Over 240 recipes from around the world
By Kurma Dasa
Photography: Peter Bailey
Food Styling: Maureen McKeon
Art Dir. & Design: Ram Prasad dasa
Food Preparation: Kurma dasa, Maureen McKeon, Sudevi devi dasi, Kåñëarupa devi dasi
Illustrations: Lucy Leviska
Color Separations: Palace Press
In the Vedic literatures, cooking is listed as one of the sixty-four arts. My spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupäda, was an excellent cook, and when he came to the West from India he used his skills to make delicious preparations for the pleasure of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. As we read in his biography by Satsvarupa dasa Goswami:
‘…So he very deftly emptied the bag of flour, and with his fingertips, cut in the butter until the mixture had the consistency of coarse meal. Then he made a well in the centre of the flour, poured in just the right amount of water and very deftly and expertly kneaded it into a velvety smooth, medium-soft dough. He then brought in a tray of cooked potatoes, mashed them with his fingertips, and began to sprinkle in spices. He showed me how to make and form potato kachoris, which are fried Indian pastries with spiced potato filling. Meanwhile, in the course of the same afternoon Swamiji brought in fifteen other special vegetarian dishes, each one in a large enough quantity for forty persons. And he had made them single handedly in his small, narrow kitchen.’
These preparations were then distributed to the people who had come to associate with him. By taking this prasadam, sanctified food, they became further attracted to Krishna consciousness. The preparation and distribution of prasadam is an important part of the Krishna consciousness movement, and it is the part to which I have gravitated.
I would like to dedicate this book to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupäda and ask him to bless this endeavor.
Whenever someone hears about a vegetarian diet, the common question is, "But what can you eat if you don't eat meat, fish, or eggs?" How sad it is to see what advertising has done to us, particularly our young folk! They grow up with the vast majority of food commercials on TV showing them the benefits of deep-fried chicken, fast-food hamburgers, "lite" beer, and the like. Rarely is there mention of the grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits that for centuries have made up the staple diet of most people around the world. So all too often youngsters end up thinking " food" means "meat".
The slaughterhouse, factory farming, and mass merchandising are pretty much unique to this century. Refrigerators are a relatively recent invention. Many societies around the world still subsist on a very simple, basic vegetarian diet. People in the Western world seldom die of starvation, but rather the opposite over-indulgence.
But there is infinite variety in a vegetarian diet. Let's look at the international nature of the culinary world. If you study the various ethnic foods (Italian, Indian, Thai, Chinese, Mexican, etc.), they were all vegetarian-based diets. It was only after certain individuals or societies became more affluent that they added meat. Do you really think that the original lasagna or chow mein or tortillas had any meat in them? First of all, people couldn't afford it, and secondly, it wasn't something that was attractive or economically sound.
Many people today are becoming aware of the health benefits of a vegetarian diet. The vast increase in the number of deaths from cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, etc., have woken up a lot of people. Almost everyone in the Western world has lost a loved one to one of these diseases, which are brought on by a meat-centered diet.
But a great myth persists: that meat, fish, poultry, and eggs are necessary for a person to stay well and excel. A case in point: myself. In 1970, when I switched from a predominantly meat-based diet to a vegetarian one, virtually all my fellow athletes told me how sick I was going to get, and some even said I would die! After one year as a vegetarian, I was tested at the Percival Institute in Toronto. I had the highest fitness index of any athlete in Canada! In fact, my left hand strength had increased 38% amazing, considering I'm right-handed and didn't lift any weights during the year. But the most significant increase was in my stamina. It had increased almost 80%!
Every athlete should understand that meat, fish, poultry, and eggs contain a high percentage of concentrated, pure protein, along with high levels of cholesterol. When one eats pure protein, the body cannot use it in that form; it must break it down into amino acids, expending energy with this extra step. This drain on the body's energy takes away from an athlete's performance. Also, these foods contain a lot of toxins, which the body has to work hard to eliminate. And because the cholesterol is in the lean tissue of the animal, even if you trim the fat you will still eat excessive cholesterol. The average Westerner takes in 500 - 600 milligrams of cholesterol a day, while the body can eliminate only 100 milligrams a day. The result is that Westerners accumulate a lot of cholesterol in their bodies, especially in the bloodstream, where it coats the arterial walls, causing arteriosclerotic build-up. As the area through which the blood flows narrows, less oxygen goes through the bloodstream, and with less oxygen getting to the muscles, the athlete will fatigue sooner. Athletes need to keep a flexible, elastic, and clean blood system, and this is accomplished on either a lacto-vegetarian or a vegan diet.
And finally, the overall perspective important for us to understand is that eating meat is an ecological crime. The purpose of the fish is to keep the ocean clean, the purpose of the chicken and pigs is to keep the land clean, and the purpose of the cow is to give us milk. Unfortunately, today we must even be concerned with the quality of milk we purchase, as so many of our factory-farmed animals are filled with hormones. Ghee is preferred over butter, and butter is preferred over margarine, the latter basically being plastic fat, a product that was invented in the late 1940's as a substitute for the shortage of butter.
I consider the step to vegetarianism, and in particular, the understanding of it, the most important step in my life. It has changed my health for the better, but more importantly, it has changed how I view life. Only after changing to a vegetarian diet did I truly understand the phrase "reverence for life". When I hear people say, "But a little meat won't hurt me," that may be true, but what a selfish way of looking at things. If you asked a cow or a chicken or a fish how it felt about "that little piece"...
So wherever you are in your level of understanding about nutrition, give Kurma's recipes a try. Through his TV cooking series and video tapes, he has helped thousands of people realise the sheer versatility of vegetarian cooking.
If you sincerely make the effort to follow his instructions and recipes, you'll discover a whole new world of enjoyment. You will be amazed at how good food really can be. Happy eating.
Tennis Professional and founder of
PETER BURWASH INTERNATIONAL
I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to the following persons: Naresvara dasa, the publisher, and Ram Prasad dasa, the art director, (both my dear friends without whose collaboration and direction this book would not have become a reality; Peter Bailey for his beautiful photographs and his patience; Maureen McKeon for her assistance in so many ways, especially her foodstyling; Lucy Leviska for her excellent illustrations; Tulasi Maharani dasi for typing and re-typing the manuscripts; Nada dasi and Nagaraj dasa for editing; Kåñëarupa dasi, Jeff Perry, Jenny Naismith and Yadusrestha dasa for proofreading; Mark Kennedy for patiently assisting me in the long months of recipe testing; Suchi for allowing me to use his kitchen; Sudevi Dasi, Michelle and Shaun for hands-on assistance in the studio; Ujvala dasa, Rahugana dasa, Aniruddha dasa, Chakra dasa and Vijay Gopikesha dasa for their advice and technical assistance; Mrs Nancye Walmsley, Jenny Jenkins, Cecilia Caffery, John Raffaut, Subhuji dasi, Peter Burwash, Drutakarma dasa, Advaita Acharya dasa, Trevor Absalom, Russell and Della Absalom, Shreed, and others too numerous to mention.
Casa Portuguesa Pty. Ltd., Dartington Crystal, Deruta of Italy, Bright on, Georges Australia Ltd., Ishka of Prahran, J.D. Milner and Associates, Mikasa Tableware Pty. Ltd., Villeroy and Boch Australia Pty. Ltd., and Waterford Wedgwood Australia Ltd.
You'll notice in Great Vegetarian Dishes' full and inviting Directory of Recipes quite a number of tantalizing Indian recipes South Indian Sweet-and-Sour Tamarind Rice, Gujarati Yogurt Soup, Rajasthani Spicy Dal-Stuffed Bread, North Indian Curried Cauliflower and Potato, and many others.
There's a good reason for that. The inspiration for this superbly conceived and lavishly illustrated international vegetarian cookbook comes from the timeless spiritual philosophy of India, especially as it is represented in the enduring books of Vedic knowledge such as the Bhagavad-gétä.
The author of the recipes, in addition to being an expert vegetarian cook, has long practiced the yoga most highly recommended in the Gétäbhakti-yoga, the yoga of devotion.
Kurma knows well that in order to experience the optimum spiritual rewards of yoga or even to stay fit and healthy one should eat properly. And with humor, patience, and enthusiasm he has successfully communicated that essential bit of knowledge to a growing and appreciative world-wide audience.
It's a message Kurma learned from his spiritual master (and mine), His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupäda (1896 - 1977), who introduced bhakti-yoga to the world outside India, starting with his arrival in the United States in 1965.
Çréla Prabhupäda's lucid translations of Sanskrit and Bengali classics on bhakti-yoga gained him a reputation among scholars. But it was Çréla Prabhupäda's cooking that most endeared him to his original followers in New York City's Lower East Side. In his first storefront temple and ashram, Çréla Prabhupäda trained his disciples not only in the teachings of Bhagavad-gétä, but in the art of India's spiritual vegetarian cooking. Needless to say, everyone thoroughly enjoyed these lessons especially the final test of tasting.
Since those early days, the movement Çréla Prabhupäda founded has grown impressively to a world-wide network of hundreds of temples, farm communities, and restaurants, which together provide millions of spiritual vegetarian meals each year. The delighted beneficiaries range from patrons of the movement's fine vegetarian restaurants (the newest in Leningrad) to the poor and homeless who receive nutritious free meals from Hare Krishna Food for Life in cities around the world.
As many people are aware, a vegetarian diet is healthy. But it would be a mistake to think that the health benefits of a vegetarian diet have only been recently discovered. I don't want to downplay the many modern medical and scientific reports that show so clearly the links between meat-centered diets and such implacable killers as cancer and heart disease. It's valuable research, and well worth studying. But long, long ago, the Bhagavad-gétä identified meat, fish, and eggs as foods harmful to bodily well-being. According to the Gétä, such foods "cause distress, misery, and disease."
The Gétä recommends food in the mode of goodness vegetarian foods: "Foods dear to those in the mode of goodness increase the duration of life, purify one's existence, and give strength, health, happiness, and satisfaction."
Those are the kinds of food Kurma teaches you to prepare in this book. The Gétä says that such foods are "wholesome and pleasing to the heart." What more could one ask?
How about a more livable planet? A vegetarian diet is good for the environment.
The Bhagavad-gétä tells us "all living bodies subsist on food grains." Even the consumer of fast-food burgers depends on vegetables for nourishment the vegetables have simply been processed into the flesh of cows.
But getting one's vegetables in that way is harmful for our planet. Rain forests are being destroyed to make way for beef cattle ranches in developing countries.
A meat-centered diet is also wasteful of scarce agricultural resources. These days, most meat is grain-fed, and, just to give one example, it takes 16 pounds of grain to get 1 pound of beef.
A vegetarian diet is a compassionate diet. It involves less pain to our fellow creatures. That humane message is coming to mean more and more to people who love animals. But despite the recent surge of interest in animal rights, concern for animals is not new. For thousands of years the spiritual tradition of India has consistently shown an attitude of ahimsa, or nonviolence toward all things living.
It's nice that so many celebrities have been putting themselves on the line speaking (or singing) out in the many campaigns to convince people to stop wearing fur, to stop eating veal and beef, to stop buying cosmetics tested on animals, and so forth. But there is a more solid and enduring foundation for our concern for God's creatures. That is the remarkable spiritual vision outlined in the Bhagavad-gétä. Fashions in causes may change, but genuine commitment founded on real knowledge remains unshakeable in all circumstances.
Lord Krishna says in the Gétä: "The humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge, see with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog, and a dog-eater [outcaste]." This vision of equality is the key to respect for all life. Animals have souls too.
True knowledge enlightens us to the fact that violence against animals is not simply a matter of abstract ethics. According to the Vedas, the spiritual texts of ancient India, one who kills animals directly or indirectly (by purchasing meat, for example) will experience a definite reaction something more than moral qualms and pangs of conscience.
The destined reaction may not come immediately, but eventually it will, in the form of disease, accident, or violence. What goes around comes around in this case, pain and suffering. This unrelenting cycle of action and reaction is called "the wheel of karma," and eating meat is definitely bad karma.
Now that naturally gives rise to this question what about plants? Aren't vegetarians getting karma for killing them? The answer is yes.
Of course, in many cases, you don't have to kill the plant in order to take the part we use for food. For example, you can pick a tomato without killing the tomato plant. But there is still some karma to be had for that. How would you like some creature taking part of you for food?
And in many cases you do have to kill the plant. The question then remains what about the karma?
To get free from the karma is possible. But you must go beyond ordinary vegetarianism to spiritual vegetarianism, and the Bhagavad-gétä tells how to do it. The underlying principle of spiritual vegetarianism is that everything in the universe is part of the energy of God. This means that everything including food should be used in connection with God. This is called sacrifice.
By sacrifice I mean the attitude of doing something for the sake of someone else. For example, a mother sacrifices for her children. She does things for them, to make them happy. One kind of sacrifice is to prepare food for others. It takes time and energy to shop for ingredients, to cook, wash, and so on. It's an act of love. The opposite of selfishness.
So the Bhagavad-gétä recommends that we perform the sacrifice of cooking for God, Krishna: "The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin."
In other words, if one prepares vegetarian food as a sacrifice to Krishna, one stays free from karma. Since God is all-powerful, He can transform the material energy of karma into spiritual energy.
At this point, I should say a few words about Krishna. According to the Gétä, there is one God, who is the creator of all things, material and spiritual. That God is known by many names in different parts of the world. One God, different names. Most of these names refer to God as the creator, the most powerful being, and so forth. These names are somewhat impersonal, in the sense that titles such as "king", "president", and "commander-in-chief" are impersonal. They designate the post but don't name the specific person who holds the post.
Ultimately, however, there is a person who occupies the post of God, and He has intimate, personal names. Krishna is one of these personal names, and it means "all-attractive." Krishna is the person who is God.
According to the Vedas, Krishna periodically descends from the spiritual world to this material world, sometimes in His original personal form and sometimes in other personal forms, such as Buddha. The most recent avatara, or incarnation, of Krishna was Lord Chaitanya, who appeared in India about five centuries ago and taught love of God by His own example.
Can foods other than vegetarian be offered to Krishna? In Bhagavad-gétä Krishna says: "If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water, I will accept it. " He does not say He will accept non-vegetarian foods, such as meat, fish, and eggs. He specifies vegetarian items.
But even more important, Krishna asks for love and devotion. These are the most essential ingredients in the vegetarian offerings prepared for His pleasure.
So now that I've explained the philosophy behind preparing vegetarian food as an offering to Kåñëa, I'll give you specific instructions on how exactly to perform a simple offering.
Let's start with some preliminaries. It's said that cleanliness is next to godliness, so keep a clean kitchen while you're working. Also, don't taste any of your preparations until after you have offered them to Krishna.
Now for the offering itself. First, if you have some hesitation about offering your food specifically to Krishna, then simply offer it to God as you understand Him.
But if you do want to offer your food to Krishna, here is how you can go about it. Somewhere in, your home or kitchen you can make a small altar. On this altar you can place three pictures one of the spiritual master, one of Krishna, and one of Lord Chaitanya. Such pictures are also available from the publisher of this book.
The spiritual master, or guru, serves as Krishna's representative, and it is through the spiritual master that Krishna receives offerings. If you seriously take up the practice of bhakti-yoga, you will eventually want to connect yourself with a living spiritual master through initiation. In that case, you would use a picture of your personal spiritual master for offering food. But until that time one may make offerings using a picture of Çréla Prabhupäda along with pictures of Lord Krishna and Lord Chaitanya.
For the purposes of offering, it is best to reserve a special plate that is not used for anything else. After you have finished cooking, place a little of each preparation on the plate for offering. Soups and drinks can, of course, go in special cups and bowls reserved for making offerings.
The simplest kind of offering you can make is to place the offering before the pictures of Çréla Prabhupäda, Krishna, and Lord Chaitanya and simply ask them to please accept it. But the usual procedure is to say some traditional Sanskrit prayers, or mantras. Each of the following four mantras should be softly repeated three times. The English translations do not have to be spoken. I have provided them simply so you will know what the Sanskrit mantras mean.
nama om vishnu-padaya
svamin iti namine
"I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupäda, who is very dear to Lord Krishna, having taken shelter at His lotus feet."
namas te sarasvate
"Our respectful obeisances unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Sarasvaté Goswami. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Chaitanya and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism.
namne gaura-tvishe namaha
"I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya, who is more magnanimous than any other incarnation, even Krishna Himself, because He is bestowing freely what no one else has ever given pure love of Kåñëa."
go brahmana hitaya cha
govindaya namo namaha
"I offer my respectful obeisances to the Supreme Absolute Truth, Krishna, who is the well-wisher of the cows and the brahmanas as well as the living entities in general. I offer my repeated obeisances to Govinda [Krishna], who is the pleasure reservoir for all the senses."
After chanting these four mantras three times each, you can chant the following mantra, called the maha-mantra, or great mantra, several times:
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna,
Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama,
Rama Rama, Hare Hare
When the offering is completed, you and your family or guests can enjoy your meal. Be prepared for a nourishing and satisfying taste experience.
When food is offered to Krishna, it becomes transformed. It not only becomes karma-free, it becomes infused with positive spiritual energy. The Sanskrit word for spiritual food offered to Krishna is prasadam, which means "mercy."
Prasadam is especially wonderful, because simply by eating it one can make spiritual advancement. One is freed from karma and experiences spiritual energy and pleasure.
As Lord Chaitanya said five centuries ago: "These ingredients, such as sugar, camphor, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, butter, spices, and licorice, are all material. Everyone has tasted these material substances before. However, in these ingredients there are extraordinary tastes and uncommon fragrances. Just taste them and see the difference in the experience. Apart from the taste, even the fragrance pleases the mind and makes one forget any other sweetness besides its own. Therefore, it is to be understood that the spiritual nectar of Kåñëa's lips has touched these ordinary ingredients and transferred to them all their spiritual qualities. "
Co-author of The Higher Taste:
A Guide to Gourmet Vegetarian Cooking
and a Karma-Free Diet.
July 29, 1990
Pacific Beach, California
For more recipes from India, try Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking, by Yamuna Devi. This award-winning cookbook is the ultimate encyclopedia of India's culinary tradition. The Chicago Tribune called it "the Taj Mahal of cookbooks."
For a brief but comprehensive overview of the philosophy of spiritual vegetarianism, along with selected international vegetarian recipes, try The Higher Taste: A Guide to Gourmet Vegetarian Cooking and a Karma-Free Diet. This book is a good introduction to spiritual vegetarianism for a friend or relative.
Another excellent cookbook is The Hare Krishna Book of Vegetarian Cooking, by Adiraja dasa. In addition to 133 recipes, it contains suggested menus and useful explanations of spices.
For information about vegetarianism and religion, see Food for the Spirit: Vegetarianism and the World Religions. In this wide-ranging survey, Satyaraja dasa (Steven Rosen) examines traditions of vegetarianism in Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, and other faiths.
For more insight into the life of Çréla Prabhupäda, you can read Prabhupäda, the first-rate biography by Satsvarupa dasa Goswami.
For further details about the practice of bhakti-yoga the indispensable first book to read is Bhagavad-gétä As It Is, by Çréla Prabhupäda.
All of these books are available from the publishers of this book.
Please write to:
KCB: How to Measure and Use the Recipes
Because there is some difference between Australian, American and British cup and spoon measurements, this book gives quantities for most ingredients in Australian cups and spoons with the metric volume equivalent (litres or parts thereof) in parentheses. This avoids the troublesome business of looking up conversion charts or using kitchen scales to weigh ingredients.
To conveniently use these recipes, you will require a set of graduated spoons (1/4 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon) and a set of graduated cups (1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup and 1 cup) and perhaps a glass or plastic liquid measuring container, usually containing both cup and litre markings.
The Australian, American and British teaspoons all hold approximately 5 ml. I have rounded off fractions of teaspoons to the nearest ml, thus:
Tablespoon measurements given in this book are standard Australian tablespoons, holding 20 ml. The American standard tablespoon holds 14.2 ml and the British standard tablespoon holds 17.7 ml. Thus American readers should heap their tablespoons, and British readers should slightly heap their tablespoons.
Cup measurements given in this book are standard Australian cups, which hold 250 ml. The American and British standard cups hold 240 ml. Thus American and British readers should generously fill their standard measurement cups, or in the case of liquids, should add 2 teaspoons extra for every cup required.
Measurement for items which cannot be conveniently measured by volume, such as un-melted butter, pastry, spaghetti, ungrated cheese, etc. have been given in grams with ounces in parentheses, thus:
Accurate temperatures are indicated for baking, some deep frying and for confectionery making. In this book, measurements are given first in Celcius, then in Fahrenheit, thus: 185°C/365°F.
A cooking thermometer is a useful accessory.
Measurements are given in centimetres with inches in parentheses, thus:
Take note of the following suggestions to get the best out of these recipes:
1. Read the entire recipe first and obtain all the ingredients before commencing to cook. Measure all the spices and ingredients beforehand and place them where they can be easily reached.
2. All measurements for the spoons and cups are level unless otherwise specified. Pan size is specified whenever important e.g. 3-litre/quart pan.
3. "PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes" does not include the time needed to gather the ingredients. Some ingredients, when indicated, are pre-cooked and the assembling and chopping of most vegetables, fruits and herbs is not included in the preparation time.
4. "COOKING TIME: 25 minutes" is based on the time it took me to cook the dish over a household gas stove. This should serve only as a guideline. Adjust cooking time according to the capabilities and liabilities of your heat source. For instance, keep in mind that compared to gas, electric cooking elements are slow to heat up and cool down.
5. For information about unfamilar ingredients, see Glossary.
The following list will clarify any confusion that may arise because of the different cooking terms and ingredient names used in Australia and America.
fine granulated sugar
all purpose flour
wholewheat or graham flour
KCB 1: SPECIAL INGREDIENTS
Modem fast-paced living often affords us little time to spend in the kitchen. Yet the kitchen is a very special place. George Bernard Shaw said "You are what you eat". The foods that you prepare directly influence the physical and mental behaviour of those who partake. Meals prepared begrudgingly or without care, for instance, often taste poor. Therefore the most important ’special ingredient' in cooking is your good consciousness.
Fresh produce is also of primary importance; basic ingredients that can be prepared at home taste so much better than shop-bought items that can sometimes be old or stale.
Let's start with a few recipes for freshly prepared dairy products.
KCB 1.1: Home-made Yogurt
Yogurt is an indispensable ingredient in vegetarian cuisine, being nutritious, tasty, and easily digestible.
It is a source of calcium, protein, fat, carbohydrates, phosphorus, vitamin A, the B-complex vitamins, and vitamin D. The lactic acid content of yogurt aids in the digestion of calcium. Yogurt encourages the growth of "friendly" bacteria in the intestines that help destroy harmful strains. And yogurt is quickly assimilated into the body.
Yogurt is made by adding a small amount of "starter" (which can be either previously prepared homemade yogurt or commercial plain yogurt) to warm milk. Under certain temperature conditions, and after some hours, the live bacteria in the starter will transform the milk into yogurt, which can then be refrigerated and used as needed. If you prefer a slightly thicker, firm yogurt, you can add milk powder at the beginning.
Yogurt is called for in many recipes in this book, from the traditional creamy yogurt-based drinks called Lassi to the cooling yogurt salad called Raita. Drained of its whey, yogurt is transformed into a low-calorie cream cheese featured in Syrian Yogurt Cheese and Greek Yogurt Dip. When sweetened, this yogurt cheese becomes a delicious dessert called Shrikhand. Yogurt can be folded into vegetable dishes, such as South Indian Vegetable Combination, or heated into zesty Gujarati Yogurt Soup. A small bowl of plain yogurt is a cooling addition to any main meal.
1. If you prefer thicker yogurt, combine the 1/3 cup (85 ml) of milk with the milk powder, whisk until smooth, and set aside.
2. Bring the milk to the boil in a heavy, 3-litre/quart saucepan, stirring constantly. Remove milk from the heat and whisk in the optional powdered-milk thickener. Transfer the milk into a sterilized container and set aside to cool.
3. When the temperature of the milk has reached 46°C/115°F, add the yogurt starter and whisk until smooth. The milk temperature should not exceed 44°C/111°F, which is the ideal culturing temperature.
4. Put the container of warm milk in a warm place for 4 - 6 hours. You can place the container inside a sealed plastic bucket of warm water or wrap it in a towel or heavy blanket. The container may also be placed in an oven with the pilot light on, in a preheated electric oven which has been turned off, or in a wide-mouthed thermos flask.
5. Check the yogurt after 5 hours. It should be thick and firm (it will become thicker after refrigeration). Refrigerate, covered, and use within 3 days. After three days, the yogurt makes an ideal curdling agent for production of Home-made Curd Cheese (Panir).
Note: If your home-made yogurt does not taste as nice as expected or is something other than yogurt, consider the following points:
1. Over-boiling the milk without proper stirring can cause the milk to scorch or burn. This will give the yogurt an unpleasant taste.
2. If the milk does not sufficiently cool before you add the starter culture, it will curdle.
3. If the milk cools too much before adding the starter culture, it will remain milk.
4. If you do not ensure continuous warmth during incubation, the yogurt might fall to a less-than-desired temperature. Over warming during incubation causes spoilage.
5. Over-incubation (allowing the milk and yogurt to sit for longer than required) will produce a strong-tasting, tart yogurt.
6. Non-sterile containers may introduce foreign bacteria into your yogurt, causing bad tastes. Do not disturb the yogurt while it is culturing.
KCB 1.2: Cultured Buttermilk
Cultured buttermilk is prepared in the same manner as yogurt by inoculating milk with a special culture and allowing it to grow under certain conditions. However, the type and the amount of culture, and the temperature conditions, differ from yogurt production. Buttermilk requires twice as much culture as yogurt; it must be incubated for up to 2 - 3 times as long and at a considerably lower temperature. For these reasons, it is best to use an electric yogurt maker or a thermos when making buttermilk. Buttermilk has a milder taste than yogurt and is lower in calories because it is produced from skim- or low-fat milk. Try Orange Buttermilk Smoothie or substitute home-made buttermilk in any dish requiring yogurt for milder, lower-calorie results.
1. Heat the milk over moderate heat in a heavy-bottomed 2-litre/quart pan, stirring constantly. Don't boil the milk; just heat it until it reaches 42°C/108°F. Remove from the heat.
2. Blend the buttermilk and milk powder in a blender or food processor until smooth.
3. Whisk the warm milk with the buttermilk and milk powder, until smooth. Immediately pour the mixture into an electric yogurt machine or wide-mouthed thermos and cover loosely. Wrap the container in a thick towel or blanket and set aside at a temperature of about 26°C/80°F for between 8 and 16 hours or until it sets. Buttermilk can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Note: After one week, buttermilk is ideal for curdling milk in the production of Home-made Curd Cheese (Panir).
KCB 1.3: Ghee
Ghee, clarified butter, is the preferred cooking medium for many dishes. Most commonly used in traditional Indian cuisine, ghee is also popular in Middle Eastern cooking. Whilst olive oil, sesame oil, peanut oil, and coconut oil find their way into recipes in this book, ghee has many advantages.
When butter is melted and slowly heated, all the moisture is evaporated, and the milk solids are separated from the clear butterfat. This residual, golden-coloured liquid, called ghee, is excellent for sauteeing and frying, as it can be heated to 190°C/375°F before reaching its smoking point.
Ghee will not turn rancid and will keep for months unrefrigerated; it will keep for over 6 months in the refrigerator and for over a year when frozen. Ghee has a delightful, slightly nutty flavour and is preferred for all traditional fried Indian sweets and savouries. Ghee can be purchased at most gourmet stores, Indian and Middle Eastern grocers, and some well-stocked supermarkets. Homemade ghee, however, is much more economical. Ghee can be prepared either on the top of the stove or in the oven. If you are making a large quantity of ghee, it is best to use the oven method. Unsalted butter makes the best ghee.
The following is a chart indicating how long it takes to make a batch of ghee and what the approximate yield will be.
Quantity of Butter
500 g (17.5 ounces)
1 1/4 hrs
1 1/2 - 1 3/4 hrs
13/4 cups (435 ml)
1 kilo (2 lbs 3 oz)
1 3/4 hrs
2 - 2 1/2 hrs
3 1/4 cups (1.4 litres)
1.5 kilo (3 lbs 5 oz)
2 3/4 - 3 1/4 hrs
51/2 cups (1.4 litres)
3 kilo (6 lbs 10 oz)
3 1/4 - 31/2
3 3/4 - 7 1/4 hrs
12 cups (3 litres)
5 kilo (11 lbs)
5 1/2 - 6 hrs
6 3/4 - 7 1/4 hrs
19 cups (4.75 litres)
KCB 1.4: Stove-top Ghee
1. Cut the butter
into large chunks and melt it over moderate heat in a large
heavy-based saucepan, stirring to ensure that it melts slowly and
does not brown. Still stirring, bring the melted butter to a boil.
When the butter becomes frothy, reduce the heat to very low. Simmer
uncovered and undisturbed for the required time until the solids have
settled on the bottom, a thin crust appears on the top, and the ghee
is clear and golden.
2. Skim off the surface crust with a fine-mesh wire sieve and set it aside in a bowl.
3. Turn off the heat source and remove the ghee with a ladle without disturbing the solids on the bottom. Pour the ghee through a sieve lined with paper towels. When you have removed all the ghee that you can without disturbing the solids, allow the ghee to cool and store in a suitable covered storage container.
4. The remaining ghee and solids can be mixed with the crust from the top of the ghee in the small bowl and used for vegetables, soups, or sandwich spread. It will keep 3 - 4 days refrigerated
KCB 1.5: Oven-Made Ghee
This method for making ghee is suitable if you want to produce a larger quantity of ghee. It is practically effortless and can be conducted in basically the same way as the stove-top method, except that instead of placing the ghee on top of the stove, heat it for the required time in a preheated 150°C/300°F oven. Skim and store in the same way as for the stove-top method.
KCB 1.6: Home-made Curd Cheese (Panir)
Home-made Curd Cheese (Panir)
Curd cheese, or Panir, is the Indian equivalent of bean curd (tofu). It is rich in protein and extremely versatile. It can be deep-fried and used in vegetable dishes, crumbled into salads, made into sweets, stuffed inside breads and pastries, and creamed into dips. Curd cheese is the simplest kind of unripened cheese and is made by adding an acid or other curdling agent to hot milk. The solid milk protein coagulates to form the soft curd cheese, the liquid whey is separated, and the cheese is drained, pressed, and then used as required. Because curd cheese is not available in shops outside of India, I have included the simple recipe for making your own.
The quality and freshness of the milk will determine the quality of the curd cheese. The higher the fat-content of the milk, the richer the curd cheese. Different curdling agents will produce different types of curd. The most common curdling agents are strained, fresh lemon juice, citric acid crystals dissolved in water, sour whey from a previous batch of curd cheese, and the whey residue from hanging yogurt to make Shrikhand, Greek Yogurt Dip, or Syrian Yogurt Cheese. Left-over yogurt or buttermilk used as curdling agents produce good curd cheese. Here are some hints in making your curd cheese.
1. Don't allow your milk to scorch or burn, as this will
spoil the taste of the curd cheese.
2. Don't unnecessarily use all the prescribed acid curdling agent unless the milk stays a whitish colour. Overcurdling tends to produce an unpleasant acidic taste.
3. If you use all the curdling agent and the milk has still not completely curdled, add a little more curdling agent until the whey becomes clear.
4. Bad flavours in the cheese indicate that the milk was not fresh or that the utensils were dirty.
5. Tough or crumbly curd results from using low-fat milk or from allowing the curd cheese to remain too long over the heat once it has separated from the whey.
APPROX MATE YIELD OF CURD CHEESE
4 cups (1 litre)
6 teaspoon (30 ml)
3/4 cup (185 ml)
6 cups (1.5 litres)
2 tablespoons (40 ml)
11/8 cup (280 ml)
8 cups (2 litres)
3 tablespoons (60 ml)
11/2 cups (375 ml)
10 cups (2.5 litres)
1/3 cup (85 ml)
17/8 cups (475 ml)
16 cups (4 litres)
6 tablespoons (120 ml)
3 cups (750 ml)
Home-made Curd Cheese (Panir) is featured in many recipes in this book, such as Bengali Royal Rice; Eggplant, Potato and Curd Cheese; Tomato, Peas and Home-made Cheese, and Curd Pakoras. Lemon Cream Cheese Fudge (Sandesh) also features panir, smoothed into a cream-cheese consistency.
Curd cheese can also be crumbled and mixed into salads or vegetable dishes such as Scrambled Curd or as a substitute for ricotta cheese in Spinach Filo Triangles.
1. Boil the milk in a
heavy-based saucepan, stirring often to prevent scorching or
sticking. Lower the heat and add the lemon juice or other curdling
agent. (See above chart for quantities.) Stir the milk gently until
it curdles; then remove the saucepan from the heat. If the liquid is
not clear but is still milky, return the saucepan to the heat. If it
hasn't fully cleared after another minute, add more curdling
2. Place the saucepan of curds and whey aside for 10 minutes. Pour or scoop the contents of the pan into a colander lined with cheesecloth, gather the corners, and hold the bag of cheese under lukewarm water for 10 seconds. Squeeze the bag, place it back in the colander, and press it under a heavy weight for 3/4 - 11/2 hours or as desired.
3. Unwrap the curd cheese and use as required. It will last in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
KCB 1.7: Green Vegetable Stock
Below are recipes for various vegetable broths: Green Vegetable Stock, Root Vegetable Stock, Brown Vegetable Stock, and Chinese Vegetable Stock. These recipes, however, should act only as a guide. Whenever you can, save vegetable peelings, stalks, leaves, and any water used to boil vegetables. Broths can serve as a natural flavour enhancer for soups, rice dishes, dal s, and stews.
1. Melt the butter in
a heavy 6-litre/quart saucepan or stockpot and saute the vegetables
for 20 minutes over moderate heat. Turn off the heat and allow the
vegetables to "sweat" with a lid on for 10 minutes.
2. Add the water and remaining ingredients and bring to a boil; then simmer for 11/2 hours with a tight-fitting lid. Strain. Refrigerate the stock and use as needed.
KCB 1.8: Root Vegetable Stock
1. Melt the butter in
a heavy 6-litre/quart saucepan or stockpot and saute the vegetables
for 20 minutes over moderate heat. Turn off the heat and allow the
vegetables to "sweat" with a lid on for 10 minutes.
2. Add the water and remaining ingredients and bring to a boil; then simmer for 11/2 hours with a tight-fitting lid. Strain. Refrigerate the stock and use as needed.
KCB 1.9: Brown Vegetable Stock
1. Drain the beans. Boil the beans in two litres/quarts
of water in a heavy saucepan. Simmer until the beans are soft (about
2. Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over low heat. Saute the vegetables in butter for 10 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat cover it with a lid, and allow the vegetables to "sweat" with a lid on for 10 minutes. Add the remaining water and set aside. When the beans have been cooking for 1 hour, add the vegetables and water with the spices and salt to the beans and bean water and boil for another 1 hour. Strain. Refrigerate the stock and use as required.
KCB 1.10: Chinese Vegetable Stock
Wash the bean shoots and place them in a heavy 4-litre/quart saucepan or stockpot with all the other ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, for one hour. Strain and use as required.
KCB 2: RICE DISHES
From simple Boiled Rice to banquet-style Royal Rice, sauteed or fried, baked or folded with vegetables, fruits and nuts, yogurt, herbs, or spices here the staple food for three-quarters of the world's population shows its true colours.
KCB 2.1: Boiled Rice
In the following recipe, the rice is half-cooked in boiling water, and lemon juice is added to keep the rice grains separate. The rice is then baked in the oven. Butter and salt can be added. Serve hot, fluffy, boiled rice with vegetable dishes, dals, and soups.
1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F. Clean, wash,
and drain the rice.
2. Boil the water in a heavy 5-litre/quart saucepan and add the lemon juice and the salt. Add the rice; return the water to a boil. Boil rapidly for 10 minutes, without stirring.
3. Drain the rice in a strainer. Transfer the rice to a casserole dish. Dot with half the butter. Spread it out and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Place the rice in the preheated oven and cook at 150°C/300°F for 15 - 20 minutes or until the rice is dry and tender. If you are using butter, add the remaining butter, gently toss, and serve immediately.
KCB 2.2: Sauteed Rice with Poppy Seeds
Sauteeing the rice in butter, ghee, or oil before adding the water allows all the rice grains to remain separate.
1. Wash, drain, and
dry the rice.
2. Boil the water, salt, and lemon juice in a 2-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat. Keep it covered to avoid evaporation.
3. Heat the ghee or oil over moderately low heat in a 2-litre/quart saucepan. Saute the poppy seeds in the hot ghee until they become aromatic.
4. Add the boiling lemon juice and salt water, increase the heat to high, and allow the water to fully boil for a few seconds; then reduce the heat and allow the rice to gently simmer. Place a tight-fitting lid on the pan and cook without stirring or removing the lid for about 15 - 20 minutes or until the rice is tender, dry, and fluffy. Turn off the heat, allow the rice to steam another 5 minutes, and serve.
KCB 2.3: Thai Rice
Thai Jasmine rice is an aromatic long-grain rice from Thailand. Serve it as an accompaniment to Chinese or South East Asian savoury or vegetable dishes.
1. Wash, drain, and
dry the rice.
2. Boil the water (and optional salt) in a 2-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat.
3. Heat the ghee or oil over moderately low heat in a 2-litre/quart saucepan. Saute the rice for 1 minute.
4. Add the boiling water, raise the heat, and allow the water to boil again. Reduce the heat and allow the rice to gently simmer, covered with a tight-fitting lid. Cook the rice, without stirring, for 15 minutes. Remove the rice from the heat, leaving it covered for another 5 minutes before serving.
KCB 2.4: South Indian Yogurt Rice (Dahi Bhat)
This delightful yogurt rice from South India features urad dal, mustard, chili, and ginger. Serve hot or cold as a refreshing accompaniment to a light lunch menu.
drain, and dry the rice.
2. Bring the water and salt to the boil in a covered 2-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat.
3. Heat the ghee or oil over moderate heat in a 2-litre/quart saucepan. Saute the mustard seeds in the hot ghee until they crackle. Add the urad dal and fry until golden brown. Add the minced ginger and the chilies and saute for 1 minute. Add the rice and saute for 1 minute.
4. Pour in the boiling salted water and increase the heat to full. When the water boils, reduce the heat, allowing the rice to gently simmer. Place a tight-fitting lid on the pan and cook without stirring for 15 minutes or until the rice is tender and dry. Remove the rice from the heat and gently fold in the yogurt with a fork. Replace the lid, allowing the rice to absorb the yogurt. Serve immediately or allow the rice to cool and serve chilled.
KCB 2.5: Yellow Rice
The delightful yellow colour in this rice dish comes from turmeric, the powdered root of the plant Curcuma longa. Turmeric is an essential ingredient in Indian cooking, extensively used in beans, legumes, dals, and various vegetable dishes. It should always be used in moderation, lending a hint of yellow and a slightly warm flavour. Excessive use of turmeric results in an unpleasant bitter taste. Turmeric is a blood purifier and is used in Ayur Vedic medicine as a poultice. Purchase turmeric at any well-stocked supermarket or Asian grocer. Serve Yellow Rice with spinach-based vegetable dishes such as Spinach, Tomato, Eggplant, and Chickpea Stew; or Creamed Spinach with Curd Cheese, along with dal, and a salad.
drain, and dry the rice.
2. Boil the water, salt, and turmeric in a 2-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat.
3. Heat the ghee or oil over moderate heat in a 2-litre/quart saucepan. Saute the rice in the hot ghee for 1 minute.
4. Add the boiling turmeric and salt water and increase the heat to full. When the water boils, reduce the heat to low and allow the rice to gently simmer. Place a tight-fitting lid on the pan and cook without stirring for 15 - 20 minutes or until the rice is tender and dry. Remove the rice from the heat, leaving the lid on for another 5 minutes to allow the grains to firm. Fluff with a fork and serve hot, garnished with fresh coriander leaves
KCB 2.6: Rainbow Brown Rice
Compared with most white rice, brown rice is more chewy, with a delightful nutty, sweet flavour. It is also high in much-needed B-complex vitamins. It can be sauteed and cooked in the same way as white rice, the only difference being the length of time it takes to cook. Brown rice should cook for at least 45 - 55 minutes to become soft and flaky. Serve long-grain brown rice with a light vegetable dish accompanied by bread and salad.
1. Bring the
water, salt, and bay leaves slowly to a boil in a heavy 2-litre/quart
saucepan over moderate heat.
2. Heat half the ghee or oil in a 2 litre/quart saucepan over moderately low heat. When hot, stir in the rice and saute for about 2 minutes. Pour in the boiling salted water. Stir, raise the heat, and bring the water to a full boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and gently simmer, without stirring, for 45 - 55 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender and flaky.
3. Remove the rice from the heat, leaving the lid on for another 5 minutes to allow the rice to become firm.
4. Heat the rest of the ghee or oil over moderate heat in a heavy pan or wok. Saute the asafoetida and black pepper momentarily in the hot ghee. Add the minced ginger and saute for 1/2 minute. Stir-fry the cauliflower pieces, celery, peas, peppers, and carrot straws until tender. Add the cooked corn, tomato pieces, chickpeas, peanuts, sesame seeds, and parsley and combine well. Remove from the heat.
5. Fold together the cooked rice and vegetables and serve immediately, garnished with twists of lemon or lime.
KCB 2.7: South Indian Sweet-and-Sour Tamarind Rice
This is a well-known and favourite rice dish amongst the Iyengars of South India who are followers of the Ramanuja Sampradaya. The recipe is over 1000 years old and is traditionally called puliogre. The rasam powder called for in this recipe is home-made; however, shop-bought rasam powder can be substituted for the home-made variety.
drain, and dry the rice.
2. Boil the 3 cups (750 ml) of unsalted water in a heavy 3-litre/quart non-stick saucepan. Add the rice. Stir until the water returns to a boil; then reduce the heat to a simmer, put on a tight-fitting lid, and leave undisturbed for 15 or 20 minutes or until the rice is dry and tender. Remove the rice from the heat and set aside, covered.
3. Meanwhile, combine the ball of seeded tamarind pulp with the 1/2 cup (125 ml) of hot water, squeeze until well mixed, and leave to soak.
4. Dry-roast the cumin seeds, black peppercorns, fenugreek, and sesame seeds in a small, heavy pan over moderately low heat. Stir constantly for about 3 minutes until the sesame seeds become aromatic and the spices darken a few shales. Remove the seeds and spices from the pan, allow them to cool, and then grind them in a small coffee grinder or blender until they are powdered. Combine them with the dried coconut, mix well, and place them in a small bowl.
5. Strain the tamarind pulp through a sieve. Squeeze and scrape the underside of the sieve, collecting the juice and discarding the pulp. Combine the tamarind juice, rasam powder, salt, and sugar and simmer the mixture over moderate heat in a small saucepan until slightly thickened (about 3 - 5 minutes). Remove from the heat.
6. Pour the ground spices, seeds, and coconut mixture into the tamarind syrup and mix well.
7. Pour the peanut oil into the small pan in which you roasted the spices. Place over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, add the peanuts and stir-fry them until they are golden brown (about 2 minutes). Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towels. Continue heating the remaining oil and add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. When the seeds crackle, pour the contents of the pan into the tamarind syrup and mix well.
8. When the rice is fully cooked, add the peanuts and spicy tamarind syrup and serve immediately.
KCB 2.8: Bengali Royal Rice (Pushpanna)
Pushpanna is the "queen of rice". It contains pure saffron threads and a variety of nuts, dried fruit, vegetables, and spices. It is ideal served on special festive occasions and is worth the time and effort put into gathering the ingredients.
drain, and dry the rice.
2. Soak the saffron in the milk for 5 minutes.
3. Boil the water, salt, saffron milk, and nutmeg in a 2-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat. Keep it covered to avoid evaporation.
4. Heat half the ghee or oil in a 4-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat. Add the cashews and almonds, saute until golden brown, and then remove with a slotted spoon. Set aside. Stir-fry the raisins for a few seconds until they swell, remove them, and place them in a bowl with the cashews and almonds.
5. Add half the remaining ghee or oil to the pan, Saute the rice for 2 - 3 minutes over moderate heat; then add the boiling water. Stir raise the heat, and bring the water to a full boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low, cover with tight-fitting lid, and gently simmer, without stirring, for 15 - 20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender and flaky.
6. Remove the rice from the heat, leaving the lid on for another 5 minutes to allow the rice to become firm.
7. Place the remaining ghee in a heavy pan over moderate heat. Stir fry the fennel seeds, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, cardamom pods, and whole cloves for 1 minute or until seeds are golden brown. Add the black pepper, cayenne pepper, asafoetida, and fresh coconut. Saute the coconut for 1 minute; then add the peas, sugar, deep-fried panir, nuts , and raisins. Remove from the heat.
8. Carefully combine the cooked rice with all the other ingredients. Serve on a warmed serving dish or on individual plates.
KCB 2.9: Rice with Green Peas and Almonds
This fancy rice dish is ideal for party catering or for a special lunch or dinner.
drain, and dry the rice.
2. Lightly tap each cardamom pod to partially crush.
3. Bring the water, salt, and turmeric slowly to a boil in a 2-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat.
4. Heat the ghee or oil in another 2-litre/quart saucepan over moderately low heat. Fry the cinnamon stick, cloves, bruised cardamom pods, and almonds in the hot ghee until the almonds turn pale golden brown.
5. Add the rice and saute for about 2 minutes or until the grains turn whitish. Pour in the boiling salted turmeric water and fresh peas (defrosted frozen peas should be added after the rice has been cooking for about 10 minutes). Stir, increase the heat to high, and bring the water to a full boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and gently simmer, without stirring, for 15 - 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and the rice is tender and flaky. Serve hot.
Savoury Cantonese Fried Rice
Use long-grain rice in this tasty fried combination with sauteed vegetables, tofu, and seasonings. The rice should be boiled in water, drained, and chilled overnight before frying. The tofu required is the firm rather than the soft or "silken" variety. It is available from any Asian grocer.
1. Heat 1
tablespoon (20 ml) of Chinese sesame oil in a wok over moderate heat.
Saute the minced ginger in the hot oil for one minute. Add the
asafoetida, tossing it momentarily with the ginger. Increase the heat
to full. Add the carrots, celery, and cabbage and saute for 2 or 3
minutes. Add the cucumber, bamboo shoots, red peppers, green peas,
and bean shoots and saute for one minute; then add the tofu,
soy sauce, chili oil, salt, and pepper. Saute for one minute.
2. Empty the contents of the wok into a bowl, cover with a lid, and rinse the wok.
3. Heat the wok until dry and hot and add the remaining sesame oil. Saute the chilled long-grain rice in the hot oil over full heat. Add the vegetables and serve immediately.
KCB 2.10: Lemon Rice
Lemon rice originates in South India and is flavoured with fresh lemon or lime juice, tasty urad dal, mustard seeds, and fresh coconut.
drain, and dry the rice.
2. Boil the water, salt, and turmeric in a 2-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat.
3. Heat the ghee or oil over moderately low heat in another 2-litre/quart saucepan. Saute the raw cashew halves or bits in the hot ghee until they turn golden brown. Remove them with a slotted spoon and put them aside. Saute the mustard seeds and urad dal in the remaining hot oil until the mustard seeds crackle and the urad dal darkens to a rich golden brown.
4. Add the rice and saute for 1 or 2 minutes, or until the grains are evenly whitish in colour. Add the boiling salted turmeric water. Stir, raise the heat, and bring the water to a full boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid and gently simmer, without stirring, for 15 - 20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender and flaky.
5. Remove the rice from the heat, leaving the lid on for another 5 minutes to allow the rice to firm
6. Before you serve the rice, add the cashew nuts, the lemon or lime juice, and the fresh herbs. Mix well and garnish each serving with coconut.
KCB 2.11: Baked Vegetable Rice (Biriyani)
Biriyani originates in the Moghul period of Indian history. This delightful and colourful vegetarian version, ideal as a festive dish, contains zucchini, lima beans, eggplant, red peppers, cashews, raisins, and spices.
drain, and dry the rice.
2. Boil the water, 11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) salt, and 11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) turmeric in a 4-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat.
3. Heat half the ghee or oil in another 2-litre/quart saucepan over moderately-low heat. Saute the cardamom seeds and the rice in the hot ghee for 2 minutes or until the grains turn whitish. Add the boiling water. Stir, raise the heat, and bring the water to a full boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and gently simmer, without stirring, for 15 - 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, allowing the grains to become firm.
4. Heat the remaining ghee or oil in a medium-sized pan or wok over moderately high heat. Saute the mustard seeds in the hot ghee and, when they crackle, add the poppy seeds, the cayenne, garam masala, coriander, eggplant pieces, and half the butter. Stir-fry the eggplant for about 3 minutes.
5. Add the zucchini, red pepper, tomato pieces, remaining salt, and sugar. Simmer the vegetables until just tender. Add the lima beans and remove from the heat.
6. Spoon half the rice into a large buttered oven-proof casserole dish and spread evenly. Spread the vegetable mixture on top.
7. Heat the remaining butter in a small pan over moderate heat. Saute the nuts in the hot butter until they turn pale golden brown. Add the raisins and stir-fry until they swell and the nuts are golden brown.
8. Combine this mixture with the remaining rice and spread on top of the vegetable layer. Place a lid on the casserole dish and bake in a preheated moderate oven 180°C/355F for 30 minutes. Serve hot.
KCB 2.12: Rice and Mung Bean Stew (Khichari)
Khichari is a nutritious stew featuring dal and rice. There are two main varieties thin (geeli khichari) and thick (sookha khichari). Whichever way you prepare khichari, it will soon become a delicious favourite. The following recipe is for the thicker variety. Khichari is an ideal breakfast food, wonderful when accompanied by yogurt and fresh hot Puffed Fried Breads (Pooris) or toast. Always serve khichari with a wedge of lemon or lime. Not only does this add a delightful nuance of flavour, but it lends nutritional advantage also: there are good sources of iron in the dal and vegetables in khichari, and the lemon juice, rich in vitamin C, helps your body absorb it. This recipe is mildly spiced. Adjust your own spicing as required.
1. Wash and
drain the dal and rice.
2. Heat the ghee in a heavy 4-litre/quart non-stick saucepan over moderate heat. Fry the cashews in the hot ghee until they turn golden brown and remove them with a slotted spoon. Put them aside. Fry the cumin seeds in the ghee. When they turn golden brown add the chilies and ginger. Saute them for a few seconds; then add the turmeric and asafoetida. Add the cauliflower pieces and stirfry them for 1 minute. Finally, add the dal and rice, stirring with the spices and vegetables for 1 minute.
3. Add the water and bring to a full boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover, and slowly cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 - 40 minutes or until the dal and rice are soft. If the khichari dries out too much, add up to one cup (250 ml) warm water. Before removing the khichari from the heat, fold in the salt, butter, cooked green peas, chopped tomatoes, toasted cashews, and the chopped fresh coriander leaves, allowing them to warm for one minute. Serve hot.
KCB 2.13: Spanish Vegetable Rice (Paella)
This is a vegetarian version of the Spanish national dish. It's colourful and delicious and flavoured with pure saffron thread. Paella is an ideal choice as a colourful addition to a special dinner or luncheon.
drain, and dry the rice.
2. Heat the olive oil in a 4-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, add the asafoetida and red pepper, stirring for about 2 minutes. Add the rice and saute for about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the vegetable stock until boiling.
3. Add the boiling stock to the rice and increase the heat to full. Add the tomatoes, green beans, peas, celery, olives, salt, pepper, and saffron water. When the liquid boils, reduce the heat to very low and simmer the rice, covered, for about 30 minutes or until it is tender. Do not remove the lid during the cooking process.
4. Remove the pan from the heat and turn the paella into a warmed serving dish. Garnish with almonds and serve hot.
KCB 2.14: Indonesian Coconut Rice
The delicate flavour of coconut pervades this simple rice dish. You will need 2 special ingredients: coconut milk (santan) and lime leaf. Both are available at Asian specialty stores. The coconut milk can be bought in cans. This recipe requires the liquid variety of coconut milk, not the creamed coconut pulp. The lime leaf can be obtained dried, in packets. The lime leaf can be substituted with a bay leaf.
1. Wash the rice
thoroughly in cold water. Soak it in cold water for 10 minutes,
drain, and allow to air-dry for 10 minutes.
2. Boil the coconut milk (santan), salt, and lime leaf in a heavy-based 2-litre/quart saucepan. Add the rice. Reduce the heat to very low, allowing the rice to simmer slowly with a tight-fitting lid. After about 15 minutes, the liquid will have evaporated. Carefully stir the grains with a fork and replace the lid. After another 5 minutes, the rice will have completely steamed. Serve immediately.
KCB 2.15: Tomato Rice with Herbs
This simple combination of rice, boil in a 2-litre/quart saucepan over herbs, and tomato with an Italian flavour can also be used as an alternative stuffing for baked peppers.
drain, and dry the rice.
2. Bring the water, salt, paprika, tomato paste, and basil slowly to a boil in a 2-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat.
3. Heat the olive oil in a non-sticking 2-litre/quart saucepan over moderately low heat. Saute the asafoetida in the hot ghee. Add the rice and stir fry for about 2 minutes or until the rice grains turn whitish.
4. Pour in the boiling water. Stir, raise the heat to high, and bring the water to a full boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and gently simmer, without stirring, for 15 - 20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender and flaky.
5. Remove the rice from the heat and allow it to steam for 5 minutes with the lid on. Finally, fold in the tomatoes and fresh parsley and serve immediately.
KCB 3: SOUPS
Served as a first course or as a complete meal, a side dish or a refresher, soup is inexpensive and nutritious.
KCB 3.1: Lentil and Tomato Soup
Serve this hearty soup with rice or crusty bread.
1. Wash and
drain the brown lentils.
2. Boil the lentils, water, and ground coriander in a heavy 3-litre/quart saucepan over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to moderately low, cover, and cook for about 45 minutes or until the lentils become soft.
3. Heat the olive oil in a small pan over moderate to moderately high heat. Saute the asafoetida and black pepper in the hot oil. Add the fried spices to the soup. Add the salt, sugar, lemon juice, and chopped tomatoes. Return the soup to the boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and fresh parsley and serve hot.
KCB 3.2: Minestrone Soup
There are many varieties of this world-famous Italian soup. This one"Minestrone alla Milanese" is practically a meal in itself. Serve it with fresh bread and salad. For best results, start the soup well in advance of serving time and cook slowly.
1. Heat the
olive oil in a large saucepan. Saute the asafoetida in the hot oil
until it becomes aromatic, and then add the tomatoes, drained soaked
beans, basil, parsley, and water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat,
cover, and simmer for about 11/2 hours or until
the beans are soft, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the carrots and celery and simmer for another 1/2 hour. Add the potatoes, zucchini, cabbage, peas, salt, and pepper. Ten minutes later add the pasta. After 10 minutes, if the potato, zucchini, cabbage, and peas are tender, turn off the heat. If the soup becomes too thick, add hot water as required. Let the soup sit for 5 minutes; then add the parmesan cheese, reserving some to sprinkle on the individual soup bowls. Serve hot.
KCB 3.3: Green Split-Pea Dal with Spinach and Coconut Milk
Fresh spinach enhances and enriches the texture of this hearty soup. Serve this soup with Lemon Rice for a delightful combination of taste and colour. Soak the dal well in advance.
1. Wash and drain
the split peas. Soak in cold water for 5 hours.
2. Boil the ginger, chili, water, turmeric, coriander, and split peas in a heavy 3-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat. Simmer for about 50 minutes or until the dal is soft . Stir occasionally.
3. Add the chopped spinach to the dal. When the spinach is soft and the dal is smooth, add the salt and coconut milk and return the soup to a simmer.
4. Prepare the final zesty seasoning as follows: heat the ghee or oil in a small pan. Saute the kalonji seeds in the hot ghee for 1 minute. Saute the asafoetida momentarily. Add the spices to the soup, mix well, and allow the spices to blend for a few minutes. Add fresh lemon or lime juice. Serve hot.
KCB 3.4: Corn Chowder
Select corn with fresh, dark-green husks and plump yellow kernels. Boil the corn in unsalted water for exactly 8 minutes, as excessive cooking toughens the corn
Boil the stock or water over high heat in a heavy 4-litre/quart
saucepan. Add the potatoes and bay leaf. Reduce the heat to moderate
and semi-cook the potatoes.
2. Whilst the potatoes are cooking, coarsely mince the cooked corn kernels in a food processor or blender until they are half-pureed. Add the pureed corn to the nearly cooked potatoes and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and transfer the mixture into a bowl. Cover and keep hot.
3. Rinse the saucepan, add the butter and melt over moderate heat. Add the asafoetida, pepper, nutmeg, and the flour. Cook the flour in the butter until it darkens a shade or two. Add the potato-and-corn mixture into the butter and flour whilst stirring with a whisk.
4. Bring the soup to a boil over moderate heat. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the salt, sour cream, and parsley. Serve in prewarmed soup bowls with a spoonful of sour cream and garnish with fresh parsley.
KCB 3.5: Gujarati Yogurt Soup (Karhi)
Karhis (or Kadhis) are smooth yogurt-based dishes that are served with rice. They are sometimes thick and sauce-like, as in the case of northern Indian Karhi. This Karhi recipe from Gujarat is traditionally soup-like with a hint of sweetness. Serve with Boiled Rice or Rice and Mung Bean Stew.
1. Place the
sifted chickpea flour and 1/4 cup (60 ml) of
the water into a small bowl and whisk to a smooth paste. Add the rest
of the water and whisk again. Carefully whisk in the yogurt,
turmeric, sugar and salt.
2. Pour this mixture into a heavy based 4-litre/quart saucepan and, stirring constantly, bring it to a boil over moderate heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often.
3. Heat the ghee or oil over moderately-high heat in a small pan. Saute the mustard seeds in the hot oil. When the seeds crackle, add the chilies, ginger, and curry leaves. Once the curry leaves darken, add the fenugreek. Stir until the fenugreek seeds darken a few shades. Add the asafoetida and stir to mix; then add the contents of the pan to the simmering Karhi. Stir well, remove from the heat, and cover. Serve hot, garnished with fresh coriander leaves.
KCB 3.6: South Indian Hot-and-Sour Soup (Sambar)
This South Indian soup is traditionally chili-hot. Reduce the chili
content for a milder version. Sambar features three main ingredients:
toor dal, tamarind pulp, and a special spice powder called
sambar masala. All three ingredients are available at any
Sambar's delightful hot-and-sour flavour can be made more substantial with the addition of practically any vegetable of your choice. Serve it with plain fluffy rice, with any South Indian selection such as South Indian Yogurt Rice or South Indian Vegetable Combination, or as an entree to a special dinner.
1. Wash and
drain the toor dal. Soak the dal in 4 cups (1 litre) of hot water for
3 hours. Drain.
2. Boil the dal, water, turmeric, and butter over high heat in a 4-litre/quart saucepan. Reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 1 hour or until the dal becomes soft. Whisk the soup until smooth.
3. Mix the tamarind pulp with a few tablespoons of warm water to form a paste.
4. Blend the fresh or dried coconut, cayenne, sugar, and 1/2 cup (125 ml) water in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour this mixture into the simmering dal. Stir the tamarind puree into the dal.
5. Heat the ghee or oil in a small pan over moderately high heat. Saute the mustard seeds in the hot ghee until they crackle. Add the green chilies and fenugreek seeds. When the fenugreek seeds turn a darker shade, add the curry leaves, asafoetida, and sambar masala. Saute momentarily; then add to the simmering dal. Remove from the heat, season with salt, garnish with the chopped parsley or coriander, and serve hot.
KCB 3.7: Vegetable Soup
This traditional homestyle soup is a nutritious meal in itself. The whole grains are rich in iron, B vitamins, and protein; the vegetables are rich in A and C vitamins. Serve the soup with bread and salad.
1. Soak the beans, split peas and barley in cold water
for at least 1 hour.
2. Melt the butter in a 6-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat. Add the asafoetida and fry momentarily. Add the carrots, celery, potatoes, turnips, and tomatoes and saute for 5 minutes. Add the water, the drained pre-soaked beans, the herbs, and the pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 hour or until all ingredients are tender. Season with salt and parsley and serve in pre-warmed soup bowls.
KCB 3.8: Cream of Pumpkin Soup
Pumpkin soup is a great winter favourite. Milk and a simple seasoning of black pepper and nutmeg allow the pumpkin flavour to predominate.
1. Melt half
the butter in a 6-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat. Add the
nutmeg, black pepper, and pumpkin cubes and saute for 10 minutes. Add
the water and bring to a boil, cooking until the pumpkin is very
2. Empty the contents of the saucepan into a blender and add half the milk. Puree, being careful to ensure the lid remains on the blender.
3. Rinse the saucepan, add remaining butter and heat gently. Stir the flour into the butter. Return the pumpkin puree to the saucepan along with the remaining milk, stirring constantly until the soup is well-blended. Bring to a boil, simmer for a few minutes, and season with salt. Serve the soup in individual pre-warmed soup bowls, garnished with light cream and chopped parsley. Serve hot.
KCB 3.9: Mung Bean and Tomato Soup
Whole green mung beans combine wonderfully with tomatoes and cook to a succulent puree in this ever-popular dal soup. Mung beans are rich in iron, vitamin B, and protein, and their available protein content increases when combined with bread or rice.
1. Wash and
drain the mung beans.
2. Boil the beans, water, turmeric, ginger, and chili over high heat in a heavy 3-litre/quart saucepan. Reduce heat to moderately low. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and boil gently for up to 1 hour or until the beans become soft.
3. Add the tomatoes, parsley, sugar, salt, and lemon juice. Continue to simmer for another 5 minutes.
4. Heat the olive oil in a small pan until slightly smoking; add the cumin seeds and saute until they crackle and turn golden brown. Saute the asafoetida momentarily; then add the spices to the soup. Allow the seasonings to soak into the soup for 1 - 2 minutes. Serve hot.
KCB 3.10: Potato Soup
1. Boil the
water, diced potatoes, and chopped celery over moderate heat in a
4-litre/quart saucepan. Cover, and simmer until the potatoes are very
tender (about 30 minutes). Stir occasionally.
2. Heat the butter in a small pan over low heat. Saute the asafoetida, black pepper, ground celery seed, and dried dill momentarily in the hot oil. Add the sour cream, stir to mix, warm for 1 minute, and remove from heat.
3. Blend the potato and celery mixture in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return the pureed potato and celery mixture to the saucepan. Bring the soup almost to a boil over moderate heat, stirring constantly. Add the sour cream mixture, salt, and parsley. Serve immediately.
KCB 3.11: Chilled Summer Fruit Soup
This cool and refreshing soup can be served as a first course, between courses, or as a dessert. All fruits should be ripe, sweet, and seasonal.
1. Boil the
apples, grapes, cherries, water, grape juice, pineapple juice, and
orange rind in a 4-litre/quart saucepan. Reduce the heat, cover, and
simmer for 10 minutes or until the apples are tender. Stir
2. Add the prunes and berries. Continue simmering for about 5 minutes or until the prunes are tender.
3. Mix the arrowroot with the apple juice until completely dissolved and stir into the soup. Bring the soup to a boil and stir constantly for 1 minute, or until the soup thickens. Remove from the heat, add maple syrup (or honey) and orange segments. Chill. Serve in large soup bowls with a spoonful of sour cream, garnished with a sprig of fresh mint.
KCB 3.12: Split-Mung Dal
Used extensively in soups, stews, and sauces in Indian vegetarian cuisine, split mung beans are rich in vegetable protein, iron, and B vitamins. When you combine dal with a food that has a complimentary protein (grains, seeds, nuts, or milk products), the usable protein in the dal increases dramatically. Serve this simple puree like soup as an entree to a western-type meal or serve it as part of a traditional Indian meal such as Sauteed Rice with Poppy Seeds, North Indian Curried Cauliflower and Potatoes, Griddle-Baked Bread, Mixed Vegetable and Yogurt Salad, Creamy Condensed-Milk Rice Pudding, and Lemon, Mint, and Whey Nectar.
1. Wash, and
drain the split mung beans.
2. Place the mung beans, water, turmeric, ground coriander, minced ginger, and chili in a heavy 3-litre/quart saucepan and, stirring occasionally, bring to a full boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderately low, cover with a lid, and boil for one hour or until the beans become soft.
3. Heat the ghee or oil over moderate heat in a small pan. Saute the cumin seeds in the hot oil until they turn brown; then add the asafoetida powder and saute momentarily. Pour the seasonings into the dal. Add the salt and remove the soup from the heat, allowing the spices to soak for a few minutes. Add the minced fresh herbs and stir well. Serve hot.
KCB 3.13: Tomato Soup
This light and delicious tomato soup makes the canned variety pale into insignificance. Prepared from fresh ripe tomatoes and served steaming hot with crusty bread, it's a winner!
1. Melt 1
tablespoon (20 ml) butter over low heat in a heavy 3-litre/quart
saucepan. When the foam subsides, add the asafoetida, tomatoes,
sugar, salt, pepper, and basil. Raise the heat to moderate and saute
for 2 - 3 minutes. Stir in the stock or water, raise the heat, bring
to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes or until the
tomatoes are fully broken up.
2. Strain the mixture into a large mixing bowl, pressing down on the tomatoes in the strainer to extract as much of the juice as possible. Discard the dry solid residue in the strainer. Set aside the pureed tomatoes.
3. Rinse the saucepan and melt the remaining butter in it over moderate heat. Remove the pan from the heat. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour to make a smooth paste. Return the pan to the heat and gradually add the strained tomato mixture, stirring constantly. Bring the mixture to the boil, still stirring.
4. Stir in the chopped parsley. Turn the soup into a warmed tureen or individual soup bowls and serve hot.
KCB 3.14: Russian Beetroot Soup (Borsch)
Beetroot Soup, Borsch, has found its way into numerous Eastern European cuisines.
1. Boil 7 cups
(1.75 litres) water in a large saucepan over full heat. Add salt, bay
leaves, cubed potatoes, and cabbage. Return to a boil, reduce the
heat, and allow to simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until the
vegetables are tender.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon (20 ml) ghee or oil in a small saucepan over moderate heat. Saute the grated beet root for 2 - 3 minutes; then add 1 cup (250 ml) water. Increase the heat and boil the beetroot. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until the beetroot becomes soft.
3. Add the lemon juice to the beetroot and pour the beetroot into the cooked potato and cabbage. Continue to simmer, covered.
4. Heat 3 tablespoons (60 ml) ghee or oil in a small saucepan over low heat. To the hot ghee add ground coriander, black pepper, asafoetida, and grated carrots. Increase the heat and saute for 3 - 4 minutes or until the carrots become soft. Add the tomato paste and combine this with the soup. Add the clove powder and sugar. Allow the soup to boil for another 2 minutes. Add the parsley. Serve the soup hot in individual soup bowls. Put a tablespoon of sour cream in each serving.
KCB 3.15: Yellow Split-Pea Soup with Pumpkin
This creamy, smooth dal soup with its pleasant lemony taste and chunks of butter-soft pumpkin is ideal as a tasty accompaniment to either a simple or elaborate menu.
1. Wash the
dal. Soak it in 4 cups (1 litre) hot water for 5 hours.
2. Place the split peas, water, ginger, chili, bay leaf, turmeric, and 2 teaspoons (10 ml) ghee or oil in a heavy, 3-litre/quart saucepan. Bring to a full boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to moderately low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and boil for 11/2 hours or until the split peas become soft. Add the pumpkin and cook for another 10 minutes or until the pumpkin becomes soft. Add the salt and lemon juice.
3. Heat the remaining ghee or oil in a small pan over moderately high heat. Saute the mustard seeds in the hot oil until they crackle. Add the cumin seeds and when the cumin seeds turn dark golden brown, add the fenugreek seeds. When they darken, add the asafoetida and curry leaves, stir once, and empty the contents of the pan into the cooked dal. Add the brown sugar and stir well. Let the dal sit for 1 or 2 minutes; then add the chopped herbs. Serve hot.
KCB 3.16: Cream of Asparagus Soup
Select the thin, green-stalked variety (English Asparagus) for this soup.
1. Wash the
asparagus well and holding the bunch so the tips are all level, slice
off the tips. Place them in a bowl. Cut the stalks into sections and
place in a separate bowl.
2. Place 1 cup (250 ml) of the water or stock, one quarter of the salt, and the asparagus tips in a 4-litre/quart saucepan. Simmer for 4 - 5 minutes or until tender. Remove the tips and place them in a bowl, keeping the cooking water in the saucepan.
3. Place the asparagus stalks, the asafoetida, and the celery in the same saucepan. Covered and simmer over moderate heat for 15 - 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
4. Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the contents through a sieve. Keep the reserved liquid and squeeze the vegetables through the sieve, collecting the puree in a separate bowl and discarding the dry residue in the sieve.
5. Melt the butter in a saucepan over moderate heat, add the flour, and slowly add the reserved asparagus stock over low heat. Stir until the soup thickens. Add the vegetable puree, the rest of the salt, the pepper, and the asparagus tips; stir well and heat until almost boiling. Stir in the cream. Serve the soup in pre-warmed soup bowls and garnish each serving with a light sprinkle of paprika.
KCB 3.17: Fiery South Indian Toor Dal Soup (Rasam)
South India has many regional varieties of rasam. This one
comes from Bangalore.
The recipe for home-made rasam powder, the main seasoning ingredient in this spicy dal, appears below. Though you can purchase rasam powder at any Asian goods store, home-made is preferable.
1. Boil the
toordal, water, and chopped green chilies in a heavy saucepan.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until the dal
2. Add the tomato, chopped fresh coriander, and rasam powder. Continue cooking the soup for another 78 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the salt, sugar, and tamarind concentrate. Continue cooking for another 7 - 8 minutes.
4. Heat the ghee in a small pan. When it becomes very hot, add the mustard seeds and saute them until they crackle and turn grey. Brown the curry leaves and cumin seeds; then add the asafoetida and turmeric. Add this hot seasoning mixture to the simmering dal. Allow the flavours to mix and serve hot with plain rice.
1. Heat the
oil in a heavy pan over moderate heat.
2. Saute the mustard seeds in the hot oil until they crackle. Add all other ingredients. Stir well, reduce the heat to medium, and roast all the spices until they turn brown (about 3 minutes), stirring constantly. Remove the spices from the pan, allow them to cool, and grind them to a powder. This mixture can be stored for some time in a sealed jar.
KCB 3.18: Mexican Chilled Vegetable Soup (Gazpacho)
This chilled soup is very refreshing on a hot day, and requires practically no cooking.
1. Blend all
the ingredients (except those that are reserved and those for
garnish) in a blender or food processor until they are nearly smooth.
Empty the contents of the blender into a large bowl.
2. Heat the reserved olive oil in a medium-sized pan over moderate heat. Saute the asafoetida in the hot oil. Turn off the heat. Add the reserved cucumber, the reserved green pepper, and the reserved tomato pieces to the hot pan. Stir them once and add them to the pureed soup. Mix well. Refrigerate. Serve garnished with the parsley and coriander in chilled soup bowls.
KCB 3.19: Thai Clear Soup with Tofu
This recipe calls for soft tofu, which has a consistency of
thick custard, sometimes called "silken tofu". The
bamboo shoots should be fresh, if possible. Otherwise, canned will
do. All special ingredients are available from any Asian
Serve Thai Clear Soup with Thai Rice, Vegetarian Spring Rolls, Sweet-and-Sour Sesame Sauce, Cantonese Stir-Fried Vegetables with Cashews in Black Bean Sauce, and Vietnamese Sweet Mung Bean Cakes for a delightful South East Asian meal.
1. Boil the
stock or water in a 4-litre/quart saucepan over high heat. Add the
sliced bamboo shoots, salt, and soy sauce. Reduce the heat to
moderate and simmer for 5 minutes.
2. Heat the vegetable oil in a small pan over moderate heat. Saute the asafoetida. Add the sesame oil; then add the contents of the pan into the soup.
3. Add the ginger, tofu, and chili. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve hot.
KCB 4: BREADS
The Bhagavad-gétä states, ‘All living beings
subsist on grains’. Breads provide sustaining and nutritious
variety to our lives.
Here are a few of the worlds most famous breads.
KCB 4.1: Wholemeal Bread
Breads are delicious, nutritious, and economical to make. They come
in a myriad of forms the world over. Here's a recipe for crusty
wholemeal bread made especially well-textured with the addition of
gluten flour. Obtain the gluten flour from any health food store or
Follow these tips when making bread: choose the correct flour; add the correct amount of yeast; knead the dough thoroughly; allow the bread to rise before baking, until doubled in bulk; cover the rising dough to prevent a skin forming; and always bake bread in a preheated oven at a high temperature. If you want a soft finish on your bread, rub or brush it with flour. For a crusty finish, brush with salted water. Brush with milk or cream to impart a shiny glaze, and brush with sugar syrup for a sweet glaze.
1. Combine the
yeast, sugar, and warm water in a small bowl, crumbling the yeast and
mixing it well. Leave this bowl undisturbed in a warm place for 10
minutes or until frothy.
2. Combine the gluten flour, salt, and half the wholemeal flour in a large bowl. Add the yeast and the oil. Mix with a wooden spoon until well combined. Let it stand, covered, for 30 minutes.
3. Stir the mixture. Add the flour to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead it for 8 - 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
4. Wash and oil the mixing bowl. Roll the dough into a ball, coat it with oil, and place it in the bowl, covered. Let it rise in a warm spot for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
5. Punch down the dough with your fist and knead again lightly. Shape it into 2 loaves. Place the loaves into oiled loaf tins and cover them, placing them in a warm spot for another 30 minutes or until doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C/390°F.
6. Brush the risen loaves with milk and sprinkle them with sesame seeds. Place them in the hot oven and cook for about 45 minutes or until golden, crisp, and hollow-sounding when tapped. Remove the tins from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Now you can carefully invert the bread tins and turn out the loaves, placing them on cooling racks. When the loaves are completely cool, slice and use as required.
KCB 4.2: Griddle-Baked Bread (Chapati)
Chapatis are one of India's most popular breads. They are
enjoyed especially in the northern and central regions of India. They
are partially cooked on a hot griddle and finished over an open-heat
source. Chapatis are made from a special wholemeal flour
called atta, available from Indian grocers. If unavailable,
substitute sifted wholemeal flour. You can spread melted butter or
ghee on the chapatis after they are cooked.
Chapatis are usually served at lunch or dinner and are great whether served with a 5-course dinner or just with a simple dal and salad.
1. Combine the
flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add up to 2/3
cup (165 ml) of water, slowly pouring in just enough to form a soft
kneadable dough. Turn the dough onto a clean working surface and
knead for about 8 minutes or until silky-smooth. Cover with an
overturned bowl and leave for 1/2 - 3 hours.
2. Knead the dough again for 1 minute. Divide the dough into 1 dozen portions. Roll them into smooth balls and cover with a damp cloth.
3. Preheat a griddle or non-stick heavy frying pan over moderately low heat for 3 - 4 minutes. Flatten a ball of dough, dredge it in flour, and carefully roll out the ball into a thin, perfectly even, smooth disk of dough about 15 cm (6 inches) in diameter.
4. Carefully pick up the chapati and slap it between your hands to remove the excess flour. Slip it onto the hot plate, avoiding any wrinkles. Cook for about 1 minute on the first side. The top of the chapati should start to show small bubbles. Turn the chapati over with tongs. Cook it until small brown spots appear on the underside (about minute).
5. If you are using gas, turn a second burner on high, pick up the chapati with your tongs, and hold it about 5 cm (2 inches) over the flame. It will swell into a puffy balloon. Continue to cook the chapati until it is speckled with black flecks. Place the cooked chapati in a bowl or basket, cover with a clean tea towel or cloth, and continue cooking the rest of the chapatis. When they're all cooked and stacked, you might like to butter them. Serve chapatis hot for best results or cover and keep warm in a preheated warm oven for up to 1/2 hour.
KCB 4.3: Italian Fried Corn-Bread (Polenta)
Polenta is a yellow maize or cornmeal grown in northern Italy. Regarded there as a staple food, it can be used in many ways after it has been prepared as a rather thick porridge. Plain boiled polenta can be grilled, baked, or, as in this recipe, fried. Served with Tomato Relish and sprinkled with parmesan cheese, it makes a delicious side dish.
1. Bring the
water and salt to a boil in a 6-litre/quart saucepan over full heat.
Gradually sprinkle the cornmeal over the water, stirring constantly
with a wire whisk. Make sure that there are no lumps of cornmeal.
2. Reduce the heat to low. Continue to stir the polenta mixture until it is very thick (approximately 10 minutes).
3. Leave the polenta over low heat for about another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. It will be ready to remove from the heat when a wooden spoon will stand upright in the centre of the mixture and not drop to the side of the pan.
4. Spoon the mixture into an oiled 28 cm x 18 cm (7-inch x 11-inch) dish. Smooth out the mixture and leave to cool at room temperature for at least 4 hours.
5. Carefully turn the slab of polenta out of the tin and cut it in half lengthways. Cut each half into seven slices crossways, each one 4 cm (1/2-inches wide.
6. Heat the butter and oil together in a heavy frying pan. When hot, add about 6 slabs of polenta to the frying pan and reduce the heat to low. Fry gently until the polenta is dark golden brown on each side. Place the polenta onto a serving dish and serve with Tomato Relish and parmesan cheese.
KCB 4.4: Rajasthani Spicy Dal-Stuffed Bread (Urad Dal Poori)
These spicy, fried breads called Urad Dal Pooris (and sometimes called Urad Dal Kachoris) are a popular roadside snack in Rajasthan. Uraddal can be obtained at any Indian grocer. Serve these tasty breads with hot Pumpkin and Potatoes Marwari Style, Date and Tamarind Sauce, or as a snack with a dab of fresh yogurt.
1. Place the
urad dal in a bowl, cover with cold water, and leave to soak
for 4 hours. Drain, place in a blender or food processor with a
sprinkle of cold water, and grind coarsely to a paste. Transfer to a
2. In another bowl, combine the flour, 4 tablespoons (80 ml) of warm ghee, 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of salt, and enough water to make a stiff but smooth dough. Knead well and put aside, covered with a cloth, for 20 minutes.
3. Sprinkle the coriander seeds, cumin, fennel, black peppercorns, and chilies into a heavy pan and dry-roast them over moderate heat until they darken a few shades and become aromatic (a few minutes). Transfer them to a coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle, and grind them to a powder.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon (20 ml) of ghee or oil in a heavy pan over moderate heat. Add the dal paste and stir-fry it, stirring constantly over moderate heat until it starts to stick on the bottom. Remove from the heat, add the powdered spices and 1 teaspoon of the salt, and mix well. Transfer onto a plate or dish to cool.
5. Divide the dough into 20 portions. Roll each portion into a smooth ball. With a rolling pin on a slightly oiled surface, roll out each ball into a thick patty about 5 cm (2-inches) wide. Place 1 tablespoon (20 ml) of cooled filling in the centre of each one, gathering the edges of the dough back over to completely enclose the filling. Pinch the excess dough together and press it back into the centre of the patty. Flatten slightly; then with a rolling pin roll out seam side down (carefully avoiding puncturing the pastry) into a disk 5 - 71/2 cm (2 - 3 inches) wide.
6. When all the dal pooris are rolled, heat the ghee or oil in a pan or wok to 180°C/355°F and carefully slip in 3 or 4 dal pooris. They will immediately sink then rise to the surface. Press them down with a slotted spoon until they inflate. Fry them until lightly browned on one side (about 2 minutes) then turn them over and fry on the second side for another 1 or 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a triple-thickness of paper towels. Cook all dalpooris and serve hot.
KCB 4.5: Puffed Fried Bread (Poori)
Popular over all of India, pooris are ideal to cook for both
small dinner, parties and festivals with hundreds of guests. On a
number of occasions, I've cooked 500 or more pooris in a few
hours for big feasts. Once you get the rhythm down, it's effortless
and rewarding. Pooris are traditionally made with straight
wholemeal flour, but you can vary the ingredients. One-half wholemeal
or atta, and one-half unbleached plain flour makes lighter
pooris. If you're expert at rolling, try using just plain
flour for translucent, gossamer-thin pooris.
You can add yeast to your pooris for light, bread-like results, as in Yeasted Puffed Fried-Bread; you can add spices to your poori dough; you can sprinkle sugar on top of pooris for a sweet snack; or you can stuff them with various sweet and savoury fillings, as in Stuffed Puffed-Bread.
The dough for this poori recipe differs from chapati dough in that butter or ghee is rubbed into the flour and less water is added, to form a drier dough. No flour is used on the rolling surface.
Pooris are traditionally eaten hot, straight out of the ghee or oil, but cold pooris are great for picnics or snacks when travelling. Serve pooris with practically any menu at any time.
1. Combine the
flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Rub in the butter or ghee
until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add up to 2/3
cup (65 ml) of water, slowly pouring in just enough to form a
medium-soft kneadable dough. Turn the dough onto a clean working
surface and knead for 5 - 8 minutes or until silky smooth. Cover with
an overturned bowl and leave for 1/2 - 3
2. Knead the dough again for 1 minute. Divide the dough into 16 portions, roll them into smooth balls, and cover them with a damp cloth.
3. Preheat the ghee or oil in a wok or deep pan over low heat. Meanwhile, with a rolling pin roll all your balls of dough into smooth disks about 111/2 - 121/2 cm (41/2 -inches) wide. Increase the ghee or oil temperature until it reaches about 185°C/365°F. Lift up a rolled poori and slip it into the hot oil, making sure it doesn't fold over. It will sink to the bottom then immediately rise to the surface. Hold it under the surface with a slotted spoon until it puffs up into a balloon. After a few seconds, when it is browned to a light-golden colour, turn it over and cook the other side to an even golden colour. Lift out the poori with the slotted spoon and carefully drain it in a large colander. Repeat for all the pooris. Serve immediately, if possible, or leave in a preheated, slightly warm oven for up to 2 hours.
KCB 4.6: Savoury Wholemeal Pancakes (Dosa)
Each country of the world has many varieties of pancakes, and India is no exception. Each region has its favourite versions. Dosas are a favourite in South India. Whereas traditional dosas are quite large, this recipe presents smaller pancakes to fit a household pan. And whereas traditional dosas are prepared from varieties of dal and rice combinations, these are prepared from basically just chapati flour, spices, and fresh herbs. Serve these slightly crisp pancakes with Tomato Chutney, Coconut Chutney, or plain yogurt.
1. Combine the
flour, asafoetida, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl and mix
well. Add enough cold water to form a smooth, pouring consistency
batter. Fold in the chilies and chopped coriander leaves. Transfer
the batter to a pouring jug or large measuring cup with a spout and
set aside for 15 minutes before cooking.
2. Brush a 20 cm (8-inch) cast-iron frying pan with a film of melted ghee or oil and warm it over moderate heat. When hot, pour in about 1/4 cup
(60 ml) of the batter, or enough to cover the base of the pan, and immediately tilt it to spread the batter into a thin 20 cm (8-inch) pancake. Drizzling a little ghee or oil around the edges of the dosa cook until the edges brown and the bottom turns golden brown in patches (about 3 minutes). Flip the dosa over, sprinkle with more oil, and cook it for another 11/2 - 2 minutes. Slide the cooked dosa onto a clean plate and serve it either flat or folded in half. Make all the dosas in the same way, stirring the batter occasion ally. Serve hot.
KCB 4.7: Stuffed Pan-Fried (Paratha)
This is a delicious Singapore version of the famous Indian stuffed bread, paratha. These flaky, soft breads are pan-fried slowly with ghee or oil until golden brown. They're great served at any time with a chutney or sauce.
1. To prepare
the filling: heat the oil in a wok or large pan over moderate heat.
When hot, add the asafoetida and fry momentarily. Increase the heat
to full, add the vegetables, and stir-fry briskly for 4 - 5 minutes.
Add soy sauce, salt, and sugar, stir-frying for another minute. Mix a
little liquid from the wok (or water if the vegetables are dry) with
the cornflour and pour this thickening paste into the vegetables.
Saute for another 1/2 minute. Set aside to
2. To make the pastry: mix the oil and salt with the plain flour and rub in the oil until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add enough cold water (a little over 1/2 cup [125 ml]) to form a soft dough. Knead well for about 5 minutes. Divide into 10 balls.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each ball with a rolling pin into paper-thin disks 25 cm (10-inches) wide.
4. Divide the filling into 10 portions. Place 1 portion of filling in the centre of each disk of pastry, spreading it out about 5 cm (2-inches) wide.
5. Fold in each side so the filling is completely covered, the pastry overlaps in the centre, and you end up with a square paratha. To seal, use water to moisten the areas where the pastry overlaps. Roll gently to seal and flatten.
6. Place one or two parathas on a griddle, hot plate, or heavy frying pan brushed with ghee or oil over moderate heat. Turn occasionally until the paratha displays golden-brown marbled spots on the surface of both sides (about 3 - 4 minutes). Repeat with all parathas, brushing them with ghee or oil when required. Serve hot.
KCB 4.8: Middle Eastern Round Bread (Pita)
No Middle Eastern meal is complete without these traditional slightly
leavened, round, soft breads. Sometimes called Khobz, or
pocket breads, they are becoming increasingly popular in the west.
Try baking them yourself.
Distinct from traditional breads, these breads rise only once and are then baked at a very high temperature for a short time. During the process the dough separates to form the pouch or hollow, enabling the bread to be later split in half and stuffed. Traditionally, this bread is made with strong white flour, but if you wish you can substitute wholemeal flour or a softer white flour (you might then need to adjust baking time). Pita breads can be served with a traditional Middle Eastern meal, filled with your favourite salad along with Falafel, or used as a base for Asparagus and Pinenut Pizza.
1. Combine the
yeast, warm water, and sugar in a large bowl. Stir thoroughly to
dissolve the yeast.
2. Stir in the flour and salt and knead for about 5 minutes to form a smooth dough, sprinkling on a little extra flour if required.
3. Shape the dough into a cylinder. Divide the dough into 24 portions for small pitas or into 12 for large pitas. Shape each portion into a smooth ball. Place the balls on a floured surface and cover them with a cloth.
4. Carefully form a ball into a smooth, crease-free disk and roll out on a floured board with a rolling pin to form a 0.5 cm (1/4-inch) thick bread. Repeat until all the breads are rolled. Small breads should be about 12.5 cm (5 inches) in diameter, and large ones about 20 cm (8-inches).
5. Preheat the oven to 240°C/465°F. Place the loaves on a floured bench top in a draught-free area, covered with clean, dry tea towels. Do not allow the breads to dry out. The breads should rise for 30 - 45 minutes.
6. Place 1 large or 4 small pitas on an ungreased baking sheet and bake on the bottom of the hot oven for 3 - 4 minutes. When cooked, the bottoms should be golden and the tops cream coloured. Remove and wrap the pitas in dry tea towels. Repeat until all the breads are done.
Note: Take care not to leave the oven door open between batches, and don't allow the breads to go crisp or brittle. They should be soft and flexible when they come out of the oven. If you're not going to use the breads straight away, allow them to cool and store them in plastic bags until required.
KCB 4.9: Mozzarella and Tomato Pizza
This is a crisp-based pizza holding a filling of herb-flavoured tomatoes, with a topping of sliced black olives, peppers, and golden, melting mozzarella cheese. To save time, prepare the filling whilst the dough is rising.
1. Cream the yeast with the sugar in a bowl, add
lukewarm water, and let it stand for 10 minutes or until bubbles
appear on the surface. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, make a
well in the centre, and add the oil and yeast mixture. Mix to a firm
2. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead it for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place it in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
3. Knock the dough down with your fist and knead into a small ball. Flatten out the dough with a rolling pin and roll it into a circular sheet of pastry that will just fit in a 25 cm (10-inch) pizza pan. Place the dough carefully in the pan.
4. Meanwhile make your filling: heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over moderate heat. When hot, add the asafoetida and saute momentarily. Add the undrained canned tomatoes or tomato puree, tomato paste, oregano, basil, sugar, salt, and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil; then reduce the heat and, stirring occasionally, simmer uncovered for 10 - 15 minutes or until the sauce is thick and smooth. Allow the filling to cool somewhat.
5. Spread the cooled filling over the pizza base, leaving a little border uncovered. Combine half the grated mozzarella cheese with the parmesan and sprinkle it over the tomato filling. Top with the eggplant strips, chopped peppers, and olives. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese and bake in a pre-heated hot oven 220°C/430°F for 15 - 20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
KCB 4.10: Stuffed Puffed-Bread (Stuffed Poori)
These tasty treats have been a great favourite at the Hare Krishna Sunday Feasts for decades. Fried puffed-breads (pooris) are stuffed with layers of potato, beans, yogurt, crunchy chickpea pearls, sweet-and-sour tamarind sauce, and finally a sprinkle of hot and sweet spices. Irresistible!
pooris Set them aside.
2. Boil the potato cubes in slightly salted water in a small saucepan, until soft. Drain and set aside.
3. Boil the mung beans in 4 cups (1 litre) unsalted water until they are soft but not broken up. Drain, toss with salt, and set aside.
4. Combine all the ingredients for the tamarind sauce in a bowl. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.
5. Heat a small quantity of ghee or oil (about 21/2 cm, or 1-inch) in a small pan or wok. Mix all the dry ingredients for the chickpea-flour-batter pearls in a bowl. Pour in sufficient cold water to form a thick batter. When the oil reaches 180°C/355°F, pour some of the batter through the holes of a colander into the hot oil. Fry the little pearls of batter for a few minutes or until they are golden brown and crisp, remove them with a slotted spoon, and set them aside. Repeat until all the batter is used.
6. To assemble the stuffed pooris: place all the pooris on a tray with the pooris' thick side down. Puncture a small hole in the top of each poori. Drop in a few pieces of potato, followed by a small spoon of soft mung beans. On top of that, spoon a good sized spoon of yogurt; sprinkle in some chickpea pearls, a spoon of tamarind sauce, and finally a sprinkle of garam masala. Serve immediately.
KCB 4.11: Mexican Oatmeal Corn and Cheese Bread
This is an unusual but tasty bread which requires minimum fuss in
preparation. It is best baked in a well-oiled 23 cm (9-inch)
cast-iron frying pan, enabling it to be "pan-fried" in the
Serve Mexican Oatmeal Corn and Cheese Bread warm, as a cold snack or as part of a summer luncheon or buffet with a light tomato sauce and a fresh salad.
1. Combine the
oatmeal, cornmeal, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, and
buttermilk in a bowl. Mix well and set aside to stand for at least 30
2. Add the remaining ingredients (except the oil) and combine the mixture well.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon (20 ml) of the oil in a heavy, pre-oiled, cast-iron frying pan or cake tin and spoon in the bread batter, spreading it evenly. Drizzle the remaining oil over the batter and bake it in a preheated hot oven 200°C/390°F for 20 - 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.
4. Whilst the bread is still warm, slice into 6 pieces. Serve warm or at room temperature.
KCB 4.12: Bagels
These famous doughnut-shaped rolls are a distinctive part of Jewish cuisine. They are first cooked in water, then baked, giving the bagel its characteristic hard, glazed crust.
1. Mix 3/4
cup (185 ml) water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon (5 ml) brown sugar in a
bowl and let sit covered in a warm place for 10 minutes or until
2. Add this mixture, along with the oil and the rest of the water, to the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix well to a stiff dough and knead for 10 minutes on a lightly floured board.
3. Let the dough rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size in a warm, undisturbed place. Punch the dough with your fist and knead for a few minutes.
4. Divide the dough into 18 portions; then with your hands roll each one into a rope shape, approximately 15 cm (6-inches) long. Moisten the ends and overlap them, squeezing them together to seal, forming rings. Allow all the bagels to stand in a warm place for 10 minutes on an oiled tray.
5. Bring the water to a rolling boil in a large pan. Add the 2 tablespoons (40 ml) of brown sugar and drop 5 or 6 of the bagels into the water. Allow the bagels to boil for 3 minutes, turning once, not allowing them to overlap.
6. With a slotted spoon, remove the bagels from the water and place them onto an oiled oven tray. When all bagels have been boiled and placed on trays, brush them with milk and sprinkle poppy seeds on them. Finally, bake in a hot oven 230°C/450°F until the bagels are golden brown. Serve hot or cold.
KCB 4.13: Yeasted, Puffed Fried-Bread (Khamiri Poori)
Here's another delicious variety of Indian bread. Yeasted pooris traditionally contain a home-made yeast mixture called Khamir made by natural fermentation. I have adapted the recipe using fresh yeast. These lovely pooris taste and smell like hot baked bread and are great served at tea time. Serve with either a sweet or savoury accompaniment.
1. Combine the
yeast, sugar, and a little warm water in a bowl. Cover and leave the
mixture in a warm place for 10 minutes or until it becomes frothy.
2. Sift the flours together and combine with the salt in a mixing bowl. Rub in the butter or ghee until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the yeast mixture and gradually pour in the rest of the warm water to form a firm, kneadable dough. Turn the dough onto a clean working surface and knead it for about minutes or until silky-smooth. Rub a little ghee or butter on the dough and place it in an oiled bowl. Cover with a cloth and leave in a warm spot for at least 1 hour or until it doubles in size.
3. Punch down the risen dough with your fist and knead again for 1 minute. Divide the dough into 16 portions and roll them into smooth balls. Press the balls into little patties and with a rolling pin roll each patty into a disk 111/2 - 121/2 cm (41/2 - 5 inches). Place the disks carefully on oiled baking trays and leave them in a warm spot to rise again.
4. Heat the ghee or oil over moderate heat until it reaches about 185°C/365°F. Lift up a rolled poori and slip it into the hot oil, making sure it doesn't fold over. It will sink to the bottom then immediately bob up to the surface. Hold it under the surface with a slotted spoon until it puffs up into a balloon. After a few seconds, when it is browned to a light golden colour, turn it over and cook the other side to an even golden colour. Lift out the poori with a slotted spoon and carefully drain it on paper towels. Repeat for all the pooris. Serve them immediately, if possible, or leave in a preheated, slightly warm oven for up to 2 hours.
KCB 4.14: Fruity Bran Muffins
Muffins are light and quick to prepare. These little breads are baked
in special deep, round muffin tins and served hot for breakfast. This
recipe comes from Govinda's Bakery in Los Angeles.
Mix the ingredients swiftly, as overmixing will produce tough, coarse muffins.
1. Combine the sugar, flour, fruit, and bran in a
bowl and set aside.
2. Reserve 1 tablespoon (20 ml) milk. Combine the rest of the milk with the melted butter in a small bowl. Add the golden syrup, combine, and add to the bran mixture.
3. Heat the water and the reserved milk in a small saucepan. When hot, add the baking soda. When the mixture froths, pour it into the bran mixture. Mix in quickly and thoroughly. The mixture should be fairly moist. (Some additional milk may be required.)
4. Spoon into a greased muffin tray and bake at 180°C/355°F for 20 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown. Serve hot.
KCB 4.15: Soft Bread rolls
Sprinkled with poppy seeds before baking for an extra taste dimension, these are an excellent all-purpose bread roll. Try serving them with Tomato Soup or cut them and fill with Gopal's Famous Vegie-Nut Burgers topped with your choice of salads and sauce
1. Sift the
flour with the salt into a mixing bowl.
2. Combine the fresh yeast and brown sugar with the warm water and leave in a warm, undisturbed place for 10 minutes or until frothy.
3. Add the oil and frothy yeast mixture to the sifted flour. Mix and add sufficient warm milk to produce a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured board and knead for 10 minutes or until the dough is soft and pliable.
4. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, rub the dough with oil, cover, and leave in a warm spot for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
5. Punch down the dough, knead lightly, and form into a long cylinder. Cut into 12 pieces and shape them into rounds. Place them carefully onto floured baking sheets, leaving enough room for expansion. Cover them loosely with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot for another 15 - 20 minutes or until they have again doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F.
6. Brush the rolls lightly with milk, sprinkle with poppy seeds, and place them in the preheated oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped. Place on a cooling rack and allow to cool before serving.
KCB 4.16: Corn Flat-Bread (Tortilla)
Tortillas are the national bread of Mexico. They are thin and round and made from a white cornmeal called masa. Tortillas are cooked on a griddle without browning, so they are quite soft and may be eaten as they are or fried briefly in oil to crisp them. Masa is hard to get outside of Mexico, so I have suggested polenta mixed with fine wholemeal flour as a substitute. Tortillas may be used as a plate or scoop for other foods, such as Tacos, or rolled and stuffed, as in Enchiladas.
1. Combine the
cornmeal and cold water in a bowl.
2. Stir the cornmeal mixture into the boiling salted water in a saucepan over full heat. Stir until the mixture is thick, drawing away from the sides of the pan.
3. Remove the thickened mixture from the heat and place it in a bowl.
4. Add the oil and mix thoroughly. Stir in the wholemeal flour to make a soft dough and knead on a lightly floured board until smooth (about 10 minutes), adding more flour if necessary.
5. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions and shape them into balls. Flatten the balls and roll them out to 0.125 cm (1/16-inch) thickness.
6. Heat an un-oiled, heavy cast iron pan over moderate heat and, one at a time, bake the tortillas, flipping them over several times until they are lightly golden on both sides. Cool. Serve as suggested above.
KCB 4.17: Crispy Dal Wafers (Pappadams)
Crispy dal-wafers (pappadams or paparh) are often served as part of a full Indian dinner menu, usually at the beginning or as a closing item. They can be deep-fried or toasted over a flame. Although they are technically not breads, they are eaten like breads. They're also great for party snacks. Raw pappadams can be purchased at any Asian grocer shop, and come, plain or spiced, in all sizes.
1. Heat ghee or oil in a wok or large frying pan over moderately high heat. When hot 185°C/365°F, gently slip in a pappadam. It will immediately sizzle and expand. When it crinkles on the edges, turn it over with tongs and after 2 - 3 seconds remove it and place it on paper towels or in a colander to drain. Serve hot or cold.
To toast over a flame
1. Place a raw pappadam on a cake rack and hold it about 5 cm (2-inches) above a heat source set on high. Move the wafer around, until the whole surface is lightened in colour, expanded, and flecked with brown. Turn it over and cook the other side. Remove and stack. Serve hot or cold. Dry-roasted pappadams are great for persons on a low-fat diet.
KCB 4.18: Asparagus and Pinenut Pizza
These pizzas are quick and easy because they're made not with the traditional yeasted pizza dough but with Middle Eastern breads. If you prefer, try making your own Pita breads. The recipe for Middle Eastern Round bread (Pita) yields delicious pizza bases. Topped with home-made pinenut sauce, asparagus, and melting mozzarella cheese, they're sure to please.
1. Heat 1
tablespoon (20 ml) of olive oil in a small saucepan over moderate
heat. When hot, stir in the pinenuts and saute them until they're
lightly browned. Remove them undrained from the pan and empty them
into a blender or food processor along with the extra oil, the basil
leaves, asafoetida, salt, and 2 tablespoons (40 ml of parmesan
cheese. Process until smooth.
2. Cut the asparagus into 2.5 cm (1-inch) lengths and boil or steam until tender. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again.
3. Spread the breads with the pinenut sauce and top with asparagus, diced pepper, and cheeses. Place the pizzas on oven trays and bake in moderate 180°C/355°F oven until the pizzas are golden brown.
KCB 5: VEGETABLE DISHES
If you are tired of seeing vegetables relegated to soggy mounds on the side of your plate, this chapter is for you, a selection of tastefully herbed and spiced dishes prepared in every way imaginable.
KCB 5.1: North Indian Curried Cauliflower and Potatoes
This is a popular North Indian vegetable dish. Combined with hot Puffed Fried Breads (Pooris), dal, and salad, it can be served any time of the day and on any occasion.
1. Heat the
ghee or oil in a large, heavy saucepan over moderate heat.
When the ghee is hot, add the mustard seeds. When they
crackle, add the cumin and saute them until they darken a few shades.
Add the ginger and chilies, saute for a few moments, and then add the
potato and cauliflower pieces. Stir-fry the vegetables for 4 or 5
minutes or until the vegetables start to stick to the bottom of the
2. Add the tomatoes, turmeric, garam masala, ground coriander, sugar, and salt.
3. Mix well, reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan, and, stirring occasionally, cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add water if necessary during this time but don't over-stir the vegetables. When the vegetables are cooked, add the fresh coriander and the lemon juice. Serve hot.
KCB 5.2: Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie
Those of you of "Anglo-Saxon" background, like myself, will perhaps be familiar with the non-vegetarian origins of this dish.
For base of pie
For potato topping
1. Boil the
brown lentils and water in a heavy 6-litre/quart saucepan. Reduce to
a simmer and cook until they become soft. Strain through a colander.
Put the lentils aside and retain the liquid for use as a soup stock
at a later date.
2. Meanwhile, boil the potato cubes in slightly salted water until they become soft. Drain and mash them until smooth. Add the butter, milk, salt, and sour cream and mix well.
3. Heat the olive oil in a small, heavy pan until very hot. Add the asafoetida and pepper and saute momentarily. Add the celery bits and stir well; reduce the heat and braise the celery until soft, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.
4. Mash the drained lentils until smooth.
5. Crumble the curd cheese in a bowl and add the soy sauce. Mix well. Combine this mixture with the mashed lentils and the braised seasoned celery bits. Spread this pie filling evenly in the bottom of an ovenproof casserole dish. Cover this with the mashed potatoes. Smooth the mashed potatoes and use a fork to mark the top with lines. Bake in a very hot oven 230°C/450°F until the top is browned. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with fresh parsley, and serve hot.
KCB 5.3: Baked Stuffed Avocados
In this succulent and unusual entree, avocados are stuffed with tofu and green peas, smothered in a lemon-chili-coconut sauce, and baked.
1. Carefully run a
knife from the stem end downwards and right around the avocados.
Twist to separate the two halves. Remove the seeds.
2. With a spoon, scoop out the avocado flesh leaving a 11/4 cm (1/2-inch) border. Chop the avocado flesh into large rough chunks.
3. Heat the olive oil in a heavy non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the asafoetida and saute for a few seconds. Add the ginger and saute for 1 minute. Add the tofu and stir-fry carefully. When the tofu is browned, drizzle on the sesame oil, chili sauce, and soy sauce. Fold in the creamed coconut, stirring until it melts.
4. Add the peas, lemon juice, salt, minced fresh coriander, and stir well. Finally, add the avocado pieces, stir to mix, and remove from the heat. Place the avocado halves carefully on a flame-proof gratin dish and add the stuffing. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C/355°F for 10 minutes and serve immediately.
KCB 5.4: Spinach, Tomato, Eggplant, and Chickpea Stew
This well-known and succulent vegetable combination from North India is a popular addition to many Hare Krishna Sunday Feast menus. Cooked until the spinach softens, it is a textured, juicy dish. If you prefer a puree like dish, cook it further until the spinach and eggplant cook right down. Either way, it's delicious served with Puffed Fried Breads or Lemon Rice.
1. Heat the
ghee or oil in a heavy 4-litre/quart saucepan or large wok
over moderate heat. When the ghee is hot, add the ginger,
chilies, cumin seeds, and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds
crackle, add the curry leaves, asafoetida powder, and eggplant cubes.
Stir-fry the eggplant for 8 to 10 minutes or until the eggplant is a
2. Stir in the tomatoes, spinach, turmeric, and salt. Partially cover and reduce the heat to moderately low. Cook until the eggplant is soft and the spinach is reduced in size, stirring when required. Add the cooked chickpeas and cook for another 5 minutes. If you would like the dish to be moist and textured, add the sugar and lemon juice now. Otherwise, cook until the vegetables become puree-like. Remove from the heat and serve hot.
KCB 5.5: Peppers Stuffed with Herbed Potatoes and Cheese
Select medium-sized green, red, or yellow peppers for this baked side-dish or entree.
1. Carefully slice
a lid off each pepper and with a small serrated knife cut away
the centre piece of each lid, leaving only edible flesh. Put the lids
aside. Scoop out all the fibre and seeds and wash the peppers
thoroughly. Plunge them into boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes,
remove, and drain upside down.
2. Pour 4 tablespoons (80 ml) of the melted butter into a saucepan and over low heat; saute the asafoetida for a few moments. Add the dill, paprika, salt, basil, and fresh coriander. Stir and remove from the heat.
3. Place the mashed potatoes, three quarters of the grated cheese, and the herbed butter in a bowl and mix until smooth.
4. Stuff all the peppers with the herbed potato and sprinkle the reserved cheese on top. Replace the cored lids. Place in a baking dish, brush with the reserved butter and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C/355°F for 30 to 40 minutes or until the peppers are tender and lightly browned
KCB 5.6: Baked Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice and Green Peas
Lightly-seasoned fluffy basmati Rice makes the best filling for stuffed tomatoes. Be sure to select firm, ripe tomatoes.
wash, and drain the rice.
2. Heat 4 tablespoons (80 ml) of ghee or oil in a heavy 2-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat. When the ghee is hot, add the whole cloves, cinnamon stick, bruised cardamom pods, and almonds. Stir-fry for 30 seconds or until the almonds are golden. Bring the water to a boil in another pan.
3. Add the rice to the spice and nut mixture and stir-fry for about 2 minutes or until the rice is whitish.
4. Add the boiling water to the rice and nut mixture; add the peas and 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of salt. Stir, raising the heat to high and bringing the water to a full boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid and, without stirring, simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the rice is dry and tender. Fluff the rice with a fork and (if desired) remove the whole spices.
1. Preheat the
oven to 180°C/355°F.
2. Cut a thin slice off the top of each tomato and set the slices aside. With a teaspoon, scoop out the seeds and pulp, leaving a 1/2 cm (1/4-inch) thick case, and set them aside. Chop or blend the tomato pulp and force it through a strainer. Collect the pulp and discard the seeds.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon (20 ml) of ghee or oil in a 1-litre/quart saucepan over medium heat. When hot, drop in the minced ginger and fry until brown. Add the tomato pulp, 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) salt, and turmeric and cook for 5 minutes or until the pulp is reduced to a thick puree.
4. Stuff the tomatoes with the savoury rice-filling and pour a teaspoon of the thick tomato sauce into the opening of each tomato. Replace the tops of the tomatoes.
5. Set the tomatoes in a glass casserole dish and bake them in the oven at 180°C/360°F for 10 or 15 minutes. Serve hot.
KCB 5.7: Gauranga Potatoes
In this dish, slices of potato are folded with herbs, butter, and sour cream and baked to a golden brown. It is irresistibly rich and delicious, yet effortless to prepare.
1. Boil the potato
slices in lightly salted water in a 4-litre/quart saucepan until
they are cooked but firm. Remove and drain.
2. Add the olive oil to a medium saucepan, over moderate heat and when hot, add the asafoetida. Saute momentarily; add the rosemary, black pepper, and turmeric and stir briefly. Add the sour cream, melted butter, salt, and water. Whisk it into a smooth sauce and remove from the heat.
3. Combine the potato slices and sour cream sauce in a mixing bowl. Pour the mixture into a casserole dish, sprinkle with paprika, and place in the top of a preheated 200°C/390°F oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve hot.
KCB 5.8: French Braised Summer Vegetables (Ratatouille)
This is my version of the famous French vegetable medley of eggplants, zucchinis, red and green peppers, and tomatoes so popular in Provence. The eggplants are first rubbed in salt to remove their bitterness (degorging). Serve Ratatouille cold with crusty soft sesame bread rolls, or hot with fluffy yellow rice.
1. To degorge the
eggplants: place the eggplant cubes in a colander, sprinkle with
salt, and let sit for about 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. Drain and
pat the eggplants dry with paper towels.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, add the asafoetida and fry momentarily. Add the eggplant cubes and saute, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Add the peppers, zucchini, and black pepper; cover and cook gently without any water for about 15 minutes or until the zucchinis, peppers, and eggplants are tender (if the vegetables stick, add a little water). Add the tomatoes and cook only until they warm through. Add the salt and parsley and mix well. Serve hot or cold.
KCB 5.9: Thai Vegetable Curry
Here's a tasty and unusual combination of potatoes and tofu simmered in a spicy lemon-peanut-coconut sauce. Serve alongside Thai Rice for a light meal.
1. Dry-roast the
cloves, coriander seeds, cumin seeds,
chilies, peppercorns, and cinnamon in a small pan over moderate heat
until the spices become aromatic (2 - 3 minutes). Remove the pan from
the heat and transfer the spices to a coffee mill. Grind the spices
to a powder; transfer to a small bowl.
2. Heat the vegetable oil in a 6-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat. When the oil becomes hot, add the asafoetida, green chilies, lemongrass powder, galangal (laos) powder, and dry-roasted spices. Stir momentarily, add the coconut milk and salt, and stir until warm. Remove from the heat.
3. Combine the tamarind concentrate with the warm water. Whisk until smooth. Add the cubed tofu to the coconut milk mixture along with the peanuts, cardamom seeds, parboiled potatoes, brown sugar, light soy sauce, tamarind water, and lemon juice. Return to a very low heat and, stirring occasionally, simmer uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes or until the sauce thickens and the potatoes are tender. Serve hot.
KCB 5.10: Pumpkin and Potatoes, Marwari-Style
This popular vegetable dish from Rajasthan, northern India, is quick and easy to prepare and full-bodied flavour with varieties of hot and sweet spicy flavours. Serve it with hot Rajasthani Spicy Dal-Stuffed Breads or Puffed Fried Breads.
1. Heat the
ghee or oil in a heavy 4 litre/quart saucepan over moderate
heat. When the ghee is hot, add the mustard seeds, kalonji
seeds, cinnamon stick, cardamom seeds, cloves, and bay leaves. Saute
the spices until the mustard seeds crackle. Add the fenugreek seeds
and saute until they darken a few shades.
2. Add the yogurt, asafoetida, coriander, cumin, chili, and turmeric and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the potatoes, pumpkin, and water. Cover and cook on a medium heat for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add a little hot water if the vegetables start to stick. Add the lemon juice, sugar, and salt and serve hot.
KCB 5.11: South Indian Vegetable Combination (Aviyal)
A famous dish from the Malabar coast of Kerala, South India, Aviyal is much loved on festive menus. Practically any combination of vegetables can be used, as long as they are cut in such a way that they all cook in about the same amount of time. In Kerala, local vegetables would be used. However, I have suggested a combination of potato, sweet potato, peas, pumpkin, beans, carrot, and zucchini. This version is flavoured in the traditional way with fresh coconut, yogurt, and ginger. Serve hot with Boiled Rice.
1. Heat the
oil or ghee in a large heavy-based non-stick pan over moderate
heat. Saute the curry leaves until they darken a few shades. Add all
the vegetables, saute them for 2 or 3 minutes, and add the water,
turmeric, and coriander, stirring well. Bring the liquid to a
2. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the chilies, yogurt, coconut, and salt. Serve hot.
KCB 5.12: Scrambled Curd
This is the vegetarian counterpart to scrambled eggs. Fresh curd cheese (panir) is scrambled with sour cream and sprinkled with black salt (which has a distinct sulphur-like flavour), spices, and fresh herbs to produce a stunning result. Serve at breakfast with hot gradually add the lemon juice and toast or Puffed Fried Breads (Pooris), and Tomato Chutney.
1. Boil the
milk in a heavy-based 8 - 10 litre/quart saucepan, stirring
constantly. When the foam rises, gradually add the lemon juice and
reduce the heat to low. Stir very slowly until the solid curd cheese
separates from the yellowish whey. (If separation does not occur
after 1 minute, add a little more lemon juice.
2. Pour the curds and whey into a colander lined with a triple-thickness of cheesecloth. Press under a heavy weight for 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Unwrap the curd cheese and break it into 21/2 cm (1-inch) chunks.
4. Heat the ghee or butter in a large pan or wok over moderate heat. Saute the asafoetida and turmeric in the hot ghee. Add the pieces of curd cheese and stir gently until the turmeric-coloured ghee is well distributed. Increase the heat and add the paprika, salt, and pepper. When the curd cheese is well mixed, remove from the heat.
5. Add the cream or sour cream and the black salt, stirring carefully. Add the fresh herbs, mix well, and serve hot.
KCB 5.13: Green Beans
Here's a delicious way to serve seasonal French stringless green beans. Serve as an entree or part of a multi-course dinner.
1. Saute the
mustard seeds and ginger strips in ghee or oil in a
3-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat until the mustard seeds
2. Add the beans and stir-fry over moderate heat for about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the water, cover securely, and boil gently for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and when most of the water has evaporated, add the remaining ingredients except the lemon juice. Cook until the beans are tender-crisp and the water has evaporated. Add the lemon juice and serve hot.
KCB 5.14: Vegetables au Gratin
Delightfully simple to make, Vegetables au Gratin is a great
favourite on the wintertime menu at Gopal's Restaurant.
Consisting of lightly steamed vegetables in a mornay sauce, topped with grated cheese, and baked in the oven until golden brown, it combines wonderfully with a light soup and bread accompaniment, such as Vegetable Soup and Wholemeal Bread.
1. Lightly steam
all the vegetables until they're
cooked but still a little firm.
2. Melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan over moderate heat. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the asafoetida powder and nutmeg. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon to make a smooth paste. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly.
3. Return the pan to the heat and bring the sauce to a boil, still stirring. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, for 1 minute or until the sauce is thick and smooth. Add the salt, pepper, and half of the grated cheese. Add the steamed vegetables and mix well.
4. Spoon the vegetables into a buttered baking dish. Cover them with the remaining grated cheese and dot with little pieces of butter. Bake in a preheated hot oven 205°C/400°F for 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
KCB 5.15: Cabbage, Potato, and Yogurt with Anise
The combination of yogurt, lemon juice, and brown sugar creates a delicious sweet-and-sour glaze for the vegetables. Serve with hot fluffy rice or a crusty bread, and a soup or dal.
1. Heat the ghee
or oil in a heavy 6-litre/quart non-stick saucepan over moderate
heat. Saute the cumin and anise seeds until golden brown. Add the
cabbage and stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Cover the pan and, reducing
the heat, cook the cabbage until it shrinks.
2. Add the turmeric, paprika, and the potato cubes. Mix well and replace the lid. Cook, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are tender. (You may need to add a little water).
3. Remove the pan from the heat and fold in the yogurt, lemon juice, salt, and brown sugar. Stir to mix and serve hot.
KCB 5.16: Cauliflower and Potato Supreme (Gobi Alu Bhaji)
For best results with this North Indian favourite, use pure ghee as the frying medium. Serve this rich vegetable dish for special occasions.
1. Rinse the
potato cubes in cold water. Drain and pat them dry.
2. Place enough ghee in a deep wok or pan that will well-cover the quantity of potatoes. Heat the ghee to 190°C/375°F. Fry the potatoes until golden brown (8 - 10 minutes). (You might need to fry in 2 batches). Remove and drain the potatoes. Deep-fry the cauliflowers until they're cooked but slightly firm. Remove and drain them.
3. When all the vegetables are deep-fried, drained, and still warm, place them in a large bowl, add the spices, salt, and yogurt or sour cream. Add the fresh herbs and serve immediately. If not serving immediately, when you are ready to serve, warm the spiced vegetables in a low-heat oven and add the yogurt or sour cream.
KCB 5.17: Zucchini, Green Peppers and Tomato
Here's a succulent combination of young zucchinis, green peppers, and juicy tomato pieces braised together that's quick and easy to prepare. For a simple summer lunch, combine this dish with Chapatis or Rice with Green Peas and Almonds and a crisp salad.
1. Saute the
cumin seeds in ghee or oil in a large, heavy, non-stick
saucepan or wok over moderate heat until the seeds darken a few
shades. Add the green chilies, asafoetida, and turmeric and stir
momentarily. Add the green peppers and stir-fry for 2 to 3
2. Add the zucchini and ground coriander and, stirring occasionally, cook the vegetables for an additional 2 minutes. Add the tomato pieces, mix well, and reduce the heat to moderately low, stirring occasionally. Cook until the zucchini becomes translucent and soft but not mushy. Add the salt, sugar, and herbs. Stir to mix, remove from the heat, and serve hot.
KCB 5.18: Eggplant, Potato, and Curd Cheese
Our spiritual master, Çréla Prabhupäda, taught
Dipak, my old friend and culinary guide, how to prepare this
vegetable dish in 1972 giving it the unusual sub-title of
'Meat-eaters Delight'. Because the panir cheese is cut into
large uneven chunks and deep-fried in ghee until dark, then
slowly stewed in spiced whey, it develops a very "meaty' texture
and appearance. Serve this rich and juicy vegetable dish with plain
boiled rice, a simple dal, crisp salad, and flat bread.
Note: Save the whey when you make the panir cheese.
1. Add enough
ghee to half-fill a wok or deep-frying pan. Place over
moderate heat and allow it to reach 190°C/375°F. If you use a
large wok or pan, you can fry all of the potatoes simultaneously.
Otherwise, add half the potatoes and deep-fry them until golden brown
8 to 10 minutes. Remove and drain them. When the potatoes are all
fried, allow the ghee to return to the required temperature.
2. Add half the eggplant pieces and deep-fry them until they are golden brown. Remove and drain them. Allow the ghee to return to the frying temperature; then fry the remaining eggplants and drain them.
3. Deep-fry the panir cubes until they are dark golden brown. Remove and drain. Turn off the heat under the ghee.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon (20 ml) ghee over moderate heat in a heavy 3-litre/quart saucepan. Saute the cumin seeds until golden brown. Add the chilies, asafoetida, and turmeric. Stir momentarily; then carefully add the whey, salt, and ground coriander. Raise the heat until the whey boils.
5. Add the potatoes, eggplant cubes, and pieces of fried panir. Combine the vegetables with the whey, taking care not to crush the eggplant. Boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer the vegetables for about 20 minutes. Cook until the potatoes become glazed and light golden. The eggplant should be soft but not mushy, and the panir cubes should be juicy. Serve hot.
KCB 5.19: Indonesian Vegetable Stew (Sayur Asam)
Indonesian vegetable stews (Sayurs) are actually half-way between stews and soups. They are traditionally served with rice and a sambal (chili relish). This dish features four special Indonesian ingredients, all available at good Asian grocers: laos (Indonesian ginger), lime leaf, lemongrass, and coconut milk (santan). It also contains a Chinese green vegetable called buk choy.
1. Place the
laos or ginger, ground coriander, and chili in a blender. Add
vegetable stock or water and blend. Empty into a bowl.
2. Fry the asafoetida and green beans in oil in a wok for 1 minute. Add the stock and spice mixture, lime leaf or bay leaf, and lemon grass and simmer covered for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the bokchoy and zucchini and cook covered for another 3 minutes or until the zucchini is tender. Add the coconut milk santan, salt, and sugar and simmer for another minute. Serve hot.
KCB 5.20: Vegetarian Stroganoff
This delicious combination of vegetables with herbs and sour cream is enhanced by the addition of tofu cubes that have been frozen and thawed. The texture of tofu changes dramatically after it has been frozen and thawed. It becomes firmer and chewy, much resembling the texture of meat. You can freeze an entire block of tofu or cut it into strips or cubes and then freeze it. If you freeze it and let it thaw naturally, you get a crumbly textured tofu, resembling Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP). If you quick-thaw the frozen tofu in boiling water, it will retain its shape. You can wring out the tofu like a sponge and season it as required. This stroganoff recipe calls for frozen, quick-thawed cubes of tofu that have been seasoned and marinated. Serve with hot noodles or rice for a complete main meal.
1. Remove the
tofu from the freezer, separate the pieces from the plate by
rinsing under hot water, and plunge them into boiling water. When the
tofu pieces soften and float, remove them from the heat and
drain them. Rinse them under cold water; then squeeze them between
your palms until they're completely dry.
2. Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan over moderate heat. Sprinkle in half the asafoetida, stir momentarily, and then add half the black pepper and the dry tofu pieces. Saute for 1 minute; then add the tamari or soy sauce and grape juice, bring to the boil and simmer for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to marinate for 15 minutes.
3. In a heavy 4-litre/quart saucepan or wok, melt the butter over moderate heat. Add the asafoetida, zucchini, and peppers, stir-frying for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, dill, paprika, salt and pepper, and cook until the zucchini and peppers become soft, adding water if necessary. Add the tofu and marinade and simmer for 5 minutes more. Serve hot over rice or noodles topped with sour cream.
KCB 5.21: Asparagus with Oil and Lemon Sauce
This is a typical dish from the Veneto region of northern Italy. Its beauty lies in its simplicity. Serve this dish as antipasto (entree).
1. Wash the
asparagus. Cut off the woody part at the base. Peel the lower section
to reveal the tender edible flesh. Tie the asparagus in a bundle and
stand it in a tall pot in 5 cm (2-inches) of water. Cover the pot
and allow the asparagus to boil gently over moderate heat until the
stems are cooked but still a little firm (about 5 - 10 minutes).
Alternatively, place the asparagus in a steamer.
2. Place the asparagus on a warmed serving dish. Mix the lemon juice, oil, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, pour this sauce over the hot asparagus, and sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately.
KCB 5.22: Cantonese Stir-Fried Vegetables with Cashews in Black Bean Sauce
This is a delicious tasty melange of vegetables and cashew nuts. All special ingredients are available at Chinese grocers. Shop-bought salty black bean sauce however is not a reliable item for strict vegetarians since it sometimes contains other ingredients not listed on the label. Better to use home-made Cantonese Black Bean Sauce. Serve with Boiled Rice or as part of a multi-course Chinese dinner.
1. Soak the
cashews in warm water for 10 minutes. Drain and pat them dry
2. Heat the oil in a wok or pan until hot 185°C/365°F. Deep-fry the cashews until golden brown. Remove, drain, and set them aside. Deep-fry the tofu cubes in batches until golden. Deep-fry the eggplant pieces in batches until dark golden brown. Remove, drain, and set them aside.
3. Meanwhile, bring water to the boil in a small sauce pan. Add the carrots and boil until just tender. Remove, rinse under cold water, and drain.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon (20 ml) deep-frying oil in a wok over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chopped red and green peppers and stir-fry briskly until crisp-tender (about 1 - 2 minutes). Remove and set them aside.
5. Heat another 1 tablespoon (20 ml) frying oil in the wok over high heat. When hot, add the cucumbers, carrots, and water chestnuts and stir-fry briskly for 1 minute. Add the peppers, tofu, eggplants, water or stock, sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, and black-bean sauce. Stir the corn flour paste into the vegetable mixture, add the cashew nuts, stir for another 30 seconds and serve hot.
KCB 5.23: Creamed Spinach with Curd Cheese (Palak Panir)
Spinach with home-made curd cheese and cream is one of North India's favourite vegetable dishes. There are dozens of regional varieties. Here's a simple, quick-cooking version. Serve with Yellow Rice or hot buttered Chapatis.
1. Place the
ginger and chili in a food processor
or blender and process with a few spoons of cold water. Add the
coriander, paprika, cumin, and turmeric and blend to form a smooth
paste. Scrape the paste into a bowl.
2. Heat the ghee in a large saucepan over moderate heat. When the ghee is hot, add the spice paste and chopped spinach. Fold in the spinach, combining it with the spices. Cook over full heat until the spinach reduces in volume. Reduce the heat slightly and, stirring often, cook the spinach for another 15 minutes or until it becomes soft.
3. Fold in the cream; add the cubes of panir, the garam masala, and the salt. Cook for an additional 5 minutes and serve hot.
KCB 5.24: Hungarian Vegetarian Ghoulash
Here's a simple but hearty combination of potatoes, tomato, and chunks of fried curd cheese simmered in a tasty gravy flavoured with Hungarian paprika. Serve Hungarian Vegetarian Ghoulash hot with fresh Wholemeal Bread for a tasty wintertime meal.
the chunks of panir cheese in oil or ghee in a
deep-frying pan or wok over moderate heat until they become dark
golden brown Remove and drain.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon (20 ml of ghee or oil over moderate heat in a heavy 6-litre/quart saucepan or large wok. When hot, add the red chilies and sprinkle in the asafoetida. Saute momentarily and add the tomato pieces, paprika, salt, potato, and deep-fried curd chunks. Pour in the warm water and raise the heat to full. When the water boils, reduce the heat slightly and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Serve hot.
KCB 5.25: Italian Eggplant and Tomato Appetizer
In the realm of Italian Cuisine, antipasto (appetizers) come in varied forms, much like the Middle Eastern equivalent, mezze. Savoury breads (crostini), vegetable salads, miniature pizzas (pizzette), and asorted simple vegetable entrees would feature as vegetarian anti-pasto. Here is my version of Anti-pasto di Melanzane, from Naples. Serve it at the outset of a main meal.
1. Cut the
eggplants into 1/2
cm (1/4-inch) slices. Cut each slice into
strips 6 cm (21/2 inches) long and 1/2
cm (1/4-inch) wide.
2. Heat the oil in a frying pan over moderately high heat. When the oil is hot, add enough eggplant strips to fill the frying pan. Shallow-fry the eggplant until it becomes soft. Remove the eggplant from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain.
3. Heat the olive oil in another frying pan over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, add asafoetida, tomatoes, tomato paste, and water. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes or until the sauce is thick.
4. Add the salt and pepper, mix well, and carefully add the eggplant. Serve either hot or cold.
KCB 5.26: Tomato, Peas and Home-made Curd (Matar Panir)
This dish originates in Punjab, northern India. However, it is well known all over India, and there are hundreds of variations of the same dish. But the same main ingredients are always there: peas and panir cheese in a spiced, minted tomato sauce. Here's a delicious version that can be served with any meal, anytime. It especially lends itself to special feasts and dinners and can be kept warm for some time, actually improving the flavour of the dish.
1. Heat 2
tablespoons (40 ml) ghee or oil in a 5-litre/quart saucepan
over moderate heat. Saute the mustard seeds until they crackle. Add
the cumin seeds and stir until they darken a few shades. Add the
ginger and green chilies and saute momentarily. Add the chopped
tomatoes, powdered spices, sugar, and half the herbs. Partially cover
and, stirring occasionally, simmer for about 15 minutes or until the
tomatoes break down and turn pulpy.
2. Heat the ghee or oil in a pan or wok over moderately high heat. When hot 185°C/365°F, deep-fry the cubes of panir cheese a batch at a time until golden brown. Remove and drain.
3. Add the peas and water or whey to the tomato and spice mixture. Boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and salt and mix well; then add the panir cubes and simmer for 5 more minutes. Before serving, add the remaining herbs. Serve hot.
KCB 5.27: Okra in Tomato Sauce
Okra releases a glutinous sap when cut, and sweats when salted, so dry it thoroughly before cooking and add salt after the cooking is completed. Okra is a summer vegetable. When selecting okra look for small pods. If the pointed end snaps off, it is fresh. Serve this dish, which originates in Trinidad, as an entree or side dish.
1. Wash the
okra, dry them with paper towels, and cut off the stem ends. Heat the
oil in a heavy pan and saute the okra until lightly browned all over,
(about 10 minutes) Lift out the okra with a slotted spoon, and
transfer to a saucepan.
2. Saute the asafoetida in the oil remaining in the pan, add the peppers and chili, and stir-fry until they become soft.
3. Add the tomatoes and sugar and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes or until the tomatoes break down.
4. Pour the tomato mixture over the okra, stir to mix, and cook covered until the okra is tender about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the salt and serve hot.
KCB 6: SALADS
Here's an interesting collection of crisp, colorful international salads.
KCB 6.1: Mediterranean Salad (Salata)
This crisp, tossed salad from Tunisia is a blend of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, green peppers, parsley, lemon juice, oil, and mint. Serve Salata with Middle Eastern Round Bread (Pita), Falafel, Tahini Sauce, and Syrian Yogurt Cheese (Labneh) for a Middle Eastern feast!
1. Toss the
lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, radishes, pepper,
green chili, shredded lettuce strips, and parsley in a large salad
2. Blend the olive oil, lemon juice, asafoetida, salt, pepper, and mint in a small bowl.
3. Pour the dressing over the salad when ready to serve, and toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.
KCB 6.2: Greek Salad
A Greek Salad is not tossed but carefully constructed, making an attractive centre piece at a buffet lunch or dinner. This stunning salad features feta cheese and Greek black olives, both available from continental grocers. This salad is not served on individual plates but, following Greek style, is dismantled piece by piece, smorgasbord style, by the guests.
1. Line a
large oblong platter with the outer leaves of a crisp head of
lettuce. Tear the remaining leaves into small pieces; season them
with a quarter of the olive oil, half the lemon juice, and half of
the salt and pepper. Arrange the lettuce on the platter.
2. Pour another quarter of the olive oil and half the oregano on the feta cheese cubes.
3. Salt and pepper the cucumber slices. Place the cucumbers in an overlapping ring around the outer perimeter of the platter.
4. Arrange three-quarters of the cherry tomatoes among the cucumber slices.
5. Place a ring of feta cheese and half the olives inside the ring of cucumber. Pile the remaining cherry tomatoes in the centre along with the remaining black olives.
6. Decorate the centre piece with the slices of pepper and pour the remaining lemon and oil on the salad, garnishing it with the remaining salt, pepper, and oregano.
KCB 6.3: North Indian Cabbage and Peanut Salad (Kobi Pachadi)
A pachadi is a raw vegetable salad with finely cut pieces of vegetables, lemon juice and oil dressing, nuts, and freshly grated coconut. This attractive salad, a sort of 'Indian coleslaw', originates in the Maharashtra state on the west coast of India. This salad can be made in advance, for the taste improves as it marinates.
1. Place the
cabbage, tomato, peanut powder, coconut, salt, sugar,
and lemon juice in a large bowl. Mix well and set aside.
2. Fry the mustard seeds in oil in a small pan over moderate heat until they crackle. Add the cumin seeds, turmeric, asafoetida, and green chili. Fry until the cumin seeds turn a darker shade. Remove from the heat.
3. Add the spices to the cabbage. Toss the salad thoroughly and garnish with the coriander leaves. Chill and serve cold.
KCB 6.4: French Steamed Vegetable Salad
This salad served with soup and crusty fresh bread makes a delightful summer meal.
1. Cook the
potatoes, carrots, beans, and peas in boiling salted water for 6
or 7 minutes or until the vegetables are just barely tender. Remove
the vegetables and drain them, saving the water. Place the
cauliflower pieces in the same water and cook until they are just
2. Allow the cooked vegetables to cool. Toss them in a salad bowl with the diced cucumbers and salt; season well with French Salad Dressing. Chill the salad for 2 hours. Toss again and serve with a garnish of chopped fresh parsley.
KCB 6.5: North Indian Potato Salad
Here's another sample from the wonderful world of potato salads. This recipe is very simply dressed in yogurt and sour cream with a lemon-mustard-mint flavour and a hint of chili.
1. Boil the
potatoes whole in lightly salted water until soft. Peel and cut them
cm (1-inch) cubes.
2. While the potatoes are still warm, place them in a bowl and add the lemon juice, salt, yogurt, sour cream, and chilies.
3. Fry the mustard seeds in oil in a small pan over moderate heat until the seeds crackle. Toss the oil and mustard into the salad; add three-quarters of the mint leaves. Allow the salad to cool for 1/2 hour. Serve it on a bed of lettuce leaves garnished with the remaining mint leaves.
KCB 6.6: New York Potato Salad
Cooking the potatoes in half-water and half-whey will help the potatoes retain their shape. This rich potato salad is best prepared whilst the potatoes are still warm.
1. Marinate the
still warm, cooked potatoes in grape juice.
2. Whisk the ingredients for the mustard dressing.
3. Whisk the ingredients for the mayonnaise dressing.
4. Pour both dressings over the marinated potatoes and gently fold until well combined. Sprinkle the paprika over the salad and refrigerate. Serve cold.
KCB 6.7: Fettuccine, Pepper and Cream Cheese Salad
Fettuccine pasta with its delightful "bird's-nest" appearance is the basis for this tasty salad. Combined with cream cheese and roasted peppers, it's great served cold with a main savoury dish.
1. Cook the
fettuccine in lightly salted water for to 10 minutes or until
it is tender but still a little firm (al dente). Drain the
2. Grill the peppers with the cut side down under a griller on high heat (or hold them over a flame) until the skins blacken and blister. When the peppers are cool, skin them and cut them into long, thin, even strips.
3. Add the pepper strips to the cheese and walnuts in a salad bowl. Combine all dressing ingredients and add to the noodles. Toss the noodles, dressing, peppers, cheese, and nuts. Chill the salad for at least 1 hour before serving
KCB 6.8: Lebanese Bulgur-Wheat Salad (Tabbouleh)
This Lebanese salad is probably the most famous of all Middle Eastern mezze (hors d'oeuvres). Bulgur wheat (parched, ground, par-boiled wheat grains) is not only tasty and substantial but also very nutritious. It is rich in protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, niacin, and vitamins B1 and B2. Bulgur wheat salad is easy to prepare and is characterised by its fresh lemon-mint-parsley flavour. Traditional Middle Eastern cooks sometimes use an extra ingredient in their salads: a tart seasoning made from the ground seeds of a Mediterranean flowering plant called sumac, which adds a special lemony taste. I have included this as optional. It is available from any well-stocked Middle Eastern grocer, as is the bulgur wheat which, incidentally, is sometimes referred to as bourghul or cracked wheat. Tabbouleh is traditionally served in fresh, crisp lettuce leaves. Add more lemon juice if necessary, to assure the authentic fresh-lemon taste.
1. Soak the
bulgur wheat for 11/2 hours in warm water.
Drain it and squeeze out the moisture. Dry it further by spreading it
on a cloth and patting it dry.
2. Place the soaked wheat, asafoetida, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, parsley, mint, and sumac in a large bowl and mix well. Add the cucumber and tomatoes and toss. Chill and serve with lettuce leaves.
KCB 6.9: Hawaiian Brown-Rice Salad
In this salad, plump long-grain brown rice is combined with fresh salad vegetables and pineapple, tossed in an herbed Italian dressing, and served on a bed of crisp lettuce leaves.
1. Place all the
ingredients (except the dressing, 1
teaspoon (5 ml) olive oil, and the asafoetida) in a large bowl.
2. Saute the asafoetida in olive oil in a small pan. Pour the oil and asafoetida into the bowl of rice and vegetables. Mix well.
3. Toss the salad with the dressing. Serve the salad on a bed of crisp lettuce leaves
KCB 6.10: Indonesian Gado Gado Salad
This version of the exotic Gado Gado salad, popular throughout Indonesia, can be served as a side salad to accompany a main meal for four persons, or as a main dish for two persons. Obtain the Chinese bok choy, coconut milk (santan), and the tofu (bean curd) from any well-stocked Chinese or Asian grocer. This salad is served with a steaming-hot peanut dressing.
1. Blanch the bok
choy leaves in boiling water for
about 1 minute. Rinse in cold water and drain well.
2. Wash and blanch the bean shoots in a similar fashion, but for just 30 seconds. Rinse and drain.
3. Cook the potatoes whole in lightly salted boiling water until soft; then peel them and cut them into bite-sized pieces.
4. Cook the beans in lightly salted boiling water for five minutes; then drain and allow to cool.
5. Place the oil over moderate heat. When fairly hot 185°C/365°F, deep-fry the cubes of tofu until slightly golden. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander.
6. Reduce the oil temperature to about 180°C/355°F and deep-fry the peanuts until golden (2 to 3 minutes). Remove and drain.
7. Deep-fry the Brazil nuts until golden (about 3 minutes) and drain.
8. Place the chili powder, asafoetida, fried nuts, salt, and sugar in a food processor and blend to a smooth powder. Add 1 cup (250 ml) cold water to the blended ingredients.
9. Transfer the contents of the blender to a heavy pan, bring to the boil, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk (santan) and remove from the heat.
10. Pile the Chinese bok choy leaves, bean shoots, potatoes, beans, tofu, cucumber, and watercress in individual neat piles on a large plate. Boil the dressing, add the lime juice, and immediately pour the dressing over the salad. Serve immediately. The dressing may be served separately.
KCB 6.11: Waldorf Salad
This famous gourmet dish is an ideal light accompaniment to a heavy meal. Tart, firm, green apples are preferable, adding a refreshing tang to this sweet, fruity salad.
Mix the apples and celery in a bowl. Add the lemon juice, mayonnaise, sour cream, salt, pepper, and walnuts. (Chill and serve)
KCB 6.12: Gujarati Green-Bean and Coconut Salad
With the addition of grated fresh coconut and peanut powder, French beans are transformed into this elegant salad from Gujarat.
1. Boil the French
beans in lightly salted water until they are cooked but still green
and firm. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again, and allow to
cool in a bowl.
2. Saute the mustard seeds in hot oil in a heavy pan over moderate heat until the seeds crackle. Add the asafoetida and saute momentarily. Add the spices to the French beans.
3. Toss the green chili, salt, sugar, peanut powder, and grated fresh coconut with the beans. Serve at room temperature.
KCB 6.13: Steamed Cauliflower Salad with Green Mayonnaise
This colourful and fresh-tasting salad is a great patio salad on a hot summer's day. Select a fresh cauliflower with firm tight buds.
1. Boil the
cauliflower pieces in a large pan of lightly salted water for a few
minutes; then remove. The cauliflower pieces should be cooked but
firm. Rinse them under cold water and drain.
2. Simmer the watercress and spinach in the boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove, drain, and rinse. Puree the spinach, watercress, and chopped herbs in a food processor or blender. Add the lemon juice and mayonnaise. Arrange the cauliflower pieces on a serving platter and pour the green mayonnaise over when ready to serve.
KCB 6.14: Bombay Cauliflower Salad
This type of salad is called a koshimbir. It is popular on the tropical west coast of India. The cauliflower is cooked just slightly, so it remains crunchy. Serve this salad with a bowl of fresh yogurt and Indian bread like chapati, poori, or paratha.
1. Blanch the
cauliflower pieces in boiling water for one minute.
2. Rinse the cauliflower under cold running water until it cools to room temperature. Drain it thoroughly and place in a bowl. Add the peanut powder, coconut, chili, salt, sugar, and lemon juice. Mix well. Garnish with chopped fresh coriander and serve immediately.
KCB 6.15: Sicilian Radicchio and Fennel Salad
Radicchio lettuce, with its beautiful red and purple leaves and pleasantly bitter taste, is actually Italian wild chicory and is also sometimes known as corn lettuce. This simple salad from Sicily, "Insalata di Radicchio e Finocchio", can be made in a few minutes.
1. Separate and
wash the leaves of the lettuce.
2. Remove the tops of the fennel bulbs, cut the bulbs in half, and trim the ends. Cut the fennel into 11/4 cm (1/2-inch) strips. Arrange the lettuce, fennel, and olives decoratively on a serving plate.
3. To make the dressing: blend the oil, lemon juice, and pitted olives in a food processor or blender. Add the salt, pepper, and raw sugar. Spoon the dressing over the salad and serve immediately.
KCB 6.16: Asparagus, Green Bean and Broccoli Salad
This cooked green vegetable salad can be prepared in advance. It's great served as a side dish with bread, soup, and a main-course savoury dish like Vegetarian Lasagna or Spaghetti Alla Napoletana. Select crisp, fresh beans; tight, dark broccoli; and thin, fresh asparagus for outstanding results.
1. Boil the water
in a large pan.
2. Plunge the broccoli, green beans, and asparagus into the water and boil for 3 minutes or until the vegetables are bright green and tender-crisp. Drain, and refresh under cold water. Drain again thoroughly, and place in a serving bowl and refrigerate. Toss the dressing with the salad just before serving.
KCB 6.17: Mixed Vegetable and Yogurt Salad (Raita)
A raita is an Indian raw vegetable salad, generally featuring one or two main ingredients that float in lightly seasoned creamy fresh yogurt. Raitas are simple to prepare and provide a light, cooling contrast to an elaborate meal. Serve this salad with a meal that contains little or no yogurt.
1. Whisk the
yogurt until smooth. Add all the vegetables.
2. Dry-roast the cumin and fennel seeds in a small frying pan over low heat until they turn dark brown. Remove the seeds from the pan and grind them coarsely in a coffee mill. Add them to the salad and toss with the salt, pepper, and chopped fresh herbs. Chill before serving. Serve the chilled raita in small bowls, allowing 1/2 cup (125 ml) per serving.
KCB 6.18: Avocado and Bean Salad
Avocados combine well with cheese and beans. Dressed and served in lettuce leaves, this salad is substantial and tasty.
1. Combine the
avocados, beans, chickpeas, cheese, green
pepper, and pimientos in a bowl.
2. Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, half the parsley, coriander, black pepper, and salt.
3. Fold the dressing carefully into the bean and avocado mixture. Serve individual portions of salad on lettuce leaves and garnish with the remaining chopped parsley.
KCB 6.19: Italian Market Salad
This delicious combination of fresh greens, steamed vegetables, and cottage cheese marinated in a delicious lemon and oil dressing should be served with crusty bread rolls.
1. Boil the
zucchini, carrots, and celery in lightly salted water in a large pan
until the vegetables are crisp but tender (about 2 minutes). Before
draining, add the snow peas to the water. Remove the pan from the
heat and blanch the snow peas for 1 minute. Drain all the vegetables,
refresh under cold water, and drain again. Allow the vegetables to
2. Combine the artichoke hearts, cottage cheese, radishes, sliced lettuce, green chilies, tomatoes, and steamed vegetables in a large bowl.
3. Blend the olive oil, asafoetida, lemon juice, basil, mustard paste, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
4. Toss the vegetables and the dressing. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
5. Serve on individual lettuce leaves garnished with fresh whole basil leaves and black olives.
KCB 6.20: Pasta Salad
This is a sophisticated salad with a distinctly Middle Eastern flavour. The combination of the lemon-oil dressing and tahini creates a unique taste which blends wonderfully with firm, tender broccoli and cauliflower florets, crisp lettuce, and strips of red peppers. Serve as an accompaniment to a summer brunch or as a tasty picnic or patio-salad with Middle Eastern Round Bread, Tomato and Asparagus Quiche, Crispy Flat Rice and Cashews (Gujarati Chidwa), Mango Ice Cream, and Middle Eastern Lemonade.
1. Place the
cooked broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, and pasta in a
2. Whisk the asafoetida, tahini, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice in a small bowl. If the dressing is too thick, add water.
3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to coat. Refrigerate, covered, to chill. Just before serving, add the lettuce and garnish with the chopped fresh parsley.
KCB 7: CHUTNEYS, JAMS AND PICKLES
Chutneys, both cooked and fresh, serve as accents to other dishes.
This piquant selection will tease the palate and add color, flavor,
and variety to any meal.
This chapter also includes pickles and jams. So prepare to have both your imagination and your digestion stimulated!
KCB 7.1: Pineapple Chutney
Pineapple chutney should be "too hot to bear, but too sweet to resist".
1. Heat the ghee
in a 2-quart/litre heavy-based saucepan over moderate heat until it
is hot but not smoking. Saute the cumin seeds in the hot ghee
until they slightly darken. Add the chilies and cook until golden
brown. Add the pineapple pieces, ground cinnamon, and cloves. Gently
boil the chutney, stirring occasionally, over moderate heat until the
pineapple becomes soft and the juice evaporates. Stir constantly as
the preparation nears completion.
2. When the saucepan is dry and the pineapple starts to stick on the bottom, add the sugar and raisins and cook until thick and jam-like. Serve at room temperature.
KCB 7.2: Tomato Chutney
Cooked chutneys act as piquant relishes that accent other dishes with which they are served. This North Indian-style tomato chutney is hot, spicy, and sweet. It can be either eaten immediately or refrigerated for up to a week.
1. Heat the
ghee or oil in a large, heavy frying pan over moderate heat.
Saute the mustard seeds in the hot ghee until they begin to
crackle. Add the cumin and cinnamon. When the cinnamon darkens, add
the chili bits and the turmeric. Immediately add the chopped tomatoes
and, stirring to mix, cook over moderate heat for 10 minutes.
2. Add the sugar, sultanas, and salt. For moist chutney, continue to cook for another 5 minutes. For a thick jam-like chutney, cook for another 15 minutes or until the chutney appears thick and glazed. Serve warm or cold.
KCB 7.3: Peach Chutney
This is actually more of a pickle or relish than a chutney. It can be kept in sterilized jars for up to 3 months and is delicious served as a condiment with a main meal. It makes a great gift when presented in attractive jars.
1. Heat the oil in
a heavy 4-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat. Saute the mustard
seeds in the hot oil until they crackle, then add the chilies and
asafoetida and stir until the chilies darken.
2. Add the peppers and cook one minute. Add the peaches, lemon juice, and brown sugar, stirring constantly without boiling until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered, without stirring, for 45 minutes or until the relish is thick. (Towards the end it might require minimal stirring to avoid sticking). Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal when cold.
KCB 7.4: ‘Radha Red’ Plum Chutney
This is a version of the famous "Radha Red" plum chutney that has been a favourite at many Hare Krishna multi-course feasts throughout Australia for decades. It features the subtle and exotic flavour of pure camphor, sometimes available at Chinese and Indian grocery stores. The plums should, if possible, be the Damson variety or the red plums referred to as a "blood plums".
1. Heat the
butter over low heat in heavy 5-litre/quart saucepan until it froths.
Add the coriander, cardamom, and coconut, saute for one minute, and
add the plums. Raise the heat and bring the chutney to a boil; then
reduce the heat and simmer covered for about 15 minutes or until the
plums lose their shape.
2. Add the sugar and continue to simmer uncovered for another 40 - 45 minutes or until the chutney is fairly thick and glazed, stirring occasionally. Add the camphor crystals and mix well. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate covered for up to 4 days.
KCB 7.5: Tamarillo Chutney
Tamarillos, or tree tomatoes, are glossy, plum-red fruits the size and shape of large eggs. Though tamarillos are native to South America, they also grow plentifully in New Zealand. They have juicy, slightly acidic flesh. Serve this piquant relish with fried savoury dishes.
1. Heat the ghee
in a heavy nonstick saucepan. Saute the cumin seeds in the hot ghee
until they brown. Add the chili and chopped tamarillos. Bring to a
boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until soft.
2. Add all the remaining ingredients and return to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 11/2 - 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the chutney is thick and glazed. Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal when cold.
KCB 7.6: Apple Chutney
Chutney varies immensely according to the kind of apples used, but invariably sour Granny Smiths seem to produce the best results. This chutney is hot yet sweet and can be served as an accompaniment to a great variety of savoury dishes. Allow 1 - 4 spoonfuls per serving. Apple chutney can be refrigerated in a sealed container.
1. Heat the
ghee or oil in a heavy 2-litre/quart saucepan over medium
heat. Saute the cumin seeds in the hot ghee until golden
brown. Add the green chilies and minced ginger and saute for 1
minute; then add the turmeric and the sliced apples. Stirfry for 2 -
2. Reduce the heat to low and add the water, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 - 20 minutes or until the apples become soft. Add the sugar and continue to cook the chutney until it becomes jam-like. Serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to a week.
KCB 7.7: Fig and Apple Relish
If you have a fig tree in your garden, or have access to one, then here's something to do with the enormous quantity of figs that are yielded when these luxurious fruits come into season. This delicious chutney-like relish goes wonderfully well as an accompanying condiment to a heavy meal and keeps for 6 weeks if refrigerated.
1. Combine all the
ingredients in a heavy 4-litre/quart saucepan. Cook over low heat,
stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves.
2. Bring the relish to the boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for about 11/2 hours or until the relish is as thick as desired. Stir the mixture towards the end of cooking time to prevent it from sticking.
3. Pour the relish into hot, sterilized jars and seal when cold.
KCB 7.8: Fresh Coconut Chutney
This tasty, cream-textured chutney is not cooked but is prepared by combining all fresh ingredients. Coconut chutney plays an integral part in South Indian cuisine. Serve this chutney to accompany Savoury Wholemeal Pancakes (Dosa) and Mashed Potato Puffs (Alu Vadas).
1. Combine the
coconut, yogurt, water, fresh ginger, chilies, pepper, and salt
in a mixing bowl.
2. Heat the ghee in a small pan over moderately high heat until it is almost smoking. Saute the mustard seeds in the hot ghee until they crackle. Add the urad dal and saute until it turns golden brown. Add the curry leaves and stir until they soften; add the asafoetida and then immediately remove the pan from the heat and mix the spices into the bowl of yogurt and coconut. Serve at room temperature. This chutney can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
KCB 7.9: Mint Chutney
Fresh mint chutney, which required no cooking, is great to make when you have an abundance of mint. The round-leaved varieties of Mentharotundifolia, such as apple mint, Bowles mint, or pineapple mint, lend themselves especially well to this condiment. Serve mint chutney with Cauliflower and Pea Samosas, or Potato and Pea Croquettes.
Blend all the ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. If required, add a little cold water to achieve a runny consistency. Transfer the chutney to a bowl and serve. It will keep refrigerated for 1 or 2 days.
KCB 7.10: Lime and Ginger Marmalade
After you add the sugar to the marmalade, the depth of the sugar, lime, and water mixture should not exceed 5 cm (2 inches). This bittersweet marmalade can be refrigerated for months.
1. Cut the limes
into 0.25 cm (1/4-inch) rings and remove the
seeds. Combine the limes and water in a bowl and leave to stand
2. Place the lime and water mixture in a non-stick 3-litre/quart saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for about 1 hour. By this time the rind should be tender. Remove from the heat.
3. Pour the mixture into a bowl and measure exactly how much lime and water there is. Add an equal quantity of sugar and return the lime and sugar mixture to the saucepan.
4. Stirring over low heat, allow the sugar to dissolve. Return the mixture to a boil and cook without stirring for 10 - 15 minutes or until a spoon of the marmalade sets on a cold plate.
5. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the minced ginger. When the marmalade cools, pour it into hot, sterilized jam jars. When the marmalade has cooled, seal the jars.
KCB 7.11: Sweet lime Pickle
Indian-style pickles are best made in hot climates because they are traditionally made slowly in jars that are exposed to sunlight. Sunlight is an antiseptic; it also expedites the pickling process, and acts to prevent fermentation. Pickles are generally preserved in salt, oil, or lemon juice. (Mustard oil is an excellent choice.) This lime pickle is simultaneously sweet, spicy, and hot.
1. Wash and dry
the limes thoroughly. In a completely dry spot (any water will
spoil the pickle), slice each lime lengthwise into 8 pieces (retain
2. Mix the salt, mustard seed powder, cayenne, and turmeric in a bowl.
3. Bring the sugar and the lime juice to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Boil for 2 minutes and set aside.
4. Arrange a layer of lime slices, cut-side-up, alternated with a sprinkled layer of the salt and spice mixture in the glass jar until the jar is filled.
5. When the lime and sugar liquid is cooled to lukewarm, pour it into the jar, covering the lime and spice layers. Cool the jar; then tightly screw on a non-metallic lid.
6. Place the jar of pickle in the sun, bringing it inside every night. Shake the jar two or three times a day. After 5 - 6 weeks, the pickle is ready to use, although the longer you wait, the better the pickle.
KCB 7.12: Peanut and Coriander Chutney
This chutney is popular in Northern India and is a delightful combination of hot, sour, sweet, and astringent flavours. Traditionally, this chutney is prepared using dried tamarind pulp. Here, we use "instant tamarind" and reduce the preparation time of this chutney to only 10 minutes. Serve this excellent uncooked chutney as a dip for Cauliflower and Pea Samosas or Rajasthani Spicy Dal-Stuffed Bread.
1. Combine the
tamarind concentrate with the hot water until it becomes a smooth
2. Place the ghee in a heavy frying pan over low heat. When the ghee is hot, add the peanuts and, stirring often, roast them for 3 or 4 minutes or until the peanuts turn pale golden brown. Add the coconut and stir for another minute.
3. Combine the peanuts, coconut, tamarind puree, salt, chilies, sugar, cold water, and fresh coriander leaves in a blender or food processor. Process until creamy and smooth. (You might need to add a little more water). Transfer to a bowl and serve at room temperature. This chutney is best served immediately but can be refrigerated for 2 - 3 days.
KCB 7.13: Raspberry Jam
Try this jam when you have an abundance of ripe, juicy raspberries.
Combine all the ingredients in a large heavy non-stick saucepan. At this stage the mixture should be no more than 5 cm (2-inches) deep. Heat slowly to dissolve the sugar. Increase the heat, bring to a boil, and boil the jam rapidly, uncovered, without stirring for about 15 minutes or until a teaspoon of jam jells on a cold plate. You might have to stir the jam occasionally towards the end. When a little cooler, pour the jam into hot, sterilized glass jars and seal.
KCB 8: SAVOURIES
Here's a mouth-watering selection of vegetable puffs, savory pastries, crispy snacks, and rich extravaganzas. There's a savory here for every occasion, breadfast or brunch, picnic or patio, snack or banquet.
KCB 8.1: Baked Stuffed Cheesy Corn Breads (Enchiladas)
Enchiladas are a Mexican dish made of soft, flat tortillas that are dipped in sauce and rolled around a filling, then topped with more sauce, sprinkled with cheese, baked, and served with sour cream. Richly indulgent and delicious, they're great for party catering.
To prepare the sauce
1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Saute the minced chili in the hot oil for a few seconds. Add the asafoetida, cumin, and coriander; then add the tomato puree and tomato paste. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the salt and sugar and remove the sauce from the heat. Set aside.
To prepare the filling
1. Combine the ricotta cheese, 2 cups (500 ml) of grated cheese, spinach, corn, asafoetida, pepper, sugar, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl and mix well.
To assemble the enchiladas
1. Heat the
oil or ghee in a frying pan over high heat. When the ghee
is hot 185°C/365°F, fry the tortillas individually for
about 10 seconds on each side. Use smooth-tipped tongs to flip the
tortillas in the oil. Remove and drain them on paper towels.
The tortillas should be pliable.
2. Spread enough sauce on each tortilla to cover. If small tortillas are being used, spoon 1 heaped tablespoon of filling into the centre of each tortilla and fold in half. If large tortillas are being used, spoon 2 heaped tablespoons of filling into the center of each tortilla, spread into a strip and roll up the tortilla.
3. When all the tortillas are stuffed and laid out, pour over all the sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese, place in a preheated moderate oven 180°C/355°F, and bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is hot and bubbly.
Serve each enchilada hot with a spoonful of sour cream.
KCB 8.2: Eggplant Parmigiana
Eggplants lend a certain richness to this classic Mediterranean baked savoury dish: layers of crumbed and battered eggplant fillets baked with herbed tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. Degorge the eggplants before using them; that is, the eggplants are treated with salt to remove excess bitterness, also allowing them to soak up less oil when they are fried. Try serving Eggplant Parmigiana with Mediterranean Salad, Minestrone soup, and Bread rolls for a delightful summer luncheon.
For fried eggplant
To degorge the eggplants (optional)
1. Rub salt on the eggplant slices and let them sit for half an hour. Rinse the eggplant slices thoroughly with cold water and dry them with paper towels.
To make the sauce
1. Heat the olive oil over high heat in a heavy saucepan. Saute the asafoetida; then add the minced red peppers and celery. Stir-Fry for a few minutes. Add the tomato puree, herbs, spices, sugar, and salt. Bring the mixture to the boil, reduce the heat, and simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.
To batter and fry the eggplant
1. Heat the ghee or oil for deepfrying until it reaches about 185°C/365°F. Combine the flour, salt, pepper, and cold water to form a medium-thick batter. Dip a few slices of eggplant in the buttermilk, roll them in bread crumbs, and dip them into the batter. Fry them in the hot ghee or oil until golden brown on both sides. Remove and drain. Repeat this procedure until all the eggplants are cooked.
To assemble the casserole
1. Preheat the oven to 180°/355°F. Spread one-third of the tomato sauce in a deep casserole dish (about 25 cm x 30 cm [10 inches x 12 inches]). Place half of the eggplant slices on top. Carefully pour and spread another one third of the tomato sauce on top and sprinkle on half the parmesan cheese. Layer the rest of the eggplant in the dish; then pour on the rest of the tomato sauce. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese. Bake for 40 minutes. Serve hot or warm.
Note: As an alternative, serve the fried, crumbed, and battered eggplant fillets hot, on individual platters, with a generous spoonful of sauce and parmesan cheese.
KCB 8.3: Eggplant Rings with Cheese
Rings of eggplant are sandwiched together with a ring of mozzarella cheese and fried in a herbed batter for these tasty, cheesy savouries. They're ideal served piping hot for special party catering.
1. To make the
batter: Sift the flour and yeast into a bowl, make a well in the
centre, and add lukewarm water. Add salt, pepper, basil, and
asafoetida, mix well, and allow to stand for 1/2
2. Slice the eggplant into 1/2 cm (1/4-inch) rings. Cut the mozzarella cheese into half as many rings as there are eggplant rings. Heat 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil in a frying pan and fry the eggplant rings until golden but still firm. Remove and drain carefully on paper towels.
3. Heat the oil for deep frying to 180°C/355°F. Place one piece of mozzarella cheese between 2 slices of eggplants, lift with the tongs, and dip into the batter. Repeat and deep-fry a few pieces at a time until they are golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all the eggplant rings are fried. Season the eggplant rings with the extra salt and serve hot.
KCB 8.4: Vegetable Fritters (Pakoras)
Pakoras are popular spiced, batter-dipped, deep-fried,
vegetables that make perfect snacks or hors d'oeuvres. Ghee is
the preferred medium for frying pakoras, although you can use
nut or vegetable oil. Serve hot pakoras with you favourite
chutney or dip.
Try batter-frying various types of vegetables. Cauliflower pakoras are probably the most popular, but equally delicious are potato rings, zucchini chunks, spinach leaves, pumpkin slices, eggplant rings, baby tomatoes, sweet potatoes, red or green pepper slices, asparagus tips, and artichoke hearts.
Cook pakoras slowly to ensure that the batter and the vegetables cook simultaneously. You needn't precook the vegetables.
1. Combine the
flours, salt, powdered spices, and green chilies in a bowl. Mix well
with a wire whisk.
2. Slowly add cold water while whisking the batter until it achieves the consistency of medium-light cream. When you dip the vegetable in the batter, it should be completely coated but neither thick and heavy nor runny and thin. Have extra flour and water on hand to adjust the consistency as required. Let the batter sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Heat fresh ghee or oil, to the depth of 61/2 - 71/2 cm (21/2 - 3 inches, in a wok or deep-frying vessel until the temperature reaches about 180°C/355°F. Dip 5 or 6 pieces of vegetable in the batter and, one at a time, carefully slip them into the hot oil.
4. The temperature will fall, but try to maintain it between 173°C - 180°C/345°F - 355°F throughout the frying. Fry until the pakoras are golden brown, turning to cook them evenly on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Continue cooking until all the pakoras are done. Serve immediately or keep warm, uncovered, in a preheated cool oven for up to 1/2 hour.
KCB 8.5: Tofu ‘Steaks’
Tofu "steaks" will vary in size according to the shape of the block of tofu. Generally, a 450 g (1-pound) block of tofu will make 4 good-sized tofu "steaks". Serve accompanied by Boiled Rice, vegetable dishes, and salad.
1. Heat the
vegetable oil over moderately low heat in a frying pan large
enough to fit all 4 "steaks" at a time. Saute the
asafoetida in the hot oil and add the tofu. Saute the tofu
until golden brown on both sides, turning when required. Remove from
the heat. Transfer the tofu, along with any remaining oil,
into an ovenproof dish, laying the tofu "steaks" out
2. Combine the tamari, apple juice, grape juice, ginger juice, lemon juice, and raw sugar in a bowl, stirring well to dissolve the sugar. Pour this mixture over the warm tofu "steaks". Leave to marinate for 2 hours.
3. Place the ovenproof dish in a preheated 200°C/390°F oven and bake for 20 minutes, uncovered. Serve hot.
KCB 8.6: Mashed Potato Puffs (Alu Vadas)
These are a favourite savoury item from Gujarat state on India's west coast. They're a good example of simple, tasty vegetarian "finger food". Most of the time spent to prepare these puffs lies in mashing and spicing the potatoes. The frying time is very quick because, even though they're cooked in a 'pakoralike' batter, the filling is already precooked, the wafer-thin crust cooking in only minutes. Serve Alu Vadas with Coconut Chutney for a tasty treat.
1. Mix the mashed
potatoes with the other potato filling ingredients and roll into 18
2. Combine the 3 flours, spices, and salt in a mixing bowl. Adding water, whisk the batter to make a smooth, slightly thick pouring-consistency batter.
3. Heat ghee or oil, to the depth of 61/2 - 71/2 cm (21/2 - 3 inches), in a wok or deep-frying pan over moderately high heat until it reaches 180°C/355°F. Dip 5 or 6 balls in the batter and carefully slip them into the hot oil. Deep-fry, turning gently after they float to the surface, for 3 to 4 minutes or until the puffs turn golden brown and crisp. Remove and drain them on paper towels. Serve immediately.
KCB 8.7: Sweet Potato Pie
This popular savoury pie features the delicious orange-fleshed kumeras, native New Zealand sweet potatoes. This recipe is from the lunch menu at Gopal's Restaurant in Auckland.
1. To prepare the
crust: sift the 2 flours and salt into a large bowl. Rub in the
butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add enough chilled
water to hold the dough together. Knead briefly, working quickly to
avoid over-handling. Cover the pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate
for 1/2 hour.
2. Pinch off two-thirds of the pastry and roll it into a smooth ball; then, with a rolling pin, roll it into a circle that comfortably fits inside and up the sides of one 20 cm (8-inch) buttered pie tin. Prick with a fork and bake in a preheated oven at 200°C/390°F for 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown.
3. Thoroughly combine all the ingredients for the filling. Spoon the filling into the pie base. Roll the remaining pastry to the required size, place it on top of the pie, and crimp the edges of the top over the pie base. Prick with a fork and place in the oven. Bake at 190°C/375°F for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Variation: Place 1 cup (250 ml) grated cheese on top of the pie halfway through the baking.
KCB 8.8: Cauliflower and Pea Samosas
These triangular deep-fried stuffed savoury pastries are becoming
world famous. The Gopal's Restaurants world-wide all feature samosas
on their menu. Potato-and-peas, mixed vegetables, or
cauliflower-and-potato fillings can be substituted for cauliflower
and peas. Fresh curd cheese can also be successfully added to samosa
When you bite into a warm samosa, you'll notice it's wonderfully tender, thin pastry crust, golden brown from deep-frying in ghee, and the harmony of flavours of the vegetable filling.
Serve samosas with Date and Tamarind Sauce, Peach Chutney, or Mint Chutney. Samosas should be served warm or at room temperature and make a great travelling snackfood.
To make the filling
1. Heat 2 tablespoons
(40 ml) of ghee or oil in a large frying pan over moderate
heat. Saute the cumin seeds in the hot oil until they turn golden
brown. Add the ginger and chilies and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the
asafoetida and stir momentarily; then add the cauliflower and peas.
Add the turmeric, cinnamon, and salt.
2. Reduce the heat to low, stir all the ingredients, and partially cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and quite dry. Add the fresh coriander leaves and lemon juice. Remove from the heat and coarsely mash the vegetables. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Divide the filling into 20 even portions.
To make the pastry
1. Mix the flour and
salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the melted butter or ghee and
rub it between your fingertips until it resembles a coarse meal.
2. Make a depression in the centre of the mixture, add most of the water, and quickly mix and gather it into a ball. If the dough is too dry to cohere, add warm water to make a medium-soft pastry dough.
3. Knead the dough on a smooth surface for 8 to 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Cover with a cloth until the filling is cool.
To assemble the samosas
1. Roll the dough
into a rope about 25 cm (10-inches) long and cut the rope into 10
equal-sized pieces. Cover with a moist cloth.
2. Take one piece of dough and press it into a smooth patty. Lightly oil a smooth working surface. With a rolling pin, flatten the patty into a round, thin disk about 16.5 cm (61/2 inches) across. Cut the disk in half with a sharp knife.
3. Dip your finger into a bowl of water and moisten the straight edge of one semi-circle of pastry. Pick up the semi-circle and fold it in half, forming a cone. Gently but firmly press the moistened edges together, slightly overlapping them to ensure the seal.
4. Carefully spoon one portion of the vegetable stuffing into the pastry cone, leaving a 0.5 cm (1/4-inch) border on top. Dip your finger into the bowl of water and moisten the inside edge of the cone. Firmly press the moistened edges together, thoroughly sealing the filling inside the triangular pastry casing. The top edge can be left plain, crimped with a fork or plaited with your fingers. Place the samosa on a tray and finish rolling, filling, and shaping the remaining samosas.
5. Place ghee or oil to a level of 6.5 - 7.5 cm (21/2 - 3 inches) in a wok or deep-frying pan over moderate heat. When the temperature reaches 145°C/290°F, slowly fry 8 to 10 samosas at a time for about 10 minutes or until they're flaky and pale golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve warm or at room temperature.
KCB 8.9: Vegetarian Spring Rolls
Serve Spring Rolls hot with sweet chili sauce for a delicious snack as part of a multi-course banquet.
1. To prepare the
filling: heat the sesame oil in a wok over moderate-to-high heat
until the oil is almost smoking. Saute the asafoetida momentarily in
the hot oil. Add the minced ginger and saute for 1/2
minute; then add the carrots and, increasing the heat, saute for 2 or
3 minutes. Add the cabbage and fry partially covered, stirring often.
When the cabbage becomes soft, add the bean shoots, crumbled tofu,
chili oil, soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, and Chinese 5-spice.
Stir-fry for another minute. Mix half the cornflour with cold water
to form a paste and stir it into the mixture. Remove the filling from
the heat, transfer to a tray, and allow it to cool.
2. Heat the oil in a wok over moderate heat until it reaches 185°C/365°F.
3. To prepare the rolls: unwrap the pastry and separate the sheets. Place 2 tablespoons (40 ml) of the filling in the corner of each sheet. Roll the sheet over the filling, tuck in the sides and continue rolling, sealing with a paste made from the remaining cornflour and a little cold water.
4. Place a few sealed rolls at a time in the oil. Deep-fry them, turning once, for about 45 seconds each side or until they are reddish brown. Drain them. Continue frying until all the rolls are cooked and serve them hot with an accompanying sauce.
KCB 8.10: Sweet-and-Sour Walnuts
This exotic dish from Shanghai features crispy walnuts in a delicious sweet-and-sour sauce. Serve with hot rice as an accompaniment to a main meal.
1. Bring water to the
boil. Add walnuts, remove from heat and allow to soak for 30 minutes.
Drain, pat dry, and place on a baking sheet. Toast in a preheated
oven 120°C/250°F for 20 minutes or until the walnuts are
2. Sift the plain flour, corn flour, and baking powder into a bowl. Add the water and set aside for 1/2 hour. Blend with the 1 tablespoon (20 ml) corn oil and leave for another 15 minutes.
3. Heat 4 cups (1 litre) corn oil in a wok to 180°C/355°F, and, dipping the walnuts in the batter, deep-fry until golden; then drain.
4. To make the sauce: heat 3 tablespoons (60 ml) corn oil in a wok over moderate heat. Saute the asafoetida in the hot oil. Add the celery, pine apple, pepper, and chilies and cook for 7 to 10 minutes or until the celery and peppers become soft. Add the salt, brown sugar, lemon juice, tomato puree, and sweet soy sauce and heat until boiling. Combine the ingredients for the thickening paste and add to the sauce. Stir well and remove from the heat. Add the walnuts to the sauce, mix well, and serve
KCB 8.11: Spicy Tofu Rolls
This tasty savoury is made from beancurd sheets, or "tofu
skin", a dried tofu product, and stuffed with vegetables,
such as choko. Choko is a green pear-shaped gourd that is sometimes
called chayote. If choko is not available, substitute peeled,
seeded, and shredded cucumber.
When purchasing the tofu skin, select the soft variety made especially for wrapping. All the Chinese ingredients are available at Asian grocers.
For thickening paste
1. Heat 2 tablespoons
(40 ml) corn oil in a wok. Stir-fry the ginger, choko, and carrots in
the hot oil over moderate heat for about 2 minutes. Add the shredded
bok choy leaves and the preserved turnip, cover the
vegetables, and cook until tender.
2. Combine thickening-paste ingredients. Remove lid and increase the heat; then add the salt, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons (60 ml) stock or water, brown sugar, black pepper, and the thickening paste. Add the bean shoots and stir. Spread the preparation on a plate to cool. Divide into 12 portions.
3. Unwrap the beancurd sheet and cut it into 30 cm (12-inch) squares. Dip a sheet momentarily into a bowl of cold water. Place it on a flat surface and pat dry. Place a portion of filling near the corner of the sheet and roll it over, tucking in the edges as you go until you make a tight roll. Repeat for all 12 rolls.
4. Place the corn oil in a shallow pan and, a batch at a time, shallow-fry the rolls over moderate heat 180°C/355°F until they are golden brown on both sides. Remove and drain.
5. Mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a small pan (except the chilies and parsley). Cook over low heat until the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat.
6. Pour the sauce over the rolls, garnish with parsley and chili, and serve immediately.
KCB 8.12: Potato and Pea Croquettes
These pan-fried delights are easy to make and are great served hot with sour cream or Date and Tamarind Sauce.
1. Boil the potato
cubes in a saucepan of lightly salted water until very tender.
Drain, mash, and set aside.
2. Steam the peas until tender. Drain and set aside.
3. Combine the salt, pepper, asafoetida, bread crumbs, fresh herbs, and mashed potatoes in a bowl. Add the peas and mix well. Divide the mixture into 1 dozen even-sized balls. Flatten each ball into a 7.5 cm (3-inch) patty with the palms of your hand.
4. Heat a non-stick frying pan over moderate heat. Add half the ghee or oil and Fry 6 of the patties on both sides until golden and crusted (about 3 or 4 minutes on each side). Remove and drain on paper towels.
5. Add the remaining ghee or oil to the pan and pan-fry the remaining croquettes. Serve hot.
KCB 8.13: Curd Pakoras
Home-made curd cheese is easy to make and is irresistible when
batter-fried crispy on the outside and smooth and creamy on the
Serve hot Curd Pakoras with a wedge of lemon or lime and a spoonful of Tartare Sauce.
The curd cheese, or panir, should be home-made, pressed under a heavy weight, cut up while still hot and slightly moist, cooked in batter immediately, and served hot.
1. Boil the milk in a heavy
saucepan over moderate heat. Remove from the heat and add the lemon
juice, a little at a time. When the curd has separated from the whey,
place the pan of curds and whey aside.
2. Combine the flours, salt, spices, and chilies in a bowl and add cold water to form a thick batter. Leave for 10 minutes.
3. Drain the curd cheese and press it for 10 minutes under a heavy weight. Remove the weight and cut the cheese into 1.5 cm (3/4-inch) cubes or 3.75 cm (11/2-inch) long stripe while the curd is still hot.
4. Pour 6.5 - 7.5 cm (21/2 - 3 inches) ghee or oil into a wok or deep-frying pan and heat to 180°C/355°F. Dip 6 or 7 pieces of curd cheese in the batter and carefully drop them into the hot oil one at a time. The temperature will fall but should be maintained at the frying temperature by adjusting the heat. Cook the pakoras, turning occasionally, until they are golden brown all over (about 4 to 5 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Cook all the pakoras in the same manner and serve hot.
KCB 8.14: Crispy Flat-Rice and Cashews (Gujarati Chidwa)
Chidwa is a deep fried snack famous throughout India. This recipe from Gujarat combines nuts, dried fruits, fried potato straws, crispy flatrice, and spices. Ajowan seeds, with a flavour reminiscent of oregano, give chidwa its authentic flavour. They are available from any Indian grocer.
1. Rinse the
shredded potato in batches of cold water until the water remains
clear. Soak the shredded potato in cold water for 1/2
hour. Drain and pat dry.
2. Combine the cayenne, turmeric, salt, sugar, ajowan, and green chilies in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Dry-roast the fennel seeds in a small frying pan over moderate heat until the seeds darken a few shades. Set aside.
4. Heat 5 cm (2 inches) oil in a deep pan or wok over high heat. When the temperature reaches 190°C/375°F, add a handful of the shredded potato and deep-fry until golden brown, stirring occasionally with a slotted spoon. Remove and drain in a colander lined with paper towels. Repeat until all the potato is fried.
5. Allow the oil temperature to fall to about 180°C/355°F. Place a small handful of flat-rice in a metal strainer and carefully lower it into the hot oil. The oil will froth initially. After one minute, the flat-rice will be crisp. Do not allow it to darken. Remove the strainer, drain, and transfer the flatrice onto paper towels. Repeat until all the flat-rice is fried.
6. Deep-fry the cashew nuts in the same manner as the flat-rice until golden brown.
7. Allow all the fried ingredients to cool to room temperature. Combine them in a bowl with the spices and raisins, mixing well. Store in an airtight container.
For a more colourful variety of chidwa try the following: divide the shredded potatoes into 3 and soak in 3 separate small bowls of cold water, to which has been added 1 teaspoon (5 ml) each of edible red, blue, and green food dye. Soak the shredded potatoes, drain them, pat dry, and proceed as per the recipe.
KCB 8.15: Asparagus and Tomato Quiche
A quiche is an open faced tart with a savoury filling and is the perfect luncheon or supper dish accompanied by a green salad and French bread. It also makes a good first course for dinner. Quiche lends itself to advance preparation; the crust or base of the quiche should be cooked beforehand. A cold quiche is great for picnic fare or makes a quick, satisfying snack.
1. Combine the
butter and flour, rubbing well until it reaches a coarse meal
consistency. Add the water and parmesan cheese to the mixture and mix
to form a firm pastry . Press the mixture into a buttered 20 cm
(8-inch) quiche or flan tin, being careful that the crust mixture is
evenly distributed throughout the tin.
2. Bake the quiche crust in a hot oven 200°C/390°F until light golden brown. Allow to cool.
3. Combine the sour cream, softened cream cheese, tomato paste, cornflour, salt, pepper, 1 cup (250 ml) cheese, herbs, and spices and mix well. Add the asparagus. Spoon the mixture into the cooled quiche crust, smooth out, press the slices of tomato on top, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and bake in a preheated oven set on 190°C/375°F for about 20 minutes or until the filling is set and the top is golden. Allow to cool before serving.
KCB 8.16: Spinach Filo Tianes (Spanakopita)
Spinach Filo Triangles feature the salty white Greek sheep's cheese called feta and wafer-thin continental filo pastry (both available at delicatessens and large stores). If you are not partial to the rather strong taste of feta, substitute ricotta cheese or home-made curd cheese (panir) or a combination of both. Include the optional cheddar cheese if you're using a substitute for feta. I have omitted salt from the recipe because feta cheese and spinach are both naturally salty. Add 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt if you are not using feta. These crisp, savoury, baked pastries are great for party catering.
1. Place the
spinach in a large, heavy saucepan over moderately high heat with 3
tablespoons (60 ml) of butter, salt, and pepper. Bring the spinach to
a boil, reduce the heat, and cook
uncovered until the spinach is tender and the liquid has
2. Melt another 2 tablespoons (40 ml) butter in a separate pan, add asafoetida, and saute for a few moments. Add the nutmeg and flour and saute for about 1 minute. Add the milk and stir carefully until the sauce boils and thickens. Remove from the heat. Combine the spinach, cheese, and sauce. Place the mixture in a bowl and allow to cool. If the mixture is too moist, add the optional bread crumbs.
3. Cut all the pastry sheets into long, 9 cm (4-inch) wide strips. Using a pastry brush, brush 2 strips with melted butter. Layer one buttered strip on top of another.
4. Place 1 heaped tablespoon of filling on the end of each double pastry strip and fold over to form a triangle, covering the filling. Lifting the triangle up and over to form a second triangle, continue folding until you reach the end of the pastry strip. Adhere the last edge of the pastry with butter.
5. Fill all the triangles in this manner, brush the tops with butter, and bake on unbuttered baking sheets in a preheated oven 180°C/355°F for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
KCB 8.17: Ricotta Cheese-filled Pastries (Calzone)
Calzone are popular half-moon shaped stuffed savoury-or-sweet pastries from Italy. This is my version of the savoury variety eaten in the southern region of Campania, Basilicata, and Puglia. Serve calzone as part of a traditional Italian vegetarian meal or as an entree or snack, either hot or cold.
1. Dissolve the
yeast in the warm water, add the sugar, mix well, and leave
covered in a warm place for 10 minutes or until the mixture
2. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast, oil, and enough lukewarm water to make a smooth dough. Knead well for 5 minutes. Rub oil inside the bowl and over the dough. Place the dough in the bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
3. To prepare the pastry filling: heat the olive oil in a small frying pan over moderate heat. Saute the asafoetida in the hot oil for a few seconds; then add the diced peppers and saute for one minute. Add the chopped black olives, salt, and pepper and stir to mix; then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
4. Combine the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, cooled olives and pepper mixture, spinach, and parsley in a large bowl. Mix well and set aside.
5. After the dough has risen the first time, punch it down with your fist, remove it from the bowl onto a floured bench top, and knead again for one minute. Roll the dough out with your hands into a long tube and cut into 18 portions. Roll each portion into a smooth ball and, with a rolling pin, roll out each ball into a 13 cm (5-inch) disk.
6. Divide the filling into 18 portions. Place a portion in the centre of each disk. Fold over and seal around the edge either with a fork or by pressure from your fingertips to make small semicircular pastries. Place all the pastries on a oiled tray and leave them covered with a cloth in a warm place for 30 minutes.
7. Heat the ghee or oil for deep-frying in a wok or large pan over moderate heat; 180°C/355°F and fry 6 pastries, turning when required, until they are golden brown. Remove and drain. Repeat until all the pastries are fried. Serve calzone either hot, warm, or cold.
KCB 8.18: Grated Cauliflower Balls in Tomato Sauce (Gobi Kofta)
Kofta are Indian-style vegetable balls of many varieties that are served with gravies and sauces. The most suitable vegetables for making Kofta are potato, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, and white radish. These traditional cauliflower Koftas are served with tomato sauce. Try them with other sauces and serve them either as part of a main meal or as an accompanying savoury. Kofta balls are great served over hot rice or in your favourite spaghetti sauce over pasta.
For cauliflower balls
1. To prepare the
sauce: boil the tomatoes in 1 cup (250 ml) water in a 2-litre/quart
saucepan. Simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and cool for 10 minutes; then pour the sauce through a sieve until all of the tomato puree is separated from the seeds and skins. Set aside the puree while preparing the spices for the sauce.
2. Place the fresh coriander, minced ginger, chilies, ground coriander, cumin, and 1/2 cup (125 ml) water in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth.
3. Heat the olive oil in a 3-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat. Saute the mustard seeds in the hot oil until they crackle. Add the spice paste and bring to the boil. Simmer for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato puree, brown sugar, and salt. Bring to the boil and simmer the sauce over a low heat while you prepare the kofta balls. When the sauce thickens, remove it from the heat.
4. To prepare the kofta balls: combine the grated cauliflower, ginger, chilies, fresh coriander, turmeric, ground coriander, and cumin in a mixing bowl and knead until well-mixed. In a smaller bowl, mix the chickpea flour, baking powder, and salt.
5. Heat the ghee in a wok or deep pan over moderate heat until it reaches 180°C/355°F. Combine the cauliflower and spices with the flour and salt. Roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls.
6. Slip 6 to 8 balls simultaneously into the hot oil, and after they rise to the surface reduce the heat to low and fry the kofta for 8 to 10 minutes or until they turn reddish gold. Remove and drain. When the oil reaches 180°C/355°F, fry the second batch of kofta. Remove and drain. Repeat until all koftas are fried. Before serving, place the koftas in a warmed, shallow serving dish and cover with the tomato sauce.
KCB 8.19: Potato and Cottage Cheese Rolls with Cranberry Sauce
This is my adaptation of a rich and unusual savoury dish from Lithuania. Large baking potatoes are mashed, mixed with fresh cottage cheese, rolled with rich pastry, baked, and served hot with a spoonful of sour cream and cranberry sauce. Present this stunning dish for a special dinner party.
1. Mix the mashed
potatoes with the cottage cheese, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt, and black
pepper. Set aside.
2. Combine the flour, remaining salt, and baking powder and sieve into another large bowl.
3. Rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips until it resembles a coarse meal. Add half the sour cream to this flour mixture and work into a soft but not sticky dough you may need to add more flour. Knead the dough on a lightly floured board for a few minutes.
4. Gather the dough into a smooth ball and, with a rolling pin, roll it on the floured board into a 20 cm x 30 cm (8-inch x 12-inch) rectangle.
5. Spread the potato and cottage cheese mixture in a smooth even layer over the pastry. Roll the pastry to form a 30 cm (12-inch) long roll. Cut it into 8 sections.
6. Place the 8 swirls of pastry on a buttered baking tray. Melt the reserved butter and brush it over the pastries. Place the tray in the centre of a preheated 200°C/390°F oven and bake for about 1/2 hour or until the pastry rolls are golden brown.
7. Remove the rolls from the oven and place on individual serving plates topped with liberal spoonfuls of sour cream and cranberry sauce. Serve hot.
KCB 8.20: Potato Pancake (Rosti)
Almost a national dish in Switzerland, Rosti makes an elegant accompaniment to almost any main dish. Serve it hot and fresh with a small bowl of sour cream.
1. Grate the potatoes coarsely and set them aside.
2. Heat the butter with the oil in a large, heavy frying pan over moderate heat. When the butter melts and the foam subsides, place the grated potatoes in the pan and spread them out into a large pancake, taking care not to press it down too much. Season the potatoes with the salt and pepper.
3. Cover the pan and reduce the heat, cooking for 8 to 10 minutes or until the underside of the potato pancake begins to brown. Shake the pan occasionally to make sure the mixture doesn't stick.
4. Gently turn the potato pancake. Fry another 5 or 6 minutes or until the other side turns golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat and slide the potato pancake out of the pan onto a warmed serving dish. Slice and serve immediately.
KCB 9: PASTA AND GRAIN DISHES
Here's a wholesome collection of vegetarian pasta, noodle, and grain dishes from Greece, Japan, Italy, Morocco, India, and Malaysia.
KCB 9.1: Vegetarian Lasagna
Tender pasta sandwiched between layers of tasty bechamel sauce, cheese, spinach, and herbed tomato sauce, topped with more cheese and baked until firm whenever we serve Vegetarian Lasagna at Gopal's Restaurant our clientele become practically ecstatic. "Could you possibly give us the recipe? " they ask. So here it is. This recipe calls for good quality imported Italian instant lasagna noodles. I like to use "Verde Ondine" instant lasagna. Otherwise, if you choose to use the non-instant variety, precook it according to the directions on the packet.
This lasagna has five distinct ingredients: pasta, tomato sauce, bechamel sauce, spinach, and cheese.
To cook the tomato sauce
1. Heat the olive oil
over moderate heat in a large, heavy-based saucepan. When hot, add
the asafoetida. Saute momentarily; then add the fresh basil, oregano,
marjoram, bay leaves, and black pepper and saute for another few
2. Add the eggplant cubes and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the peppers and, stirring occasionally, cook them along with the eggplant pieces until both are softened (about 3 or 4 minutes).
3. Add the tomatoes and olives and stir well. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat slightly, and cook uncovered, stirring often, for about 1/2 hour or until it reduces and thickens. Add tomato paste, salt, sugar, and parsley, mix well, and remove from the heat.
To cook the Bechamel Sauce
1. Place the melted
butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat and stir in the nutmeg,
black pepper, and flour and saute until the mixture darkens slightly
(about 1/2 minute). Remove from the heat.
2. Gradually pour in the warm milk, stirring with a whisk until the sauce is smooth. Return to moderate heat and stir until it boils. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens to a thick-custard consistency (about 5 minutes).
To assemble the lasagna
1. Combine all 3
cheeses (except the reserved parmesan) in a bowl. Divide the tomato
sauce and bechamel sauce into 3. Divide the cheese and spinach into
2. Divide the pasta into 5.
2. Spread one-third of the tomato sauce in the bottom of the baking tray. Place one-fifth of the pasta sheets on top. Spread on one-third of the bechamel sauce then another one-fifth of the pasta. Spread one-half of the spinach leaves; then sprinkle half the grated cheese on top.
3. Repeat this process twice more and you should end up with the bechamel sauce on top. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Place the lasagna in the top of a pre-heated 200°C/390°F oven and cook for 30 - 45 minutes or until the top is slightly golden and the pasta "gives" when you stick a knife in it. It's best to let the lasagna set for at least another hour before serving, as this "plumps" the pasta. Cut into squares and serve.
KCB 9.2: Potato Dumplings with Tomato Sauce (Gnocchi)
Although not a true pasta, homemade gnocchi can replace pasta in a meal. These tasty and substantial dumplings originate in the style of the Molise region of Central Italy and are thus known as Gnocchi alla Molisana.
1. Heat the olive
oil in a heavy 4-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat until
hot but not smoking. Saute the asafoetida in the hot oil. Add the
tomatoes, salt, pepper, and basil; stirring occasionally, simmer the
sauce for about 30 minutes or until reduced somewhat. Remove from the
heat, cover, and keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, peel and quarter the potatoes and boil them in a saucepan of slightly salted water until very tender. Drain well and push the potatoes through a fine sieve into a bowl. Add the sifted flour, salt, nutmeg, and milk. Mix well. Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 2 minutes.
3. Take one-quarter of the mixture and form it into a roll on a floured surface. The roll should be 2.5 cm (1-inch) in diameter. Repeat with the remaining dough. Cut the rolls into 1.25 cm (1/2-inch) gnocchi lengths.
4. With two fingers, press each gnocchi against a cheese grater (medium holes) to roughen the surface on one side, at the same time making a dent in the other side where the fingers press. This gives the traditional gnocchi shape. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi.
5. Place one-quarter of the gnocchi into a large saucepan of boiling salted water over full heat. The gnocchi will go straight to the bottom of the pan and then start to float to the top. When the last dumpling rises to the top, boil for 1 minute; then remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi in batches. Add the gnocchi to the prepared tomato sauce and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes over low heat. Place the gnocchi in a serving bowl and spoon over half the sauce. Serve the remaining sauce and grated parmesan cheese separately. Garnish with chopped parsley.
KCB 9.3: Baked Rigatoni with Vegetables (Rigatoni al Forno)
This is a vegetarian version of the famous Calabrian "Rigatoni al Forno".
1. Heat the olive
oil in a heavy 4-litre/quart saucepan
over moderately high heat. Saute the asafoetida and diced red peppers
for two minutes. Add the tomato puree, broccoli, cauliflower, green
peas, salt, pepper, basil, and nutmeg. Simmer covered for 15 - 20
minutes or until all the vegetables are soft. Add the sour cream,
parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, and bread crumbs. Remove from the
heat and cover.
2. Cook the pasta in boiling salted
water until cooked but still firm (aldente). Drain thoroughly.
3. Combine the pasta and the vegetable sauce. Empty the mixture into a large casserole dish, smooth over, sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese, and bake in a preheated oven 200°C/390°F for 10 minutes. Serve hot, garnished with fresh chopped parsley.
KCB 9.4: Couscous with Vegetable Sauce
Couscous is the most common and well-known of all north
African Arab dishes. Couscous is a grain product made from
semolina, and it is also the name of the famous dish of which
couscous is the main ingredient. Imported couscous can
be obtained in some specialty supermarkets, although it can sometimes
be a little costly. I have found it is much more economical to
purchase a kilo or two from a well-stocked Middle Eastern grocer who
has couscous in bulk, usually in huge sacks.
Traditionally, couscous is cooked in a couscousier a special pot where the grains are steamed on top, the steam being generated from the sauce simultaneously cooking underneath. But if you don't have a couscousier, you will find this recipe from Morocco quick and easy. The couscous is cooked the "quick" method.
Couscous is always served in a mound with the sauce poured on top, the extra juice from the vegetables sometimes being served separately in little bowls on the side. Serve couscous as a filling main course with a spoonful of North African Hot Pepper Sauce (Harissa) added to the bowl of extra juice.
To make the sauce
1. Melt the 3
tablespoons (60 ml) of butter over moderate heat in a heavy saucepan
or in the bottom of a couscousier. Add the asafoetida,
zucchinis, peppers, pumpkin, potato, and turnips and saute for 10
minutes. Add half the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and
simmer for 30 minutes.
2. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, chilies, salt, pepper, and the rest of the water, (adding more if needed). Stir well and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for another 15 minutes. Towards the end of the cooking time for the sauce, prepare the couscous.
To prepare the coucous
1. Pour 2 cups (500
ml) water into a large saucepan. Add 1 tablespoon (20 ml) oil and 1
teaspoon (5 ml) salt and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat.
2. Stirring constantly, add the couscous. Allow the grains to swell for 2 minutes. Add 2 - 3 tablespoons (40 - 60 ml) butter and heat the grains over low heat for 3 minutes whilst stirring with a fork.
To assemble the dish
Pile the couscous on a large prewarmed serving dish. Drain some of the liquid from the vegetables (reserving it in little bowls to serve as an accompaniment), pour the vegetable sauce over the couscous, and serve immediately.
KCB 9.5: Spaghetti alla Napoletana
The famous city of Naples in Campania, Italy, produces the majority of commercially made pasta. Here is my version of the simple but famous Napolese spaghetti. Serve with a generous sprinkle of your favourite cheese.
1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Saute the asafoetida in the hot oil. Add the tomatoes, basil, salt, and pepper and cook gently for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water until cooked but still a little firm (al dense). Drain thoroughly and pile into a warmed serving dish. Pour the sauce over the top, sprinkle with cheese and serve immediately.
KCB 9.6: Pasta Pesto
Genoa, Northern Italy, is the home of the famous "Pasta Pesto alla Genovese" pasta with a pungent sauce called "pesto", made primarily of fresh basil leaves, parmesan cheese, and toasted pine nuts. Traditionally, ribbon-shaped pasta such as trenette or linguine are used.
1. Crush the basil
with the salt and half the olive oil in a large pestle and mortar, or
in a food processor. Add the rest of the oil and the pine nuts and
three-quarters of the cheese. Blend until smooth. Add a little
water if too thick.
2. Place one tablespoon (20 ml) olive oil in a small pan and place over moderate heat. Saute the asafoetida powder in the hot oil. Add this mixture to the mortar or food processor.
3. Cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water until cooked but still a little firm (al dente). Drain thoroughly. Serve the pasta with the pesto sauce. Serve immediately.
Note: Be sure to choose fresh pine nuts. Old ones become rancid and taste bitter.
KCB 9.7: Stuffed Vine Leaves (Dolmades)
There are many versions of this stuffed appetizer, found in Armenia, Turkey, Greece, and the Middle East. A dolma is actually any dish prepared by stuffing a vine, fig, cabbage, or other edible leaf with a savoury filling. Here is a Greek version of vine leaves stuffed with rice, pine nuts, and currants and flavoured with dill and oregano. They can be served cold as an appetizer with salad, bread, and dips or heated in the oven with tomato sauce.
1. Boil the water
in a small pan over moderate heat.
2. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick 2-litre/quart pot over moderate heat. Stir-fry the pine nuts in the hot oil until they turn golden. Saute the asafoetida; then add the rice and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the boiling water, the currants, oregano, dill, salt, and pepper. Boil, stir, reduce the heat to low, and simmer the rice covered without stirring for 20 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Empty the rice into a bowl and allow to cool.
3. Place the vine leaves in a bowl and scald them with boiling water. Leave them to soak for 10 minutes; then drain and rinse under cold water.
4. Open up each leaf, placing between 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon of the filling (depending on the size of the leaf), rolled into a short tubular shape, into the centre of each leaf. Roll up the leaf, tucking in the sides as you go.
5. Place some damaged or unused leaves on the bottom of a large, heavy pot and layer the stuffed leaves on top. If you have more than one layer, place some leaves in between.
6. Place an inverted plate or saucer on top of the stuffed leaves, add enough hot water just to cover them, add the lemon juice, and cover the pot. Simmer for one hour over low heat. After they are cooked, allow them to cool in the pot and carefully remove them.
KCB 9.8: Malaysian Hot Noodles with Tofu (Mie Goreng)
The basis of this chili-hot noodle dish is dried Chinese-style wheat
noodles. They can be obtained in any Asian grocery or most good
supermarkets. The soft, moist varieties of noodle found in the
refrigerated display of Asian grocer shops are unsuitable for strict
vegetarians since, like most fresh pasta in Italian shops, they
The chili-hot taste of this wellknown Malaysian Chinese dish comes from sambal oelek, an Indonesian condiment made from minced fresh red chilies and salt. Be sure to obtain plain sambal oelek, as other varieties are loaded with garlic and onions. Alternatively make your own. The dried tofu that I use comes in the form of thick sheets about 5 cm x 10 cm (2 inches x 4 inches) and is called "Dry Sliced Bean Curd". Choy sum is a delicate Chinese green vegetable available at Chinese grocers. Select young, thin-stalked choysum, cut off 2.5 cm (1-inch) from the base and use the rest.
1. Soak the dried
tofu slices in hot water for 15 minutes. When softened, cut into 2.5
cm (1-inch) squares, drain, and pat dry.
2. Cook the wheat noodles in a 5-litre/quart saucepan of boiling water until they are still a little firm (al dense). Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again.
3. Heat the oil in a wok or pan over high heat. Deep-fry the tofu cubes until they turn golden brown, remove, and drain. Repeat for all the tofu. Next, deep-fry the squares of dried tofu until golden and slightly blistered. Remove and drain. Put aside.
4. Heat the sesame oil in another wok over full heat. Saute the minced ginger for 1 minute. Add the asafoetida and choysum and stir-fry until the vegetables become soft.
5. Add the soy sauce, sambal oelek, lemon juice, fried dry tofu, fried fresh tofu, and bean shoots and stir well. Increase the heat and add the drained wheat noodles. Stir-fry for another 2 minutes or until the noodles are hot. Serve immediately.
KCB 9.9: Japanese Rice-Balls (Onigiri)
These traditional stuffed rice-balls, or onigiri, are quick
and easy to prepare. They are served, as with all Japanese dishes,
with great attention to colour and presentation. They are, in fact,
not balls, but rather flattened triangular shapes. You will require
two special ingredients to make onigiri, both available from
Japanese or Asian specialty grocers: Japanese pickled plums
(umeboshi) and yellow pickled daikon radish (takuwan).
Serve onigiri as a snack, or as part of a special picnic lunch, accompanied by yellow pickled radish, on a plate decorated with fresh green leaves. Allow 2 balls per person.
1. Mix the salt
thoroughly with the sticky rice. Roll into 8 even-sized balls and
flatten each ball into a wheel shape with a flattened perimeter.
2. Make a slight indent in the side of each wheel with the thumb. Press one umeboshi into each hollow, allowing the plum to be visible on one face. Form the wheel of rice into a triangle with two flattened paralled faces. The plum should be visible on one of the faces. Press toasted sesame seeds around the plum on the flat face where the plum is visible and stand the savouries up on one of their three sides. Serve with yellow daikon radish pickles, allowing 2 or 3 small pieces of pickle per person. Onigiri with pickled plum will last 2 - 3 days without refrigeration.
KCB 9.10: Vegetable and Semolina Pudding (Upma)
Upma is a traditional grain dish much loved all over India. It consists of roasted semolina and sauteed spices, with added vegetables and nuts combined with water to form a moist, savoury pudding. Though upma's texture resembles Italian polenta or North African couscous, its flavour is unique. Served with fresh lemon juice and a little yogurt, it makes a delicious breakfast.
1. Stir-fry the
semolina in a large, heavy frying pan over moderate heat for 6 -
8 minutes or until the grains darken a few shades. Transfer to a bowl
and set aside.
2. Heat the ghee or oil in a heavy 4 or 5-litre/quart saucepan over moderately high heat. Saute the black mustard seeds in the hot oil until they crackle. Add the urad dal and cumin seeds and saute them until they darken; add the chilies and, stirring, add the cabbage, peppers, zucchini, potatoes, and turmeric. Stir-fry for 2 or 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderate and continue to cook for another 4 or 5 minutes or until the vegetables are limp and partly cooked.
3. Carefully add the hot water and bring to the boil. Add the cooked fresh peas or thawed frozen peas. Add the semolina, stirring continuously. Add the salt, reduce the heat to very low, and half-cover with a lid, stirring often until the upma becomes a light, fluffy pudding (about 10 minutes). If the upma appears too dry, add a little warm water.
4. Remove the upma from the heat, stir in the cashew nuts and fresh coriander leaves, and serve hot with a sprinkle of lemon juice.
KCB 10: BEAN AND LEGUME DISHES
Beans and legumes are not only rich in essential iron, vitamin B, and proteins, but they're also delious! Here are some of the many interesting ways to use them.
KCB 10.1: Israeli Chickpea Croquettes (Falafel)
Falafel are spicy chickpea croquettes. The original Egyptian variety contained dried white broad beans and were called ta'amia. In Israel, chickpeas were substituted for the broad beans. Falafel are delicious served stuffed inside split Middle Eastern Round Bread (Pita) dressed with Tahini Sauce or Hummus and accompanied by green salad.
1. Place the
chickpeas in a food processor and mince finely. Scrape the minced
chickpeas into a bowl. Fold in the herbs, spices, salt, and baking
powder. Mix well, knead, and leave for 30 minutes.
2. Form the mixture into 14 to 16 falafel balls. If they're too sticky, roll the falafel in a little flour. Repeat until all the mixture is rolled.
3. Fill a heavy pan or wok with ghee or oil to a depth of 6.5 - 7.5 cm (21/2 - 3 inches). Heat until moderately hot 180°C/355°F. Deep-fry 6 to 8 falafels at a time, turning when required, for 5 or 6 minutes, or until they're evenly golden brown.
4. Remove and drain on paper towels. Cook all the falafel. Serve hot, as recommended above.
KCB 10.2: Buckwheat Puffs
Buckwheat is not really a type of wheat or any kind of grain at all! A member of the polygonaceae family, it is related to rhubarb, sorrel, and dock. It is a grain-like food, however, and is rich in protein (11.7 %), as well as fibre, iron, phosphorus, and potassium. These grain-free puffs are made from buckwheat flour, ground from unroasted buckwheat groats. Serve them warm with plain sour cream or Horseradish Cream as a side dish or snack.
1. Combine the
buckwheat flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder
in a bowl.
2. Add the yogurt and melted butter, and then gradually add enough warm milk to form a thick, spoonable batter. Allow the mixture to set for 10 minutes.
3. Heat ghee or oil in a deep pan or wok over medium heat. When the ghee is moderately hot (180°C/355°F), carefully place about 6 heaping tablespoons of batter into the oil. Deep-fry the puffs until they are rich golden brown on both sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat for all the batter. Serve Buckwheat Puffs warm with a generous spoonful of sour cream or Horseradish Cream.
KCB 10.3: Lima-Bean and Cheese Croquettes
Serve these croquettes with a home-made sauce such as Tomato Relish or Date and Tamarind Sauce or with plain yogurt.
1. Drain the lima
beans. Boil them in unsalted water until soft. Drain them and mash
2. Combine all the croquette ingredients (except 11/2 cups [375 ml] bread crumbs) in a large bowl. Mix well. Form into 1 dozen croquettes about 6.25 cm x 2.5 cm x 2.5 cm (21/2 inches x 1 inch x 1 inch).
3. Combine the flour and salt and add enough cold water to whisk into a smooth batter with the consistency of thin cream.
4. Heat the oil or ghee in a deep wok or pan. When the ghee is hot 185°C/365°F, dip a few croquettes in the batter, shake off the excess, roll them in bread crumbs, and carefully lower them into the hot oil. Deep-fry until golden brown and crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all the croquettes are fried. Serve hot.
KCB 10.4: Tomato 'Omelette'
Here's a delicious and unusual dish from Gujarat state in western India. It makes a wonderful breakfast or snack served with fried potato chips, sour cream, and chutney.
1. Combine all the
ingredients except the ghee or oil. If the batter is too
thick, add a little more cold water to
2. Heat a heavy cast-iron griddle or non-stick frying pan over moderate heat until very hot. Reduce the heat and brush the griddle or frying-pan liberally with ghee or oil. Place 2 tablespoons (40 ml) batter on it and spread the batter as thin as you can. When the underside turns golden, put a little ghee or oil around the edges and tum the 'omelette' over. When golden brown on the other side, remove the 'omelette' from the pan. Fold and serve hot.
KCB 10.5: Spicy Beans with Corn Chips (Nachos)
This simple combination of savoury beans, crisp corn chips, melted cheese, avocado dip, and sour cream can be served as an appetizer or as a snack.
1. Boil the beans
until soft, then drain.
2. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan and saute the asafoetida. Add the chili, ground cumin, cooked beans, coriander leaves, tomato paste, and salt. Stirring often, cook on moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Arrange the corn chips on a 20 cm (8-inch) pie dish. Cover with the bean mixture and sprinkle the grated cheese on top. Place under a hot grill for 2 or 3 minutes, or until the cheese melts.
4. Top with Guacamole, sour cream and parsley. Serve immediately.
KCB 10.6: Dal Rissoles (Baras) Baked in Buttermilk
This recipe for baras baked in buttermilk has been a popular dish at the famous Hare Krishna Sunday Feasts throughout Australia for decades. I generally cook baras for at least 200 persons at a time, sometimes more. So I had to significantly reduce this recipe to a manageable size for home use. Baras easily lend themselves to bulk cooking, though, and they are always met with great enthusiasm. The little rissoles are wholesome and succulent and, when tasted, immediately dispel the notion that a vegetarian diet is dull and austere. (Note: The buttermilk used in this recipe is the cultured, reduced-fat variety. Yogurt may be substituted for the buttermilk.)
1. Soak the split
peas for 5 or 6 hours in at least 12 cups (3 litres) of cold
2. Thoroughly drain. the peas and, with the aid of a mincer, food processor, or grinder, mince them until they become a coarse paste. Add all the spices (except the paprika), the baking powder, and salt. Knead the mixture well.
3. Press out the paste on a flat, smooth surface until it is uniformly 1.25 cm (1/2-inch) thick. With a biscuit cutter or similar round object, cut out 3.75 cm (11/2-inch) disks. With a spatula transfer the disks onto an oiled tray. Gather the remaining mixture and cut out some more disks, repeating until all the mixture has been used up.
4. Heat the ghee or oil until fairly hot 180°C/355°F. Carefully slip 10 or 12 disks into the hot ghee or oil, but do not touch them until they float to the surface. Then you can turn them over. Fry them for about 6 to 8 minutes or until both sides are dark golden brown. Remove and drain. Repeat until all the baras are fried and drained.
5. Place all the fried baras into a bowl of hot, lightly salted water and allow them to soak for 10 to 15 minutes or until they are soft and slightly spongy. Remove and thoroughly drain, squeezing gently to remove excess water.
6. In a deep 20 cm x 25 cm (8-inch x 10-inch) casserole dish, layer half the baras. Pour one-third of the buttermilk on top of the baras; then place one slice of tomato on top of each bara. Place another layer of baras on top of the tomatoes and cover with one-third of the buttermilk. Place another layer of tomatoes on top, cover with the rest of the buttermilk, and garnish with paprika. Place the dish in a pre-heated 200°C/390°F oven. Bake for about 1 - 11/4 hours or until the buttermilk forms a thick, slightly browned cheesy crust. Serve hot.
KCB 10.7: Gopal's Famous Vegie-Nut Burgers
Here's a wholesome combination of rice, lentils, and vegetables with spices and herbs in a patty that's first baked, then pan-fried. Serve Vegie-Nut Burgers on bread rolls with your favourite sauces, salads, and toppings.
1. Combine all the
ingredients in a large bowl and knead well.
2. Pinch off 16 portions of mixture, roll them into smooth balls, and with wet hands press out the balls into 8 cm (3-inch) patties.
3. Arrange the patties on lightly oiled baking sheets and place them in a preheated, moderately hot oven 200°C/390°F. Bake until the patties dry out somewhat and slightly darken.
4. The burgers can now be refrigerated or frozen until needed. Pan-fry them in butter or oil until they are hot; then use as required.
KCB 10.8: Mexican-Style Beans and Salad on Fried Tortilla (Tacos)
A taco is a Mexican corn pancake (Tortilla) that's crisped, folded, and stuffed with beans, salad, and cheese. For serving, you can either leave all the ingredients separate or fill the tacos ready to go either way, they're great for party catering, with a minimum of fuss.
1. Combine the
marinade ingredients, add the beans, and refrigerate to marinate
for 2 or 3 hours.
2. Combine the dressing ingredients. Add the lettuce, green pepper, tomato, avocado, and parsley.
3. Crisp the taco shells (deep-fry or bake), fold them into wedge shapes, and stuff them with the beans, salad, and sprouts. Top with grated cheese and serve immediately.
KCB 10.9: Curred Chick-peas
This dish features chickpeas, with their faintly nut-like flavour and smooth texture. Chickpeas are rich in protein-nitrogen compounds. Cooked in this spicy sauce they're great served with Puffed Fried Breads (Pooris), with Chapatis, or with hot Boiled Rice.
1. Wash and drain the
chickpeas; then soak well-covered in water overnight. Drain.
2. Place the chickpeas, water, and bay leaf in a heavy 3-litre/quart saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer the chickpeas for 1 hour or until they are butter-soft but not broken. Remove from the heat.
3. Drain, reserving the liquid. Remove the bay leaf.
4. Place 1/3 cup (85 ml) cooked and drained chickpeas in a blender or food processor with a little cooking liquid. Process to a smooth puree. Remove the chickpea puree and place it in a bowl. Set aside.
5. In a coffee grinder or blender or with a mortar and pestle, combine and crush to a powder the cardamom seeds, whole cloves, black peppercorns, cinnamon stick, and cumin seeds .
6. Heat the ghee or oil in a heavy 2-litre/quart saucepan over moderately high heat. When hot, stir in the fresh ginger and green chili and saute for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cayenne, asafoetida, turmeric, paprika, and ground coriander. Add the ground spice powder, chickpeas, lemon juice, salt, the pureed chickpeas, and enough reserved chickpea cooking-water to make a gravy. Simmer for 6 to 8 minutes; then remove, garnish with minced fresh coriander, and serve hot.
KCB 10.10: Vegetarian Chili
This nourishing combination of beans and vegetables is given an extra protein boost with the addition of crumbled home-made curd cheese (panir). To make this a dairy-free dish, add frozen tofu that's been thawed and crumbled instead of the curd cheese. (Instructions for preparing tofu in this way are included in the recipe for Vegetarian Stroganoff). Chili is delicious served with your choice of breads or rice.
1. Heat the oil in
a heavy 3-litre/quart saucepan over
moderate heat. When the oil is hot, add the minced green chili and
saute for 1 minute. Add the asafoetida powder and saute momentarily.
Add the diced peppers and celery. Saute, stirring occasionally, for 5
minutes or until the vegetables soften.
2. Add the corn and the chopped tomato and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the chili is too thick, add some reserved bean liquid. Serve hot.
KCB 10.11: Chana Dal with Potatoes
Serve this thick dal with fancy rice, a simple vegetable, and bread.
1. Wash and drain the
dal and place it in a bowl covered with hot water. Soak for 5
2. Boil the dal, water, cinnamon stick, and 1 tablespoon (20 ml) of ghee or oil over moderately high heat in a heavy 3-litre/quart saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Reduce the heat to moderately low. Stir once and boil for 15 minutes.
3. Add the diced potatoes, stir once, replace the lid, and continue cooking until the dal is tender and plump and the potatoes are soft and tender.
4. Remove the dal from the heat and remove the cinnamon stick.
5. Pour the remaining ghee or oil into a large frying pan over moderate to moderately high heat. Saute the cumin seeds in the hot oil until they turn brown. Add the asafoetida, ground coriander, cayenne, turmeric, and salt. Stir once; then add the dal and potatoes and stir well. Do not mash the dal. Add the lemon juice and fresh coriander. Mix well and remove from the heat, adding a little hot water if required. Serve hot.
KCB 10.12: Dal Dumplings in Yogurt with Tamarind Sauce (Dahi Bada)
I tasted dahi bada for the first time at the home of Chandra Shekhar Singh in Jaipur, Rajasthan. His wife had carefully soaked dal, ground it to a paste, added nuts, dried fruit and spices, fried little dumplings of the mixture, and then soaked them in water until spongy soft. She then carefully squeezed out the water, smothered them with yogurt and zesty tamarind sauce, and served them with a garnish of freshly ground spices and fresh coriander leaves. It was a sensory and culinary experience I've never forgotten.
For yogurt sauce
For tamarind sauce
1. Wash the dals
and soak them in cold water for 3 hours. Drain.
2. Blend the drained dals in a food processor until the mixture is smooth and creamy. (You might have to add a little water).
3. Combine the dals, ginger, chilies, caraway, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Add the almonds and minced raisins. Mix well. The mixture at this stage should be firm enough to scoop into portions. If not, add a little wholemeal flour. Divide the mixture into 18 bada portions.
4. Heat ghee or oil (which should be deep enough to cover the badas) in a wok or pan over moderate heat. When it reaches 175°C/345°F, carefully lift 6 badas into the ghee and fry them slowly for about 4 minutes on each side or until they are golden brown and puffed. Remove the badas with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander. Continue frying all the badas.
5. Place a 2-litre/quart bowl of lightly salted water next to the stove. Remove the badas from the colander and drop them into the salted water. Soak the badas for 15 to 20 minutes or until they become spongy and soft.
6. When the badas have soaked enough, carefully remove them from the water and gently squeeze out the water by pressing them between your palms. Place them on a plate and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
7. Combine the ingredients for the yogurt sauce in a bowl and whisk them until smooth. Combine all ingredients for the tamarind sauce and mix well. This can be done whilst the badas are refrigerating.
8. When you are ready to serve the badas, place 2 or 3 spoons of the yogurt sauce on individual serving plates, place 2 or 3 badas in the centre, place more yogurt sauce on top, and drizzle a spoon of sauce on top of that. Sprinkle on the ground cumin, the garam masala, and the paprika and garnish with the coriander leaves.
KCB 11: DIPS, SAUCES AND DRESSINGS
KCB 11.1: Lebanese Eggplant Dip (Babagannouj)
This version of the famous Middle Eastern mezze (hors d'oeuvre) can be served as an appetizer with breads, salads, and a variety of other nourishing and substantial dishes. This delicious dip has a characteristic smoky flavour from roasting the eggplants until they blacken.
1. Slit the eggplants
with a sharp knife to allow the steam to escape whilst baking.
Lightly oil the eggplants; then place them in a preheated oven
them until the outside is charred and crisp.
2. Remove the eggplants from the oven, scoop out the pulp into a bowl (it should have a smoky aroma), and mash thoroughly. Mix with the tahini, lemon juice, salt, pepper, asafoetida, and parsley until it reaches a smooth consistency. If the mixture is too thick, add a little water. Spoon the dip into a suitable serving bowl, pour the olive oil into the centre, and garnish with paprika or cayenne. Serve immediately.
KCB 11.2: Indonesian Chili-and-Peanut Relish (Sambal Pecal)
Indonesian chili-based sauces or pickles are called sambals. This water sambal functions as a dip with raw or cooked vegetables and can also be used as a salad dressing.
1. Heat the oil in a
wok or pan to 185°C/365°F
and deep-fry the peanuts until golden brown. Remove and drain.
2. Mix the 3 tablespoons (60 ml) water with the tamarind concentrate to form tamarind juice.
3. In a blender or food processor, grind the peanuts to a fine sand-like consistency. Add the tamarind juice, chilies, sugar, soy sauce, salt, and 1 tablespoon (20 ml) water and blend or process until it reaches a stiff, grainy paste consistency. Add more water until it reaches a smooth paste consistency.
4. Heat 1 teaspoon (5 ml) oil in a small pan and momentarily fry the asafoetida until it becomes fragrant. Add this to the sambal. Blend or process the sambal a little more and then remove it from the blender or food processor. Serve warm or at room temperature.
KCB 11.3: Tartare Sauce
Here are two recipes for this famous sauce, using an eggless mayonnaise base. Both recipes call for capers which give Tartare Sauce its characteristic flavour. Non-vegetarians serve this sauce with seafood. However, I have discovered a wonderful karma-free use for Tartare Sauce as an accompaniment to juicy Curd Pakoras. Serve this combination with a slice of lemon and amaze your dinner guests!
Tartare Sauce I
1. Combine all the ingredients an refrigerate.
Tartare Sauce II
1. Combine all the ingredients and refrigerate.
KCB 11.4: Date and Tamarind Sauce
Tamarind, the fruit pulp from the pods of the Asian tamarind tree, Tamarindus indica, is the most commonly used souring agent in Indian cuisine. When combined with dates, a delightful sweet-and-sour flavour results. This date and tamarind sauce is delicious served with Potato and Pea Croquettes or Cauliflower and Pea Samosas.
1. Blend the
tamarind concentrate, chilies, water, dates, ginger, brown sugar,
spices, and salt in a food processor or blender until smooth.
2. Place the sauce in a small saucepan and simmer it over moderate heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and set it aside for 4 hours to allow the sauce to thicken and the flavours to mingle. Serve at room temperature.
KCB 11.5: Greek Cucumber and Yogurt Dip (Tzatziki)
Here's my version of the refreshing Greek cucumber-and-yogurt dip that is great served with crisp raw vegetables. The yogurt is hung for a few hours to drain off some of its whey; then it's folded with shredded cucumber and garnished with fresh herbs. Serve as a dip with chunks of vegetables such as blanched cauliflower and broccoli, squares of red or green peppers, celery wedges, baby tomatoes, carrot spears, or slices of fresh flat-bread.
1. Line a sieve with a double thickness of cheesecloth.
Place it over a bowl, spoon the yogurt into it, and allow to drain
for 2 hours, preferably in the refrigerator.
2. When the yogurt is drained, semi-peel the cucumber, allowing some of the green under-skin to remain. Slit the cucumber in half, seed it, and grate it coarsely. Squeeze out the excess moisture.
3. Empty the drained yogurt into a bowl and add the cucumber, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
4. Heat the olive oil in a small pan until slightly hot and momentarily saute the asafoetida until it becomes fragrant. Add the oil and asafoetida to the bowl of yogurt and cucumber, add half the parsley, and combine well. Garnish with parsley and serve chilled.
KCB 11.6: Mexican Avocado Dip (Guacamole)
Here's my version of Guacamole, the famous dip or spread of
Mexican origin that now enjoys great popularity around the world. In
Guacamole the creaminess of the avocado combines wonderfully
with the lemon and chili flavours. It is great served with Nachos,
Tacos, or as a dip for corn chips.
I have found that the variety of avocado with the purple crinkly skin (known as the Haas variety in Australia) lends itself best to this dish.
1. Cut the avocado
flesh into chunks and mash coarsely in a bowl.
2. Combine the avocado, lettuce, tomato, chilies, lemon or lime juice, pepper, salt, and asafoetida and transfer to a serving dish.
Note: If you would like to prepare Guacamole a few hours in advance, leave the avocado stone in the mixture. This will prevent browning. Remove the stone before serving.
KCB 11.7: Chickpea Pate
Chickpeas are a great source of protein and iron as well as fibre,
vitamins A and B6, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, calcium, phosphorus,
sodium, and potassium. One cup of chick peas has the usable protein
equivalent of one 30 g (41/4-ounce) steak. When
chickpeas are combined with dairy products, the usable protein
This chickpea pate is very tasty and goes well as a dip or spread on bread or crackers.
1. Drain the
soaked chickpeas and place them in a large saucepan with lots of
water. Boil for 1 to 2 hours or until they're soft.
2. Drain the cooked chickpeas and blend them in a food processor or blender until they become smooth and creamy.
3. Add salt, sour cream, parsley, ground coriander, lemon juice, and black pepper and continue processing for 2 minutes.
4. Heat the olive oil in a pan and saute the asafoetida. Add the minced celery and saute for 1 minute or until the celery becomes soft. Add the celery mixture to the food processor and process a little more. Place the pate in a suitable bowl and refrigerate until firm. The pate can be refrigerated for two days.
KCB 11.8: Tahini sauce
Tahini is a paste made from the finely ground seeds of the sesame plant, Sesamum indicum. It is cream or cream-gray in colour and has the texture, though not the taste, of runny peanut butter. In the Levant, tahini is used as a basis for various salad dressings and to flavour the famous hummus, or chick pea puree, which I have also included in this book. Here is an ultra-simple but delicious tahini sauce which can be served with fresh Middle Eastern breads and any of the following mezze or Middle Eastern hors d'oeuvres: slices of cucumber, lemon wedges, fresh raw cauliflower pieces, chunks of carrot, celery, lettuce leaves, tomato pieces, olives, nuts, or chickpeas.
1. Combine all
the ingredients (reserving half the parsley) with the aid of a food
processor or blender. The sauce should resemble mayonnaise in
consistency. Add a little water if required.
2. Pour the sauce into a serving bowl and garnish it with the reserved parsley. Serve at room temperature.
KCB 11.9: Tomato Relish
Here's the tomato sauce I use as the basis for many dishes at Gopal's Restaurant. It's ideal served with all types of pasta dishes, including lasagna and gnocchi. I also use it as the basis for various casseroles and as a dipping sauce. It's great on pakoras, especially cauliflower, and it's quick and easy to prepare.
1. Heat the
olive oil in a medium sized saucepan over moderate heat. When the oil
is hot but not smoking, add the asafoetida and saute momentarily. Add
the black pepper, saute for a moment, and then add the tomatoes. Add
the basil, cloves, salt, and sugar. Bring to a boil; then reduce the
heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Fold in the tomato paste, lemon juice, and parsley, combine and cook for another 1 minute, and remove from the heat. Serve hot, or if you prefer, allow it to cool, put it in a well-sealed glass jar, and use it when required for pasta dishes. This sauce can be refrigerated for about a week.
KCB 11.10: Chickpea and Sesame Dip (Hummus)
Hummus, a chickpea and sesame dip, is the most popular and best known of the Middle Eastern bread dips. The chickpeas should be soaked the night before you prepare the dip. Serve hummus with warmed Middle Eastern Breads.
1. Drain the
soaked chickpeas and place them in a saucepan with lots of water.
Boil for 1 to 2 hours or until the chickpeas are soft.
2. Drain the cooked chickpeas, reserving the water. Place the cooked and drained chickpeas, the lemon juice, salt, asafoetida, and tahini in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth, adding a little reserved cooking water if required to reach a puree consistency.
3. Transfer into a serving bowl and garnish with olive oil, paprika, and parsley. Serve at room temperature.
KCB 11.11: Bechamel Sauce
In French cuisine, bechamel sauce is considered to be the
mother of all sauces because it is the basic white sauce from which
so many others are made. It can be used as a flowing sauce or as a
base for cream soups. Fold with grated cheese to make sauce
mornay; pour it onto vegetables and bake it with more grated
cheese on top and you have Vegetables au gratin; add cream or
sour cream and you have cream sauce or sour cream sauce; fold with
parsley and lemon juice for parsley sauce; and mix with powdered
mustard seeds for mustard sauce.
Bechamel sauce is based on a roux, which is a combination of melted butter and flour to which warm milk is added. This recipe makes a thin bechamel sauce. For a sauce thick enough to coat vegetables, such as in Vegetables Au Gratin, the quantities of butter and flour are doubled.
1. Melt the
butter in a medium sized saucepan over moderate heat. Remove the pan
from the heat. With a wooden spoon, add the flour to make a smooth
paste. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly.
2. Return the pan to the heat and bring the sauce to the boil, still stirring. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly for 2 or 3 minutes or until the sauce is smooth and thickened. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Serve immediately.
KCB 11.12: Italian Salad Dressing
Use this Italian-style herbed dressing on crisp green salads. This recipe makes a large quantity of dressing. It can be bottled and used as required.
Process all the ingredients in a food processor or blender until thick and smooth. Pour the dressing into a bottle or jar which can be sealed. Refrigerate.
KCB 11.13: Orange Fluff
Here's a gourmet salad dressing with a difference! Orange Fluff can be served with savoury or sweet salads with equally stunning results. Add the optional salt and serve with savoury salads, or add the optional honey when serving with fresh fruit salad.
1. Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Whip until smooth. Chill and serve cold.
KCB 11.14: Horseradish and Beetroot Relish (Khrain)
This is a nose-tingling relish due to the presence of freshly grated horseradish. It is also a good example of central European Jewish cuisine. Serve Khrain with breads, soups, and savounes.
Combine the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Serve immediately.
KCB 11.15: Horseradish Cream
This delightfully simple accompaniment can be used as a relish, dip, or sauce and features the pungent horseradish (Armoracia rusticana). The root of the plant is grated and mixed with sour cream in this centuries-old European condiment. The pungent flavour of horseradish is due to the volatile essential oils it contains. If horseradish is cooked, however, most of its pungency disappears. If using fresh horseradish, do not allow the grated horseradish to sit around after grating it quickly loses its pungency. Fresh horseradish can be obtained from good green-grocer shops. If fresh horseradish is unavailable, substitute with good quality dried horseradish powder. Serve with Potato Pakoras or Buckwheat Puffs.
1. Place the sour cream in a bowl and beat until smooth. Add the lemon juice, horseradish, salt, pepper, and sugar and fold lightly. Chill, or serve at room temperature.
KCB 11.16: Eggless Mayonnaise
Here are three different recipes for eggless mayonnaise. The first recipe uses condensed milk as the base and is a sweet mayonnaise. The second recipe calls for evaporated milk, and the third is a dairy-free variety featuring pureed tofu.
1. Combine all the ingredients except the lemon juice in a bowl. Gradually add the lemon juice whilst stirring with a whisk until the dressing thickens. Allow the mayonnaise to set for a further 10 minutes in the refrigerator.
1. Place the evaporated milk in a blender. While the blender is on, gradually add the oil until the mixture slightly thickens. Add the salt, optional honey, lemon juice, and mustard powder. Continue blending until the mixture thickens further. Allow the mayonnaise to set for a further 10 minutes in the refrigerator.
1. Combine all ingredients (except the lemon juice and water) in a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the lemon juice. If the mayonnaise is too thick, add a little water. Refrigerate.
KCB 11.17: Hot-Pepper Sauce (Harissa)
This famous pungent sauce from North Africa is made from fresh hot
red chilies and is a must for hot sauce aficionados. It is
used as a condiment or as a dip to accompany couscous.
Serve with Moroccan couscous with Vegetable Sauce or with Middle Eastern Round Breads (Pita) and a selection of Middle Eastern mezze (entrees).
1. Place the
chilies in a blender or food processor. Process until coarsely
2. Add the remaining ingredients except the olive oil and process until almost smooth. Store the sauce in a small jar and top with a thin layer of olive oil. Refrigerate until required
KCB 11.18: Walnut Sauce
This Italian puree-like sauce is called "salsa di noci". It's great served with vegetarian rissoles or burgers, especially good with hot pasta, and can be prepared in minutes.
1. Grind the
walnuts to a paste in a food processor. Add the fresh herbs and
water. Grind further. Transfer the nut-and-herb paste to a bowl. Fold
in the cream, blending thoroughly. The paste should be fairly soft
and pale green.
2. Gradually add the olive oil, salt, and pepper and refrigerate the sauce until ready to serve.
KCB 11.19: Satay Sauce
Satay sauce is delicious served with a variety of fried savouries. This recipe yields a fairly hot sauce. Adjust chilies as desired.
1. Heat the
olive oil in a heavy pan until almost smoking. Saute the ginger and
chilies until they start to brown; then add the asafoetida. Saute for
just a few seconds; then add the tomato puree. Stirring often, bring
the puree to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5
2. Add the ground cumin and peanut butter, stirring the sauce until the peanut butter melts. Blend the coconut milk, sugar, salt, parsley, and lemon juice with the peanut butter and remove the sauce from the heat. Whisk until smooth. This sauce is best served hot.
KCB 11.20: French Salad Dressing
This simple French salad dressing can be used with French Steamed Vegetable Salad or crisp salads of your choice.
1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process at high speed for a short time. Bottle and refrigerate.
KCB 11.21: Cantonese Black Bean Sauce
Black beans are soya beans that have been fermented with malt, salt, and flour. Black Bean Sauce can accompany fried savoury items or can be used as a base in vegetable dishes.
1. Heat the chili
oil and peanut oil together in a pan or wok. Momentarily saute
the asafoetida; then add the dried black beans and increase the heat
to full. Saute the beans, breaking them up a little, for 1 or 2
minutes. Add the water and place a lid on the pan or wok. Allow the
beans to simmer and soften for another 2 minutes.
2. After the beans become soft, add the soy sauce and sugar and, stirring slowly, add the thickening paste. When the sauce thickens, remove the pan from the heat.
Serve this sauce immediately or let it cool and store it in the refrigerator to use as a sauce base for stir-fried vegetable dishes.
KCB 11.22: Mustard Sauce
This combination of dry mustard and sour cream can be served as a dip with raw salad vegetables or as an accompaniment to Vegetables Fritters (Pakoras).
1. Combine the
mustard and the cold water in a small bowl and set aside for 15
2. Combine the sour cream, mustard paste, and all the other ingredients. Mix well and serve chilled, or at room temperature.
KCB 11.23: Syrian Yogurt-Cheese (Labneh)
In Middle Eastern cuisine, the ever popular hors d'oeuvre is called mezze. Sometimes this abundant variety of mainly vegetarian entrees becomes the whole meal. Other famous mezze included in this book are Hummus, Lebanese Eggplant Dip (Babbagannouj), Falafel, and Tabbouleh. Labneh, a delightfully simple yogurt dip made from yogurt cheese, serves as a wonderful dip for fresh Middle Eastern Round Bread (Pita).
1. Fold a
large piece of damp cheesecloth in half and place it over a bowl.
Pour the yogurt into the cloth, tie the corners of the cloth together
with string, and suspend it over the top of the bowl overnight.
Yogurt can also be hung in the refrigerator.
2. Next day, transfer the yogurt cheese from the cloth to a clean bowl, add the salt, and chill for some time (if necessary). Serve the dip garnished with chopped fresh mint and drizzle olive oil on top of the dip. Serve chilled.
KCB 11.24: Sweet-and-sour Sesame Sauce
This traditional sesame sauce, with a rich strong taste, enhances many Chinese savoury dishes Use it as a dip for Vegetarian Spring sesame passe Rolls. Vegetable Fritters (Pakoras). or savories of your choice.
1. Combine all the ingredients (except the fresh coriander leaves) in a small pan. Heat the sauce ingredients over low heat until a smooth sauce forms. Bring the sauce to a near boil, remove from the heat, add the fresh herb, and serve at room temperature.
KCB 12: SWEETS AND DESSERTS
"A meal is not complete without a sweet." With that in mind, why not plan your next meal with something from the following section?
KCB 12.1: Carob and Hazelnut Fudge (Burfi)
As distinct from Coconut Cream Fudge which calls for the traditional method of cooking milk to a fudge by the process of slow reduction, here's a quick alternative using powdered milk. Flavoured with roasted hazelnuts and carob powder, it's a popular confectionery to make for special bulk catering.
1. Combine the
milk and sugar in a heavy-based 3-litre/quart nonstick saucepan and
place over moderately low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves; then
raise the heat slightly and gently boil for 10 minutes. Remove the
pan from the heat. Put aside for 5 minutes.
2. Combine the butter with the carob powder and mix into a paste. Add this paste to the milk syrup and, stirring constantly with a wire whisk, add the milk powder. When the mixture is smooth, place the pan over moderate heat and stir with a wooden spoon for about 4 minutes or until the mixture is reduced to a thick paste that draws away from the sides of the pan. Fold in the nuts.
3. Press the paste onto a buttered biscuit sheet and spread, pat, and mold the mixture into a square cake about 2 cm (31/2-inch) thick. Refrigerate and, when cool, cut the fudge into 24 pieces. Keep the burfi refrigerated in an airtight container.
KCB 12.2: Carrot Cake
This moist carrot cake has a spicy, rich flavour and is iced with a vanilla cream-cheese frosting.
1. Preheat the
oven to 180°C/355°F.
2. Add the lemon juice to the milk and sour it.
3. Cream the oil, orange rind, and sugar and add the soured milk and vanilla.
4. Sift the flours together with the baking powder, spices, and salt. Add the liquid ingredients and beat until the mixture is smooth; then add the grated carrots and the nuts.
5. Butter a deep 20 cm (8-inch) cake tin. Pour in the batter and bake at 180°C/355°F for one hour or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
6. Allow the cake to cool in the tin until it pulls away from the sides of the pan; then, holding a cake rack over the pan, reverse the pan and allow the cake to fall out onto the rack.
7. Allow the cake to cool; then carefully lift it from the rack and place it on a serving plate.
8. Cream the frosting ingredients together with a beater and frost the cake.
Use within 2 days.
KCB 12.3: Baked Cheesecake
Baked cheesecakes are rich and opulent and are a treat served with whipped cream and fresh sliced fruits.
1. To prepare
the crust: cream the butter and sugar and add the vanilla. Sift the
flour and the baking powder. Combine the flour mixture with the
creamed butter and sugar mixture. Pat it into the bottom of a
buttered 25 cm (10-inch) cheesecake pan.
2. To prepare the filling: place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly with a beater until light and fluffy. Do not over-mix. Spoon the mixture into the pan on top of the uncooked crust.
3. Place in the middle of a preheated 180°C/355°F oven and bake for 11/4 hours or until lightly golden brown on top. The cake is done when the entire surface is golden brown.
4. Remove the cheesecake from the oven; allow it to cool. Refrigerate it for at least 20 to 24 hours before serving. Decorate it with cream and fruits if desired.
KCB 12.4: Mango Ice Cream
This delicious ice cream recipe uses a condensed milk and cream combination. It is best to make this ice cream when mangoes are in the peak of season, soft, ripe, and fragrant.
1. Pour the
cream into a bowl and beat it until semi-whipped.
2. Beat the milk and condensed milk together in another bowl until well combined.
3. Pour the milk and condensed milk mixture into the semi-whipped cream and fold in the mango pulp. Mix well.
4. Pour into a metal freezer tray and freeze for about 10 to 12 hours or until solid. About an hour before serving, place the ice cream in the refrigerator to soften slightly.
KCB 12.5: Walnut and Raisin Semolina Halava
Semolina Halava is the most popular dessert served at any of
the Gopal's Restaurants worldwide. This version of the famous hot,
fluffy pudding with juicy raisins, raw sugar, and walnut piecesrates
high in the "halava-top-ten". I have cooked halava
for 4 or 5 persons and for 1500 persons; either way, following the
same basic steps yields equally stunning results.
The secret of good halava is to roast the semolina very slowly for at least 20 minutes, with enough butter so as not to scorch the grains. Steam the finished halava over very low heat with a tight-fitting lid for 5 minutes to fully plump the semolina grains; then allow it to sit covered for another 5 minutes. Fluffy, plump grained halava is best served hot, with a spoonful of cream or custard.
1. Combine the
water, sugar, and raisins in a 2-litre/quart saucepan. Place over
moderate heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil,
then reduce the heat to very low and cover with a tight-fitting
2. Place the butter in a 2- or 3-litre/quart non-stick saucepan and over fairly low heat, stirring occasionally, melt the butter without scorching. Add the semolina. Slowly and rhythmically stir-fry the grains until they darken to a tan colour and become aromatic (about 20 minutes). Add the walnut pieces about half-way through the roasting. Stirring more carefully, raise the heat under the grains.
3. Raise the heat under the sugar water and bring the syrup to a rolling boil. Remove the saucepan of semolina and butter from the heat, slowly pouring the hot syrup into the semolina, stirring steadily. The grains may at first splutter, but will quickly cease as the liquid is absorbed.
4. Return the pan to the stove and stir steadily over low heat until the grains fully absorb the liquid, start to form into a pudding-like consistency, and pull away from the sides of the pan. Place a tight-fitting lid on the saucepan and cook over the lowest possible heat for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, allow the halava to steam, covered, for an additional 5 minutes. Serve hot in dessert bowls as it is, or with the toppings suggested above.
KCB 12.6: Apple and Blackberry Crumble
This version of the famous English dessert has delighted customers at Gopal's Restaurant in Melbourne for many years. Succulent stewed apples, folded with fresh blackberries, are baked with a buttery, crunchy topping and served with cream or hot custard.
1. Place the
sliced apples along with a sprinkle of water in a heavy
4-litre/quart saucepan. Cook covered over moderate heat until the
apples soften. Fold in the fresh berries, one tablespoon (20 ml)
sugar, and lemon juice. Remove from the heat.
2. In a bowl, combine the raw oats, unbleached plain flour, wholemeal flour, raw sugar, brown sugar, and melted butter, rubbing in the butter until a coarse meal-like consistency is achieved.
3. Spread the cooked apples and berries in the bottom of a 20 cm (8-inch) ovenproof baking dish. Without pressing down, spoon on all the topping.
4. Place the dish in the top one-third of a preheated 180°C/355°F oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the topping is golden brown. Serve hot.
KCB 12.7: Orange and Currant Simply Wonderfuls
Simply Wonderfuls are fudge-like sweets made from butter, sugar, and milk powder. They require no cooking combine the ingredients, and the result is simply wonderful!
1. Cream the
butter, sugar, and orange rind in a mixing bowl.
2. Fold in the currants and powdered milk and knead until a firm fondant-like dough is formed. Pinch off walnut-sized portions and roll into smooth even-sized balls. Chill and serve.
KCB 12.7b: Deep-Fried Milk Balls in Rose Syrup (Gulab Jamun)
Whenever a special festival or feast day comes around, Gulab
jamuns are an ideal choice. When guests are confronted with them
for the first time they invariably ask "What are they? "
Guesses then range from preserved fruits to doughnuts. In fact, Gulab
jamuns are made from just milk powder and flour. They're fried
slowly in ghee until golden brown and then soaked in
rose-scented sugar syrup. Hence, the Hindi words Gulab jamun
meaning "rose ball".
It is important to note that even though it only takes a few minutes to mix the dough, the gulab jamuns must be fried slowly. If you cook the gulab jamuns too quickly, they will be raw inside. They also must be constantly stirred.
1. Combine the
water and sugar in a 3 -litre/quart pan over moderate heat and stir
constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Raise the heat and boil for
5 minutes. Remove the syrup from the heat. Add the rose water and set
2. Pour the ghee to a depth of 6.7 - 7.5 cm (21/2 - 3 inches) in a non-stick deep-frying vessel at least 25 cm (10 inches) in diameter. Place over very low heat.
3. To make the dough: sift the flour and milk powder into a small bowl. Pour the warm milk into a large bowl. Sprinkle the small bowl of milk powder and flour into the large bowl of warm milk while mixing with your other hand. Quickly mix and knead the combination into a moist, smooth, and pliable dough. Wash your hands, rub a film of warm ghee on them, and divide the dough into 20 portions. Roll those portions into 20 smooth balls. Place them onto an oiled tray or plate.
4. When the ghee temperature reaches 102°C/216°F, drop the balls in, one by one. The balls will initially sink to the bottom. Do not try to move them. You can, however, gently shake the deep-frying vessel from side to side occasionally until the balls start to rise to the surface. From this point on they must be gently and constantly stirred, rolling them over and over with the back of a slotted spoon, allowing them to brown evenly on all sides.
5. After 5 minutes, the temperature of the ghee will have increased to about 104°C/220°F and the balls will have started to expand. After 25 minutes, the ghee temperature should be about 110°C/230°F and the balls should be golden brown. Test one by dropping it into the warm syrup. If it doesn't collapse within a couple of minutes then remove all the balls (3 - 4 at a time) with the slotted spoon and place them in the syrup. Otherwise, cook the balls for another 5 minutes. When all the gulab jamuns have been placed in the syrup, turn off the heat under the ghee and allow the sweets to soak for at least 2 hours.
Gulab jamuns can be prepared a day in advance, allowing them to fully soak overnight. They can be served at room temperature or slightly warmed.
KCB 12.8: Coconut Cream Fudge
When sweetened milk is cooked down slowly until most of the water has evaporated, the resultant fudge is called burfi. This delicious version contains shredded fresh coconut, light cream, and optional kewra essence (available at all Indian grocers). Dried coconut can be substituted for fresh coconut.
1. Combine the
coconut, milk, cream, and sugar in a heavy-based 5-litre/quart
saucepan. Boil the mixture over high heat. Stirring constantly, cook
the mixture vigorously until it is reduced to about one-half volume.
Lower the heat to moderate and continue reducing while stirring
rhythmically and steadily until the mixture forms a firm mass that
pulls away from the sides of the pan. Add the kewra
2. Scrape the coconut fudge onto a lightly buttered tray and press the mixture, with the aid of a spatula, into a 15 cm x 15 cm (6-inch x 6-inch) slab. When it is cool, cut into 25 squares. Store in an airtight container. It may be refrigerated for up to two weeks.
KCB 12.9: Creamy, Saffron Condensed Yogurt Dessert (Shrikhand)
This popular Gujarati sweet is simple to prepare. Yogurt is hung in a
cloth to remove excess liquid. The solid residue, called yogurt
cheese, or dehin, is sweetened, flavored with saffron,
pistacio nuts, cardamom, and rosewater, beaten until silky smooth,
and served ice-cold in little cups.
As an alternative, replace the saffron, nuts, cardamom, and rosewater with 1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh, vine-ripened chopped raspberries, strawberries, or blackberries.
Shrikhand is ideal for preparing in large quantities. Remember the simple sugar-to-yogurt ratio: good quality yogurt should yield 50% liquid (whey) when hung. Add sugar to the yogurt cheese in the ratio of one to four; in other words, the sugar content of Shrikhand is one-eighth part the original quantity of yogurt.
Reserve the liquid residue that drips out of the yogurt. It's a first-class curdling agent to make Homemade Curd cheese (Panir).Shrikhand is delicious served with slices of fresh mango and puffed plain flour pooris sprinkled with sugar.
1. Place a
triple thickness of cheesecloth in a colander. Spoon in the yogurt,
gather-up the corners of the cloth, tie it into a bundle, and hang it
either in the refrigerator or in a cool spot for 12 to 16 hours.
Catch the drips in a bowl.
2. The residue yogurt cheese should have reduced to half the original quantity. Transfer it to a bowl, add the ground saffron, ground cardamom seeds, rose water, pistacio nuts, and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.
KCB 12.10: Chinese Almond Cookies
These simple and tasty almond cookies are great served anytime.
1. Preheat the
oven to 180°C/355°F.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl. Add the flour, ground almonds, and almond essence and combine thoroughly.
3. Roll the mixture into 12 balls. Press each ball firmly in the palms of your hands to flatten. Press a blanched almond in the centre of each cookie.
4. Place the cookies on an ungreased biscuit sheet. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until golden around the edges. Allow to cool before serving.
KCB 12.11: Lemon Cream-Cheese Fudge (Nimbu Sandesh)
Bengal is the home of Indian sweet manufacturing, and of all Bengali sweets, sandesh is the most famous. It is prepared from only two ingredients: homemade curd cheese and sugar. Use one-quarter part sugar to the volume of kneaded cheese curd. Sandesh is very simple to make, provided you prepare the curd cheese properly. You should also knead your cheese to the correct silky-smooth, neither-wet-nor-dry texture. Sandesh must be cooked in a scrupulously clean pan over very low heat. This sandesh derives its lemon flavour from the lemon oil contained in lemon rind, which is added during, and removed after, cooking.
1. Knead and
bray the curd cheese on a clean surface until it is silky smooth and
creamy. Gather into one lump and calculate its volume with measuring
cups. Measure one-quarter that volume of sugar. Combine the cheese,
sugar, and lemon rind and again briefly knead and bray the cheese.
2. Place a heavy-bottomed pan on the lowest possible heat and, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon, cook the cheese for 10 to 15 minutes or until its surface becomes glossy and its texture slightly thickens.
3. Scrape the sandesh from the pan and remove the lemon rind. Press the sandesh onto a lightly buttered tray into a flat 11/4 cm (1/2-inch) thick cake. Cool to room temperature. Cut the cake into 21/2 cm (1-inch squares. When completely cool, store in an airtight container in a single layer. The sandesh can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.
KCB 12.12: Lokshen Pudding
Lokshen pudding is a great favourite in the realm of Jewish cuisine. In this vegetarian version of my mother's recipe, vermicelli (lokshen) I baked with sultanas, butter, cream and ground almonds. It's delicious and simple to make and is great serve either hot or cold.
1. Boil the
vermicelli noodles in unsalted water until cooked but still a
little firm (al dente). Rinse and drain.
2. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Spoon the mixture into a buttered oven-proof baking dish and bake in a moderate oven 180°C/355°F for about 45 minutes or until it becomes firm and golden-brown on top. Serve hot or cold.
KCB 12.13: Soft Cakes in Strawberry Yogurt (Malpoora)
This luscious version of the well known Indian sweet Malpoora is not traditional but rather something that has been developed over 2 decades in the Sunday Feast kitchens of Hare Krishna Temples around the world. Spoonfuls of thick batter are deep-fried in ghee to produce doughnut-like soft cakes, which are suspended in sweetened, fruit flavoured yogurt. You can substitute any fresh ripe berry for the strawberries, or try banana, passion fruit, papaya, mango, or kiwifruit.
together the flour and icing sugar in a bowl. Add the water
gradually, while stirring with a wire whisk, until the mixture
reaches a consistency somewhere between batter and dough. Spoon in
one tablespoon (20 ml) of yogurt and whisk again. The finished batter
should cling to a spoon. Allow to set for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat the ghee to a depth of 6.5 - 7.5 cm (21/2 - 3 inches) in a wok or deep-frying pan over moderately low heat 160°C/320°F.
3. Spoon out a tablespoon of batter from the bowl. With the aid of a second spoon, deftly slide the batter into the hot ghee. Quickly repeat the procedure for about 8 spoonfuls of batter. Allow the cakes to inflate in the ghee. Then turn them over with a slotted spoon and fry them, turning occasionally, for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until they are light golden brown all over. Remove and drain. Repeat until all the batter is used up.
4. Combine the yogurt and caster sugar in a large bowl. Crush a few berries through your fingers into the yogurt. Add the rest of the berries and combine well.
5. Carefully fold the fried cakes into the fruit yogurt and refrigerate, allowing the cakes to soak for about 30 minutes before serving. Serve the malpoora in individual dessert bowls with strawberry yogurt spooned on top.
KCB 12.14: Fruit Cake
This traditional fruit cake is ideal for weddings, birthdays, or any special occasion requiring a luscious, rich cake. It can be kept for several weeks after baking.
1. Line the
base of a 20 cm (8-inch) rich cake. It can be kept for several cake
tin with greaseproof paper. Dip a pastry brush in melted butter and
brush the sides of the tin to give an even shine.
2. Sift both flours into a large bowl and set aside.
3. Combine the fruit, sugar, butter, syrup, and water in a heavy 4-litre/quart saucepan. Heat slowly over low heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat and allow the mixture to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, mix in the bicarbonate of soda, and set aside to cool.
4. When the mixture has cooled to room temperature, fold in the yogurt and mashed potato or pumpkin. Beat the mixture until smooth.
5. Gently fold in the flour mixture with the fruit mixture, combining carefully.
6. Spoon the combined mixture into the prepared cake tin. Smooth out the mixture. Cover the tin with aluminium foil (or brown paper secured with an elastic band) and bake in a moderate oven 180°C/355°F for 1/2 - 2 hours. The cake can be uncovered for the last 1/2 hour of the cooking. To test whether the cake is done, insert a skewer through the centre of the cake. The cake is cooked if the skewer comes out clean. If the cake is done, remove it from the oven, allowing it to cool in the tin. (This will stop the cake from breaking).
7. When the cake is cool, carefully remove it from the tin and peel off the greaseproof paper. Now the cake is ready for icing, if desired.
KCB 12.15: Vietnamese Sweet Mung Bean Cakes (Dau Xanh Vung)
In Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, split mung beans are often used as a stuffing for sweet pastries. This recipe is no exception, featuring glutinous rice flour as the main ingredient for the pastry wrapping. Both split mung beans and glutinous rice flour are available from any Vietnamese or Chinese grocer.
To make the filling
1. Thoroughly rinse the mung beans under cold running water. Boil the beans and water in a saucepan over full heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes or until the beans are soft and tender. Raise the heat to evaporate the rest of the water and when the beans are dry, remove the saucepan from the heat. Mash the beans and add the 1/2 cup (125 ml) sugar. Return the saucepan to the heat and cook until the mixture thickens and leaves the sides of the pan. Transfer the bean mixture to a plate and allow it to cool.
To make the pastry wrapping
1. Combine the glutinous rice flour, baking powder, salt, the reserved sugar, and mashed potatoes, and mix well. Slowly add the boiling water. Knead the mixture into a smooth ball.
To prepare the cakes
1. Divide the
pastry into 12 even-sized portions, roll into smooth balls, and cover
with a cloth. Flatten each ball into a 71/2
cm (3-inch) disk. Place 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of the filling into the
centre of each pastry disk and gather the wrapping together to
enclose the filling, sealing well, shaping it into a ball.
2. Sprinkle the sesame seeds into a heavy frying pan which has been preheated until very hot. Stir-fry the seeds in the dry pan until they are dark golden brown. Place the sesame seeds on a plate and roll all the cakes in the seeds until completely coated, pressing so the seeds adhere well.
3. Heat the oil to 180°C/355°F and deep-fry the cakes one batch at a time for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
4. Remove the cakes, drain them on absorbent paper, allow them to cool, and serve.
KCB 12.16: Easy Apple Pie
Pastry making is not difficult as long as you follow some basic guidelines: keep the ingredients cool; always use cold water and the coldest possible surface for rolling out; measure your ingredients carefully; take care with the amount of flour dredged onto the rolling surface; always roll the pastry in one direction do not turn it over or overstretch it during rolling; the rolling should be light but firm. Don't handle the dough more than necessary the less handling pastry receives, the better it is.
1. Sift the
flours and salt into a mixing bowl. Cut the cold butter into little
pieces and add it to the flour. Rub the butter into the flour with
your fingertips until there are no lumps and the mixture resembles
2. Sprinkle in the sugar; then add most of the yogurt. Mix quickly until it forms a ball. If the pastry feels a little dry, add a little more yogurt. Gently knead for 10 seconds.
3. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220°C/430°F.
4. Place the apples, cinnamon, and sugar with a sprinkle of water in a 2-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat and cook until the apples are soft. Drain any liquid.
5. Roll out two-thirds of the pastry to line a 20 cm (8-inch) pie dish. Prick with a fork. Place in the oven, and cook for 20 minutes at 220°C/430°F.
6. Remove the pie shell from the oven and fill with the apple filling. Roll out the remaining pastry and cover the pie. Trim the edges and seal them with a fluted pattern with your fingertips or a fork.
7. Brush the top of the pie with milk, sprinkle with sugar, and bake at 220°C/430°F for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Allow the pie to cool before cutting.
KCB 12.17: Italian-style Lemon Doughnuts
A friend's grandmother from Tuscany, Italy, parted with this recipe for doughnuts (called Bomboloni). Serve them hot at afternoon tea for a delicious treat.
1. Sift the
flour into a bowl and stir in 1/3 cup (85 ml)
of sugar and the salt. Mix well. Make a well in the centre and add
the butter, the yeast water, and the lemon rind. Mix well, adding
enough lukewarm water to form a soft dough. Knead until smooth, shape
into a ball, and cover with a damp cloth. Let it rise in a warm place
for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in bulk. Punch the dough
down with your fist.
2. Roll out the dough into a long rope and cut into 15 or 20 even-sized portions. Roll each into a smooth ball. Place on a buttered baking sheet and let rise in a warm place for another hour. The balls should double in size.
3. Heat ghee or oil to 180°C/355°F in a wok or deep pan and very carefully lower 3 - 4 doughnuts at a time into the hot oil. Deep fry, maintaining a constant temperature, for about 5 minutes, turning often until the doughnuts are dark golden brown. Drain and dredge in the remaining sugar. Serve hot.
KCB 12.18: Turkish Nut Pastries in Syrup (Baklava)
Baklava is probably one of the best known of all Middle Eastern sweets. In this delightful version of Turkish origin, sheets of buttered wafer-thin filo pastry are layered with nuts and baked; then they're soaked in a lemony orange-blossom flavoured sugar and honey syrup.
1. Butter a 28 cm x
18 cm (11-inch x 7-inch) tin. If necessary, cut the pastry the size
of the tin. Place one sheet of pastry on the bottom of the tin and
butter it with a pastry brush. Repeat for 1/2
the pastry (about 15 sheets).
2. Combine the nuts, cinnamon, and sugar and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top layer of buttered filo pastry. Continue layering the remaining pastry on top of the nut mixture, again brushing each layer of pastry with melted butter.
3. After the final layer of pastry is placed on top, brush it with butter. Carefully cut the tray of pastry into diagonal diamond shapes with a sharp knife, cutting directly to the base. Bake in a moderate oven 180°C/355°F for about 45 minutes or until the top is crisp and golden.
4. While the pastry is baking, combine the sugar, water, and lemon juice in a pan, stir over low heat to dissolve the sugar, and then boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the honey, stir to dissolve, and add the orange-blossom water. Pour the hot syrup over the cooked baklava. Let set for at least 2 hours, or for best results leave overnight for the syrup to be fully absorbed.
KCB 12.19: Fruit Fritters with Orange Sauce
These are a popular item on the lunch menu at the Hare Krishna Restaurant in Hong Kong.
1. Combine the
flours, sugar, cinnamon, and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl.
Pour in the milk and whisk until smooth and creamy. Set aside for 15
minutes. Add the oil whisking well. Add a little extra milk if the
batter is too thick.
2. Heat the ghee or frying oil until moderately hot 180°C/355°F. Dip 5 - 6 chunks of fruit in the batter and deep-fry them, turning often, until the fritters are golden brown on both sides. Remove and drain. Repeat for all fritters.
3. Combine the orange juice, sugar, soy sauce, chili powder, cinnamon powder, and orange rind in a small pan and bring to the boil. Mix the corn flour with a little cold water to form a smooth, thin paste. Whisk the thickening paste into the sauce until the required consistency is reached. Remove from the heat.
4. Sprinkle sugar on top of all the fritters and serve with the hot orange sauce.
KCB 12.20: Peanut Butter Fudge
Homemade confectioneries are fun to prepare and make great gifts. The
sugar syrup for this delicious fudge is boiled to the ‘soft
ball’ stage and is then beaten to encourage crystallization of
the sugar. This gives the fudge its characteristic texture and
Use a heavy-based saucepan that has a capacity for at least four times the volume of the ingredients. Measure the temperature with a cooking thermometer suitable for sweet-making (sometimes called a candy thermometer). Be sure to stand the thermometer in a glass of very hot water before plunging it into the boiling sugar syrup.
1. Butter a
pan approximately 20 cm (8-inches) square.
2. Heat the sugar, milk, and syrup gently in a heavy saucepan, stirring with a wooden spoon until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup melted.
3. Bring to the boil, cover, and boil for 2 - 3 minutes.
4. Uncover the pan and continue to boil until the temperature reaches 116°C/240°F.
5. Remove the pan from the heat and stand it in cold water until the temperature of the syrup falls to 43°C/110°F.
6. Add the peanut butter and vanilla and beat the mixture until it thickens and becomes paler.
7. Pour the fudge mixture into the pan and leave it undisturbed until it is just about set. At this stage, mark the fudge into squares and leave until it sets completely.
8. When set, cut or break the fudge into pieces, wrap it in waxed paper, and store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 2 weeks.
KCB 12.21: Creamy Condensed-milk Rice Pudding (Chaval Ksira)
Ksira is a Sanskrit word for condensed milk. It is commonly
known as kheer in North India, and regional variations are known as
payasa, payesh, etc. When milk is slowly condensed with
rice, the result is this creamy dessert known as Chaval Ksira,
sometimes just referred to as "sweet-rice".
I always start off with a scant one sixteenth part rice to milk. When the sweet-rice has been cooked and chilled, it should be a "just drinkable" consistency.
The following recipe is for a simple cardamom-flavoured sweet-rice. Try the varieties listed below as alternatives.
wash, and drain the short-grain rice.
2. Tap the cardamom pods until they slightly open.
3. Pour the milk and cardamom pods into a heavy-based 5- or 6-litre/quart saucepan and, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, bring the milk to the boil over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat, add the rice, and, stirring attentively, boil gently for 25 - 30 minutes.
4. Reduce the heat to moderately low and boil the milk for another 10 - 15 minutes, still stirring constantly with a smooth, sweeping action. When the sweet-rice becomes creamy and slightly thick, remove the pan from the heat. Extract the cardamom pods and discard. Stir in the sugar, mix well, and allow the sweet-rice to cool. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Serve chilled.
Note: If the sweet-rice thickens too much after it cools, add a little cold milk or light cream to thin it out.
Saffron Sweet-Rice: Omit the cardamom pods and add a pinch of high quality saffron threads to the milk halfway through the cooking.
Camphor Sweet-Rice: Omit the cardamom pods and add a tiny pinch of pure camphor crystals after the sweet-rice has been removed from the heat.
Bengali-Style Sweet-Rice: Omit the cardamom pods and add 1 small bay leaf and 2 tablespoons (40 ml) butter at the beginning of the cooking. Add 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) ground cardamom seeds and 1/4 cup (60 ml) currants halfway through the cooking.
Vanilla Sweet-Rice: Omit the cardamom pods and add one 5 cm (2-inch) length of dried vanilla bean at the beginning of the cooking. Remove the bean after the sweet-rice cools.
Berry Sweet-Rice: Omit the cardamom pods. Cook the rice and milk together. Add the sweetener. Refrigerate until ice cold. Fold in 1 cup (250 ml) fresh, washed berries (ripe strawberries or raspberries are ideal).
KCB 12.22: Walnut and Chickpea-Flour Fudge balls (Laddu)
You can purchase chickpea flour at Indian grocery stores under different names such as gram flour, peas meal, or besan. It is made from roasted chana dal, and when toasted in butter and sweetened it forms the basis of this delightful and popular confectionery, laddu.
1. Melt the
butter in a heavy-based frying pan or small saucepan over a low heat.
Add the sifted chickpea flour, walnut pieces, and nutmeg. Cook,
stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for about 15 to 20 minutes
or until the mixture becomes deep golden brown and loose in
2. Remove the pan from the heat and add the icing sugar until it is well combined.
3. Spoon the mixture into a dish and spread it out. When cool enough to handle, roll the mixture into balls. Alternatively, you can spread the hot mixture into an even slab in a lightly-buttered dish and slice into squares when cool. Refrigerate until the laddu becomes firm. Serve cool or at room temperature.
KCB 12.23: Algerian Ramadan Dessert
This deliciously simple dessert light cream for topping made almost entirely from dried fruit grated nutmeg for garnish traditionally taken at dusk at the end of the Muslim fast during the period of Ramadan. All fruits orange should be soaked overnight.
All measurements are for unsoaked fruit.
1. Place the prunes,
raisins, the dried apricots, sultanas, candied peel, currants, and
chopped figs in a large bowl. Add cold water until the level rises
cm (1-inch) above the fruit. Soak overnight.
2. Next day, drain the fruit. Place the 5 cups (11/4 litres) of water and sugar in a heavy saucepan, cover, and gently boil for 15 - 20 minutes. Add all the fruits which have been soaked and drained; simmer covered, for 11/2 - 2 hours over low heat. About halfway through the cooking, add the nuts and mix well.
3. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow to cool. Transfer into a bowl and refrigerate until cold. Serve in individual decorative glass dessert bowls with a topping of light cream and a garnish of grated nutmeg.
KCB 12.24: Celestial Bananas
Having its origins in the West Indies, this opulent sweet really shows the versatility of the humble banana. Sauteed in butter and baked with cream cheese, it is a delightful year-round dessert.
1. Beat the cream
cheese, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) of the
cinnamon together until well-blended. Set aside.
2. Heat the butter in a heavy frying pan and saute the banana halves until they are lightly browned on both sides.
3. Lay half of the banana halves in a buttered shallow, fireproof serving dish. Spread half the cream cheese mixture on the bananas and top with the remaining banana halves. Spread them with the rest of the cream cheese mixture. Pour the cream over them.
4. Bake in a preheated 180°C/355°F oven for about 15 minutes or until the cream cheese mixture is golden brown.
Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) cinnamon and serve immediately.
KCB 12.25: Orange Cheesecake
This delicious cheesecake requires no cooking and features orange-blossom cream cheese in a biscuit crumb base.
1. To prepare
the crust: combine the biscuit crumbs, ginger, and butter. Press the
crumb mixture into the base and 21/2 cm
(1-inch) up the sides of a 20 cm (8-inch) springboard pan. Chill the
base for 1/2 hour.
2. To prepare the filling: beat the cream cheese until smooth and gradually add the condensed milk, lemon juice, and orange rind, beating thoroughly. Alternatively, the ingredients can be combined in a food processor.
3. Pour the mixture into the crust, smooth it out, and chill to set.
Decorate the cake with the whipped cream and orange segments, or as desired.
KCB 12.26: Carob Fudge Cake
This two-tiered carob cake is light in texture without the use of any eggs. The cake's light texture is due to the sour milk. Filled and iced with Carob Vienna Icing, it is an irresistible dessert.
1. Cream the
butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Blend the carob
powder in the hot water, add the imitation chocolate essence, and mix
to a smooth paste. Gradually add the carob mixture to the butter and
2. Add the lemon juice to the milk to sour It.
3. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and salt and add it to the creamed mixture alternately with sour milk. Mix thoroughly.
4. Spoon the cake mixture into two buttered 20 cm (8-inch) cake tins and bake in a moderate oven 180°C/355°F for 30 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed.
5. Allow the cakes to cool in their tins for 10 minutes. Turn out and allow to cool completely. Fill and ice with Carob Vienna Icing.
Carol Vienna Icing
1. Beat the butter
until creamy. Sift the sugar. Blend the carob powder with the hot
water and chocolate essence. Add the icing sugar to the butter
alternately with the carob mixture until it reaches a spreading
Alternative: spread the centre with jam and whipped cream. Cover and ice as above.
KCB 13: DRINKS
What better way to express one's hospitality than offering a drink to guests? This selection of non-alcoholic beverages has something for everyone.
KCB 13.1: Homemade Lime Squash
Fresh limes (Citrus aurantifolia) impart a wonderful tart flavour to this thirst-quenching drink. The essential oil contained in the lime is released by the process of infusion when the lime skins are steeped in hot water. This recipe yields concentrated syrup, ideal for party punch. Lemons may be substituted for limes.
1. Peel the
outside rind from 8 of the limes in thin strips, avoiding the white
part of the fruit. Place the rinds in a bowl.
2. Boil the water and pour it onto the reserved fruit peel. Cover and let it stand for 30 minutes. Pour the lime water through a sieve placed over a bowl and squeeze. Collect the juice and discard the rest.
3. Heat the lime-rind water in a saucepan over moderate heat. Add the sugar and light corn syrup until it completely dissolves. Remove from the heat.
4. Add the lime juice to the contents of the saucepan and allow the mixture to cool. Pour the syrup into a bottle or jar and refrigerate.
To serve, add approximately 1/4 cup (60 ml) of concentrate to a tall glass, add cracked ice, and fill with cold water, mineral water, or soda.
KCB 13.2: Watermelon Sherbet
This refreshing preparation can be served as either a drink or a dessert. For the best results Watermelon Sherbet should be made with the juice from ripe red watermelon flesh at the peak of melon season.
1. Combine the
watermelon juice, sugar, and lemon juice and place in a steel bowl in
the freezer. Freeze until slushy.
2. Remove from the freezer and scoop into individual glass dessert bowls. Pour cream over each serving and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint. Serve immediately.
Note: alternatively, you can freeze the watermelon juice overnight and blend it in a food processor next day, reducing it to a sorbet consistency.
KCB 13.3: Middle Eastern Lemonade
The special ingredient in this refreshing drink is orange-flower water (I sometimes called orange-blossom water). This distilled essence of orange blossom can be purchased in most well-stocked specialty grocery stores. Most orange-flower water comes from the south of France and from the Levant.
1. Blend the lemon juice, sugar, orange-blossom water, and mint. Combine with the water or soda and serve in individual chilled glasses
KCB 13.4: Lemon Barley Water
Barley water is famous as a tonic and great thirst quencher. It is very nutritious and soothing to the stomach and kidneys.
1. Wash the barley
in several changes of water. Drain it and place it into a saucepan
with 41/2 cups (11/8
litres) of water. With a citrus peeler peel very thin rinds off the
lemons and add the rinds to the barley water. Bring to a boil; then
simmer for 10 minutes.
2. Juice the lemons and place the juice into a large bowl. Add the sugar and the barley mixture stir well and add the remaining 21/4 cups (560 ml) of water; then let the mixture soak for 1 hour.
3. Strain the mixture into a large jug or suitable container and chill. To serve pour into chilled glasses half filled with ice; garnish with a slice of lemon.
KCB 13.5: Orange and Almond Nectar
This protein-rich non-dairy drink combines the smoothness and delicate flavour of almond milk with the refreshment of orange juice. Serve anytime for a delicious surprise.
1. Soak the
almonds in the water overnight in a sealed container.
2. Pour the water and almonds through a strainer and collect the liquid in a bowl. Place the almonds and a little soaking water into a blender or food processor cover and blend until smooth (about to 4 minutes).
3. Line a sieve with three thicknesses of cheesecloth. Pour the nut milk through the sieve; then extract as much liquid as possible by squeezing. (The residual pulp can be kept for cutlets or salad dressing). Combine this with the water the nuts were soaked in.
4. Combine the almond milk orange juice and sugar in a bowl and mix well. Refrigerate and serve ice cold.
KCB 13.6: Anise Flavoured Fruit-and-Nut Shake (Thandhai)
This drink is well known throughout India, although the recipe varies slightly from place to place. Thandhai is a summer drink only, generally taken either in the morning or late afternoon. It cools the body and head.
1. Grind the
cardamom pods, peppercorns, and fennel seeds to a fine powder in a
coffee mill. Set aside in a large bowl.
2. Grind the poppy seeds in a coffee mill and add to the bowl.
3. Grind the cashew nuts, almonds, and raisins to a fine paste in a food processor or blender with the aid, if required, of a little water.
4. Add the bowl of ground spices and 1/2 cup (125 ml) of the water and blend for 3 - 4 minutes until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the remaining water and process for another 2 minutes.
5. Place a sieve in a bowl and line the sieve with two or three layers of cheesecloth. Pour the contents of the blender through the sieve, gathering the corners of the cheesecloth and squeezing all the liquid into the bowl (save the contents of the bag for cutlets or sauces). To this liquid, add the sugar, rosewater, and milk. Mix well and chill. Serve in chilled glasses.
KCB 13.7: Yogurt Smoothie (Lassi)
India's yogurt-based smoothie drinks, called lassi, are world famous. Rejuvenating one's strength and cooling the head and stomach, they're ideal for counteracting the heat of a midsummer's day.
In this version of lassi, popular throughout India, the smoothness of sweetened yogurt is offset with a splash of rosewater.
1. Blend the yogurt, sugar, rosewater, and iced water in a blender or food processor for 2 minutes. Add the ice and process for another 2 minutes. Pour into chilled glasses and garnish with rose petals.
With the subtle flavour of dry-roasted cumin seeds and a hint of lemon or lime juice, this is, along-side sweet lassi, India's favourite summertime drink.
1. Blend the
yogurt, citrus juice, iced water, and salt in a food processor or
blender for 2 minutes. Add the ice cubes and most of the cumin and
blend for another minute.
2. Pour the lassi into frosted glasses and garnish with the reserved cumin. Serve immediately.
Fruit Lassis are a popular Western innovation. Here are two great varieties.
Choose fresh, ripe, sweet strawberries for this recipe. Any ripe berries can be substituted for the straw berries.
1. Blend the
strawberries and sweetener in a food processor or blender. Transfer
the puree to a bowl. Freeze for 20 minutes.
2. Blend the yogurt, water, and ice in a blender and add the chilled strawberry pulp. Blend until frothy and serve in chilled glasses.
Mango is sometimes called "the king of fruits". There are dozens of varieties of mango. Select ripe, sweet fruits for this thick and rich mango nectar drink.
1. Blend the
mango, orange juice, and sweetener in a food processor or blender.
Transfer to a bowl and place in the freezer for 20 minutes.
2. Blend the yogurt, water, and ice in the blender and add the chilled mango pulp. Blend until frothy and serve in chilled glasses.
KCB 13.8: Peach Sorbet
Fresh, ripe peaches in season are pureed and chilled in this frozen peach dessert from Sicily. Serve Peach Sorbet as a dessert or between the entree and first course of a full meal.
1. Heat the
water and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar
dissolves; then boil for 3 - 4 minutes. Set aside until quite
2. Immerse the peaches in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and remove the skins and stones.
3. Blend the peaches until smooth in a blender or food processor. Add the lemon juice and blend for 1 more minute. Empty the fruit into a bowl, add the cold syrup, pour into a shallow freezer tray, and freeze until half firm. Remove, transfer to a bowl, and whisk vigorously. Return to the tray and freeze again until firm.
4. About 40 minutes before serving, transfer the sorbet to the refrigerator, allowing it to soften. Scoop the sorbet into tall glasses and serve immediately.
KCB 13.9: Pineapple and Coconut Punch
This tropical refresher comes from Jamaica and calls for fresh pineapple juice. You can substitute fresh pineapples with bottled or canned unsweetened pineapple juice.
1. Blend the
coconut milk, pineapple juice, sugar, and ice in a blender at high
speed until the mixture is very smooth.
2. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a clean bowl. Add the coconut essence to the bowl of juice.
3. Pour the juice into a jug and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Serve in chilled glasses with or without ice.
KCB 13.10: Hot Saffron Milk with Pistacios
1. Grind the
saffron threads to a powder with a mortar and pestle; alternatively,
powder them in a coffee grinder.
2. Boil the milk, saffron, and most of the pistacio powder in a heavy based saucepan over moderate heat. Stirring constantly, bring the milk to a full boil, allow it to froth twice then remove from the heat. Dissolve the sweetener in the milk. Serve immediately, garnishing each serving with the remaining pistacio nut powder.
KCB 13.11: Lemon Mint and Whey Nectar
Whey is the liquid by-product in the basic cheese-making process. When this cheese, or "curd" (as it is commonly called), is prepared, almost 90% of the total volume of milk is transformed into whey. Whey can be substituted for water when preparing vegetables, soups, bread, and this refreshing minted lemon drink.
1. Crush 2
dozen mint leaves with one teaspoon (5 ml) sugar in a mortar and
pestle or food processor. Pour on the boiling water. Allow the
mixture to steep for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine cloth and
collect the liquid.
2. Blend the mint liquid, the rest of the sugar, the water or soda water, the whey, and the lemon juice in a food processor or blender for 1 minute. Serve over ice in chilled glasses and garnish with mint leaves.
KCB 13.12: Spiced Hot Apple Juice Drink
Use freshly squeezed or bottled apple juice for this winter's-night beverage.
1. Boil the
apple juice and the spices in a large heavy-based pan over high heat.
Cover the saucepan and reduce the heat to low, simmering for 20
2. Just before serving, strain the spices from the juice. Serve hot with slices of lemon and honey optional.
KCB 13.13: Orange Ginger Cooler
Orange juice combined with fresh ginger, cardamom, and fresh mint make this a thirst-quenching drink.
1. Grind the
mint leaves, ginger, and cardamom to a paste with a mortar and pestle
or mince them in a food processor. Steep the pulp in the hot water
for 1/2 hour. Strain the mixture through a
cloth or sieve, collect the juice, and discard the pulp.
2. Blend the mint and ginger juice and the honey in a large bowl. Add the ice, lemon juice, and orange juice. Serve in chilled glasses garnished with an orange ring and mint leaves.
KCB 13.14: Fruity Chamomile Tea
A refreshing, digestive beverage with a hint of spice.
1. Infuse the
chamomile tea sachets along with the cloves in the boiling hot water
for 10 minutes.
2. Discard the sachets, add the orange and lemon juice to the tea and heat the mixture in a small pan until boiling. Remove from the heat, stir in the honey and discard the cloves.
Serve hot with the orange slice garnish.
KCB 13.15: Orange Buttermilk Smoothie
Buttermilk aids digestion by increasing the secretion of digestive enzymes, and it soothes the stomach. This cultured, low-fat dairy product is combined with freshly squeezed orange juice in this refreshing drink.
1. Blend all the ingredients in a food processor or blender for 2 minutes. Pour into chilled glasses and serve immediately.
KCB 13.16: Raspberry and Rhubarb Punch
Raspberries, fresh rhubarb, and chilled water (optional) ginger combine wonderfully in this delicious party punch.
1. Place the
rhubarb, water, and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan. Cover with a
lid and simmer over low heat until the rhubarb softens. Transfer into
a bowl and refrigerate.
2. Puree the rhubarb in a blender or food processor. Strain it, and discard the pulp. Puree the raspberries with the lemon juice and combine with the rhubarb juice.
3. Just before serving, stir in the fresh ginger, ginger ale, lemonade, and ice cubes. For a thinner punch, add chilled water.
KCB 13.17: Banana Milk Smoothie
Frothy, ice-cold banana smoothie with a hint of nutmeg is an opulent and rich summertime drink. Bananas have a natural sweetness, as does milk, so there is no need to add much extra sweetener. Bananas also add significant body to this substantial beverage.
1. Blend the bananas, milk, and honey in a blender or food processor for 2 minutes. Add the ice and process for another minute. Pour into chilled glasses, garnish with nutmeg, and serve.
KCB 13.18: Saffron and Lemon Sherbet
This is an unusual and refreshing drink. Incorporating the subtle flavour of saffron ("the king of spices"), the aromatic freshness of cardamom, and the tang of lemon juice, this is a real summer thirst-quencher.
1. Grind the
saffron threads with a mortar and pestle until pulverized.
Alternatively, mix with a few drops of warm water and pulverize with
2. Transfer the saffron powder or saffron water to a large bowl and add the lemon juice, sugar, powdered cardamom seeds, water, and salt. Mix thoroughly. Refrigerate. Serve over crushed ice in chilled glasses.
KCB: SUGGESTED MENUS
Tiny, light-brown spice seeds closely related to caraway and cumin
with a very strong, thyme and oregano flavour. Ajowan, Carum
ajowan is used in many North Indian savoury dishes, especially in
Ajowan aids digestion and is to relieve stomach problems. The seeds keep indefinitely are available from Indian Middle Eastern grocers.
ALFALFA SPROUTS: The nutritional content of the seeds of the perennial plant Medicado sativa, alfalfa, is increased dramatically when they are sprouted. Alfalfa sprouts contain 40% protein and are very high in vitamins A, B, and C, as well as B vitamins, and the vitamins K and U. Alfalfa sprouts also contain good amounts of sodium, potassium, sulphur, phosphorus, and magnesium. The high nutrition, as well as the mild, slightly sweet flavour of alfalfa sprouts make them a popular salad ingredient.
AMCHOOR: A tan coloured powder made from grinding small sun-dried green mangoes. Amchoor is used in North Indian dishes to give a slightly sour, pungent taste. It is a predominant flavour in the spice blend called chat masala and is available at all Indian grocery stores.
ANISE SEEDS: The highly aromatic seeds of the annual herb Pimpinella anisum. These greenish-gray, slightly crescent-shaped seeds have a very strong licorice-like flavour and odour, although they are not related to the perennial plant of the pea family whose sweet roots are the source of true licorice. Although anise is generally used as a flavouring for drinks, sweets, and creams, it is delicious sauteed in ghee or oil and cooked in vegetable dishes such as Cabbage, Potato and Yogurt witH Anise. Anise seeds are available at supermarkets and specialty stores.
ANTIPASTO: A light starter or an appetizer served before an Italian meal. It can also be used as a light snack. Vegetables and salads (served raw or lightly cooked), make delicious antipasto, as do simple hot dishes, fried breads (crostini), or miniature pizzas.
ARHAR DAL:(see TOOVAR DAL)
ARROWROOT: A very fine white starch derived from the rootstock of the South American tropical plant Maranta arundinacea. Arrowroot is used much like cornflour in sauces, except that it is a non-grain flour and thickens at a lower temperature. It is also used as a binding agent. It is available at most supermarkets or grocers.
ASAFOETIDA: The aromatic resin from the root of the giant fennel, Ferula asafoetida. Asafoetida (also known as hing) is extracted from the stems of these giant perennial plants that grow wild in Central Asia. In the spring, when the plant is about to bloom, the stems and roots are cut. Milky resin exudes from the cut surface and is scraped off. More exudes as successive slices of root are removed over a period of 3 months. The gummy resin is sun-dried into a solid mass that is then sold in solid, wax-like pieces, or more conveniently, in powdered form. Due to the presence of sulphur compounds, asafoetida has a distinctive pungent flavour reminiscent of shallots or garlic. Used in minute quantities, it adds a delicious flavour to various savoury dishes. I always use the mild Vandevi brand of yellow asafoetida powder and not the grey variety. All recipes for this book using asafoetida were tested using this yellow variety. If using other varieties, reduce the quantities to one half of the suggested amount. Asafoetida is available at Indian grocers.
ATTA FLOUR: Also known as chapati flour, this low-gluten flour is derived from a strain of soft wheat popular throughout India. The entire wheat kernel, including the bran, germ, and endosperm, is ground very finely making a nutritious flour. Atta flour is suitable for all Indian flatbreads, such as pooris, chapatis, and parathas. Doughs made with atta flour are velvety smooth, knead readily, and respond easily to shaping and rolling. Atta flour is available from Indian and Asian grocery stores.
BAMBOO SHOOTS: The tender, inner part of the young shoots of the bamboo tree. They are used as an ingredient in Chinese, Japanese, and South East Asian dishes. The best quality bamboo is the first growth of shoots that sprout early in the new year and is known as winter bamboo. Fresh bamboo shoots are more or less unavailable in the West. Substitute canned bamboo shoots, available at any Asian grocer.
BARLEY: Barley (Hordeum vulgare) is an annual cereal grass widely cultivated as a food grain. The most familiar form is called pearl barley which has had the husk removed and has been steamed and polished. It is inexpensive and has a pleasant, nutty flavour. Barley is high in carbohydrate content, containing useful amounts of protein, calcium, and phosphorus, as well as small amounts of B vitamins. It is excellent in soups, stews, and side dishes, as well as the refreshing barley water. Pearl barley is available at any grocer or supermarket.
BASIL: The fragrant aromatic herb Ocimum basilicum, known also as sweet basil. It is a small, profusely branched bushy plant, whose tender green leaves are used worldwide, especially in Italian cuisine, where it is used mostly in dishes containing tomatoes, and in salads and soups, on pizzas, and in pasta dishes. Freshly chopped basil should be used whenever possible, as dried basil makes a poor substitute. Fresh basil is available at good greengrocer shops.
BASMATI RICE: A superb, light-textured longgrain, aromatic rice from North India and Pakistan with a wonderful fragrance and flavour. Even served plain with a little ghee or butter, basmati rice is a treat. I have found Dehradun basmati to be most superior in flavour and texture. Basmati rice is easy to cook and although more costly than other long-grain rices, it is well worth the extra expense. Basmati rice is available at Indian, Middle Eastern, and Asian grocers.
The leaves of the sweet bay or laurel tree, Laurus nobilis, an
evergreen member of the laurel family native to the Mediterranean
region and Asia Minor. The highly aromatic leaves are thick, dark
green, and glossy on the upper surface.
Bay leaves used in their fresh or dried form are quite pungent with a slightly bitter, spicy flavour. They are popular in French cuisine.
BEAN CURD:(see TOFU)
BESAN:(see CHICKPEA FLOUR)
BLACK BEANS: Soya beans fermented with malt and salt. They have a strong, salty flavour. Dry in texture, they keep for a long time in the refrigerator. They are popular in Chinese and Indonesian cooking, especially as the basis for black bean sauce. They're available at Chinese and South East Asian grocers.
BLACK CUMIN SEEDS: Often confused with nigella or kalonli seeds, which are tear-drop shaped. Black cumin seeds (Cumin nigrum) are blacker and thinner than cumin seeds. They are exclusively used in North Indian cuisine, especially in Kashmir. They're available at well-stocked Indian grocers.
BLACK PEPPER: (see PEPPER)
BLACK SALT: A reddish-gray variety of salt with a distinct "hard-boiled egg-yolk" flavour. Black salt or kala namak, as it is known in Indian cuisine, is a major ingredient in the spice blend chat masala. I like to sprinkle black salt in Scrambled Curd. It is available at Indian grocers.
BOK CHOY: The common Cantonese name for Chinese cabbage. These small cabbages, used in Chinese cooking, have dark green leaves and wide white stalks joined near the base of the stem. They resemble a miniature Swiss chard (silverbeet). The smaller the individual cabbage, the more delicate the flavour. They're available at Chinese grocers.
BORLOTTI BEANS: One of the most popular varieties of "legumi secchi", legumes, in Italian cuisine. They are from the same family as red kidney beans and vary in colour considerably from pale pink to dark red. They are always speckled. Borlotti beans should, like all dried beans, be soaked in cold water overnight, rinsed well, and then boiled in fresh water until tender. They are delicious in soups such as Minestrone. If borlotti beans are unavailable, substitute red kidney beans.
BRAN: The tough outer pericarp layer of the wheat grain. It is removed together with the germ during milling to produce flour. It is a rich source of protein, B vitamins, phosphorus, and, of course, fibre.
Buckwheat is not a grain in the botanical sense, as it is related to
dock and rhubarb, although some cookbooks classify it as such. Native
to China, Nepal, and Siberia, it is rich in iron and contains 11%
protein and almost the entire range of B-complex vitamins. Buckwheat
is available in the form of the whole seeds, called groats, finely
cracked groats, called grits roasted whole groats, called kasha;
Buckwheat is popular in Russian and Jewish cooking. It is available at health food stores and specialty grocers.
BULGUR WHEAT: A grain product made by par-boiling and drying whole wheat kernels and crushing them into various sizes. Bulgur is popular in Middle Eastern cuisine, especially in the famous tabbouleh salad. It has a chewy texture and a pleas" ant nutty taste, and is rich in protein calcium, phosphorus and iron. Bulgur wheat is available at health food shops and Middle Eastern grocers.
Real buttermilk is the liquid residue after cream has been churned
into butter. However, the buttermilk referred to here (and used in
this book) is cultured buttermilk, which is low-fat milk cultured in
a similar way to yogurt to produce a pleasant, mild-tasting dairy
product the consistency of light cream.
Cultured buttermilk is delicious in drinks, soups, and vegetable dishes.
CAMPHOR: A pure white crystalline powder derived from steam of the camphor tree, Cinnamomum camphera, which in China and India. It is used in tiny amounts to flavour at some Indian grocers and pharmacies. Indian milk sweets and puddings. It is available
CANNELINI BEANS: The long, white cannelini beans are probably used more than any other dried beans in Italian dishes. They resemble dried white haricot (navy) beans, although they are smaller. Soaked and boiled in water until soft they feature in many vegetable dishes and soups
CARAWAY: Caraway seeds are the fruits of the hardy biennial herb Carum carvi, a native of Europe, Asia, and North Africa. The brown seeds are curved and tapered at each end, and are sometimes mistaken for cumin seeds, although they taste quite different. Caraway seeds are warm, sweet, biting, and pleasantly acrid. They are a favourite flavouring for many kinds of rye bread and are also widely used in cheese,
aromatic seeds of the fruit of the tropical plant Elettaria
cardamomum, a member of the ginger family which grows in the
moist tropical regions of South India and Sri Lanka. Cardamom is the
world's third most costly spice, topped only by saffron and
The odour and flavour of cardamom is quite pronounced reminiscent of lemon rind and eucalyptus. Cardamom is popular in some Middle Eastern dishes. In Indian cuisine, cardamom is used in rice dishes, milk sweets, and halava. It is also chewed as a breath freshener and digestive aid after a meal.
Cardamom is available in the pod (green or bleached), as decorticated seeds (the outer shell having been removed), or powdered. I would suggest you shun the latter two forms and purchase whole pods, available at Indian and Middle Eastern grocery stores, for the freshest and most flavour some cardamom seeds.
CAROB: The edible beans of the carob tree, a legume belonging to the locust family. The beans grown on this tall evergreen tree are dried, ground into powder, and used as one would use Carob cocoa. Carob powder is rich in protein and is delicious in confectionery. It also contains pectin, which is an excellent tonic for the stomach. Carob powder is available at health food stores and specialty shops.
CAPERS: The pickled flower buds of the wild Mediterranean bush Capparis rupestris. Capers have been used as a condiment for thousands of years, and today feature especially in French and Italian cuisine. They have a distinct sour, salty flavour and are featured in this book in Tartare Sauce.
CAYENNE PEPPER: The orange-red to deep red powder derived from small, sun-dried, pungent red chili peppers (Capsicum frutescens). This bitingly hot condiment should be used with restraint, for a small amount will add considerable zest and flavour to dishes. It's used in a number of hot dishes, notably in Mexican and Indian cuisine. Cayenne is available from supermarkets or well-stocked grocers.
CHAMOMILE: Both Roman and German chamomile grow wild over much of Europe and temperate Asia. An aromatic herb with a delicate flavour and fruity aroma reminiscent of apples, it is made from the dried flower heads of Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis). Taken as a tea, it is good for relieving colic and flatulence and is a stomach tonic. It is available at any well-stocked supermarket or health food shop.
CHANA DAL: Husked, split whole dried brown chickpeas (a relative of the common chickpea). They are very popular in Indian cuisine, especially in dal dishes and savouries, being tasty, nutritious, and easy to digest. Chana dal is roasted and ground into chickpea flour (besan) and used throughout India for savouries and sweets. Chana dal is featured in this book in Chana Dal with Potatoes, and chickpea flour appears in Assorted Vegetable Fritters (Pakoras) and Walnut and Chickpea Flour Fudge balls Laddu. Chana dal is available at Indian grocery stores.
See also: CHICKPEA FLOUR
CHAPATI FLOUR: (see ATTA)
CHAT MASALA: A traditional companion to freshly-cut fruit in Indian cuisine. This lightbrown spice blend contains a number of ingredients, notably black salt, mango powder, and asafoetida. Sprinkled on fruit with a few drops of fresh lime juice, it makes a deliciously different dessert. Available from Indian grocery stores.
CHERVIL: A close relative of cow parsley, lacy-leaved garden chervil (Anthriscus cerefoliumlisan) annual plant mainly cultivated in France as a kitchen herb. Its flavour is delicate and less robust than parsley, with the distinctive aroma of anise. It is used raw, fresh, chopped, or broken into tiny sprigs. It is generally not cooked, but sometimes it is added to a dish just before serving. Chervil can be grown without difficulty in almost any garden or window box, or can be purchased at, or ordered from, well-stocked specialty greengrocers.
CHICKPEAS: Known as garbanzos in Spanish speaking countries or ceci in Italy, chickpeas are the peas from the pods of the plant Cicer arietinum. They are popular in India in their immature green state, whereas they are commonly known outside of India in their dried state. These large, lightbrown, wrinkled peas must be soaked before use, then boiled until soft. They are used extensively in many cuisines around the world, especially Indian, Mexican, and Middle Eastern. They are rich in protein 100 grams (31/2 ounces) cooked chickpeas contain 20 g protein. Chickpeas provide nearly double the amount of iron and more vitamin C than most legumes. Chickpeas are available at Continental, Indian, and Middle Eastern grocers, and at well-stocked supermarkets.
CHICKPEA FLOUR: The finely milled pale yellow flour from ground, roasted chana dal. It is popular in Indian cuisine for making batter, as a binding agent, and in confectionery. It is also known as besan flour, gram flour, and peas meal, and is available at Indian grocers.
CHILIES, dried: The dried pods of plants of the genus Capsicum, they are indigenous to Mexico, Central America, the West Indies and much of South America. Dried chilies vary in size and heat, and can be obtained whole or crushed. In Indian cuisine, chilies are sauteed in ghee or oil with other spices and added to dals, chutneys, and sauces to impart heat. Obtain dried red chilies at Indian or Middle Eastern grocery stores, or at supermarkets.
The unripe green pods of various chili peppers are available in the
markets of most hot countries. Choose firm, green specimens. Fresh
green chilies have an advantage over dried chilies, as they impart a
delicious flavour as well as heat. The seeds are the hottest part,
and often a recipe calls for removing the seeds to tame the heat of
the chili. Green chilies are indispensable in Indian, Mexican,
Indonesian, and Italian dishes.
Fresh chilies are also nutritious, being rich in vitamins A and C. They also stimulate sluggish digestion. Fresh green chilies are available at most greengrocers and supermarkets.
CHILI OIL: A fiery hot oil used in Chinese cooking. To make your own chili oil, stir-fry 3 or 4 dried red chilies in a few tablespoons of oil over moderate heat for 3 minutes. Strain the oil and use as required. Alternatively, chili oil can be purchased at any Chinese or South East Asian grocer.
CHOKO: Used in Mexican, Chinese, and Indonesian cooking, this delicate, pale-green, pear-shaped vegetable, which is related to the gourd family, originally came from Mexico, where it is known as chayote. When buying chokos, look for young tender ones with pale, green, almost translucent skin. The spikes on the skin should be short and soft. Chokos add a subtle flavour and an apple-like texture to any dish.
CHOY BOH: Preserved turnips, used in Chinese and Japanese cooking. Sold ln small packets, they are not expensive and will keep for a long time in the refrigerator. Preserved turnips impart a pleasant, slightly salty flavour to vegetable dishes and savouries. They're available at Asian grocery stores.
CHOY SUM: Although this plant, also known as Rape (its seeds are the source of Rapeseed oil) is grown in various parts of the world, it is used extensively in Chinese and Japanese cuisine as a vegetable. It is delicately flavoured, with yellow flowers, succulent green stalks, and small bright green leaves branching from a central stem. This attractive vegetable is available from Chinese grocers all year round.
zeylanicum is a moderate-sized, bushy evergreen tree of the
laurel family whose dried inner bark is true cinnamon. Native to
southern India and Sri Lanka, the thin bark sheaths are sun-dried and
packed one inside the other to produce "sticks" or
Confusion sometimes exists in distinguishing cinnamon from cassia. In some countries, what is sold as cinnamon is in fact cassia (cinnamomumcassia). Cassia is a taller tree with smaller flowers and fruits than true cinnamon. In general, cassia is prepared for the market ,in much the same way as cinnamon, and their flavours are similar, although cinnamon is less pungent and more delicate than cassia. Cassia powder is reddish-brown, while cinnamon powder is tan. Cinnamon or cassia sticks impart a sweet, aromatic flavour to fancy Indian rice dishes, vegetables, and dals. Ground to a powder, cinnamon is an important ingredient in the North Indian spice blend garam masala. Cinnamon also features extensively in Middle Eastern and European cuisine. It is available at supermarkets and Indian and Middle Eastern grocers.
CITRIC ACID: Powdered citric acid crystals can be used as a souring agent preparing dishes where moisture must be avoided. It is also effective in curdling milk when making Home-made Curd Cheese (panir). These sugar-like white crystals are available at Indian grocery stores, supermarkets, and chemist shops.
dried nail-shaped buds from the evergreen tree Eugenia aromatica.
Clove trees are neat evergreens with aromatic pink Coriander buds.
These buds, when hand picked and dried, turn reddish brown to become
the cloves with which we are familiar.
Good cloves should have a strong, pungent, sweet aroma and flavour and should be well formed, plump, and oily. Cloves have diverse uses in different cuisines of the world, being used for cakes, tarts and pastries, fancy rice dishes, soup stocks, sweet cooked fruits, and in various spice blends, including some North Indian garam masalas. Cloves are available at supermarkets and Indian grocery stores.
coconut palm, Cocos nucifera is grown on tropical coasts all
over the world and is the source of many products. Most important are
the nuts (technically called drupes in this case). When coconuts are
picked green, one can extract their sweet juice as a beverage. The
pulp inside is used in many South Indian savoury dishes. When
coconuts ripen on the tree, the picked fruits yield moist, white
"meat", which is excellent in varieties of vegetable
dishes, savouries, rice dishes, sweets, chutneys, and beverages,
especially in Indian and South-East Asian cuisine.
Dried coconut is dessicated and is familiar in Western cuisine as an ingredient in sweets and cakes. When a recipe calls for fresh coconut, dried dessicated coconut is a poor substitute. Fresh coconuts are easily available in tropical areas and can even be found for sale far from their place of origin. These will be suitable as long as they are still full of juice and have no cracks or signs of mould around their "eyes". Once cracked open, separated from their husk, and peeled, fresh coconut can be sliced, grated, shredded, stored in the refrigerator for several days, or frozen.
COCONUT CREAM: An unsweetened, fatty coconut product sold in blocks in Asian and Western supermarkets. Imparting a rich texture and coconut flavour, it is used in larieties of sweet and savoury Indonesian, Thai, and occasionally Indian dishes.
COCONUT MILK: Known as santan in Indonesian cooking, this creamy white liquid with a fresh, coconut flavour is extracted from fresh coconut pulp and is used in varieties of South East Asian and Indonesian dishes. It is available in cans from supermarkets and Asian grocers.
COCONUT OIL: Extracted from coconut 'meat', this oil is solid white fat at room temperature but clear when heated. It is used extensively in South Indian cuisine.
CORNFLOUR: When I mention cornflour in this book, I am referring to what Americans call "cornstarch", and not to the flour milled from corn. Cornflour, sometimes referred to as wheat starch, is the dry white powdered starch remaining when the protein has been removed from wheat flour. It is used in many cuisines, especially Chinese, as a thickener for sauces. It is available from any grocer or supermarket.
CORN MEAL:(see POLENTA)
CORN OIL: Extracted from maize, or corn, it is a light oil and one of the most unsaturated of grain oils. It can be used as an alternative to olive oil as a salad dressing ingredient, and since it has a high smoking point, it is an excellent frying oil.
fresh: The fresh leaves of the hardy annual plant Coriandrum
sativum. Fresh coriander is one of the most commonly used
flavouring herbs in the world, certainly on par with parsley. It is
found in markets throughout the Middle East, China, South East Asia,
India, and South and Central America. Bunches of coriander can be
recognised by their smell and their fan-like lower leaves and
feathery upper ones.
Also known as cilantro, Chinese Parsley, and har dhania, fresh coriander is a zesty and delicious addition to many varieties of the world's cuisines. Its unique warm-bodied taste is found in Indian vegetable dishes, dals, savouries, and fresh chutneys (see Peanut and Coriander Chutney). It also makes a very beautiful garnish. Purchase fresh coriander from Oriental and Latin American grocers or well-stocked produce markets and greengrocers.
CORIANDER SEEDS: The seeds of the annual herb Coriandrum sativum. Coriander seeds are a favourite flavouring spice in Indian, Cypriot, and some Latin American (especially Peruvian) cuisines. They are almost round, brown to yellowish-red, with a warm, distinctive fragrance and a pleasant taste mild and sweet yet slightly pungent, reminiscent of a combination of sage and lemon. Coriander is available whole or ground, although I recommend obtaining the whole seeds and grinding them yourself when you need the freshest coriander flavour. Known as dhania in Indian cuisine, coriander complements the flavour of many savoury dishes. They are available at Indian and Middle Eastern grocery stores.
COUSCOUS: A grain product made from semolina. It is also the name of the famous dish of which couscous is the main ingredient, being one of the most common and widely known North African Arab dishes. I have included a recipe for couscous with Vegetable Sauce in this book.
The seeds of the small annual herb of the parsley family Cuminum
cyminum. Cumin seeds are oval and yellowish-brown, similar in
appearance to the caraway seed but longer. They have a warm, strongly
aromatic, and slightly bitter flavour and are used extensively in
Indian, Middle Eastern, and Latin American cuisine (especially in
The flavour and aroma of cumin, like most spice seeds, emerge best after they have been dry-roasted or added to hot oil. In Indian cuisine cumin is popular in vegetable dishes, yogurt based salads raitas, dals, and savouries.
Cumin seeds can be obtained from any Indian or Middle Eastern grocer.
CURD CHEESE (Panir): The simplest type of unripened fresh cheese, produced by adding an acidic curdling agent to boiled raw milk. This versatile food ingredient is popular in all varieties of Indian cuisine, and it can also be used as a substitute for tofu, feta, or farmer's cheese. It is high in protein, has a soft consistency, and is sweeter and creamier than tofu. It can be cubed and deep-fried, and added to moist vegetable dishes and rice dishes, crumbled into salads, kneaded and rolled into smooth balls, and made into confectionery.
The thin, shiny, dark-green leaves of the South East Asian tree
Murraya koenigii. Curry leaves are highly aromatic when fresh.
Used especially in South Indian kitchens, they are generally sauteed
in ghee with mustard seeds and asafoetida and added to dals,
fresh coconut chutney, or vegetable dishes. They are an important
ingredient in one variety of curry powder used in Tamil Nadu.
Dried leaves are inferior but sometimes all that is available. Obtain curry leaves from Indian grocery stores.
DAIKON RADISH: This large white radish is commonly grown in Japan. It is eaten cooked or raw, and is also grated and pickled. Pickled daikon radish is called Takuwan and is eaten as a condiment with savouries such as Japanese Rice Balls (Onigiri).
The name for any type of dried bean lentil, or pea in India. It is
also the name for thick gravy-like or thin soup-like dishes prepared
from these beans, lentils, or peas. Most raw dal in India is
The following dals are used in this book: brown lentils, yellow and green split peas, whole mung beans, arhar dal, chana dal, green split peas, and urad dal.
DHANIA: (see CORIANDER)
DEHIN: When yogurt is drained of its whey content, the resultant thickened, rather solid cheesy residue is called yogurt cheese, or dehin in Indian cuisine. Yogurt cheese is featured in this book in the famous dessert, called Shrikhand, and also in Greek Cucumber and Yogurt Dip (Tzatziki) and Syrian Yogurt Cheese Labreh.
medium-sized herb with small feathery leaves and yellow flowers. Dill
(Anethumgraveolens) is related to anise, caraway, coriander,
cumin, fennel, and parsley. Dill seeds are oval, tan, and light in
weight, with a clean odour faintly reminiscent of caraway pungent and
pleasantly aromatic. They are most frequently used as a condiment,
either whole or ground, especially in pickling cucumbers, and in
breads. In France, dill seeds are used extensively in pastries and
sauces, while in India they are used in traditional medicines.
The feathery fresh herb known as 'dill weed' is excellent in potato salads. It can be obtained dried. Fresh dill is available at quality produce markets or greengrocers, and dried dill weed and dill seeds can be obtained from health food stores specialty shops, or well-stocked supermarkets.
tall, hardy, aromatic perennial of the parsley family native to
southern Europe and Fennel the Mediterranean area. Fennel (Foeniculum
vulgare) is distinguished by its finely divided feathery green
foliage and its golden-yellow flowers. It is used both as a herb and
for its aromatic seed. In Italian cuisine, the bulb of the Florence
fennel, or Finocchio, is used whole, sliced, or quartered as a
vegetable, and either braised or baked au gratin. It is also
chopped raw in salads. Wild fennel stems and the frondy leaves, with
their slightly cooking, especially to flavour sauces.
Fennel seeds, although used to some extent in European cooking, are especially favoured in Indian cuisine.
The oval, greenish or yellowish-brown seeds resemble tiny watermelons. They emit an agreeable warm, sweet fragrance, similar that of anise. Fennel seeds appear in Kashmir and Punjabi dishes and are one of the spices in the Bengali spice blend panch puran. They are prominent famous beverage Thandhai, and in a variety of vegetable dishes, dals, and pastries. The most common use of fennel seeds in Indian cuisine is as an after-dinner digestive. They are dry-roasted and chewed, freshening the breath and stimulating digestion. Fresh fennel bulbs are available seasonally at good greengrocer shops. The seeds are available at Indian grocers.
erect annual herb of the bean family indigenous to western Asia and
southeastem Europe. Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum - graecum) is
cultivated for its seeds, which, although legumes, are used as a
The seeds are small hard, yellowish-brown smooth, and oblong, with a little groove across one corner. Fenugreek has a warm, slightly bitter taste reminiscent of burned sugar and maple.
The seeds are used in Greece and Egypt and especially India, where they are lightly dry-roasted or fried to extract their characteristic flavour. One should note however that over-roasting or frying results in excessive bitter flavours.
The leaves of the fenugreek plant are also popular in Indian cuisine. Known as methi, they are used in vegetable dishes, breads, and savouries. Easily home-grown, fresh young fenugreek leaves are wonderful in salads dressed with oil and lemon.
Fenugreek seeds are available at Indian or Middle Eastern grocers. The fresh leaves (if you are shopping outside India) can occasionally be found in markets, or can be home-grown.
FETA: A crumbly, strong-tasting white cheese usually made from sheep's milk and ripened in brine. Feta cheese is especially well-known in Greek cuisine (see Greek Salad and Spinach and Filo Triangles, [Spanakopita]). Feta cheese is available at Greek shops and well-stocked supermarkets.
FILO PASTRY: A very light and paper-thin pastry popular throughout the Middle East and in Greece. This delicate pastry is used for either sweet or savoury dishes. Filo pastry is featured in this book in Spinach and Filo Trianales (Spanakopital), and in Turkish Nut Pastries in Syrup (baklava) Filo is difficult to prepare at home and is best purchased refrigerated from well-stocked supermarkets, delicatessens, and health food stores.
Two varieties of five-spice are prominent in the world of vegetarian
cuisine: Chinese five-spice powder and Indian panch puran, a
blend of five whole spices.
Chinese five-spice powder is a combination of five dried, ground spices, generally cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise, and Sichuan peppercorns, the pungent brown peppercorns native to the Sichuan province.
When used as a condiment for fried food, it is used in sparing quantities because it is very potent. Try making your own by grinding together 2 or 3 small sections of cinnamon stick, a dozen cloves, 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds, 2 teaspoons of Sichuan peppercorns, and 3 or 4 star anise. Keep the powder in a well-sealed jar in a cool, dry place. Obtain your ingredients at any Asian grocery store. You can also purchase Chinese five-spice ready-made.
Panch puran is most often associated with Bengali cuisine. It is a combination of equal quantities of fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, black mustard seeds, and nigella (kalonji) seeds. Panch puran is always fried in ghee or oil before use to release the dormant flavour in the seeds. Mix your own, or purchase it ready-mixed at Indian grocery stores.
FLAT RICE: Flat, pounded rice, also known as poha. Popular in Indian cuisine, it is sometimes deep-fried and added to fried potato straws, peanuts, and raisins and eaten as a tasty snack.
There are two varieties of galangal greater and lesser. Both
are closely related, although the lesser is more important. Greater
galangal (Alpinia galanga), native to Indonesia, is related to
ginger. Its large, knobby, spicy roots taste rather like ginger and
are used in Indonesian cooking.
Lesser galangal (Alpinia officinarum) is the rhizome of a plant native to China. Its roots have a pepper-ginger flavour and are used in many Indonesian and Malaysian dishes. In Indonesia it is also known as laos.
Laos or galangal can occasionally be obtained fresh from Chinese or Indonesian shops. Peel and slice it before use. If unavailable, substitute fresh ginger. Laos powder is also used, especially in Indonesian cooking. It is less hot and more bitter than fresh laos. Use very sparingly or substitute slices of fresh ginger.
GARAM MASALA: A blend of dry-roasted and ground spices well-used in Indian cuisine. The spices used for garam masala warm the body (garam means warm). Such spices include dried chilies, black pepper, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, and cumin. Other spices, such as ajowan, mace, nutmeg, fennel, bay leaves, ginger, and white and green pepper, as well as other ingredients, such as sesame seeds, coconut, and saffron, are also used according to the region, since Indian cooking styles vary immensely according to the geographical location. Generally, garam masala is added towards the end of cooking. It is available at Indian grocery stores.
GHEE: The oil
produced by clarifying butter over gentle heat until all the moisture
is driven off and the milk-solids are fully separated from the clear
butterfat. Ghee is an excellent choice for sauteeing and
frying and is much favoured in Indian cooking, as well as some
French, Saudi Arabian, and other Middle Eastern cuisines. The best
ghee comes from Holland, Scandinavia, and Australia, although
home-made ghee is easy to prepare and cheaper than purchasing
For detailed information on making ghee click here. Alternatively, ghee can be purchased at Indian or Middle Eastern grocery stores, or some well-stocked supermarkets.
thick, white, tuberous underground stems, or rhizomes, of the plant
Zingiber officinale, which thrives in the tropical areas of
Fresh ginger root has a spicy-sweet aroma and a hot, clean taste and is used in many cuisines especially throughout China, Japan, Thailand, and India. The young "green" ginger is especially appreciated for its fibre-free texture and mild flavour. Mature ginger root is more readily available at produce markets, Asian grocery stores and some supermarkets.
Fresh ginger should be peeled before use. It can be minced, sliced, pureed, shredded, or cut into fine julienne strips and used in vegetable dishes, dals and soups, savouries, fried dishes, chutneys, rices, sweets, and drinks.
Ginger powder is not a substitute for fresh ginger, having lost its volatile essential oil, and being sometimes stale or adulterated. Ginger powder is used mostly in European cooking in puddings, creams, beverages, biscuits, breads, and cakes. It is available at most grocery shops or supermarkets.
GLUTEN FLOUR: A flour made from the protein constituent of wheat flour. It creates an extra-spongy texture when added to breads, by virtue of the elastic network it forms in the dough when water is added.
GLUTINOUS RICE FLOUR: A pure-white, starch-like flour made from a special round-grain, matt-white rice, which is much stickier than ordinary rice when cooked. It is used in Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Korean cooking for batters (savoury and sweet) and pastries (see Vietnamese Sweet Mung Bean Cakes). Glutinous rice flour is available at any Asian grocery store.
HARICOT BEANS: A member of the Phaseolus vulgaris species, which includes not only haricot but kidney beans, great northern beans, and pinto beans. These dried white beans, also knows as navy beans, are popular in soups, stews, and casseroles. They are well-used in Italian cooking and are known as fagiolo secco. They are available at grocery stores and supermarkets.
The root of the hardy perennial plant Armoracia rusticana.
When scraped or bruised, these stout, white, fleshy, cylindrical
roots emit their characteristic highly pungent, penetrating odour,
plus volatile oils which cause tears to flow. Horseradish roots are
generally peeled and grated and made into sauces to accompany savoury
dishes. When choosing horseradish select large roots. The inside core
is woody and is not used. Shred or grate the outside of the root, but
use straight away and do not cook it, or else the pungent flavour
Dehydrated powdered horseradish can be used as a substitute, but fresh is better. Fresh horseradish root is sometimes available at quality produce markets and greengrocer shops. The powdered horseradish is available at specialty shops and some supermarkets.
KALAMATA OLIVES: Large, ink-black olives with pointed ends and shiny skin, named after the seaside town of Southern Greece where they are grown. Popular in Greek cuisine, they are flavoursome and full-bodied.
KALA NAMAK: (see BLACK SALT)
KALONJI SEEDS: Also known as nigella or black onion seed no relation to the onion. Very often these small, black, tear-drop-shaped seeds are confused with, or called, black cumin seeds, which in fact, they are not. Kalonji seeds (Nigella satival) have a peppery taste and, when heated, have an herbal aroma. They are an important ingredient in the Bengali spice blend called panch puran. They are available at Indian grocery stores
KARMA: This Sanskrit word means 'action' or, more specifically, any material action that brings a reaction binding us to the material world. According to the law of karma, if we cause pain and suffering to other living beings, we must endure pain and suffering in return.
KEJAP MANIS: A thick, sweet variety of soy sauce from Indonesia featured in Indonesian and Malaysian cooking.
KEWRA ESSENCE: This essential flavouring is derived from the shrub known as screw pine, (Pandanus tectorius), which grows in the humid swampy backwater areas of South India and South East Asia. The flowers have an exquisite rose-like perfume. In Indian cooking, kewra essence is used to flavour sweet dishes. It is available in the form of kewra essence or kewra water at Indian grocers.
KIDNEY BEANS: The popular kidney-shaped red bean from the plant Phaseolus vulgaris. Kidney beans can be used in many types of cuisine: as an alternative to borlotti beans in Italian cooking, and as an alternative to pinto beans in Mexican-style cooking, or in stews, soups, and casseroles. Red kidney beans are known as rajma in India and are featured in the spicy chili-style dish of the same name popular in the Punjab. They are available at any grocery store or supermarket.
KRISHNA: The name for God given in the Sanskrit Vedic texts of India. Krishna is revered in the Vedas as the original form of the Godhead.
KUMERA (pronounced koomerer): A variety of sweet potato with a rich, orange colour, popular in New Zealand.
LAOS: see (GALANGAL)
LEMONGRASS: Used as a culinary herb is South East Asian cooking, especially Thai and Indonesian cuisine lemongrass (Cymbopogoncitratus) is, a typical grass but has a bulbous base and a strong taste and smell of lemon. It is available in powdered form (called Sereh powder), in flakes, or sometimes fresh, from Asian grocery stores. Since very little is used at any one time, the dried flakes or powder are more practical to have on one's spice shelf.
LEMONS AND LIMES:
Lemons (Citrus limon) and limes (Citrus aurantifolia) play a
significant role in cuisines of the world.
Lemon juice is very much favoured as a souring agent in European and Eastern cuisines alike; the essential 'oil of lemon', which is concentrated in the rind or zest, is particularly well-liked in European cakes and sauces.
Limes are especially used in tropical countries, where they are more easily available. Lime juice when used in cooking, gives a markedly different flavour to lemon juice, lime juice being more sour and slightly more bitter than lemon juice.
These juices also act as a preservative in cooked foods. Lemons and limes are wonderful sliced as garnishes, and, of course, are excellent thirst-quenchers. In serving an Indian-style meal, a wedge of lemon or lime is essential as an accompaniment.
LENTILS: Used extensively in cuisines of the world. Brown lentils (from the plant Lens culinaris) and red lentils (called masoor dal in India) are probably the most well-known. Toovar dal (arhar dal) is another lentil well-loved in Indian cooking. Lentils contain almost 25% protein, 54% carbohydrate and vitamin A, some of the B vitamins, and good amounts of minerals, including iron and calcium. Brown and red lentils are available at almost any supermarket or grocery store. Toovar dal is available at Indian grocery stores. (Note that due to their very high protein content, red lentils are not consumed by strict followers of the Vedic culture.)
LIMA BEANS: Popular in European cuisine, lima beans (Phaseolus lunatas), are also known as butter beans, and are available large or small. They are tasty additions to soups, stews, and salads and are featured in this book in Lima Bean and Cheese Croquettes. They are available at supermarkets and grocery stores.
LIME LEAVES: The fresh or dried leaves of the lime tree. They are used in South East Asian and especially, Indonesian cooking. The leaves are used in rice, stews, and vegetable dishes to impart a pleasant lime taste.
MANGO POWDER:(see AMCHOOR)
of the most important of all kitchen herbs, it is used in virtually
every type of European cuisine, although not very much used in
Eastern cooking. Marjoram (Majorana hortensis) has a delicate,
pleasant, sweet flavour with a slightly bitter, aromatic undertone.
It is generally used in its dried form, for soup, stews, vegetable
dishes, and sauces. As a fresh herb, it is delicious in salads.
Dried marjoram is available at any supermarket or grocer. Fresh marjoram is occasionally available at produce markets and at good greengrocers.
MASALA: A combination of herbs, spices, or seasonings used in Indian cuisine. Some masalas, like Bengali panch puran, contain whole spices. Others, like chat masala, garam masala, sambar masala, orrasam powder, contain numerous powdered spices combined together. For details on masalas see individual entries.
MEZZE: Middle Eastern hors d'oeuvres or appetizers. Mezze is essentially a Lebanese creation but has spread throughout the Middle East. Delicious vegetarian mezze included in this book are fresh, round Middle Eastern Breads (Pita) and dips such as Chickpea and Sesame Dip (Hummus), Lebanese Eggplant Dip (Babagannouj, and Syrian Yogurt Cheese Labreh). Lebanese Bulgur Wheat Salad (Tabbouleh) invariably appears on the mezze banquet table, as do varieties of Stuffed Vine Leaves (Dolmades), along with simple items such as slices of cucumber, olives, fresh raw or blanched vegetables, nuts, whole cooked chickpeas, and lemon wedges.
MINT: A widely
used culinary herb. There are many species of mint, and
classification is difficult because the species easily cross and
Although spearmint (Mentha spicata) and peppermint (Mentha piperata) are the two most common mints, the round-leaved varieties of apple mint, Bowles mint, and pineapple mint (Mentha rotundifolia) are among the best mints for cooking.
Mint may be generally described as having a fresh, strong, sweet, and tangy flavour, with a cool after-taste. Mint is better used fresh rather than dried. In Indian cuisine, mint is commonly used in fresh chutneys (see Mint Chutney). Fresh mint also goes with many fruits and is excellent in fruit salads and fruit drinks such as Lemon Mint and Whey Nectar.
MOZZARELLA CHEESE: This famous Italian cheese was traditionally made from buffalo's milk, but these days it is more frequently made from cows milk. It can be eaten fresh, but when hung for some time it becomes a little dry and is then specifically used for cooking. Mozzarella is a good melting cheese, making it a popular topping for pizzas. It can also be baked or batter-fried. It can be obtained at any good supermarket or grocery store.
MUNG BEANS: Protein-rich, green-skinned, oval beans commonly used for sprouting. Also known as 'green gram', whole green mung beans are excellent for stews and soups (see Mung Bean and Tomato Soup), as well as Indian dry-bean dishes. It is available at Indian or Asian grocers, or specialty stores.
MUNG BEANS SHOOTS: Sprouted, whole green mung beans. Popular in Chinese cooking, the mung beans are allowed to sprout until quite long. However, from a nutritional point of view, mung beans are best used when the beans have just sprouted and the shoot is less than 1 cm long. These are crisp in texture and bursting with nutrition. Mung bean shoots are rich in vitamins B, C, and E. Their protein content (mung bean shoots are 37% protein) is highly digestible; they are pleasantly sweet, low calorie, and inexpensive.
MUNG DAL: The pale yellow beans from the plant Phaseolus aureus. Whether used with or without the husks, split mung beans are a popular food item in Indian cuisine. Mung dal is easy to digest, is high in protein, and cooks to a creamy puree in a short time. It is used extensively in soups, stews, and sauces throughout India. Split mung beans are also used in Thai and Vietnamese cooking (see Vietnamese Sweet Mung Bean Cakes). It is available at Indian or Asian grocery stores.
Of the many varieties of mustard, the three most prominent are the
tiny round brownish-black seeds from the plant known as Brassica
nigra, commonly known as black mustard; the purple-brown seed of
Brassica juncea, commonly called brown mustard; and the yellow
seeds from Brassica alba, known as white or yellow
Black and brown mustard seeds are often confused with each other. Brown mustard seeds (Brassica juncea) are commonly used as a spice seed in Indian cuisine, where they are known as rai. In South Indian Cuisine they are fried in hot oil or ghee to extract their nutty, pungent flavour before being added to soups, chutneys, or vegetable dishes. In Bengali cuisine, mustard seeds are one of the five ingredients in the whole spice blend known as panch puran.
Yellow mustard seeds (Brassica alba) are less pungent than the darker varieties and are commonly used in European cuisine as a pickling spice. They are strongly preservative, discouraging moulds and bacteria; hence their inclusion in pickles. When mustard seeds are pounded, they form the basis of the immense varieties of commercial brands of the condiment known as mustard. Different varieties of mustard are made from different combinations of hulled and unhulled yellow or brown seeds. It is interesting to note mung beans. Popular in Chinese cooking, the that the pungency of mustard is due to an essential oil which is not present in the seed or the powder, but which forms when the crushed seed is mixed with water. An enzyme then causes a bitter substance in the seed to react with the water, and the hot taste of mustard emerges. Yellow mustard seeds are available from supermarkets and grocers, and brown or black mustard seeds are available at Indian grocery stores.
fragrant nut found in the centre of the fruit of the densely foliated
evergreen tree Myristica fragrans. The fleshy fruit of the
nutmeg tree resembles an apricot. When it is ripe, it splits in half,
revealing the beautiful, brilliant scarlet, net-like membrane, or
avil, known as mace, which closely enwraps a brittle shell containing
the glossy brown, oily nutmeg. Nutmeg is egg-shaped and is about 2.5
cm (1-inch) in diameter, with a sweet, warm, and highly spicy
Nutmeg is used in many cuisines of the world. It is often an ingredient in the North Indian spice blend known as garam masala and is used in cakes and sweet dishes. It is wonderful with pumpkin, squash, and sweet potato. In Italian cuisine it is very popular in spinach dishes and combines well with cheese. Nutmeg is also a common flavouring in the Levant and in various spicy dishes of South East Asia.
Whole nutmegs are best ground straight into the dish into which they are being used, as once grated, nutmeg quickly loses its flavour. Whole nutmegs are available at specialty stores and well-stocked supermarkets and grocery stores.
OATMEAL: The hulled oat grain that has been rolled or cut into flakes. There are three basic types: quick cook, or rolled oats, which generally has small flakes; hulled or gritted oatmeal; and steel cut oatmeal. Oatmeal is among the most nutritious of all the grains it is 16.7% protein and is rich in inositol (one of the B complex vitamins), iron, phosphorus, and thiamine. Oatmeal is generally used as porridge or muesli, but is also baked in breads and savoury dishes. It is available at any grocery store.
OKRA: The rigid green seed pods of he plant Hibiscus esculentus. These elegantly curved and pointed pods are used as a vegetable in many cuisines of the world, notably North Indian, Middle Eastern, and Creole. Its flavour resembles eggplant but with a somewhat mucilaginous texture. Choose crisp, fresh, green pods no longer than 10 cm (4 inches). Avoid shrivelled, limp, dull, or bruised specimens. Okra is available at quality greengrocers and produce markets.
OLIVE OIL: The
oil extracted from the fruits of the Mediterranean tree Olea
The finest olive oil is cold-pressed from fresh ripe olives and has a pale-yellow or greenish colour and a very delicate flavour. Cruder versions of olive oil are second pressings made under heat. I prefer to have two grades of olive oil in the kitchen: mild, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil for salads and uncooked dishes, and a pure grade olive oil with a high smoking-point for cooking.
Choosing olive oil is much a matter of personal taste and preference. Olive oil is used in many cuisines of the world not only in Mediterranean cooking. Good quality olive oil is available at specialty and Continental grocers.
fruits of the semi-tropical evergreen tree Olea europaea. Used
in all types of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, European, and Creole
cuisines, olives vary in size, colour, oil content, and flavour.
Green olives are gathered unripe, whereas black olives are those
which have been allowed to ripen. Crude olives straight from the tree
are intensely bitter and quite inedible. They have to be washed to
remove the bitterness, then pickled for some months in salt water
until they resemble the olives as we know them.
See also: KALAMATA OLIVES.
WATER: The fragrant water distilled from orange blossoms and used
particularly in Middle Eastern cuisine. France produces and exports
high-quality orange-blossom water, as does the Levant, particularly
It can be used in savoury rices, sweets, and drinks and is featured in this book in Middle Eastern Lemonade and Turkish Nut Pastries in Syrup (Baklava).
piquant herb famous in Greek and Italian cuisine. Oregano is
botanically confused with marjoram. In fact for many years both
marjoram and oregano were known as Marjorana hortensis. There
is still confusion todayoregano is still sometimes known as "Wild
Generally, what is purchased as oregano today is most probably Origanum vulgare, with a strong, piquant, sweet flavour and a pleasantly bitter, aromatic undertone.
Oregano is excellent with any tomato dish, especially pizza and varieties of tomato dishes that include pasta sauce. Its flavour marries well with basil. Oregano is available at any continental grocer, supermarket, or specialty shop.
PANCH PURAN: (see FIVE SPICE)
PANIR: (see CURD CHEESE)
PAPPADAM: Plain or spiced wafer-thin brittle disks made from dried dal paste that swell into thin tasty crisp breads when deep-fried or toasted over an open flame. Ranging from 7-25 cm (3-10 inches) in width, pappadams are popular served as accompaniments to a full meal, as snacks, or as party nibblers. They're available at Indian grocery stores.
bright red powder made from the dried, sweet, chili-pepper pods of
the many varieties of Capsicum annuum. Good paprika has a
brilliant red colour and because it is not hot, it can be used in
generous quantities, giving dishes a rich red hue. It is also very
nutritious having a high vitamin C content.
Paprika is the national spice of Hungary and is featured in Hungarian and Spanish as well as North Indian cuisines (where it is used in dals and sauces). It is available at grocery stores.
PARMESAN: The most famous of all the grana, or matured hard cheeses of Italy, Parmesan, or Parmigiano, takes at least two years to come to maturity, resulting in its traditional sharp flavour. Parmesan cheese should be bought in pieces to be freshly grated over sauces, pasta, or rice, or added to cooked dishes.
PARSLEY: One of the best known and most extensively used culinary herbs in western cuisine. There are numerous cultivated varieties of parsley, but the ornamental curled variety is the most popular as a garnish, and the flat-leaved parsley is most favoured in Italian and other Mediterranean cuisines. Both are varieties of Petroselinum crispum Healthful parsley leaves, with their familiar mild, agreeable flavour, are an excellent source of vitamin C, iron, iodine, and other minerals. Parsley is appealing to the eye nose, and taste, will sweeten the breath, and is a natural herbal deodorizer. It is a pleasant addition to an enormous variety of savoury dishes. It is available at produce markets, greengrocers, and supermarkets.
finest pasta is made from durum wheat, which is one of the hardest
varieties of wheat. When making pasta from durum wheat only the
endosperm of the grain kernel is milled into semolina, which is then
mixed with water to make the dough.
When preparing pasta dishes, note that the completed pasta should be tender without being soft and sticky, this is called al dente. Pasta comes in many shapes and sizes. Notable varieties used in this cookbook are as follows:
Conchiglie a shell-shaped pasta
Fettuccine a flat, ribbon noodle with a coiled, bird's-nest appearance
Lasagna flat sheets of pasta used for baking in layers
Linguine a very thin, narrow ribbon noodle
Penne rigate short, tubular, ridged pasta, like short macaroni, but with angled ends
Rigatoni a ridged short variety of macaroni
Risoni rice-shaped pasta used for soups
Spaghetti common string-like noodles of many varieties
Trenette narrow ribbon pasta similar to linguine
Vermicelli a thin variety of spaghetti
PEANUT OIL: Also known as ground-nut oil. The method of extraction is particularly important to the value of peanut oil. High-quality, more expensive peanut oil comes from cold pressing. Lesser-quality peanut oils are produced with the aid of chemical solvents. The oil is then refined and heated and treated with anti-oxidants. Cold pressed health-food store peanut oils are good substitutes for olive oil in salads, whereas the cheaper and more refined peanut oils usually sold at supermarkets are good for deep-frying, because peanut oil has a smoking point of up to 230°C/450°F and has a bland flavour.
small, round berries of the woody perennial evergreen vine Piper
nigrum. Black pepper, white pepper, and green pepper are all
obtained from these same berries in different stages of maturity. For
black pepper, the berries are picked whilst green, left in heaps to
ferment sun-dried, and allowed to shrivel and turn dark brown or
black. Thus the whole berry, including the dark outer hull, forms
what we know as black pepper.
White pepper is produced from fully ripened berries, which are greenish-yellow when picked and at the point of turning red. Then they are soaked in water, the outer hull is rubbed off, and the grey inner berries are sun-dried until they turn creamy white, to become what is known as white pepper.
Green peppercorns are soft, immature berries that have been picked and preserved in brine, or freeze dried.
Black pepper is characterized by a penetrating odour and a hot, biting, and extremely pungent flavour; milder-flavoured white pepper is generally appreciated in European cuisine. Either way, black and white pepper are used in practically every cuisine in the world. Although available pre-ground, discerning cooks prefer the superior flavour of freshly ground peppercorns, for which a pepper mill is an essential acquisition.
PINTO BEANS: Protein-rich beans related to the kidney bean, from the well-known vulgaris family. Much-used in Mexican-style cuisine, it can be substituted with kidney beans if unavailable.
PIMIENTO: Skinned sweet red peppers of a small, elongated variety of Capsicum annuum. They are preserved in salt water or sometimes in oil, and are used in Mediterranean cooking to add bright colours and sweet flavour, especially to salads. They also make an attractive garnish when drained and cut into strips.
PINENUT: Also known as pine kernel, pignolia, or pinoli. Pinenuts come from the stone pine (Pinus pinea), a beautiful Mediterranean pine tree. The pine cones are gathered, the seeds are shaken out and cracked, and the small white or cream-coloured kernels are extracted. Their delicious, delicate nutty taste has made them a very popular ingredient in Italian, Spanish, and Middle Eastern cuisine. They are available at specialty, Continental, or Middle Eastern grocers.
PITA: A lightly leavened round Middle Eastern bread with a soft crust and usually a hollow centre. Generally made without oil, it is baked in a very hot oven for a few minutes, where it puffs up, deflating when cooled. There are many versions throughout the Middle East, each one with a different name. The term pita has become a popular name for these breads in the West. Whether in Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Morocco, Algeria, or Armenia, some version of round, slightly leavened bread is always available, especially for the famous mezze, or hor d'oeuvres.
POLENTA: A yellow maize or cornmeal grown in northern Italy, where it is regarded as a staple food. Polenta is graded according to its texture and is available fine-, medium-, or coarse-ground. It is available at most supermarkets and health food stores.
Two varieties of poppy seed are referred to here black and white.
Both are the seeds of the poppy plant Papaver somniferum.
The minute, kidney-shaped, bluish-black seeds have a pleasant nutty taste and crunchy texture. They are well-known in Middle Eastern and European cuisine as a topping for breads and cakes, or ground up and sweetened as a pastry filling.
White poppy seeds are much used in Indian cuisine. They are even smaller than black poppy seeds, have a similar flavour, and are creamy white. When ground, they add special flavours to Bengali dishes. They are especially used as a thickener for sauces or gravies (flours are generally not used in Indian cuisine for this purpose).
Obtain black poppy seeds from any grocer or supermarket. White poppy seeds can be purchased at Indian Grocers.
PRASADAM: Food which has been offered to God before being eaten. Prasadam means 'God's mercy'. See introduction for more information.
RASAM POWDER: A South Indian spice blend used to flavour the famous rasam, a chili-hot soup dish made from toovar (arhar) dal lentils. Ingredients vary. The home-made rasam powder recipe contained in this book (see Fiery South Indian Toor-Dal Soup) contains mustard seeds, coriander seeds, dried hot red chilies, black peppercorns, fenugreek seeds, and cumin seeds. Rasam powder can be purchased ready-mixed in packets or tins from Indian grocery shops.
RICOTTA: Crumbly, soft white cheese made from the whey of cow's milk and popular in Italian cuisine. It is frequently used in cooking both sweet and savoury dishes in Italy, for, like curd cheese or cottage cheese, its mild, somewhat bland flavour combines well with other ingredients. It is available at selected supermarkets or specialty grocers.
ROSEMARY: The small, narrow, aromatic leaves of the evergreen shrub Rosmarinus officinalis. This fragrant seasoning herb with its clean, woody odour reminiscent of pine is popular in some European cuisines. Its strong, camphor like taste is not always appreciated however, and it is easily over-used. Because whole leaves of dried rosemary are not pleasant to find in a dish, I find it useful to grind them to a powder before using. If fresh rosemary is available, whole sprigs can be added to a dish and removed whole at the completion of the cooking.
ROSE WATER: The diluted essence of rose petals, particularly from the highly scented species Rosa damascena and Rosa centifolia. It is widely used throughout the Middle East as a flavouring agent. In India it is especially used in the refreshing, icy-cold, sweet yogurt-based beverage known as lassi, in Milk Balls in Rose Syrup (gulab jamun), and in rasgoolas. It is available at Middle Eastern and Indian grocers.
SAMBAR POWDER: A zesty South Indian spice combination always added to the famous hot-and-sour dal dish called Sambar. Varieties of sambar powder are available, each with different combinations of ingredients. Varieties might contain ground, roasted red chilies, dried curry leaves, roasted and ground coriander, cumin mustard and fenugreek seeds, black peppercorns, turmeric, sesame seeds, and toasted and finely powdered chana dal, toovar dal, and urad dal. Sambar powder (also called sambar masala) is available at Indian grocery stores.
A hot condiment made from ground, fresh, hot red chilies, popular in
Malay and Indonesian cuisine. It is often added to a dish for an
extra-hot chili dimension, such as in Malaysian Hot Noodles with
Tofu (Mie Goreng).
Available at Asian grocery stores. To make 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of your own Sambal Oelek, pound together 2 hot red chillies and 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) salt.
SANTAN: (see COCONUT MILK)
SAFFLOWER OIL: The oil extracted from the seed of the tall, thistle-like safflower plant (Carthamus tinctoriusi). The seeds are husked and pressed and the oil extracted by hydraulic or chemical means. Safflower oil is low in saturated fatty acids, has a mild flavour, has a high smoking point, and is suitable as a salad oil or a deep-frying oil.
slender dried stigmas of the flowers of Crocus sativus, grown
commercially in Spain, Kashmir, and China. When the plants bloom, the
brilliant stigmas (the female organs of the plants are hand-picked
daily, just as the plants open in the early morning. About 210,000
dried stigmas, picked from about 70,000 flowers yield one pound of
saffron. Understandably, cost of saffron production is very high, and
saffron is the world's most expensive spice. (At the time of writing,
pure Spanish saffron is locally available at $3,655 per kilo).
After picking, the saffron is dried in sieves over low heat, then stored immediately. The final product is a compressed, highly aromatic matted mass of narrow, thread-like, dark-orange to reddish-brown strands about 2.5 cm (1-inch) long.
Saffron has a pleasantly spicy, pungent, slightly bitter honey-like taste with such a potent colouring power that one part of its colouring component, known as crocin, is capable of colouring up to 150,000 parts of water unmistakably yellow.
Saffron has enjoyed immense popularity throughout the world for centuries. By the sixteenth century, for instance, saffron was being extensively cultivated in England as a culinary spice. Its popularity today is limited to mainly Indian, French, Middle Eastern, and Spanish cuisines.
The saffron strands should be soaked and ground or slightly dry-roasted and powdered before using. A big pinch of saffron is sufficient to colour a whole dish, but be sure to purchase the real thing--saffron is often adulterated. And remember, there is no such thing as cheap saffron! Saffron is available at Indian grocers, gourmet stores, and large Chinese medical centres, where it is known as hoong fa (ask for the more expensive variety).
cream-coloured cereal obtained from hard durum-wheat grains in the
middle stages of flour milling when the wheat germ, bran, and
endosperm are separated. The first millings of the endosperm are
known as semolina. Semolina is ground fine, medium, and coarse.
Besides being used for making pasta in Italy, where semolina enjoys
great popularity, it is also used in Indian cuisine, where it is
known as sooji. It is simmered for fluffy sweet halava
puddings or savoury vegetable dishes called upma. I find that medium-
or coarse-ground semolina yields the best semolina halava.
Semolina is available at Indian, Italian, or specialty grocers and some supermarkets.
Two types of sesame oil are referred to here. One is expressed from
the roasted seeds of the annual plant Sesamum indicum. It is
much favoured as a flavouring agent in Chinese and Korean cooking. It
has a low smoking-point and a delicious roasted-sesame flavour.
Generally this delicate brown oil is added as a final seasoning to a
The golden oil expressed from the oil-rich unroasted sesame seeds has a slightly sweet smell and a clean taste. It has a higher smoking-point than roasted sesame oil and is used both as a salad oil and especially as a frying oil throughout the world, especially in Mexico and South India, where it is popular because it does not turn rancid, even in the hottest weather.
Chinese sesame oil is available at Asian grocery stores, and the cold-expressed pale sesame oil is available at health food stores or well-stocked grocers and supermarkets.
SESAME PASTE: A commonly used ingredient in Chinese cooking, not to be confused with tahini. Chinese sesame paste is made from whole, roasted, crushed sesame seeds. The oily, nutty-flavoured paste with a consistency of thick peanut butter has distinct smoky overtones and adds a special touch to savoury dishes. It is available at Asian grocery stores.
SESAME SEEDS: The seeds of the cultivated annual plant Sesamum indicum, grown predominantly in India and China. These flat, pear-shaped seeds are generally lightly roasted to bring out the nutty flavour and are popular in many cuisines of the world. In western cuisine they are scattered on bread and cakes before baking; they are ground into a delicious Middle Eastern confection, called halva, and a semi-liquid paste called tahini; in Japanese cuisine they are roasted with sea salt and ground to a fine powder called gomashio a versatile condiment; and they are popular in many regional Indian cuisines.
PEPPERCORNS: The dried red berries of the small, feathery-leaved,
spiny tree Xanthoxylum piperitum, grown in Sichuan province of
South Eastern China.
Sichuan peppercorns have a pungent smell, but only a faintly hot taste, and are an important ingredient in Chinese five-spice powder.
SNOWPEAS: The young, sweet pea pods of Pisum saccaIatum, also called mange-tout in France. This delicately flavoured vegetable is a versatile cooking ingredient, especially in Chinese cooking, where it is stir-fried quickly to retain its flavour and colour. The pods should have their tops removed and their strings pulled away before use. They're available at Chinese grocers and supermarkets.
Skinned and split, green or yellow dried peas. The green ones are
especially good for cooking to a creamy puree (see Green Split-Pea
Dal with Spinach and Coconut Milk).
Yellow split peas can replace toovar or chanadal in a recipe. They are available at all supermarkets and grocery stores.
ÇRÉLA PRABHUPÄDA: The founder-acharya (spiritual master) of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Çréla Prabhupäda was the author of many spiritual texts and the world's most distinguished teacher of Vedic religion and thought. He guided his society and saw it grow to a worldwide confederation of hundreds of ashrams, schools, temples, institutes, and farm communities.
STAR ANISE: The dried, hard, brown, star-shaped fruit of the small evergreen tree Illicium verum. Star anise has a lico rice-like flavour and odour and is an ingredient in the Chinese five-spice powder.
An important souring agent in Arab cuisine. The seeds of Rhus
corioria are ground to a purple-red powder and used to add a
sour, pleasantly astringent taste to recipes as a preferred
substitute for lemon.
The extracted juice of the soaked seeds is used in salads and in some vegetable dishes to impart a tamarind-like flavour. Sumac has a pleasant, rounded, fruity sourness which is well worth experimenting with. It is available at Middle Eastern grocers.
TAHINI: A semi-liquid sesame butter used in Middle Eastern cuisine. This cream-gray paste has the consistency of runny peanut butter and is the basis of various salad dressings and mezze (entrees) throughout Greece, Cyprus, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria where it is known as tahina.
TAMARILLO: Sometimes called the tree tomato, this glossy plum-red egg-shaped fruit is a native to South America and the Peruvian Andes. It is now grown commercially in New Zealand. Tamarillos have a juicy, slightly acid flesh, and can be used raw, after peeling, for fruit salads or cooked in purees and chutneys. It is available at selected produce markets and greengrocers.
pulp extracted from the brown pods of the tamarind tree, Tamarindus
The fresh pulp has a sour fruity taste and is popular in Indian and Indonesian cooking. Tamarind is available in different forms commercially. The crudest consists of blocks of partly dried, unpitted, broken, sticky, fibrous pods. They should be macerated in water to extract the sour brown tamarind juice, as should another form, in blocks of fibrous pulp without seeds. The most convenient is tamarind concentrate, which can be used straight from the jar. Tamarind makes excellent sweet-and-sour chutneys or sauces, and can be used in vegetable dishes and curries.
Tamarind in its various forms is available at Indian and South East Asian grocery stores.
TARRAGON: This famous gourmet culinary herb with long slender leaves and pungent, bittersweet, tangy flavour is popular in French cuisine, especially as one of the four fresh herbs found in fines herbes (along with parsley, chives, and chervil) and in butters, soups, sauces, creams, and salads. French tarragon (Artemesia dracunculus) is stronger in flavour than Russian tarragon (Artemesia dracunculoides). Tarragon is available at select greengrocers and produce markets.
THAI RICE: A long-grain, aromatic white rice from Thailand. Sometimes called Jasmine rice, it cooks to large, soft, fluffy grains.
THYME: This attractive herb is grown in Mediterranean regions and Asia Minor. There are more than one hundred species of thyme, but common or garden thyme, Thymus vulgaris, is frequently used. Others include lemon, mint, orange, golden-lemon, caraway-scented, woolly-stemmed, and the silver thyme. Used fresh or dried, thyme imparts a distinctively warm, pleasant, aromatic flavour and is popular as one of the great European culinary herbs. It is used alongside bay and parsley in bouquet gami, and goes into many soups and vegetable dishes (especially potatoes, zucchini, eggplants, and sweet peppers). It is available fresh at selected greengrocers and dried at grocery stores and supermarkets.
curd, or tofu, is used in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and
Indonesian cooking. This white, almost tasteless and odourless
substance is produced from soya beans that have been successively
crushed, boiled in water, strained, and pressed into a mould.
Tofu is low in calories and is cholesterol-free. High in protein, tofu is becoming increasingly popular in western kitchens.
Standard Chinese tofu, which is lightly pressed, is sold fresh in most Chinese grocers. It has the consistency of firm custard. A firmer variety of tofu is also available at Chinese shops. Japanese style tofu is the variety usually sold in health food shops in Australia. Being firmer, it is good for slicing, cubing, and deep-frying. Dried beancurd sheets and sticks are also used in Chinese cooking and are available at Chinese grocery shops.
TOOVAR DAL: Also called arhar dal, toor dal, or pigeon peas, these cream-coloured split lentils, which are paler in colour, flatter, and larger than yellow split peas, are widely used for cooking in Northern and Southwestern India. They have a delightful, slightly sweet flavour and are easy to digest, especially in the famous South Indian soup-like dishes rasam and sambar. Toovar dal is available at Indian grocers.
TORTILLA: A thin, round, flat bread made from white cornmeal, or mesa. Tortillas are the national breads of Mexico and are cooked on a griddle. They're eaten fresh and are also the basis of Mex