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My Sanjeevanam Experience

April 23, 2008

During my recent trip to India, I discovered this restaurant (a family friend took us for lunch) in Chennai called “Cholayil Sanjeevanam”. The food in Sanjeevanam is cooked by the Ayurvedic principles. The meal we had was the Rajakeeyam Lunch which is a satvic meal “eaten in an organized manner as the nutrients of fruits and vegetables should be absorbed by the system prior to the grains.” (Source: Cholayil Sanjeevanam placard placed on every table detailing the order in which the meal is served and should be eaten). After you are seated and fresh banana leaves (that serve as plates on which we eat) are placed in front of you, in true south Indian style, the waiter brings you a plate with slices of ripe banana with grated coconut. I do not like banana and never even touch it…but to maintain the integrity of the experience, I gulped mine down and hoped the next rounds would be different. Next came 5 little glasses (shot glasses) of juices to be consumed in the following specific order:

  1. Date Juice- which is rich in minerals

  3. Nuts Milk- which is rich in fatty acids

  5. Vegetable Clear soup- which acts as an appetizer

  7. Harita Buttermilk- which is buttermilk with cilantro (ground coriander leaves). This is a coolant.

  9. Bran Rice Water- which is rich in Vitamin – B complex

Next, we’re served sweet red aval, and a row of uncooked vegetables ( a yogurt-coconut plantain stem salad and a mixed vegetable salad with beets & carrots in a tangy lemon dressing). Then came a row of semi- cooked vegetables (runner beans mezhukuvaratti was one of them), followed by a row of fully cooked vegetable dishes. By this time, we were beginning to fill up..thats when the rice was served- Red Rice (rich in Vitamin B-Complex, fiber,thiamin, riboflavin and niacin)…the cooked grains are thick and pink in color and have a wonderful nutty flavor to them. The rice is served with dal, sambar, morkozhambu, rasam and mor (buttermilk). Desert is penultimate- it was jaggery coconut milk payasam (what we call pradhaman in kerala). The meal is finished with a handful of honey, which helps digestion.

I LOVED the food and the experience- we ate a lot but the food didn’t leave you feeling stuffed.The food was kerala style and a lot of dishes were familiar to me, as my Mom makes them at home. The cool revelation to me was the fact that they need to be eaten in a certain order to derive the full benefit.

The meal has 26 items, making a perfect blend of nutrients- for example, the Red Rice (I’ve already detailed its wealth of minerals); the plantain stem (or banana pith) salad acts as a diuretic and is helpful in preventing and treating kidney stone. The meal is rich in antioxidants as well. There are 4 Cholayil Sanjeevanam’s in Chennai and 3 in Kerala…if you’re anywhere near one of these and like healthy food. When I got back, I made a meal inspired by my Sanjeevanam experience (not with 26 items tho..that would be beyond my quick-cooking style)…will post it soon- keep watching!

  1. Oh wow… That sounds awesome. Where is this place in Chennai?

  2. Srinivas permalink

    I had been to Sanjeevanam in Adyar. Ordered the “Rajakeeyam” and the food is extremely tasty and evidently very healthy. As the author pointed, although it is very filling, did not leave us feeling stuffed. People who have more liking towards the “Masala” food may not be thrilled but I would strongly recommend the “Rajakeeyam”
    The staff were very cordial and responsive

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