Mama’s Punjabi Recipes: SUGAR KI DAVA (Home Remedy Sugar Control Medicine)

Recipe 1in

(This recipe was first published in December 2012 and is being repeated with some minor revisions for the fourth time by popular demand)

Type 2 diabetes has become a worldwide epidemic which especially gets manifested when people reach mid-life and beyond. Among Indians, the situation is quite grave and the disease is rampant because the Indian diet is made up of lots of foods that are starchy and often fried, all of which contribute to increasing the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the bloodstream. These foods are rich in refined sugars which put stress on the liver, pancreas and kidneys and cause the person to develop insulin resistivity.

Though there are many modern medicines that can tackle the beginning of diabetes or pre-diabetes and others for those who have the disease for a long time, there are home remedies for the control of this disease. According to ancient Indian literature and scientific books, various naturally occurring fruits and herbs can help to control blood sugar levels. These include babhul, bel, piyaaz (onions), lasan (garlic), aloe vera, neem (azardirachta indica),  jamun (jambolan), aam (mangoes), kerela (bitter gourd), basil, bhuiawala, methi (fenugreek), guduchi, ajawain (carom seeds) and kalli jiri (black cumin seeds).

Old traditional and ancestral Punjabi methods for treating high blood sugar levels often use kerelas (bitter gourds) either cooked or in juice form; methi (fenugreek) and dal chinni (cinnamon sticks). One of the biggest drawbacks to controlling blood sugar among Indians is the heavy use of starchy foods like lentils, rice and all sorts of bread, especially naans and others made of maida (white flour). It’s virtually impossible to have an Indian meal without bread or rice. So it’s better to use whole wheat bread and brown rice.

But over the years, for my own use and those of others relatives and friends, I have found that the following recipe is very convenient and has helped control my own sugar level. Once you start using it, it is important to take your blood sugar readings every day to see what the result is. In the olden days, we did not have readily available method to measure the blood sugar, but now ready-to-use at-home meters have made it more convenient, so it is important to take a sample reading every morning.

Ingredients :     

50gm methra (fenugreek seeds);
10gm ajawain (carom seeds);
20gm kalli jiri (black cumin seeds)


1.Combine the three ingredients and warm them slightly over a tava (hotplate) over low heat. Stir often to make sure they do not burn.

2.Pour into a mixee or blender and crush the combined seed into a powder.

3.Mix two teaspoons of the powder in a glass of lukewarm water and drink it at night before going to bed.

4.Drink the mixture every night for 6 months to a year for best results. Some people see a drop in blood sugar levels within a month.

5.As you see a reduction in sugar levels, you can reduce the dose and then eventually reduce it to once every other day to maintain the reduction.
Kalli jiri is often not easy to find, but some Indian grocery stores do carry it. In Houston, I have found it at Patel Brothers stores. Do try this easy home remedy to see if it works for you!




Many Indians are vegetarians, and lots of young people in the US are turning to a vegetarian or even vegan diet. For these vegetarians, getting enough protein in their diet is important to ensure they maintain their strength and energy levels. However, the traditional ways of getting this from lentils, beans, paneer (Indian cottage cheese) and vegetables is often not enough.

This is especially true of the older person over 60 who has to make sure that they do not lose muscle else they risk having mobility and posture problems in later years. Many doctors prescribe adding other sources of protein, especially as the person gets much older. Often, they recommend soya and especially eggs, fish and added dosages of vitamin D, calcium and Omega 3 and 6 oil or flax seed oil which can be in a capsule form.


mamas recipe inside3

Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the old-fashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur, India before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her mid-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share some of her delectable Punjabi recipes.