When I was growing up in America, completely immersed in I guess what you would call “Western” culture, there were certain things that I took for granted.


Wise Owl.

Like for example, how the Owl is considered a symbol of Wisdom. Wise Owl was always featured in our little children’s books, shining down on wonderful, fumbling cartoon children, teaching them right from wrong.

I took this truth for granted, just like I took for granted how when I came home, and my mother referred to someone as an “Ooloo” (or “Owl”) in Hindi, that she was calling that person stupid. Because, naturally, the animal that represents stupidity in India, is the Owl.

stupid owl 2

Stupid Owl.

Stupid Owl and Wise Owl existed, in my mind, in the same universe, just divided into two worlds that did not seem to be in conflict. I would go to school, and function in a world which revered the Wise Owl, and then come home, and operate in a world where a person should not behave like a Stupid Owl.

wise owl 2

Wise Owl. En.Wikipedia.Org.

I went through life like this–receiving information from the two worlds, and placing them promptly into their own separate compartments in my head, because if I didn’t, I found myself in grave trouble if ever I made the mistake of confusing the two. Imagine please, for a moment, if you grew up believing that owls were stupid, or that getting a tan was a terrible thing, or that being called fat was a wonderful thing, how mortified you would be if a little girl tried to compliment you by calling you a tan, thin, owl.

stupid owl

Not so wise owl.

So distinct  were these worlds in my head, that it would always strike me as a pleasant surprise when I would come across the occasional bit of information that was the same for both worlds–like how calling someone an ‘ass’ never means anything good in every language on earth.

Discovering these rare, few phenomenons that passed the “Ass Test” grew into something like a side hobby of mine, and it brought me great joy every time I come across a new one.


The latest thing I discovered which passed the Ass Test is known as “Pajiri”.



Pajiri, a ground up combination of nuts and spices consumed by lactating women in India, (you can put it in your morning oatmeal, or in a baked good recipe, or just add milk and sugar and eat it plain) contains all the ingredients that help you make the food to feed your baby.

At some point, my Indian ancestors figured out which foods stimulate breast milk production in a way that aligns with modern articles written in the west like this one.

I will never know for sure if it has really helped, or whether my milk production would be any different had I never eaten it.

But what I am sure of, is that sometimes, in two different worlds, one in which the owl is known unquestionably as ‘stupid’ and the other, in which it is known unquestionably as ‘wise’, when one, single truth unites—like the fact that an ass is a universally, irrevocably stupid creature, and likening a human being to one will never mean a good thing–perhaps that is a truth to which one should pay attention.

Donkey from Shrek.jpg

The Ass Test. Donkey from Shrek (Wikipedia)



  • Almonds, 4.5 Cups
  • Walnuts, 4 Cups
  • Pecans, 2 Cups
  • Dil Seeds, 100 g
  • Flax Seeds, 200 g
  • Edible Gum, 200g
  • Fenugreek Seeds (or powder), 3 tbps
  • Sesame Seeds (black or white), 1/2 Cup
  • Ginger Powder, 1/4 Cup
  • Black Pepper, 2 tsp
  • Ground Cardamom, 2 tbsp
  • Wheat Flour, 1/2-3/4 Cup
  • Clarified Butter (Ghee), 2-3 tbsp


  1. First, the toasting. Toast the almonds, walnuts and pecans for 10-15 minutes at 200F.


IMG_8757IMG_87612. Toast the dil and flax seeds together at 100F for 2 minutes.


Combined dil and flax seeds

3. Toast edible gum for 5 minutes at 400F. Keep an eye on it, the individual kernals will turn opaque and then pop up.

4. Now, the roasting. Dry roast the fenugreek seeds on medium heat until they turn red.


5. Dry roast sesame seeds for a few minutes.


6. Dry roast the ginger powder.

7. Put the wheat flour in the pan and add the clarified butter. Until it smells cooked, like roti.


8. The third phase is the grinding. In a food processor, begin grinding the nuts. In a smaller mixer, grind together the dil seeds, flax seeds, fenugreek seeds, sesame seeds and edible gum individually. Mix all these ingredients together.



9. Add the black pepper, ginger powder, and wheat flour. Mix the whole thing together.


10. Divide into little bags and freeze them. This mixture can be added to morning oatmeal, or any cookie or dessert recipe that calls for dry ingredients. Enjoy!



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