Chutney Matters and Chocolate milk

Recently I read that the calcium in chocolate milk is not absorbed by our bodies well because of the oxalates in chocolate. Kind of like how the oxalates in spinach interfere with absorption of calcium.

Spinach is among a small number of foods that contain any measurable amount of oxalates, naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and human beings. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating spinach. Oxalates may also interfere with absorption of calcium from the body. For this reason, individuals trying to increase their calcium stores may want to avoid spinach, or if taking calcium supplements, may want to eat spinach 2-3 hours before or after taking their supplements.

I was not entirely convinced about the chocolate milk example and I was relating this at the dinner table recently. The resulting conversation with my daughter was hilarious and exemplifies one of the super-powers I have as a Mom.
She: Mumma, they serve strawberry milk at lunch in school.
I: You could try it but I am pretty sure you won't...
and then we spoke together
She: I don't ...
She and I: ...like it.
Her eyes widened in amazement. My status rose by leaps and bounds in her eyes. I turned my face away to hide my smile. Then a little voice filled with reverence asked:
She: Mumma, do you know what I am thinking now?

My husband and I had a tough time holding back our chortles.

I guess I had better enjoy this while it lasts. I don't claim to know everything but she has tremendous faith in my ability to reason and arrive at a logical answer or to research the topic in question adequately and give her a satisfactory explanation. Because of this, I fall under the category of "Knows Everything".

If our conversation at dinner has raised some flags in your mind, there's enough discussion out there to ease your mind. Parenting at iVillage has the most reasonable explanation:
milk contains much more calcium than chocolate contains oxalate so there's plenty of free calcium left over. In fact, only about 6 mgs. of calcium is tied up, out of the 250 or so milligrams in the milk.

So, if your children are drinking chocolate milk, that is just fine. It is important for every child to get an adequate amount of calcium to help keep their bones strong and help them grow, so if they will only drink chocolate milk, don't discourage it...it will be good for their bones.

Some of you may have noticed that lately I've been freaking out on a very spicy green chutney. I don't usually add garlic to my green chutney but hey! I work from home and there's no-one around who might pass out from inhaling my breath (hubby excepted), so I thought what the heck and went to town with the garlic.

Spicy Green Chutney

spicy green chutney


  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 20-25 fresh mint leaves
  • 5-6 Thai green chillies**add more for more heat
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger
  • lime juice, approx of half a lime
  • salt to taste
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender with about 1/4 cup water or as little as possible so that you don't end up burning out the motor of your blender.
That's it! No extra fuss. Very easy and rather quick to put together. Some tips:
  • Do not inhale when you open the blender, especially if you have respiratory issues like asthma. The green chilli 'fumes' can cause a coughing fit. I usually make chutneys when my daughter is not home or if she is, I make sure that she is in a well-ventilated place.
  • Use as much of the cilantro as possible. The stems are juicy and also help add body to the chutney. My chutneys are not runny because I use the cilantro stems and can therefore use less water.
  • If you're like me, you buy cilantro in 'bulk' (3 for $1) instead of paying 79 cents per bunch at the regular grocery stores. Here's how I make my cilantro last for weeks.
  • I slice both the ginger and garlic to help my blender along. Those of you lucky enough to have a Sumeet or a Pushpak mixee needn't bother.
  • Taste the chutney before you transfer it from the blender. Feel free to adjust the flavors to suit your tastes. According to me, there's no hard and fast rule about how much of what you use. What my chutney tastes like depends entirely on my mood when I am making it. When I intend to use it as more than just a spread, I make it spicier. The original chutney for patra fish has dhana and jeera.So use my recipe as a guideline but make sure you create a green chutney that tickles your tastebuds and delights your soul!

14 comments:

Kay said...

Manisha, I read this article recently.. Maybe this can help.
http://www.hinduonnet.com/folio/fo0004/00040260.htm

Maybe this will shed some light on combining food stuff..

Manisha said...

Kay, that's a very interesting article. Thank you for that link. I will re-read it again later as there is a lot of information there.

While scanning through it, I wondered at the section about charred foods. It is known that when meat is charred that certain carcinogenic chemicals are released. The risks of cancer are increased with the frequency of eating charred meats, which is why the American penchant for grilling in the backyard has come under fire in the recent years. Who eats tandoori chicken everyday? I am also not convinced of the dangers of a roti though, even if it is usually eaten with vegetables that help negate the effect of charring.

Nevertheless, it makes for an excellent read. Thanks again!

Annita said...

manisha,
I was looking for this green chutney recipe..Thanks for posting it..

Manisha said...

You're most welcome, Annita. And don't forget to adapt it to your tastes.

Saffron said...

ha ha! I had to laugh at the super mom bit. For years, I got away with "Duh, I'm a MOM, I know everything". or "don't worry, I'm a MOM, I can fix it"

sigh, they are growing up now and scepticism lurking in their eyes!!

I love green chutney too! I add a couple of peanuts to thicken it up.

cheers!

Manisha said...

Hey SH! Peanuts or roasted chana dal add body to a chutney. As does grated coconut. I like all three. However, if I plan to use the chutney to spice up more than just my toast then I prefer to do without additional ingredients and rely on the juicy stems instead.

I started preparing my daughter for future disillusionment a couple of years ago when the questions became deeper. I don't want her to be shattered by the knowledge that I really don't know everything! But no matter what I do, she still feels that I "know everything". It makes her feel secure and protected, I think. I could be wrong though!

I dread the time when she discovers that Santa doesn't exist and that it was us all along. I've never been able to understand why we go to such great lengths to make them believe that there is indeed a Santa Claus, only to have them find out that there isn't. Why do we set ourselves - and more importantly, our children - up like this?

While it's fun to pull a fast one on her from time to time, it's also true that I know just what she is going to say or how she is going to react. There are times when I know exactly what she is doing even though I cannot hear her or see her. Do you ever experience that?

I had a similar connection with my mother, where she just knew, too. It was not uncommon for her to end a sentence that I was thinking and had not uttered aloud.

Ashwini said...

Adorable. With me it was my dad :-), the quintessential daddy's girl. He was GOD. I "really" began to connect with my mom in my teenage years. And yes you ought to enjoy it while it lasts. And what a lovely idea to photograph the chutney in the blender. I can almost hear the whirr!!

Manisha said...

Duh! I just realized that I had a green theme going on my blog with this Green Chutney but I totally forgot about St. Patrick's Day. According to my daughter, she was the *only* one in her class not dressed in green. Oops!

Ashwini, did you get to see the Chicago River? They usually turn it green for the St. Patrick's Day parade. It's quite a sight! Here are some pictures for those who are wondering what the fuss is about!

Elaichi et Cetera- Pelicano said...

Oh, you put garlic and ginger in yours? Me likes that idea.....:-) It's my favorite chutney; I could bathe in it I think...well..no, maybe not.
I know the Santa dilemna...but I can tell you, even though I was diappointed when I found out the truth- a neighborhood kid told me, I didn't believe him right away, and asked the folks....and unfortunately got the scoop :-( but now, as an adult, it's really awesome to think back to that magical time when those things were real fo all intensive purposes... :-)

Manisha said...

Pel, when I want an all-purpose potent chutney then I put both ginger and garlic. Otherwise I use only ginger, no garlic. Breakfast for me used to be chutney on toast and then I'd rush out to work. I didn't let my Mom put garlic in the chutney because I'd be garlic breath personified for the rest of the day.

Santa...yes. Right now I have Easter Bunny to deal with! Now even Easter Bunny is giving gifts! It used to be enough to leave trinkets all over the house for her to find but now kids are getting gifts! Big ones. Last Easter was quite sad. I had bought her
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and forgot to put it under her pillow once she was asleep. In the morning, I heard sobs from the living room.

She was sitting there crying her eyes out that Easter Bunny does not like her. She had left him a note telling him that she had extra candy and she wanted to share it with him. The note and the candy were untouched. Oops! I didn't know! So I told her that he must have definitely read her note and since he has enough candy, he didn't take any. But what about the gift, she wailed. He doesn't like me.

I had her Dad comfort her while I sneaked the book into her room. She was thrilled and really enjoyed the book. But she still felt that he didn't give her anything as interesting as the other kids got until much later when she got immersed in the book and was carried away in the magical fantasy.

Yeah! I know...bad mother! Easter Sunday is this weekend. We have a neighborhood egg hunt at the nearest park on Saturday.

Elaichi et Cetera- Pelicano said...

Aww... but it all turned out okay in the end for you and M. They get gifts now? We used to just get a basket of candy, which was hidden in the house somehwere...now they're getting gifts? I take it the retailers started that trend...and when a couple kids say they got something better, it doesn't take long for it to spread does it?

notyet100 said...

hi,i am new into food blogging...ur blog is really inspiring specially the way u have worked withs snaps it really looks colourful..since i am new i need ur help...when i post pics in my blog they come together i mean hot to put them in between the paragraphs...i am not able to dae,,u can go through my post of baingan allo sabji and u will know wht i am tryin to say say...thanks cee ya

Jenn Marie said...

I was telling someone about this recipe the other day. Doesn't seem like it's been that long, but I discovered your blog right before your move to Colorado. It was nice to see my old friends the drunken oranges reminding me they are a great summer treat.

@justmejennmarie

Manisha Pandit said...

Jenn Marie, I'm so glad we connected here and on Instagram! And, thank you for reminding me of drunken oranges. I need to make them again soon, too! It is such a refreshing dessert, especially in summer! Hugs!