Karma-Free Recipes

RECIPES BY YAMUNA & KURMA

Yamuna: Singer, Artist & Krishna Cook

Kurma dasa: Celebrity Krishna Chef

The recipes on The Happy Jiva website will be updated with new recipes from time to time. The following recipes have been compiled with our gratitude to two outstanding Bhakti yogis: Yamuna (denoted with a "Y") and Kurma dasa (denoted with a "K"). Enjoy!

 

Please note, the recipes below are samples. To access the entire database of recipes along with other exclusive options, just sign up for free to the Jiva Network

Grain Dishes

Vegetable Dishes & Soups

Snacks

Chutneys

Salads

Deserts

Beverages

Piquant Lemon Rice

This light, mildly piquant lemon-flavored rice dish is enlivened with crunchy bits of cashew nuts. The final burst of flavor comes from a fried seasoning called chaunk, made of mustard seeds and split urad dal fried in ghee or sesame oil until the aromatic oils in the seeds are released and the dal turns golden brown. This South Indian delight is simple to make and can be served at any time and at any occasion, from a simple noonday lunch to an elaborate banquet.  

 

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): 5 minutes

Cooking time: 25-35 minutes

Serves: 4

 

1 cup (95 g) basmati or other long-grain white rice

1 2/3-3 cups (400-480 ml) water

1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt

3 table spoons (45 ml) ghee or sesame oil

½ cup (75 g) raw cashew bits or halves

½ table spoon (7 ml) split urad dal, if available

1 teaspoon (5 ml) black mustard seeds

1/3 teaspoon (1.5 ml) turmeric

1/3 cup (80 ml) fresh lemon or lime juice

3 table spoons (45 ml) minced fresh parsley or coarsely chopped coriander

¼ cup (25 g) fresh or dried shredded coconut for garnishing.

 

1.    If basmati rice is used, clean, wash, soak and drain.

2.    Bring the water to a boil in a heavy 1 ½ -quart/liter nonstick saucepan. Stir in the rice, salt and ½ table spoon (7 ml) of the ghee or oil. Cover with a tight-fitting kid. Reduce the heat to very low and gently simmer without stirring for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is fluffy and tender and the water is fully absorbed. Set aside, still covered.

3.    Heat the remaining 2 ½ table spoons (37 ml) of ghee or oil in a small saucepan over moderately low heat until it is hot. Drop in the cashew nuts and stir-fry until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and pour them over the cooked rice. Cover the rice again.

4.    Raise the heat under the saucepan slightly, toss in the urad dal and the mustard seeds and fry until the mustard seeds turn gray and sputter and the dal turns reddish-brown.

5.    Pour the fried spices into the cooked rice and sprinkle with the turmeric, lemon or lime juice and parsley or coriander. Gently fold until well mixed.

6.    Remove from the heat and garnish each serving with a sprinkle of coconut.

piquant rice.jpg
 

Sauteed Rice

This simple way of steaming rice works equally well with either washed and drained basmati or unwashed American long-grain. By frying the rice in butter or ghee for a few minutes, you can keep the grains distinct, unsplit and fluffy. You may, of course, omit the frying step if you prefer simply put all the ingredients except butter or ghee in a saucepan or electric rice cooker and cook as directed. Depending on the type of electric rice cooker, the rice will firm up 5-10 minutes after the red light goes off.

 

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): 5 minutes

Cooking time: 25-35 minutes

Serves: 3 or 4

 

1 cup (95 g) basmati or other long-grain white rice

1 ½ table spoons (22 ml) unsalted butter or ghee

1 2/3 – 2 cups (400-480ml) water

1 teaspoon (5ml) fresh lemon or lime juice

¾ teaspoon (3.5 ml) salt

 

1.    If basmati rice is used, clean, wash, soak and drain.

2.    Heat the butter or ghee in a heavy 1 ½ -quart/liter nonstick saucepan over moderate heat until the butter froths or the ghee is hot. Pour in the rice and gently stir-fry for about 2 minutes.

3.    Add the water, lemon juice and salt, increase the heat to high and quickly bring the water to a full boil.

4.    Immediately reduce the heat to very low, cover with a tight-fitting lid and gently simmer without stirring for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is tender and the water is fully absorbed. Turn the heat off and let the rice sit, covered, for 5 minutes to allow the fragile grains to firm up.

5.    Just before serving, uncover and fluff the piping-hot rice with a fork.

sauteed rice.jpg
 

Sweet Saffron Rice with Currants and Pistachios

This relatively simple sweet rice is made regal by the color and flavor of saffron. The success of the dish depends on the delicate balance of flavors contributed by the rice, saffron and sweetener. Jaggery, light brown sugar, or maple sugar is the best sweetener for this dish. If you use maple syrup or honey, omit 2 table spoons (30 ml) of water. Basmati rice is highly recommended.

 

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): 5 minutes

Cooking time: 25-30 minutes

Serves: 4 or 5

 

1 cup (95 g) basmati or other long-grain white rice

1 ¾ -2 cups (400-480 ml) water

1/3 teaspoon (1.5 ml) high-quality saffron threads

1 ½ -inch (4 cm) piece of cinnamon stick

6 whole cloves

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) salt

½ cup (75 g) crumbled Jaggery, maple sugar or equivalent raw sugar, lightly packed

1 teaspoon (5 ml) cardamom seeds, coarsely crushed

2 table spoons (30 ml) ghee or vegetable oil

3 table spoons (45 ml) silvered or sliced raw pistachios or almonds

3 table spoons (45 ml) raisins or currants

2 table spoons (30 ml) blanched raw pistachios, sliced into thin curls garnishing

 

1.    If basmati rice is used, clean, wash, soak and drain.

2.    Bring the water to a boil in a heavy 1 ½ -quart/liter nonstick saucepan. Place the saffron threads in a small bowl and add 2 ½ table spoons (37 ml) of the boiling water. Allow the threads to soak for 10-15 minutes while cooking the rice.

3.    Stir the rice into the boiling water and add the cinnamon stick, cloves and salt. When the water resumes boiling, reduce the heat to very low, cover with a tight-fitting lid and gently simmer with out stirring for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is tender and fluffy and all of the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let the rice sit, covered, for 5 minutes to allow the fragile grains to firm up.

4.    In the meantime, combine the saffron water, sweetener and cardamom seeds in a small saucepan. Place over moderate heat and stir until the sweetener is dissolved. Lower the heat slightly and simmer for about 1 minute. Pour the syrup into the rice and quickly re-cover.

5.    Heat the ghee or oil in a small pan over moderately low heat until it is hot but not smoking. Fry the nuts and raisins until the nuts turn golden brown and the raisins swell. Pour the nuts, raisins and ghee or oil into the piping-hot rice and gently fluff with a fork to mix. Spoon onto a serving platter and sprinkle with the sliced pistachio nuts.

sweet saffron rice.jpg
 

Herbed Bread Rolls

Ingredients:

Dried yeast – 1 teaspoon

Warm water – about 1¼ cups 

Sugar – 1 teaspoon

Plain unbleached bread flour – 3 cups 

Salt – 1 teaspoon

Oil – 3 teaspoon

Fresh thyme leaves, minced – 1 teaspoon

Fresh oregano leaves, minced – 1 teaspoon

Fresh basil leaves, chopped – 2 teaspoon

Yellow asafetida powder – ½ teaspoon

Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, fine oatmeal or dried herbs for topping

 

Preparation:

1. Combine the yeast, a few teaspoons of warm water, and the sugar in a small bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes, or until the mixture is frothy.

2. Whisk together the flour and salt.

3. Add the oil, herbs and yellow asafetida powder to the frothy yeast mixture.

4. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the yeast mixture. Add three-quarters of the warm water, and mix. Add enough of the remaining water, if required, to make a soft but non-sticky dough. Knead the dough for 5-8 minutes.

5. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for one hour, or until doubled in bulk.

6. Punch down the dough and divide into 18 even-sized pieces. Shape them by rolling them around under cupped hands on a floured board or marble slab, then arrange them fairly close together in a lightly oiled, 25cm (10-inch) quiche pan or round, shallow baking dish. Keep in mind that the rolls will approximately double in size.

7. Allow the rolls to rise again for about 30 minutes. Spray with water and sprinkle with poppy seeds, sesame, fine oatmeal or dried herbs.

8. Pre-heat the oven to 220C/430F and bake the rolls for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped on the base. Serve as described.

herbed bread rolls.jpg
 

Dense And Delicious German Sourdough Bread (Pumpernickel)

Ingredients:

Coarse rye flour – 3 cups 

Coarse wheat flour – 1 3/4 cups 

Coarse barley flour – 1 1/4 cups 

Salt – 2 teaspoon

Powdered fennel seeds – 1/2 teaspoon

Powdered anise seeds – 1/2 teaspoon

Powdered caraway seeds – 1/2 teaspoon

Powdered coriander seeds – 1/2 teaspoon

Treacle – 2 teaspoon

Water, heated to about 65 C/150 F – 600ml 

 

Preparation:

1. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Dissolve the treacle in the warm water and pour the water into the dry mix to form a moist dough. Knead briefly. Press the dough into a 3-litre/quart capacity rectangular bread-baking tin and flatten the top.

2. Cover the bread tin with oiled plastic wrap and leave in a warm place (30 C/85 F) for 16-20 hours. If the temperature is right, the dough will naturally ferment and rise in the tin. (The sour fermented aroma is quite natural.) Remove the plastic wrap and replace with a tight covering of foil.

3. Pre-heat the oven to 107 C/225 F. Fill a large baking pan with boiling water and place at the bottom of the oven. Sit a rack over the pan and place the bread tin on top of the rack. Bake the bread for 5-6 hours or until it feels firm and looks dark.

4. For the final stage of baking, remove the foil and the baking pan of water from the oven, and increase the oven temperature to 175 C/350 F. Bake the bread for another 30 – 60 minutes or until the top of the bread is crusty.

5. Remove the loaf, cool on a wire rack and leave 24 hours before cutting into very thin slices when required.

 

Creamy Mung Dal with Chopped Spinach

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): 10 minutes

Cooking time: 1 ¼ hours or 25 minutes in a pressure cooker

Serves: 5 or 6

 

2/3 cup (145 g) split moong dal, without skins

8 ounces (230 g) fresh spinach, washed, trimmed, patted dry an coarsely chopped, or ½ of a 10-ounce package of chopped frozen spinach, defrosted (140 g)

6 ½ cups (1.5 liters) water

      (5 ½ cups/1.3 liters if pressure-cooked)

1 teaspoon (5 ml) turmeric

½ table spoon (7 ml) ground coriander

½ table spoon (7 ml) scraped, finely shredded or minced fresh ginger root

2 table spoons (30 ml) ghee or vegetable oil

1 ¼ teaspoons (6 ml) salt

1 teaspoon (5 ml) cumin seeds

¼ teaspoon (5 ml) cumin seeds

¼ - ½ teaspoons (1-2 ml) yellow asafetida powder (hing)*

½ table spoon (7 ml) lemon juice

 

*This amount applies only to yellow Cobra brand. Reduce any other asafetida by three-fourths.

 

1.    Sort, wash and drain the split mung beans as explained on page 21. If you are using frozen spinach, defrost it at room temperature, place it in a strainer and press out all excess water.

2.    Place the mung beans, water, turmeric, coriander, ginger root and a dab of ghee or oil in a heavy 3-quart/liter nonstick saucepan. Stirring occasionally, bring to a full boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderately low, cover with a tight-fitting lid and gently boil for 1 hour or until the dal is soft and fully cooked. For pressure cooking, combine the ingredients in a 6-quart/liter pressure cooker, cover and cook for 25 minutes under pressure. Remove from the heat and let the pressure drop by itself.

3.    Off the heat, uncover and add the salt. Beat with a wire whisk or rotary beater until the dal soup is creamy smooth. Add the fresh spinach, cover and boil gently for 5-8 minutes more; or cook frozen spinach for 2-3 minutes.

4.    Heat the ghee or oil in a small saucepan over moderate to moderately high heat. When it is hot, pour in the cumin seeds and fry until they are brown. Add the asafetida and cayenne or paprika and fry for just 1-2 seconds more. Then quickly pour the fried seasonings into the soup. Cover immediately. Let the seasonings soak into the hot dal for 1- 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice, stir and serve.

 

Baby Potatoes with Seasoned Tomato Sauce

 

If you have a garden and can pull up really small marble-sized waxy-red potatoes, you have the perfect choice for this dish –the delicate skins almost float off during Scrubbing. If you use larger new potatoes, red or white, cook them whole and slip off the skins when cool.

 

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15-20 minutes

 

1 ½ pounds (685 g) waxy new Potatoes, no more than 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter

3-4 whole cloves

6-8 whole black peppercorns

2 teaspoons (10 ml) coriander seeds

1 tea spoon (5 ml) cumin seeds

½ teaspoon (2 ml) fennel seeds

1-inch (2.5 cm) piece fresh ginger root,

Peeled and coarsely chopped

2-3 hot green chilies (or as desired) 3

3 table spoons (45 ml) coarsely chopped

Fresh coriander leaves or parsley

2-3 table spoons (30-60 ml) water

4 table spoons (60 ml) ghee, or 2 table spoons (30 ml) each vegetable oil and melted unsalted butter

1 teaspoon (5 ml) black mustard seeds

6-8 curry leaves, preferably fresh

1 cup (240 ml) tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped (about ¾ pound/340 g)

Scant ½ teaspoon (2 ml) turmeric

1 teaspoon (5 ml) garam masala

½ teaspoon (2 ml) chat masala

½ table spoon (7 ml) salt

 

1.    Boil the potatoes in their skins just until fork tender. Cool and peel if necessary and cut into ½ inch (1.5 cm) pieces.

2.    Place the cloves, peppercorns, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds in a mortar or spice mill and grind to a powder. Transfer to a blender, add the chinger, chilies, 1 table spoon (15 ml) of the fresh herb and the water, and blend until smooth.

Heat the ghee or oil in a heavy 12-inch (30 cm) nonstick frying pan over moderately high heat. When it is hot but not smoking, add the black mustard seeds and fry until they pop and turn gray. (If you are using oil, add the butter now.) Drop in the curry leaves and in seconds follow with the tomatoes and turmeric. Reduce the heat and, stirring now and then, cook until the juices cook off and the ghee separates from the tomatoes. Add the potatoes, garam masala, chat masala and salt, gently stir, and cook, covered, until the potatoes are hot. (You may need to add sprinkles of water if you do not use a nonstick pan) Sprinkle with the remaining fresh herb before serve

 

Curried Cauliflower and Potatoes

Potato spears and cauliflower flowerets are browned in spices over strong heat to bring out their rich, deep flavors and are then gently cooked to tenderness with tomatoes. Neither dry nor wet, this dish has a succulent, moist texture that is somewhere in between. You can vary the flavor with tomatoes, using green, Italian plum or ripe reds.

 

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): 5 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 5 or 6

2 hot green chillies, stemmed, seeded and cut lengthwise into long slivers (or as desired)

½ -inch (1.5 cm) piece of scraped fresh ginger root, cut into thin julienne

1 teaspoon (5 ml) cumin seeds

½ teaspoon (2 ml) black mustard seeds

4 table spoons (60 ml) ghee or a mixture or vegetable oil and unsalted butter

3 medium-sized potatoes (about 1 pound/455 g), peeled and cut into spears

2 ½ * ½ *1/2 inches (6.5 * 1.5 * 1.5 cm) long

1 medium–sized cauliflower (about 2 pounds/1 kg), trimmed, cored and cut into flowerets 2 ½ * ½ *1/2 inches (6.5 * 1.5 * 1.5 cm) long

2 medium-sized red or green tomatoes (about ½ pound/230 g), quartered

½ teaspoon (2 ml) turmeric

2 teaspoons (10 ml) ground coriander

½ teaspoons (2 ml) garam masala

1 teaspoon (5 ml) Jaggery or brown sugar

1 ¼ teaspoons (6 ml) salt

3 table spoons (45 ml) coarsely chopped fresh coriander or minced parsley lime or lemon wedges (optional)

 

Combine the chillies, ginger, cumin seeds and mustard seeds in a small bowl. Heat the ghee or oil-butter mixture in a large nonstick saucepan over moderately high heat. When it is hot but smoking, pour in the combined seasonings and fry until the mustard seeds turn grey, sputter and pop. Drop in the potatoes and cauliflower and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes or until the vegetables pick up a few brown spots.

Add the tomatoes, turmeric, coriander, garam masala, sweetener, salt and half of the fresh herb. Stir well, cover and gently cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. You may want to sprinkle in a few table spoons (45 ml) of water if the vegetables stick to the bottom of the pan, but stir gently to avoid mashing or breaking them. Serve with the remaining fresh herb and garnish with lemon or lime wedges, if desired.

 

Nutritious Whole Grain, Split Pea and Vegetable Soup

This is a quick pressure-cooker soup that is warming, nutritious and very welcome on cold winter days. You can vary this recipe by substituting Parsnips, green beans, zucchini or corn for any of the suggested vegetables. A nice stew can be obtained by adding large, even-sized pieces of potato or winter squash. (You will need to increase the amount of water a bit when cooking these starchy vegetables). Try your own favourite combinations according to the season and time of day. You can get whole grains and split peas at most health food stores and co-ops, so the next time you are out shopping pick up a pound (455 g) each of whole barley, wheat, rye, brown rice, millet and split peas. At the rate of only 1-2 table spoons (15-30 ml) per pot of soup, you will be able to stretch these wholesome ingredients over many meals. This soup is a meal in itself, and it is also goes especially well with buttered steamed Rice, a bowl of home mate Yogurt and a tossed green salad.

 

Grain and dal soaking time: 2 hours

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): 5 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes in a pressure cooker

Serves: 6 to 8

 

2 table spoons (30 ml) each barley, wheat, rye, brown rice, wild rice, millet and split peas

7 cups (1.75 liters) water

1 medium-sized carrot scraped and cut into ¼ -inch (6 mm) rounds.

1 medium-sized celery stalk and leaves, sliced

1 large firm ripe tomato, cut into 8 pieces a generous handful of spinach (about 1 ounce/30 g), washed, dried, stemmed and coarsely chopped

½ table spoon (7 ml) scraped, finely shredded or minced fresh ginger root

1 teaspoon (5 ml) minced seeded hot green chili (or as desired)

1 teaspoon (5 ml) turmeric

½ table spoon (7 ml) ground coriander

1 ½ teaspoons (7 ml) salt

2 table spoons (30 ml) minced fresh parsley or coarsely chopped coriander

4 table spoons (60 ml) ghee or vegetable oil

1 teaspoon (5 ml) cumin seeds.

 

1. Mix together the grains and split peas and soak in hot water for 2 hours

2. Combine them with the remaining ingredients except the salt, parsley or coriander, 2 table spoons (30 ml) of the ghee or vegetable oil and the cumin seeds in a 6-quart/liter pressure cooker. Cover and cook under pressure for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the pressure to drop. Uncover and stir in the salt and herb.

3. Heat the remaining 2 table spoons (30 ml) of ghee or vegetable oil over moderate heat in a small saucepan. When it is hot, add the cumin seeds and fry until they are brown. Pour them into the soup and cover immediately. Allow the seasonings to soak into the hot dal for 1-2 minutes. Stir and serve.

 

Hearty Mung Bean and Tomato Soup

 

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes

COOKING TIME: 45 minutes-1 hour

YIELD: enough for 4 to 6 persons

 

1 cup whole green mung beans

7¼ cups water

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

½ teaspoon fresh green chili, minced

2 firm, ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons minced chopped parsley

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1½ teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons mild-tasting olive oil

1½ teaspoons cumin seeds

¼ teaspoon yellow asafetida powder

 

Wash and drain the mung beans.

 

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 tight-fitting lid and boil gently for up to 1 hour or until the beans become soft.

 

Add the tomatoes, parsley, sugar, salt, and lemon juice. Continue to simmer for another 5 minutes.

 

Heat the olive oil in a small pan until slightly smoking; add the cumin seeds and sauté until they crackle and turn golden brown. Sauté the asafetida momentarily; then add the spices to the soup. Allow the seasonings to soak into the soup for 1-2 minutes. Serve hot.

mung dahl tomato soup.jpg
 

Feta & Potato Spring Rolls with Green Pea Chutney

 

Ingredients:

Potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks – 600g (1¼ pounds) 

Butter – 4 tablespoon 

Feta cheese, cut into tiny cubes – 200g (7 ounces)  

Salt, depending on the saltiness of the feta – ½-1 teaspoon 

Freshly ground black pepper – 1 teaspoon 

Fresh mint, coriander or parsley, chopped – 1-2 tablespoon 

Spring roll wrappers – 16  

Cornflour (cornstarch), made into a paste with a little cold water – 1 teaspoon 

Oil for deep-frying, 

Green pea chutney to serve (recipe follows). 

 

For Green Pea Chutney:

Almonds, pan toasted until golden, and chopped – 1/3 cup  

Frozen peas, defrosted – 1 cup  

Grated fresh ginger – 1 teaspoon 

Water – 2-3 tablespoon 

Fresh lime juice – 2 teaspoon 

Fresh coriander leaves – ¼ cup  

Salt – 1 teaspoon 

Freshly ground pepper – ½ teaspoon 

 

Preparation:

1. Boil the potatoes in lightly salted water until soft. Mash them thoroughly with the butter, and fold in the feta, salt, pepper and herbs.

2. Divide the mixture into 16, and roll each portion into a log about 12cm (4½ inches) long. Place a log near the corner of a spring roll sheet.

3. Roll the sheet over the filling, tuck in the sides, and roll up tightly. Seal the final corner with a dab of paste. Continue filling the remaining spring rolls. Heat the oil over moderate heat until fairly hot.

4. Deep-fry the spring rolls, turning once, for about 45 seconds, or until lightly browned, and drain on paper towels.

5. Serve hot or warm with the green pea chutney.

 

For Green Pea Chutney:

1. Pulse the toasted almonds in a food processor until finely minced.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. If you prefer a looser consistency, add a little more water and pulse again.

3. Serve with the spring rolls. Makes about 1¼ cups.

spring roll pea chutney.jpg
 

Savory Chickpeas in Tangy Tomato Glaze

Soaking time: 8 hours or overnight

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): 10 minutes

Cooking time: 2-3 hours or 30-40 minutes in a pressure cooker

Serves: 6

 

1 ¼ cups (235 g) dried chickpeas

5 ½ cups (1.3 liters) water (4 cups/1 liter if pressure-cooked)

5 tablespoons (75 ml) ghee or peanut oil

1 ½ teaspoons (7 ml) scraped, minced fresh ginger root

1 ½ teaspoons (7 ml) minced hot green chili (or as desired)

1 ½ teaspoon (7 ml) cumin seeds.

½ teaspoon (2 ml) black mustard seeds

8 -12 small curry leaves, preferably fresh

5 medium-sized tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced

1 teaspoon (5 ml) turmeric

1 teaspoon (5 ml) chat masala or 2 teaspoons (10 ml) fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon (5 ml) garam masala

¼ cup (60 ml) minced fresh parsley or coarsely chopped coriander leaves

1 ¼ teaspoons (6 ml) salt

6 lemons or lime twists for garnishing.

 

1.    Place the chickpeas in a bowl, add 5 ½ cups (1.3 liters) of water and soak for at least 8 hours or overnight at room temperature.

2.    Place the chickpeas and their soaking liquid in a heavy 3-4-quart/liter saucepan, add a dab of ghee or oil and bring to a full boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderately low, cover with a tight-fitting lid and gently boil for 2-3 hours or until the chickpeas are butter-soft but not broken down. For pressure cooking, combine the ingredients in a 6-quart/liter pressure cooker, cover and cook under pressure for 30 minutes. Remove the lid. Drain the chickpeas, saving the cooking liquid.

3.    Heat 3 table spoons (45 ml) of ghee or oil in a heavy 3-quart/liter nonstick saucepan over moderate to moderately high heat. When it is hot, stir in the ginger root, green chili, cumin seeds and black mustard seeds. Fry until the cumin seeds turn brown.

4.    Drop in the curry leaves, and just 1-2 seconds later stir in the tomatoes. Add the turmeric, chat masala, garam masala, and half of the minced herb. Stir-fry over moderate heat, adding sprinkles of water when necessary, for 3-5 minutes or until the ghee or oil separates from the sauce and the texture is smooth and even.

5.    Add the chickpeas and ¼ cup (60 ml) of the saved cooking liquid. Reduce the heat to low, cover and gently simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If necessary, add small quantities of the cooking water to keep the mixture from sticking to the saucepan.

6.    Remove from the heat and add the salt, the remaining ghee or oil and the remaining minced herb. Garnish each portion with a twist of lemon or lime.

chickpeas tomato glaze.jpg
 

Spiced Green Beans

If you are a gardener, try growing Thompson and Morgan’s thin, long asparagus beans; they most resemble the type used in India. Beans are sweet and tender only when harvested immature and full of sugar. They are best cooked within hours after being picked, as are peas. If you are supermarket shopping, try to get locally grown, vividly green beans that break with a snap. Some strains of beans still have strings down the side of the pods, which should be pulled off.

 

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4 or 5

 

4 table spoons (60 ml) ghee or a mixture of light oil and unsalted butter

2 teaspoons (10 ml) black mustard seeds

1 teaspoon (5 ml) cumin seeds

¼ - ½ teaspoon (1-2 ml) crushed dried chilies

1 pound (455 g) green beans, trimmed and cut into ¼-inch (6 mm) pieces

½ cup (120 ml) water

1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground coriander

1 teaspoons (5 ml) salt

1 teaspoon (5 ml) sugar

 

1.    Heat the ghee or oil-butter mixture in a large heavy-bottomed frying pan over moderate heat. When it is hot but not smoking, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and chilies and fry until the cumin seeds darken and the mustard seeds pop and turn gray. Add the beans and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the water, cover tightly and cook for 10-12 minutes or until the beans are tender-crisp.

2.    Uncover, raise the heat and add the remaining ingredients. Raise the heat and boil until the water evaporates and the beans sizzle in the seasoned ghee or oil.

 

Batter-Coated Mashed Potato Balls

 

This finger food is popular as the focal point of a late afternoon Tiffin or as the savory part of a late night supper. The ginger-flavored mashed potatoes are dipped in an herbed chickpea flour batter and deep-fried into golden globes. One note of caution: be sure to thoroughly coat the balls with batter; expressed areas of mashed potatoes tend to splatter and disintegrate in the hot oil.

 

Preparation and frying time (after assembling ingredients): about ½ hour

Serves: 6

Potato Balls

 

2 cups (480 ml) warm mashed potatoes

2 table spoons (30 ml) finely chopped toasted almonds, peanuts or cashews

½ teaspoon (2 ml) amchoor or ½ table spoon (7 ml) lemon juice

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) cayenne pepper or paprika

2 table spoons (30 ml) scraped, finely shredded or minced fresh ginger root

½ teaspoon (2 ml) salt

2 table spoons (30 ml) whole wheat flour

 

Batter:

 

1 ¼ cups (125 g) sifted chickpea flour (sifted before measuring)

1 table spoon (15 ml) arrowroot

½ teaspoon (2 ml) each baking powder, salt, turmeric,

      garam masala and ground coriander

 3 table spoons (45 ml) finely chopped fresh coriander

9 table spoons (135 ml) cold water or enough

    to make a medium-consistency batter

ghee or vegetable oil for deep-frying

 

1.    Mix the mashed potatoes with the remaining potato-ball ingredients and roll into 16 balls.

2.    Place the flour, arrowroot, baking powder, salt, turmeric, garam masala, ground coriander and fresh coriander in a mixing bowl. Working with a wire whisk, make a smooth batter, adding 7 table spoons (105 ml) of water initially and then 2 more table spoons (30 ml) or enough to make a smooth, slightly thick, crepe-like batter.

3.    Heat 2 ½ - 3 inches (6.5-7.5 cm) of ghee or vegetable oil in a karai, wok or deep frying pan over moderately high heat until it reaches 350 F (180 C). Dip 5 or 6 balls in the batter and, one at a time, lift out with two fingers. Let the excess batter drip back into the bowl and, with a twist of the wrist, carefully slip the ball into the hot oil. Fry without crowding the balls (crowding makes them slip the ball into the hot oil. Fry without crowding the balls (crowding makes them stick together and makes the oil temperature drop). Cook, turning gently after they float to the surface, until golden brown or for about 4-5 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Keep warm in a 250 F (120 C) oven until all the bondas are fried, or serve immediately.

potato balls.jpg
 

Spicy Nuts

These are best served warm and are a popular snack with drop-in guests. Serve with hot or cold beverages.

 

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): a few minutes

Makes: 2 cups (480 ml)

 

2 cups (275 g) freshly fried Nut Medley

½ teaspoon (2 ml) salt

1 teaspoon (5 ml) garam masala

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon (2 ml) amchoor powder

1 tablespoon (15 ml) confectioners’ sugar (optional)

 

Toss the nuts with the salt, spices and sugar, if desired. Keep warm in a 200 F (95 C) oven until serving. Can be kept for 2-3 weeks. To rewarm, place in a 250 F (120 C) oven for 7-8 minutes.

spicy nuts.jpg
 

Nut and Raisin Nibbler

You can vary the formula –cashews and currants, peanuts and golden raisins, almonds and raisins –in this nutritious snack. 

 

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): a few minutes

Serves: 10

 

1 teaspoon (5 ml) fine salt

½ tablespoon (7 ml) ground coriander

2 teaspoons (10 ml) ground cumin

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) each freshly ground pepper or grated

    Nutmeg, ground cardamom, ground cinnamon and cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon (0.5 ml) ground cloves

2 tablespoons (30 ml) finely crushed rock candy or date sugar

2 cups (275 g) freshly fried Nut Medley

½ cup (65 g) currants or raisins

 

Combine the salt, spices and sweetener in a small dish and blend well. Sprinkle half of the seasoning on the hot nuts and half on the currants or raisins and toss separately. Mix together before serving.

 

Sesame-Nut Nibbler​

 

Preparation and cooking time (after assembling ingredients): 30 minutes

Makes: about 1 ¼ pounds (570 g)

 

1 cup (160 g) sesame seeds

1 cup (about 4 ounces/115 g) coarsely chopped peanuts or

     mixed nuts

1 ½ cups (360 ml) maple syrup

1 tablespoon (15 ml) strained fresh lemon juice

 

1.    Place the sesame seeds and nuts in a heavy frying pan over heat and, stirring constantly, cook for about 10 minutes or until toasted.

2.    Lightly oil the inside of a heavy-bottomed 3-quart/liter saucepan. Combine the sesame-nut mixture, maple syrup and lemon juice in the pan, Place over moderate heat and bring to a boil. Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, boil until the temperature reaches 280 F (140 C).

3.    Immediately pour the mixture onto an oiled marble slab or into a jelly roll pan. Place a piece of buttered parchment or waxed paper over the candy and, using a rolling pin, roll the mixture into a layer about ¼ inch (6 mm) thick. While the candy is still warm, remove the paper and, using a sharp knife, cut into 2*4-inch (5*10 cm) bars. When cool, separate the pieces, wrap individually, and store in airtight containers.

 

Fresh Coconut and Mint Chutney

Most people become addicts with their first taste of coconut chutney, and several south Indian dishes are never served without it. In this variation, fresh mint lends alternatively to fresh. It is available at some supermarkets and many Hispanic grocery stores.

 

Preparation time (after ingredients): 15 minutes

Makes: about 1 ¼ cups (300 ml)

 

1-2 hot jalapeño chilies, seeded and chopped

1/2 –inch (1.5 cm) scraped fresh ginger root, sliced

10 whole almonds or cashews, blanched

1/3 cup (80 ml) water

2 table spoons (30 ml) lemon or lime juice

1 table spoon (15 ml) raw sugar or maple syrup

1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt

1/3 cup (80 ml) trimmed fresh mint, lightly packed

1 cup (85 g) grated fresh or defrosted (140 g) frozen coconut, lightly packed

 

 Fit a food processor with the metal blade, or use a blender. With the machine running, drop in the chilies and ginger and process until minced. Add the nuts, pulse four or five times, then process until ground. Add the water, juice, sweetener, salt and mint, and process until smooth. Stop the machine, add the coconut, and continue to process until the chutney is creamy and smooth. (For a thinner consistency, add plain yogurt or milk as desired).  Serve at room temperature or chilled. Well covered and refrigerated, the chutney can be kept for 1-2 days.

coconut mint chutney.jpg
 

Fresh Pineapple and Raisin Chutney

 

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): about 1 hour

Makes: about 2cups (480 ml)

 

3 table spoons (45 ml) ghee

1-2 whole dried red chilies

½ table spoon (7 ml) cumin seeds

½ table spoon (7 ml) coriander seeds

1 large ripe pineapple (about 2 ½ pounds/1.5 kg) peeled, quarted, cored, and cut into pieces ¾ * ¼ * ¼ inch (2 cm * 6 mm * 6 mm); reserve the juice

½ teaspoon (2 ml) cardamom seeds, slightly crushed

½ teaspoon (2 ml) garam masala or ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) each ground cloves and cinnamon

2/3 cup (100 g) maple sugar, brown or jaggery

1/3 cup (50 g) raisins or currants

 

1.    Heat the ghee in a 2-quart/liter heavy-bottomed pan (preferably nonstick) over moderate heat until it is hot but not smoking. Add the red chilies, cumin seeds and coriander seeds and fry until they darken a few shades. Carefully add the pineapple and its juice (they tend to splatter), cardamom seeds and garam masala. Stirring now and then, gently boil over moderate to moderately low heat until the fruit is tender and the juice has cooked off. Toward the end, stir constantly to keep the fruit from scorching in the nearly dry pan.

2.    Add the sweetener and raisins or currants, reduce the heat slightly and cook, stirring frequently, until the chutney is glazed and thick. Serve at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate for 3-4 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

 

Simple Tomato Chutney

 

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): about 25 minutes

Makes: about 1 cups (240 ml)

 

2 table spoons (30 ml) ghee

1-2 whole dried red chilies

1 teaspoon (5 ml) cumin seeds

1-inch (2.5 cm) piece of cinnamon stick

1 2/3 cups (about 1 ¼ pounds/570 g) coarsely chopped ripe tomatoes

3 table spoons (45 ml) maple sugar, date sugar or jaggery

½ teaspoon (2 ml) salt

 

           Heat the ghee in a large frying pan over moderate heat. When it is hot but not smoking, add the chilies, cumin seeds and cinnamon stick, and fry until the cumin seeds turn brown. Carefully add the tomatoes, sweetener and salt, and stir the sizzling ingredients for 10-15 minutes until the chutneys is fairly dry. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled. It can be kept, tightly covered and refrigerated, for 2-3 days.

       Note: if you make this dish in quantity, cook it over moderately low heat, not moderate. The cooking time increases considerably because of the increased juice in the larger quantity of tomatoes.

tomato chutney.jpg
 

Apple Salad

 

Preparation and chilling time (after assembling ingredients): 30 minutes

Serves: 6

 

¼ cup (60 ml) plain yogurt or sour cream

2 table spoons (30 ml) chopped fresh mint

3 table spoons (45 ml) ground blanched almonds

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) cardamom seeds, crushed

2 table spoons (30 ml) orange or lemon juice

3 medium-sized apples, cored and diced

½ cup (120 ml) seedless grapes, halved


 

Blend the yogurt or sour cream, mint, almonds, cardamom seeds and orange or lemon juice in a mixing bowl. Fold in the apples and grapes, cover, and chill for at least ½ hour before serving.

 

Shredded Radish, Coconut and Carrot Salad

Try this dish when you have leftover coconut on hand, or if you have frozen shredded coconut. In large cities, frozen shredded coconut is sold in 1-pound (455 g) bags at many Cuban and Spanish grocery stores, and for occasional use it is a convenient alternative. Use any fresh radish –little round pinks as a vivid color contrast to the carrots, for example.

 

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): 10 minutes

Serves: 6

 

½ cup (120 ml) shredded radishes

1/3 cup (35 g) shredded fresh coconut

1/3 cup (80 ml) shredded scraped carrots

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) salt

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) paprika or cayenne pepper

2 table spoons (30 ml) chopped fresh coriander or parsley

1 ½ table spoons (22 ml) ghee or avocado oil

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) ajwain seeds or celery seeds

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) fennel seeds

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) cumin seeds

 

1.    Combine the radishes, coconut and carrots in a strainer and press out the excess liquid. Place them in a bowl and add the salt, paprika or cayenne and fresh herbs.

2.    Heat the ghee or oil in a saucepan over moderate heat. When it is hot but not smoking, add the ajwain, fennel and cumin seeds and fry until they darken a few shades. Pour the seasoning into the salad and toss well

shredded radish salad.jpg
 

Spiced Chickpea Salad with Spinach

As an alternative to spinach, try red or green Swiss chard leaves-they are delicious. Because chard is not as tender as spinach, blanch or steam it for a minute or two before assembling the salad.

 

Soaking time: 8 hours or overnight

Cooking time: (after assembling ingredients): about 2 hours

Serves: 6

 

1 ½ cups (290 g) chickpeas, soaked in water

    8 hours or overnight, then drained

1 teaspoon (5 ml) black mustard seeds

½ teaspoon (2 ml) celery seeds

4 table spoons (60 ml) lemon juice

6 table spoons (90 ml) olive or nut oil

Scant ½ teaspoon (2 ml) cayenne pepper or paprika

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafetida powder (hing)*

2 table spoons (30 ml) tomato paste

2 table spoons (30 ml) maple syrup or honey

½ teaspoon (2 ml) salt

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) freshly ground pepper

1 large ripe tomato, diced

1 small cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded and diced

½ of a yellow bell pepper, seeded, and diced

½ pound (230 g) fresh spinach, washed, trimmed, coarsely chopped and patted dry

 

*This amount applies only to yellow Cobra brand. Reduce any other asafetida by three-fourths.

 

1.    Place the chickpeas in a heavy saucepan with 4 cups (1 liter) of water and simmer over low heat for 1 ½ -2 hours or just until tender. Keep an eye on the chickpeas during the last ½ hour to prevent them from overcooking. Drain and let cool.

2.    Crush the mustard seeds and celery seeds with a mortar and pestel. Place them in a salad bowl with the lemon juice, oil, cayenne or paprika, asafetida, tomato paste, sweetener, salt and pepper, and beat with a fork or wire whisk until emulsified. Add the chickpeas, tomato, cucumber and bell pepper. Gently toss, cover and chill for 2-4 hours. Thirty minutes before serving, remove the salad from the refrigerator. Add the spinach, toss, and bring back to room temperature.

spiced chickpea spinach salad.jpg
 

Quinoa Tabouli Salad

Preparation and cooking time: about 35 minutes

Makes enough for 6 persons

 

1¾ cups quinoa, about 340 grams

3½ cups water

2 teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon yellow asafetida powder

½ cup fresh lemon juice

¼ cup olive oil

½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves,

¾ cup finely diced cucumbers

½ cup finely diced tomatoes

 

Rinse the quinoa in a large, fine sieve under cold running water until the water runs clear. Drain the quinoa well.

 

Place the water and one teaspoon salt in a heavy 2-litre saucepan and bring it to the boil over moderate heat. Add the quinoa, return to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for ten to fifteen minutes, or until the grains are translucent and fully cooked, and the quinoa’s spiral-shaped germ ring has separated.

 

Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside, covered, for 10 minutes to allow the quinoa to firm up.

 

Spoon out the quinoa and spread it on a flat dish to fully cool. Then combine it with the yellow asafetida powder, the lemon juice and olive oil, the remaining salt, black pepper, parsley, and mint in a large bowl.

 

Add the cucumber and tomatoes, and toss to combine all the ingredients.

 

Serve chilled.

tabouli salad.jpg
 

Sweet Potato Salad in Maple-Lemon Vinaigrette

You can prepare this salad up to 8 hours before serving. Though it is light and healthy, it is also substantial and filling, perfect as a fall or winter salad. The maple-lemon dressing is barely sweet, pleasantly warmed by candied ginger.

 

Cooking time: about 45 minutes

Preparation and marinating time (after assembling ingredients): about 1 hour

Serves: 6

 

6 medium-sized sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds/1kg), washed but not peeled

4 table spoons (60 ml) maple syrup or honey

3 table spoons (45 ml) orange or tangerine juice

3 table spoons (45 ml) lemon or lemon juice

¾ teaspoon (3.5 ml) salt

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) freshly ground black pepper or 1/8 teaspoon (0.5 ml) cayenne pepper

½ cup (120 ml) olive oil, or 2 table spoons (30 ml) almond oil and 6 table spoons (90 ml) sunflower oil

1/3 cup (80 ml) finely chopped fresh coriander or parsley

2 table spoons (30 ml) chopped candied or stem ginger

3 medium-sized tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 –inch (1.5 cm) cubes

 

1.    Prick the potatoes with a fork in 2 or 4 places, then wrap in aluminum foil. Bake in a preheated 400 F (205 C) oven for about 45 minutes or just until crushably soft. Cool, peel, cut into ½-inch (1.5 cm) cubes and places them in a large salad bowl. Alternatively, peel the potatoes, steam them, let them cool, and cube them.

2.    Combine the sweetener, juices, salt, cayenne or black pepper, oil, fresh herbs and ginger in a jar, cover and shake until emulsified. Pour the dressing over the potatoes, toss gently, cover and set aside, refrigerated, for 1-8 hours.

3.    Before serving, add the tomatoes, gently toss and serve on a bed of mixed greens.

 

Coconut and Cream Cheese Simply Wonderfuls

This mock milk fudge takes only minutes to assemble. I find homemade yogurt cheese a pleasant alternative to cream cheese because it has fewer calories and adds its own distinctive flavor.

 

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): 10 minutes

Makes: 24 peras

 

¼ cup (60 ml) unsalted butter, at room temperature

¼ cup (60 ml) neuchatel or cream cheese at room temperature,

         or fresh yogurt cheese

¼ cup (60 ml) frozen apple concentrate, thawed

½ cup (45 g) toasted grated coconut

1 1/3 cups (165 g) dry milk powder, or as needed

generous ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) freshly ground nutmeg

 

     Cream the butter, cheese and apple concentrate in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the coconut and blend well. With your hands, work in powdered milk until it forms a medium-stiff dough. Wash and dry your hands, then roll the fondant into smooth balls and place them in paper candy cases. Sprinkle with ground nutmeg. Keep refrigerated, in a well sealed container, for up to 4 days.

 

Quick Cherry Cheesecake

 

This delectable and good-looking cheesecake requires no baking. It features a biscuit crumb base and a filling of cream cheese folded with plump sour cherries.

 

Preparation & cooking time: 20 minutes

Cheesecake chilling time: at least 3 hours

Makes: one 20cm (8-inch) cheesecake

 

180g (6 ounces) fairly plain sweet biscuits

100g (4 ounces) butter, chopped

1 teaspoon bitter almond extract, optional

one 400g (14-ounce) tin sweetened condensed milk

½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

250g (9 ounces) cream cheese, chopped

1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)

1¼ cups sour cherries in syrup, drained well

¼ cup sour cherries, plus ½ cup syrup reserved for topping

 

Prepare the base: Process the biscuits in a food processor until a fine powder. Drop in the butter and the optional bitter almond extract. Process until the mixture is fully blended. Remove the mixture and press it evenly into the base and up the sides of a pre-buttered 20cm (8-inch) fluted pie tin.

 

Prepare the filling: Add the condensed milk, lemon juice, vanilla and cream cheese to the food processor and blend until smooth. Remove the mix to a bowl. Fold in the 1¼ cups drained sour cherries. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust.

 

Prepare the topping: Combine the cornflour (cornstarch) with a couple of teaspoons cherry syrup to make a runny paste. Combine with the remaining syrup and the reserved sour cherries in a small saucepan, and stirring, bring the mixture to a boil over moderate heat. When the mixture thickens, quickly pour it over the top of the cheesecake and spread it as desired.

 

Chill the cheesecake for at least 3 hours before removing from its base.

 

Serve: The cheesecake is at its best served the next day.

 

Nutty Farina Halva with Sliced Carrots

Supermarket farina replaces semolina in this halva. This enriched wheat cereal is available in most supermarkets in three types: instant, quick-cooking, and regular. For convenience, you can use one of the two types: pre-toasted Malt-O-Meal farina or cream-of-wheat brand quick-cooking farina. For additional fiber, nutrition, texture and flavor, a mélange of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, bran and wheat germ can be added. If you do not have all these items, replace the missing ones with substitutes. For example, you could use granola, instead of bran or wheat germ. This dish is a power-packed way to warm up an icy winter morning up an icy winter morning, or celebrate a fireside serving.

 

Preparation and cooking (after assembling ingredients): 15-20 minutes

Serves: 8

 

1 cup (240 ml) barley or rice syrup

1 ½ cups (360 ml) water

2-inch (5 cm) piece of cinnamon stick

4-5 cloves

2 medium-sized carrots, scraped and thinly sliced

½ cup (120 ml) unsalted butter or ghee

1 cup (185 g) Malt-O-Meal brand pre-toasted farina or

  Quick-cooking farina, dry-roasted over low heat for 10 minutes

2 table spoons (30 ml) each chopped walnuts, cashews and almonds

2 tablespoons (30 ml) each sesame seeds and sunflower seeds

3 tablespoons (45 ml) each bran flakes and wheat germ

2 tablespoons (30 ml) each currants, golden raisins and grated coconut

 

1.    Place the sweetener, water, cinnamon, cloves and carrots in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Stirring occasionally, bring to a boil. Gently boil for about 5 minutes, or until the carrots are just tender. Remove from the heat and set aside, covered.

2.    Place the butter or ghee in a large saucepan over moderate heat. When it is hot but no smoking, stir in farina, nuts, seeds, bran and wheat germ. Stir-fry for a few minutes, then remove the pan from the heat. Stirring constantly, pour the carrots and syrup into the hot grains. At first the grains may sputter but will quickly cease as the liquid is absorbed. Place the pan over low heat and simmer, stirring often, for about 2 minutes. Stir in the dried fruits and coconut. Turn off the heat, cover and let the pan rest undisturbed for 2-3 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a spoon. (If the halva is dry, add water. If it is still liquid, place over heat and cook until thickened). Serve hot.

nutty farina halva.jpg
 

Silver-coated Orange-scented Cream Cheese Fudge (Kamala Sandesh)

 

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: about 30 minutes

YIELD: 16 - 20 pieces

 

Fresh homemade curd cheese from 2½ kg whole milk (see making homemade curd cheese recipe)

at least ½ cup caster sugar or icing sugar

one 7.5 cm strip of orange rind

edible pure silver or gold foil (optional)

 

Knead and bray the curd cheese on a clean surface until it is silky smooth and creamy. Gather into one lump and calculate its volume with measuring cups. Measure one-quarter that volume of sugar. Combine the cheese, sugar, and lemon rind and again briefly knead and bray the cheese.

 

Place a heavy-bottomed pan on the lowest possible heat and, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon, cook the cheese for 10 to 15 minutes or until its surface becomes glossy and its texture slightly thickens.

 

Scrape the sandesh from the pan and remove the orange rind. Press the sandesh onto a lightly buttered tray into a flat 1¼cm thick cake. Cool to room temperature. Cut the cake into 2½ cm squares. When completely cool, store in an airtight container in a single layer. The sandesh can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.

 

Creamy, Saffron-Infused Condensed Yogurt Dessert (Shrikhand)​
 

PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes

YOGURT DRAINING TIME: at least 12-16 hours, better after 1-2 days

YIELD: enough for 8-12 persons
 

1 kg whole-milk yogurt

¼ teaspoon ground saffron threads

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

1 tablespoon rosewater

2 tablespoons blanched raw slivered pistachio nuts

½ cup powdered sugar

 

Drape a triple thickness of cheesecloth in a colander.

 

Spoon in the yogurt, gather up the corners of the cloth, tie it into a bundle, and hang it, either in the refrigerator or in a cool spot for at least 12 to 16 hours. Catch the drips in a bowl. After the required hanging time, the residue of yogurt cheese should have reduced to half the original quantity.

 

Combine the ground saffron threads with the rosewater for 5 or 10 minutes to allow the saffron to steep and release it’s flavour and colour.

 

Transfer the cheese to a bowl, add the ground saffron and rosewater infusion, ground cardamom seeds, pistachio nuts and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, and serve in small bowls.

 

Alternatively, do not add the nuts to the mixture, pipe out the dessert from a piping bag with a fairly large nozzle, and sprinkle the pistachio nuts on top.

shrikand.jpg
 

Semolina Halva with Golden Raisins

A popular item on a wedding or banquet menu, I have seen this halva made in enormous bowl-shaped iron pans with two or three pairs steadily stirring the semolina while it plumps to tenderness. With stoves and pans large enough for the job, this dessert can be made from start to finish in one hour for 300 people. It is best served hot, or at least warm; as the butter cools to room temperature, the consistency firms up and loses its fluffy texture. Served as a dessert, it can be dressed up with a dollop of whipped cream or even a spoonful of custard.

 

Preparation and cooking time (after assembling ingredients): about 25 minutes

Serves: 6 to 8

 

2 cups (480 ml) water

¾ cup (160 g) sugar

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) each ground

     Cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon

1 teaspoon (5 ml) crushed cardamom seeds

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) saffron threads

3 * ½ -inch (7.5 * 1.5 cm) strip of orange zest

1/3 cup (50 g) golden raisins

½ cup (120 ml) ghee or unsalted butter

1 cup (185 g) fine-grained semolina (pasta flour

¼ cup (40 g) sliced almonds or chopped Brazil nuts

1 cup (240 ml) whipped cream

 

1.    Combine the water, sugar, ground spices, cardamom seeds, saffron and orange zest in a heavy 2 –quart/liter saucepan over low heat and, while stirring, dissolve the sugar. Raise the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Gently boil for a few minutes, then add the raisins. Strain through sieve and set aside, covered.

2.    Heat the ghee or butter in a large nonstick saucepan over moderately low heat. When it is hot, add the semolina and rhythmically stir-fry until the grains swell and darken to a warm golden color, about 10 minutes. (To make white halva, reduce the heat to a very low setting and cook for about ½ hour, stirring now and then until the grains expand, invisibly toast, and slightly color).

3.    Stirring steadily, gradually pour syrup into the semolina. At first the grains may sputter, but will quickly cease as the liquid is absorbed. Place the pan over very low heat and, stirring steadily, cook uncovered until the grains absorb the liquid and the texture is fluffy up to 10 minutes. Serve in dessert cups or stemmed glasses, garnished if desired. If necessary, reheat slowly in a double boiler, mashing and stirring to lighten the texture.

semolina halva raisins.jpg
 

Banana Yogurt Shake

This is a perfect low-calorie alternative to rich banana milkshakes made with heavy cream. Bananas lend both body and natural fructose sweetener to yogurt drinks and complement almost any other fruit. In India, banana lassi is little more than banana, lime juice, yogurt and ice, but in the West I have made scores of exciting variations. For natural sweeteners, try blending in a few soaked raisins, currants, dates or figs. The beverage can also be made with apple, pineapple, coconut or peach juice. Since bananas are available year-round, this is a good all-season lassi.

 

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): 10 minutes

Serves: 4

 

2 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced

2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lime or lemon juice

½ cup (120 ml) ice-cold white grape juice or water

3 tablespoons (45 ml) clear honey or maple syrup, optional

1 cup (240 ml) plain yogurt or buttermilk

6-8 ice cubes, cracked

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) ground cardamom

½ tablespoon (7 ml) kewra water or a few drops of kewra essence

grated lime zest for garnishing

 

       Place the bananas, lime or lemon juice, grape juice or water, optional sweetener and yogurt or buttermilk in a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process for about 2 minutes, then add the ice, cardamom and kewra and process for another minute. (The ice does not need to be fully crushed). Pour into glasses, sprinkle with nutmeg and lime zest, and serve.

banana yoghurt shake.jpg
 

Dainty Rose Water Drink

Homemade rose syrup, lemon or lime juice and fresh pomegranate juice make this pale pink beverage elegant and exotic. In India, a container made from freshly tinned metal is recommended for soaking the petals because the metal preserves their color. Be sure your garden roses are free of insecticides.

 

Infusion and chilling time: 8 hours or overnight

Makes: about 3 pints (1.5 liters)

 

1 ½ cups (360 ml) freshly picked rose petals, lightly packed

¾ cup (180 ml) boiling water

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) cardamom seeds

¾ cup (160 g) sugar or ¾ cup (180 ml) honey

¼ cup (60 ml) strained fresh lemon juice

2/3 cup (160 ml) pomegranate juice

5 cups (1.25 liters) cold water.

 

1.    Crush the rose petals with a mortar and pestle and place them in a large bowl. Add the boiling water, then pour the mixture into a metal container and add the cardamom seeds. Set aside 8 hours or overnight to infuse.

2.    Pour the rose-cardamom water through a muslin-lined strainer set over a bowl. Add the sweetener, and float the bowl in a hot-water-filled sink until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the hot water and filter once again. Cool to room temperature.

3.    Combine all of the ingredients in a pitcher and stir well. Serve in goblets half-filled with crushed ice.

 

Lime Ginger Ale

It is pleasant with most carbonated mineral waters from the gentle fizz of San Pellegrino to the brisk fizz of Perrier. Double-boiling the ginger stretches the flavor of fresh ginger root. India’s nimbu is a cross between key limes and lemons, though any type of lime will do. You may or may not want to use peppercorns. I find that a blend of allspice and white, green and Malabar peppercorns lends pleasant spunk to the beverage.

 

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): 15-20 minutes

Makes: 2 quarts/liters

 

1 * 2-inch (2.5 * 5 cm) piece of peeled fresh

     Ginger root (about 1 ounce/30 g)

8 cups (2 liters) still water or 4 cups (! Liter)

      Still water and 4 cups (1 liter carbonated water

1 teaspoon (5 ml) whole peppercorns (optional)

2 1/3 cups (495 g) sugar or equivalent sweetener

12 limes, juices and strained

 

1.    Grind the ginger to a paste in a food processor or with an Oriental ginger grater or mortar and pestle. Mix with 2 cups (480 ml) of still water and the optional pepper-corns. Bring the water to a boil over moderately high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Strain the mixture through muslin and again place it in the saucepan. Add 2 more cups (480 ml) of water and repeat the process. After straining the liquid again, add the sweetener and stir until dissolved. Finally, mix in the lime juice. Chill well.

2.    Before serving, top off with the remaining 4 cups (1 liter) still water or the 4 cups (1 liter) carbonated water. Serve over ice cubes.

 

Scented Almond Milk Cooler​

 

Preparation and nut soaking time: about 1 hour

Serves: 4

 

2/3 cup (100 g) blanched almonds

½ teaspoon (2 ml) cardamom seeds

4 whole peppercorns

2 cups (480 ml) boiling water

¼ cup (60 ml) honey

2 cups (480 ml) white grape juice

½ tablespoon (7 ml) rose water

2 cups (480 ml) still water or sparkling water

 

1.    Place the almonds, cardamom seeds and peppercorns in a bowl and add 1 ¼ cups (300 ml) boiling water. Set aside for 1 hour. Pour into a blender, cover, and reduce the nuts to a fine paste. Add the remaining 3 /4 cup (180 ml) boiling water and the honey and blend for ½ minute.

2.    Line a sieve with three thicknesses of cheesecloth. Pour the nut milk through the sieve, then extract as much liquid as possible. (the nut pulp can be saved for cutlets or salad dressing). Add a little grape juice to the blender and process briefly to release any almonds sticking to the sides of the jar. Add to the sieved nut milk.

3.    Pour the remaining grape juice, rose water and water into the nut milk and blend well. Chill before serving.

almond milk cooler.jpg
 

Zesty Grape Juice Cooler

Homemade juices are more pure and fresh in flavor than their store-bought counterparts. Concord, emperor and cardinal red-purple grapes yield outstanding juice. Even if you do not have a juicer, it is relatively easy to pass the fruit through the fine disk of a food mill or simply puree it and press it through a fine sieve. Both methods produce a juice puree that takes well to the addition of sparkling water.

 

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): 20 minutes

Makes: 2 quarts/liters

 

½ * 3-inch (1.5 * 7.5 cm) piece of orange zest

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) cardamom seeds

4 whole cloves

6 cups (1.5 liters)

Grape juice

¼ cup (60 ml) honey or maple syrup (optional)

3-inch (7.5 cm) piece of cinnamon stick

2 cups (480 ml) sparkling water.

 

1.    Tie the zest, cardamom seeds and cloves in a small piece of cheesecloth. Place the juice and optional honey or maple syrup in a large enamel or stainless steel pan and bring to near the boiling point over moderate heat.

2.    Remove the pan from the heat, add the spice bag and cinnamon stick, cover, and set aside until the juice has cooled to tepid. Remove the spice bag and cinnamon stick and chill. Add the sparkling water before serving.

zesty grape cooler.jpg