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Cover from "Back To Godhead", No. 32, 1970
(c) Bhaktivedanta Book Trust

Saffron Rice with Peas and Poppy Seeds

Basmati Rice, 3 Cups
Saffron, 1 large pinch
Peas, fresh or frozen, 2 Cups
Poppy Seeds, 2 Tablespoons

Make just as you would any rice. Preferably use Basmati or a similar high quality aromatic rice. Add a liberal pinch of saffron to the water and begin boiling. Boil for just a minute, then turn down to lowest temperature with lid tightly sealed. When most of the water has been absorbed, quickly toss in the peas and 2 Tablespoons of Poppy Seeds (black or blue). If using fresh peas, throw them in a little earlier so they fully cook. If using frozen peas, thaw in a little warm water prior to adding. Offer hot with ghee or butter.

Mustard-Flavored Mixed Vegetable Soup (Laphra Vyanjana)

Jalapenos, 3
Ginger, fresh, 1/2 inch
Mustard seeds, black, 1 Tablespoon
Peanuts or Cashews, blanched, unsalted, 1/4 Cup
Vegetable stock or water, 4 Cups
Turmeric, 1/2 Teaspoon
Coriander, ground, 1 Tablespoon
Jaggery or brown sugar, 1 Tablespoon
Salt, 2 Teaspoon
Sesame Oil, 1 Tablespoon
Mixed vegetables, 1 to 2 lbs.(green vegetables, incl. green beans, peas, snake gourds, broccoli, green peppers, spinach, mustard or leafy greens, etc.)
Cumin seeds, 2 Teaspoons
Black Pepper, To taste
Asofoetida, 1/4 Teaspoon
Bay Leaf, 1 large
Ghee, 2 Tablespoons
Lemon or lime juice, 1/2 Tablespoon
Parsley or coriander, fresh, 3 Tablespoons

Grind the peanuts to a fine consistency. Put in blender along with jalapenos, ginger, 1 cup of stock, turmeric, coriander, jaggery and salt. Blend to smooth consistency, then pour into large, heavy bottom pot. Add remaining stock, sesame oil and vegetables. Cook until all the vegetables are soft. Make a chaunce with ghee and remaining spices, and pour into Laphra. Before serving, adding black pepper, citrus juice and sprinkle parsley or coriander on top.

Aloo Puri

Whole Wheat Flour, 4 Cups
Cumin Seeds, 1 Teaspoon
Garam Masala, 1 Teaspoon
Coriander Powder, 2 Teaspoons
Coriander Leaves, fresh, 3 Tablespoons
Potatos, boiled and grated, 2 Medium
Asofoetida, 1/2 Teaspoon
Salt, to taste
Hot water, 1 to 2 Teaspoons
Ghee, 2 Tablespoons and for frying

Knead the flour by adding salt, cumin seeds, ghee, garam masala, asofoetida, coriander powder and chopped leaves, grated potato and hot water into a soft dough. Make small balls from the dough, then roll out into small discs. Heath the ghee in a deep pan. When ghee is hot, fry the puris one by one until they turn yellowish-brown. Remove and drain on a paper towel.

Bengali Cauliflower Bhaji

Cauliflower, 1 Large Head
Turmeric, 1/2 Teaspoon
Ghee, 4 Teaspoons
Salt, to taste
Green peas, 1/2 C
Panchpuran, 1 Teaspoon
Red chilis, Medium hot
Cumin seeds, 1 Teaspoon
Bay Leaf, 1 medium

Chop the cauliflower into small florets. Steam the cauliflower and peas, and drain well. Make a chaunce with the panchpuran, cumin, bay leaf and chilis. Add chaunce to the cauliflower, add salt, stir gently. Cover and reduce to medium heat. Saute for 4 or 5 minutes then add peas. Simmer on low until all is tender. When vegetables are desired consistency, turn the heat up to high and stir constantly until vegetables are nicely browned.

Buttered Sak

Spinach, fresh, 4 heads
Raisins, 2 Tablespoons
Coriander, powdered, 1 Teaspoon
Butter, 2 Tablespoons
Salt, to taste

Heat the butter, add the raisins and sauté until they plump and crisp. Add coriander, heat for a minute or two. Steam the spinach so it is soft but hasn't completely lost it's shape. Time the chaunce and steaming so the two can be combined just before offering. To make the dish more opulent, add a little heavy cream after the chaunce, and heat until nicely warm.

Vegetable Charchari

Radish, (daikon or mild), 1 large
Mustard Greens, 1 bunch
Cabbage Leaves (outer leaves), 8 leaves
Pumpkin, pre-steamed lightly, 1 small
Potatoes, cubed, 2 medium
Eggplant, cubed, 1 large
Tomatoes, 2 small
Mustard seeds, 1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds, 2 teaspoons
Turmeric , 1 Teaspoon
Salt, to taste
Sugar, to taste
Ghee for frying

Cut all the vegetables into cubes or strips. Heat the ghee and chaunce the mustard, cumin and chilis. Add chuance to the vegetables, salt and simmer covered until half done, stir occasionally. Next, add the turmeric and sugar, and continue cooking until vegetables are fully cooked. Add water as needed, but as scant little as possible. Once vegetables are done, keep a close watch as the last moisture on the bottom of the pot is absorbed. Just before the moisture ‘skins' on the bottom, but before it burns, take the pot off the heat. Scrape remaining skin off bottom and mix into the prep before offering.

Khaman Dhokla

Gram (Besan) flour, sifted, 1 1/2 cups
Green chillies, minced, 3
Frseh Ginger, minced, 1/2 inch piece
Tumeric powder, 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder, 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder, 1 teaspoon
Curds, 2 Tablespoons
Lemon juice, 1 teaspoon
Baking Soda, 3/4 Teaspoon
Sugar, 3 Teaspoon
Salt, to taste

Mix all the ingredients above with about 1 cup warm water to make a slightly thick batter. Heat a pressure cooker with water, or put adequate water in the bottom of a big steamer pot. When the water starts to boil, pour the batter into a wet thali or shallow pan and steam for about 15 minutes without weight. Make sure the lid is secure to keep in steam, and make sure the thali or pan with batter is either covered, or sitting high enough in the pot so water won't splash into it.

When the dhokla is cool, cut into pieces and garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves. Heat about 3/4 cup water with one teaspoon sugar. When it boils, pour over dhoklas. Let cool. The water will get absorbed and dhoklas will be moist and tasty.

Benediction Moon Samosas

White flour, 2 Cups
Salt, 1 Teaspoon
Sugar, 1/4 Teaspoon
Saffron, 1 large pinch
Ghee, 4 Tablespoons
Ice Water, 7 - 9 Tablespoons
Curd, 1 to 1 1/2 Cups
Sweet Potato, 1 med large
Turmeric, 1 Teaspoon
Ginger, minced, 1 inch
Asofoetida, 1/2 Teaspoon
Coriander powder, 2 Teaspoons
Buttermilk, 1/4 Cup

Toast the saffron in a hot pan until it's darkened several shades. Crush to a fine powder with the back of a spoon. Mix it into the ghee and let sit for a few minutes to spread the color through the ghee. To make the dough, blend the flour, salt and sugar together, add the ghee and rub it with your fingertips until fully mixed and resembling bread crumbs. Add a scant ½ cup of ice water and quickly work into the ingredients to moisten and work into a rough dough. Add tiny amounts of extra water as necessary. Work the dough until it's soft, non-sticky and pliable by kneading for 8 to 10 minutes on a clean surface. Wrap the dough ball in plastic and set aside to rest for ½ hour in a cool place.

Bake the sweet potato, remove skin and mash. Make the filling by mixing together about 1 cup soft curd (a little exta is fine), ½ cup mashed sweet potato. Make a chaunce with the turmeric, minced ginger, asofoetida, and coriander, then sauté the curd/potato mixture in the spices. Use as little ghee as possible for the chaunce. Once the filling is cooled, it should hold together in a fairly tight ball, which makes it easy to cut the ball in half, having each half retain its round shape.

Roll the dough into two logs, and cut 8 pieces off each log, to make 16 balls. Working in pairs, flatten two balls between your palms (one at a time) to get two rounds. Roll out the rounds with rolling pin to 3” rounds, as thin as possible without dough breaking when stuffed.

Take a half-round of filling (a filling ball cut in half), lay flat side down on one dough round. Brush a slight amount of buttermilk around the edge of the dough round, then place the 2nd dough round over top. Take a glass that's sized to fit just bigger than the filled round, and press down to seal the two pieces together. The seal shouldn't break through the dough, but should just be enough pressure to hold them together. Trim off the excess dough outside of the seal. You can make a few different shapes, with and without rays. For example, with a fork, press down all the way around the sealed circle to get a “moon rays” effect. Remove any bits of dough that have come loose complete. Place on baking sheet. Bake at 360 degrees for 35 minutes or so, until golden brown. About 5 minutes before they're done, take out and brush a little buttermilk on top to get a nice glazed look on the moon.

Stuffed Bitter Melon

Bitter Melons, 12 small (3" to 4")
Salt, 1/8 cup
Cashews, roasted, 1 Cup
Red chilies, flaked, 1/2 Teaspoon
Cream, 1 Teaspoon
Lime juice and zest, 1 Teaspoon each
Coriander powder, 1 teaspoon
Anise powder, 1/4 teaspoon
Cumin, roasted powder, 1 teaspoon

Choose the smallest, freshest bitter melons possible. Slice open the melons lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the spongy center and seeds (or save for later use in a sabji). Coat the melons inside and out with salt, and let sit for an hour to reduce bitterness. Rinse thoroughly, getting rid of as much salt residue as possible.

Make the stuffing by grinding the roasted cashews into a paste. Stop short of grinding to an oily butter, leaving a slightly granular consistency of nuts. Chaunce the red chilies, coriander and anise in a scant amount of ghee. Mix the chaunce, the roasted Cumin powder, the cream and lime juice and zest into the nut paste. Use this mixture to stuff the bitter melons. Use two toothpicks or skewers to hold the two parts securely together so the stuffing doesn't leak out. Bake at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Remove toothpicks before offering.

Crispy Diced Eggplant with Bitter Neem Leaves (Neem Baigan)

Eggplant, 1 Medium
Turmeric, 2 Teaspoons
Ghee, 1/2 Cup
Neem leaves or Fenugreek seeds, powdered, 1/2 Teaspoon
Lemon juice, 1 Teaspoon

Cut the eggplant into 1 inch cubes. Toss well to coat in the salt and turmeric, and let set for 15 or 20 minutes. Heat the ghee in a frying pan and fry the eggplant until crispy and browned. When nearly cooked, add the powdered Neem or Fenugreek and toss well, cooking for another minute. (Overcooking well make the preparation too bitter.) Remove from pan, spritz with fresh lemon juice, and offer.

Fresh Pineapple and Raisin Chutney (Ananas Kismish Chatni)

Red chilis, 1 whole dried
Cumin seeds, 1/2 Tablespoon
Coriander seeds, 1/2 Tablespoon
Pineapple, ripe, 1 large
Cardamom seeds, crushed, 1/2 Teaspoon
Garam Masala (cinnamon, clove), 1/2 Teaspoon
Jaggery or brown sugar, 2/3 Cup
Raisins or Currants, 1/3 Cup
Ghee, 3 Tablespoons

Peel, quarter and core the pineapple, keeping the juice. Make a chaunce with the chilis, cumin and coriander. Add the pineapple and juice, cardamom and garam masala. Bring to a gentle boil at moderate heat until fruit is tender and most liquid has been absorbed, being careful not to burn on the bottom. Add the sugar and raisins, and continue cooking on low heat until the chutney is thick and glazed. Offer at room temperature.

Green Mango Raita

Mangos, green but slightly ripening, 1 Small
Coconut, fresh or flaked, 2 Tablespoons
Jalapenos, 2
Cumin seeds, 2 Teaspoons
Yoghurt, 2 Cups
Mustard seeds, 1 Teaspoon
Asofoetida, 1/4 Teaspoon
Coriander, fresh, 1 Bunch
Curry leaves, fresh, 4 to 6

Put the mango flesh, coconut, jalapenos and 1 Teaspoon of Cumin seeds in a blender with a scant little water, and blend to a fine paste. Make a chaunce with the remaining spices and heat until seeds pop. Add curry leaves for last minute or two until they darken and crisp. Add chaunce to the raita and garnish with coriander. Offer cold or at room temperature.

Sweet Yoghurt Ambrosia (Amrita Madhura)

Yoghurt, whole milk, 2 Quarts
Black peppercorns, 8
Cardamom seeds, 1/4 Teaspoon
Cloves, 5 Whole
Fennel seeds, 1/4 Teaspoon
Rose Water, 1 Teaspoon
Butter, 4 Tablespoons
Camphor, A few crystals
Rock or Raw sugar, powdered, 1/4 Cup
Berries, fresh, 1/2 Cup

Line a colander with three thicknesses of cheesecloth, pour in the yoghurt, and tie the corners up into a bundle. Hang the bungle in the refrigerator with a piece of twine, letting the liquid whey drip out into a container. Let it hang for 24 to 36 hours, until the cheese is firm, similar to cream cheese (as for Shrikhand).

Powder all the spices, add rose water, butter and camphor and beat until mixed and fluffy. Thoroughly blend in with the yoghurt cheese and sugar. Line a mold or shaped container with a few layers of cheesecloth and pour in the Ambrosia. Let sit in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours. Toss fresh berries or other items on top and offer.

Jagannath Temple Bhat Payasa

Basmati Rice, 3/4 C
Ghee, 2 Tablespoons
Milk, whole, 2 Litres
Bay Leaf, 1/2 Leaf
Rock or Raw Sugar, ground, 1/2 Cup
Currants, 1/4 Cup
Cardamom seeds, ground, 1/2 Teaspoon
Camphor, A few crystals
Nuts, toasted, 1 Tablespoon

In a heavy bottom pot, melt the ghee (or butter) and toast the rice for a minute. Add the milk and bay leaf and bring to a boil, reducing to a simmer and stirring occasionally. Cook milk until it's reduced to one-half it's original volume. Add the sugar, currants and cardamom, and simmer until it's reduced to one-fourth the original volume, and has become thick and creamy. Add the camphor. Garnish with fresh fruit or nuts, and offer at room temperature or chilled.

Doi Anaras (Pineapple Yoghurt Cooler)

Pineapple, ripe, 1 Medium
Yoghurt, plain, 1 Cup
Mint leaves, fresh, 10 to 15
Chat Masala, 1 Teaspoon
Black Salt, A Pinch

Place the pineapple with its juice in a blender, along with the yoghurt and mint leaves, Beat until smooth and fluffy. Add the Chat Masala and Black Salt to taste. Serve over ice cubes with tiny Mint leaves on top.