Scoring Goals

While the Aussie sports world was ablaze with Grand Final fever, I had my own grand final cooking weekend. Our double-header was all about flavour, flavour, flavour.

Roz toasts sesame: some kitchen action: lets lunch:

The delicate and fruity tamarind sourness of the sambar combined beautifully with the heady earthiness of cumin, ginger and cassia in the Moghul Cumin Rice.

idli and coconut chutney:

Fragrant and nutty roasted sesame shone through in the puffed, crispy Poories -all the better to scoop up morsels of caramelised fenugreek, lime and coriander enriched Pumpkin Curry. And we shouldn’t forget the chili, mustard and toasted urad dal laced comfort foodiness of our spongy Rawa Idli (above), finally topped off with the intoxicating top notes of rose and star-anise soaked Gulab Jamuns.

Relish!

relish:

The Long and Winding Road

It’s Saturday and I’m up early, sorting out my life. The kitchen is half set-up for a cookery class entitled “A Passage to India”. The last 12 classes have given me and my home kitchen a good workout, but I am looking forward to sharing some of my favourite recipes, having saved the best till last.

idli:

“A Passage to India”

Cashew-Studded South-Indian Steamed Semolina Breads (Rawa Idli)

Spicy Hot-and-Sour Toor-dal (Sambar)

Chili, Curry Leaf & Mustard-infused Coconut Chutney

Moghul-style Cumin-flavoured Rice (Jeera Pulao)

Succulent Gujarati Pumpkin

Puffed Fried Sesame Breads (Til poories)

Succulent Milk Fudge Balls in Rose-scented Syrup (Gulab Jamuns)

spicy sambar dal:

The seven ladies that are booked to attend today will arrive in a few hours. The class will be repeated tomorrow with a new batch of students, then it’s all over for 2007. Well, the classes at my home anyway.

gulabs:

In a few days I head off on a mini-tour, for just a few weeks. And then…overseas. But for now, here’s a list of where you can catch me around Australia for a bit of Kurma Cooking:

Govinda’s, Darlinghurst, NSW

Morning Cookery Workshop, Saturday 6 October

Class full.

World Wide Cooking School, Erina, NSW

Evening Cooking Class, Wednesday 10 October

For Bookings call (02) 4369 4297

Duck Under the Table Cookery School

Wingham NSW

Morning Cookery Workshop, Saturday 13 October

For Bookings call (02) 6553 4057

‘Food Stuff’, Mona Vale NSW

Evening Cookery Workshop, Tuesday 16 October

For Bookings call (02) 9999 3033

Canberra’s Cooking Co-Ordinates

Belconnen Markets, ACT

Morning Cookery Workshop, Saturday 20 October

Bookings (02) 6253 5132

The Retreat at Froog-Moore Park,

Tamworth NSW

Weekend Cookery Workshops

POSTPONED TO MAY 2008

For Bookings call Sandy on (02) 6766 3353

Vegetarian Apostles

A friend of mine in Croatia has been doing some research on Vegetarianism and Early Christianity. I thought you might like to read these excerpts from a book that is pending publication:

12 Apostles:

‘No less than seven of Jesus’ twelve disciples refused meat food (the rest
we do not know). This naturally reflects the teachings of Jesus, as: “…a
servant is not greater than his master…” (John 14.16).

The seven are:

1. Peter: …”whose food was bread, olives and herbs…” (Clem.Hom.XII,6)

2. James: Church Father Eusebius, quoting Hegesippus (about 160 AD) that
“…James, the brother of the Lord was holy from birth. He drank no wine or
ate the flesh of animals…” (Eusebius, Church History II,Ch XXIII,5-7)

(Note: James being a Vegetarian “from his mother’s womb on” says a lot about
Mary’s diet. Which again would lead to a conclusion as to Jesus’
life-style.)

3. Thomas: The apocryphal Acts of Thomas (Ch. 20), which actually were
widely in use among early Christian sects, depict these disciples of Jesus as
ascetics: “He continually fasts and prays, and abstaining from eating of
flesh and drinking wine, he eats only bread, with salt and drink and water,
and wears the same garment in fine weather and winter, and accepts nothing
from anyone, and gives whatever he has to others.”

4. Matthew: “It is far better to be happy than to have a demon dwelling with
us. And happiness is found in the practice of virtue. Accordingly, the
apostle Matthew partook of seeds and nuts, fruits and vegetables without
flesh. And John, who carried temperance to the extreme, ate locusts and wild
honey….” (Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor,II.I,16: On Eating) (Note
here the strong hint of Clemens towards the Vegetarianism of John the
Baptist)

5. Matthias: (who filled the place of Judas (Acts 1:21-26). His food as told
by Church Father Clement of Alexandria was the same as Matthew’s. (Clement/
Stromata III,4,26)

6. Andrew and 7. Jude: Andrew (Peter’s brother in both flesh and faith) and
Jude of Bethsaida, originally two of John the Baptist’s followers, must have
followed the Baptist’s austere diet. (See above under Matthew)

Lobster Soup Nonsense

zoidberg:

I remember an advertising campaign run by what is now the Australian Meat and Livestock Association many years ago. It’s war-cry was FEED THE MAN MEAT! Or I guess if you were to try to say it with an Australian accent, it would be FOOOEED THE MAN MOOOEAT. Well, you get my drift.

Ever since I started teaching, I have made it my mission in life, as recommended by my Spiritual Master Srila Prabhupada, to popularise panir as a viable meat-substitute.

In 1975 Prabhupada was asked some advice about opening an early incarnation of a Hare Krishna Restaurant. He suggested:

“It is a very good idea for people to come to our vegetarian restaurant and take so many nice things, especially the panir, fried cheese, and sandesh, kachori, rasagulla, samosa and in this way they will forget their meat-eating. If you make a soup of fried panir with asafoetida and ginger, this will replace lobster soup nonsense.”

With that in mind I try to demonstrate the glories of homemade panir cheese at practically every class I teach.

I am always glad to discover that my message is getting out there….

Recipe Cards

quick recipe cards:

I’m overstocked with these fabulous Quick Vegetarian Recipe Cards. They are superbly crafted and laminated, and packed in a truly beautiful and sturdy box, shrink wrapped for protection. Here’s a never-to-be repeated offer: $25 + postage/handling anywhere in Australia ($15 maximum).

care for some cherry cheesecake:

They will make a wonderful Christmas present. Hurry, while stocks last.

To order: write me on kurma.acbsp@pamho.net

Snowed Under

snowed under:

For those of you wondering why my blogs are thin on the ground this month:

I’ve got so much going on there’s hardly enough time to do it all, what to speak of write about it.

Today I’m busily compiling shopping lists for all the cookery venues during my October Australia-wide Teaching Tour that commences next week. I’ve even been finalising dates and places for my May 2008 tour.

Tomorrow I have two interviews – for a big Western Australian food magazine, and a phone-hook up with a Canadian movie producer.

I have a double-class this weekend, so there’s all the shopping and house cleaning for that, plus loads of washing etc etc. I’m losing you aren’t I? Didn’t think you really were interested in all those details, so I’ll stop here lest I am accused of being self-indulgent.

If it’s ‘no rest for the wicked’, I must have been a bad, bad boy.

Banana Halava

halava:

waiter there’s a little blue man sitting on my spoon!

Zoe from somewhere in Australia writes:

“I am looking for a recipe for banana halva that I used to make years ago.
It had 6 bananas and rosewater in it plus (???) Can you help me? Can’t find
the actual recipe on your site.”

Hello Zoe, thanks for your request.

I am not sure which variety of banana halva/halava you are asking about. Halva is a very general term (read my essay on halva…)

I actually don’t have a published banana halava recipe, but I do have other halava recipes that can be adapted. I made some banana halava the other day in fact, after one of my blog-readers asked me the very same question. The recollection of banana halava grew in my mind (as it does) and not too long after that contemplation, I was actually cooking a batch.

This is a version of semolina halava with bananas inside. You can also make a dish of bananas, butter, and sugar which are cooked a long way down to a very thick pudding-like consistency. Perhaps this what you are referring to. I don’t have a recipe for that.

Anyway, here is a recipe that I have formulated especially for you, and I have even added the optional rosewater. Once you know the basic formula for semolina halava, it is easy to vary the flavourings. Happy cooking! Kurma.

The science of halava making:

cooking halava at a class in Murwillumbah

Walnut, Banana and Rosewater Semolina Halava Pudding

Semolina halava is the most popular dessert served at any of the Hare Krishna restaurants worldwide. This version of the famous hot, fluffy pudding with juicy raisins, raw sugar, and walnut pieces rates high in the “halava-top-ten”. I have cooked halava for 4 or 5 persons and for 1500 persons; either way, following the same basic steps yields equally stunning results.

The secret of good halava is to roast the semolina very slowly for at least 20 minutes, with enough butter so as not to scorch the grains. Steam the finished halava over very low heat with a tight-fitting lid for 5 minutes to fully plump the semolina grains; then allow it to sit covered for another 5 minutes. Fluffy, plump grained halava is best served hot, on its own, or with a spoonful of cream or custard. Serves 6 – 8 persons, or a couple of halava addicts.

2½ cups water

1¼ cups raw sugar

140 g unsalted butter, or ghee (1 ounce = 28.35 grams)

1¼ cups coarse-grained semolina (farina) – the more coarse the better

1/3 cup walnut pieces, or any nuts, or none at all

a splash of pure rosewater

1 or 2 large, firm but ripe bananas, sliced fairly thinly

Combine the water and sugar in a 2-litre saucepan. Place over moderate heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to very low and cover with a tight-fitting lid.

Melt the butter or ghee in a 2- or 3-litre non-stick saucepan and over fairly low heat, stirring occasionally. Add the semolina. Slowly and rhythmically stir-fry the grains until they darken to a tan colour and become aromatic (about 20 minutes). Add the walnut pieces about halfway through the roasting. Stirring more carefully, raise the heat under the grains.

Raise the heat under the sugar water and bring the syrup to a rolling boil.

Remove the saucepan of semolina and butter from the heat, slowly pouring the hot syrup into the semolina, stirring steadily. The grains may at first splutter, but will quickly cease as the liquid is absorbed.

Return the pan to the stove and stir steadily over low heat until the grains fully absorb the liquid, start to form into a pudding-like consistency, and pull away from the sides of the pan. Place a tight-fitting lid on the saucepan and cook over the lowest possible heat for 2 more minutes. Turn off the heat, splash in the rosewater, fold in the banana, and allow the halava to firm up, covered and off the heat, for an additional 5 minutes. Serve hot in dessert bowls as it is, or with the toppings suggested above.

Foxy Lady

inari-zushi today:

My second-last weekend of Perth cookery classes is upon me. Soon I’ll be on the road. I’ve kept my favourite classes till the end.

The theme of today’s class is “The Wheat-free Vegetarian”. I’ve got a whole lot of delicious dishes from Thailand, Peru, Italy, Maharashtra, and one of my favourites from Japan, Inari-zushi.

Japan was

Kurminos Pizza

Y D from Seattle writes: “Do you have a quick easy recipe for homemade pizza?”

My reply: Though I mainly cook with sourdough these days, here’s a recipe from my first cookbook (now in its 18th year) for a yeast-based pizza ‘wid da woiks’. You asked for ‘quick and easy’ – well, this is easy, though you do have to wait for the dough to rise. All good things come to those that wait!

Happy baking!

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 fresh yeast

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup lukewarm water

1 1/2 cups plain all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

Filling

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon yellow asafetida powder

1 1/2 cups fresh tomato puree

1 tablespoon tomato concentrate

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Topping

125g (4 1/2 ounces) grated mozzarella cheese

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1 cup thin strips of eggplant, deep-fried until dark golden-brown

1 small red pepper, diced

60g (2 ounces) black olives, pitted and halved

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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 220°C/430°F for 15 – 20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Who is that Girl with Krishna?

Today is the birthday of Sri Radha, the Girl you always see accompanying Krishna. She is the tender-hearted female counterpart of the Divine, and today we will be fasting until noon, supplicating her blessings, then partaking of a sumptuous feast offered in her honour.

sri radha:

Over five millenia ago in a place now called Northern India on a half moon night in the month of Bhadra, King Vrishabhanu came to the Jamuna to bathe and found himself engulfed in a golden aura that was emanating from a lotus, which had a baby girl standing on its whorl. When the king returned to the palace with the baby, Queen Kirtida was delighted. But, she was also shocked to find that the girl was blind.

Lord Krishna’s mother Yashoda heard that her best friend Kirtida had a baby, so she came to visit along with her husband and her son. Krishna crawled up to the cradle and pulled Himself up and looked in. At that moment, Srimati Radharani’s eyes fluttered and opened wide and blossomed like lotuses. It seems that she did not want to see anything of this world, only the form of Sri Krishna. Everyone was delighted.

Srimati Radharani is the mother of the universe. The spiritual mother of all souls. And the concept of mother is the most sacred symbol – that of purity, selflessness, caring, sharing, nurturing, and love. When the Holy Names are chanted:

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare,
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

Hare means Radharani. It is a plaintive desperate cry for the mother. ‘Radharani! Please wake us up from this nightmare of mortal life! Remind us of the father we have forgotten and take us home!'”

In the Krishna consciousness movement, devotees carefully worship Srimati Radharani as the bestower of devotional service to Krishna, by attentively chanting her names in the Maha-mantra, by worshiping her Deity form, and by following her instructions.