Recipes for Cooking Course given at Meryl’s Home in Johannesburg, September 2014
Flavoured Basmati Rice
The following recipes are for 6-8 people. Add salt as per your requirement. For the curries, 1 tbsp is probably sufficient.
Wash 2 cups of basmati rice in hot/warm water three or four times (until the water is clear and no longer milky/cloudy), then allow to soak in warm water for half-an-hour. Meanwhile, bring six cups of water to boil. Add a tablespoon (tbsp) of salt to the water and a teaspoon (tsp) of oil.
When the rice has soaked, add it to the boiling water. Add 1 tbsp turmeric, for colour. Boil for about 5 minutes. Test to see how soft it is. Boil for another five minutes or so. You will know it is ready when it is soft, but not too soft ie. you can still feel a little hardness in the rice.
Decant rice into colander. Allow to stand for 5 minutes.
Add 1 tbsp mustard seed to 2 tbsp oil/1 1/2 tbsp ghee.. Add 2 cinnamon sticks when mustard seeds splutter. Add 1tsp hing. Garnish with a handful of finely chopped dhanya leaves.
Jaipur Style Split Yellow Mung Dal
Clean 3 cups of dal in warm water by soaking three or four times. Meanwhile bring six cups (a litre and a half) water to boil. Add dal to water. Place a few whole pepper corns, two or three cloves, 3 cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and 1 tbsp turmeric powder in water. Bring to boil. You can add a tbsp pureed tamarind to the boiling dal or some lemon/limem juice at the end. You can counterbalance the tartness of these sharp flavours with a tbsp of sugar if you like.
After 15 minutes add a handful (100g) chopped spinach and on fresh, diced tomato. Add 2tbsp’s salt.
Boil for about another 10 minutes (that is 25 minutes in all). When the dal is nice and thick, it is ready.
2 tbsp oil/ghee, 1 tbsp cumin seeds, 2 tbsp fresh ginger root (grated/finely chopped), 1tsp hing, 1tsp curry powder or fresh chillis, a pinch of nutmeg and 1 tsp crushed dhanya/coriander.
Add chaunce to boiled dal (ie. add the ghee and spices to the standing dal). Garnish with fresh dhanya.
Chickpea Fudge or Laddhu
Ingredients: 1 ½ blocks of unsalted butter (salted butter is fine, we used that for the demo), 750g (5 cups) fine chickpea/channa flour and 250g icing sugar (just under 1 1/2 cups) (or alternative sweetening agent eg. honey, agarve, fructose, jiggery/palm sugar etc.).
Method: Melt butter on medium-high heat. When butter has melted, add chickpea flour. Constantly stir the mix for about 10 to 15 minutes until colour darkens. When you can smell a nutty flavour coming from the mix or the mix goes reddish-brown, take off the heat. Add icing sugar and mix until icing sugar has dissolved.
Place wax wrap or cling wrap (cling wrap sticks onto the baking tray if you dampen it with a damp cloth) in a tray and place mix therein. Allow to set. Cool separately. If you want it to be ready quicker, set in fridge.
Koftas, Pakoras and Chilli Bites (Traditional Indian Vegetable Fritters)
I first learnt how to make pakoras for the Sunday Feast at the Hare Krishna Temple in Cape Town. This little experience in pakora making got me recruited to make pakoras at the Grahamstown Festival in 1998. My experience was consolidated in Cape Town in December 1999 at the ‘Govinda’s Restaurant’during the World Parliament of Religions. The organizers asked the Hare Krishna’s to run the main restaurant since our food is compatible with the dietary specifications of just about religions. I was frying pakoras for 14 hours a day. By the second or third day I started to dream about the oil slowly starting to bubble in the wok!
Generic batter (for about 40 pakoras/you could halve this to make 20 (enough for eight)):
3 cups chickpea flour
1 tbsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp kalonji seeds/1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tsp hing
1 tbsp chilli powder, ½ handful fresh coriander/2 tbsp grated ginger
Mix dry ingredients. Then add 2 cups of water to the mix. Stir with an egg-beater until there are no lumps in the batter.
Take brinjal slices, butternut slices, potato slices, cauliflower flowerets, spinach leaves, jalapenos etc., dip in batter, and add to boiling oil. Remove from oil when reddish-golden colour. Test to see if the pakoras are soft enough with a knife. If the batter is cooking, but the pakoras are too hard, reduce the heat of the oil. If the batter is too runny, add chickpea flour. If the batter is too thick, add water. If the pakoras aren’t crispy enough, add a pinch of baking powder.
If you mix this same batter into grated cabbage, then you have koftas (half a medium-sized cabbage makes about 20-25 kofta balls).
The same batter can be used to make chilli bites. Mash half a banana into the batter . Add finely chopped spinach, and fry.
Serve with chatni
Tomato Sauce for Koftas
Chaunce: Basic ‘bengali chaunce’ (braise): mustard seeds, cumin seeds, ginger, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, curry leaves, hing powder, chilli powder (or ‘mother-in-law’s revenge’) and turmeric
Add 10 pureed tomatoes (steamed, peeled and blended)
Add ½ cup sugar/jiggery and tbsp salt
Boil at high heat for 5 minutes
Basic Fruit Chatni
A variety of fruits like plums, apricots, apples, pineapples, pears, green mangos, cherries etc. can be used to make the following simple chatni
Method: cut fruit (eg. 2 pineapples or 6 apples) into small squares
Chaunce: heat 3 tbsp oil/ghee in a small pan, 1 tsp cumin seeds, when the cumin seeds turn brown add 2 small cinnamon sticks, followed by 2 bay leaves, add 1 finely chopped chilli/1 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp turmeric, ½ tsp hing
Add fruit, add 1 cup of water (we didn’t do this in the course and that is why the pineapple caramalized) and turn to high heat. Cook for about 10 mins, then add 2 tbsp sugar/jiggery/palm sugar. Cook until water absorbs and spiced fruit turns soft.
Brinjal and Potato Curry
Ingredients: 8 brinjals, 8 medium-sized potatoes, small bunch of dhanya and spices
Cut brinjals and potatoes into cubes. Deep fry at medium-high heat (140C)
Chaunce: tablespoon (tbsp) mustard seeds, 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 bay leaves, 4 curry leaves, 1 chilli chopped up/2 tsp chilli powder, 2 teaspoons (tsps) turmeric, 1 ½ tbsp crushed coriander, 1 tsp asafoetida/hing and pinch of fenugreek powder
Add fried brinjals and potatoes to the chaunce. Add salt. Cook for 5 min on medium heat
SOME EXTRA RECIPES THAT ARE A REGULAR FEATURE OF ‘HARI HARI’S VEGETARIAN DELIVERY SERVICE’
Broccoli, Cauliflower and Potato I (for Tracy)
1. Wash broccoli and cauliflower in warm water. Cut into flowerets. Deep fry in boiling oil/ghee until a tender (but not too soft). Deep fry the potatoes so that they are still a little hard (not fully fried). Drain in a colander.
2. Chaunce: Mix equal parts of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg (‘sweet spices’) and add a little garam masala. Make a spice paste. Place a few tablespoons of oil in a saucepan and add the paste to the oil when it is hot.
3. Add the vegetables to the chaunce and cook on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes.
Cauliflower/Yoghurt Sabji (‘sabji’ means vegetarian curry) II (alternative recipe)
1. Wash two medium caulifowers. Cut out core. Cut into flowerets.
Boil a little water in a pot and steam the cauliflower flowerets in that water for about 10mins.
Test to see if the cauliflower is tender with a knife (the flowerets shouldn’t be too soft otherwise it will turn into a mush). Drain in a colander.
2. The Chaunce (masala/braise/vagaar):
Heat 2 tablespoons (tbsp) ghee/oil in a frying-pan at medium-high heat. Add 1 heaped teaspoon (tsp) of mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds pop, add 4 curry leaves, 3 medium cinnamon sticks and 1 tbsp grated ginger. Stir together. Then add 1/2 tsp chilli powder, 1/2 a tsp hing and 1/2 a tsp kalonji (nigella) seeds. Add two cups/500ml amasi or yoghurt. Add 1 heaped tsp turmeric/haldi powder and 1 tbsp of salt. Stir, again.
3. Add steamed cauliflowers to the chaunce and cook on medium heat for 5mins (to draw the flavours out)
Golden Khicari (Ayurvedic Health Meal, a regular feature on my delivery route)
This khichari recipe took me several years to develop. I recently prepared this dish for a SATV cooking programme but was very nervous in front of the camera (so it might not be screened!). Influences: Yamuna Mataji, Kurma prabhu and Gaura Sakti das (from South Africa). To quote Prabhupada: ‘A pauper’s meal fit for a king.’ Nice if served with puris, bread-sticks, papadams, lemon, yoghurt and/or tomato chatni. Please forgive sketchy presentation.
Serves 5 to 6 people. Total preparation time 45 minutes.
8 cups/2 litres water. Add 1 cup split yellow mung dal (washed), 1 tablespoon turmeric, 1 bay leaf, 1 cinnamon stick, 3 whole pepper corns. Bring water to boil. Boil until the dal begins to split (about 25 mins).
Add cup of basmati rice (washed), 2 medium-sized potatoes cubed. And 150g green beans. Cook for about 10 mins at high heat.
Add several large zuccini bits, a couple of cauliflower heads and several large slices of green/yellow/red pepper (green or red are nice for colourful effect). Cook at high heat for about 10 mins or until vegetables (including potatoes) are soft (the rice should also be soft). The khichari should have a reasonably thick consistency. (Note: It is better to remove excess ‘juice’ from the khichari than to add water. We do not want to water down the natural flavour of the mixture. It is ideal if you get your water quantity just right. I like the khichari to be a little runny – consistency of a wet porridge).
Turn off flame
Add one-and-half tablespoons salt and one-and-half tablespoons sugar (voluntary)
Chaunce: Heat ghee (oil if vegan) in separate frying pan. When it is hot add one-and-a-quarter teaspoons mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds pop, add same quantity cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds go brown, add grated ginger and chilli (de-seeded). Add 3/4 curry leaves. And a pinch of cinnamon powder, a pinch of nutmeg powder and a teaspoon of hing/asafoetida powder. Mix chaunce/masala into khichari.
Garnish with 2 tablespoons chopped dhanya (coriander)
Add 2 tomatoes (cut into 4 or 8 bits)