Great Vegetarian Dishes

(Part One)

Introduction, Special Ingredients and Rice Preparations

Over 240 recipes from around the world

By Kurma Dasa

Publisher:              Naresvara dasa
Photography:       Peter Bailey
Food Styling:      Maureen McKeon
Art Dir. & Design: Ram Prasad dasa
Food Preparation: Kurma dasa, Maureen McKeon, Sudevi devi dasi, Karupa devi dasi
Illustrations:          Lucy Leviska
Color Separations: Palace Press

KCB: Dedication

Dedication

In the Vedic literatures, cooking is listed as one of the sixty-four arts. My spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupda, 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 Prabhupda and ask him to bless this endeavor.

KCB: Foreword

Foreword

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.

Peter Burwash
Tennis Professional and founder of
PETER BURWASH INTERNATIONAL

KCB: Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements

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; Karupa 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.

My special thanks to:

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.

KCB: Introduction

Introduction

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-gt.

The author of the recipes, in addition to being an expert vegetarian cook, has long practiced the yoga most highly recommended in the Gtbhakti-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 Prabhupda (1896 - 1977), who introduced bhakti-yoga to the world outside India, starting with his arrival in the United States in 1965.

rla Prabhupda's lucid translations of Sanskrit and Bengali classics on bhakti-yoga gained him a reputation among scholars. But it was rla Prabhupda'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, rla Prabhupda trained his disciples not only in the teachings of Bhagavad-gt, 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 rla Prabhupda 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-gt  identified meat, fish, and eggs as foods harmful to bodily well-being. According to the Gt, such foods "cause distress, misery, and disease."

The Gt 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 Gt 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-gt  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-gt. Fashions in causes may change, but genuine commitment founded on real knowledge remains unshakeable in all circumstances.

Lord Krishna says in the Gt: "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-gt  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-gt 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 Gt, 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-gt 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 Ka, 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 rla Prabhupda 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 rla Prabhupda, 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.

1)

nama om vishnu-padaya
krishna-presthaya bhutale
srimate bhaktivedanta-
svamin iti namine

"I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupda, who is very dear to Lord Krishna, having taken shelter at His lotus feet."

2)

namas te sarasvate devam
gaura-vani-pracharine
nirvishesha-shunyavadi-
paschatya-desha tarine

"Our respectful obeisances unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Sarasvat Goswami. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Chaitanya and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism.

3)

namo maha-vadanyaya
krishna-prema-pradaya te
krishnaya krishna-chaitanya-
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 Ka."

4)

namo-brahmanya-devaya
go brahmana hitaya cha
jagad-hitaya krishnaya
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 Ka's lips has touched these ordinary ingredients and transferred to them all their spiritual qualities. "

Drutakarma dasa
 Co-author of The Higher Taste:
A Guide to Gourmet Vegetarian Cooking
and a Karma-Free Diet.
July 29, 1990
Pacific Beach, California

Suggestions for further reading:

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 rla Prabhupda, you can read Prabhupda, 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-gt As It Is, by rla Prabhupda.

All of these books are available from the publishers of this book.

Please write to:

The Bhaktivedanta Archives,
P.O. Box 255,
Sandy Ridge, NC 27046
336-871-3636

KCB: How to Measure and Use the Recipes

How to Measure and Use the Recipes

Measurement of Volume

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.

Teaspoons

The Australian, American and British teaspoons all hold approximately 5 ml. I have rounded off fractions of teaspoons to the nearest ml, thus:

 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) black pepper

Tablespoons

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.

Cups

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 of Weight

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:

60 g (2 ounces) butter
400 g (14 ounces) filo pastry

Measurement of Temperature

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: 185C/365F.

A cooking thermometer is a useful accessory.

Measurement of Length

Measurements are given in centimetres with inches in parentheses, thus:

1.25 cm (1/2 inch) cubes
25 cm (10 inches)

Finally

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.

Special Notes for American Cooks

The following list will clarify any confusion that may arise because of the different cooking terms and ingredient names used in Australia and America.

 

 

Australian

American

beetroot

beet

 

biscuit

cookie

 

bulgur wheat

cracked wheat

 

capsicums

peppers

 

caster sugar

fine granulated sugar

 

chickpeas

garbanzo beans

 

cornflour

corn starch

 

frying pan

skillet

 

icing sugar

confectioners sugar

 

plain flour

all purpose flour

 

raw sugar

turbinado sugar

 

semolina

farina

 

sultanas

golden raisins

 

 

wholemeal flour

wholewheat or graham flour

 

             

 

KCB 1: SPECIAL INGREDIENTS

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

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.

PREPARATION TIME: 20 minutes
SETTING TIME: 4 - 10 hours
YIELD: 4 cups (1 litre)

1/3 cup (85 ml) fresh milk (optional)
1/2 cup (125 ml) full-cream milk powder (optional)
4 cups (1 litre) fresh milk
3 tablespoons (60 ml) fresh plain yogurt

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 46C/115F, add the yogurt starter and whisk until smooth. The milk temperature should not exceed 44C/111F, 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

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.

PREPARATION TIME: 30 minutes
SETTING TIME: 8 - 16 hours
YIELD: a little over 4 cups (1 litre)

4 cups (1 litre) fresh skim or low-fat milk
3/4 cup (185 ml) commercial cultured buttermilk
2/3 cup (165 ml) full-fat milk powder

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 42C/108F. 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 26C/80F 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

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 190C/375F 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

Cooking Time

Aproximate
Yield of Ghee

 

Stove
Method

Oven
Method

 

 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 hrs

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

Stove-top Ghee

1/2 - 2 kg (1 - 5 pounds) unsalted butter

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

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 150C/300F 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.

MILK

STRAINED
FRESH LEMON JUICE

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.

HERE IS HOW TO PREPARE CURD

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 agent.
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

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.

COOKING TIME: 2 hours
YIELD: 3 - 4 cups (750 ml - 1 litre)

2 tablespoons (40 ml) butter
6 cups (1.5 litres) chopped fresh green vegetables
11/2 cups (375 ml) chopped fresh herbs, chopped celery stalks, beans, pea pods, etc.
8 cups (2 litres) water
2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt
2 bay leaves
3 cloves
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder

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

Root Vegetable Stock

COOKING TIME: 2 hours
YIELD: about 3 cups (750 ml)

2 tablespoons (40 ml) butter
1/2 large potato, diced
1 cup (250 ml) squash or pumpkin, diced
2 medium celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, diced
8 cups (2 litres) water
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) black peppercorns
1 teaspoon (5 ml) minced fresh ginger
2 whole cloves
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt

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

Brown Vegetable Stock

BEAN SOAKING TIME: overnight
COOKING TIME: 2 hours
YIELD: about 2 litres/quarts

2 cups dried beans (cannelini, lima, borlotti, kidney), soaked in water overnight
3 litres/quarts water
3 tablespoons (60 ml) butter
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup (250 ml) squash or pumpkin, diced
2 small carrots, diced
2 cloves
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 teaspoon (5 ml) minced fresh ginger
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon (20 ml) salt

1. Drain the beans. Boil the beans in two litres/quarts of water in a heavy saucepan. Simmer until the beans are soft (about 1 hour).
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

Chinese Vegetable Stock

COOKING TIME: 1 hour
YIELD: 6 cups (11/2 litres)

11/4 cups (310 ml) mung bean shoots
1 cup (250 ml) Chinese cabbage, chopped
1 teaspoon (5 ml) minced fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 teaspoon (5 ml) Chinese sesame oil
10 black peppercorns
1 tablespoon (20 ml) lemon juice
1 tablespoon (20 ml) light soy sauce
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt

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

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

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.

PREPARATION TIME: 5 minutes
COOKING TIME: 25 - 30 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 or 5 persons

11/2 cups (375 ml) basmati or other long-grain white rice
10 cups (2.5 litres) water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt (optional)
2 tablespoons (40 ml) butter (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F. 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 150C/300F 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

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.

PREPARATION TIME: 5 minutes
COOKING TIME: 25 - 35 minutes
YIELD: enough for 3 or 4 persons

1 cup (250 ml) basmati or other long-grain white rice
2 cups (500 ml) water
3/4 teaspoon (3 ml) salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) fresh lemon juice
6 teaspoons (30 ml) ghee or oil
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) poppy seeds

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 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.

PREPARATION TIME: 5 minutes
COOKING TIME: 20 - 25 minutes
YIELD: enough for 3 or 4 persons

11/2 cups (375 ml) Thai rice
21/2 cups (625 ml) water
salt (optional)
1 tablespoon (20 ml) ghee or oil

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)

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.

PREPARATION TIME: 5 minutes
COOKING TIME: 25 - 35 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 or 5 persons

11/2 cups (375 ml) basmati or other long-grain white rice
23/4 cups (685 ml) water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
2 tablespoons (40 ml) ghee or oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon (5 ml) split urad dal
1 tablespoon (20 ml) minced fresh ginger
2 fresh green chilies, seeded and minced
11/2 cups (375 ml) fresh yogurt

1. Wash, 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

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.

PREPARATION TIME: 5 minutes
COOKING TIME: 30 - 35 minutes
YIELD: enough for 3 or 4 persons

1 cup (250 ml) basmati or other long-grain white rice
2 cups (500 ml) water
3/4 teaspoon (3 ml) salt
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) turmeric
2 tablespoons (40 ml) ghee or oil
2 tablespoons (40 ml) chopped fresh coriander leaves

1. Wash, 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

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.

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes
COOKING TIME: 1 hour
YIELD: enough for 6 - 8 persons

3 cups (750 ml) water
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) salt
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons (80 ml) ghee or oil
11/2 cups (375 ml) long-grain brown rice
1 teaspoon (5 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon (20 ml) minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons (40 ml) each of the following: tiny cauliflower pieces, celery bits, green peas, red peppers, carrot straws, cooked corn niblets, tomato pieces, cooked chickpeas, roasted peanuts
3 tablespoons (60 ml) dry-roasted sesame seeds
3 tablespoons (60 ml) finely chopped parsley or coriander leaves
lemon or lime twists for garnish

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

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.

PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes
COOKING TIME: 25 - 30 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 or 5 persons

11/2 cups (375 ml) basmati or other long-grain white rice
3 cups (750 ml) water
1 walnut-sized ball of seeded tamarind pulp
1/2 cup (125 ml) hot water
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) whole black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) fenugreek seeds
2 tablespoons (40 ml) raw sesame seeds
3 tablespoons (60 ml) dried coconut
2 teaspoons (10 ml) rasam powder
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
2 tablespoons (40 ml) brown sugar
2 tablespoons (40 ml) peanut oil
2 tablespoons (40 ml) raw peanut halves
1 teaspoon (5 ml) black mustard seeds
8 - 10 small curry leaves

1. Wash, 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)

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.

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes
COOKING TIME: 40 minutes
YIELD: enough for 6 - 8 persons

11/2 cups (375 ml) basmati or other long-grain white rice
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) saffron threads
1 tablespoon (20 ml) hot milk
3 cups (750 ml) water
2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt
3 teaspoons (15 ml) nutmeg, freshly ground
1/4 cup (60 ml) ghee
1/4 cup (60 ml) cashew bits or halves
1/4 cup (60 ml) raw almond slivers
3 tablespoons (60 ml) raisins
1 teaspoon (5 ml) fennel seeds
one 2.5 cm (1-inch) cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon (5 ml) cumin seeds
6 cardamom pods, bruised
6 whole cloves
1 teaspoon (5 ml) coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
2 tablespoons (40 ml) shredded fresh coconut
1/4 cup (60 ml) cooked green peas
1/4 cup (60 ml) brown sugar
home-made curd cheese (panir), made from 6 cups (11/2 litres) milk cut into 0.5 cm (1/4-inch) cubes and deep-fried until golden brown

1. Wash, 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

Rice with Green Peas and Almonds

This fancy rice dish is ideal for party catering or for a special lunch or dinner.

PREPARATION TIME: 5 minutes
COOKING TIME: 30 - 40 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 or 5 persons

1 cup (250 ml) basmati or other long-grain white rice
3/4 teaspoon (3 ml) salt
4 green cardamom pods
2 cups (500 ml) water
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) turmeric
3 tablespoons (60 ml) ghee or oil
one 4 cm (11/2-inch) cinnamon stick
6 whole cloves
1/3 cup (85 ml) slivered or sliced raw almonds
1 cup (250 ml) fresh or frozen peas

1. Wash, 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.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 30 minutes
YIELD: enough for 6 - 8 persons

4 tablespoons (80 ml) Chinese sesame oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 small carrot, cut julienne style
1/4 cup (60 ml) finely slivered celery
1/4 cup (60 ml) finely diced cabbage
1/4 cup (60 ml) unpeeled cucumber pieces, cut match stick-size
2 tablespoons (40 ml) bamboo shoots, cut match stick-size
2 tablespoons (40 ml) diced red pepper
1/4 cup (60 ml) cooked green peas
1/4 cup (60 ml) mung bean shoots
1/4 cup (60 ml) crumbled firm tofu
3 tablespoons (60 ml) soy sauce
2 teaspoons (10 ml) Chinese chili oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) black pepper
2 cups (500 ml) long-grain rice, cooked without salt and chilled overnight

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

Lemon rice originates in South India and is flavoured with fresh lemon or lime juice, tasty urad dal, mustard seeds, and fresh coconut.

PREPARATION TIME: 5 minutes
COOKING TIME: 25 - 35 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 persons

1 cup (250 ml) basmati or other long-grain white rice
2 cups (500 ml) water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) turmeric
3 tablespoons (60 ml) ghee or oil
1/2 cup (125 ml) raw cashew halves or bits
1 teaspoon (5 ml) black mustard seeds
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) split urad dal
1/3 cup (85 ml) fresh lemon or lime juice
3 tablespoons (60 ml) coarsely chopped fresh coriander or parsley
1/4 cup (60 ml) shredded fresh or dried coconut

1. Wash, 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)

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.

PREPARATION TIME: 5 minutes
COOKING TIME: 25 - 35 minutes
BAKING TIME: 30 minutes
YIELD: enough for 6 - 8 persons

2 cups (500 ml) basmati or other long-grain white rice
4 cups (1 litre) water
3 teaspoons (15 ml) salt
21/2 teaspoons (12 ml) turmeric
4 tablespoons (80 ml) ghee or oil
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) cardamom seeds
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons (10 ml) poppy seeds
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon (5 ml) garam masala
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground coriander
1 large eggplant peeled and diced into 1.25 cm (1/2-inch) cubes
6 ounces (170 g) melted butter
1 large zucchini diced into 1.25 cm (1/2-inch) cubes
1 large red pepper diced into 1.25 cm (1/2-inch) cubes
2 cups (500 ml) tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon (5 ml) sugar
1 cup (250 ml) cooked lima beans
2/3 cup (165 ml) slivered raw almonds
2/3 cup (165 ml) broken or halved raw cashews
2/3 cup (165 ml) raisins

1. Wash, 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 180C/355F for 30 minutes. Serve hot.

KCB 2.12: Rice and Mung Bean Stew (Khichari)

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.

PREPARATION TIME: 5 minutes
COOKING TIME: 30 - 40 minutes
YIELD: enough for 6 - 8 persons

1/3 cup (85 ml) split mung beans
1 cup (250 ml) basmati or other long-grain white rice
3 tablespoons (60 ml) ghee or oil
1/3 cup (85 ml) raw cashew pieces or halves
2 teaspoons (10 ml) cumin seeds
1 tablespoon (20 ml) fresh hot green chili, minced
2 tablespoons (40 ml) minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon (5 ml) turmeric
1 teaspoon (5 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 small cauliflower (about 400 g, or 14 ounces) cut into small flowerets
5 - 6 cups (11/4 - 11/2 litres) water
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) salt
1 tablespoon (20 ml) butter
2/3 cup (165 ml) cooked green peas
1 cup (250 ml) tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup (125 ml) chopped fresh coriander leaves

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)

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.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 40 minutes
YIELD: enough for 6 - 8 persons

2 cups (500 ml) basmati or other long-grain white rice
1/2 cup (125 ml) olive oil
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 large red pepper, pith removed, seeded and diced
21/2 cups (625 ml) Green Vegetable Stock or water
4 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup (250 ml) cooked green beans, cut into 21/2 cm (1-inch ) sections
3/4 cup (185 ml) cooked fresh green peas or thawed frozen peas
1 stalk celery, chopped
18 black olives, halved and stoned
2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt
1 teaspoon ( 5 ml) freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml, or about 1/4 g) crushed saffron threads dissolved in 2 teaspoons (10 ml) hot water
1/2 cup (125 ml) slivered almonds

1. Wash, 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

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.

PREPARATION TIME: 20 minutes
COOKING TIME: 20 minutes
YIELD: enough for 3 or 4 persons

1 cup (250 ml) basmati or other long-grain white rice
11/2 cups (375 ml) coconut milk (santan)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon (2 - 5 ml) salt
1 lime leaf (or 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

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.

PREPARATION TIME: 5 minutes
COOKING TIME: 25 - 35 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 persons

1 cup (250 ml) basmati or other long-grain white rice
13/4 cups (435 ml) water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) paprika
1 tablespoon (20 ml) tomato paste
2 tablespoons (40 ml) fresh basil leaves, chopped fine
2 tablespoons (40 ml) olive oil
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 cup (250 ml) firm tomatoes, cut into 11/4 cm (1/2 - inch) cubes
2 tablespoons (40 ml) finely chopped fresh parsley

1. Wash, 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.

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

Lentil and Tomato Soup

Serve this hearty soup with rice or crusty bread.

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes
COOKING TIME: 45 - 50 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 persons

1 cup (250 ml) brown lentils
5 cups (1.25 litres) water
2 teaspoons (10 ml) ground coriander
1 tablespoon (20 ml) olive oil
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) brown sugar
1 tablespoon (20 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 cup (250 ml) tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon (20 ml) tomato paste
1 tablespoon (20 ml) chopped fresh parsley

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

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.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 2 hours 50 minutes
YIELD: enough for 6 - 8 persons

2 tablespoons (40 ml) olive oil
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 cup (250 ml) tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup (125 ml) dried borlotti beans or kidney beans, soaked overnight in cold water
2 tablespoons (40 ml) chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon (20 ml) chopped fresh parsley
8 cups (2 litres) water
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 stick of celery, diced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 medium zucchinis, sliced
2 cups (500 ml) shredded cabbage
3/4 cup (185 ml) fresh peas
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) salt
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon (20 ml) rice-shaped pasta (Risoni) or broken spaghetti
1/2 cup (125 ml) parmesan cheese

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

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.

DAL SOAKING TIME: 5 hours
PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes
COOKING TIME: 1 hour
YIELD: enough for 4 - 6 persons

1 cup (250 ml) green split peas
1 teaspoon (5 ml) minced fresh ginger
1 small hot green chili, seeded and minced
6 cups (11/2 litres) water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) turmeric
2 teaspoons (10 ml) ground coriander
1 small bunch spinach, washed thoroughly and roughly chopped
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) salt
1 cup (250 ml) coconut milk
2 tablespoons (40 ml) ghee or oil
11/4 teaspoons (6 ml) kalonji seeds
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 teaspoon (5 ml) fresh lemon or lime juice

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

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.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 30 - 40 minutes
YIELD: enough for 6 persons
 

6 cups (11/2 litres) Root Vegetable Stock or water
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into tiny 1/2 cm (1/2-inch) cubes
1 bay leaf
2 cups (500 ml) cooked corn kernels (about 3 medium ears of corn)
50 g (13/4 ounces) butter
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) black pepper
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) nutmeg
2 tablespoons (40 ml) plain flour
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt, or as desired
1/2 cup (125 ml) sour cream
2 tablespoons (40 ml) chopped fresh parsley

1. 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)

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.

PREPARATION TIME: 5 minutes
COOKING TIME: 20 minutes
YIELD: enough for 5 or 6 persons

3 tablespoons (60 ml) sifted chickpea flour
2 cups (500 ml) water
11/2 cups (375 ml) yogurt
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) turmeric
1 teaspoon (5 ml) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
2 tablespoons (40 ml) ghee or oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) black mustard seeds
2 hot green chilies, minced
1 teaspoon (5 ml) minced fresh ginger
8 - 10 curry leaves (fresh if possible)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) fenugreek seeds
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 tablespoon (20 ml) chopped fresh coriander

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)

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 Indian grocer.
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.

DAL SOAKING TIME: 3 hours
PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes
COOKING TIME: 1 hour
YIELD: enough for 5 persons

1 cup (250 ml) split toor dal
6 cups (1.5 litres) water
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) turmeric
3 teaspoons (15 ml) butter
1 tablespoon (20 ml) tamarind concentrate
1/2 cup (125 ml) shredded fresh or dried coconut
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons (40 ml) brown sugar
1/2 cup (125 ml) water for coconut puree
2 tablespoons (40 ml) ghee or oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons (10 ml) hot green chilies, seeded and minced
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) fenugreek seeds
10 dried curry leaves
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
2 teaspoons (10 ml) sambar masala
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) salt
2 tablespoons (40 ml) chopped fresh parsley or coriander leaves

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

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.

SOAKING TIME: at least 1 hour
PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes
COOKING TIME: 1 hour
YIELD: enough for 4 - 6 persons

1/4 cup (60 ml) kidney beans
1/4 cup (60 ml) yellow split peas
1/4 cup (60 ml) split mung beans
1/4 cup (60 ml) pearl barley
3 tablespoons (60 ml) unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon (3 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 medium carrot, diced
1 medium celery stalk (with leaves), diced
1 medium potato, scrubbed and diced
1/2 medium turnip, diced
1 medium tomato, peeled and diced
7 cups (13/4 litres) hot water
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) mixed dried herbs
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) black pepper
2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt
1/3 cup (85 ml) chopped fresh parsley

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

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.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 30 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 persons

3 cups (750 ml) water
11/2 cups (375 ml) milk
90 g (3 ounces) butter
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) freshly ground black pepper
4 cups (or about 1 kg, 2.2 pounds) pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cubed
1 tablespoon (20 ml) plain flour
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1 tablespoon (20 ml) light cream
2 tablespoons (40 ml) chopped fresh parsley

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 tender.
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

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.

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes
COOKING TIME: 45 - 60 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 - 6 persons

1 cup (250 ml) whole green mung beans
71/4 cups (1.8 litres) water
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) turmeric
1 teaspoon (5 ml) minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) fresh green chili minced
2 firm, ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons (40 ml) minced chopped parsley
2 teaspoons (10 ml) brown sugar
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) salt
2 tablespoons (40 ml) fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons (40 ml) mild-tasting olive oil
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder

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

Potato Soup

PREPARATION AND COOKING
TIME: 45 minutes
YIELD: enough for 6 persons

5 cups (1.25 litres) water
6 medium baking potatoes, peeled and chopped into 11/2 cm (3/4-inch) cubes
1/2 cup (125 ml) celery, chopped fine
2 tablespoons (40 ml) butter
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) ground celery seeds
1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried dill
1 cup (250 ml) sour cream
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) salt
2 tablespoons (40 ml) chopped fresh parsley

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

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.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 30 minutes
YIELD: enough for 6 - 8 persons

2 small seedless oranges, peeled and cut into small segments
sour light cream for topping (optional)
fresh mint sprigs for garnish
1 red apple, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons (40 ml) maple syrup or honey
250 g (9 ounces) green seedless grapes
250 g (9 ounces) dark sweet cherries, pitted
1 cup (250 ml) water
1/2 cup (125 ml) dark grape juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) pineapple juice
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) grated orange rind
1/4 cup (60 ml) diced pitted prunes
11/2 cups (375 ml) berries raspberries, halved strawberries, blueberries, or boysenberries
2 teaspoons (10 ml) arrowroot powder
1 tablespoon (20 ml) apple juice

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 occasionally.
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

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.

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes
COOKING TIME: about 1 hour
YIELD: enough for 4 persons

3/4 cup (185 ml) split mung dal (without skins)
6 cups (11/2 litres) water
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) turmeric
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground coriander
2 teaspoons (10 ml) minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon (5 ml) fresh hot green chili, minced
2 tablespoons (40 ml) ghee or oil
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
2 tablespoons (40 ml) chopped fresh parsley or coriander

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

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!

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 40 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 persons

3 tablespoons (60 ml) butter
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
8 - 10 medium tomatoes, blanched, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) brown sugar
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) salt
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) dried basil
21/2 cups (625 ml) light vegetable stock or water, heated
1 tablespoon (20 ml) plain flour
1 tablespoon (20 ml) chopped fresh parsley

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)

Russian Beetroot Soup (Borsch)

Beetroot Soup, Borsch, has found its way into numerous Eastern European cuisines.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 40 minutes
YIELD: enough for 8 - 10 persons

8 cups (2 litres) water
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) salt
2 bay leaves
6 small potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 cm (31/2-inch) cubes
3 cups (750 ml) grated cabbage
4 tablespoons (80 ml) ghee or oil
2 medium beetroots, peeled and coarsely shredded
3 tablespoons (60 ml) lemon juice
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground coriander
1 teaspoon (5 ml) coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 cup (250 ml) carrots, coarsely grated
2 tablespoons (40 ml) tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) clove powder
1 teaspoon (5 ml) brown sugar
2 tablespoons (40 ml) finely chopped fresh parsley
2 cups (500 ml) sour cream

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

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.

DAL SOAKING TIME: 5 - 6 hours
PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes
COOKING TIME: 13/4 hours
YIELD: enough for 5 or 6 persons

1 cup (250 ml) yellow split peas
61/2 cups (1.625 ml) water
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons (10 ml) hot green chili, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) turmeric
2 tablespoons (40 ml) ghee or oil
1 cup or about 250 g (9 ounces) pumpkin, peeled, seeded and diced 11/4 cm (1/2-inch)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
2 tablespoons (40 ml) fresh lemon or lime juice
1 teaspoon (5 ml) black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon (5 ml) cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) fenugreek seeds
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
6 small dried curry leaves
1 tablespoon (20 ml) brown sugar
2 tablespoons (40 ml) chopped fresh parsley or coriander

1. Wash the dal. Soak it in 4 cups (1 litre) hot water for 5 hours. Drain.
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

Cream of Asparagus Soup

Select the thin, green-stalked variety (English Asparagus) for this soup.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 30 - 40 minutes
YIELD: enough for 5 or 6 persons

500 g (171/2 ounces) fresh asparagus
6 cups (1.5 litres) Green Vegetable Stock or water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 stalk of celery, chopped fine
45 g (11/2 ounces) butter
2 tablespoons (40 ml) plain flour
1/2 cup (125 ml) light cream
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) sweet paprika

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)

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.

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes
COOKING TIME: about 1 hour
YIELD: enough for 4 persons

1/2 cup (125 ml) toor dal
2 teaspoons (10 ml) fresh hot green chili, minced
4 cups (1 litre) water
2 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tablespoon (20 ml) chopped fresh coriander leaves
1 tablespoon (20 ml) rasam powder (see recipe)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) sugar
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) tamarind concentrate
1 tablespoon (20 ml) ghee
1 teaspoon (5 ml) mustard seed
6 curry leaves
1 teaspoon (5 ml) cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) turmeric

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 becomes soft.
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.

 

Rasam Powder

1 teaspoon (5 ml) oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) mustard seeds
1/2 cup (125 ml) whole coriander seeds
6 whole dried hot red chilies
1 teaspoon (5 ml) black peppercorns
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) fenugreek seeds
2 teaspoons (10 ml) cumin seeds

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)

Mexican Chilled Vegetable Soup (Gazpacho)

This chilled soup is very refreshing on a hot day, and requires practically no cooking.

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes
CHILLING TIME: 1 hour
YIELD: enough for 4 - 6 persons

1 large peeled cucumber diced into 1/2 cm (1/4-inch) cubes (reserve one-third)
1 small green pepper, diced into 1/2 cm (1/4-inch) cubes (reserve 1 tablespoon, 20 ml)
2 large fresh ripe tomatoes, diced (reserve half)
2 tablespoons (40 ml) extra virgin olive oil (reserve 1 teaspoon, 5 ml)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1 tablespoon (20 ml) fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder (reserve)
2 teaspoons ( 10 ml) honey
1/2 teaspoon ( 2 ml) dried dill
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons (40 ml) Eggless Mayonnaise II
2 cups (500 ml) tomato juice
2 tablespoons (40 ml) chopped fresh coriander, as garnish
2 tablespoons (40 ml) copped fresh parsley, as garnish

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

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 grocer.
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.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 20 minutes
YIELD: enough for 6 persons

1 large mild green chili, seeded and cut into 21/2 cm (1-inch) long wafer-thin slices
5 cups (11/4 litres) Chinese Vegetable Stock
1/2 cup (125 ml) sliced bamboo shoots
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) salt (optional)
1 tablespoon (20 ml) light soy sauce
1 tablespoon (20 ml) vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 teaspoon (5 ml) Chinese sesame oil
2 teaspoons (10 ml) finely minced fresh ginger
450 g (1 pound ) soft tofu cut into 11/4 cm (1/2-inch) cubes

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.

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