Pumpkin Soup

pumpkin soup:

GG from Burringbar NSW, Australia writes:

Hi Kurma,

Thank you so much for your wonderful cooking ideas. I have been experimenting with eggless cakes for yoga catering; the carob raisin cake is superb!

I was looking for your take on pumpkin soup – I had always made a simple
soup flavoured only with onion, garlic, cardamon and salt, but now without
the onion and garlic I need to find a new way.

I’m going to adapt the carrot and ginger recipe tomorrow, but would be interested to know your ideas. Thanks in mouthwatering anticipation, G G.

My Reply:

Glad to hear that the cake recipe worked well. The carrot and ginger soup receives rave reviews. Here’s my Pumpkin Soup recipe – I like it a lot. The Jap pumpkins are the best flavoured, in my opinion. A swirl of thick coconut cream makes a nice change.

Old Fashioned Cream of Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin soup is a great winter favourite. Milk and a simple seasoning of black pepper and nutmeg allow the pumpkin flavour to predominate.

Preparation & cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4 persons

3 cups water

1½ cups milk

90g (3 ounces) butter

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 cups, 1 kg (2.2 pounds) pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cubed

1 tablespoon plain flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon light cream

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Melt half the butter in a 6-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat. Add the nutmeg, black pepper, and pumpkin cubes and saute for 10 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil, cooking until the pumpkin is very tender.

Empty the contents of the saucepan into a blender and add half the milk. Puree the mixture carefully. Remove and set aside. Rinse the saucepan.

Heat the remaining butter in the saucepan over moderate heat. Stir the flour into the butter. Return the pumpkin puree to the saucepan along with the remaining milk, stirring constantly until the soup is well blended. Bring to a boil, simmer for a few minutes, and season with salt.

Serve the hot soup in individual pre-warmed soup bowls, garnished with light cream and chopped parsley.

Meat Eating and the Environment

NY Times:

Monday, January 28, 2008

Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler

“…Though some 800 million people on the planet now suffer from hunger or malnutrition, the majority of corn and soy grown in the world feeds cattle, pigs and chickens. This despite the inherent inefficiencies: about two to five times more grain is required to produce the same amount of calories through livestock as through direct grain consumption, according to Rosamond Naylor, an associate professor of economics at Stanford University. It is as much as 10 times more in the case of grain-fed beef in the United States.

The environmental impact of growing so much grain for animal feed is profound. Agriculture in the United States

Eggless Mayonnaise


Jon Woochuck from USA writes:

“My question is: How do I make a eggless mayonaise?”

My reply:

Eggless Mayonnaise

Here are three different recipes for eggless mayonnaise, lifted from my first cookbook ‘Great Vegetarian Dishes’.

The first recipe uses condensed milk as the base and is a sweet mayonnaise. The second recipe calls for evaporated milk, and the third is a dairy-free variety featuring pureed tofu.

Mayonnaise I

PREPARATION TIME: a few minutes

SETTING TIME: 10 minutes

YIELD: about 1 1/2 cups

1 cup (250 ml) sweetened condensed milk

4 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon mustard powder

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Combine all the ingredients except the lemon juice in a bowl. Gradually add the lemon juice whilst stirring with a whisk until the dressing thickens. Allow the mayonnaise to set for a further 10 minutes in the refrigerator.

Mayonnaise II

PREPARATION TIME: a few minutes

SETTING TIME: 10 minutes

YIELD: about 2 1/4 cups

1 cup (250 ml) evaporated milk (unsweetened)

1 cup (250 ml) safflower oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon honey (optional)

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon mustard powder

Place the evaporated milk in a blender. While the blender is on, gradually add the oil until the mixture slightly thickens. Add the salt, optional honey, lemon juice, and mustard powder. Continue blending until the mixture thickens further. Allow the mayonnaise to set for a further 10 minutes in the refrigerator.

Mayonnaise III

PREPARATION TIME: a few minutes

SETTING TIME: 10 minutes

YIELD: almost 2 1/2 cups

2 cups mashed firm tofu

1/2 cup (125 ml) olive oil

4 tablespoons (80 ml) fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon mustard powder

2 teaspoons honey (optional)

1 teaspoon salt

water (if required)

Combine all ingredients (except the lemon juice and water) in a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the lemon juice. If the mayonnaise is too thick, add a little water. Refrigerate.

A Letter from Florida

A recent exchange:


Dear Kurma Dasa, Thank you very much for your cook books. This is S C with
the Brahma Kumaris in Florida, USA.

I love your books because they
are so creative and simple to follow. The Brahma Kumaris have the
same attitude towards food and the same vaishnava diet so your books
are even more appreciated by this atma.

Also, going through your website I was very intrigued by your
recounting of your early days and how you came to be where you
are. Here’s to your continued courage and for becoming a monk and
going on a road less travelled.

In Remembrance of the Supreme Soul,

My reply:

Dear S, Thank you for your letter. I’ve just moved from one side of Australia to the other, so excuse the delay in replying.

I appreciate your kind words. Yes, I have had many dealings with the Brahma Kumaris over the years. My father was invited by a friend to attend a weekend retreat with your members in Sydney a few years back, and mentioned over lunch how the food tasted just like his son’s cooking. One of the cooks showed him which book the recipes came from, and my father told her his son was the author. It caused a flurry of interest, to say the least!

Thanks again for your encouragement. It means a great deal. Hare Krishna, Kurma”

Iron Intake for Vegetarians – Khichari to the Rescue

J.A. from Melbourne, Australia writes:

“I have been vegetarian for many years, but my iron levels are often low and I
need to take an iron tablet to get them back to normal. Any ideas?”

iron rich foods:

My reply:

Contrary to the propaganda you might hear from the Australian Meat and Lifestock Association, an appropriately planned, well-balanced vegetarian diet is compatible with an adequate iron status.

Vegetarians should choose high iron foods like whole grains, legumes, tofu, panir cheese, and green leafy vegetables daily and consume them with foods rich in vitamin C to increase the bioavailability of the iron.

Dal is a perfect and inexpensive way of providing easy-to-absorb iron. For instance, mung beans are rich in vegetable protein, iron, and B vitamins. When you combine dal with a food that has a complimentary protein (grains, seeds, nuts, or milk products), the usable protein in the dal increases. A squeeze of lemon makes the iron even more accessible, and rounds out the flavours wonderfully.

By the way, bananas are high in iron, and can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and help in cases of anemia.

And of course, the famous khichari is a delectable source of iron.

For lots more very interesting and practical information about iron and a vegetarian diet, click here.

Arrive Derci Perth

winding road:

Removal truck has done its deed

Faster than a hundred steed.

Twenty cubic metres full,

Weighted down, attachment’s pull.

‘Cross dry desert, sandy waste

Heading east with deisel haste.

A tiny soul, his path a-wending

Chapter closes, new one pending.