Peace Meals

(Vegetarian Recipes)

These recipes have been carefully selected by Poly Styrene and X-Ray Spex from The Hare Krishna Book of Vegetarian Cooking by Adiraja dasa. (ISKCON, 10 Soho Street,. London W1.)


Boiled rice, dal and spinach

1 1/2 cups (250g) medium or long-grain rice
1 1/4 cups (250g) mung dal, split-peas
or whole mung beans
quarter cup (50g) butter or ghee
3 bay leaves
1 tbs chopped ginger
2 cloves
2 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
8 oz (225g) fresh spinach, washed, stemmed and finely chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped

Wash the dal and rice, soak them for 1 hour, and let them drain.

Heat the butter or ghee in a heavy saucepan, add the bay leaves, chopped ginger, and cloves, then add the drained rice and dal. Fry for about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring well, until the butter has been absorbed. Stir in enough water to cover the grains by 2 inches (5cm). Add the salt, turmeric and nutmeg, stir, and boil for 1 minute. Cover lightly and start to cook over medium-low heat.

Lower the heat gradually as the grains absorb the water. Cook slowly for about 30 minutes, checking from time to time to ensure that the mixture is always covered with a little water, (if necessary, add a few tablespoons). Then gently stir in the chopped spinach and tomatoes and cover again. Continue cooking for another 15 minutes, or until the grains are well cooked but the mixture is still quite moist. Mix well before serving.

Soaking time: 1 hr
Preparation and cooking time: 1hr


Whole-wheat flatbread

Chapatis, the daily bread of millions of Indians, are cooked first on a dry hotplate, then held directly over a flame, where they swell with steam to the point of bursting.

2 1/2 cups (250g) atta or
sifted whole-wheat flour
2/3 cup (150g) lukewarm water
1/2 tsp salt
2 or 3 tbs melted butter

Combine the flour and the salt in a large salad bowl. Slowly add water, gathering the flour together as you do so, until soft, moist dough is formed. Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes until it is smooth and firm. Spri nkle the ball of dough with water, cover it with a damp cloth, and set it aside for half an hour to two hours.

When the dough is ready, place a tava or a heavy cast-iron griddle over a medium heat. With moistened hands, knead the dough again, then shape into 15 equal-sized patties, Dip them into flour and roll them out thin and even on a floured board. Make the m as round as possible and about 5 and half inches (14cm) across. Keep some plain whole-wheat flour on the side to dust the chapatis as you roll them.

Knock the excess flour off a chapati with a few slaps between the hands and place it on a griddle. (You can cook several at a time if the size of your griddle allows.) When small white blisters appear on the surface of the chapati and the edges begin to tun up, turn it over with a pair of flat tongs and cook the other side until the surface bulges with air pockets. Lift the chapati and toast both sides over a direct flame for a few seconds until it puffs up like a ball. A finished chapati should be co oked completely (no wet spots) and should be freckled with brown spots on both sides. Press air out and brush one surface with melted butter.

You can also cook a chapati on electric heat. Let it stay on the griddle. Turn it over as many times as it takes for both sides to cook, then gently press the top of the chapati all over with a soft cloth, and the chapati will swell. Serve the chapatis s oon after cooking or wrap them in a cloth.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Standing time: 30 minutes to 2 hours
Rolling and cooking time 2 to 3 minutes for each chapati.


Cucumber and yogurt salad

1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 medium-sized cucumbers
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) plain yoghurt
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 pinches of asafetida (optional)

Dry roast the cumin seeds and grind them into a powder. Wash the cucumbers and grate them through the large holes of a metal grater. Squeeze out the excess liquid and combine the grated cucumber with all the other ingredients in a mixing bowl. Toss. Serve chilled.

Preparation time: 15 min.


Thick flavoured yogurt

This delicate sweet, an easy-to-prepare guaranteed success, is the perfect dessert with puris, at room tempeature or chilled. For an extra treat, put it in dessert bowls and freeze it.

6 cups (1.4l) plain yogurt (or thick yogurt)
1/2 cup (75g) honey
1/4 tsp powdered saffron or 5 saffron strands

Hang the yogurt in two layers of cheesecloth over a bowl to catch the drippings. Allow to drain overnight, or for at least 5 hours. Then scrape it into a bowl. The drained yogurt should be thick, half its original volume. Add the honey and saffron strand s to the yogurt. Beat with a whisk. If you are using saffron strands, steep them in a little rose-water before adding to the drained yogurt.

You may also flavour your shrikhand with half a cup (50g) of crushed red berries, crushed pistachio nuts, a few drops of rose-water or ghee, or a teaspoon of finely grated rind of orange or lemon.

Draining time: overnight or at least 5 hrs
Preparation time: 10 min

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