Big Cooks

G from New York wrote:


“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.
Posted by Kurma on 5/10/09; 11:57:46 AM

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