Subah Saraf

Subah Saraf and her Satvic Movement

Subah Saraf teaches delicious recipes that are healthy and shares knowledge about holistic living and healing through food in her book 'Satvic Movement - The Food Book'

“At least 70% of our daily diet should consist od raw foods (such as fruits, vegetables, salads, smoothies, juices, sprouts that have not been heated or cooked on fire). Actually, ‘sun-cooked’ is more appropriate term than ‘raw’ – Subah Saraf, the India–based health educator writes in her ‘Satvic Movement – The Food Book’

Satvic Movement

Subah SarafSubah Safar is 23 years of age, and through Satvic Movement, a non-profit social initiative that she started when she was just 17 years old, she holds seminars, conducts workshops and hosts shows. Her aim is to teach people how to cure chronic diseases through food, without medicines. This she does by helping people transform lives by adopting nutritious diet. Through her books and workshops, she also teaches delicious recipes that are healthy and important in adapting Satvic lifestyle.

Today (August, 2022) she has 4.26 billion followers on YouTube, 551k followers on Instagram and 72k followers on Facebook.

It all started when as a teenager Subah was suffering from PCOS, hypothyroidism and hair loss. And, she started to cultivate better eating habits and a completely plant-based menu, and that changed her way of living. She eventually reversed her health problems.

She works along with her husband Harshvardhan Saraf, who shares her passion for healthy living. He runs Vedary in Mumbai - an urban destination for holistic wellness solutions.

In her latest ‘Satvic Movement - The Food Book’ Subah demystifies age-old theories of the three body types for the layman. She explains what each food mean to each person, the variety of food, and what to avoid and what to eat more in simple language and easy to understand format. The knowledge that goes back in time, she brings it closer to the people by adapting it into the modern language.

She says – there are four qualities of food and abbreviates them as LWPW –

Living: We must not eat packaged food, and it must come directly from kitchen.

Wholesome: We must eat unprocessed, unrefined and natural food.

Plant-Based – We must eat plant-based food.

Water-Rich – Our food must be water-rich and juicy.

Satvic Movement

Her book has a whole lot of recipes, and in addition to introducing the readers to Satvic philosophy, helps them set up a Satvic kitchen, and interestingly that includes the vessels and tools required for the kitchen. She says its important to have a well-stocked satvic kitchen with fresh fruits and vegetables, and they must not be frozen or pre-packaged, include seasonal and locally available varieties.

It is not just important to know what you must eat, which by now is popular knowledge – it is also important to know how to eat, how not to eat, which combination of food to be avoid and why. It is amazing to see how well these complicated theories are unfolded in the book.

Subah lists out 21 Satvic Food Laws that one must follow, and all the recipes she has given in her book follow these 21 laws.

While she vehemently opposes eating dead meat, she does share a few points to look out for if someone really wants to drink milk. For example, she says, to be qualified to drink, the milk must be obtained from a known source, where the cow is properly looked after and fed with love.

Subah Saraf diligently puts together ‘The Food Book’ to include various aspects of vegetarian eating. There is a section on sprouts. She says it is better to grow sprouts from vegetable seeds rather than the lentils that are popularly consumed. And, she explains why. There is a whole science in growing and consuming sprouts and, it is absolutely fascinating to read what the young health educator puts together in the book. Some of these points may appear to be common and too simple; but, in today’s age of too much information and mis information, any amount of useful information, however basic it may be – is good enough.

The recipes in the book include soups, salads, smoothies, juices, main meals and different cuisines including south Indian, Thai and Italian. According to her the first meal of the day is ‘Pre-Breakfast’. She recommends five meals per day, and the fourth meal is optional. Satvic and healthy recipes do not exclude the desserts. She shares how its possible to have kheer, gajar halwa, laddoo, kulfi and even lemon cheese cake in their satvic form.

And for the finale – there a touch of wellness in the book. Sarah gives recipe for a Rose Cleanser – a little bonus. Her Book 2 in the series is out as well. The details are available on the website -



Green Side of the Cold Desert

Ladakhi Cuisine is characterised by its breads, soups, pastas and the vegetables that Ladakhis use in their fresh and sun-dried form

The highest cold desert of India, Ladakh despite its harsh winters does throw open amazing options to vegetarians

Flanked on most sides by mountains – the Karakoram Range in the North, Himalayas in the South and West, and sharing the borders with Tibet in the West, China and Lahaul and Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh – Ladakh has many influences on its cuisine. While some agriculture happens during the spring and the warm days, rest of the year is cold and dry, and nothing grows. This contrast is addressed in the food habits of the region, where diet follows the seasons.

Ladakhi cuisine

Wheat & Barley & Other Vegetables

Wheat and Barley are the major cereals in Ladakhi cuisine, and a variety of greens and vegetables like radish, peas and napa cabbage that grow here in addition to tomatoes, apricots and even apple are used in the cooking in their fresh and sun-dried forms. While the region has its share of meat dishes – it is interesting to note that the cuisine has abundance of healthy vegetarian options traditionally like every Indian cuisine. “In fact, there are three auspicious days in a month when we do not cook meat at home and even at restaurants, we are not allowed to serve meat,” shares Nilza Wangmo, Ladakhi chef and owner, Alchi Kitchen.


Alchi Kitchen and Nilza Wangmo

Restaurateur Nilza Wangmo, recipient of the highest civilian honour for women in India - Nari Shakti Puraskar, has been promoting Ladakhi cuisine at her restaurant and on her many travels across India. Her restaurant is at Alchi village in Sham valley, lower Ladakh, where there is a 1000-year-old monastry. At the restaurant you will find the popular Ladakhi dishes including khambir and paba, bow-tie pasta skew, chutage, thukpa and tangtur.

Nilza loves to revive old recipes, and uses a whole lot of vegetables while recreating traditional dishes. “In addition to barley and wheat, we do grow root vegetables like turnip, radish, carrots etc., for the two - three months when it is warm. However, this year its September and the heat continues, so we are growing kaddu, water melon and other exotic vegetable like zucchini,” she states.

Floral Diversity of Ladakh

Pal Murugan M, Janifer Raj. X, Phani Kumar G, Sunil Gupta & Shashi Bala Singh from Defence Institute of High Altitude Research, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), who have researched on the traditional wild edible plants in Nubra valley, Ladakh submitted a paper ‘Phytofoods of Nubra Valley’ in 2008. They later published the findings in the Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge in 2010.

According to them ‘Nubra, one of the valleys of Ladakh is known for its floral diversity in the cold arid zone. Twenty seven high altitude plant species belonging to 18 families in Nubra valley were identified as edible plants and used for the preparation of Ladakhi dishes. Shangso chonma, Ldum chonma, Thanthour chonma, Kabra chonma and Phololing chamyk were some of the famous traditional Ladakhi food item prepared from the wild edible plants.”

Paba and Tangtur

Role of Leafy Vegetables in Ladakhi Cuisine

Nilza on her part does use a lot of the wild greens in her cooking. “In addition to spinach, we go and pick a whole lot of wild greens like Caper Leaves, Nettle Leaves, Shangsho. There is also sholo, which grows only in hilly mountains. We cannot cook Sholo directly as it is bitter. We have to soak it in water for a couple of days for bitterness to go.

Then there’s wild mint, wild chives, which we use for tempering in the sun-dried version, and dandelion that grows in abundance. There are the conical leaves of Khalla, which taste like the Karela. Most of these greens grow in April, May and June. These days people are growing them in green houses, but I like to pick them from the wild,” she adds.

Ladakhi Cuisine

The Preserving Techniques

During the cold months when vegetables begin to stop growing the age-old tradition of sun drying comes handy. Nilza takes pride in preserving her vegetables by sun drying and also making jams and using them at Alchi Kitchen. “I even started sun drying the new exotic vegetables. I sun dried Zucchini and it turned out beautiful. Traditionally, we sundry most vegetables and that includes leafy vegetables and apples. We begin doing this around September. We make tikkis out of chives. Because of the dry weather, it doesn’t get moist. We break it into small pieces, and use it in raita for tempering throughout the year.”

Apricots begin to blossom in April and May depending upon the area where you stay. By end of July and August they ripen. And, then apple season begins. In addition to making jams I sun dry the fruits. We even make apple flour that can be used as porridge.”

The Hearty Soups

In Ladakh dishes are cooked according to the weather. During winters the warms soups are preferred which are meal on their own. They are quite hearty and wholesome and use a lot of vegetables. For example, the nettle soup, chanthuk and Pathuk.

Nilza shares a few recipes, “All grain soup with yak cheese and butter- chanthuk is made using both barley and wheat flour boiled with shranma (indigenous peas) and nag-shran (indigenous black peas). It gives instant warmth and energy. Pathuk on the other hand is pasta cooked with sun dried greens and vegetables, peas, labuk (pink coloured radish), and finished with a tadka of dry chives and wild cumin (caraway seeds). There is some cheese that goes into this dish. In the lower regions we use cow cheese, but in higher parts of Ladakh Yak cheese is used.”

Khambir with Gur Gur Chai

Breads & Pasta

Eating bread with soup or by dipping it in butter tea is a common practice in Ladakh and the wonderful breads are mostly made using buck wheat or barley or both. Fermented khambir is one such bread eaten for breakfast along with butter tea.

Nilza tells us about yet another popular combination Paba and Tangtur. “Paba is a doughy porridge made by boiling mixed flour in water to a thick consistency. The flour is a combination of wheat, buck wheat, barley and turtle beans and brown beans. Once boiled this is pressed into triangular shape and it tastes best with Tangtur – lassi with green vegetables that are parboiled and chopped. Apple flour porridge or just the barley flour porridge too is had with tea/ lassi in the summer months.”

Ladakh cuisine

The traditional pastas of Ladakh are always prepared using seasonal vegetables. Meat is just an option. Oskew, the milk-based pasta, Skyu minus the milk, and Chutagi - the bow tie pasta is made flavourful by adding the unique greens and seasonal vegetables in their dried and fresh form.  The buck wheat crepe that people usually eat with dal or a curry as side dish and even butter tea is yet another popular preparation, which along with its sweeter version are served at Alchi’s kitchen.

Nilza’s apricot jams are home-made, and yet another way to preserve the natural produce in order make them available through the winter months as well. Fresh apricots make for a great after meal dessert time fruit. During the summers dried apricot is soaked in water before eating. Desserts too are simple. Sample this – wheat flour balls poached in water, drained, sautéed in butter, sugar or honey and yak cheese powder added to it. Paktsa Marku is buttery, mildly sweet and tasty.

The elaborate overview of Ladakhi cuisine is a testimony to simplicity and uniqueness of traditional Indian cuisines.  While the introduction of rice in the recent years has influenced the diet with the younger generation adapting newer food habits, places like Alchi Kitchen hold the flag for Ladhaki cuisine that is simple, wholesome and nutritious.

Onam Sadhya

Onam Sadhya – The Healthy Traditional Vegetarian Feast of India

Onam Sadhya has simple food, still sumptuous, and the dishes served have minimal spice, and are easy to make preparations without too much of process involved

Kerala celebrates return of Mahabali as Onam. The generous king, who as per the legend offered his head in addition to the sky and earth to Lord Vishnu, and in return he was allowed to visit his land, and people once every year. A very important part of the celebrations is the Onam Sadhya – the nine-course meal, which is predominantly vegetarian.

onam sadhya

Those, who have had the good fortune of tasting the traditional Onam Sadhya will vouch for the soulful, simple, definitely delicious and healthy spread. Sadhya is an elaborate meal made with seasonally available vegetables predominantly using coconut in its grated version or the milk as base or for oil form for the flavour. The quintessentially Kerala dishes including thoran (dry vegetable dish that uses a hearty portion of grated coconut), mezhurkupuratti (stir fries)  kaalan and Olan, which are liquidy in consistency using yoghurt and coconut milk respectively are must have dishes on Onam Sadhya.

There is no concept of eating curd as much in this part of the world. Instead Pulisheri is popular – the turmeric mixed butter milk-based preparation that resembles a kadhi. Erisheri made using combination of vegetables like Yam and Pumpkin is a wet curry and uses bean paste for flavour. Also served on the banana leaf of the Sadhya are pickles, payasam, banana chips – both the savoury and sweet versions, and the Kerala Matta rice to go with the side dishes.

Traditionalists maintain that in olden days Onam Sadhya meant nine dishes, and the leaf started to fill up in years to come by adding a few dishes, and by adapting a few more dishes from within the cuisine, like sambar imported from Tamil Nadu. And some opine that some traditional dishes too are vanishing like the Puzhukku – a semi - dry preparation made using yam or even tapioca. While a few dishes vanish few more make their way – like the many variety of payasams – pazham, palada, kadala, parippu that made their way in the place one payasam that’s served towards the end.

Onam Sadhya

Onam Sadhya from the land of Kerala, which is also the land of Ayurveda may be elaborate, but the dishes are simple preparations made using minimal oil and spice. They are healthy and even the serving pattern if followed while eating is said to aid in digestion. The absence of onion (shallots are used in a few dishes) and garlic steers the menu towards sattvic. However, as Seetha Anand Vaidyam, shares, as it is celebrated across religions with a Pookolam (flower decoration on the floor) and the feast; over the years onion and garlic have made their way into the dishes.

Seetha Anand, Founder, Ananda, Foundation for Holistic and Healthy Learning and Living and author of ‘Good’ Food, a Guide to Healthy Cooking and Eating' was born in Kerala, and loves the cuisine that she says follows the traditional principles of healthy eating. Her annual Onam Sadhya get togethers are the most sought after by friends and family.

“If Onam Sadhya is cooked in the traditional way, it is one of the healthiest feasts made using local seasonal vegetables. In the contrary to most feasts in our country that are usually associated with a lot of deep fries, Onam Sadhya uses very little oil.

Kerala has retained the practice of topping up the dishes with oil towards the end and not from the beginning. It is naturally healthier to not heat the oil more. And, cold pressed coconut oil is always used for the purpose, which has the rare and extremely good Lauric Acid in it, and is considered the good fat.”

It is believed that King Mahabali, who is celebrated on Onam, was a vegetarian, and hence Onam Sadhya is a vegetarian feast.

Very simple food, still sumptuous, the dishes on Onam Sadhya have minimal spice, and are easy to make preparations without too much of process involved.

Seetha Anand Vaidyam

Seetha Anand elaborates, "Take for example Olan. There is a popular saying in Kerala that translates to - Why have 100 dishes, when you can have just one – Olan. Such is the love for this dish made by cooking sliced white pumpkin and cow pea beans on steam, adding coconut milk, salt and sliced chilli, cooked some more before topping it with coconut oil.

Another popular dish Manga Chamandi is made by making a paste of raw coconut, raw mango, chillies and salt.

Unlike the Avial that’s found in restaurants now a days, traditionally Avial does not use carrots and drumsticks. It is made using locally grown seasonal vegetables like ash gourd, the fresh chickpea bean (lobia), yam, air potatoes, raw banana – it is basically a mixed vegetable stew made using ground coconut with chillies added to cooked vegetables, and topped with whisked sour curd and salt. This is cooked just enough to bring it to a light boil, curry leaves are added and the dish is finished with a spoonful of coconut oil.

Be it the payasams or the stir fries made using boiled vegetables – traditionally the dishes are simple and healthy. The only deep-fried things that you find on the Sadhya spead are the banana jaggery chips and Pappadam.”

Kaanam Vittum Onam Unnanam – One can even sell their property to eat Onam Sadhya is a popular proverb, and why not, especially in today’s age and day when the more extravagant the celebrations are, the more expansive Onam Sadhya is. What continues to be a tradition is the simplicity and healthy aspect of the vegetarian dishes on the menu.  




Tatva – The Making of the First Vegetarian Fine Dining in Hyderabad

When Tatva opened in 2016, it was the first fine dining vegetarian alacarte restaurant in Hyderabad. "The aim was not profits, targets for breaking even was not even on the cards. The aim was simple – to have a fine dining option for vegetarians," shares Executive Chef Naveen

The year was 2016, and this was around the time when eating out for a vegetarian in Hyderabad meant choosing from a limited choice. The green end of the f&b scene was dominated by dishes with paneer as replacement for meat in a mixed menu of a multicuisine restaurant, or the thali and Mysore bajji at a Udipi restaurant, not to mention the outlets known for their south Indian breakfast. And, this despite the fact that the city of Nizams has always had a high percentage of vegetarians. Amongst these limited spaces was Rajdhani – a popular four-decade-old all-vegetarian hotel. The owners of Rajdhani also vegetarians envisioned a high-end fine dining vegetarian restaurant – and that marked the beginning of Tatva, paving way for many more of the kind in the coming years.


“The owners approached me with the idea, and to tell frankly I was not too sure how we were going to do it. They wanted something different and upmarket, and completely vegetarian,” shares Executive Chef Naveen, who has been with the restaurant from Day 1, and saw it grow from strength to strength. AYUVE caught up with Chef Naveen, who is busy with the upcoming menu change, and setting up the new outlet of Tatva that would be opening soon. He digs into his memory and shares a few highlights from the making of perhaps the first vegetarian fine dining restaurant in Hyderabad.

tatvaNaveen studied from IHM Hyderabad in 2001. He worked in Pune and Aurangabad before working on a cruise ship for nine long years where his knowledge of European cuisines strengthened. Back in Hyderabad, he worked for Ohris group and Holiday Inn, before teaming up with Rajdhani Hotels, for their new fine dining alacarte vegetarian restaurant with a clear focus - quality, taste, service and ambience.

“I am a non-vegetarian and until then I worked on a variety of cuisines, and to be honest, I was stuck, and in two minds as I was not sure how we would be able to pull it off. The fact that the owners were clear about what they wanted and gave us the direction. The aim was not profits, targets for breaking even was not even on the cards. The aim was simple – to have a fine dining option for vegetarians, and tell the eaters of the city about it.”

Tatva opened in the prime location on Road No 36, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad. This restaurant on the first floor is spacious, airy and bright. The wooden elements in the décor, antique furniture used as statement pieces and the modern chairs and tables give it a contemporary look with a touch of tradition. The décor pieces and the paintings on the walls complete the understated luxury look that the restaurant aims to sport.

From Day 1 Tatva stuck to alacarte menu, and stayed away from catering, concentrating on creating tasty dishes served with an ambience. In addition to having continental, Oriental and European dishes on the menu, the Chef preferred to create Indian menu that is popular yet made diligently using the best of the ingredients with richness in taste – a policy that continues till date.

“It was challenge at first. But I have always had a free hand to explore and try best possible ingredients from the market. Lot of thought went into creating the vegetarian menu, especially the continental and Mexican – the main course is predominantly Indian, and we mostly stuck to the classics, and added variety by finding the right replacement for a non-vegetarian dish.”

Instead of meat in a kebab, lotus stem was used to make the melt-in-the-mouth Galouti kebab, and instead of a regular paneer tikka – there was a Smoked Paneer Pesto Tikka for the X factor, and Jalpeno Poppers for the Mirchi Bajji lovers. Ingredients like Makhna and Water chestnuts made their way into the menu. Commonly found dishes like Methi Chaman and Paneer Tikka Masala got the Tatva touch. “Just by using the best of ingredients the dishes became more superior than most restaurants,” shares Naveen. “Slowly people began to understand what is the difference between a

“When the restaurant opened, it was only a certain vegetarian community people, who would come. But, gradually it started filling up. Today, you see even the non-vegetarians come in to enjoy the paneer butter masala or dal makhni.”

“Initially, people did not understand why a vegetarian biryani costed over Rs 400 at Tatva, where a non-vegetarian biryani could be bought at around Rs 200. Now, they understand. By the way today the biryani costs over Rs 500 but is fine, as everyone knows the cost is for quality, the richness and ofcourse the experience,” states Chef Naveen.

Today, the restaurant expanded to yet another outlet in Begumpet, and one is gearing up to open in Kokapet, the new hub of eating out.