Melanie Randell from Silver Creek Valley, California writes:

“Hi Kurma, what exactly is wrong with Pasteurization of milk. I mean, I know there are health benefits, but what’s the downside?”

milk on the doorstep:

My reply:

“Hello Melanie!
Of course there are the obvious benefits of pasteurization. The process is
meant to accomplish two things: Destruction of certain pathogens and the prevention of souring milk. These results are obtained by keeping the milk at a temperature of 145 degrees to 150 degrees F. for half an hour, at least, and then reducing the temperature to not more than 55 degrees F.

It is undoubtedly beneficial to destroy dangerous bacteria, but pasteurization does more than this – it kills off harmless and useful things alike, and by subjecting the milk to high temperatures, destroys some nutritious constituents.

With regards to the prevention of souring; sour raw milk is very widely
used. It is given to invalids, being easily digested, laxative in its
properties, and not unpleasant to take. But, after pasteurization, the
lactic acid bacilli are killed. The milk, in consequence, cannot become sour
and quickly decomposes, while undesirable germs multiply very quickly.

Pasteurization’s great claim to popularity in its heyday last century was the widespread belief, fostered by its supporters, that tuberculosis in children was caused by the harmful germs found in raw milk.

Experimental figures that were published regarding the spread of tuberculosis by milk were inconclusive, however. And in one test, over a period of five years, during which time 70 children belonging to a special organization received a pint of raw milk daily, one case only of the disease occurred. During a similar period when pasteurized milk had been given, 14 cases were reported.

Besides destroying part of the vitamin C contained in raw milk and
encouraging growth of harmful bacteria, pasteurization turns the sugar of
milk, known as lactose, into beta-lactose, which is far more soluble and
therefore more rapidly absorbed in the system, with the result that the
consumer feels less satiated.

Probably pasteurization’s worst offence is that it makes insoluable the
major part of the calcium contained in raw milk.

Pasteurization also destroys 20 percent of the iodine present in raw milk,
can cause constipation and generally takes from the milk its most vital

So in summary, pasteurization is a destructive process that changes the physical structure of the fragile proteins in milk (especially casein) and converts them into proteins your body was never designed to handle – and that can actually harm you. Additionally, the pasteurization process virtually eliminates the good bacteria normally present in the milk and radically reduces the micronutrient and vitamin content of this healthy food.

B 12

Sharmila from Unionville, Ontario, Canada asks:

“I often get criticized for being a vegetarian. Last year I had
to get Vitamin B12 injections. I am still deficient in the Vitamin B12
area. I will have to receive these injections for a while. I am still
committed to my vegetarian based diet. What is the best source of
vegetable based vitamin b12 food item?”

Dear Sharmila,
Here is some information.


Yesterday I received a letter from Turkey:

“Hi Kurma,
I am writing you from Turkey. I have coincidentally came across with your
website. I looked at your foods. They are really nice and you have some Turkish
foods on your website. I wonder if you have ever been in Turkey?

I answered that no, I had not been to Turkey but was interested in visiting one day.

The interface reminded me of one of my favourite rice dishes, which I shall share with you here.

Turkish Rice Pilaff:

Turkish Rice Pilaf with Currants & Pine Nuts

Pine nuts are the kernels or seeds that are shed as the pine cones dry, open out and mature in the summer months. These little cream coloured nuts can be toasted lightly in a dry frying pan, or with a little olive oil, to release a deeper, nuttier flavour. Coupled with flavoursome cloves, orange, ginger, thyme and succulent currants, they add a tasty crunch to this exotic rice dish from Turkey. Serves 6 persons.

3 cups vegetable stock or water

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup pine nuts

½ teaspoon yellow asafetida powder

1½ cups basmati rice

4 whole cloves
one 2.5 cm cube ginger, sliced

2 bay leaves

2 whole stalks fresh thyme

three large strips orange zest

1½ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

1/3 cup currants

3 tablespoons chopped continental parsley

Heat the vegetable stock in a small saucepan over moderate heat, cover, and bring to the boil.

Warm the olive oil in a medium saucepan over low to moderate heat. When slightly hot, add the pine nuts. Stir-fry them for a minute, or until they turn a light golden-brown and smell fragrant. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Quickly remove the nuts from the oil and drain them on paper towels with a slotted spoon.

Sprinkle the yellow asafetida powder into the hot oil. Stir momentarily, drop in the rice, and stir-fry it in the oil for 2 or 3 minutes or until the rice grains become a little whitish in colour.

Pour the boiling stock into the rice. Add the cloves, ginger, bay leaves, thyme stalks, orange zest, salt and pepper. Raise the heat to high, and bring the rice to full boil. Immediately reduce the heat to very low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and gently simmer, without stirring, for 20

Moving House

moving house:

I’m sure you all know what it’s like to move house, although maybe not exactly like in the picture above. I am in the throes of it right now. Included in the move is transferring my massive kitchen equipment/recipe/cookbook collection. So bear with me over the next few days, and enjoy some vintage Kurma.

The World's Oldest Rice Pudding

Jagannatha Temple:

“Of all the world’s exceptional kitchens, perhaps none are as grand as the kitchen compound of the Jagannatha Temple in Puri, Orissa, that basks on India’s eastern seaboard adjoining the Bay of Bengal.

The present temple of Jagannatha was constructed by King Ananga Bhima. Historians say this temple was constructed at least two thousand years ago. Awesome and gigantic, the Jagannatha Temple kitchen reflects centuries, if not millenia, of culinary tradition…

Read more…

Albany Cooking, Part Five

The courses ended wonderfully, with an appropriately grand menu:

Crispy Fried Noodles with Hot Sweet & Sour Sauce (Mee Krob)

Israeli Warm Salad of Roasted Pumpkin, Spinach and Zhoug

Vegetable and Semolina Pudding (Upma)

Udaipur Spicy Stuffed Potato Triangles (Samosas)

Fresh Mango Chutney

Smoky Lebanese Eggplant Dip (Babagannouj)

Indonesian Fruit Platter with Hot and Sweet Dipping Sauce (Rujak Manis)

'grande finale':

I returned to Perth a tired little teddy bear.