Hot Town, Summer in the City

hot town:

If you’ve been having problems connecting to this blog site since yesterday, here’s the reason: It was 44 degrees celcius yesterday in Melbourne (that’s over 111 Fahrenheit!), and the poor machines that make this blog happen were getting very hot under their electronic collars. So thanks for your patience.

The Big Salad

The Big Salad:

Many years ago, when I was travelling the world, interviewing expatriate Australian Hare Krishna devotees for my historical book, ‘The Great Transcendental Adventure’, I found myself in Colorado. I had tracked down some old friends, Vidyaranya and Dipak, who lived in Boulder and Basalt respectively.

My home base was in Denver, at the Hare Krishna Temple, and everyday I would have lunch at Govinda’s on Cherry Street.

I picked up quite a few recipes on the road, and some of them made their way into my subsequent cookbooks.

govindas cherry street:

I received a letter from Pamela in California, and it got my culinary memory juices flowing:

“I am asked to make Almond salad dressing for our next home program.
Would you please give me the recipe. Thank you.”

Here’s my reply:


As I wrote in my first cookbook, Great Vegetarian Dishes, ‘The Hare Krishnas of Denver, Colorado, run a very popular restaurant, Govinda’s, on Cherry Street. One of their salad dressings particularly appeals to me; as the name suggests, it’s packed with strong flavours. Nutritional or brewers yeast is available at health food stores.’

Here’s the recipe:

PREPARATION TIME: a few minutes

YIELD: 2 cups

1 cup blanched almonds,

1 cup cold water,

1 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice,

3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce,

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast or brewers yeast.

Place all the ingredients in a blender and process until completely smooth. That’s it.

It’s a great dressing, especially on ‘big salads’.

Return to Sticky Rice

The Sticky Rice Cookery School in the Adelaide Hills hosted me again last weekend.
Here’s some photos of the event. Thanks to team member Nicole for snapping the pix on her mobile phone.

Nitai and I do some last minute contemplation before the class commences.

some quiet time:

Some early arrivals gather their class notes.

checking class notes:

One of our huge male crew {sorry, I forgot your name} rubs in the ghee to the flour to make our samosa dough. Almost half the class were men! That’s a record.

samosa dough time:

The spuds are being peeled in preparation for the samosa making.

peel dem spuds:

Some vital ingredients for our Indian Shared Table.

spice tray:

Fruit being cut for our fresh mango chutney.

cutting mango:

Nitai has a go at stirring the carrot halava.

Nitai has a go:

We’ve made the samosa dough and the filling. Now it’s time to roll the dough into balls, cut them and fill them.

let's get those samosa happening:

Deeply absorbed in the cooking events…

team sticky rice:

Kitchen alchemy in progress.

let's get spicy:

The idli batter is carefully spooned into the 4-tier steamer.

time for idli:

At last – we sit and have our entree – idli, sambar and coconut chutney.

Sticky Rice Lunchtime:

Come and join us in April at Sticky Rice for a brand new menu.

Circle of Life #3: Hey Baby!

The biggest of my chili plants is with child! We had a few days of tremendous heat and then lots of electrical storms and rain. Seems that’s just what was needed. I counted ten flower buds on this plant.

with child:

I am sure many more will be popping out soon. If you look left and right of the main bud in the central section of the ultrasound below, you can see more buds. I’m pacing the patio, handing out carob cigars. Well, I guess I shouldn’t count my chilies before they’re hatched. Still, the biggest excitement is knowing which variety they are.

chillies ahoy:

Anyway, the new babies will be in good company. In my new giant white pots I have a whole lot of other baby herbs literally bursting with health. Most of these plants, like my miniature continental parsley, were planted as established babies rather than grown from seed.

doing the continental:

Here in Australia the greens below are called silverbeet, and there’s a few varieties in this little patch. Hopefully I’ll be able to go out and pick leaves when I need them.

the beet goes on:

Basil! Juicy and fragrant new arrivals at my Botanical Fawlty Towers.

new arrival in fawlty towers:

I was happy to find a healthy young lemongrass plant at the markets the other day. He’s now standing straight and tall.

hey man, check out the new grass:

With home gardening, it’s not so much about the results as it is the journey. Maybe it would be cheaper to buy fresh herbs, but growing your own is so much more fun.

Vegetarian Teenagers

teen vegos:

What do you cook when your teenager turns vegetarian?

Paula Goodyer, THE AGE, Melbourne Wednesday, January 21, 2009

“No one knows how many Australian teenagers turn to their parents one day and announce that – like Lisa from The Simpsons – they’re now vegetarian. But the guess is that it’s no rare event – especially among girls.

But in the US they’ve crunched some numbers and, based on interviews with 9000 parents, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that around one in 200 American teenagers has taken a pledge to veg.

Anecdotally, teenage vegetarianism seems to be an increasing trend, often driven by animal welfare concerns and often sparked by animal slaughter videos on YouTube, The Washington Post reported last week”.

(Don’t forget to read the comments – there’s a lot. k)

Son of the Bride of Chakki


Thanks to all of you that wrote me on my email address regarding the chakki recipe. The comments option was/is temporarily out of order.

The reason I had not heard of the recipe is that chakki is not the real spelling. These delicious, crunchy savoury spirals are known as chakli, chaakli in the Marathi language (or chakkuli) and chakri in Gujarati

Throughout India they are known by a whole lot of other different names as well, acccording to the region, like muruku, murukku, or murkoo in Tamil and Telugu, for instance. When stored in a sealed container they last for a long time.

Ok, I still haven’t got a recipe to share with you, but I am sure there will be one coming my way soon. And a request to Steve, my blog facilitator: please remove the bar on comments. Thank you.

Getting Sticky Again

This weekend (Sat 24, Sun 25 January) marks my second coming at the Sticky Rice Cooking School in the beautiful Adelaide Hills.

My son Nitai, who fancies himself as a budding chef, is living with me at the moment. He’ll enjoy his last weekend of freedom (school starts next week) as my assistant at the classes.

Nitai at home:

Saturday’s class has long been filled, but there are still some vacancies in Sunday’s class.

Sticky Rice Action:

This is our menu:

‘Classics from the Subcontinent’

Fragrant, Tomato-laced Karnataka Hot & Sour Masoor Dal Soup (Rasam)

South Indian Lemon Rice with Fresh Coconut & Cashews

Grilled Homemade Panir Cheese with Cream and Spinach (Palak Panir)

Crispy Battered Potato Puffs (Aloo Vadas)

Fresh Mint Chutney

Hot & Sweet Eggplant Pickles

Mild Karnataka-style Poriyal of Cauliflower, Potato and Peas

Creamy Cardamom-infused Condensed Yogurt Dessert

with Pistachios and Saffron Syrup (Shrikhand)

saffron shrikand:

Here’s details of how you can enrol for this exciting day of culinary education, camaraderie, feasting and fun. Please come and join me at the class!

Sticky Rice Cooking School

Stirling, Adelaide Hills, South Australia

Sun 25 January 2009, Cookery Workshop

online bookings or call 08 8339 1314


Strawberries are prolific in Sydney at present. Since my store of Sabjimata’s plentiful pots of pectin-laced peccadillos is long exhausted, I’ll make some of my own.

Here’s the way I do it. Dead simple.

jam 1: Slice the berries

jam 2: Splash of water + lemon juice & cook with lid till soft

jam 3: Raw sugar is added

jam 4: Cook over full heat

jam 5: Remove when ‘just right’

jam6: Ready for cooling and storage