The Vegetarian Way

The Key to Health and Happiness


          The term Vegetarian is derived from the Latin word vegetal meaning “whole, lively, sound, fresh.”  Thus from a Jain point of view, a vegetarian is one who dopes not eat any meat, fish, fowl or eggs.  But there are many who consider themselves to be vegetarians even though they eat eggs.  There are three categories of vegetarians; 1) lacto-ovo-vegetarians: those that include milk, dairy products and eggs in their diets; 2) lacto-vegetarians: those that include milk dairy products but no eggs in their diets; and 3) vegans: those that do not include any animal; products like milk or eggs in their diets (most even eschew honey).

          Since time immemorial, studies and research have led us to one thing that is common to all living beings; the desire tops live and be happy.  However, man in his pursuit of pleasure and happiness uses everything and everyone to satisfy this yearning to the extent of hunting, confining and taking the life of freely roving animals.  In this way, not only does he abuse living creatures, but abuses himself as hye too is a living creature and cannot remove himself from the universal vibrations of the living, until, subconsciously he reaches a point of hating himself.  When one does not have reverence for one’s life, how can one have reverence for other living beings?  To have reverence for oneself, one must be non-violent to oneself which then extends to others.

           The first step is to watch one’s eating habits.  One starts to observe what one puts into the body where the soul is housed.  The body is, therefore, provided with healthy and wholesome foods, pure and untainted by blood and negative vibrations.  One is often not aware of the fact that when one eats meat, one takes in protein as well as the chemicals which are injected into the animals top control; diseases and fatten them up.  One also forget that in flesh, the negative vibrations of pain, fear and rejection do exist, and they permeate the cells of the human body creating there the feelings of fear, pain and rejection.  How can one hope to live with good feelings of health, when negative vibrations blended with chemicals are working in the body?  These, then lead to fatal diseases.  Statistically, approximately two million Americans die each year of which 68% are victims of the three major chronic diseases in which diet is a major contributory factor: heart disease, cancer and stroke.  The foods that have been singled out for special; concern in connection with theses diseases are meat and animal fat.  So feed the body with those foods which involve a minimum and violence.  Grannies, legumes, beans, vegetables and fruits are goods souses of protein, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.

           One never stops to think that eating meat for palate and stomach involves much pain and torture to a life! A life that cannot be created in the laboratory!  A very precious life with a strong will to live! A life that needs time to unfold its own destiny on earth, fopr a premature death breaks the cycle of a natural unfoldment. Leonardo da Vinci rightly said, “The time will come when men will,. Look one the murder of animals as they nor look on the murder of men.”

         Here, many ask the question, “Why, then, kill vegetables if not animals?”  The school of Jain philosophy answers this question precisely.  Basically, this universe is made up of two substances,. I.e., “living” and “non-living”.  Classified as “living” as human beings, animals, birds insects, smaller organisms, vegetation, air and water.  Non-living substances are sand, rock, buildings, trains, cars, machines, etc.  Wherever there is life,. There is consciousness, there is a response to stimuli.  According to Jain philosophy, all life is divided into five groups, embodying the various stages of evolution.  Vegetables are one-sense beings and animals are five-sense beings.  Life has top go through a laborious and strenuous proposes to evolve from one-sense top five-sense beings.  By slaughtering an animals, one destroys completely the evolutionary progress of that life which it has attained through one destroys completely the evolutionary progress of that life which it has attained through suffering and pain.  The vegetable kingdom has not reached the bood “consciousness” which the animals (and humans) have.  Where there is blood there are feelings, emotions and possibility to feel deep pain.

         Two thousand five hundred years ago, Mahavir, the great teacher of Non-violence, emphasized that thoughts which govern our actions are the products of the food we eat.  The food that feeds the system has a definite influence on the person physically as well as emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.  Healthy, whole and harmless foods give rise to healthy whole and harmless thoughts.  Once our thoughts are harmless and healthy, our actions reflect the same qualities.  Weaknesses of character always develop in those who are in poor health.  Science discovered in recent years that character and personality are attributes opf the inner workings of the body and have a great bearing upon our success in life and happiness.  The personality reveals and expresses itself through the physical body.  The expression of the face, the smile; which is the manifestation of joy,. Happiness and compassion, reveal and personality within.  Without a healthy body these manifestations would not be possible.  Thus the vegetarian way is a key to health and happiness.


Spices & Herbs

           Known the world over as the “Home of Spices,” India has for centuries shared with the world a cornucopia of spices and condiments, thus enriching the ream of the culinary art with this invaluable gift. Long before the rise of the Greek and Roman Empires,. Ships carried Indian spices to Mesopotamia, Arabia and Egypt.

      Merchants from far away lands, plying the trade routes of the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean, thronged the market placeless, discovering, sampling and buying the various spices.  Back in their homeland, the variety of the spices from the strange lands, used primarily as a means of preserving foods from spoilage, were put together in ever-varying combinations to tantalize the tastebuds and entice with heady, exotic fragrances and perfumes.  These concoctions and potions were greatly desired by the nobles and aristocrats.  High-ranking officials made sure that their storehouses were well stocked with condiments and were willing to spend fortunes to do so.  In this way the need and demands for the spices grew greater and greater.  Gradually,. The fame of Indian spices tr4avelled far and wide luring many seafarers to the shores of India, making India the world’s major producer and exporter of the spices.

           Thus, the fascinating history of spices became a story of adventure, exploration, expedition and competition.

           Once a royal luxury, it now became everyone’s necessity.  So today’s spices, or racks, in jars and all manner of simple and fancy containers, is a common sight on the shelves of every kitchen.  With growing awareness of the factors contributing to the state of one’s health, people are paying more attention to the kind of food they are giving their bodies, and want to know more about their effects and merits.  Spices are becoming popular and readily available, and more people are utilizing them in their daily cooking.  So I have given a brief description and uses of each spice to provide a general background for the interest and welfare of the readers.  Even those on salt-restricted diets need not feel deprived of flavorful meals when spices are judicially combined in the preparation of the dishes.

          Altogether there are about 70 spices grown in different parts of the world.  But as it would be cumbersome to include all of them, only those spices used in the recipes given in this book are described for the benefit of the cook.

        Spices are comprised of different plant components or parts such as roots (horse-radish, leverage, etc.) or rhizomes (ginger, turmeric, etc.) or bark (cinnamon) or leaves (bay leaves, sage, etc.) or bulbs (garlic, onion, etc.)  or seeds (cumin, poppy, fennel, caraway,etc.) or berries (black pepper, all-spice) or kernel (nutmeg) or aril (mace) or floral parts (cloves saffron, etc.) or fruits (cardamom, tamarind, etc.)

         Spices impart aroma and add zest to the flopped, making the insipid dish desirable and palatable.  Their innumerable uses in the kitchen are surely amazing.  They are sometimes used as preservatives (especially useful when there were no refrigerators), for example, as with cloves which contain chemical; called Eugene; that kills bacteria.  Many spices also have medicinal; properties useful for luring illnesses and correcting many health problems.  Spices are also used top activate the secretion of saliva in the mouth.  Saliva is rich ptyalin-an enzyme possessing the property of converting starch into dextrin and maltose (which are simple sugars) causing the foods high in carbohydrates to digest more easily.

          Thus, when the nature and uses of the spices and condiments are discovered and known, it inspires and encourages incorporating them creatively in one’s daily cooking.


Happiness By the Cupful


         A heaping cup of happiness,                        A level cup of wisdom,

         2 of love and caring,                                     1 of artful living,

         1 of understanding                                        1 of thoughtful insight,

         1 of joyful sharing,                                       1 of selfless giving,


                                        Mix ingredients together,

                                        Tos in little flair,

                                        Serve to everyone you know

                                        Topped with a tiny prayer,

                                         May every measure of happiness

                                         Be yours for a lifetime!



Secret Ingredient


Gujarati: Prem: Hindi: Prem:


         I have found that love is the ultimate spice of life.  When used generously, it enriches and enhances the flavor of life as well as food.  Remember: before entering into the kitchen check your state of mind and emotions.  Be in a centered, loving state when cooking.  Cooking with love generates a tremendous power transmuting food particles into health giving morsels.  Love stimulates the necessary enzymes in the body thus making one healthy, happy and wholesome.  Love has the power to change the flat and tasteless food into palatable and tasteful fare.

          Love is also important while eating the food.  Food eaten with love and appreciation digests well and nourishes the whole body (body, mind and spirit) We must show our family today the advantage of loving vibrations for a brighter and lighter tomorrow.

           Here is an example to illustrate how love and hated had ill effects on the human condition:

          In a remote village of India there lives a father, mother and their two sons, one of them being a stepson.  The mother used to feed both of them lead (a ball made of sesame seeds, coconut and jugglery) daily.  After a year, her own son gained weight and her stepson did not show any such improvement.  Both the children were served the same food.  The baffled father asked the doctor about this.  The father was amazed to find put that her own son was always served first,. With lat. of love, affection, care and warmth.  But when the stepson was served, she practically banged the plate of lade when she placed it before him. She abused him, hated him for being alive and cursed him.  The father immediately realized that lack of love and affection can hinder physical, mental and psychological growth.  Hate is like an acid,. Which corrodes the vessel; in which it is stored and the vessel into which it is poured.

          I invite you to form your own opinion by experimenting with this secret ingredient and subtle yet powerful principle in your own preparation and presentation and observe the results.



Glossary of Spices

Their Description and Uses



Gujarati: Sowa; Hindi: Valaiti Saunf


Description: Aniseed is a herbaceous plant belonging to the Ajowan (Bishop’s weed) family grown as a garden herb in India.  It is greyish-brown in color having an oval shape.  It has a licorice-like smell and pleasant sweet taste.


Uses: It is used in cookery for flavoring confectionery goods, beverages and liquors.  It is good for digestion, for colds and used as diuretic stimulant and carminative.  Fresh leaves of the plant are used as garnishing and flavoring for salads.



Gujarati: Hing; Hindi: Hing

Description: Asafoetida is the dried gum oleoresin oozed of a Ferula plant species.  It is bitter and sharp in taste and gives out a strong pungent smell because of the presence of sulphur compounds.  It is sometimes called “Devil’s Dung.”


Uses: Asafoetida is used as flavoring for vegetables, curries, pickles, sauces, pules and beans.  Medicinally, it is used to correct gastric troubles caused buy over-eating and indigestion.  Sometimes it is applied externally on the stomach to stimulate the intestines and relieve gastric pains.



Gujarati; Damaro: Hindi; Tulsi


Description: Basil or sweet Basil; is an annual; herb of the mint family.  It has bright green leaves, used fresh or dried as a condiment.  The flavor is warm, sweet and pungent, while the fragrance is sweet and pleasant.  It can be grown indoors as a houseplant or in gardens in ordinary soil.


Uses: Basil is used in soups, vegetables and certain cheeses.  It is sometimes used as a substitute for oregano in pizza topping.  It is used in medicine as a stimulant, carminative and diaphoretic.  It is very often used for coughs and colds.  In India there is a common belief that a plant of basil; in the house brings happiness.


Black Cumin

Gujarati: Kalu Jiru; Hindi: Kalungi


Description: Black cumin is the dried seed-like fruit of a small berg, about 45 cm in height having long leaves, pale blue flowers and black seeds having triangular shape.


Uses: The seeds are considered carminative, stimulant and diuretic.


Black Paper

Gujarati: Kala Mari; Hindi: Kali Mirch


Description: In the international trade market of spices, the volume sale of black pepper of considered to be the highest among the spices and so has rightly earned the title of “King of Spices” and cardamom reign as the ‘Queen of Spices.”  It is a sharp not spice prepared from the dried, mature unripe green berries of a tropical; vine called Piper Nigrum, found and cultivated in hot and moist climate.  Black pepper is also processed and sold as white and green pepper. White and green pepper are barriers of the same shrub, but unlike the black pepper, the white is harvested after the barriers are ripe and red in color, the green pepper are picked when the berries are semi-mature.


Uses: Black pepper has a hot, pungent and sharp taste which blends perfectly with the sweet and sour tastes of soups and sauces and is well-known for its quality of correcting the seasoning of various dishes and as a preservative.  White pepper is used in products such as mayonnaise where specks of black are not desirable.  Green peper is generally used in pickling.


Bishop’s Weed

Gujarati: Ajama; Hindi: Ajowan


Description: Bishop’s weed, also known as goutweed, is a herbaceous plant bearing the greyish brown seeds, which constitutes the spice.  They have a peculiarly characteristic aroma, similar to oregano and a pungent sharp taste.


Uses: They are occasionally used as a spice in dishes, but as one of the most valuable spices is medicine, it is used in a number of ways to correct human illnesses generally for flatulence, indigestion, cough and stomachache.


Capsicums or Chillies

Gujarati: Lal Marcha; Hindi : lal Mirch


Description: Capsicum is the common pepper of the garden.  It is a sub-shrub to which fruits hang like pendants occurring in many varieties that range from chillies cayenne,. Peppers to paprika.  The taste starts from every hot top every mild and then sweet.  The sweet variety is a large bell- like fruit found in yellow, green and red colors, used as vegetable.


Uses: It is used as a spice by those who love hop food and the mild variety is used by those who love delicately flavored foods.  Its pungent property activates the fl;ow of saliva in the mouth thus helping the digestion of starchy foods.  They are rich in vitamins C and A when eaten fresh in salads.



Gujarati: Shah Jiru: Hindi: Shia or Siya Jira


Description: Caraway is an aromatic,. Seedcake fruit of an umbeliferous plant.  When the seed is dried, it is brown in color, it has a pleasant smell and a sharp taste.


Uses:  Caraway seeds are extensively used as a flavoring agent in cheese bread,. Cakes and biscuits.  It is used for flatulence and as carminative.



Gujarati: Elachi: Hindi: Elaichi


Description: Cardamon, popularly known as the “Queen of Spices” is the dried fruits of a herbaceous plant and one of the most expensive and valued spices in the world.  It occupies an important position in Indian cookery.  Its emerald grteen color is as attractive as its aroma as sweet fragrance.


Uses:  It is very popularly used as a flavoring agent in Indian desserts, cakes and pastries.  Very commonly it is used aa a mouth refresher, It checks nausea and vomiting and its aromatic smell acts as a stimulant.



Gujarati: Tuj, Dalchini; Hindi: Dalchini


Description: Cinnamon is the aromatic dried pieces of layers of inner bark of several lauraceous trees.  It is one of the most important tree spices used in Indian cooking, having sweet and astringent taste.  Cassia bark (Chinese cinnamon) is a good substitute fopr cinnamon.  It has a delicate taste and appealing fragrance.


Uses: There are various uses of the cinnamon tree.  All the parts of the tree are useful; in one way or other- the bark, the leaves, the buds,. The flowers and the roots.  Every Indian home finds use fopr the cinnamon bark.  It is useful as a flavoring agent in desserts,. Cookes, cakes and pastries, chocolates, gum and candy.  It is used as a carminative; as a stimulant; to check vomiting and nausea.  It is also used as a general body cleanser.  Because of the presence of trunk acid which has an astringent effect,. It is especially used in treating diarrhea.  Cinnamon Oil is a powerful germicide and has the properties of an antiseptic.



Gujarati: Lavang; Hindi: Laung


Description: Clove is the air-dried flower bud of a tropical myrtaceous tree, brownish-black in color with full; and plum crown.  Being one of the most ancient and valuable spice of the Orient its source and origin was kept a mystery for a long time.  It possesses a spicy,. Pungent and aromatic smell.


Uses: Cloves are used for flavoring gravies soups,. Vegetables and baked goods.  Ground into a powder, it is used for both sweet and sour dishes; It is used as a stimulant, having the property of correcting disorders of the stomach. It relieves flatulence and dyspepsia: the oil of cloves has antibiotic and antiseptic properties and is effective for claming toothaches.



Gujarati: Dhana (seeds) Kothmiri (leves); Hindi Dhana


Description:  One of the first spices to be used by mankind is the coriander seed.  They are brown sees,. Sweet in taste.  Fresh coriander leaves (in Spanish, the leaves are called “cilantro’” and the Chinese call them Chinese parsley) are used like regular parsley.  They seed and leaves are pleasantly aromatic leaving the kitten fragrant and sweet smelling.  The use of fresh coriander leased in different dishes enhances the flavor, taste and aroma so uniquely yet subtly that it is regarded as one of the “trade secrets” of a good cook.


Uses: Copriander seeds are considered to be diuretic, carminative and antibilious; stimulates and sharpens the appetite; and lessens the intoxicating effect of liquors.  Their cooling effect helps to deserve the heat in the body.



Gujarati: Jiru; Hindi: Jira


Description: Cumin is a light and dry greyish-brown seed of the coriander family similar to caraway seeds but a little longer.  The odor is peculiar, strong and heavy while the taste is slightly bitter and spicy.


Uses: Cumin is used as one of the main ingredients in all mixed spices (masala).  It is considered an astringent, a stimulant of gastric juices aiding digestion in the stomach, and useful; in calming dyspepsia and diarrhea and for treating diseases which occur due to excess of water in the body.




Curry Leaf

Gujarati: Meetho Limbdo; Hindi: Curry Patta


Description: Curry leaves are derived from a deciduous tree, having an aromatic smell and fragrance.  It is commonly found in forest and much cultivated for its sweet-smelling leaves.


Uses: The leaves of this tree are used as a flavoring agent in various curries and chutneys for centuries.  The green tender leaves are eaten fresh to cure dysentery.   The leaves, roots and bark are also used in medicine as tonic, stimulant and stomachic.



Gujarati: Suwa; Hindi: Soya


Description: An apiaceous plant, bearing a seed-like fruit which is light brown in color, emitting an aropmatic smell, and having a slightly pungent taste.


Uses:  The seeds and leaves of the plant are used as a flavoring agent.  They are used as a condiment in soups, salads and in dill pickling.  It has medicinal properties useful in flatulence and hiccups in infants and children.



Gujarati: Varialli; Hindi: Saunf


Description: An aromatic fruit (seeds) of umbeliferous plant having greenish-yellow flowers.  Its small, oblong seeds have a sweet and fragrant flavor and pleasant taste.


Uses:  Dried seeds of fennel are used in flavoring soups, sauces, candies, confectionery goods and pickles.  They are used to stimulate the appetite, give strength, and are used for dysentery, diarrhea and flatulence.  They check griping and are sometimes used as a laxative.



Gujarati: Methi; Hindi: Methi


Description: Fenugreek is a small, irregular shaped, yellowish-brown seed having slightly bitter taste and a peculiar smell and flavor of its own.  The green leaves of this herb are used as a vegetable while the seed is used as a spice in Indian cooking.


Uses: Fenugreek is a very good source of protein and rich in essential amino acids used as a spice as well as a medicine.  It is used for loss of appetite, flatulence,. Chronic cough, gout and dysentery.  Sometimes the seeds are used as carminative.


Ginger Fresh                                                 Ginger Dry

Gujarati: Adu; Hindi: Adrak                          Gujarati: Sunth; Hindi: Sonth


Description: Ginger is the underground root of herbaceous plant. It is one of the most important and oldest spices.  The aroma and taste of ginger is pleasant, spicy and pungent.


Uses: Ginger is used in many food products like baked goods and confectionery.  It is also used in drinks and vegetable dishes.  According to the Ayuveda (science of life) School of Medicine, ginger is used for warming up the body and helping the digestion of food.  Ginger is helpful; in relieving cramps in the hands and feet and excellent for warding off colds.


Mango Powder

Gujarati: Amchur; Hindi: Amchur


Description: Amchur is the dehydrated or dired part of the unripe mango.  It is used in the form of peeled slices or as powder.  Mostly undrape and wind fallen fruits are used to make Amchur and is produced in the northern states of India.


Uses: It is used as souring agent for dals, curries and savories.  Used in Chutneys,. Soups and in vegetables.  The unripe mango is useful is opthalmia and eruptions.



Gujarati: Phudina; Hindi: Pudina


Description: Mint is an aromatic perennial herb belonging to the genus mentha species.


Uses: Mint is successfully used as a flavoring agent in soups,. Tea and chutneys.  The fresh leaves added in the fruit cocktail glasses, refreshes and cools the mouth and leaves a fragrant smell.  It is very often used in summer for its cooling property. It is useful for coughs,. Colds and fever: also used for stomach disorders.


Gujarati: Rai; Hindi: Rai


Description: There are three varieties of mustard seeds: true or black mustard, yellow or white mustard, and brown or Indian mustard.  Among all the spices, mustard is the hottest.


Uses: The Powder of white mustard stimulates the gastric juices of the mucous membrane activating secretion.  Black and white mustard are ground together to make the mustard and various medicinal mustards.  Brown mustard is used in pickles and spreads.  It is very helpful for cough and preventing mucous formation.  If used in excess,. It may aggravate the secretion of bile in the liver.



Gujarati: Jaiphal; Hindi: Jaiphal


Description: Nutmeg is a dry, hard seed of the fruit of an East Indian tree used as a spice.  It is greyish-brown is color.  When powdered, its fragrance is compelling.


Uses: Nutmeg is used as a condiment and as a medicine.  In combination with cinnamon and cardamom it becomes a good mixture for sweet dishes in Indian cooking.  It is used medicinally for stomachache, flatulence, dysentery, vomiting and nausea.  Taken in excess, it can create drowsiness and intoxication.



Gujarati: - Hindi: Mirzanjosh

Description: It is the aromatic dried leaves of a perennial herb cultivated in Italy and Greece.  Found abundantly in Mexico, it is known as Mexican Sage.  The color of the dried herb is light green.  The aroma is strong as aromatic and tastes spicy and bitter.


Uses: It is used in many Italian and Mexican dishes.  The oil of oregano possesses carminative stomachic, diuretic and diaphoretic properties.  It is given as a stimulant and tonic in colic and diarrhea.


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:     ¼  tablespoon ground cloves

                             2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

                             2 tablespoons ground coriander

                              ½ 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

                         ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

                                   15 pistachio nuts

                         ¼ 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

                             ½ teaspoon ground ginger

                             ½ 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 ¼ 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       = ¼ cup                       2 Tbsp        = 1 fluid oz

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

8 Tbsp       = ½ cup                       8 Tbsp         = 4 fluid oz

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

4 ups          = 1 quart

2 quart        = ½ gallon

4 quart        = 1 gallon



4 oz             = ½ pound

8 oz             = ½ pound

12 oz           = ¾ pound

16 oz           = 1 pound


Metric Equivalents:

1 tsp            = 5 grams                1 oz             = 28 grams

1 Tbsp         = 15 grams              1 ¾ oz         = 50 grams

2 Tbsp         = 30 grams              3 ½ 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 ½ cups      = 1 liter