (chebulic myrobolon), Jethi madhu (licorice), Jira (cumin), Jwaanu (ajowan), Kaafal (bay berry), Kaauso (common cowitch), Kachur (east India arrowroot), Koiraalo (mountain ebony, bauhinia), Kurilo (wild asparagus), Majitho (madder), Marich (black pepper), Naagakeshar (iron wood tree), Naagarmoothe (cyperus scariosus), Paasaanved (rockfoil), Pipalaa (long pepper), Punarnavaa (spreading hog wood), Sataawar (wild asparagus), Shankhapuspee (butterfly pea), Simal (red cotton tree), Sutho (ginger), Tej pat (Indian cassia lignea), Thulo okhati (astilbe rivularis bush).  Source - Research paper Food Science, Nepal - Acharya, Kharel, Bhandari


Sutkeri ko Ausedhi for sale from Himalayan Herbal Collection Center - photo captured at Bhrikuti Mandap exhibition hall in Kathmandu, Nepal in one of the trade shows.

What is Jesthalangwadi?
It is another type of powder made by mixing of different medicinal and herbal plants used to prepare medicinal Sutkeri ko ausedhi.

Here is the list of medicinal and herbal plants in the preparation of Jesthalangwadi - Alainchi (black cardamom), Ashwogandhaa (winter cherry), Bhringaraj (trailing edipta), Chandan-shreekhanda (sandal wood), Jaifal, Jaaipatree (nutmeg), Jatamashi (spikenard), Thulo piplaa (Java pepper), Krishna Jirak (black Niger), Kush (sacrificial grass), Marich (black pepper), Mungrelo (black cumin), Nilo Kamal (blue water lily), Rukh Keshar (iron wood tree, bark, leaves, flower), Sukumel (green cardamom)
Source - Research paper Food Science, Nepal - Acharya, Kharel, Bhandari

Hungry for more? A simply delicious traditional sutkeri ko ausedhi from my kitchen!
Please share your experience about your family version of postpartum confectionery, "sutkeri ko ausedhi" or "sutkeri ko masalaa".  Any suggestion on how your family prepares the diet that is suitable for pregnant and lactating mother in your area. Please share them in the comment section of this blog.  I am always looking for more input.  Thank you.

All information on the Taste of Nepal blog are restricted use under copyright law. You may not re-use words, stories, photographs, or other posted material without the explicit written consent and proper credit to Jyoti Pathak. If you would like to use any materials here, please contact me.










14 comments:

  1. Great blog and so timely for me as it turned out as I visited a sutkeri relative and got to have this specialty for dessert for the first time in my life I guess.

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    1. Thank you Subodh, appreciate your comment.

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  3. I just found your blog today. It is filled with amazingly detailed posts and beautiful pictures. I'm really looking forward to making some of my own Nepalese food! Thank you for all your hard work :)

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    1. Namaskar Burke

      Thank you ....appreciate your comment....enjoy the culinary-culture heritage of Nepal! please keep checking my new post....

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  4. Great work Jyoti! Amazing and detailed article. I used your article and a video I found on the youtube about sutkeri masala to prepare this challenging dish on my own. धन्यवाद!

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    1. Thank you Muna A......appreciate your comment....enjoy the culinary-culture heritage of Nepal! Dhanayabad to you ...

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  5. Can you please recommend any aurvedic shop I'm Kathmandu that may have salab misri. I would be very thankful if you can recommend a few.

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  7. Somebody please tell me where i can find datura leaves and fruit

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