Herbed Bread Rolls

Herbed Bread Rolls

In this recipe, small bun-sized pieces of herbed and yeasted dough are arranged in a quiche pan or shallow cake tin fairly close together, then baked. They come to the table joined together in a singular circular cluster, and diners can break off a roll as desired.

Preparation time: about 30 minutes

Dough resting time: First rise: 1 hour Second rise: 30 minutes

Baking time: 30-35 minutes

Makes 18 rolls

1 teaspoon dried yeast

about 1¼ cups warm water

1 teaspoon sugar

3 cups plain unbleached bread flour

1 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons oil

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced

1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves, minced

2 teaspoons fresh basil leaves, chopped

½ teaspoon yellow asafetida powder

poppy seeds, sesame seeds, fine oatmeal or dried herbs for topping


Combine the yeast, a few teaspoons of warm water, and the sugar in a small bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes, or until the mixture is frothy.

Whisk together the flour and salt.

Add the oil, herbs and yellow asafetida powder to the frothy yeast mixture.

Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the yeast mixture. Add three-quarters of the warm water, and mix. Add enough of the remaining water, if required, to make a soft but non-sticky dough. Knead the dough for 5-8 minutes.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for one hour, or until doubled in bulk.

Punch down the dough and divide into 18 even-sized pieces. Shape them by rolling them around under cupped hands on a floured board or marble slab, then arrange them fairly close together in a lightly oiled, 25cm (10-inch) quiche pan or round, shallow baking dish. Keep in mind that the rolls will approximately double in size.

Allow the rolls to rise again for about 30 minutes. Spray with water and sprinkle with poppy seeds, sesame, fine oatmeal or dried herbs.

Pre-heat the oven to 220C/430F and bake the rolls for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped on the base. Serve as described.

Russia High Court Dismisses Appeal on Gita Ban

21 March 2012

Russia court dismisses appeal on Hindu book ban


A Russian court has dismissed an appeal to ban an edition of the Hindu holy
book Bhagavad Gita, in a case that triggered protests in India.

In December, a court in the Siberian city of Tomsk had rejected a plea by
prosecutors to rule the edition “extremist”. That would put it in the same
category as Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

Prosecutors had filed an appeal in the higher court against the decision.

The edition – Bhagavad Gita As It Is – is used by the Hare Krishna movement.

“The court in the Siberian city of Tomsk has dismissed the plea,” Sadhu
Priya Das of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)
told the Press Trust of India news agency.

The higher court in Tomsk “kept the verdict of the lower court intact,” Mr
Das said. The Russian foreign ministry had said it was the commentary on the text, not the text itself, that was under scrutiny.

The controversial commentary on the text was written by A C Bhaktivedanta
Swami Prabhupada
, the founder of the movement. Hare Krishna followers in Russia saw the case as part of efforts by the Russian Orthodox Church to restrict their activities.

The Bhagavad Gita, one of the most popular texts for Hindus, takes the form
of a conversation between the god Krishna and prince Arjuna.

Last year Indian MPs demanded the government protect Hindu rights in Russia,
shouting: “We will not tolerate an insult to Lord Krishna.”

Chickpeas in Karhi Sauce

This is a quick version of a succulent North Indian dish that my spiritual master Srila Prabhupada taught his young disciple Yamuna Devi (my cookery guru) in 1966. Yamuna went on to become one of the world’s foremost authorities on vegetarian cuisine. Serves 4.


Prabhupada’s Chickpeas in Golden Karhi Sauce

1 bay leaf,

one small piece cinnamon stick,

2 whole cardamom pods,

5 tablespoons sifted chickpea flour,

2½ cups water,

2 cups yogurt or buttermilk,

¾ teaspoon turmeric,

2 teaspoons coriander powder,

1 teaspoon salt,

10 fresh curry leaves,

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander,

3 cups cooked chickpeas.


2 tablespoons ghee,

2 teaspoons cumin seeds,

2 small dried red chilies.

Dry-roast the bay leaf, cinnamon and cardamom in a frying pan over moderate heat for 3 minutes, or until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and reduce to a powder.

Whisk the chickpea flour in a bowl with a few tablespoons of the water to form a smooth batter. Gradually whisk in the rest of the water, the yogurt, turmeric, coriander powder, salt, curry leaves, half the fresh coriander, and the dry roasted spice powder.

Heat the mixture, stirring often, in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat. When it boils, reduce the heat slightly, and simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Add the chickpeas, and simmer for another 2 minutes.

Season: heat the ghee in a small saucepan over moderate heat. When fairly hot, drop in the cumin seeds and dried chili, and fry until the cumin seeds turn a rich brown colour. Pour the seasonings into the karhi, fold in the remaining fresh coriander.

Serve the chickpeas in karhi piping hot, accompanied with freshly cooked rice.

(Photo is from ‘Lisa’s Vegetarian Kitchen’)

Farewell Old Friend

My dear wonderful old friend Nrsimhadeva left the stage last night, and moved on to something even bigger and better. Thanks Nrsimha for your decades of selfless service, your superb company, and your memorable man hugs.

Nrisimhadeva Dasa:

titiksava karunika suhrida sarva-dehinam,

ajata-satrava santa sadhava sadhu-bhusanah.

“He who is tolerant, compassionate, a friend of all and enemy of none; he remains engrossed in the thought of Krishna and remains verily a man of highest character, a sadhu.” (Srimad Bhagavatam, 3.25.21)