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Lemon Rice

Basmati Rice, 2 Cups
Turmeric, 1 Teaspoon
Ghee, 6 Tablespoons
Cashew pieces, raw, 1 Cup
Mustard seeds, black, 2 Teaspoons
Urad dal, split, 3 Teaspoons
Lemon juice, 1-1/2 Cup
Coriander leaves, fresh, Large Handful
Coconut, shredded, 1/2 Cup
Salt, To taste

Make the rice in the usual way, adding turmeric to the water. Fry the cashew pieces in ghee until they darken a few shades, then set aside. Chaunce the mustard seeds till they splutter, add urad dal and let it darken a few shades, then add the rice and let it darken a few shades. Bring a pot with four cups water and the turmeric to a boil, and add the rice mixture. Cover and cook the rice in the usual way. When it's done, remove from heat, add the cashews, lemon juice, coconut, salt and coriander and mix well. Keep lid on until you offer. This prep is very nice warm or at room temperature.

Khatti Dal

Toovar dal (yellow lentils), 1/2 Pound
Mangos, ripe, 2
Tomatoes, 3
Curry Leaves, fresh, 6
Coriander leaves, fresh, A Handful
Turmeric, 1 Teaspoon
Cayenne, 1/2 Teaspoon
Salt, To Taste
Cumin seeds, 2 Teaspoons
Mustard seeds, 1 Teaspoon
Jalapenos, 4

Put the dal, chopped mangos and chopped tomatoes in a heavy bottom pot. Add enough water to just top the mixture. Cook at a slow boil, adding water as the moisture evaporates and the dal expands. Cook, stirring often, for about 2 hours. When nearly done, chaunce the mustard seeds until they splutter. Add the curry leaves and brown until crisp. Add the finely diced Jalapenos, turmeric and coriander leaves and fry until lightly browned. Pour chaunce into the dal and mix well.

Spicy Almond Sesame Naan

Almond, blanched, 1/2 Cup
Sesame seeds, 4 Tablespoons
Jalapenos, minced, 2 Tablespoons
Ginger, minced, 2 Tablespoons
Sugar, 1 Teaspoon
Baking Powder, 3 Teaspoons
Salt, 1 Teaspoon
Yoghurt, 5 Tablespoons
Ghee, 1-1/2 Tablespoons
Saffron, Small Pinch

Mix all the ingredients together and knead into a pliant, soft dough. Put in a plastic bag and set into a pot of warm water, and let stand for about 3 hours. Periodically re-warm the water as needed. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Divide the dough into 15 orange-sized balls. Roll each ball out into 5” rounds. Bake until slightly brown, then hold over a hot grill to make a soft crust. Butter them and wrap them in foil until ready to offer.

Methi Saag

Eggplant, 1 Small
Jalapenos, 2
Methi sag (fenugreek leaves), 2 Bunches
Tomatoes, 3 Small
Vadis, 10 to 12
Red chili flakes, 1/4 Teaspoon
Mustard seeds, 1/2 Teaspoon
Coriander leaves, fresh, Handful
Salt, To taste

Put the diced eggplant in a pan with 1/3 Cup water, lid on, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the chopped methi sag and salt, and simmer for another 10 minutes. Set aside. In another pan cook the tomato and salt with a little water until it becomes a thick paste, then add to the eggplant/sag mixture. Add the vadis (or any fried boondis or small pieces of fried curd) to the pan with a little ghee and crisp them. Add to sag mixture. Make a chance and splutter the mustard, green and red chilis. Add chaunce to the sabji, top with coriander leaves, and offer.

Fruit Dahi Vada

Urad dal (Black gram), 2 Cups
Jalapenos, 2
Ginger, minced, 2 Tablespoons
Raisins, 2 Tablespoons
Almonds, diced, 15
Dates, 5
Baking Powder, 1/4 Teaspoon
Coriander leaves, fresh, 2 Tablespoons
Salt, To taste
Cumin, roasted and ground, 1 Tablespoon
Yoghurt, thick, 1 Pint
Apple (sweet), 1/2
Pomegranite Seeds, 3 Tablespoons
Cayenne, 1/2 Teaspoon
Ghee, For frying

Soak the urad dal in water overnight, then drain. Put in a blender with scant water and grind into a fine paste. Mix in the crushed chilis, minced ginger, chopped almonds and dates, raisins and baking powder and blend well. Heat the ghee in a wok or deep pan. In medium hot ghee, drop heaping tablespoons of the mixture into the ghee, shaping a bit into rounds as you push them into ghee. Only cook a few at a time, and don't let them stick together. When fried a crisp golden brown, remove and set aside. When all are fried, soak them in water for 15 minutes, then carefully expel the excess water out of each vadi by squeezing between your palms. Mix together the remaining ingredients in the yoghurt, and place the vadis in the yoghurt bath. Let sit for 30 minutes, then offer.

Poda Pitta

Urad dal (Black Gram), 1 Pound
Rice, 2-1/4 Cups
Coconut, 2 Cups
Jaggery, 2-1/4 Cups
Salt, 2 Teaspoons
Ginger, fresh, 2 Inches
Black Pepper, medium ground, 2 Teaspoons
Ghee, 2 Teaspoons

Soak the dal and rice together for 8 hours. Drain and grind to a fine paste using scant water. Add salt and mix well, then set aside for 2 or 3 hours. Grate the coconut. Cut the ginger into very small pieces. Combine the coconut, jaggery, ginger and black pepper and mix well. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a baking pan with ghee and pour the paste into pan, spreading evenly. Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes. When the poda is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean, it's done. Cool for 10 minutes, cut into small pieces, and offer.

Coconut Singhara Columns

Flour, white, 1-1/2 Cups
Salt, 1/2 Teaspoon
Baking Powder, 1/8 Teaspoon
Ghee, 5 Tablespoons & for frying
Ice water, 5 or 6 Tablespoons
Potatoes, diced, 2-1/2 Cups
Cumin seeds, 2 Teaspoons
Asofoetida, 1/2 Teaspoon
Peas, steamed, 1/2 Cup
Coconut, shredded, 2/3 Cup
Jalapenos, 2
Ginger, fresh, 1/2 Inch
Turmeric, 1 Teaspoon
Cayenne, 1/4 Teaspoon
Salt, 1-1/2 Teaspoon
Garam Masala, 1-1/2 Teaspoon
Lemon juice, 1 Tablespoon
Sugar, 1 Teaspoon
Sour Cream, 1/2 Cup
Saffron, A pinch
Honey, 1 Tablespoon
Black Pepper, coarse grind, To taste

Mix the flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Add 3 Tablespoons of ghee and blend with fingers until it's a coarse crumb consistency. Add 5 Tablespoons of ice water and work the dough into a soft, non-stick ball. Add remaining water as needed. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes until very pliant, rub with ghee, cover with plastic and set aside for ¾ hour. (Dough can be made the day before and keep in refrigerator. Bring to room temp before assembling.)

Put ghee in a pan and fry the diced potatoes for a few minutes. Cook ¾'s through, but don't let them get golden. Remove and drain. Make a chaunce with the cumin and asofoetida. Stir in the potatoes, peas, coconut, chilis, ginger, turmeric, cayenne, salt and masala, and mix well. Cook on medium low heat for 10 minutes until dry and soft. Lightly mash the peas and potatoes, leaving some big pieces. Add the lemon juice, sugar and fresh herbs and mix in. Let mixture cool until you can handle it. Mix together the sour cream, saffron, honey and black pepper and set aside. Form the dough into 15 balls. One by one, roll out each dough ball into as squared a piece as possible. Using a sharp knife, quickly trim each piece of dough into a rectangle. Take a portion of the potato/pea filling and roll between your palms into a tube shape that's a little shorter than the long edge of the dough. Pinch the tube of filling into two pieces and lay along one edge of the dough. In the middle of these two filling pieces, put a dollop of the sour cream mixture. Quickly roll up the dough like a log. Wet your finger and run it along the outer length to help seal the column shut. Next, pinch the open ends together, sealing the stuffing into the log and using the end dough to roughly shape the top and bottom of the column. (You can also press each end down flat to get a nice affect). Finally, take a fork and gently run press the fork tongs along the length of the column to give it a ribbed look. Fry the columns in ghee at medium heat until golden, or brush them with a little ghee and bake them in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mirchi Ka Salan

Anaheim chilis (or Banana Peppers), 1/2 Pound, large, long
Basmati rice, 2 Cups cooked
Chenna, loose curds, 2 Cups
Saffron, Large Pinch
Cumin, roasted and ground, 2 Teaspoons
Jaggery, 1 Teaspoon
Cumin seeds, 1 Teaspoon
Asofoetida, 1 Teaspoon
Ginger, minced, 2 Teaspoons
Turmeric, 1/4 Teaspoon
Bay Leaf, powdered, 1 Teaspoon
Tamarind juice, thick, 1/2 Cup
Salt, to taste
Sesame seeds, 4 Teaspoons
Khas Khas (white poppy), 4 Teaspoons
Coriander seeds, 3 Teaspoons
Peanuts, 2 Tablespoons
Coconut, shredded, 1/4 Cup
Ghee, for frying

Remove most of the stem and slice the top off the chilis. Carefully reach in with a knife and remove the membrane and seeds. If you can't reach, make a cut along the length of the chili just a little way to give you better access. Wash inside and out, and gently pat dry. Heat ghee in a wok and carefully put the chilis into the ghee, frying for about 3 minutes each. Remove while they're still holding their shape nicely. Drain and set aside. Make a chaunce with the cumin seeds. When they've darkened a few shades, add the ginger and fry to lightly golden. Add the turmeric and powdered spices, coconut and peanuts, and fry well. Add the tamarind juice, salt and powdered bayleaf and simmer the mixture for 5 minutes. Roast the saffron for a few minutes until it darkens several shades, then crush into a fine powder with the back of a spoon. Add a scant little water or milk (1/8 to ¼ teaspoon) and set aside. Roast the cumin fairly dark, then grind to a fine powder. Mix the cumin, saffron and juggery together then gently fold into the soft curd, blending all but not breaking curd down too much. When peppers are cool enough to handle, stuff them full of the curd mixture and lay in a glass baking dish. Pour the tamarind gravy overtop the peppers and bake in oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 to 35 minutes, until bubbling and crispy on top.

Bitter Melon Boats

Bitter Melon (Kerala), 4 large
Salt, 1/8 Cup
Ghee, For frying
Cashews, unsalted, 1 Cup
Ginger, fresh, 1 Inch
Red Chilis, flaked, 1/2 Teaspoon
Lime juice, 1/4 Teaspoon

Cut the melons in half length-wise. Use a spoon to scoop out all the spongy center and seeds. These can be set aside for later use (e.g., fry and add to sabjis). Cut the melon halves into sliced chips, about 1” wide, and place in a large bowl. Thoroughly coat the chips in salt, put a weight on top of them, and let sit for about an hour. Thoroughly rinse off the salt and gently squeeze/pat the chips dry. This will remove some of the bitterness from the melon. Fry in ghee until they're cooked through and lightly crisped. Gently remove from ghee, drain and set aside.

To make the stuffing, roast the cashews until they've darkened a few shades. Grind to a paste in a food processor. Make a chaunce with a scant amount of ghee and fry the red pepper flakes and minced ginger. Let cool, then mix into the cashew paste along with the lime juice. When the melon chips are cool enough to handle, carefully fill each chip with the cashew stuffing, packing it down gently with your fingers. Slide a dozen filled bitter melon ‘boats' onto a long wooden skewer and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, to heat through. Offer hot from the oven. If your skewers are long (like kabob skewers), you can break them in half and make individual skewers with 3 or 4 pieces on each.

Grape Raita

Cottage Cheese, 1/2 Cup
Yoghurt, 1 Cup
Cucumber, Half
Black Grapes, seedless, 1 Cup
Banana, ripe, 1
Black Pepper, 1/2 Teaspoon
Sugar, 1 Teaspoon
Salt, To taste
Coriander leaves, fresh, 2 Teaspoons

Mix all the ingredients together. Chill for at least one hour before offering.

Hot Apple Chutney

Apples, tart, 4 Pounds
Ginger, fresh, 4 Inches
Lemon juice, 4 Cups
Jaggery, 3-1/2 Pounds
Raisins, 1-1/2 Cups
Salt, 2 Tablespoons
Cayenne, 1 Teaspoon
Chili Powder (medium hot), 5 Tablespoons
Asofoetida, 2 Teaspoons
Ginger, crystallized, 1/2 Cup

Finely mince the fresh ginger and set aside, soaking in a little of the lemon juice. Put remaining lemon juice in a heavy bottom pot with the jaggery. Cook at medium heat until it becomes a heavy syrup. Add the ginger/lemon mix, raisins, salt, and spices. Bring to a rolling boil. Finely dice the apples (skins on) and add to pot, cooking uncovered until the applies are soft and dark. During last half hour, add the finely diced crystallized ginger. Stir occasionally to be sure there's no sticking. If sticking occurs, add a little butter. When done, remove from heat, cover and leave overnight.

Lord Nrsimha's Claws

Cream Cheese, 8 Ounces
Confectioner's Sugar, 1 Cup
Almond extract, 1/2 Teaspoon
Currants, 1/2 Cup
Coconut, shredded, 1 Cup
Almonds, toasted and ground, 1 Cup
Apricot, dried, 6
Red and Black Cherries, dried, 10 each

Cream together the cream cheese, confectioner's sugar and almond extract. Mix in the currants. Put the mixture in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill. Shape the chilled mixture into hands/paws of whatever size you wish. Toast the coconut to several shades of brown and set aside to cool. Do the same with the almonds, separate. Carefully coat the milksweets in the coconut, pressing down so it sticks well. Next, do the same step with the almonds. Using a sharp knife, cut out shapes from the dried apricots like long, sharp nails. Stick them into the sweets. Put half a red cherry round-side up in the center of the sweet. Black cherries can also be used to decorate. Keep chilled until time to offer.

Fried Garland Sweets

Flour, white, 2 Cups
Rice Flour, 1-1/2 Tablespoons
Baking Powder, 1/4 Teaspoon
Yoghurt, 2 Tablespoons
Saffron, powdered, 1/2 Teaspoon
Pandan extract (thick), 1 Teaspoon
Sugar, 3 Cups
Rose Water, 1-1/2 Tablespoons
Ghee, For frying

Garland sweets are made just like Jalebis, with one additional step. Begin by mixing together the two flours and baking powder. Add the yoghurt, 1-1/4 cups warm water, and half the powdered saffron. Cover and set aside in a warm spot for 24 hours so the batter will ferment. When you're ready to assemble, make a sugar syrup in a heavy bottom pot by combining the sugar, remaining saffron, and 2-2/3 cups water. Boil and stir to completely dissolve sugar, for about 15 minutes total. Remove from heat and add rosewater.

Heat the ghee in a wok or large flat pan (preferably the latter). Set aside one cup of the batter, and mix the pandan extract into it, stirring to blend. (Nice to have a little variation in color in batter.) Pour the green batter into whatever squeeze device you like (a piping bag, squeeze bottle, etc.). Pour the remaining golden batter into another squeeze bag. Working in pairs with another dexterous cook (hopefully someone familiar with ghee frying!), have one person squeeze out the golden batter into a relatively circular shape, rather than the usual looped circles of jalebis. Following very quickly behind, the second person should squeeze out small ‘flowers' with the green batter, spaced periodically around the garland. Work quickly so the green batter can adhere to the golden batter before the ghee has fried it too much. Best to get a single garland done completely, then start on a second. Fry each garland for 30 seconds, until you can see that the flowers have welded onto the garland, then gently slip over and fry for another 30 seconds. Quickly and gently remove the garlands and drop them into the syrup, pushing down so all surfaces are covered. Soak for 15 to 20 seconds then remove and set on rack to drain.

If you want to get really creative, increase the colors of flowers by making a little extra batter in different colors. Each person could work two-handed, holding two squeeze bags with different colors. You'll need to make slight adjustments to the batter for texture depending on the substance you use for different colors.

Makhana Kheer Laksmi

Milk, 6 Cups
Heavy Cream, 1 Cup
Makhana (lotus seeds), 4 Cups
Sugar, 1 Cup
Ghee, 2 Tablespoons
Dates, chopped, 2 Tablespoons
Cardamom, powdered, 3/4 Teaspoon

Fry the makhana in ghee until it's get reddish brown, then aside. In a heavy bottom pot, bring the milk to a slow boil, reducing it by half its volume. Add the makhana and cool until the kheer becomes the desired thickness. (Thin enough for a beverage, but thick enough to be opulent.) Reduce the heat and add the sugar, a little at a time, stirring until it's all dissolved. Add the dates, mix in gently, and allow to cool. Just before offering, mix in the chilled cream and cardamom.