october 2010 programmes 


Tuesday Lunches at The Attic – a 2 month experiment in meditative eating 

19th october, 23 november, 21 december  

For the last year we have explored the concept of eating mindfully. This once a month event concentrated on the traditional Indian principles of eating as expounded by Charaka, one of the principal contributors to Ayurveda. The main emphasis was eating wholesome, nutritious foods, silently while concentrating on the food.  

In the discussions that followed we talked about eating whole grain foods (brown or black instead of white rice, brown/black bread instead of white) the merits of amaranth, millet and oats instead of wheat and rice, the hearty flavour of simply cooked food and the Indian tradition of eating silently compared with the French tradition of mealtimes being a social occasion.   

We have eaten black rice from Manipur, Chaulai (Amaranth), Kulath (horse gram), Naurangi Dal, Jhangora (barnyard millet), Jau (oats) all from the Kumaon hills. These extremely nutritious foods are rich in fibre, iron, calcium, vitamin E and have been almost totally lost to the urban population.


1 to 3 pm tuesday 19 th october

Forgotten Foods – an experiment in eating 

Makhana (foxnut) Botanical: ‘Euryale ferox’ is a flowering plant classified in the water lily family. It is an annual native to eastern Asia, and is found in India, Korea, Japan and eastern Russia. It grows in water, producing bright purple flowers and  starchy white seeds, which are edible. The plant is cultivated for its seeds in lowland ponds in Bihar, Japan and in China for over 3000 years. Evidence from archaeobotany indicates that foxnut was a frequently collected wild food source during the Neolithic period in the Yangtze region. In traditional Chinese medicine they are often cooked in soups along with other ingredients, and believed to strengthen male potency and retard aging.

Seeds are collected in the late summer and early autumn, and may be eaten raw or cooked. In India they are often roasted or fried. In Mithila the makhana is an auspicious ingredient in offerings to the Lord during festivals and is used in cooking kheer. 

Today these seeds are being made into a rich North Indian style gravy. 

Brown Rice is made by “hulling” the outer husk of the grain. White rice is made by further milling the bran, leaving mostly the starchy endosperm.

White rice is nutritiously worthless. Several vitamins (B1, B3 and iron), dietary minerals (magnesium, manganese, and zinc), fatty acids and fibre  are lost in this removal and the subsequent polishing process. Also removed is the oil in the bran which helps lower LDL cholestrol.

The brown rice takes longer and requires more water for cooking but has an interesting nutty and chewy flavour.



  Rajma (Kidney Beans) are just one of the 4000 cultivars of beans grown around the world. They have been grown from the earliest times and include azuki, black, red, fava, lima, anasazi, cannelloni, Peruvian, navy, lablab, soya and the Indian mung bean. They are  high in starch, protein and dietary fiber and are an excellent source of iron, potassium, selenium, molybdenum, thiamine, vitamin B6, and folic acid. 

In Mexico, Central and South America, the traditional spice to use with beans is epazote, which is also said to aid digestion. In East Asia a type of seaweed, Kombu, is added, and in India either ajwain (thymol seeds) or hing (asafetida) are added to beans as they cook for the same purpose. This afternoon we serve you a variety grown only in the Kumaon hills and not available in Delhi.


                                  1.  Kidney beans (hill variety)
                            2.  Makhana (fox nut) Korma
                            3.  Mixed seasonal vegetables
                            4.  Mixed  raita
                            5.  Brown rice
                            6.  Moong dal halwa
                            7.  Pink Amaranth Rotis


Charges Rs 200/- per person. Reservations are possible on advance payment but not necessary. Seating will be on cushions on the ground and silence will be encouraged.  

 Telephone Mina Vahie 23746050 or email mina@theatticdelhi.org, anaam@aol.in