Great Vegetarian Dishes

(Part Two) Breads and Vegetable Preparations

 

BREADS

The Bhagavad-gt states, All living beings subsist on grains. Breads provide sustaining and nutritious variety to our lives.
Here are a few of the worlds most famous breads.

KCB 4.1: Wholemeal Bread

Wholemeal Bread

Breads are delicious, nutritious, and economical to make. They come in a myriad of forms the world over. Here's a recipe for crusty wholemeal bread made especially well-textured with the addition of gluten flour. Obtain the gluten flour from any health food store or specialty grocer.
Follow these tips when making bread: choose the correct flour; add the correct amount of yeast; knead the dough thoroughly; allow the bread to rise before baking, until doubled in bulk; cover the rising dough to prevent a skin forming; and always bake bread in a preheated oven at a high temperature. If you want a soft finish on your bread, rub or brush it with flour. For a crusty finish, brush with salted water. Brush with milk or cream to impart a shiny glaze, and brush with sugar syrup for a sweet glaze.

PREPARATION TIME: 50 minutes
DOUGH RISING TIME: 11/2 hours
BAKING TIME: 45 minutes
YIELD: 2 loaves

6 teaspoons (30 ml) fresh yeast
1 tablespoon (20 ml) brown sugar
21/2 cups (625 ml) warm water
1/2 cup (125 ml) gluten flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt
6 cups (11/2 litres) wholemeal flour
1 tablespoon (20 ml) oil
little milk
sesame seeds

1. Combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water in a small bowl, crumbling the yeast and mixing it well. Leave this bowl undisturbed in a warm place for 10 minutes or until frothy.
2. Combine the gluten flour, salt, and half the wholemeal flour in a large bowl. Add the yeast and the oil. Mix with a wooden spoon until well combined. Let it stand, covered, for 30 minutes.
3. Stir the mixture. Add the flour to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead it for 8 - 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
4. Wash and oil the mixing bowl. Roll the dough into a ball, coat it with oil, and place it in the bowl, covered. Let it rise in a warm spot for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
5. Punch down the dough with your fist and knead again lightly. Shape it into 2 loaves. Place the loaves into oiled loaf tins and cover them, placing them in a warm spot for another 30 minutes or until doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C/390F.
6. Brush the risen loaves with milk and sprinkle them with sesame seeds. Place them in the hot oven and cook for about 45 minutes or until golden, crisp, and hollow-sounding when tapped. Remove the tins from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Now you can carefully invert the bread tins and turn out the loaves, placing them on cooling racks. When the loaves are completely cool, slice and use as required.

KCB 4.2: Griddle-Baked Bread (Chapati)

Griddle-Baked Bread (Chapati)

Chapatis  are one of India's most popular breads. They are enjoyed especially in the northern and central regions of India. They are partially cooked on a hot griddle and finished over an open-heat source. Chapatis  are made from a special wholemeal flour called atta, available from Indian grocers. If unavailable, substitute sifted wholemeal flour. You can spread melted butter or ghee on the chapatis  after they are cooked.
Chapatis  are usually served at lunch or dinner and are great whether served with a 5-course dinner or just with a simple dal and salad.

PREPARATION TIME: 5 - 10 minutes
DOUGH RESTING TIME: 1/2 - 3 hours
COOKING TIME: 25 - 35 minutes
YIELD: 12 chapatis

2 cups (500 ml) sifted chapati flour
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) salt (optional)
water
extra flour for dusting
melted butter or ghee (optional, for spreading over chapatis after they've been cooked)

1. Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add up to 2/3 cup (165 ml) of water, slowly pouring in just enough to form a soft kneadable dough. Turn the dough onto a clean working surface and knead for about 8 minutes or until silky-smooth. Cover with an overturned bowl and leave for 1/2 - 3 hours.
2. Knead the dough again for 1 minute. Divide the dough into 1 dozen portions. Roll them into smooth balls and cover with a damp cloth.
3. Preheat a griddle or non-stick heavy frying pan over moderately low heat for 3 - 4 minutes. Flatten a ball of dough, dredge it in flour, and carefully roll out the ball into a thin, perfectly even, smooth disk of dough about 15 cm (6 inches) in diameter.
4. Carefully pick up the chapati  and slap it between your hands to remove the excess flour. Slip it onto the hot plate, avoiding any wrinkles. Cook for about 1 minute on the first side. The top of the chapati  should start to show small bubbles. Turn the chapati  over with tongs. Cook it until small brown spots appear on the underside (about minute).
5. If you are using gas, turn a second burner on high, pick up the chapati  with your tongs, and hold it about 5 cm (2 inches) over the flame. It will swell into a puffy balloon. Continue to cook the chapati  until it is speckled with black flecks. Place the cooked chapati  in a bowl or basket, cover with a clean tea towel or cloth, and continue cooking the rest of the chapatis. When they're all cooked and stacked, you might like to butter them. Serve chapatis  hot for best results or cover and keep warm in a preheated warm oven for up to 1/2 hour.

KCB 4.3: Italian Fried Corn-Bread (Polenta)

Italian Fried Corn-Bread (Polenta)

Polenta is a yellow maize or cornmeal grown in northern Italy. Regarded there as a staple food, it can be used in many ways after it has been prepared as a rather thick porridge. Plain boiled polenta can be grilled, baked, or, as in this recipe, fried. Served with Tomato Relish and sprinkled with parmesan cheese, it makes a delicious side dish.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 40 minutes
POLENTA STANDING TIME: 4 hours
YIELD: enough for 6 - 8 persons

8 cups (2 litres) water
2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt
31/2 cups (875 ml) cornmeal (polenta)
90 g (3 ounces) butter
3 tablespoons (60 ml) olive oil

1. Bring the water and salt to a boil in a 6-litre/quart saucepan over full heat. Gradually sprinkle the cornmeal over the water, stirring constantly with a wire whisk. Make sure that there are no lumps of cornmeal.
2. Reduce the heat to low. Continue to stir the polenta mixture until it is very thick (approximately 10 minutes).
3. Leave the polenta over low heat for about another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. It will be ready to remove from the heat when a wooden spoon will stand upright in the centre of the mixture and not drop to the side of the pan.
4. Spoon the mixture into an oiled 28 cm x 18 cm (7-inch x 11-inch) dish. Smooth out the mixture and leave to cool at room temperature for at least 4 hours.
5. Carefully turn the slab of polenta out of the tin and cut it in half lengthways. Cut each half into seven slices crossways, each one 4 cm (1/2-inches wide.
6. Heat the butter and oil together in a heavy frying pan. When hot, add about 6 slabs of polenta to the frying pan and reduce the heat to low. Fry gently until the polenta is dark golden brown on each side. Place the polenta onto a serving dish and serve with Tomato Relish and parmesan cheese.

KCB 4.4: Rajasthani Spicy Dal-Stuffed Bread (Urad Dal Poori)

Rajasthani Spicy Dal-Stuffed Bread (Urad Dal Poori)

These spicy, fried breads called Urad Dal Pooris (and sometimes called Urad Dal Kachoris) are a popular roadside snack in Rajasthan. Uraddal can be obtained at any Indian grocer. Serve these tasty breads with hot Pumpkin and Potatoes Marwari Style, Date and Tamarind Sauce, or as a snack with a dab of fresh yogurt.

DAL SOAKING TIME: 4 hours
PREPARATION TIME: 45 minutes
COOKING TIME: 30 minutes
YIELD: about 20 dal pooris

1 cup (250 ml) urad dal
2 cups (500 ml) sifted chapati flour or half-wholemeal and half-unbleached plain flour
1/2 cup (125 ml) ghee or oil, warmed
3 teaspoons (10 ml) salt
water
1 tablespoon (20 ml) coriander seeds
1 tablespoon (20 ml) fennel seeds
1 tablespoon (20 ml) cumin seeds
8 whole black peppercorns
4 large dried red chilies
ghee for frying

1. Place the urad dal in a bowl, cover with cold water, and leave to soak for 4 hours. Drain, place in a blender or food processor with a sprinkle of cold water, and grind coarsely to a paste. Transfer to a small bowl.
2. In another bowl, combine the flour, 4 tablespoons (80 ml) of warm ghee, 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of salt, and enough water to make a stiff but smooth dough. Knead well and put aside, covered with a cloth, for 20 minutes.
3. Sprinkle the coriander seeds, cumin, fennel, black peppercorns, and chilies into a heavy pan and dry-roast them over moderate heat until they darken a few shades and become aromatic (a few minutes). Transfer them to a coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle, and grind them to a powder.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon (20 ml) of ghee or oil in a heavy pan over moderate heat. Add the dal paste and stir-fry it, stirring constantly over moderate heat until it starts to stick on the bottom. Remove from the heat, add the powdered spices and 1 teaspoon of the salt, and mix well. Transfer onto a plate or dish to cool.
5. Divide the dough into 20 portions. Roll each portion into a smooth ball. With a rolling pin on a slightly oiled surface, roll out each ball into a thick patty about 5 cm (2-inches) wide. Place 1 tablespoon (20 ml) of cooled filling in the centre of each one, gathering the edges of the dough back over to completely enclose the filling. Pinch the excess dough together and press it back into the centre of the patty. Flatten slightly; then with a rolling pin roll out seam side down (carefully avoiding puncturing the pastry) into a disk 5 -  71/2 cm (2 - 3 inches) wide.
6. When all the dal pooris are rolled, heat the ghee or oil in a pan or wok to 180C/355F and carefully slip in 3 or 4 dal pooris. They will immediately sink then rise to the surface. Press them down with a slotted spoon until they inflate. Fry them until lightly browned on one side (about 2 minutes) then turn them over and fry on the second side for another 1 or 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a triple-thickness of paper towels. Cook all dalpooris and serve hot.

KCB 4.5: Puffed Fried Bread (Poori)

Puffed Fried Bread (Poori)

Popular over all of India, pooris are ideal to cook for both small dinner, parties and festivals with hundreds of guests. On a number of occasions, I've cooked 500 or more pooris in a few hours for big feasts. Once you get the rhythm down, it's effortless and rewarding. Pooris are traditionally made with straight wholemeal flour, but you can vary the ingredients. One-half wholemeal or atta, and one-half unbleached plain flour makes lighter pooris. If you're expert at rolling, try using just plain flour for translucent, gossamer-thin pooris.
You can add yeast to your pooris for light, bread-like results, as in Yeasted Puffed Fried-Bread; you can add spices to your poori dough; you can sprinkle sugar on top of pooris for a sweet snack; or you can stuff them with various sweet and savoury fillings, as in Stuffed Puffed-Bread.
The dough for this poori recipe differs from chapati  dough in that butter or ghee is rubbed into the flour and less water is added, to form a drier dough. No flour is used on the rolling surface.
Pooris are traditionally eaten hot, straight out of the ghee or oil, but cold pooris are great for picnics or snacks when travelling. Serve pooris with practically any menu at any time.

PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes
DOUGH RESTING TIME: 1/2 - 3 hours
COOKING TIME: 15 minutes
YIELD: 16 medium-sized pooris

2 cups (500 ml) sifted chapati flour or half-wholemeal and half-unbleached plain flour
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) salt
2 tablespoons (40 ml) melted butter or ghee
2/3 cup (165 ml) warm water, or as needed
ghee or oil for deep-frying

1. Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Rub in the butter or ghee until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add up to 2/3 cup (65 ml) of water, slowly pouring in just enough to form a medium-soft kneadable dough. Turn the dough onto a clean working surface and knead for 5 - 8 minutes or until silky smooth. Cover with an overturned bowl and leave for 1/2 - 3 hours.
2. Knead the dough again for 1 minute. Divide the dough into 16 portions, roll them into smooth balls, and cover them with a damp cloth.
3. Preheat the ghee or oil in a wok or deep pan over low heat. Meanwhile, with a rolling pin roll all your balls of dough into smooth disks about 111/2 - 121/2 cm (41/2 -inches) wide. Increase the ghee or oil temperature until it reaches about 185C/365F. Lift up a rolled poori and slip it into the hot oil, making sure it doesn't fold over. It will sink to the bottom then immediately rise to the surface. Hold it under the surface with a slotted spoon until it puffs up into a balloon. After a few seconds, when it is browned to a light-golden colour, turn it over and cook the other side to an even golden colour. Lift out the poori with the slotted spoon and carefully drain it in a large colander. Repeat for all the pooris. Serve immediately, if possible, or leave in a preheated, slightly warm oven for up to 2 hours.

KCB 4.6: Savoury Wholemeal Pancakes (Dosa)

Savoury Wholemeal Pancakes (Dosa)

Each country of the world has many varieties of pancakes, and India is no exception. Each region has its favourite versions. Dosas are a favourite in South India. Whereas traditional dosas are quite large, this recipe presents smaller pancakes to fit a household pan. And whereas traditional dosas are prepared from varieties of dal and rice combinations, these are prepared from basically just chapati  flour, spices, and fresh herbs. Serve these slightly crisp pancakes with Tomato Chutney, Coconut Chutney, or plain yogurt.

PREPARATION TIME: 25 minutes
BATTER RESTING TIME: 15 minutes
COOKING TIME: about 45 - 60 minutes
YIELD: about 1 dozen dosas

2 cups (500 ml) sifted chapati flour or wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon (5 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) baking powder
3 hot green chilies, finely chopped
1 tablespoon (20 ml) finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
melted ghee or oil

1. Combine the flour, asafoetida, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl and mix well. Add enough cold water to form a smooth, pouring consistency batter. Fold in the chilies and chopped coriander leaves. Transfer the batter to a pouring jug or large measuring cup with a spout and set aside for 15 minutes before cooking.
2. Brush a 20 cm (8-inch) cast-iron frying pan with a film of melted ghee or oil and warm it over moderate heat. When hot, pour in about 1/4 cup
(60 ml) of the batter, or enough to cover the base of the pan, and immediately tilt it to spread the batter into a thin 20 cm (8-inch) pancake. Drizzling a little ghee or oil around the edges of the dosa cook until the edges brown and the bottom turns golden brown in patches (about 3 minutes). Flip the dosa over, sprinkle with more oil, and cook it for another 11/2 - 2 minutes. Slide the cooked dosa onto a clean plate and serve it either flat or folded in half. Make all the dosas in the same way, stirring the batter occasion ally. Serve hot.

KCB 4.7: Stuffed Pan-Fried (Paratha)

Stuffed Pan-Fried (Paratha)

This is a delicious Singapore version of the famous Indian stuffed bread, paratha. These flaky, soft breads are pan-fried slowly with ghee or oil until golden brown. They're great served at any time with a chutney or sauce.

PREPARATION TIME: 20 minutes
COOKING TIME: approximately 40 minutes
YIELD: 10 parathas

For filling:
2 tablespoons (40 ml) peanut or safflower oil
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
2 cups (500 ml) grated cabbage
1/2 cups (375 ml) carrots, peeled and grated
1 cup (250 ml) mung bean shoots
1 teaspoon (5 ml) soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) sugar
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) salt
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) cornflour
ghee or oil to cook parathas

For pastry:
1 tablespoon (20 ml) peanut or safflower oil
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) salt
2 cups (500 ml) plain flour

1. To prepare the filling: heat the oil in a wok or large pan over moderate heat. When hot, add the asafoetida and fry momentarily. Increase the heat to full, add the vegetables, and stir-fry briskly for 4 - 5 minutes. Add soy sauce, salt, and sugar, stir-frying for another minute. Mix a little liquid from the wok (or water if the vegetables are dry) with the cornflour and pour this thickening paste into the vegetables. Saute for another 1/2 minute. Set aside to cool.
2. To make the pastry: mix the oil and salt with the plain flour and rub in the oil until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add enough cold water (a little over 1/2 cup [125 ml]) to form a soft dough. Knead well for about 5 minutes. Divide into 10 balls.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each ball with a rolling pin into paper-thin disks 25 cm (10-inches) wide.
4. Divide the filling into 10 portions. Place 1 portion of filling in the centre of each disk of pastry, spreading it out about 5 cm (2-inches) wide.
5. Fold in each side so the filling is completely covered, the pastry overlaps in the centre, and you end up with a square paratha. To seal, use water to moisten the areas where the pastry overlaps. Roll gently to seal and flatten.
6. Place one or two parathas on a griddle, hot plate, or heavy frying pan brushed with ghee or oil over moderate heat. Turn occasionally until the paratha displays golden-brown marbled spots on the surface of both sides (about 3 - 4 minutes). Repeat with all parathas, brushing them with ghee or oil when required. Serve hot.

KCB 4.8: Middle Eastern Round Bread (Pita)

Middle Eastern Round Bread (Pita)

No Middle Eastern meal is complete without these traditional slightly leavened, round, soft breads. Sometimes called Khobz, or pocket breads, they are becoming increasingly popular in the west. Try baking them yourself.
Distinct from traditional breads, these breads rise only once and are then baked at a very high temperature for a short time. During the process the dough separates to form the pouch or hollow, enabling the bread to be later split in half and stuffed. Traditionally, this bread is made with strong white flour, but if you wish you can substitute wholemeal flour or a softer white flour (you might then need to adjust baking time). Pita breads can be served with a traditional Middle Eastern meal, filled with your favourite salad along with Falafel, or used as a base for Asparagus and Pinenut Pizza.

PREPARATION TIME: 1 hour
BAKING TIME: 5 minutes per batch
YIELD: 24 small pitas or 12 large pitas

3 teaspoons (15 ml) dried yeast
11/2 cups plus 5 tablespoons (475 ml) warm water
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) brown sugar
6 cups (11/2 litres) strong white flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt
extra flour for kneading and dusting

1. Combine the yeast, warm water, and sugar in a large bowl. Stir thoroughly to dissolve the yeast.
2. Stir in the flour and salt and knead for about 5 minutes to form a smooth dough, sprinkling on a little extra flour if required.
3. Shape the dough into a cylinder. Divide the dough into 24 portions for small pitas or into 12 for large pitas. Shape each portion into a smooth ball. Place the balls on a floured surface and cover them with a cloth.
4. Carefully form a ball into a smooth, crease-free disk and roll out on a floured board with a rolling pin to form a 0.5 cm (1/4-inch) thick bread. Repeat until all the breads are rolled. Small breads should be about 12.5 cm (5 inches) in diameter, and large ones about 20 cm (8-inches).
5. Preheat the oven to 240C/465F. Place the loaves on a floured bench top in a draught-free area, covered with clean, dry tea towels. Do not allow the breads to dry out. The breads should rise for 30 - 45 minutes.
6. Place 1 large or 4 small pitas on an ungreased baking sheet and bake on the bottom of the hot oven for 3 - 4 minutes. When cooked, the bottoms should be golden and the tops cream coloured. Remove and wrap the pitas in dry tea towels. Repeat until all the breads are done.

Note: Take care not to leave the oven door open between batches, and don't allow the breads to go crisp or brittle. They should be soft and flexible when they come out of the oven. If you're not going to use the breads straight away, allow them to cool and store them in plastic bags until required.

KCB 4.9: Mozzarella and Tomato Pizza

Mozzarella and Tomato Pizza

This is a crisp-based pizza holding a filling of herb-flavoured tomatoes, with a topping of sliced black olives, peppers, and golden, melting mozzarella cheese. To save time, prepare the filling whilst the dough is rising.

PREPARATION TIME: 20 minutes
DOUGH RISING TIME: 30 minutes
ROLLING AND TOPPING TIME: 10 minutes
BAKING TIME: 15 - 20 minutes
YIELD: one 25 cm (10-inch) pizza

Base
3 teaspoons (15 ml) fresh yeast
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) sugar
1/2 cup (125 ml) lukewarm water
11/2 cups (375 ml) plain flour
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) salt
2 tablespoons (40 ml) olive oil

Filling
2 teaspoons (10 ml) olive oil
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
one 400 g (14-ounce) can whole Italian tomatoes, chopped and undrained, or 11/2 cups (375 ml) fresh tomato puree
1 tablespoon (20 ml) tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) dried basil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) freshly ground black pepper

Topping
125 g (41/2 ounces) grated mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons (40 ml) grated parmesan cheese
1 cup (250 ml) thin strips of eggplant, deep-fried until dark golden-brown, then salted
1 small red pepper, diced
60 g (2 ounces) black olives, pitted and halved

1. Cream the yeast with the sugar in a bowl, add lukewarm water, and let it stand for 10 minutes or until bubbles appear on the surface. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, make a well in the centre, and add the oil and yeast mixture. Mix to a firm dough.
2. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead it for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place it in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
3. Knock the dough down with your fist and knead into a small ball. Flatten out the dough with a rolling pin and roll it into a circular sheet of pastry that will just fit in a 25 cm (10-inch) pizza pan. Place the dough carefully in the pan.
4. Meanwhile make your filling: heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over moderate heat. When hot, add the asafoetida and saute momentarily. Add the undrained canned tomatoes or tomato puree, tomato paste, oregano, basil, sugar, salt, and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil; then reduce the heat and, stirring occasionally, simmer uncovered for 10 - 15 minutes or until the sauce is thick and smooth. Allow the filling to cool somewhat.
5. Spread the cooled filling over the pizza base, leaving a little border uncovered. Combine half the grated mozzarella cheese with the parmesan and sprinkle it over the tomato filling. Top with the eggplant strips, chopped peppers, and olives. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese and bake in a pre-heated hot oven 220C/430F for 15 - 20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

KCB 4.10: Stuffed Puffed-Bread (Stuffed Poori)

Stuffed Puffed-Bread (Stuffed Poori)

These tasty treats have been a great favourite at the Hare Krishna Sunday Feasts for decades. Fried puffed-breads (pooris) are stuffed with layers of potato, beans, yogurt, crunchy chickpea pearls, sweet-and-sour tamarind sauce, and finally a sprinkle of hot and sweet spices. Irresistible!

PREPARATION AND COOKING
TIME: 11/2 hours
YIELD: 16 stuffed pooris

Pooris
1 cup (250 ml) unbleached plain flour
1 cup (250 ml) chapati flour or wholemeal flour
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) salt
2 tablespoons (40 ml) ghee or oil
2/3 cup (165 ml) warm water, or as needed
ghee or oil for deep-frying

Potato filling
2 medium potatoes, cut into 0.5 cm (1/4-inch) cubes
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) salt

Mung bean filing
1/4 cup (60 ml) whole green mung beans, raw
4 cups (1 litre) water
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) salt

Tamarind sauce
1 tablespoon (20 ml) tamarind concentrate
1 tablespoon (20 ml) water
2 tablespoons (40 ml) brown sugar
pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) cayenne pepper

Chickpea flour batter pearls
1/4 cup (60 ml) chickpea flour
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) ground cumin water
ghee or oil for deep frying

Other ingredients
11/4 cups (310 ml) yogurt
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) garam masala
ghee or oil for deep-frying

1. Prepare pooris Set them aside.
2. Boil the potato cubes in slightly salted water in a small saucepan, until soft. Drain and set aside.
3. Boil the mung beans in 4 cups (1 litre) unsalted water until they are soft but not broken up. Drain, toss with salt, and set aside.
4. Combine all the ingredients for the tamarind sauce in a bowl. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.
5. Heat a small quantity of ghee or oil (about 21/2 cm, or 1-inch) in a small pan or wok. Mix all the dry ingredients for the chickpea-flour-batter pearls in a bowl. Pour in sufficient cold water to form a thick batter. When the oil reaches 180C/355F, pour some of the batter through the holes of a colander into the hot oil. Fry the little pearls of batter for a few minutes or until they are golden brown and crisp, remove them with a slotted spoon, and set them aside. Repeat until all the batter is used.
6. To assemble the stuffed pooris: place all the pooris on a tray with the pooris' thick side down. Puncture a small hole in the top of each poori. Drop in a few pieces of potato, followed by a small spoon of soft mung beans. On top of that, spoon a good sized spoon of yogurt; sprinkle in some chickpea pearls, a spoon of tamarind sauce, and finally a sprinkle of garam masala. Serve immediately.

KCB 4.11: Mexican Oatmeal Corn and Cheese Bread

Mexican Oatmeal Corn and Cheese Bread

This is an unusual but tasty bread which requires minimum fuss in preparation. It is best baked in a well-oiled 23 cm (9-inch) cast-iron frying pan, enabling it to be "pan-fried" in the oven.
Serve Mexican Oatmeal Corn and Cheese Bread warm, as a cold snack or as part of a summer luncheon or buffet with a light tomato sauce and a fresh salad.

PREPARATION TIME: 5 minutes
BATTER STANDING TIME: at least 30 minutes
BAKING TIME: 20 - 30 minutes
YIELD: enough for 6 persons

3/4 cup (185 ml) oatmeal
1/4 cup (60 ml) yellow cornmeal (polenta)
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) salt
1 cup (250 ml) cultured buttermilk or sour milk
1 teaspoon (5 ml) lemon juice
11/2 cups (375 ml) grated tasty cheese (not parmesan)
2 tablespoons (40 ml) finely chopped fresh parsley or coriander
2 tablespoons (40 ml) oil

1. Combine the oatmeal, cornmeal, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, and buttermilk in a bowl. Mix well and set aside to stand for at least 30 minutes.
2. Add the remaining ingredients (except the oil) and combine the mixture well.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon (20 ml) of the oil in a heavy, pre-oiled, cast-iron frying pan or cake tin and spoon in the bread batter, spreading it evenly. Drizzle the remaining oil over the batter and bake it in a preheated hot oven 200C/390F for 20 - 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.
4. Whilst the bread is still warm, slice into 6 pieces. Serve warm or at room temperature.

KCB 4.12: Bagels

Bagels

These famous doughnut-shaped rolls are a distinctive part of Jewish cuisine. They are first cooked in water, then baked, giving the bagel its characteristic hard, glazed crust.

PREPARATION TIME: 30 minutes
DOUGH RISING TIME: 1 hour 10 minutes
BOILING TIME: 10 minutes
BAKING TIME: about 30 minutes
YIELD: 18 bagels

2 cups (500 ml) warm water
2 teaspoons (10 ml) dry yeast
1 teaspoon (5 ml) brown sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
5 cups (11/4 litres) plain baking flour
1 tablespoon (20 ml) salt
4 litres/quarts water for boiling
2 tablespoons (40 ml) brown sugar
2 tablespoons (40 ml) milk for glazing
poppy seeds for decoration

1. Mix 3/4 cup (185 ml) water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon (5 ml) brown sugar in a bowl and let sit covered in a warm place for 10 minutes or until bubbles appear.
2. Add this mixture, along with the oil and the rest of the water, to the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix well to a stiff dough and knead for 10 minutes on a lightly floured board.
3. Let the dough rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size in a warm, undisturbed place. Punch the dough with your fist and knead for a few minutes.
4. Divide the dough into 18 portions; then with your hands roll each one into a rope shape, approximately 15 cm (6-inches) long. Moisten the ends and overlap them, squeezing them together to seal, forming rings. Allow all the bagels to stand in a warm place for 10 minutes on an oiled tray.
5. Bring the water to a rolling boil in a large pan. Add the 2 tablespoons (40 ml) of brown sugar and drop 5 or 6 of the bagels into the water. Allow the bagels to boil for 3 minutes, turning once, not allowing them to overlap.
6. With a slotted spoon, remove the bagels from the water and place them onto an oiled oven tray. When all bagels have been boiled and placed on trays, brush them with milk and sprinkle poppy seeds on them. Finally, bake in a hot oven 230C/450F until the bagels are golden brown. Serve hot or cold.

KCB 4.13: Yeasted, Puffed Fried-Bread (Khamiri Poori)

Yeasted, Puffed Fried-Bread (Khamiri Poori)

Here's another delicious variety of Indian bread. Yeasted pooris traditionally contain a home-made yeast mixture called Khamir made by natural fermentation. I have adapted the recipe using fresh yeast. These lovely pooris taste and smell like hot baked bread and are great served at tea time. Serve with either a sweet or savoury accompaniment.

PREPARATION TIME: 25 minutes
DOUGH RISING TIME: 1 hour, 10 minutes
COOKING TIME: 1/2 hour
YIELD: 16 medium pooris

3 teaspoons (15 ml) fresh yeast
3 teaspoons (15 ml) sugar
3/4 cup (185 ml) warm water, or as required
1 cup (250 ml) plain flour
1 cup (250 ml) sifted chapati flour or fine wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
2 tablespoons (40 ml) ghee or butter
ghee or oil for frying

1. Combine the yeast, sugar, and a little warm water in a bowl. Cover and leave the mixture in a warm place for 10 minutes or until it becomes frothy.
2. Sift the flours together and combine with the salt in a mixing bowl. Rub in the butter or ghee until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the yeast mixture and gradually pour in the rest of the warm water to form a firm, kneadable dough. Turn the dough onto a clean working surface and knead it for about minutes or until silky-smooth. Rub a little ghee or butter on the dough and place it in an oiled bowl. Cover with a cloth and leave in a warm spot for at least 1 hour or until it doubles in size.
3. Punch down the risen dough with your fist and knead again for 1 minute. Divide the dough into 16 portions and roll them into smooth balls. Press the balls into little patties and with a rolling pin roll each patty into a disk 111/2 - 121/2 cm (41/2 - 5 inches). Place the disks carefully on oiled baking trays and leave them in a warm spot to rise again.
4. Heat the ghee or oil over moderate heat until it reaches about 185C/365F. Lift up a rolled poori and slip it into the hot oil, making sure it doesn't fold over. It will sink to the bottom then immediately bob up to the surface. Hold it under the surface with a slotted spoon until it puffs up into a balloon. After a few seconds, when it is browned to a light golden colour, turn it over and cook the other side to an even golden colour. Lift out the poori with a slotted spoon and carefully drain it on paper towels. Repeat for all the pooris. Serve them immediately, if possible, or leave in a preheated, slightly warm oven for up to 2 hours.

KCB 4.14: Fruity Bran Muffins

Fruity Bran Muffins

Muffins are light and quick to prepare. These little breads are baked in special deep, round muffin tins and served hot for breakfast. This recipe comes from Govinda's Bakery in Los Angeles.
Mix the ingredients swiftly, as overmixing will produce tough, coarse muffins.

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes
BAKING TIME: 20 minutes
YIELD: 6 muffins

1/2 cup (125 ml) raw sugar
11/2 cups (375 ml) wholemeal flour
1 cup (250 ml) mixed dried fruit
2 cups (500 ml) bran at least
1 cup (250 ml) cold milk
1 tablespoon (20 ml) melted butter
1 tablespoon (20 ml) golden syrup (or dark corn syrup)
1 tablespoon (20 ml) water
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) baking powder

1. Combine the sugar, flour, fruit, and bran in a bowl and set aside.
2. Reserve 1 tablespoon (20 ml) milk. Combine the rest of the milk with the melted butter in a small bowl. Add the golden syrup, combine, and add to the bran mixture.
3. Heat the water and the reserved milk in a small saucepan. When hot, add the baking soda. When the mixture froths, pour it into the bran mixture. Mix in quickly and thoroughly. The mixture should be fairly moist. (Some additional milk may be required.)
4. Spoon into a greased muffin tray and bake at 180C/355F for 20 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown. Serve hot.

KCB 4.15: Soft Bread rolls

Soft Bread rolls

Sprinkled with poppy seeds before baking for an extra taste dimension, these are an excellent all-purpose bread roll. Try serving them with Tomato Soup or cut them and fill with Gopal's Famous Vegie-Nut Burgers  topped with your choice of salads and sauce.

PREPARATION TIME: 20 minutes
DOUGH RISING TIME: 1 hour 10 minutes
BAKING TIME: 15 - 20 minutes
YIELD: 12 large bread rolls

6 cups (11/2 litres) plain flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt
3 teaspoons (15 ml) fresh yeast
1 teaspoon (5 ml) brown sugar
1 cup (250 ml) warm water
3 teaspoons (15 ml) oil
1 cup (250 ml) warm milk
milk and poppy seeds for glazing

1. Sift the flour with the salt into a mixing bowl.
2. Combine the fresh yeast and brown sugar with the warm water and leave in a warm, undisturbed place for 10 minutes or until frothy.
3. Add the oil and frothy yeast mixture to the sifted flour. Mix and add sufficient warm milk to produce a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured board and knead for 10 minutes or until the dough is soft and pliable.
4. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, rub the dough with oil, cover, and leave in a warm spot for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
5. Punch down the dough, knead lightly, and form into a long cylinder. Cut into 12 pieces and shape them into rounds. Place them carefully onto floured baking sheets, leaving enough room for expansion. Cover them loosely with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot for another 15 - 20 minutes or until they have again doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 230C/450F.
6. Brush the rolls lightly with milk, sprinkle with poppy seeds, and place them in the preheated oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped. Place on a cooling rack and allow to cool before serving.

KCB 4.16: Corn Flat-Bread (Tortilla)

Corn Flat-Bread (Tortilla)

Tortillas are the national bread of Mexico. They are thin and round and made from a white cornmeal called masa. Tortillas are cooked on a griddle without browning, so they are quite soft and may be eaten as they are or fried briefly in oil to crisp them. Masa is hard to get outside of Mexico, so I have suggested polenta mixed with fine wholemeal flour as a substitute. Tortillas may be used as a plate or scoop for other foods, such as Tacos, or rolled and stuffed, as in Enchiladas.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 30 minutes
YIELD: 8 tortillas

1/4 cup (60 ml) cornmeal (polenta)
1/4 cup (60 ml) cold water
1/2 cup (125 ml) boiling water
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) salt
1 tablespoon (20 ml) oil
1 cup (250 ml) fine wholemeal flour

1. Combine the cornmeal and cold water in a bowl.
2. Stir the cornmeal mixture into the boiling salted water in a saucepan over full heat. Stir until the mixture is thick, drawing away from the sides of the pan.
3. Remove the thickened mixture from the heat and place it in a bowl.
4. Add the oil and mix thoroughly. Stir in the wholemeal flour to make a soft dough and knead on a lightly floured board until smooth (about 10 minutes), adding more flour if necessary.
5. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions and shape them into balls. Flatten the balls and roll them out to 0.125 cm (1/16-inch) thickness.
6. Heat an un-oiled, heavy cast iron pan over moderate heat and, one at a time, bake the tortillas, flipping them over several times until they are lightly golden on both sides. Cool. Serve as suggested above.

KCB 4.17: Crispy Dal Wafers (Pappadams)

Crispy Dal Wafers (Pappadams)

Crispy dal-wafers (pappadams or paparh) are often served as part of a full Indian dinner menu, usually at the beginning or as a closing item. They can be deep-fried or toasted over a flame. Although they are technically not breads, they are eaten like breads. They're also great for party snacks. Raw pappadams can be purchased at any Asian grocer shop, and come, plain or spiced, in all sizes.

COOKING TIME: a few seconds per wafer if deep-fried; a few minutes if toasted over a flame.

To deep-fry

1. Heat ghee or oil in a wok or large frying pan over moderately high heat. When hot 185C/365F, gently slip in a pappadam. It will immediately sizzle and expand. When it crinkles on the edges, turn it over with tongs and after 2 - 3 seconds remove it and place it on paper towels or in a colander to drain. Serve hot or cold.

To toast over a flame

1. Place a raw pappadam on a cake rack and hold it about 5 cm (2-inches) above a heat source set on high. Move the wafer around, until the whole surface is lightened in colour, expanded, and flecked with brown. Turn it over and cook the other side. Remove and stack. Serve hot or cold. Dry-roasted pappadams are great for persons on a low-fat diet.

KCB 4.18: Asparagus and Pinenut Pizza

Asparagus and Pinenut Pizza

These pizzas are quick and easy because they're made not with the traditional yeasted pizza dough but with Middle Eastern breads. If you prefer, try making your own Pita breads. The recipe for Middle Eastern Round bread (Pita) yields delicious pizza bases. Topped with home-made pinenut sauce, asparagus, and melting mozzarella cheese, they're sure to please.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 30 - 40 minutes
YIELD: four 13 cm (5-inch) pizzas or two 25 cm (10-inch) pizzas

1/4 cup (60 ml) grated parmesan cheese
250 g (about 9 ounces) grated mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon (20 ml) olive oil
1 tablespoon (20 ml) pinenuts
1 tablespoon (20 ml) olive oil, extra.
1 cup (40 ml) fresh basil leaves, packed
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
2 tablespoons (40 ml) grated parmesan cheese
1 bunch asparagus (250 grams, or about 9 ounces)
2 large or 4 small Middle Eastern breads
1 small red pepper, chopped

1. Heat 1 tablespoon (20 ml) of olive oil in a small saucepan over moderate heat. When hot, stir in the pinenuts and saute them until they're lightly browned. Remove them undrained from the pan and empty them into a blender or food processor along with the extra oil, the basil leaves, asafoetida, salt, and 2 tablespoons (40 ml of parmesan cheese. Process until smooth.
2. Cut the asparagus into 2.5 cm (1-inch) lengths and boil or steam until tender. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again.
3. Spread the breads with the pinenut sauce and top with asparagus, diced pepper, and cheeses. Place the pizzas on oven trays and bake in moderate 180C/355F oven until the pizzas are golden brown.

KCB 5: VEGETABLE DISHES

VEGETABLE DISHES

If you are tired of seeing vegetables relegated to soggy mounds on the side of your plate, this chapter is for you, a selection of tastefully herbed and spiced dishes prepared in every way imaginable.

KCB 5.1: North Indian Curried Cauliflower and Potatoes

North Indian Curried Cauliflower and Potatoes

This is a popular North Indian vegetable dish. Combined with hot Puffed Fried Breads (Pooris), dal, and salad, it can be served any time of the day and on any occasion.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 15 - 20 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 - 5 persons

1/4 cup (60 ml) ghee or oil
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon (5 ml) cumin seeds
1 teaspoon (5 ml) minced fresh ginger
2 hot green chilies, seeded and chopped
3 medium potatoes, cut into 11/4 cm (1/2-inch) cubes
1 medium cauliflower, cut into small flowerets
2 medium tomatoes blanched, peeled, and diced
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) turmeric
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) garam masala
2 teaspoons (10 ml) ground coriander
1 teaspoon (5 ml) brown sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt
2 tablespoons (40 ml) coarsely chopped fresh coriander or parsley
1 tablespoon (20 ml) fresh lemon juice

1. Heat the ghee or oil in a large, heavy saucepan over moderate heat. When the ghee is hot, add the mustard seeds. When they crackle, add the cumin and saute them until they darken a few shades. Add the ginger and chilies, saute for a few moments, and then add the potato and cauliflower pieces. Stir-fry the vegetables for 4 or 5 minutes or until the vegetables start to stick to the bottom of the pan.
2. Add the tomatoes, turmeric, garam masala, ground coriander, sugar, and salt.
3. Mix well, reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan, and, stirring occasionally, cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add water if necessary during this time but don't over-stir the vegetables. When the vegetables are cooked, add the fresh coriander and the lemon juice. Serve hot.

KCB 5.2: Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

Those of you of "Anglo-Saxon" background, like myself, will perhaps be familiar with the non-vegetarian origins of this dish.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 11/2 hours
YIELD: enough for 6 to 8 persons

For base of pie

11/4 cups (310 ml) brown lentils
2 litres/quarts water
2 tablespoons (40 ml) olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (250 ml) celery, diced
home-made curd cheese (panir) from 8 cups (2 litres) milk and pressed for 1/2 hour
5 tablespoons (100 ml) soy sauce

For potato topping

6 large baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons (40 ml) butter
1/2 cup (125 ml) milk
1 teaspoon ( 5 ml) salt
2 tablespoons (40 ml) sour cream
3 tablespoons (60 ml) chopped fresh parsley

1. Boil the brown lentils and water in a heavy 6-litre/quart saucepan. Reduce to a simmer and cook until they become soft. Strain through a colander. Put the lentils aside and retain the liquid for use as a soup stock at a later date.
2. Meanwhile, boil the potato cubes in slightly salted water until they become soft. Drain and mash them until smooth. Add the butter, milk, salt, and sour cream and mix well.
3. Heat the olive oil in a small, heavy pan until very hot. Add the asafoetida and pepper and saute momentarily. Add the celery bits and stir well; reduce the heat and braise the celery until soft, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.
4. Mash the drained lentils until smooth.
5. Crumble the curd cheese in a bowl and add the soy sauce. Mix well. Combine this mixture with the mashed lentils and the braised seasoned celery bits. Spread this pie filling evenly in the bottom of an ovenproof casserole dish. Cover this with the mashed potatoes. Smooth the mashed potatoes and use a fork to mark the top with lines. Bake in a very hot oven 230C/450F until the top is browned. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with fresh parsley, and serve hot.

KCB 5.3: Baked Stuffed Avocados

Baked Stuffed Avocados

In this succulent and unusual entree, avocados are stuffed with tofu and green peas, smothered in a lemon-chili-coconut sauce, and baked.

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes
COOKING TIME: 10 minutes
BAKING TIME: 10 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 persons

2 large, firm but ripe avocados
2 tablespoons (40 ml) olive oil
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 teaspoon (5 ml) chopped fresh ginger
1 cup (250 ml) firm tofu, diced to 1.25 cm (1/2-inch) cubes
1 teaspoon (5 ml) Chinese sesame oil
1 tablespoon (20 ml) chili sauce (without garlic or onions)
1 tablespoon (20 ml) sweet soy sauce
1 match-sized chunk of creamed coconut, chopped
1/2 cup (125 ml) cooked green peas
1 tablespoon (20 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1 tablespoon (20 ml) minced fresh coriander leaves

1. Carefully run a knife from the stem end downwards and right around the avocados. Twist to separate the two halves. Remove the seeds.
2. With a spoon, scoop out the avocado flesh leaving a 11/4 cm (1/2-inch) border. Chop the avocado flesh into large rough chunks.
3. Heat the olive oil in a heavy non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the asafoetida and saute for a few seconds. Add the ginger and saute for 1 minute. Add the tofu and stir-fry carefully. When the tofu is browned, drizzle on the sesame oil, chili sauce, and soy sauce. Fold in the creamed coconut, stirring until it melts.
4. Add the peas, lemon juice, salt, minced fresh coriander, and stir well. Finally, add the avocado pieces, stir to mix, and remove from the heat. Place the avocado halves carefully on a flame-proof gratin dish and add the stuffing. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C/355F for 10 minutes and serve immediately.

KCB 5.4: Spinach, Tomato, Eggplant, and Chickpea Stew

Spinach, Tomato, Eggplant, and Chickpea Stew

This well-known and succulent vegetable combination from North India is a popular addition to many Hare Krishna Sunday Feast menus. Cooked until the spinach softens, it is a textured, juicy dish. If you prefer a puree like dish, cook it further until the spinach and eggplant cook right down. Either way, it's delicious served with Puffed Fried Breads  or Lemon Rice.

PREPARATION TIME: 30 to 45 minutes
YIELD: enough for 6 to 8 persons

1/4 cup (60 ml) ghee or oil
1 tablespoon (20 ml) minced fresh ginger
2 hot green chilies, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon (5 ml) cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) black mustard seeds
10 dried curry leaves
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 medium eggplant washed and cut into 1.25 cm (1/2-inch) cubes
4 medium tomatoes, peeled and cut into 1.25 cm (1/2-inch) cubes
450 g (1 pound) fresh spinach, washed and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon (5 ml) turmeric
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) salt
2 cups (500 ml) chickpeas, cooked and drained
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) brown sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) fresh lemon juice

1. Heat the ghee or oil in a heavy 4-litre/quart saucepan or large wok over moderate heat. When the ghee is hot, add the ginger, chilies, cumin seeds, and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds crackle, add the curry leaves, asafoetida powder, and eggplant cubes. Stir-fry the eggplant for 8 to 10 minutes or until the eggplant is a little softened.
2. Stir in the tomatoes, spinach, turmeric, and salt. Partially cover and reduce the heat to moderately low. Cook until the eggplant is soft and the spinach is reduced in size, stirring when required. Add the cooked chickpeas and cook for another 5 minutes. If you would like the dish to be moist and textured, add the sugar and lemon juice now. Otherwise, cook until the vegetables become puree-like. Remove from the heat and serve hot.

KCB 5.5: Peppers Stuffed with Herbed Potatoes and Cheese

Peppers Stuffed with Herbed Potatoes and Cheese

Select medium-sized green, red, or yellow peppers for this baked side-dish or entree.

PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes
COOKING TIME: 30 to 40 minutes
YIELD: 6 stuffed peppers

6 medium, square shaped peppers
boiling water
1/2 cup (125 ml) melted butter
1 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried dill
1 teaspoon (5 ml) sweet paprika
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried basil
3 tablespoons (60 ml) minced fresh coriander
3 cups (750 ml) hot mashed potatoes
1 cup (250 ml) grated cheddar cheese

1. Carefully slice a lid off each pepper and with a small serrated knife cut away the centre piece of each lid, leaving only edible flesh. Put the lids aside. Scoop out all the fibre and seeds and wash the peppers thoroughly. Plunge them into boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes, remove, and drain upside down.
2. Pour 4 tablespoons (80 ml) of the melted butter into a saucepan and over low heat; saute the asafoetida for a few moments. Add the dill, paprika, salt, basil, and fresh coriander. Stir and remove from the heat.
3. Place the mashed potatoes, three quarters of the grated cheese, and the herbed butter in a bowl and mix until smooth.
4. Stuff all the peppers with the herbed potato and sprinkle the reserved cheese on top. Replace the cored lids. Place in a baking dish, brush with the reserved butter and bake in a preheated oven at 180C/355F for 30 to 40 minutes or until the peppers are tender and lightly browned

KCB 5.6: Baked Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice and Green Peas

Baked Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice and Green Peas

Lightly-seasoned fluffy basmati Rice makes the best filling for stuffed tomatoes. Be sure to select firm, ripe tomatoes.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 25 - 35 minutes
BAKING TIME: 10 - 15 minutes
YIELD: enough for 6 persons

Rice Filling

1 cup (250 ml) basmati or other long-grain white rice
5 tablespoons (100 ml) ghee or oil
6 whole cloves
one 3.75 cm (11/2-inch) cinnamon stick
2 whole cardamom pods, bruised
1/3 cup (85 ml) slivered almonds
2 cups (500 ml) water
1 cup (250 ml) fresh green peas
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) salt
6 large or 12 small firm, ripe tomatoes
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) turmeric

Rice Filling

1. Clean, wash, and drain the rice.
2. Heat 4 tablespoons (80 ml) of ghee or oil in a heavy 2-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat. When the ghee is hot, add the whole cloves, cinnamon stick, bruised cardamom pods, and almonds. Stir-fry for 30 seconds or until the almonds are golden. Bring the water to a boil in another pan.
3. Add the rice to the spice and nut mixture and stir-fry for about 2 minutes or until the rice is whitish.
4. Add the boiling water to the rice and nut mixture; add the peas and 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of salt. Stir, raising the heat to high and bringing the water to a full boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid and, without stirring, simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the rice is dry and tender. Fluff the rice with a fork and (if desired) remove the whole spices.

Stuffed tomatoes

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/355F.
2. Cut a thin slice off the top of each tomato and set the slices aside. With a teaspoon, scoop out the seeds and pulp, leaving a 1/2 cm (1/4-inch) thick case, and set them aside. Chop or blend the tomato pulp and force it through a strainer. Collect the pulp and discard the seeds.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon (20 ml) of ghee or oil in a 1-litre/quart saucepan over medium heat. When hot, drop in the minced ginger and fry until brown. Add the tomato pulp, 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) salt, and turmeric and cook for 5 minutes or until the pulp is reduced to a thick puree.
4. Stuff the tomatoes with the savoury rice-filling and pour a teaspoon of the thick tomato sauce into the opening of each tomato. Replace the tops of the tomatoes.
5. Set the tomatoes in a glass casserole dish and bake them in the oven at 180C/360F for 10 or 15 minutes. Serve hot.

KCB 5.7: Gauranga Potatoes

Gauranga Potatoes

In this dish, slices of potato are folded with herbs, butter, and sour cream and baked to a golden brown. It is irresistibly rich and delicious, yet effortless to prepare.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 50 - 60 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 to 6 persons

8 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced into 0.5 cm (1/4-inch) disks
water
1 tablespoon (20 ml) olive oil
3/4 teaspoon (3 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) ground dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ( 2 ml) turmeric
3 cups (750 ml) sour cream
1 tablespoon (20 ml) melted butter
2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt
1/2 cup (125 ml) water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) sweet paprika
2 tablespoons (40 ml) chopped fresh parsley

1. Boil the potato slices in lightly salted water in a 4-litre/quart saucepan until they are cooked but firm. Remove and drain.
2. Add the olive oil to a medium saucepan, over moderate heat and when hot, add the asafoetida. Saute momentarily; add the rosemary, black pepper, and turmeric and stir briefly. Add the sour cream, melted butter, salt, and water. Whisk it into a smooth sauce and remove from the heat.
3. Combine the potato slices and sour cream sauce in a mixing bowl. Pour the mixture into a casserole dish, sprinkle with paprika, and place in the top of a preheated 200C/390F oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve hot.

KCB 5.8: French Braised Summer Vegetables (Ratatouille)

French Braised Summer Vegetables (Ratatouille)

This is my version of the famous French vegetable medley of eggplants, zucchinis, red and green peppers, and tomatoes so popular in Provence. The eggplants are first rubbed in salt to remove their bitterness (degorging). Serve Ratatouille cold with crusty soft sesame bread rolls, or hot with fluffy yellow rice.

EGGPLANT DEGORGING TIME: 30 minutes
PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 30 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 to 6 persons

2 medium eggplants, cut into 21/2 cm (1-inch) cubes
salt for degorging
1/2 cup (125 ml) olive oil
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 large red pepper and 1 large green pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into long strips about 11/4 cm (1/2-inch) wide
4 medium zucchinis, cut into 1/2 cm (1/4-inch) slices at an angle (bias cut)
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) freshly ground black pepper
4 medium tomatoes, peeled and cut into eighths
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
2 tablespoons (40 ml) chopped fresh parsley

1. To degorge the eggplants: place the eggplant cubes in a colander, sprinkle with salt, and let sit for about 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. Drain and pat the eggplants dry with paper towels.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, add the asafoetida and fry momentarily. Add the eggplant cubes and saute, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Add the peppers, zucchini, and black pepper; cover and cook gently without any water for about 15 minutes or until the zucchinis, peppers, and eggplants are tender (if the vegetables stick, add a little water). Add the tomatoes and cook only until they warm through. Add the salt and parsley and mix well. Serve hot or cold.

KCB 5.9: Thai Vegetable Curry

Thai Vegetable Curry

Here's a tasty and unusual combination of potatoes and tofu simmered in a spicy lemon-peanut-coconut sauce. Serve alongside Thai Rice for a light meal.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 45 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 persons

2 whole cloves
1 tablespoon (20 ml) coriander seeds
1 teaspoon (5 ml) cumin seeds
5 dried chilies
3 black peppercorns
one 21/2 cm (1-inch) cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
3 tablespoons (60 ml) vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
2 small fresh hot green chilies, seeded and sliced into thin strips
1 teaspoon (5 ml) lemongrass powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) galangal (laos) powder
2 cups (500 ml) coconut milk
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1 tablespoon (20 ml) instant tamarind concentrate
2 tablespoons (40 ml) warm water
400 g (14 ounces) firm tofu cut into 1.25 cm (1/2-inch) cubes
4 tablespoons (80 ml) roasted peanuts
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) cardamom seeds
4 medium potatoes parboiled, peeled, and cut into 11/4 cm (1/2-inch) cubes
2 tablespoons (40 ml) brown sugar
3 tablespoons (60 ml) light soy sauce
3 tablespoons (60 ml) fresh lemon juice

1. Dry-roast the cloves, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, chilies, peppercorns, and cinnamon in a small pan over moderate heat until the spices become aromatic (2 - 3 minutes). Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the spices to a coffee mill. Grind the spices to a powder; transfer to a small bowl.
2. Heat the vegetable oil in a 6-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat. When the oil becomes hot, add the asafoetida, green chilies, lemongrass powder, galangal (laos) powder, and dry-roasted spices. Stir momentarily, add the coconut milk and salt, and stir until warm. Remove from the heat.
3. Combine the tamarind concentrate with the warm water. Whisk until smooth. Add the cubed tofu to the coconut milk mixture along with the peanuts, cardamom seeds, parboiled potatoes, brown sugar, light soy sauce, tamarind water, and lemon juice. Return to a very low heat and, stirring occasionally, simmer uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes or until the sauce thickens and the potatoes are tender. Serve hot.

KCB 5.10: Pumpkin and Potatoes, Marwari-Style

Pumpkin and Potatoes, Marwari-Style

This popular vegetable dish from Rajasthan, northern India, is quick and easy to prepare and full-bodied flavour with varieties of hot and sweet spicy flavours. Serve it with hot Rajasthani Spicy Dal-Stuffed Breads or Puffed Fried Breads.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 20 - 30 minutes
YIELD: enough for 6 to 8 persons

450 g (1 pound) potatoes (about 4 cups), peeled and cut into 11/4 cm (1/2-inch) cubes)
3 tablespoons (60 ml) ghee or oil
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon (5 ml) kalonji (nigella) seeds if available
one 5 cm (2-inch) cinnamon stick
seeds from 2 cardamom pods
2 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) fenugreek seeds
2 tablespoons (40 ml) yogurt
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground coriander
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cumin
1 teaspoon (5 ml) chili powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) turmeric
450 g (1 pound) pumpkin (about 4 cups), peeled and cut into 1.5 cm (3/4-inch) cubes
2/3 cup (165 ml) water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) sugar
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) salt

1. Heat the ghee or oil in a heavy 4 litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat. When the ghee is hot, add the mustard seeds, kalonji seeds, cinnamon stick, cardamom seeds, cloves, and bay leaves. Saute the spices until the mustard seeds crackle. Add the fenugreek seeds and saute until they darken a few shades.
2. Add the yogurt, asafoetida, coriander, cumin, chili, and turmeric and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the potatoes, pumpkin, and water. Cover and cook on a medium heat for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add a little hot water if the vegetables start to stick. Add the lemon juice, sugar, and salt and serve hot.

KCB 5.11: South Indian Vegetable Combination (Aviyal)

South Indian Vegetable Combination (Aviyal)

A famous dish from the Malabar coast of Kerala, South India, Aviyal is much loved on festive menus. Practically any combination of vegetables can be used, as long as they are cut in such a way that they all cook in about the same amount of time. In Kerala, local vegetables would be used. However, I have suggested a combination of potato, sweet potato, peas, pumpkin, beans, carrot, and zucchini. This version is flavoured in the traditional way with fresh coconut, yogurt, and ginger. Serve hot with Boiled Rice.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 20 - 30 minutes
YIELD: enough for 6 to 8 persons

4 tablespoons (80 ml) coconut oil or ghee
6 - 8 fresh (or dried) curry leaves
1 cup (250 ml) sweet potato cut into 11/2 cm (3/4-inch) cubes
1 cup (250 ml) green beans cut into 11/2 cm (3/4-inch) lengths
1 cup (250 ml) pumpkin cut into 11/2 cm (3/4-inch) cubes
1 cup (250 ml) carrots cut into batons 33/4 cm x 11/4 cm x 11/4 cm (11/2-inches x 1/2-inch x 1/2-inch)
1 cup (250 ml) zucchini cut into 11/2 cm (3/4-inch) cubes
1/2 cup (125 ml) fresh green peas
1 cup (250 ml) potato cut into 1.5 cm (3/4-inch) cubes
2/3 cup (165 ml) water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) turmeric
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground coriander
3 hot green chilies, minced
1/2 cup (125 ml) plain yogurt
2/3 cup (165 ml) shredded fresh coconut
2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt

1. Heat the oil or ghee in a large heavy-based non-stick pan over moderate heat. Saute the curry leaves until they darken a few shades. Add all the vegetables, saute them for 2 or 3 minutes, and add the water, turmeric, and coriander, stirring well. Bring the liquid to a boil.
2. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the chilies, yogurt, coconut, and salt. Serve hot.

KCB 5.12: Scrambled Curd

Scrambled Curd

This is the vegetarian counterpart to scrambled eggs. Fresh curd cheese (panir) is scrambled with sour cream and sprinkled with black salt (which has a distinct sulphur-like flavour), spices, and fresh herbs to produce a stunning result. Serve at breakfast with hot gradually add the lemon juice and toast or Puffed Fried Breads (Pooris),  and Tomato Chutney.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 40 - 50 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 - 6 persons

6 litres (101/2 pints) full-cream milk
7 tablespoons (140 ml) lemon juice
2 tablespoons (40 ml) ghee or butter
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1/2 teaspoon (1 ml) turmeric
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) sweet paprika
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) coarsely ground black pepper
3/4 cup (185 ml) cream or sour cream
2 tablespoons (40 ml) coarsely chopped fresh coriander leaves
1 teaspoon (5 ml) Indian black salt (kale namak), finely ground

1. Boil the milk in a heavy-based 8 - 10 litre/quart saucepan, stirring constantly. When the foam rises, gradually add the lemon juice and reduce the heat to low. Stir very slowly until the solid curd cheese separates from the yellowish whey. (If separation does not occur after 1 minute, add a little more lemon juice.
2. Pour the curds and whey into a colander lined with a triple-thickness of cheesecloth. Press under a heavy weight for 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Unwrap the curd cheese and break it into 21/2 cm (1-inch) chunks.
4. Heat the ghee or butter in a large pan or wok over moderate heat. Saute the asafoetida and turmeric in the hot ghee. Add the pieces of curd cheese and stir gently until the turmeric-coloured ghee is well distributed. Increase the heat and add the paprika, salt, and pepper. When the curd cheese is well mixed, remove from the heat.
5. Add the cream or sour cream and the black salt, stirring carefully. Add the fresh herbs, mix well, and serve hot.

KCB 5.13: Green Beans

Green Beans

Here's a delicious way to serve seasonal French stringless green beans. Serve as an entree or part of a multi-course dinner.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 15 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 or 5 persons

2 tablespoons (40 ml) ghee or oil
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) black mustard seeds
one 1.25 cm (1/2-inch) cube of ginger sliced into paper-thin julienne strips
450 g (1 pound) fresh green stringless beans, "topped and tailed" and cut into 21/2 cm (1-inch) diagonal slices
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) turmeric
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
2 tablespoons (40 ml) minced fresh coriander leaves
1 teaspoon (5 ml) fresh lemon juice

1. Saute the mustard seeds and ginger strips in ghee or oil in a 3-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat until the mustard seeds crackle.
2. Add the beans and stir-fry over moderate heat for about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the water, cover securely, and boil gently for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and when most of the water has evaporated, add the remaining ingredients except the lemon juice. Cook until the beans are tender-crisp and the water has evaporated. Add the lemon juice and serve hot.

KCB 5.14: Vegetables au Gratin

Vegetables au Gratin

Delightfully simple to make, Vegetables au Gratin is a great favourite on the wintertime menu at Gopal's Restaurant.
Consisting of lightly steamed vegetables in a mornay sauce, topped with grated cheese, and baked in the oven until golden brown, it combines wonderfully with a light soup and bread accompaniment, such as Vegetable Soup  and Wholemeal Bread.

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

8 cups (2 litres) assorted vegetables cut into large bite-sized chunks (try a selection from the following: cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, French beans, green peas, baby potatoes, asparagus, squash, pumpkin, sweet potato)
2/3 cup (165 ml) butter
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) nutmeg
2/3 cup (165 ml) plain flour
5 cups (1.25 litres) warm milk
2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt
3/4 teaspoon (3 ml) ground white pepper
250 g (about 9 ounces) grated cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon (20 ml) extra butter
2 tablespoons (40 ml) chopped fresh parsley

1. Lightly steam all the vegetables until they're cooked but still a little firm.
2. Melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan over moderate heat. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the asafoetida powder and nutmeg. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon to make a smooth paste. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly.
3. Return the pan to the heat and bring the sauce to a boil, still stirring. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, for 1 minute or until the sauce is thick and smooth. Add the salt, pepper, and half of the grated cheese. Add the steamed vegetables and mix well.
4. Spoon the vegetables into a buttered baking dish. Cover them with the remaining grated cheese and dot with little pieces of butter. Bake in a preheated hot oven 205C/400F for 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

KCB 5.15: Cabbage, Potato, and Yogurt with Anise

Cabbage, Potato, and Yogurt with Anise

The combination of yogurt, lemon juice, and brown sugar creates a delicious sweet-and-sour glaze for the vegetables. Serve with hot fluffy rice or a crusty bread, and a soup or dal.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 45 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 to 6 persons

2 tablespoons (40 ml) ghee or oil
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) cumin seeds
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) anise seeds
1 small cabbage, cored and sliced very thin
1 teaspoon (5 ml) turmeric
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) hot paprika or cayenne
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 21/2 cm (1-inch) cubes
1 cup (250 ml) yogurt
1 tablespoon (20 ml) fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt
1 tablespoon (20 ml) brown sugar

1. Heat the ghee or oil in a heavy 6-litre/quart non-stick saucepan over moderate heat. Saute the cumin and anise seeds until golden brown. Add the cabbage and stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Cover the pan and, reducing the heat, cook the cabbage until it shrinks.
2. Add the turmeric, paprika, and the potato cubes. Mix well and replace the lid. Cook, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are tender. (You may need to add a little water).
3. Remove the pan from the heat and fold in the yogurt, lemon juice, salt, and brown sugar. Stir to mix and serve hot.

KCB 5.16: Cauliflower and Potato Supreme (Gobi Alu Bhaji)

Cauliflower and Potato Supreme (Gobi Alu Bhaji)

For best results with this North Indian favourite, use pure ghee as the frying medium. Serve this rich vegetable dish for special occasions.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 35 minutes
YIELD: enough for 5 or 6 persons

2 large baking potatoes peeled and cut into 21/2 cm (1-inch) cubes
ghee or oil for deep frying
1 medium cauliflower cut into flowerets
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) turmeric
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1 cup (250 ml) plain yogurt or sour cream at room temperature
1 tablespoon (20 ml) chopped fresh coriander or parsley

1. Rinse the potato cubes in cold water. Drain and pat them dry.
2. Place enough ghee in a deep wok or pan that will well-cover the quantity of potatoes. Heat the ghee to 190C/375F. Fry the potatoes until golden brown (8 - 10 minutes). (You might need to fry in 2 batches). Remove and drain the potatoes. Deep-fry the cauliflowers until they're cooked but slightly firm. Remove and drain them.
3. When all the vegetables are deep-fried, drained, and still warm, place them in a large bowl, add the spices, salt, and yogurt or sour cream. Add the fresh herbs and serve immediately. If not serving immediately, when you are ready to serve, warm the spiced vegetables in a low-heat oven and add the yogurt or sour cream.

KCB 5.17: Zucchini, Green Peppers and Tomato

Zucchini, Green Peppers and Tomato

Here's a succulent combination of young zucchinis, green peppers, and juicy tomato pieces braised together that's quick and easy to prepare. For a simple summer lunch, combine this dish with Chapatis or Rice  with Green Peas and Almonds  and a crisp salad.

PREPARATION TIME: 20 - 30 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 to 6 persons

2 tablespoons (40 ml) ghee or oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) cumin seeds
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) fresh green chilies, seeded and minced
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 teaspoon (5 ml) turmeric
2 small green peppers, diced into 11/4 cm (1/2-inch) squares
6 medium zucchinis cut into 11/4 cm (1/2-inch) cubes
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground coriander
6 medium tomatoes blanched, peeled, and cut into eighths
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) brown sugar
1 tablespoon (20 ml) chopped fresh parsley or coriander

1. Saute the cumin seeds in ghee or oil in a large, heavy, non-stick saucepan or wok over moderate heat until the seeds darken a few shades. Add the green chilies, asafoetida, and turmeric and stir momentarily. Add the green peppers and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Add the zucchini and ground coriander and, stirring occasionally, cook the vegetables for an additional 2 minutes. Add the tomato pieces, mix well, and reduce the heat to moderately low, stirring occasionally. Cook until the zucchini becomes translucent and soft but not mushy. Add the salt, sugar, and herbs. Stir to mix, remove from the heat, and serve hot.

KCB 5.18: Eggplant, Potato, and Curd Cheese

Eggplant, Potato, and Curd Cheese

Our spiritual master, rla Prabhupda, taught Dipak, my old friend and culinary guide, how to prepare this vegetable dish in 1972 giving it the unusual sub-title of 'Meat-eaters Delight'. Because the panir cheese is cut into large uneven chunks and deep-fried in ghee until dark, then slowly stewed in spiced whey, it develops a very "meaty' texture and appearance. Serve this rich and juicy vegetable dish with plain boiled rice, a simple dal, crisp salad, and flat bread.
Note: Save the whey when you make the panir cheese.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 1 hour
YIELD: enough for 4 or 5 persons

ghee for deep-frying
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 21/2 cm (1-inch) cubes
2 large eggplants, cut into 21/2 cm (1-inch) cubes
home-made curd cheese (panir), plus the whey, made from 8 cups
(2 litres) milk, pressed for 1/2 hour, and cut into 21/2 cm (1-inch) cubes
1 tablespoon (20 ml) ghee
2 teaspoons (10 ml) cumin seeds
1 teaspoon (5 ml) crushed dried red chilies
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) turmeric
2 cups (500 ml) whey
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) ground coriander
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) salt

1. Add enough ghee to half-fill a wok or deep-frying pan. Place over moderate heat and allow it to reach 190C/375F. If you use a large wok or pan, you can fry all of the potatoes simultaneously. Otherwise, add half the potatoes and deep-fry them until golden brown 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and drain them. When the potatoes are all fried, allow the ghee to return to the required temperature.
2. Add half the eggplant pieces and deep-fry them until they are golden brown. Remove and drain them. Allow the ghee to return to the frying temperature; then fry the remaining eggplants and drain them.
3. Deep-fry the panir cubes until they are dark golden brown. Remove and drain. Turn off the heat under the ghee.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon (20 ml) ghee over moderate heat in a heavy 3-litre/quart saucepan. Saute the cumin seeds until golden brown. Add the chilies, asafoetida, and turmeric. Stir momentarily; then carefully add the whey, salt, and ground coriander. Raise the heat until the whey boils.
5. Add the potatoes, eggplant cubes, and pieces of fried panir. Combine the vegetables with the whey, taking care not to crush the eggplant. Boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer the vegetables for about 20 minutes. Cook until the potatoes become glazed and light golden. The eggplant should be soft but not mushy, and the panir cubes should be juicy. Serve hot.

KCB 5.19: Indonesian Vegetable Stew (Sayur Asam)

Indonesian Vegetable Stew (Sayur Asam)

Indonesian vegetable stews (Sayurs) are actually half-way between stews and soups. They are traditionally served with rice and a sambal (chili relish). This dish features four special Indonesian ingredients, all available at good Asian grocers: laos (Indonesian ginger), lime leaf, lemongrass, and coconut milk (santan). It also contains a Chinese green vegetable called buk choy.

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes
COOKING TIME: 15 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 persons

2 small slices fresh laos (Indonesian ginger) or the common variety of fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon (5 ml) laos powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) ground coriander
1 fresh hot green chili, seeded and chopped
2 cups (500 ml) Chinese Vegetable Stock or water
1 tablespoon (20 ml) corn oil
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1/2 cup (125 ml) French stringless green beans, "topped and tailed" and cut into 5 cm (2-inch) lengths
1 lime leaf (substitute with bay leaf if unavailable)
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) lemongrass flakes or powder
1/2 cup (125 ml) Chinese bok choy leaves, cut into thin strips
450 g (1 pound) zucchinis, cut into 21/2 cm (1-inch) wedges
1 cup (250 ml) coconut milk (santan)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) sugar

1. Place the laos or ginger, ground coriander, and chili in a blender. Add vegetable stock or water and blend. Empty into a bowl.
2. Fry the asafoetida and green beans in oil in a wok for 1 minute. Add the stock and spice mixture, lime leaf or bay leaf, and lemon grass and simmer covered for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the bokchoy and zucchini and cook covered for another 3 minutes or until the zucchini is tender. Add the coconut milk santan, salt, and sugar and simmer for another minute. Serve hot.

KCB 5.20: Vegetarian Stroganoff

Vegetarian Stroganoff

This delicious combination of vegetables with herbs and sour cream is enhanced by the addition of tofu cubes that have been frozen and thawed. The texture of tofu changes dramatically after it has been frozen and thawed. It becomes firmer and chewy, much resembling the texture of meat. You can freeze an entire block of tofu or cut it into strips or cubes and then freeze it. If you freeze it and let it thaw naturally, you get a crumbly textured tofu, resembling Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP). If you quick-thaw the frozen tofu in boiling water, it will retain its shape. You can wring out the tofu like a sponge and season it as required. This stroganoff recipe calls for frozen, quick-thawed cubes of tofu that have been seasoned and marinated. Serve with hot noodles or rice for a complete main meal.

TOFU FREEZING TIME: 2 days
SEASONING AND TIME: 15 minutes
PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 40 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 persons (when served with rice or noodles)

450 g (1 pound) firm tofu cut into 2.5 cm (1-inch) cubes, placed on a plate, and frozen for 2 days
2 tablespoons (40 ml) vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) black pepper
2 tablespoons (40 ml) Japanese tamari or soy sauce
1/4 cup (60 ml) dry white grape juice
30 g (1 ounce) butter
3 large zucchinis, cubed
1 medium red or green pepper, diced
3 large tomatoes, blanched, peeled, and chopped
1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried dill
1 tablespoon (20 ml) sweet paprika
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) salt
1 cup (250 ml) sour cream

1. Remove the tofu from the freezer, separate the pieces from the plate by rinsing under hot water, and plunge them into boiling water. When the tofu pieces soften and float, remove them from the heat and drain them. Rinse them under cold water; then squeeze them between your palms until they're completely dry.
2. Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan over moderate heat. Sprinkle in half the asafoetida, stir momentarily, and then add half the black pepper and the dry tofu pieces. Saute for 1 minute; then add the tamari or soy sauce and grape juice, bring to the boil and simmer for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to marinate for 15 minutes.
3. In a heavy 4-litre/quart saucepan or wok, melt the butter over moderate heat. Add the asafoetida, zucchini, and peppers, stir-frying for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, dill, paprika, salt and pepper, and cook until the zucchini and peppers become soft, adding water if necessary. Add the tofu and marinade and simmer for 5 minutes more. Serve hot over rice or noodles topped with sour cream.

KCB 5.21: Asparagus with Oil and Lemon Sauce

Asparagus with Oil and Lemon Sauce

This is a typical dish from the Veneto region of northern Italy. Its beauty lies in its simplicity. Serve this dish as antipasto (entree).

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 20 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 persons

2 bunches of fresh asparagus (500 g, a little over 1 pound)
juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons (60 ml) olive oil
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) freshly grated nutmeg
2 - 4 tablespoons (40 - 80 ml) grated parmesan cheese

1. Wash the asparagus. Cut off the woody part at the base. Peel the lower section to reveal the tender edible flesh. Tie the asparagus in a bundle and stand it in a tall pot in 5 cm (2-inches) of water. Cover the pot and allow the asparagus to boil gently over moderate heat until the stems are cooked but still a little firm (about 5 - 10 minutes). Alternatively, place the asparagus in a steamer.
2. Place the asparagus on a warmed serving dish. Mix the lemon juice, oil, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, pour this sauce over the hot asparagus, and sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately.

KCB 5.22: Cantonese Stir-Fried Vegetables with Cashews in Black Bean Sauce

Cantonese Stir-Fried Vegetables with Cashews in Black Bean Sauce

This is a delicious tasty melange of vegetables and cashew nuts. All special ingredients are available at Chinese grocers. Shop-bought salty black bean sauce however is not a reliable item for strict vegetarians since it sometimes contains other ingredients not listed on the label. Better to use home-made Cantonese Black Bean Sauce. Serve with Boiled Rice or as part of a multi-course Chinese dinner.

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

1/2 cup (125 ml) cashew nuts
warm water for soaking
oil for deep-frying
450 g (1 pound) firm tofu cut into 11/4 cm (1/2-inch) cubes
2 small eggplants cut into 21/2 cm (1-inch) cubes
1/2 large carrot, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon (5 ml) thick soy sauce
1 teaspoon (5 ml) sugar
2 tablespoons (40 ml) Cantonese Black Bean Sauce
1 teaspoon (5 ml) cornflour blended with 2 teaspoons (10 ml) cold water to form a paste
2 medium green peppers and 1 medium red pepper cut into 11/2 cm (3/4-inch) chunks
2 medium cucumbers, unpeeled, cut into 11/2 cm (3/4-inch) cubes
10 water chestnuts, slit through the centre
2 tablespoon (40 ml) Chinese Vegetable Stock or water
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) Chinese sesame oil

1. Soak the cashews in warm water for 10 minutes. Drain and pat them dry
2. Heat the oil in a wok or pan until hot 185C/365F. Deep-fry the cashews until golden brown. Remove, drain, and set them aside. Deep-fry the tofu cubes in batches until golden. Deep-fry the eggplant pieces in batches until dark golden brown. Remove, drain, and set them aside.
3. Meanwhile, bring water to the boil in a small sauce pan. Add the carrots and boil until just tender. Remove, rinse under cold water, and drain.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon (20 ml) deep-frying oil in a wok over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chopped red and green peppers and stir-fry briskly until crisp-tender (about 1 - 2 minutes). Remove and set them aside.
5. Heat another 1 tablespoon (20 ml) frying oil in the wok over high heat. When hot, add the cucumbers, carrots, and water chestnuts and stir-fry briskly for 1 minute. Add the peppers, tofu, eggplants, water or stock, sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, and black-bean sauce. Stir the corn flour paste into the vegetable mixture, add the cashew nuts, stir for another 30 seconds and serve hot.

KCB 5.23: Creamed Spinach with Curd Cheese (Palak Panir)

Creamed Spinach with Curd Cheese (Palak Panir)

Spinach with home-made curd cheese and cream is one of North India's favourite vegetable dishes. There are dozens of regional varieties. Here's a simple, quick-cooking version. Serve with Yellow Rice or hot buttered Chapatis.

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

1 teaspoon (5 ml) chopped fresh ginger
1 fresh hot green chili, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) turmeric
1 tablespoon (20 ml) ghee or oil
2 large bunches of spinach, washed, trimmed and finely chopped
4 tablespoons (80 ml) cream
fresh homemade curd cheese (panir) made from 8 cups (2 litres) of milk, cut into 1.25 cm (1/2-inch) cubes
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) garam masala
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt

1. Place the ginger and chili in a food processor or blender and process with a few spoons of cold water. Add the coriander, paprika, cumin, and turmeric and blend to form a smooth paste. Scrape the paste into a bowl.
2. Heat the ghee in a large saucepan over moderate heat. When the ghee is hot, add the spice paste and chopped spinach. Fold in the spinach, combining it with the spices. Cook over full heat until the spinach reduces in volume. Reduce the heat slightly and, stirring often, cook the spinach for another 15 minutes or until it becomes soft.
3. Fold in the cream; add the cubes of panir, the garam masala, and the salt. Cook for an additional 5 minutes and serve hot.

KCB 5.24: Hungarian Vegetarian Ghoulash

Hungarian Vegetarian Ghoulash

Here's a simple but hearty combination of potatoes, tomato, and chunks of fried curd cheese simmered in a tasty gravy flavoured with Hungarian paprika. Serve Hungarian Vegetarian Ghoulash hot with fresh Wholemeal Bread  for a tasty wintertime meal.

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

ghee or oil for deep-frying
fresh homemade curd cheese from 12 cups (3 litres) milk, pressed until very firm and cut into 2.5 cm (1-inch) chunks
3 or 4 whole dried red chilies
1 teaspoon (5 ml) yellow asafoetida
5 medium tomatoes, peeled and quartered
2 table spoons (40 ml) Hugarian sweet paprika
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) salt
8 medium potatoes, cut into 21/2 cm (1-inch) cubes
4 cups (1 litre) warm water

1. Deep-fry the chunks of panir cheese in oil or ghee in a deep-frying pan or wok over moderate heat until they become dark golden brown Remove and drain.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon (20 ml of ghee or oil over moderate heat in a heavy 6-litre/quart saucepan or large wok. When hot, add the red chilies and sprinkle in the asafoetida. Saute momentarily and add the tomato pieces, paprika, salt, potato, and deep-fried curd chunks. Pour in the warm water and raise the heat to full. When the water boils, reduce the heat slightly and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Serve hot.

KCB 5.25: Italian Eggplant and Tomato Appetizer

Italian Eggplant and Tomato Appetizer

In the realm of Italian Cuisine, antipasto (appetizers) come in varied forms, much like the Middle Eastern equivalent, mezze. Savoury breads (crostini), vegetable salads, miniature pizzas (pizzette), and asorted simple vegetable entrees would feature as vegetarian anti-pasto. Here is my version of Anti-pasto di Melanzane, from Naples. Serve it at the outset of a main meal.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 30 minutes
YIELD: enough for 4 to 6 appetizer-sized portions

2 medium eggplants, washed
1 cup (250 ml) oil (not olive oil)
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
3 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 tablespoon (20 ml) tomato paste
1/2 cup (125 ml) water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1/2 teaspoon (1 ml) freshly ground black pepper

1. Cut the eggplants into 1/2 cm (1/4-inch) slices. Cut each slice into strips 6 cm (21/2 inches) long and 1/2 cm (1/4-inch) wide.
2. Heat the oil in a frying pan over moderately high heat. When the oil is hot, add enough eggplant strips to fill the frying pan. Shallow-fry the eggplant until it becomes soft. Remove the eggplant from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain.
3. Heat the olive oil in another frying pan over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, add asafoetida, tomatoes, tomato paste, and water. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes or until the sauce is thick.
4. Add the salt and pepper, mix well, and carefully add the eggplant. Serve either hot or cold.

KCB 5.26: Tomato, Peas and Home-made Curd (Matar Panir)

Tomato, Peas and Home-made Curd (Matar Panir)

This dish originates in Punjab, northern India. However, it is well known all over India, and there are hundreds of variations of the same dish. But the same main ingredients are always there: peas and panir cheese in a spiced, minted tomato sauce. Here's a delicious version that can be served with any meal, anytime. It especially lends itself to special feasts and dinners and can be kept warm for some time, actually improving the flavour of the dish.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 45 minutes
YIELD: enough for 5 or 6

2 tablespoons (40 ml) ghee or oil
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) black mustard seeds
5 teaspoons (25 ml) cumin seeds
3 teaspoons (15 ml) minced fresh ginger
1 or 2 hot green chilies, minced
8 large ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced fine
1 tablespoon (20 ml) ground coriander
1 teaspoon (5 ml) turmeric
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) ground fennel
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) garam masala
1 teaspoon (5 ml) brown sugar
3 tablespoons (60 ml) chopped fresh coriander leaves or parsley
1 tablespoon (20 ml) chopped fresh mint leaves
homemade curd cheese (panir) made from 8 cups (2 litres) milk, pressed until firm and cut into 11/2 cm (1/2-inch) cubes
ghee or oil for deep-frying
2 cups (500 ml) cooked fresh or frozen peas
2 cups (500 ml) whey or water
2 tablespoons (40 ml) tomato paste
11/2 teaspoons (7 ml) salt

1. Heat 2 tablespoons (40 ml) ghee or oil in a 5-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat. Saute the mustard seeds until they crackle. Add the cumin seeds and stir until they darken a few shades. Add the ginger and green chilies and saute momentarily. Add the chopped tomatoes, powdered spices, sugar, and half the herbs. Partially cover and, stirring occasionally, simmer for about 15 minutes or until the tomatoes break down and turn pulpy.
2. Heat the ghee or oil in a pan or wok over moderately high heat. When hot 185C/365F, deep-fry the cubes of panir cheese a batch at a time until golden brown. Remove and drain.
3. Add the peas and water or whey to the tomato and spice mixture. Boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and salt and mix well; then add the panir cubes and simmer for 5 more minutes. Before serving, add the remaining herbs. Serve hot.

KCB 5.27: Okra in Tomato Sauce

Okra in Tomato Sauce

Okra releases a glutinous sap when cut, and sweats when salted, so dry it thoroughly before cooking and add salt after the cooking is completed. Okra is a summer vegetable. When selecting okra look for small pods. If the pointed end snaps off, it is fresh. Serve this dish, which originates in Trinidad, as an entree or side dish.

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes
COOKING TIME: 20 to 30 minutes
YIELD: enough for 6 persons

500 g (a little over 1 pound) young okra pods
3 tablespoons (60 ml) olive oil
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 small green pepper, seeded an chopped into small cubes
1 medium hot green chili, seeded and chopped
3 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) brown sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt

1. Wash the okra, dry them with paper towels, and cut off the stem ends. Heat the oil in a heavy pan and saute the okra until lightly browned all over, (about 10 minutes) Lift out the okra with a slotted spoon, and transfer to a saucepan.
2. Saute the asafoetida in the oil remaining in the pan, add the peppers and chili, and stir-fry until they become soft.
3. Add the tomatoes and sugar and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes or until the tomatoes break down.
4. Pour the tomato mixture over the okra, stir to mix, and cook covered until the okra is tender about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the salt and serve hot.

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