Chick-Pea Salad

1 cup uncooked chick-peas or                            1 tsp salt

  2 20 ounce cans of chick-peas                          1 tsp chopped coriander (opt)

1 carrot, chopped into small bits               � tsp cayenne (opt.)

1 tomato, chopped small                                     2 Tblsp oil

1 tsp fresh roasted cumin seeds                          2 tsp lemon juice

1.     Soak and cook the chick-peas in water.  Drain and set aside.  (If using canned chick-peas, drain and wash quickly under running water.)

2.     Roast cumin seeds in a dry pan on low heat, till they are slightly browned and exude a pleasant, pungent aroma.  Then grind them in a coffee grinder or crush them into a coarse powder with a mortar and pestle or the back of a spoon.

3.     Chop the carrots and tomatoes.

4.     Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.  If you make this salad ahead of time and allow it to marinate  a few hours, it gets even better.

                                                              Serves 4-6

Cucumber-Apple Salad

1 cup shredded carrots                                       1 Tblsp finely chopped coriander

1 cup diced cucumber                                2 tsp lemon juice

1 cup peeled, diced apple                                    Salt and pepper to taste


1.     Chop vegetables and fruit.

2.     Mix together fruit,. Vegetables, lemon juice and chopped coriander, in a serving bowl.

3.     Chill briefly in the refrigerator.

4.     Just before serving, and salt and pepper to taste.

                                               Serves 4-6

Cabbage-Pineapple Salad

(Kobi-nanas nu raitu)

1 � cups plain yogurt                                1 cup grated carrots

1 cup crushed pineapple                                      Salt to taste

  (fresh or canned)                                               � cup chopped walnuts

1 cup shredded cabbage                                      � cup black raisins


1.     In a large bowl, whisk the yogurt until; creamy.

2.     If using canned pineapple, drain it well.

3.     To the whipped yogurt, add the pineapple (drained, if necessary) and the remaining ingredients and mix well.

4.     Chill for at least an hour before serving.  Very refreshing and cooling in the summer.

                                                                    Serves 4-6

Carrot Salad

(Vagharela gajar)

4 cups finely shredded or                                    1/8 tsp hing

  grated carrots                                          � tsp salt

2 tsp sesame oil                                          2 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp black mustard seeds     

1.     Prepare the carrots and set aside.

2.     Heat oil in a saucepan and when it is almost smoking add mustard seeds. Cook about 15 seconds and add carrots.  Sprinkle with hing, salt, lemon juice and fresh coriander.  Stir to coat shredded carrots.  Cook briefly, stirring until heated through.  Remove from heat.

3.     Empty the mixture into a salad bowl and set aside until ready to serve.

                                                Serves 4-6

Yogurt-Carrot Salad

(Gajar nu raitu)

4 cups shredded carrots                                      Salt to taste

1 Tblsp oil                                                  2 cups plain yogurt

1 tsp mustard seeds                                   2 tsp finely chopped

1/8 tsp hing                                                  coriander leaves


1.     Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds.  As soon as seeds start popping,. Add the hing.

2.     Add the carrots, salt and yogurt to the oil.  Stir mixture while the pan is still on low heat.  Turn off the heat.

3.     Put the carrot-yogurt mixture into a serving bowl.  Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and chill.

                                                     Serves 4-6

Banana Yogurt

(Kela nu raitu)

3 cups yogurt                                             1 Tblsp brown sugar

3 medium ripe bananas                             Salt to taste

� tsp mustard powder


1.     Beat the yogurt in a bowl.  Add mustard powder, sugar and salt and stir well.

2.     Slice the bananas into � inch thick rounds.

3.     Add the bananas to the yogurt.  Mix well the serve.

                                             Serves 6-8


To substitute prepared mustard for dry mustard, use 3 times as much prepared mustard.

Banana-Cucumber Yogurt

(kela kakadi nu raitu)

2 ripe bananas, mashed                                      � Tblsp brown sugar

� cup yogurt                                              � tsp salt

2 Tblsp shredded cucumber                       � tsp mustard powder

1.     Mix all ingredients together.  Chill and serve.

                                                     Serves 6-8

Cucumber Raita

(Kakadi nu raitu)

2 cups yogurt                                             � tsp cayenne (optional)

6 small cucumbers                                               Salt and peper to taste

1 tsp freshly roasted                                  Chopped coriander leaves

  cumin seeds                                                for garnish (optional)

1.     In a good sized bowl, whip yogurt with a whisk.

2.     Peel; cucumbers in stripes, alternating peeled sections with unreeled.  This preserves nutrients and adds some color to the raita.  Grate the cucumbers.  (waxed cucumbers must be completely peeled.)

3.     Roast cumin seeds in a dry pan on low heat.  Then crush them into a coarse powder with a mortar and pestle or the back of a spoon.

4.     Mix yogurt, spices and cucumber in a serving bowl, garnish with chopped coriander leaves.  Chill the raita before serving.  (Once the cucumbers have been added, it should not be allowed to sit outside very long as the cucumbers will give up their juices and thin the raita).

                                                 Serves 6-8

Tomato Raita

3 cups yogurt                                             3 tsp udad dal

2 Tblsp oil                                                  4-5 curry leaves (optional)

5 medium firm tomatoes,                           Salt to taste

  chopped finely                                          1 Tblsp fresh coriander leaves

� cup dry shredded coconut                      Dash of hing (optional)

1 tsp mustard seeds

1.     Beat yogurt in a bowl.  Add tomatoes, coconut and salt.

2.     Heat oil in a pan.  Add mustard seeds and udad dal and as soon as it begins to crackle (just prior to popping), add the curry leaves and hing (optional) spoon this mixture into the yogurt/tomato/coconut mixture in bowl.  Mix well and serve garnished with coriander leaves.

                                                    Serves 4-6

Potato Raita

(Bateta nu raitu)

2 med. Potatoes, boiled                                       2 tsp ground cumin

2 cups yogurt                                             3 Tblsp chop. Coriander leaves

1/8 tsp chilli powder (optional)                           Salt to taste

1.     Beat the yogurt in a bowl until soft and cream.  Add salt, chilli powder and ground cumin.

2.     Peel and chop the potatoes into small cubes.

3.     Add the potatoes to yogurt mixture.

4.     Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.  Chill in the refrigerator.

                                                Serves 4-6


4 cups homemade yogurt                           � tsp salt


1.         Line a large strainer with two layers of muslin or cheesecloth and place strainer over a 4-5 inch deep pan.

2.         Place yogurt in the strainer.

3.         Cover pan and refrigerate for 8 hours to allow the water to drain into the pan.

4.         Remove yoga-cheese from the strainer and put it into a glass bowl.  Add salt and mix well.

5.         Cover glass bowls with plastic wrap and refrigerates.

6.         The excess water can be used in soups.

Note: This cheese keeps for a couple of weeks.  It tastes like cream cheese and is delicious on rackers.  It can also he used as a dip, in pies, etc.

Variation: Add fresh herbs and choice of spices, e.g., cumin, paprika, caraway seeds, or fresh basil.

                                               Serves 6-8

Coconut-Coriander Raita

(Nariyal-kothmir nu raitu)

1 cup freshly grated coconut                     Salt to taste

1 cup finely chopped                                  � cup golden raisins or

  coriander leaves                                                � cup fresh pomegranate seeds

1 cup thick plain yogurt

1.     Put all ingredients in a serving bowl and mix well.

2.     Chill in the refrigerator before serving.

                                                     Serves 4-6

Kohlrabi Salad

2 small kohlrabi                                         1 tsp brown sugar

� tsp cumin seeds                                                Salt to taste

� tsp hing                                                   1 green chilli,

1 Tblsp chopped                                          finely chopped (optional)

  coriander leaves                                                1 Tblsp lemon juice

1.     Peel the kohlrabi and slice into paper thin 1 inch squares.

2.     In a dish, put sliced kohlrabi and all the spies.  Mix thoroughly and allow salad to stand for 2 hours.

                                                Serves 4-6

Mixed Vegetable Salad


1 small grated beet                                    1 large tomato chopped fine

1 small grated carrot                                 1 Tblsp oil

1 small grated cucumber                                     1 Tblsp gr. Coriander-cumin

� cup shredded cabbage                                     � tsp hing

1 med.  Green capsicum                                      Salt to taste

    chopped fine

1.     Mix all vegetables together in bowl.

2.     Add oil and spices and toss well.

                                                       Serves 4-6

Sprouted Mung � Bean Salad

1 cup mung-bean sprouts                                    1 cucumber, chopped small

1 cup alpha-alpha sprouts                                   Salt and pepper top taste

1 tomato, chopped fine


Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and chill.

                                                         Serves 4-6

Carrot � Raisin Raita

1 cup grated carrot                                    1 tsp sugar

� cup black raisins                                    1 tsp lemon

2 Tblsp salad oil                                        Salt to taste

� tsp mustard powder

Mix all ingredients together in a serving bowl and chill.

                                                     Serves 4-6

Grape Raita

 2 cups green and red grapes                     1 tsp sugar

  chopped in small pieces                                     � tsp ground cumin

1 Tblsp mint chopped fine                         Salt to taste

2 cups whipped yogurt

Put grapes in a serving bowl, add all ingredients.  Mix well and chill in the refrigerator.

                                                              Serves 4-6

Spinach Raita

(Palak Raitu)

2 cups spinach, chopped fine                     � cup whipped yogurt

1 cup cabbage, chopped fine                     2 tsp oil

� cup grated carrot                                   � tsp mustard seeds

� cup mint, chopped fine                                    Salt to taste

1.     Heat oil in a pan.  Add mustard seeds.  As soon as it begins to crackle, add all the vegetables.

2.     Cook briefly, stirring until heated through.

3.     Add yogurt and salt, and mix well.

4.     Chill and serve.

                                                       Serves 4

Health Salad

1 head of lettuce                                        � cup cream

1 capsicum, chopped fine                                    1 tsp lemon juice

1 apple, chopped small                              Salt, peper and sugar to taste

3 cucumbers, chopped small

2 grated carrots

1.     Wash lettuce and separate leaves.  Arrange around a plate.

2.     Combine cream, salt, peper,. Sugar and lemon juice.  Add this to the chopped and grated vegetables and fruit.

3.     Place this mixture in the center of the lettuce leaves.

4.     Chill and serve.

                                            Serves 4-6

Sweet Dishes

          One of the foods loved by all is sweets and desserts, served at the time of feast festivals and special occasions.  It is an age- old practice to share sweets and cakes with family, relatives and friend to express joy and happiness in festive celebrations.  In India, as it is in other countries, festival time is fun time- sweet time!

          In India, in olden days, sweet dishes were prepared only on special occasions and festivals-to mark the day.  As every dish had to be prepared from scratch, cooks had to be especially careful to have every ingredient at home.  Women of the town got together to help each other in the making of the sweets.  They shared their time and talent endlessly, with each other.  Singing folk songs while working made their task easy and faster.  It was a time of intimacy and joy.

           The sweets in this section are chosen from all the regions of India.  The ones make u of milk and paneer are generally Bengali sweets.  Today they are among the most popular all over India.

          Most of the Indian sweets, called �Mithi� in the Indian language, are made with refined sugar, but to maintain the nutritional value of the sweets I have tried to substitute maple syrup, brown sugar or gur wherever possible.  Sweets can be kept for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator, but crisp sweets like peanut brittle can be kept outside in an airtight jar for a couple of days.

          The recipes chosen for this section are relatively easy to make, and the ingredients easily available on any grocery store.

         Sweets  are served along with the meals to balance the spicy and sour taste of the dals and vegetables.  Unlike the Western countries, Indians eat their sweets along with the meals, so as top enjoy all the tastes of the food at one time.  Exceptions top the rule are ice-creams and kulfis (Indian ice-cream) which are served after the meals.

          You can enliven your holidays with these delicious sweets and treat your family with new and different tastes and flavors.

Green Goddess Dessert

(Vatana no dudhpak)

1 quart whole milk                                     1 medium apple, cut into

2 cups fresh or  frozen peas                       small pieces

2 cups water                                                        � cup sugar

1 medium banana, cut into                        1 tsp rose essence or

  small pieces                                              � tsp ground cardamom

                                                                   � tsp ground nutmeg

1.     Bring 2 ups of water to a boil and add peas.  Cook till soft and tender; drain.  Set aside to cool.

2.     In a blender, puree the cooked peas with 2 cups milk and empty into a serving bowl.  Add remaining milk to puree.  Add sugar, rose essence and chopped fruit.  Mix until sugar is dissolved.

3.     Serve in small bowls, well chilled.

                                                 Serves 4-6

Carrot Halwa

(Gajar no halwo)

3 � cups grated carrots                                      � cup slivered almonds

3 1/3 cups milk                                             and pistachios

1 can condensed milk                                2 tsp ground cardamom

2 Tblsp ghee


1.     In  a non-stick pan, bring to a boil the grated carrots and milk.

2.     Lower heat.  Add condensed milk and cook until all the milk is evaporated and mixture becomes dry (about 25-30 minutes), stirring frequently.

3.     Add ghee and ground cardamom.  Stir well.  Cook for 10 minutes.

4.     Garnish with slivered almonds and pistachio and serve.

Variation: Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

                                                   Serves 4-6

Saffron  Flavored Sweet Yogurt Dish

(Shri Khand)

12 cups yogurt                                           1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp saffron strands,                                 � cup slivered, unfrosted,

  loosely packed                                           unsalted pistachio nuts

� tsp water                                                          1 tsp ground cardamom

1 cup sugar

1.     Line a large colander with a double thickness of cheesecloth.  Scrape yogurt into cheesecloth.  Cover and let drain about five hours.  The yogurt will give up a good deal of liquid and will thicken as it drains.

2.     Discard the drained liquid.  Empty the firm yogurt into a large mixing bowl.

3.     Blend saffron and water in a small mortar.  Blend to a paste with a pestle.

4.     To the yogurt add saffron, sugar and � tsp nutmeg and cardamom. Blend thoroughly.

5.     Cut the pistachios into thin slivers.  Add half of them to yogurt. Mix well.

6.     Use remaining pistachio slivers and nutmeg as garnish on top.  Chill and serve in individual bowls.

                                                                 Serves 8-12

Saffron Flavored Yogurt with Fruits and Nuts

(Shri Khand)

4 cups plain yogurt                                    5 Tblsp sugar

1 cup mixed fresh fruits,                                      9-10 strand saffron

  chopped (apples, bananas,                      � tsp ground nutmeg

  grapes, pineapple, oranges,                     2 Tblsp slivered pistachio nuts

  strawberries)                                           2 Tblsp slivered almonds

1.     Drain yogurt in a cheesecloth three layers thick or in a piece of muslin cloth.  Let yogurt drain for 5 hours.

2.     Grind saffron in a mortar with a pestle with 2 or 3 drops water to make a paste.

3.     Add sugar,. Saffron, nutmeg and 1 Tblsp pistachios and 1 Tblsp almonds to yogurt and mix well.

4.     Add chopped fruits and stir gently to mix well.  Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

5.     Serve in individual bowls, garnished with remaining pistachios and almonds.

                                                           Serves 4-6

Simple Halva


1 cup ream of wheat                                  15-16 strands saffron

� cup sweet (unsalted) butter                    3 Tblsp golden raisins

1 � cups water                                           1 tsp ground cardamom

� cup brown sugar                                              � tsp ground nutmeg

4 Tblsp slivered almonds

1.     In a mortar with pestle, make a paste of saffron with 3 to 4 drops water. 

2.     On low heat, heat butter in a pan and roast cream of wheat in butter until it is light brown (approximately 6-8 minutes).

3.     Add water, 2 Tblsp almonds, saffron and raisins and stir carefully with wooden spatula until all the water is absorbed by the cream of wheat.

4.     Add sugar.  Continue stirring until all the sugar is dissolved.

5.     Add ground cardamom and nutmeg.  The mixture will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and become like a big lump.

6.     Empty it into a glass bowl; garnish with remaining slivered almonds.  Serve warm or cold.

                                                Serves 4-6

Cheese Squares in Milksauce

(Ras malai)

2 cups (15 oz.) ricotta cheese                    3 Tblsp milk masala

8 Tblsp maple syrup or sugar                             5 fresh strawberries

1 � cups milk                                             � tsp rose essence or water

1 � pint light cream

1.     Mix ricotta cheese with 3 Tblsp maple syrup or sugar and rose essence.

2.     Spread mixture in a greased 8-inch square cake pan.  Bake in a preheated 3000F oven until slightly brown.  Remove from oven, let cheese cool before putting it in the freezer to chill.  When cheese hardens, cut into 1-inch squares.

3.     In a saucepan, add milk 5 Tblsp syrup or sugar, milk masala and bring to a boil.  Turn off heat.  Add cream.  Allow sauce to cool, chill in the refrigerator.

4.     Serve Cheese squares floating in the sauce in individual bowls.  Garnish with this slices of strawberries.

                                Yields approximately 64 squares.

Vermicelli Pudding


4 cups milk                                                 1 tsp ground cardamom

1 cup very thin whole                                 � tsp ground nutmeg

  wheat vermicelli                                                � tsp saffron powder

8 Tblsp sugar                                             1 can (11 oz.) Mandarin oranges

1.     Bring milk to a boil in a pan, stirring constantly.

2.     Add sugar, cardamom, nutmeg and saffron, let it cook for 2-3 minutes over low heat.

3.     Break vermicelli into 1-inch pieces, add to the milk and let cook for 10 minutes, stirring gently occasionally.

4.     Turn off heat and let it cool.  Then refrigerate for 4-5 hours.

5.     Cur the orange segments in half.  Serve the dudhpak topped with some orange segments in individual bowls.

                                                                Serves 6-8

Baked Pineapple-Cheese Squares

1 small can of pineapple chunks               � cup sugar

Pinch of ground nutmeg                                      1 tsp ground cardamom

1 � cups paneer                                         Pinch of saffron powder

1.     In a 9-inch pie dish, arrange pineapple chunks to cover the bottom.  Sprinkle ground nutmeg over it.

2.     In a blender, blend the rest of the ingredients for a few seconds.  Pour this mixture over the pineapple chunks.

3.     Bake in a preheated oven at 3000F  for 15 minutes.

4.     Cut into 1-inch squares.

Serve hot or cold

           Do not use fresh pineapple for baking, it will turn bitter.

Soft, Spongy Brown Balls is Syrup

(Gulab Jasmbu)

Gulab Jambu                                             � tsp baking soda

1 cup nonfat milk powder                          � tsp ground cardamom

� cup white, unbleached,                          � tsp ground saffron

  all-purpose flour                                                � cup water

3 Tblsp melted ghee                                   Vegetable shortening for frying

Syrup                                                          2 cups water

2 cups light brown sugar                                     6 drops rose essence


1.     Cook brown sugar and water in a medium size pot over low heat until sugar melts (approximately 10 minutes).

2.     Remove from heat and set aside.

Gulab Jambu

1.     In a large mixing bowl, mix together milk powder, flour, soda, ground cardamom and saffron.

2.     Add melted ghee.  With your finger, rub mixture so ghee is evenly distributed and form flakes.

3.     Add a little water to the flaky mixture and try to form stiff dough.

4.     Break away about a quarter portion of the dough (the dough may crumble aqt this stage.  Just add � tsp water and knead lightly.)

5.     Knead this portion of dough with the palm of your hand until it becomes soft,. Smooth and manageable.  (You may find it necessary to add another � tsp water to make it adhere and get it to the right consistency.)

6.     When dough is smooth, pinch off portions to make balls about � inch in diameter (about 5).

7.     Heat vegetable shortening and lower heat.  Slide dough balls one-by-one into shortening set on low heat.  Turn balls frequently with a slotted spoon to ensure even cooking.

8.     When the balls turn dark brown, remove with slotted spoon allowing them to drain completely and place them in prepared syrup.

9.     Work with the rest of the dough in this way but remember to work with a small portion frying only five or six balls at a time.

10.When all the balls are in the syrup bring syrup to a boil.  This will puff the balls.

11.When the syrup cools,. Add rose essence and mix carefully, do not break balls.

12.If you refrigerate Gulab Jambu, rehearing will bring back its spongy quality.

                                        Yields 20-22

Milk Cake


1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)                           1 cup milk

1 cup sugar                                                          1 tsp ground cardamom

1 cup finely ground almonds                     1 tsp ground nutmeg

  and pistachios                                          � tsp saffron

                                                                   4 cups milk powder

1.     Melt butter in a saucepan on low heat.

2.     Add sugar and allow it to dissolve completely, stirring occasionally.

3.     Add milk, nuts, cardamom, nutmeg and saffron. Mix well.

4.     Add milk powder and mix thoroughly.  Leave mixture on low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.  Set aside to cool.

5.     When mixture is cool, pinch out a small portion and form into flatfish rounds 1-inch in diameter.  With your thumb make a depression in the middle on one side of the round (so that it appears concave.)

6.     Repeat with the rest of the mixture.

                                              Yields 25-30 pieces.

   Peadas can be stored for a week without refrigeration.

Orange Fudge

(Santara ni barfi)

4 cups cashew nut powder                        2 tsp grated orange rind

1 up sugar                                                  � tsp orange essence

1 cup orange juice

1.     In a saucepan, dissolve sugar in orange juice and boil over medium heat.  Cook for 10 minutes or until; the syrup is of three-thread consistency.  (To test for the right consistency, place a drop of syrup in a bowl of water.  If the syrup has attained the right consistency, the drop will settle down in the bowl; without disintegrating.)

2.     Add ground cashews and mix well.  Continue stirring mixture on low heat until a lump is formed and mixture starts to draw away from the sides of the pan.  Turn off heat.

3.     Add orange rind and orange essence.

4.     Spread mixture in a 10-inch cake pan and allow to cool.  Cut into desired shape.

                                                   Yields 25-30 pieces

Coconut Fudge

(Kopra Pak)

1 cup condensed milk                                1 tsp ground cardamom

3 cups desiccated coconut                         � tsp ground nutmeg

� cup coarsely chopped                                      � tsp saffron powder

  cashew nuts                                             1 Tblsp ghee

� cup coarsely chopped walnut                          ghee for greasing hands

                Slivers of pistachio nuts and glazed cherries for garnish

1.     Mix condensed milk, coconut nuts and ghee in a non-stick pan and place over medium heat.

2.     Add cardamom, nutmeg, and  saffron. Stir until it forms a lump.

3.     Grease hands lightly with ghee and make 24 balls with the mixture.  Place each ball in a decorative paper cup.  Garnish with pistachio nuts and cherries.

                                              Yields 24 pieces.

Rice Pudding


1 quart milk                                                         1 tsp ground nutmeg

1/3 cup desiccated coconut                        4 Tblsp slivered almonds

1 cup cooked rice                                                  and pistachios

� cup sugar                                                         1 tsp rose water

1 tsp ground cardamom

1.     Bring milk to a boil, reduce heat to moderate and stir occasionally, cook for 10 minutes.

2.     Add rice, sugar,. Coconut, nuts, cardamom and nutmeg and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Be careful not to burn milk.  The milk tends to sit at the bottom of the pan if not stirred.

3.     Cool.  Stir in rose water and chill in refrigerator for about 4 hours.

                                                    Serves 6-8