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Ganges Curd Upma

Cabbage, 1/2 Head
Brussel Sprouts, 8
Yam, orange, 1 Large
Peas, 1 Cup
Tomatoes, 1 Cup
Semolina, 4 Cups
Water, 7 Cups
Butter, 3/4 Pound
Coriander seeds, 2 Teaspoons
Cumin seeds, 2 Teaspoons
Red Chili flakes, 1 Teaspoon
Asofoetida, 1/2 Teaspoon
Turmeric, 1 Teaspoon
Rosemary, 1/2 Teaspoon
Cinnamon, 1/4 Teaspoon
Nutmeg, 1/8 Teaspoon
Salt, To Taste
Black Pepper, medium grind, 4 Tablespoons
Yoghurt, 4 Cups
Ghee, 2 Tablespoons
Curry leaves, fresh, 6
Coriander powder, 1 Teaspoon
Cumin powder, 1 Teaspoon
Garam Masala, 1 Teaspoon

Coarsely shred the cabbage and chop all the other vegetables into small bits. Chaunce the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, red peppers, and asofoetida. Add all the vegetables and fry until just cooked. Add 2 Tablespoons butter along with turmeric, rosemary, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook until the cabbage is done, then add all remaining butter and let melt. Next add the semolina and stir well. Should become the consistency of halvah. Stir and cook on medium heat until grains are lightly toasted, to darken a few shades.

Add warm water and bring to a boil. Add salt and black pepper (don't be shy with the pepper), then the semolina. Continue stirring until all water is absorbed, and lumps are out of the grain. Cover and set aside.

Make a chaunce with curry leaves, coriander and cumin powder and garam masala. Once spices are darkened, add to the yoghurt and blend well. Put a nicely shaped mound of upma in a small dish, pour a stream of yoghurt around the bottom, and offer.

Cracked Urad Dal

Urad dal, cracked, 2 Cups
Water, 10 Cups
Tomatoes, 2 Cups
Turmeric, 1 Teaspoon
Ginger, fresh, 1 Inch
Salt, To taste
Black Pepper, 2 Teaspoons
Cumin seeds, 2 Teaspoons
Anise seeds, 1 Teaspoon
Asofoetida, 1 Teaspoon
Red chilis, flakes, 1/2 Teaspoon

Cook the dal in the usual way, adding chopped tomatoes, turmeric, minced ginger, salt and black pepper to the water. Bring to a slow boil and cook, covered for 4 to 5 hours. Stir occasionally and add ghee or water (scant water) as needed to keep from sticking. Just before offering, make a chaunce with the remaining seeds and spices, and add to dal, mixing well.

Banana Chapatis with Orange Cardamom Butter

Whole Wheat Flour, 4 Cups
Bananas, ripe, 2
Milk, As needed
Ghee, 2 Tablespoons
Butter , 1/2 Pound
Cardamom powder, 1/2 Teaspoon
Orange juice, 1 Teaspoon
Orange zest, 2 Tablespoons

Put the flour into a mixing bowl. Mash the banana and add to bowl. Add warm milk, as needed, to the flour and banana and knead it into a dough. Add a tablespoon of ghee to the dough, and knead for 8 minutes or so, until pliant and non-sticky. Cover the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes. Make chapatis in the usual way, rolling dough into balls, heating a griddle or tawa. Roll out balls to flat chapatis, sprinkle a little flour on and re-roll and flatten as needed, because the banana makes the dough sticky. On final roll-out, brush the chapati with ghee then fry until it puffs. Take off griddle and toast over a grill for a moment, then butter and cover until ready to offer.

Cauliflower & Red Pepper Sabji

Cauliflower, 2 Large
Red Bell Peppers, 4 Large
Cream Cheese, 16 Ounces
Cilantro, 3 Bunches
Black Pepper, coarse ground, 3 Tablespoons
Ghee or Olive Oil, 1/4 Cup
Jaggery, 1/8 Cup

Clean the cauliflower and break down into large florets. Spread out on a baking sheet and coat well with ghee or olive oil (spray or brush on). Put under the broiler and turn the florets every 10 minutes or so, until all sides of the florets are toasty brown (or black-ish). In a heavy bottom pot, put 1/8 cup of water, add the cauliflower, the bell peppers cut into long strips (about ¼” thick), and two or three handfuls of chopped cilantro. Cut the cream cheese into chunks and toss on top, then sprinkle the jaggery. Cover pot and put on low heat for about 2 hours. Stir occasionally to help break the cream cheese up, but try not to break the cauliflower florets apart. Swishing the liquid around the pot, up into the sabji, will also help melt the cream cheese. This sabji can sit and slow cook with almost no attention, and the least stirring the better.

Dry Peas and Paneer in Lemon

Chenna, 1-1/2 Pounds
Milk for Chenna, 1 Gallon
Lemon Juice for Chenna, 1/2 Cup
Peas, fresh or frozen, 2 Cups
Sour Cream, 1/2 Cup
Ginger, fresh, 1 Inch
Cumin Seeds, 2 Teaspoons
Curry Leaves, 10
Turmeric, 3/4 Teaspoon
Cayenne, 1/4 Teaspoon
Coriander leaves, fresh, 3 Tablespoons
Salt, To taste
Lemons, 12

Make chenna in the usual way. Press at heavy weight for 40 minutes. Fry in ghee until crispy and golden. Set aside. Cut all the lemons in half and carefully take a small slice off the bottom so the half will sit evenly, like a cup. Using a melon baller or small sharp knife, remove all the membrane from all the halves, so they're relatively empty. Turn upside down and set aside.

Make a chaunce with the cumin seeds, then the curry leaves and brown. Add the minced ginger and brown. Add the turmeric, cayenne, and half the coriander leaves, then add the chenna and fry till fully coated, for about 5 minutes with pan covered. Add the peas and sour cream, reduce heat and cook, covered, for another 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep from sticking, and cook until all the liquid has evaporated. Stuff each lemon half full of the chenna/pea mixture, sprinkle with a little fresh coriander, and offer.

Rava Idli

Basmati Rice, parboiled, 2 Cups
Urad Dal (black gram), 1 Cup
Salt, To taste

Soak the rice and dal separately for 5 hours. Soak the rice in four cups of water, and the dal in two cups of water. Again separately, drain the dal and blend in a food processor to a fine paste, using scant water as needed. Then do the same for the rice. Now mix the two together into a blended batter. Add salt to taste, cover, and let sit in a warm spot for 8 to 12 hours, to ferment. When ready to cook, gently make balls and flatten between your hands (grease hands with ghee, if needed). Don't stir the batter, as the air trapped in it makes the idli a nice, fluffy consistency. Steam the idli in a pressure cooker without weight, or in a steamer pot, for 15 to 20 minutes and offer.

Aloo Kerala Fry

Potatoes, white or Yukon, 3 Large
Bitter Melon (kerala), 2 Medium
Ghee, 3 Tablespoons
Cayenne, 1/2 Teaspoon
Horseradish, 1 Teaspoon
Coconut, grated, 2 Tablespoons
Lime Juice, 1/2 Tablespoons
Salt, To taste
Flour, pastry, 2 to 3 Tablespoons
Ghee, For frying

Clean the seeds and membrane out of the bitter melon and slice or dice them. Salt well and let sit under weight for about 20 minutes. Wash all salt off, drain, and pat dry. Peel and boil the potatoes until they're fork soft. Mash the potatoes just to break down, and mix the bitter melon in. Add all other ingredients except the ghee for frying. Mix well, and form into patties. Put a little ghee in a frying pan and pan fry the patties until reddish-brown on both sides. Remove, drain, and offer.

Stuffed Baby White Eggplant

Baby white eggplant, 15
Almond butter, fresh ground, 4 Cups
Red Chilis, flakes, 1-1/2 Teaspoons
Basil, fresh, 2 Cups
Ginger, 3 Inches
Lemongrass, 5 Stalks
Ghee, 2 Teaspoons

Choose eggplants that are pure white, if possible, about the size and shape of a large egg. Slice in half, leaving the step cap on the top half. Using a small melon baller or spoon, scoop out a small area in the center, about the size of a unshelled walnut. Save the discarded eggplant for later use. Wash the lemongrass, and carefully peel off as many individual leaves as you can, keeping them as intact as possible. This gets difficult the close you peel down to center, but working with 5 stalks, you just need enough to have one leaf for each complete eggplant.

Heat the ghee and fry the red chilis until a little brown. Add the minced ginger and fry until crisp. Chop the fresh basil into small pieces and add, frying for just another minute until soft and flavor has released into the ghee. Remove from heat and add to the almond butter, blending in completely. Use this mixture to fill the hollow spaces in each eggplant half. Don't overfill, because you'll want to put the two pieces snugly back together. Hold two halves together (it helps if you match them up as you cut them) and wrap a band of lemongrass around the center cut tightly. Wrap the stuffed eggplant in tin foil, pressing tight to keep the lemongrass in place. Seal the foil closed, but leave the top edges accessible so the bundle is easy to open later. Stand upright in a baking dish and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 40 to 45 minutes. Don't open the foil until ready to offer.

Baigan Sarson

Mustard Greens, large leaves, 30
Eggplant, 2 Medium
Mustard seeds, 1-1/2 Teaspoons
Asofoetida, 1 Teaspoon
Cumin powder, 2 Teaspoons
Ginger powder, 1 Teaspoon
Turmeric, 1/2 Teaspoon
Salt, to taste
Black Pepper, 2 Teaspoons
Ghee, For frying

Blanche the mustard greens just enough so they're pliant to work with. Drain, pat dry, and set aside. Make a chuance with the mustard seeds until they splutter, then add the turmeric and black pepper. Finely dice the eggplant and fry in the chaunce, stirring often, until the eggplant is soft inside and crispy outside. Set aside to cool. Lay the mustard leaves out flat, dab off any extra moisture. Lightly sprinkle with ginger powder on one side only (the ‘up' side). When eggplant has cooled enough to handle, evenly distribute the eggplant mixture onto each of the leaves. Form the stuffing in a rectangular shape, then roll the leave up around the filling, tucking the corners into make as compact and sealed a bundle as possible, without tear the leaf. Use toothpicks (uncolored) to hold the bundle together. Drop into hot ghee and fry for a few minutes, turning at least once. When the leave has crisped nicely, and before the stuffing begins to escape through any cracks, remove gently with a slotted spoon and drain. Offer hot or at room temperature.

Roasted Okra Raita

Okra, fresh, 1 Pound
Chickpea Flour (Besan), 1/2 Cup
Garam Masala, 2 Teaspoons
Cayenne, 1/2 Teaspoon
Coriander powder, 3 Teaspoons
Ghee or olive oil, 3 Tablespoons
Yoghurt, 1-1/2 Cups
Cumin, roasted and ground, 1/2 Tablespoon
Salt, To taste
Black Pepper, 1 Teaspoon
Parsley, fresh, 2 Tablespoons

Cut the fresh okra into 1” pieces. Mix together the besan, garam masala, cayenne and coriander powder. Coat the okra in this spice mixture, then set on a baking sheet, spray with ghee or olive oil, and bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit until brown and crispy. Remove and let cool. Blend together the ground cumin, salt, pepper and yoghurt. Gently fold the okra into the yogurt, sprinkle with parsley, and chill until ready to offer.

Rhubarb & Dried Cherry Chutney

Rhubarb, fresh, 1 Pound
Green Apple, tart, 1
Dried Cherries, 3/4 Cup
Jaggery, 1-3/4 Cups
Jalapenos, 2
Ginger, fresh, 2 Inches
Mustard seeds, yellow, 2 Tablespoons
Salt, 2 Teaspoons
Coriander powder, 2 Teaspoons
Lemon juice, 1 Cup
Corn Syrup, light, 1/8 Cup
Asofoetida, 1/4 Teaspoon

Chop the rhubarb and apple into small pieces. In a heavy bottom pot, combine all ingredients except lemon juice and corn syrup. Heat to a slow boil then reduce to a simmer. Continue cooking, partially covered, for about 30 minutes. Add the lemon juice and corn syrup, stir well, and cook uncovered over medium-high heat for another 20 to 30 minutes, stirring often. Chutney should get thick and somewhat glazed. Remove from heat, let cool for 10 minutes, and offer.

Chida-Dadhi Pots

Clay pots (or halved small coconuts), 2 per person
Banana Leaves, As needed
Chipped Rice (chida), 8 Cups
Milk, 1 Gallon
Heavy Cream, 1 Pint
Yoghurt (dadhi), 2-1/2 Quarts (10 Cups)
Sugar, 7 Cups
Bananas, just ripe, 15
Ghee, 4 Tablespoons
Camphor, Two Pinches
Nutmeg, powder, 1/8 Teaspoon
Cinnamon, powder, 1/8 Teaspoon
Cardamom, 1/4 Teaspoon

Clay pots can be gotten at many Indian grocery stores today. Most are meant for puja, so they're not necessarily ‘food grade'. If needed, you can lightly steam banana leaves to make them pliant, then shape them so they fit nicely as liners in the clay pots. This is particularly helpful if a lot of time will elapse between arranging the chida-dadhi bowls and offering them. If clay pots aren't available, you can use small coconut shells that have been halved. Shave a little slice off the bottom so they'll sit flat.

Heat the milk in a heavy bottom pot, then add the chip rice. Let it soak just long enough to soften, but don't let it get mushy or begin to break down. Pour the pot contents through a fine sieve, separating the rice out and setting aside. Put the milk back in the pot, add the heavy cream, and continue cooking at a low boil until the volume of milk is reduced to the desired consistency (1/2 to 1/3 the original volume). When the kheer is ready, and just before offering, divide the chip rice into two portions. Blend the sugar, ground nutmeg and cinnamon well with the yoghurt. Thin slice half the bananas and fold gently into yoghurt. Add ½ the rice to yoghurt and put in pots, ready to offer. Mix the ghee, sugar, cardamom and camphor into the kheer. Thin slice the remaining bananas and gently fold into the kheer. Put in clay pots and offer.

Gunja-Mala Malpoora

Flour, self-raising, 2-1/8 Cups
Powdered Sugar, 1 Cup
Ghee, For frying
Yoghurt, 5 Cups
Sugar, 3/4 Cup
Red Raspberries, 1-1/2 Cup
Black Raspberries (or Blueberries), 1/2 Cup
Celery Stalks, 6

To make the gunja-mala garlands, carefully strip long threads off the celery stalks and set aside. The threads should be six to eight inches long, and have one end that's fairly thick or stiff. Gently wash, drain and pat dry ½ cup of each type of berry. Thread the berries onto the celery string, like beads on a necklace, alternating colors as you go. Create garlands just long enough to settle snugly around the fried Malpooras. Tie them off, or double thread one end to hold the circle.

Sift the flour and powdered sugar, and add up to 1-1/4 cups chilled water, as needed, to get a batter that's thick, but pour-able. Mix in two tablespoons of yoghurt. The batter should cling to your spoon. Set batter aside to rest for 15 minutes, covered. Heat the ghee in a wok or deep pan. Using a tablespoon, put heaping spoonfuls of batter into the hot ghee, frying until they increase in size. Gently roll over, and fry the other side for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and drain.

Puree remaining 1 cup of the Red Raspberries and force through a sieve. Set the fruit pulp aside for later use in another prep. Add the strained raspberry juice to the yoghurt, add granulated sugar and mix well. Set the fried Malpooras in a serving dish and cover with the yoghurt mixture. Gently place a berry mala on top of each, and offer.

Buttermilk in Leaf Cups

Buttermilk, 1 Pint
Banana Leaves, As needed

Chill the buttermilk. Lightly steam the banana leaves so they're pliant enough to work with. You can shape the leaf cups in various ways. One way is to make a cone shape, then reinforce the bottom to block the hole. Another way is to criss-cross several rectangular shapes to form an enclosed bottom, then wind pieces around to form the sides of the cup. Since the cup will be holding buttermilk, it needs to pretty watertight. The cups can be fairly small, holding only a few ounces of buttermilk. You can also offer/serve the cups by nestling them down into the Upma. That way, any leakage will only be a good thing. Soft, slightly damp banana leaves crimp nicely. If needed, you can finish off the cup construction with a toothpick to hold pieces together.

Lime Cooler

Limes, 60
Sugar, 1-1/2 Cup
Honey, 1-1/2 Cup
Ginger, 3 Inches
Anise, 5 Stars
Mint, fresh, Handful

Zest a dozen of the limes, and set the zest aside. Squeeze the fresh lime juice and remove all seeds and large bits of membrane. Make a small bag of clean linen or several layers of cheesecloth, and put the minced ginger, anise stars and lime zest inside. Mix the lime juice, sugar and honey together, submerge the spice bag in the liquid, and let sit for 5 or 6 hours. Remove the bag and discard (or use later in another prep). Put ¼ cup of the lime syrup in an 8 ounce glass (or less, proportionate to cup size), fill with crushed or cracked ice, and top off the glass with chilled water. Add a sprig of fresh mint on top and offer.