The Poodle, the Leopard and the Monkey

don't mess with cuddles:

A wealthy old lady decides to go on a photo safari in Africa, taking
her faithful aged poodle named Cuddles along for the company.

One day the poodle starts chasing butterflies and before long,
Cuddles discovers that he’s lost. Wandering about, he notices a
leopard heading
rapidly in his direction with the intention of having lunch.

The old poodle thinks, ‘Oh, oh! I’m in deep doo-doo now!’ Noticing
some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settles down to
chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat. Just as the
leopard is about to leap the old poodle exclaims loudly, ‘Boy, that
was one delicious leopard! I wonder if there are any more around here?’

Hearing this, the young leopard halts his attack in mid-strike, a
look of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees.
‘Whew!’ says the leopard, ‘That was close! That old poodle nearly had me!’

Meanwhile, a monkey who had been watching the whole scene from a
nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade
it for protection from the leopard. So off he goes, but the old
poodle sees him heading after the leopard with great speed, and
figures that something must be up. The monkey soon catches up with
the leopard, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the leopard.

The young leopard is furious at being made a fool of and says,
‘Here, monkey, hop on my back and see what’s going to happen to that
conniving canine!

Now, the old poodle sees the leopard coming with the monkey on his
back and thinks, ‘What am I going to do now?’, but instead of
running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers,
pretending he hasn’t seen them yet, and just when they get close
enough to hear, the old poodle says,

‘Where’s that damn monkey? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me
another leopard!

Big Cooks

G from New York wrote:

world's biggest pot:

“We have been enjoying your cookbook for many years. We are starting to cook
for a group of about 45 people now and we need to know how to properly convert
your recipes and also those of other Krishna cooks to large quantities. We
realize this is not just a matter of multiplication ! Please advise. With very great thanks, G.”

My reply:

Hello G, thanks for your letter. This is a big subject. Here’s what I wrote to an enquiree who asked me the same question recently (also from New York, incidently).

My experience is:

Rice – as you multiply the quantities, reduce the water. There are no exact quantities because it depends on the rice you are using, and the size and shape of the pots. Other than the reducing water phenomena, spices, salt, and ghee/oil should be multiplied exactly.

Subji/vegetable dishes – from my experience, if it is a dry subji, everything is multiplied out – the veg, the spices, the ghee/oil. If it is a wet subji, everything is multiplied out except the spices, which are reduced. The wetter the prep, the more the spices do their thing efficiently. See soup.

Soups – everything multiplies out – the water, the dal/beans/veg, but the spices do not. The longer the prep cooks, and the wetter it is, like a long slow dal, the less spices you need. Example: back in my old Gopals Restaurant days, an associate multiplied a veg soup from Yamuna Devi’s cookbook, trying to convert the recipe to serve 400.

The original was for 4, so he multiplied everything by 100. Quantity was right, vegetable quantities were right, but the spicing… what the *&^$#!!!! He put in 200 cloves (original had 2!) and 200 bay leaves (original had 2!). We tried marketing it as Cream of Bay Leaf and Clove Soup, but we could not serve it out. Get the drift? Severely cut back the spices.

I am publishing this exchange on my blog. If there are any Big Cooks out there, let me know your experiences.

Beef – Fatal Flaws

Interviews, and government and corporate records obtained by The New York
show why eating ground beef is a gamble. Neither the system meant to
make the meat safe, nor the meat itself, is what consumers have been led to

unhappy meal:

E. Coli Path Shows Flaws in Ground Beef Inspection

New York Times, October 3, 2009

Stephanie Smith, a children

Backblog # 4 – Alkaline Foods

alkaline foods:

J writes:

“Dear Kurma, I have enjoyed your recipes over the years. My sister and I are
recently diagnosed with Breast Cancer. We are young with children. We were told
to follow a mostly alkaline diet to prevent recurrence of the cancer. Do you
have an acid/alkaline food list? Thankyou for your great recipes and have a
nice day. Sincerely, J.”

My reply:

Hello J, Here’s a brief list:

Ranked Foods: Alkaline to Acidic

Extremely Alkaline

Lemons, Watermelon (yes, citrus fruits have an alkaline effect on the body)


Alkaline Forming

Cantaloupe, Cayenne, Celery, Dates, Figs, Kelp, Limes, Mango, Melons, Papaya, Parsley, Seaweeds, Seedless Grapes (sweet), Watercress
Asparagus, Fruit Juices, Grapes (sweet), Kiwifruit, Passionfruit, Pears (sweet), Pineapple, Raisins, Umeboshi Plums, Vegetable Juices


Moderately Alkaline

Apples (sweet), Alfalfa Sprouts, Apricots, Avocados, Bananas (ripe), Currants, Dates, Figs (fresh), Garlic, Grapefruit, Grapes (less sweet), Guavas, Herbs (leafy green), Lettuce (leafy green), Nectarine, Peaches (sweet), Pears (less sweet), Peas (fresh, sweet), Pumpkin (sweet), Sea Salt (vegetable)

Apples (sour), Beans (fresh, green), Beets, Bell Peppers, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carob, Cauliflower, Ginger (fresh), Grapes (sour), Lettuce (pale green), Oranges, Peaches (less sweet), Peas (less sweet), Potatoes (with skin), Pumpkin (less sweet), Raspberries, Strawberries, Squash, Sweet Corn (fresh), Turnip, Vinegar (apple cider)


Slightly Alkaline

Almonds, Artichokes (Jerusalem), Brussel Sprouts, Cherries, Coconut (fresh), Cucumbers, Eggplant, Honey (raw), Leeks, Mushrooms, Okra, Olives (ripe), Onions, Pickles (homemade), Radishes, Sea Salt, Spices, Tomatoes (sweet), Vinegar (sweet brown rice)

Chestnuts (dry, roasted), Egg Yolks (soft cooked), Essene Bread, Goat’s Milk and Whey (raw), Mayonnaise (homemade), Olive Oil, Sesame Seeds (whole), Soy Beans (dry), Soy Cheese, Soy Milk, Sprouted Grains, Tofu, Tomatoes (less sweet), Yeast (nutritional flakes)



Butter (fresh, unsalted), Cream (fresh, raw), Cow’s Milk and Whey (raw), Margarine, Oils (except olive), Yogurt (plain)


Moderately Acidic

Bananas (green), Barley (rye), Blueberries, Bran, Butter, Cereals (unrefined), Cheeses, Crackers (unrefined rye, rice and wheat), Cranberries, Dried Beans (mung, adzuki, pinto, kidney, garbanzo), Dry Coconut, Egg Whites, Eggs Whole (cooked hard), Fructose, Goat’s Milk (homogenized), Honey (pasteurized), Ketchup, Maple Syrup (unprocessed), Milk (homogenized), Molasses (unsulferd and organic), Most Nuts, Mustard, Oats (rye, organic), Olives (pickled), Pasta (whole grain), Pastry (whole grain and honey), Plums, Popcorn (with salt and/or butter), Potatoes, Prunes, Rice (basmati and brown), Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower), Soy Sauce, Wheat Bread (sprouted organic)


Extremely Acidic

Artificial Sweeteners, Beef, Beer, Breads, Brown Sugar, Carbonated Soft Drinks, Cereals (refined), Chocolate, Cigarettes and Tobacco, Coffee, Cream of Wheat (unrefined), Custard (with white sugar), Deer, Drugs, Fish, Flour (white wheat), Fruit Juices with Sugar, Jams, Jellies, Lamb, Liquor, Maple Syrup (processed), Molasses (sulphured), Pasta (white), Pastries and Cakes from White Flour, Pickles (commercial), Pork, Poultry, Seafood, Sugar (white), Table Salt (refined and iodized), Tea (black), White Bread, White Vinegar (processed), Whole Wheat Foods, Wine, Yogurt (sweetened)

Much more information:


And here…

And if you do a Google search on alkaline foods, you’ll get loads of links.

Wishing you all success in beating your cancer, and a long and healthy life.”

Backblog # 3 – Wounded Planet


“A reduction in beef and other meat consumption is the most
potent single act you can take to halt the destruction of our
environment and preserve our natural resources. Our choices do
matter. What’s healthiest for each of us personally is also healthiest
for the life support system of our precious, but wounded,

John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America, and President,
EarthSave Foundation, Santa Cruz, California

Backblog # 1 Wooden Versus Plastic Cutting Boards


Now here’s a topic that’s always on my mind in the kitchen. The debate was once again sparked yesterday.

Tony Ng from Melbourne sent me a letter:

“My chef friends and I have been arguing over what is safer to use – wooden or plastic cutting boards. What do you use Kurma?”

My reply: Hello Tony! I always use wooden cutting boards. I detest plastic. I searched my old files and found a news item from 10 years ago. Then I looked up the topic on the internet. It seems that there has been a debate for quite a while over this, but the plastic lobby seems to have won.

10 years ago research leaned towards wood. In essence, it was found that over 99% of bacteria died on wooden cutting boards, whereas the bacteria actually multiplied on the plastic boards.


For the tests, researchers purposely contaminated wood and plastic boards with common bacteria that cause food poisoning – salmonella, listeria, and escherichia coli.

They tested boards made from seven types of wood and four types of plastic, and at different temperatures and humidity levels.

Although their premise had always been that plastic was safer, to their astonishment they discovered that over 99% of all the bacteria on the wooden boards disappeared after only 3 minutes. In the same time, none of the bacteria on the plastic boards disappeared.


Over the years of teaching and cooking in professional kitchens around the world I have noticed that now – almost exclusively – only plastic boards are used. Many powerful chemical cleaning products are on tap, and I can’t help wondering if the plastic and chemical companies have finally been successful in convincing the kitchen managements in their favour.

the woods:

These days, if you look this topic up on the internet, off-the-record personal opinions still seem to quietly favour wood, but big ‘movers and shakers’ like the US Food and Drug Administration have wooed many around the world back to plastic. But I am not convinced, and will never use plastic as my board of choice.

Here’s some dialogue on the subject…