Govinda! Part One

Another successful cookery class took place yesterday at Govinda’s Restaurant in Darlinghurst, Sydney. Here’s our crew all poised and ready for action.

Govinda's June Class:

One of the highlights of the day was cooking chapatis. These delectable, warm comfort food breads were wrapped around lashings of matar panir, lemon rice, toor dal with sweet potato and okra, spinach and yogurt raita, and a fiery “too hot to bear but too sweet to resist” apple chutney.


More photos taken by students are expected to arrive in my email in-box today, so I’ll share them with you soon. In the meantime, here’s the recipe for chapatis.

Tender Griddle-baked Wholewheat Flatbreads (Chapatis)

Chapatis are one of India’s most popular breads. They are enjoyed especially in the northern and central regions of India. They are partially cooked on a hot griddle and finished over an open-heat source. Chapatis are made from special wholemeal flour called atta, available from Indian grocers. If unavailable, substitute sifted wholemeal flour. You can spread melted butter or ghee on the chapatis after they are cooked.

Chapatis are usually served at lunch or dinner and are great whether served with a 5-course dinner or just with a simple dal and salad. Makes 12 chapatis.

2 cups sifted atta flour

½ teaspoon salt (optional)


extra flour for dusting

melted butter or ghee for serving

Combine the chapati flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add up to 2/3 cup of water, slowly pouring in just enough to form a soft, kneadable dough. Turn the dough onto a clean working surface and knead for about 8 minutes or until silky-smooth. Cover with an overturned bowl and leave for ½ – 3 hours.

Knead the dough again for 1 minute. Divide the dough into 1 dozen portions. Roll them into smooth balls and cover with a damp cloth.

Preheat a griddle or non-stick heavy frying pan over moderately low heat for 3 – 4 minutes. Flatten a ball of dough, dredge it in flour, and carefully roll out the ball into a thin, perfectly even, smooth disk of dough about 15 cm (6 inches) in diameter.

Pick up the chapati and slap it between your hands to remove the excess flour. Slip it onto the hot plate, avoiding any wrinkles. Cook for about 1 minute on the first side. The top of the chapati should start to show small bubbles. Turn the chapati over with tongs. Cook it until small brown spots appear on the underside (about minute).

Turn on a gas jet, pick up the chapati with your tongs, and hold it about 5 cm (2 inches) over the flame. It will swell into a puffy balloon. Continue to cook the chapati until it is speckled with black flecks. Place the cooked chapati in a bowl or basket, cover with a clean tea towel or cloth, and continue cooking the rest of the chapatis.

Serve: when they’re all cooked and stacked, you might like to butter them. Serve chapatis hot for best results or cover and keep warm in a preheated warm oven for up to ½ hour.

Turmeric, Dementia and Much, Much More

After thousands of years of use, scientists are just figuring out (duh!) some of the well-known glories of turmeric, as this article touches on.

glorious turmeric:

BBC News: Weekly curry ‘may fight dementia’

“The key ingredient appears to be turmeric. Eating a curry once or twice a week could help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, a US researcher suggests.

The key ingredient is curcumin, a component of the spice turmeric. Curcumin appears to prevent the spread of amyloid protein plaques – thought to cause dementia – in the brain….” Read the whole BBC article…

root and powder:

More on turmeric…

Turmeric tea and more…

Even more on turmeric…

But wait, there’s still more…

Drinking Water

Prabhupada drinks water:

I’ve just completed a special “nirjala” (no food or even water) fast since Tuesday evening. This special austerity comes once a year on the Ekadasi day (11th day after the full-moon) falling in this lunar month. My 12-year-old son Nitai insisted on joining me for the fast, despite having school sport yesterday afternoon. He refused to be talked out of it, and he completed the fast with me. Water sure tasted good this morning!

My Guru, Srila Prabhupada (pictured above) would drink quite a bit of water for health and
digestion. He would never actually touch the water vessel to his lips, instead slightly tipping the cup and his head, allowing the water to pour into his mouth in a steady stream. His movements and gestures while drinking water were always strikingly aristocratic.

He would make many comments about the subject, often as his disciples and followers sat with him in his room watching him drink water.

Ravindra-svarupa recalls: “One of the first times I was in Srila Prabhupada’s
presence I saw him drink water from a lota. It was
amazing because I had never seen anything done with
such precision. It was a small thing, a tiny gesture,
but there was something unique about it. I realized
that anyone who could drink a glass of water like that
was not an ordinary person.

Later on, as I would have
more association with Srila Prabhupada, I would see
that happening more and more. He would do something
and just do it very carefully. Most people do ordinary
things carelessly without thinking about them, yet
somehow or other he always acted with full
deliberation. It was, I guess, just a side effect of
being Krsna conscious.”

One of his many instructions on the subject of water was to never draw his drinking water from a bathroom!
One disciple, Pradyumna, asked how it is actually different if the water comes from
the bathroom, provided one doesn’t know where the water comes from.
Prabhupada replied that it would affect the mind, even if you didn’t know
where the water came from, because the bathroom is a contaminated place.

Kirra Beach Class

Here’s the crew of last Saturday’s culinary event held in the penthouse apartment of our gracious host Faye, (top row, second-from-right).

Kurma Krew at Kirra:

We had a great time, with magnificent 360-degree views of the ocean, beaches, and other lovely sub-tropical things.


Guilty as Charged

The Judge:

My old friend Ben from Bendigo wrote me a letter:

“Mr.K, can you update your recipe of the week more often? I really look forward to it and often challenge myself to make it. One my favourite recipes would have to be the Mung Bean and Tomato Soup, and Palak Panir. Kind regards from Mr. Ben.”

How do you Plead?: Due to circumstances beyond my control, I haven’t updated the two recipe pages (Recipe of the Week and Vegan Recipe of the Week) for one month.

The verdict: Guilty as charged.

The repurcussions: Thou shalt publish those two pages weekly, without cessation.

Yes, Your Honour.

A Joke from Mars

I laughed out loud with this one. If you don’t live in Melbourne, or at least anywhere in Australia, this will be like a joke from Mars.


“Eddie McGuire flies to Baghdad to watch a young Iraqi play aussie rules football and
is suitably impressed and arranges for him to come over to Collingwood.
He’s signed to a one-year contract and the kid joins the team for the

Two weeks later the magpies are down by 6 goals to Carlton with only 10
minutes left. The coach gives the young Iraqi the nod and he goes in. The
kid is a sensation – kicks 7 goals in 10 minutes and wins the game for the

The fans are thrilled, the players and coaches are delighted, and the media
are in love with the new star.

When the player comes off the ground he phones his mum to tell her about
his first day of AFL.

‘Hello mum, guess what?’ he says. ‘I played for 10 minutes today, we were 6
goals down, but I kicked 7 goals and we won. Everybody loves me, the fans,
the media…

‘Wonderful,’ says his mum, ‘Let me tell you about my day. Your father got
shot in the street and robbed, your sister and I were ambushed, raped and
beaten, and your brother has joined a gang of looters, and all the while you
were having such a great time.’

The young Iraqi is very upset. ‘What can I say mum, I’m so sorry.’

‘Sorry? You’re sorry?’ says his mum, ‘It’s your fault we moved to
Collingwood in the first place!'”