TRANSLATE

Friday, May 3, 2013

Introduction ~ Mangalorean Post Natal Recipes (Balntiche Randhap)

Pregnancy & post natal care are treated with equal importance in our country. Especially because it involves two lives - that of the mother and the child. The health & well being of the mother is largely responsible for that of the newborn and hence special attention to diet & exercise is essential.

Every Indian community has its own practices to assist a new mother regain her health & vitality after the delivery. These practices include preparation of special health foods, herbal/medicinal concoctions and postpartum care to the mother & baby by way of oil massages followed by hot baths. Traditional Mangalorean customs are also similar whereby a mother is given the best postpartum care during the confinement period so that she regains her health and is back on her feet in no time.

The confinement period lasts for 40 days starting from the birth of the baby, so technically it is approximately 6 weeks of pampering and care. It is called the 'confinement period' because traditionally the new mother is confined to her home and is not allowed to leave the house until the 40 days are up. In the olden days these rules were rigid and a new mom would not dare to break them lest she face the wrath of the elders, especially the grand old ladies of the house and the 'balnti posteli', the ayah/live-in confinement nurse. The new mother ironically also liked being 'grounded' as it gave her respite from the rigorous and gruelling hours in the paddy fields or household chores. Some elderly women tell me that in those days the confinement period was secretly welcomed as if it was an all expense paid vacation!! One would get so pampered & fed well and was not expected to step out of her living quarters.



The term 'balnti posteli' literally means one who looks after the balanth (new mother). A caregiver.
Her tasks include massaging and bathing the mother & the newborn baby, washing the baby's clothes, preparing traditional homemade medicines which include the 'randho' (a kind of a thick 'lehya' or herbally infused jam made out of herbs, dry fruits, nuts and spices), 'thiklem'  also known as 'suko randho' (a dryish & more coarse version of the randho but with almost the same ingredients) and 'kasai' (herbal teas or reduced water, bitter potions) and other regular & special foods that were considered most safe & suitable for the well being of the new mother during her confinement.

A good & nutritious diet is provided to the mother to nurture her back to health as the whole process of delivery weakens the body and mind. This diet is also believed to aid good lactation in nursing mothers and in turn benefits the baby. Some medicines help purge a gassy tummy for the mother & child while the others help cleanse the internal system and help the mother regain her strength and vitality quickly.

Today not everyone hires this caregiver as close family members (usually the mother or the mother in law) of the mother-to-be usually help out by arriving with bag & baggage a few months in advance or just in time of the birth so that they can help nurture the new mother, cook for the rest of the family & attend to the household chores. But in my case I hired the 'balnti posteli' although the charges were quite high. I was also lucky to find good ones both the times - those who spent time & effort to ensure that I was comfortable & doing well.



For those of you who are new here, I recently delivered a baby girl, my second child. I must say that it has been an exhilarating experience - going through the whole experience all over again is exciting and overwhelming at the same time. But this time around I decided to make the most of my experience. I collected almost all the recipes of foods that were prepared in my honour. Haha!

Having been there, done that I knew what to expect this time around and decided to record all of my food and non food related experiences on the blog so that it helps those young women who are on the threshold of motherhood for the first time. However do note that some recipes require time & effort. They are tedious, like the randho which takes upto 8 hours to prepare from start to finish and hence I was not able to see how it was prepared. I have however made the effort to plate, present & click pictures of these dishes despite the fact that I was unable to actually make them (as a rule I don't post recipes that my husband or I have not personally tried in our kitchen). I realised that it was the least I could do to ensure that they get recorded on my blog.

So do stay tuned for the recipes that I will post as frequently as possible. I hope they help all those who are keen to prepare the post natal dishes at home.


P.S: 

For those of you looking for the recipe of the above pictured 'Randho' - I am sorry to disappoint you. It is the only recipe that my 'balnti posteli' refused to part with.

"If I give you the recipe and you make it at home, who will hire me?"  She exclaimed! Well she did have a point, especially because women like her - from the weaker strata of the society and/or school dropouts are now practicing this skill to support their families. Publishing such prized recipes may render them jobless.

If you still wish to eat this preparation or have it made there are several women in Mangalore with whom you can place an order and purchase it by the kilo. It will save you the hard work & time of hunting for the herbs (at ayurvedic shops) and going through the tedious method. 

27 comments:

  1. If the randho was plated like this for me... i think i would have surely eaten it.. for me it didnt look appealing, so i just had a li'l bit of it. it was nice to read this article.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ashu! Yes, presentation makes a lot of difference, but I bet you will enjoy it if someone gave u a plateful of it now! :-)

      Delete
  2. Shireen, this is fantastic! I will look forward to all Balanti recipes.
    congratulations on your new bundle of joy. Baby girl? oh wow :) you now have a best friend for life :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a ton Sia!! Yes, baby girl - she's 6 months old now!! And I was on top of the world when the doc said 'its a girl!' :-) yes, she is a friend for life! Do stay tuned to all the upcoming Balanti recipes!

      Delete
  3. really good and helpful recipe....

    ReplyDelete
  4. Have been waiting to see these recipes for sometime now..Enjoyed reading the history and use behind these post natal recipes

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rinku! Do stay tuned for more :)

      Delete
  5. I have been following your blog for a while and love your Biryani recipes. As Sia rightly said, you will have new best friend for life. Congrats and have a great time with her.

    Also, I have a request: Can you post your pregnancy journey? How did you choose your balnti posteli? I wish to go for a drug free pregnancy. But I don't have enough information about where I can find a 'doula' and ayah to instruct me about nutrition. It will be of great help to women like me who are scared of knowing so little about pregnancy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a ton Maanasa!! So glad to know that you like my recipes and also, thanks for the lovely wishes! Daughters are for life, isn't it? :)

      I will definitely share my post pregnancy journey..I do have another blog which I have not yet published - its brand new actually, maybe I should start writing on it?

      The Balnti Postelis are few in Mangalore and I hired a lady who was recommended by a relative. Regarding drug free pregnancy, not sure if I am the right person for that, you could discuss this with your doctor/medical practitioner. If you are in India, please visit www.birthindia.org and you can join their yahoogroup to receive mailers of topics that may interest you. Good luck!

      Delete
    2. So happy to hear that you will write about your journey. You should also write if you included any particular dishes pre-delivery too. Am I asking too much :-)?

      Currently I am in US but will be moving to India in an year.

      Delete
    3. I will hopefully write the post tonight - i have a separate blog created for this purpose but it's lying dead since the time it was created :-( You may have just motivated me to revive it Maanasa :-). Good to know you'll be moving soon! Take care..

      Delete
  6. I am not sure if my earlier comment got posted. So writing again.

    Have a great time with your daughter. I have been following your blog for a while and we love your Biryani recipes. They come out so good..

    Also, I have a request. Can you post about your pregnancy journey? How did you choose your balnti posteli? I would like to go for drug free pregnancy but I have no idea where I could find a doula and also find a caregiver for post pregnancy related issues. If you could share your journey, it will be very helpful for women like myself who are scared for having so little knowledge.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Maanasa. I just published both your comments and also answered to it. I hope my answer helps you. Are you in India? Wish you all the best!!

      Delete
  7. Dear Shireen,
    Beautifully written article...just like you and your recipes!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you my dear Usha...u r the best fan of RR :-) Muahh!

      Delete
  8. Sherry!!! u have to pay royalty to lavina bai for all these recipes. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! I know! :-) but she's sweet as u know, she was most kind to help me click what she cooked!

      Delete
  9. Hey Shireen:

    Funny part I think the lady who massaged you is from Vamanjoor. A. Terry sent here. Ha ha. She loves to dance a lot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Aunty,

      Haha! Yes, that's the first balnti posteli I had during my first delivery. She was from Vamanjoor...the slim lady Mary? This time I had someone else who was also nice and jovial, but she wasn't from Vamanjoor

      Delete
  10. Hey Shireen, funny part the lady who massaged you is from Vamanjoor. One heck of a lady who loves to dance. ha ha

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi, nice blog. I wanted to know if you could share the contact of your balnti posteli lady. I m in Mangalore and finding it difficult to find one. Due on august end.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Unknown: Usually balnti postelis need to be booked at least 6-7 months in advance as they are always overbooked. The lady who attended to me usually goes by family references only and has specifically told us not to recommend people unless we know them very well. So sorry, I am unable to help you in this case.

      Delete
  12. Hi, nice blog. I wanted to know if you could share the contact of your balnti posteli lady. I m in Mangalore and finding it difficult to find one. Due on august end.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Shireen,
    Nice to find your blog that gives so much of information for us pregnant women. I am manglorean and located in Pune. I am 36 week pregnant and wish to know from where can I order this Randho from, can you provide me with some local contact or some place from where I can order this..?

    ReplyDelete
  14. @ Francis D Souza: If you can email me on ruchikrandhap@gmail.com I will give you the contact number of the lady who makes and sells the randho in Mangalore

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear what you have to say about this post!

If you are unable to post a comment, please write to me at ruchikrandhap@gmail.com

Last but not the least, my name is Shireen & not Ruchik :-)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Introduction ~ Mangalorean Post Natal Recipes (Balntiche Randhap)

Pregnancy & post natal care are treated with equal importance in our country. Especially because it involves two lives - that of the mother and the child. The health & well being of the mother is largely responsible for that of the newborn and hence special attention to diet & exercise is essential.

Every Indian community has its own practices to assist a new mother regain her health & vitality after the delivery. These practices include preparation of special health foods, herbal/medicinal concoctions and postpartum care to the mother & baby by way of oil massages followed by hot baths. Traditional Mangalorean customs are also similar whereby a mother is given the best postpartum care during the confinement period so that she regains her health and is back on her feet in no time.

The confinement period lasts for 40 days starting from the birth of the baby, so technically it is approximately 6 weeks of pampering and care. It is called the 'confinement period' because traditionally the new mother is confined to her home and is not allowed to leave the house until the 40 days are up. In the olden days these rules were rigid and a new mom would not dare to break them lest she face the wrath of the elders, especially the grand old ladies of the house and the 'balnti posteli', the ayah/live-in confinement nurse. The new mother ironically also liked being 'grounded' as it gave her respite from the rigorous and gruelling hours in the paddy fields or household chores. Some elderly women tell me that in those days the confinement period was secretly welcomed as if it was an all expense paid vacation!! One would get so pampered & fed well and was not expected to step out of her living quarters.



The term 'balnti posteli' literally means one who looks after the balanth (new mother). A caregiver.
Her tasks include massaging and bathing the mother & the newborn baby, washing the baby's clothes, preparing traditional homemade medicines which include the 'randho' (a kind of a thick 'lehya' or herbally infused jam made out of herbs, dry fruits, nuts and spices), 'thiklem'  also known as 'suko randho' (a dryish & more coarse version of the randho but with almost the same ingredients) and 'kasai' (herbal teas or reduced water, bitter potions) and other regular & special foods that were considered most safe & suitable for the well being of the new mother during her confinement.

A good & nutritious diet is provided to the mother to nurture her back to health as the whole process of delivery weakens the body and mind. This diet is also believed to aid good lactation in nursing mothers and in turn benefits the baby. Some medicines help purge a gassy tummy for the mother & child while the others help cleanse the internal system and help the mother regain her strength and vitality quickly.

Today not everyone hires this caregiver as close family members (usually the mother or the mother in law) of the mother-to-be usually help out by arriving with bag & baggage a few months in advance or just in time of the birth so that they can help nurture the new mother, cook for the rest of the family & attend to the household chores. But in my case I hired the 'balnti posteli' although the charges were quite high. I was also lucky to find good ones both the times - those who spent time & effort to ensure that I was comfortable & doing well.



For those of you who are new here, I recently delivered a baby girl, my second child. I must say that it has been an exhilarating experience - going through the whole experience all over again is exciting and overwhelming at the same time. But this time around I decided to make the most of my experience. I collected almost all the recipes of foods that were prepared in my honour. Haha!

Having been there, done that I knew what to expect this time around and decided to record all of my food and non food related experiences on the blog so that it helps those young women who are on the threshold of motherhood for the first time. However do note that some recipes require time & effort. They are tedious, like the randho which takes upto 8 hours to prepare from start to finish and hence I was not able to see how it was prepared. I have however made the effort to plate, present & click pictures of these dishes despite the fact that I was unable to actually make them (as a rule I don't post recipes that my husband or I have not personally tried in our kitchen). I realised that it was the least I could do to ensure that they get recorded on my blog.

So do stay tuned for the recipes that I will post as frequently as possible. I hope they help all those who are keen to prepare the post natal dishes at home.


P.S: 

For those of you looking for the recipe of the above pictured 'Randho' - I am sorry to disappoint you. It is the only recipe that my 'balnti posteli' refused to part with.

"If I give you the recipe and you make it at home, who will hire me?"  She exclaimed! Well she did have a point, especially because women like her - from the weaker strata of the society and/or school dropouts are now practicing this skill to support their families. Publishing such prized recipes may render them jobless.

If you still wish to eat this preparation or have it made there are several women in Mangalore with whom you can place an order and purchase it by the kilo. It will save you the hard work & time of hunting for the herbs (at ayurvedic shops) and going through the tedious method. 

27 comments:

  1. If the randho was plated like this for me... i think i would have surely eaten it.. for me it didnt look appealing, so i just had a li'l bit of it. it was nice to read this article.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ashu! Yes, presentation makes a lot of difference, but I bet you will enjoy it if someone gave u a plateful of it now! :-)

      Delete
  2. Shireen, this is fantastic! I will look forward to all Balanti recipes.
    congratulations on your new bundle of joy. Baby girl? oh wow :) you now have a best friend for life :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a ton Sia!! Yes, baby girl - she's 6 months old now!! And I was on top of the world when the doc said 'its a girl!' :-) yes, she is a friend for life! Do stay tuned to all the upcoming Balanti recipes!

      Delete
  3. really good and helpful recipe....

    ReplyDelete
  4. Have been waiting to see these recipes for sometime now..Enjoyed reading the history and use behind these post natal recipes

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rinku! Do stay tuned for more :)

      Delete
  5. I have been following your blog for a while and love your Biryani recipes. As Sia rightly said, you will have new best friend for life. Congrats and have a great time with her.

    Also, I have a request: Can you post your pregnancy journey? How did you choose your balnti posteli? I wish to go for a drug free pregnancy. But I don't have enough information about where I can find a 'doula' and ayah to instruct me about nutrition. It will be of great help to women like me who are scared of knowing so little about pregnancy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a ton Maanasa!! So glad to know that you like my recipes and also, thanks for the lovely wishes! Daughters are for life, isn't it? :)

      I will definitely share my post pregnancy journey..I do have another blog which I have not yet published - its brand new actually, maybe I should start writing on it?

      The Balnti Postelis are few in Mangalore and I hired a lady who was recommended by a relative. Regarding drug free pregnancy, not sure if I am the right person for that, you could discuss this with your doctor/medical practitioner. If you are in India, please visit www.birthindia.org and you can join their yahoogroup to receive mailers of topics that may interest you. Good luck!

      Delete
    2. So happy to hear that you will write about your journey. You should also write if you included any particular dishes pre-delivery too. Am I asking too much :-)?

      Currently I am in US but will be moving to India in an year.

      Delete
    3. I will hopefully write the post tonight - i have a separate blog created for this purpose but it's lying dead since the time it was created :-( You may have just motivated me to revive it Maanasa :-). Good to know you'll be moving soon! Take care..

      Delete
  6. I am not sure if my earlier comment got posted. So writing again.

    Have a great time with your daughter. I have been following your blog for a while and we love your Biryani recipes. They come out so good..

    Also, I have a request. Can you post about your pregnancy journey? How did you choose your balnti posteli? I would like to go for drug free pregnancy but I have no idea where I could find a doula and also find a caregiver for post pregnancy related issues. If you could share your journey, it will be very helpful for women like myself who are scared for having so little knowledge.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Maanasa. I just published both your comments and also answered to it. I hope my answer helps you. Are you in India? Wish you all the best!!

      Delete
  7. Dear Shireen,
    Beautifully written article...just like you and your recipes!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you my dear Usha...u r the best fan of RR :-) Muahh!

      Delete
  8. Sherry!!! u have to pay royalty to lavina bai for all these recipes. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! I know! :-) but she's sweet as u know, she was most kind to help me click what she cooked!

      Delete
  9. Hey Shireen:

    Funny part I think the lady who massaged you is from Vamanjoor. A. Terry sent here. Ha ha. She loves to dance a lot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Aunty,

      Haha! Yes, that's the first balnti posteli I had during my first delivery. She was from Vamanjoor...the slim lady Mary? This time I had someone else who was also nice and jovial, but she wasn't from Vamanjoor

      Delete
  10. Hey Shireen, funny part the lady who massaged you is from Vamanjoor. One heck of a lady who loves to dance. ha ha

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi, nice blog. I wanted to know if you could share the contact of your balnti posteli lady. I m in Mangalore and finding it difficult to find one. Due on august end.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Unknown: Usually balnti postelis need to be booked at least 6-7 months in advance as they are always overbooked. The lady who attended to me usually goes by family references only and has specifically told us not to recommend people unless we know them very well. So sorry, I am unable to help you in this case.

      Delete
  12. Hi, nice blog. I wanted to know if you could share the contact of your balnti posteli lady. I m in Mangalore and finding it difficult to find one. Due on august end.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Shireen,
    Nice to find your blog that gives so much of information for us pregnant women. I am manglorean and located in Pune. I am 36 week pregnant and wish to know from where can I order this Randho from, can you provide me with some local contact or some place from where I can order this..?

    ReplyDelete
  14. @ Francis D Souza: If you can email me on ruchikrandhap@gmail.com I will give you the contact number of the lady who makes and sells the randho in Mangalore

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear what you have to say about this post!

If you are unable to post a comment, please write to me at ruchikrandhap@gmail.com

Last but not the least, my name is Shireen & not Ruchik :-)