The Vegetarian Way

The Key to Health and Happiness         

Poppy Seed

Gujarati: KhusKhus; Hindi: Kaskash
Description: Tiny white seeds of the poppy plant are cultivated for its quality to be used as a spice or as opium In Europe the seeds which are cultivated for the purpose of opium are grayish blue in color and known as �Maw Seeds.�
Uses: Poppy seeds are used as one of the ingredients in various cooking and as toppings for breads, buns, rolls and cookies.  The young poppy plant is sometimes eaten like lettuce, In Iran it is grown at home in pots and is good for cattle feed. The opium poppy is used as a sedative, or for intoxicating drink.  It has a morphine property which is successfully used in medicines.


Gujarati: Kesar; Hindi: Zaffran, Kesar
Description:  Saffron, popularly called� Vegetable Gold,� consists opf dry, orangecolored stigmas of crocus Sativus plant having attractive purple flowers.  The flowers are picked every morning before noon, cleaned and stigmas and style separated and then dried.  The stigmas are called saffron.  This process involves a lot opf time, labor and the yield is small.  Time is probably the reason for the high price of saffron.
Uses:  The stigmas are the dried orange-colored condiment used in rice, breads and cookies.  It is also used as coloring, flavoring agent.  Its sweet heavenly aromatic fragrance is fit for exotic dishe3s and delicacies.  Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine in India use saffron as a stimulant, for creating heat and warmth in the body and for helping urinary problems.

Indian Cassia Lignea

Gujarati: Tamala patra: Hindi: Tejpat
Description: A moderate-sized evergreen tree, whose leaves are ready for harvesting when the tree is 10 years old.  The tree continues to bear the leaves for 100 years.  Cassia and cinnamon are very similar when ground into powder.  Both are the dried inner layers opf branches of evergreen tropical; trees.  But cassia is considered to be inferior top cinnamon.  Indian cassia lignea are the leaves of the cassia bark tree.
Uses: The leaves are used as a spice as the Europeans use bay leaves in cooking.  The are carminative and are also used in diarrhea.  The leaves are aromatic and have a very close fragrance top cinnamon.


Gujarati: Haldar; Hindi: Haldi
Description: Turmeric is the dried underground swollen stem of zingiberaceous plant.  It is one of the most ancient and important spices of Indian as it is used extensively by all.  Its attractive yellow color is due to curcuma pigmentation.  The powder of turmeric is derived after the stem is boiled, drained, dried in the sun, cleaned, polished and then pounded into powder.
Uses: Culinary art would be incomplete without the use of turmeric in preparation of various dishes.  Turmeric is a unique plant product, having the attributes of a spice of flavorant, a colorful yellow dye, a cosmetic, and a medicine.  It is very popularly used in Indian medicine as a blood-purifier and a skin cleanser, as an antiseptic,. A carminative and is very good for sore throats due to cough and cold.  It is regarded as very sacred in Hindu marriage ceremonies.


Gujarati: vanilla; Hindi: Vanilla
Description: Vanilla was first introduced into India around the 18 the century.  Vanilla pods or beans are fruits of climbing orchid.  The best quality of Vanilla pods are the one�s which are dark brown in color with sweet aroma and without mildew and spots.
Uses: vanilla is very popularly used as food flavorant and in perfumes.  Chocolates, cookies, cakes,. Ice creams, drinks and candies would taste bland and dull without vanilla.  Vanilla extract is widely used in every home.  So it is the most wanted flavorant among the cooks.  But it has no medicinal properties except masking odor of cough syrups and vitamins.

Onion and Garlic

           Onion and garlic has since long been recognized all over the world as a valuable condiment for food and a popular remedy for various ailments.  In India, China and Egypt it has gained popularity as a folk medicine for over thousands of years.

            According to the Unani and Ayurveda (science of life) systems, onion is considered to have antiseptic properties and useful in flatulence, dysentery, cold and fever.  It is used raw, cooked, baked or boiled.

            On the other hand,. Gralic is carminative and aids in digestion and absorption of food.  It is also very popular in the world of medicine, because of its antibiotic element called �allin�.  Its healing property and effectiveness against cholera have been noticed since the 17th Century.  Influence of antibiotic property of gralic on malignant tumors has been found useful.  Garlic juice is used for various ailments of the stomach and as ear drops in ear-ache.  In cooking it is used extensively for flavoring vegetables, salads, soups, beans, rice and many, many more dishes.

          Thus there appears to be a fundamental basis for the use of onion and garlic as medicine and for its utilization as food ingredients.

         It is interesting to note here,. What Dr. J. S. Pruthi, the first Director of Agmark Laboratories, ministry of Food and Agriculture, has to say about garlic, �because of its highly curative properties, it has been described as derived from Amrita or Ambrosia.  The later prejudice against the use of garlic in India, particularly among the Brahmins, appears to have originated from its popularity with the foreign invaders.  The prejudice became so intense, that not only socio-religious writers like Manu deprecated its use, but also the authors of medicine like Kashyapa discouraged it.  The recent scientific evidence about its several highly curative properties clearly shows, that the old prejudice was not justified.�

          Onion and garlic are not mentioned in the recipes, because some religious traditions and beliefs do not use them, and some people avoid them because of its strong flavor.  But from the health point of view they have their benefits as we have seen above.

      Those who like onions and garlic in their cooking can use them in the following recipes:

Dals and Soups

Mung Dal Delight                          Onion

Lentils                                            Onion

Five Lentil Mix                              Onion and garlic, grind into paste

Masala Lentils                                Onion and garlic, grind into paste

Spicy Carrot Soup                          Onion, blend w/carrots in electric blender

Spinach Soup                                 Onion blend w/spinach in electric blender

Five-Lentil Soup                            Onion and garlic     

Vegetable Dishes

Sauteed Eggplant with

     Green Peas                                 Onion and garlic

Spiced Zucchini with Tomatoes      Onion

Cabbage and Chana Dal Delight     Onion and garlic

Vegetable Koorma                           Onion

Spinach with Yogurt                        Onion

Snow Peas                                        Onion

Baked Eggplant                               Onion and garlic

Potato Peas Masala                          Onion and garlic, grind into paste

Sweet N sour Vegetable                  Onion


Mushroom Rice                               Onion

Dal and Rice with Vegetables         Onion

Cream of wheat with

   Vegetables and Spices                  Onion

Chick-Pea Pullav                             Onion

Savories and Snacks

Vegetable Fritters                            Onion

Bean Sprout and Cabbage

     Pastries                                        Onion

Pressed Rice with Potatoes              Onion

Cabbage-Cheese Toast                     Onion
Notes on Ingredients
         Certain ingredients listed in this book are unique to Indian cooking.  These are described separately for the benefit of those not familiar with them.  They are available in Indian and American grocery stores all over the country.

         Agar Agar: It is a gelatin-like product of a sea vegetable used for solidifying certain culture media or used as thickening agent for puddings and custards.  It has a natural jelling ability so it is good for recipes that all for jelling or gelatin.  It is a perfect alternative to commercial; Jell-O or gelatin made with animal products.  Agar-Agar is also called �Kanten� or �chinese gelatin� or �china grass.�

          It is available in bars, flakes or powder.  The instructions on the package tell us how to use it.  This delicious gelatin that can be prepared with fruit juices and pieces of fruit is a non-violent alternative.

         Carob Powder: It is made from carob-pods which are roasted and ground to produce a cocoa-like substance.  Carob powder is a chocolate-like powder, sweeter than cocoa and has a pleasant flavor.  Due to its caffeine-free quality, it is good for children as well as adults.  It is the best substitute for chocolate for those who are allergic to chocolates.

         Chick-Pea Flour: Also known as �chana no loat� or �besan.� A good source of protein.  In India, garbanzo beans or chickpeas are known as chana.  When the chana is ground into flour, it is called Besan.  This flour is used in the preparation of Indian sweet dishes, pastries, pancakes, snacks and in many vegetable dishes.  Its nutty flavor makes any dull dish a delight.

          Jaggery, Gur: King of brown sugars, Jaggery is made from unrefined palm sugar and gur is made from unrefined cane sugar, and available in the form of bars and sometimes in large lumps.  It is preferable to white sugar in many dishes.  As it is not sold in powder or granulated form it is hard to measure it like the ordinary white sugar.  As it is less sweet, one has to use one�s own judgement and discretion when adjusting the quantities called for in the recipes using white sugar.

          Curry:  Many people get mixed up with �curry� and �curry powder� available in many Indian groceries.  Curry is a kind of gravy made from yogurt, cream, coconut milk and ground spices.  When vegetables are added to the sauce it is called vegetable curry and sometimes instead of vegetable paneer is used and it is called paneer curry.  Curry powder is the mixture of the ground spices, the spice proportions varying according to region of origin, and is an ingredient of the curry dish.

           Masala:  Garam Masala: Mixture of different spices. The term �garam� means hot or sharp and spicy,�masala� means spices.  It is used to pep up the food,. Or add an extra flavor to dishes.  There are many different recipes of garam masala varying from one province to another.  The recipe in this book comes from a small; town of Gujarat State called Mangrol.
Garam Masala:     �  tablespoon ground cloves

                             2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

                             2 tablespoons ground coriander

                             � tablespoon ground white pepper

                             1 tablespoon ground cardamom

                             2 tablespoons ground cumin

Mix all the spices together well.  Store in an airtight container to preserve freshness.  Use as needed.

        Green Masala: The following is a recipe for green masala which can be hot and is used to add zip to vegetable dishes:

Green Masala:     12 fresh green chillies, cut into 1� pieces (or

                             Substitute 4 green banana peppers for not flavor

                             Or 4 sweet banana peppers for milder flavor)

1       3-inch piece of ginger, scraped and chopped

                             1 teaspoon salt

                             1 Teaspoon lemon juice

                             1 teaspoon water

Put all above ingredients into a coffee grinder or blender and grind into a coarse paste.  �Green Masala� is now ready and can be stored in a tightly sealed glass container in the refrigerator for 15-20 days.

Milk Masala:     2 teaspoons ground cardamom

                         20 almonds

                         � teaspoon ground nutmeg

                                   15 pistachio nuts

                         � teaspoon ground saffron

Put everything into a coffee grinder and make into a coarse powder.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Tea Masala: (Chai Masala)

                             2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

                             1 teaspoon ground cardamom

                             � teaspoon ground ginger

                             � teaspoon ground white pepper

                             1 teaspoon nutmeg

Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly and store in an airtight glass container.

            Panch Puran: This is another version of whole gram masala which can be prepared in quantities and stored in airtight containers and used as required.  This combination is strong flavored and can be overpowering due to the mustard and fennel.

Panch Puran:        2 tablespoons yellow mustard seed

                             1-tablespoon cumin seeds

                             1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds

                             2 tablespoons fennel seeds

                             1 tablespoon black cumin seeds (kalonji)

Mix all the above ingredients together and store in an airtight jar.

          Paneer:  Also known as china or Indian cottage cheese.  Its high content of protein increases its nutritional value.  Paneer, when pressed, is very much like tofu or soya bean curd which can be substituted for paneer in many dishes.  Paneer is the outcome of curdled milk.  It is used in many sweet dishes, in snacks and combined with vegetables.

Paneer or Chhenna (soft cheese): 4 cups milk

                                                   Juice of 1 lemon

1.     In a pot, bring the milk to a boil.  Lower the heat and add the lemon juice, stirring occasionally.  The milk will separate into cheese (paneer) and whey.

2.     Tun off the heat and let the milk stand for 15 minutes,. Covered.  This will allow the milk to curdle completely and allow the paneer to separate from the whey. 

3.     Now, line a large strainer with two layers of cheesecloth and rest the strainer in a bowl; to collect the whey.  Put the curdled milk in the strainer.  The whey will pass through the strainer and the paneer will be collected in the cheesecloth.  Cover the paneer with the ends of the cheesecloth and put some weight on it.  Leave this for 2 to 3 hours.

4.     Empty the paneer from the cheesecloth and place in a bowl.  Knead the paneer with your palm until smooth and manageable.  If you want to make cubes of paneer, do not knead to paneer.

It the paneer is not to be used immediately put in a container and refrigerates it.  It will keep for 3 days.  Use the whey in dals or soups.

            Dahi : Also known as curd or yogurt.  Yogurt is a wholesome food, fortified with calcium,. Protein and riboflavin and widely used both by rich and poor.  In India, yogurt is considered to be one of the nectars of the earth.  Long life and yogurt have long been associated and it is said that it was used even before the vedas (considered to be the oldest scriptures in India) were written.  Yogurt, therefore has been used for centuries.  Considered to be a �miracle� food, it is used by Indians in religious ceremonies; as a medicine for curing stomach ailments as the effect of yogurt bacteria on the digestive system is found to be very beneficial; and as cosmetic for facial cleansing.  The versatility of yogurt in cooking is amazing.  It can be used in desserts, dips, breads, soups, rice, salads, and vegetable dishes.

         In this book there are several recipes using yogurt and instructions on how to make delicious yogurt at home is also included below.   Once you learn how top make your own yogurt,. You will never buy from the supermarket.  In India, every housewife makes her own yogurt daily thus sharing with her family the joy of eating fresh, home-made yogurt every day.  Let your family, too, be a part of this joy.

               Yogurt:                 1-quart whole Milk

                                            2 tablespoons plain yogurt

1.     Boil the milk in a saucepan over low heat,. Stirring occasionally to avoid sticking at the bottom.  Remove from the heat and let sit cool until it is lukewarm.

2.     With a fork, spread the yogurt smoothly on the bottom of a small bowl.  Add � cup of warm milk to the yogurt and mix well until; smooth.

3.     Add this yogurt/milk mixture to the remaining milk.  Mix thoroughly and empty the mixture into a glass vessel or individual glass bowls and cover.  Let it stand in a warm place for 5 to 6 hours.

Serves 4 to 6 people.

           Note: do not disturb the mixture during incubation period.  After the desired time, gently shake mixture to see if it is set like jelly.  If not firm, let it stand for one hour more and check again.  Refrigerate as soon as it is set.  Remember to take out 2 tablespoons of yogurt to be used as a �starter� culture for the next batch.  The culture keeps for two weeks in the refrigerator.

          Ghee :   When butter is heated to allow the water content in it to evaporate and milk solids to settle down, what remains is clarified butter called �ghee.� Ghee is used extensively in Indian cuisine on chappatis, in vegetables, dals and all the Indian sweets.  Ghee is used in many Hindu religious ceremonies.  It can be purchased in the market and made at home.  The homemade ghee has a sweet fragrance and fresh smell to it.  Ghee made from homemade butter is even more delicious.  Once you are used to homemade you will not think of using the commercial product ever again.

           Makkan:  This is homemade butter which is white and unsalted.  Market butter is available for the last 50 to 60 years.  Previously, each house would make their own butter to eat with Indian breads.  The leftover butter was eventually turned into ghee.  When children ate this fresh, unadulterated butter and ghee, naturally they were big, healthy and strong.

              Papads or Papadums:  (Lentil Four Crispy Wafers).  Papads are everybody�s favorites-popular among both grown-ups as well as children. Any festive lunch or dinner is incomplete without papads.  A party without papad is like food without salt!

              The taste of papads varies as you travel in India, from the North to the south, from East to West and depends on whether they are made from Udad or mug dals or whether rice, Potato or sago flour or millet is used.

             Available in packages and in several; varieties in Indian grocery stores,. They can be either toasted over an open fire or,. As is most often the case, deep fried in oil.  It is easy to fry them. The oil should be hot, the papads should then be immersed into the hot oil one at a time and left their just long enough top attain a golden color.  Remove it immediately with tongs, holding it against the sides of the pan so as to allow the oil to drain completely and drop back into the pan.  Do not brown them.  Place on paper towels while you prepare the rest of the papads one by one.

            Papads are to Indians what potato chips are top Westerners!

Beginner�s Basics

          It is imperative that the meaning of the various cooking terms in the recipes be made clear.  A few of these terms generally used are described below to help you follow the recipes successfully and efficiently.  Once a person becomes familiar with the methods, much of the effort of cooking is eliminated and then it becomes easy and fast.

          Boiling: cooking food at boiling point in sufficient liquid to cover.  Food is said to be boiling when the top of the liquid is covered with bubbles.

         Baking: cooking food in the dry heat of an oven.  This method is used in cooking savories, cookies, cakes, pies and vegetables, etc.

         Blanching: means putting food in boiling water for a few minutes top remove skin, e.g., pistachios, almonds, tomatoes, etc.

         Frying: cooking food in fat.  When one fries food in small quantity of fat it is called shallow frying and when one fries food in a large quantity of fat it is called deep frying.  Here the term fat means vegetable fat, ghee (clarified butter) or oil.

         Pressure-cooking: in very practical and is the method popularly used in India for rice, beans and lentils.  Food is cooked in a special pot where the combination of high temperatures and regulated pressure greatly reduces the cooking time and, in the case of beans, lentils and dry peas, eliminates the presoak step.  Time method locks in the preserves the vitamins and preserves the vitamins and nutritional; value of the foods.

          Sauteing: to fry very lightly and slowly in a small quantity of oil, butter or ghee.  Tomatoes, green and red peppers, zucchini and cauliflower are some of the vegetables that can be prepared in this manner.

         Simmering: cooking on low heat after it is brought to the boil; once.  It is generally used to cook rice, soups, puddings and stews.  Some vegetable dishes also require simmering.

         Soaking:  to 1 cup of dry beans ad 3 to 4 cups hot water.  Boil for 2 minutes, then set aside for one hour and then cook; OR let stand in 3 to 4 cups of cold water overnight.  Then cook.

         Steaming: Cooking food in a double boiler especially designed for this purpose. A double boiler has two vessels.  The food to be steamed is put into a smaller, covered vessel containing boiling water.  The double boiler is then placed on the fire.  The food is cooked in the steam that arises from the boiling water.  Nowadays, you can even buy a steam basket which is placed in a vessel full of boiling water.  Idlis, dhokalas and vegetables are cooked in this way.

           Stewing: cooking pulses, vegetables, etc., in just sufficient liquid so that the food cooks in its own juices.  This is done slowly so that the flavors of the foods and spices mingle together in an aromatic fragrance.  In this method the food becomes tender while retaining some of the gray.  Fruit stews are made in this way in sugar syrup.

             Toasting: cooking spices, seeds and some Indian bread over dry heat until it is brown and crisp.


Liquid Measures and Volumes:

3 tsp          = 1 Tablespoon            1 Tbsp       =1/2  fluid ounce (oz)

4 Tbsp       = � cup                       2 Tbsp        = 1 fluid oz

5 1/3 Tbsp = 1/3 cup                    4 Tbsp          = 2 fluid oz

8 Tbsp       = � cup                       8 Tbsp         = 4 fluid oz

16 Tbsp      = 1 cup                      16 Tbsp        = 8 fluid oz or 1 cup

4 ups          = 1 quart

2 quart        = � gallon

4 quart        = 1 gallon


4 oz             = � pound

8 oz             = � pound

12 oz           = � pound

16 oz           = 1 pound


Metric Equivalents:

1 tsp            = 5 grams             1 oz             = 28 grams

1 Tbsp         = 15 grams           1 � oz         = 50 grams

2 Tbsp         = 30 grams            3 � oz         = 100 grams

                                                8 oz              = 227 grams

                                                1 pound        = 45 kilograms

1 oz             = 30 milliliters

1 cup           = 236 milliliters

1 cup           = 24 liter

1 quart         = 96 liter

4 � cups      = 1 liter