One fine morning I woke up feeling weak and craving for nimbu paani. The craving was so strong that I skipped my morning routine of brushing and drank up 2 large tumblers of nimbu paani instantly.
Only then it struck me that I had missed my periods. The upt card test confirmed it with 2 pink lines. I was about to shout at the top of my voice but instead I puked, holding my tummy. I hit the bed and called for help.
I was happily in distress. Little did I know that this khatta craving story was going to stay on for next 3 months. But by the end of it, I had a list of items to alternate along with meals as I got too bored with only lemons. Some were easy and instant and some needed a few preparations. I have listed them down here.
1. Lemon chilli - The most easy peasy one is half a lemon juice with a pinch of salt and one smashed chilly. The smell of it relieves nausea instantly and improves the ability to take food into the mouth.
2. Tomato chutney - 1 tomato fried lightly in oil and smashed with finely chopped onions, amada (a type of ginger with raw mango essence in it) , finely chopped green chillies, finely chopped coriander and one finely chopped garlic. I had aversion to the smell of onion and garlic, so I used to skip them. And not to forget salt to taste. You can also put aamchur and chat masala.
3. Raw mango chutney - It was the beginning of summers and raw mangoes were abundantly available in the market. One finely chopped raw mango ground with 2 green chillies, a sprig of coriander, half inch amada, one tsp cumin (jeera) and salt to taste. If the mango is too sour then you can add some sugar or jaggery. This chutney can be stored in refrigerator for 4 to 5 days and consumed as and when required.
4. Amla (gooseberry) can be cut into long pieces and sun dried for to 5 days, then coated with salt and black salt. It is to be sun dried for 4 to 5 days more until the water has dried up completely and then stored in an airtight container. One piece of amla can be kept under the tongue near the molars for sometime and then chewed.
5. Ginger dipped in honey can also be placed under the tongue near the molars and sucked onto for sometime and later on chewed.
6. Thick yogurt with salt to taste and one green chilly smashed in it is also a tasty recipe. But be careful not to eat yogurt directly from the refrigerator. Take the yogurt out of refrigerator at least one hour before your meal time.
7. Dahi chaas - The thick yogurt can be churned mildly by adding water in small amounts. A few tender lemon leaves, a sprig of coriander, one green chilly, half inch ginger, half a lemon juice to be crushed roughly using a pestle and mortar. This mixture is added to the watery yogurt followed by salt to taste, a pinch of black salt, a pinch of amchur, chat masala and jeera powder. Stir it well to get the perfect blend. A sip of this drink will help you gulp down the food slowly.
8. Coriander tamarind chutney - A handful of finely chopped coriander leaves ground with 1 tsp of presoaked cumin seeds, half inch amada/normal ginger, half cup of tamarind water, jaggery/sugar and salt to taste. The tamarind has to be soaked in hot water for an hour and then the flesh has to separated from the seeds manually. This chutney can be stored for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator and consumed liberally along with meals. The taste of this chutney gets enhanced after one day.
9. Sun dried raw mangoes - Salt coated raw mango pieces (a.k.a ambula in odia) can be soaked in warm water for an hour and then crushed with a spoonful of yogurt, green chilly, few curry leaves and garlic. Raw mangoes have to be cut into long pieces and sun dried for a 4 to 5 days. Then they are coated with salt and again sun dried for 4 to 5 days until the water has dried completely. The mangoes become black in colour after being completely sundried. This mango can be used in various ways.
In dal, with lemon juice, crushed garlic and green chillies, sambhar, etc. In odisha, a dish called ambula rai is also prepared using it with yogurt and mustard paste.
10. Readymade mango pickles and lemon pickles can also save the day if nothing else is available.
11. Peanut chutney - This is one of my favourite chutneys which I prefer to have with all south Indian dishes. A handful of peanuts to be roasted and the red skin is to be removed.
The peanuts are then ground along with 1 tsp of cumin, 2 green chillies and salt to taste. This has to be freshly prepared and consumed immediately. It doesn't taste that good if stored.
12. Finely chopped fresh raw mango sprinkled with salt, black salt, jeera powder, red chilli powder, and chat masala. The smell helps fight the nauseous feeling and chewing the tangy mango pieces feels heavenly. As a kid I used to steal raw mangoes by throwing stones and ask mumma to make this for us. We used enjoy it during the evening kaal baisakhi rains while making various kinds of noises while eating.
13. Tomato khatta - This is an interesting side dish recipe which I demanded every alternate day. For this simple recipe, 1 tsp cumin seeds, paanch phoran, finely chopped green chillies and few curry leaves are to be spluttered in 1 tbsp oil in a wok. Then a finely chopped onion is added and fried until golden. Then freshly chopped tomatoes, dates/ kissmiss, salt to taste and jaggery/sugar is added and covered over a low flame. After 10 minutes when the tomatoes become mushy, half a glass water is added and covered again for 5 more minutes. It is garnished with sprigs of coriander and grated coconut if available and served hot with chapatis, parathas or even as side dish with rice.
14. Dahi baingan - this is a very common recipe, every household prepares it in its own way. Instead of deep frying the baingan, I prefer to shallow fry the baingan, in order to keep it healthy, along with jeera, paanch phoran, red chillies, curry leaves and salt to taste. Once it cools down, I add it to the smooth yogurt prepared by lightly churning the thick yogurt with small amounts of water. To enhance the taste, red chilly powder, jeera powder, aamchur chat masala etc can be added as per availability and garnished with coriander leaves.
15. Ambula rai - For this recipe the sundried salt coated mango pieces as explained earlier have to soaked in water overnight. In a wok, 1 tsp cumin seeds, paanch phoran, red chillies and curry leaves are spluttered. 1 tbsp paste of white mustard seeds is added to it followed by the pre soaked mango pieces. It is covered and allowed to cook over a low flame for 10 minutes and then it is cooled down. Yogurt is lightly churned by adding small amount of water to get an adequate consistency. Freshly grated coconut, salt to taste, red chilly powder, jeera powder, aamchur and chat masala are added to taste and mixed. The cooled down mangoes in the wok is then added to the yogurt mixture.
16. Boondi raita - Unsweetened boondi added to smooth yogurt with salt, sugar, red chilly powder, aamchur, black salt and chat masala also tastes good.
17. Freshly chopped cucumber and onion raita is also an option
18. South indian rasam.
19. Pre soaked tamarind smashed with green chillies and garlic.
20. Classic nimbu paani ( not to forget) with or without jaljeera.
All these variations of the sour taste helped me get by those difficult 3 months. Even the smell of boiling rice used churn my gut out.
So I have survived most of the nauseous days on only one large spoon full of cooked rice soaked in water with a half lemon squeezed in it and salt commonly known as pakhala in Odisha for lunch and dinner.
These chutneys used to be my side dishes as the taste of oil would also make me throw up.
I hope this list helps all the nauseous mothers to be able to eat their small meals with some relief.
Please add more to the list as variety is the need of the hour in the first trimester.