The Kitchen Religion

Sunday Feast Quote

I made this movement successful simply by love feast. They did not come to hear Hare Krishna. They came for love feast. From very beginning, when I was in 26 2nd Avenue, every Sunday I was giving nice foodstuff, at least 200 men. Daily at least more than 15, 20. I was cooking myself. That is the beginning of my movement.

- Srila Prabhupada, Room Conversation on Farm Management -- December 10, 1976, Hyderabad

The 'Choc Wars' Rage On .....

Some quotes from the Vedabase about chocolate:

Cocoa and chocolate are not to be taken as they are intoxicants.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to: Surasrestha -- Los Angeles 14 June, 1972

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If chocolate is not an intoxicant, it can be offered to the Deities.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => From: Paramahamsa - SL_750608_A1

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Tea contains caffeine, while chocolate and cocoa contain the stimulant theobromine as well.

And you refused to grant dispensations about what we could eat: "Krishna doesn't take any [chocolate], so we cannot offer it."

Flesh, condiments, eggs, tea, coffee, chocolate, and all other stimulants have a powerful influence directly upon the blood; and through nervous sympathy with the brain, the passions are aroused.

Aside from Vedic standards, even by the standard of Swamiji's New York disciples the devotees in San Francisco were not very strict. Some continued going to the doughnut shop, eating food without offering it to Krsna, and eating forbidden things like chocolate and commercial ice cream.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SPL 22: "Swami Invites the Hippies"

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I was aware of the thing and that it was a pretty heavy one, much more austerities than other groups-like no coffee, chocolate, or tea.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SPL 29: Unlimited Opportunity, Limited Time

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Bhavananda, once a film-maker with Andy Warhol, gave up the "synthetic world" of materialism for a spiritual life of reading the Bhagavad-gita, Bible of the Krsna followers, and abstaining from tobacco, liquor, drugs and even chocolate.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => July, 1970

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"How are you going to cook? Anyone want Kellogg's Corn Flakes or ice cream?
How about chocolate?"
"No, no. You can't offer these things to Krsna," Visnujana explains. "We buy everything fresh, prepare it with love, and offer it with devotion to Krsna."

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Kripamayi devi dasi:

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not taking intoxicants, means eschewing even the milder anodynes such as tea and chocolate.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Dealing with spiritual failure

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ISKCON Law Book (1997) 8.5.1: Prohibition of Chocolate As it contains
various stimulants like caffeine (contained in coffee), theine (contained in black tea) and theobromine (contained in cocoa), chocolate should not be eaten by ISKCON devotees.

Radha-Govardhandhari's Cheesecake Recipe

See attached printable .pdf here.

Sunday Feast Cook Book: Lemon Vanilla Whey Drink

Ok. So you've just made half a ton of panir (fresh cheese from milk curds) for your Sunday Feast subji and you're feeling guilty about the thought of pouring all of that nutrient laden liquid down the drain. Or you might think to pour it into buckets, leaving them in the cool room in an attempt to pass the buck. "Let someone else delete the credit from their karmic bank account. So what if it's a total waste of one of nature's gifts. We gotta have our curd!"

This recipe can not only help relieve your anxiety but will make the devotees smile.

First things first - when you make your curd, use as little curdling agent as possible. If you HAVE to use citric acid then just put it in a pinch at a time. Then patiently watch for the curd to separate from the whey. If you put too much citric acid or lemon juice the whey will be very acidic and make the drink tart. Yuck!

This recipe is for about 10 litres total drink because that is the size of the ghee buckets we save and use to serve it out. The quantities multiply out proportionately, but we just find it easy to use this recipe in several buckets simultaneously and then put them in the cool room until its time to offer.

  • 1 litre sugar
  • 1.5 litres whey
  • 500 ml lemon juice (freshly squeezed is best)
  • 40 ml vanilla extract (the non-alcohol based kind)
  • 8 litres water

Just combine the above ingredients, stir with a wire whisk and keep in a clean cool place. Simple.

You could substitute other fruit juices for the lemon but the only one we've tried is orange which had good results.

Sunday Feast Cook Book: Introduction

Recently I was talking to Braja Gauranga Prabhu who does a lot of catering in Australia. Australian devotees do massive catering and prasadam distribution in general but Braja Gauranga has ratcheted the program up and has a fleet of commercial trucks that go to various concerts and festivals throughout the year and distribute thousands of plates of prasad.

We've identified a need that we suspect might have been fulfilled at some point in the past but since we don't have anything to really build on at the moment I'm just going to start here until I'm directed otherwise.

We need a Sunday Feast cook book.

Anyone who's tried to multiply the excellent recipes from books by devotees like Kurma, Yamuna or Adiraja into large quantities can tell you that it usually doesn't work so well. The spicing is different with larger quantities and depends on factors such as wetness.

I was asked to cook the Sunday Feast about a week ago here at New Govardhana for what turned out to be around 200 seasoned guests. When I say 'seasoned' I don't intend a pun - these are mostly old-school devotees who can discern a well cooked devotional feast from an attempt by an amateur. This is a great testing ground for recipes of large quantity, and by Krishna's grace, we somehow managed to pull it off. I received a fair amount of praise from some of the stalwarts which is not easy to come by in this area.

Since I've completed my 5 week mega-strict health cleanse & mineral therapy (no salt, sugar, dairy, grains and heaps of other restrictions) I've got energy reserves that I wasn't aware of. In many ways I feel like I'm in my 20's again - just way more cynical and a lot less 'hip' i guess :)

So I'll open up comments here so that anyone reading can point me in the right direction. (btw - I usually leave comments closed because I was getting far too much blog spam and it was taking me so much time to delete them every day.) Anyone who wishes to follow the progress can click 'The Kitchen Religion' link at the top of every page.

I'd like to focus on compiling tried and true recipes from experienced devotees before they depart from this world. This is one way the sankirtan mission can go forward without having to re-invent the most basic mechanics. If you know how I can get in contact with any old-school kitchen bhaktas who'd be happy to share their wealth of experience then please leave a comment or contact me here.

I'll start posting the recipes as blog entries and when I have enough material I'll look at different means to publish them. I think lulu.com sounds interesting.

I'll use mostly metric volumes because its just a better system than what they taught me in elementary school in the USA. The figures multiply easier too.

Serving Love

Srila Prabhupada on Cooking ...

"Cooking means if you have no appetite, it will create appetite. That is cooking, not that simply some ghee and masala and cook it. No. It is a great art."

- Srila Prabhupada, Room Conversation, 02-19-77, Mayapur

Cayenne and Your Heart

Here's something simple that you can do to increase health for yourself and your loved ones. Use a bit of cayenne in your cooking.

Many herbalists believe that Cayenne is the most useful and valuable herb in the herb kingdom, not only for the entire digestive system, but also for the heart and circulatory system. It acts as a catalyst and increases the effectiveness of other herbs when used with them.

Cayenne is a medicinal and nutritional herb. It is a very high source of Vitamins A & C, has the complete B complexes, and is very rich in organic calcium and potassium, which is one of the reasons it is good for the heart.

Digestion

Cayenne can rebuild the tissue in the stomach and the peristaltic action in the intestines. It aids elimination and assimilation, and helps the body to create hydrochloric acid, which is so necessary for good digestion and assimilation, especially of proteins. All this becomes very significant when we realize that the digestive system plays the most important role in mental, emotional and physical health, as it is through the digestive system that the brain, glands, muscles and every other part of the body are fed.

Heart

Cayenne has been known to stop heart attacks within 30 seconds. For example, when a 90-year-old man in Oregon had a severe heart attack, his daughter was able to get Cayenne extract into his mouth. He was pronounced dead by the medics, but within a few minutes, he regained consciousness. On the way to the hospital, he remained in a semi-conscious state, but the daughter kept giving him the Cayenne extract. By the time they got to the hospital, he had fully recovered and wanted to go home and mow the lawn. The doctor asked what she had given him, as he said it was the closest thing to a miracle he had ever seen.

If a heart attack should occur, it is suggested that a teaspoon of extract be given every 15 minutes or a teaspoon of Cayenne in a glass of hot water be taken until the crisis has passed. Dr. Anderson also knew of a doctor who rushed out into the parking lot and put cayenne tincture into the mouth of a man who had died of a heart attack while he was parking his car. Within a few minutes, the man’s heart starting beating again.

 

OTHER MEDICINAL USES FOR CAYENNE

Acne Alcoholism Apoplexy Arteriosclerosis Arthritis
Asthma Bad breath Bleeding Blood purifier Bronchitis
Bruises Burns Chills Circulation Cold extremities
Constipation Colds Coughs Cramps Cuts
Debility Delirium tremens Digestive disorders Diabetes Eyes
Fatigue Flu Fractures Gas Gout
Hay fever Heart stimulant Heart problems Hemorrhoids High blood pressure
Indigestion Infection Inflammation Intestinal pain Jaundice
Kidneys Low blood pressure Low fevers Lumbago Migraines
Mucus Neuralgia Pains in stomach Palpitations Pancreas
Paralysis Pleurisy Rheumatism Scarlet fever Shock
Sinus congestion Sluggishness Sore throat Tonsillitis Tumors
Typhoid fever Ulcers Varicose veins Vitality Vomiting
Wounds Yellow fever Yeast infection

According to Dr. Richard Anderson, using cayenne and hawthorn berries together has a most incredible effect upon the heart. He believes that a regimen of cayenne and hawthorn berries for several months will greatly strengthen the heart, and possibly prevent heart attacks. He states further that if an attack were to occur in someone who had followed this regimen, chances are very good that no damage would occur. He tells the following story about his mother:

“I had her taking hawthorn berries and cayenne when she had a heart attack at the age of 79. Her diet had not been the best, and she was in an extremely stressful situation. While in the hospital, they found three blocked arteries and wanted to operate immediately. They did not think that she could survive for more than a few weeks if they didn’t operate. (How many have heard that story!) The doctors thought it would be very risky to operate, but they had her there, and there was a lot of money to be made. So they decided to take some tests in the hopes that they could find an excuse to operate. In spite of the fact that she had been taking lots of aspirin for her arthritis, smoked like she was the reincarnation of a boiler factory, and had just had a heart attack, they found that her heart was incredibly strong. In fact, they felt that her heart was stronger than most people in their 30’s! The good news was that not only did she survive the operation, but also she stopped smoking! Well worth the operation, don’t you think? In my opinion, that was the best thing the doctors ever did for her. Well, that is what hawthorn and cayenne can do for the heart, and every good herbalist knows it; every good doctor should also know it, but very few do.”

Emergencies

It is a good idea to always have some Cayenne extract on hand for emergencies. Dr. Anderson carries capsules of cayenne with him in the car and whenever he goes hiking, backpacking or mountain climbing. He says, “You never know when you may find someone having a heart attack or some other emergency.”

The following stories demonstrate only a few of the remarkable emergency uses of cayenne.

If a hemorrhage occurs in the lungs, stomach, uterus or nose, it is suggested that a teaspoon of extract (or a teaspoon of cayenne powder in a cup of hot water) be given every 15 minutes until the crisis has passed. The bleeding should stop in 10-30 seconds. The reason for this is that rather than the blood pressure being centralized, it is equalized by the Cayenne, and the clotting action of the blood becomes more rapid. For external bleeding, take cayenne internally and pour cayenne directly on the wound.

Dr. Anderson tells of one time when he was on the beach and a man began passing a kidney stone. The man took some cayenne, which relieved his pain almost immediately.

A person known to Dr. Anderson had a severe toothache in the middle of the night on a weekend. He tried many things to relieve the pain. Cayenne was the only thing that helped.

One of the youngest persons to take cayenne was a six-week old baby who was born with chronic asthma. Dr. John Christopher administered the cayenne using an eyedropper, and it then became possible for the baby to breathe normally.

Dr. Christopher has used cayenne to eliminate allergies, varicose veins, cramps, constipation, and to increase energy.

Dr. Anderson recommends cayenne to help cleanse the body, increase body heat, improve circulation, and strengthen the eyes. But above all, Dr. Anderson feels that cayenne is exceptionally beneficial for the heart.

 

 

Kichari - The All Purpose - Totally Delicious - "Poor Man's Feast Fit For The King"

How to make kichari according to ekendra das (reposted for reference):

read these directions all the way through before atempting. you can use the 'printer friendly version' link at the bottom.

1.) get a big pot and fill it half way with water. put it on the stove and turn up the heat high
2.) open the fridge and see what veggies are about to go off.
3.) take them out of the fridge and put them on the counter.
4.) wash them off and chop them up.
5.) find some DAHL - nearly any kind will do but be aware of cooking times. toor takes forever. urid is a bit strange (IMHO) i think the best is whole mung dahl but split mung is good too.
5.) if you got split mung dahl or channa dahl put a few handfuls into a new dry pot with a thick bottom and turn the heat to medium while stirring. this way you can 'toast' the dahl a bit before washing and cooking. this makes it taste really good
6.) other dahl you can skip the last step
7.) wash off the dahl and remove any bits that look like rocks as you'll ruin your teeth if you crunch on them. they don't cook down.
8.) now chuck your dahl into your pot of hopefully boiling water. give it a good stir at first so it doesn't stick to the bottom. when it gets boiling again you can focus on the veggie chopping and let it do its thing. still check it occasionally so that nothing sticks to the bottom.
9.) chop up your veggies. potatoes are pretty stodgy in kichari but some people like them a lot. pumpkins bits are good but if they are too sweet i think it makes it taste wierd. most people like cauliflower (i dont) and pretty much whatever you find in the fridge can go in. the good thing about making kichari regularly is that you don't waste any veg. we buy organic a lot of times which means a lot of wasted cash which i can't live with so we love kichari :)
10.) don't put your veggies straight in. you gotta time this out according to what kinda veggie it is and what the cooking times are. if you put potatoes in that are cut in big pieces you'd obviously need a longer cooking time so put them in earlier. capsicums and spinach cooks quick so save it till the last minute. tomatoes are somewhere in between.
11.) speaking of tomatoes. if you have them around then chop them up too and keep aside. we will use this for the spicing. i take the skin off by blanching or quick boiling them in a seperate pot.
12.) now we will do the spicing. (says the great chef Laughing ) you need a bit of mustard seeds, lots of cumin, chopped ginger, chilies, asefetida (hing), and tumeric
13.) put a bit of ghee in a smaller pot on the stove on low heat.
14.) throw in the mustard seeds and put a lid on so they don't pop all over your stove.
15.) once the mustard seeds have slowed popping then move the pot to the side and off the direct flame.
16.) throw the ginger in which cools down the ghee a bit.
17.) stir it around and put the pot back on the heat when it seems to stop 'frying' the ginger.
18.) add the cumin. i use heaps
19.) let the cumin warm up a while . (some folks like to roast the cumin seeds seperately on high heat and then grind in a pistal and mortar which is an amazing taste but when powdered you save it until last with the tumeric.)
20.) add the chilies
21.) then add the asefitida powder while stirring
22.) then the tumeric and keep stirring so it doesn't burn. the whole spicing episode should only take a few minutes.
23.) immediately after stirring the turmeric a second then put all the chopped tomatoes in. if you don't have the tomatoes then skip the next step.
24.) stir the spice mixture in with the tomatoes and turn the heat right up to high. keep a close eye on this pot so it doesn't go black on the bottom. a little black around the edges and rim of the pot is ok but never on the bottom. after the tomatoes are cooked down (5 minutes or so) ....
25.) turn the heat off on the spice pot and let it wait until we need it (nearly the last thing we add to the big pot)
26.) hows the dahl going? is it broken up into a soupy broth? the whole mung takes forever to break up like this so as long as its soft i'd go ahead. other dahls are more cooperative but whole mung is supposed to be the healthiest i've heard.
27.) once the dahl is broken up then add as much rice as you'd like. you should at least add enough to absorb the rest of the water in the pot but add more water if you need to keeping in mind that rice expands and could overflow the pot if you put too much in. about equal portions of dahl and rice is normal but nothing is written in stone. i like basmati rice or jasmine but there are less expensive ones if you are on a tight budget. short grained rice is NOT the best for kichari.
28.) Surprised Now you gotta pay attention or the whole thing will be ruined. Surprised once the rice is in then its all hands on deck. you can't space out at all or the rice will stick to the bottom of the pot and put an unusual burnt taste in your beautiful kichari. keep it almost constantly stirring on low/med heat.
29.) you can add your spices at any time now and whatever lighter veggies are left over (spinach and anything else that cooks quickly)
30.) stir in the spices and just make sure it doesn't start to get sticky on the bottom of the pot. if you feel it sticking then try to scrape it with your stirring utensil until the bottom is smooth again. if its gone past that point then quickly pour it into a new pot as you will not salvage the kichari if you continue to cook it once it sticks tough to the bottom. if you don't have another pot then put it into anything .. and ice cream tub whatever and then wash the pot thoroughly and try again.
31.) once the rice is a bit mushy and overcooked, turn off the heat, add a bit of salt and either keep stirring for a minute until there is no danger of sticking or tranfer to another container.
32.) put a bit of yoghurt in a bowl along side the kichari and offer the whole preparation to Gopala and His Brother. If you need to you can print out this picture and either laminate it or put it in a nice frame. Laptop wallpaper will do in a pinch.
33.) when They are done then ENNNNNNJOY !!!!

I've purposefully been vague here about the measurements and proportions as kichari need not follow an exact recipie to be good. if you don't have much experience cooking say even rice or something then mabye have a friend who cooks help you at first. at least do a Google image search to see how its supposed to look when done. you'll get the hang of it after a few tries and will naturally develop your own preferences how to cook it. its a very convenient and satisfying preparation that can be eaten all year round with whatever produce is in season. you can even make it without veggies.

what i do when i know my wife will be away for a while or is sick or something and i have to do the cooking.... i cook a big pot of kichari and put most of it into containers in the freezer . it keeps frozen for weeks. when i don't have time to cook or can't be bothered i just pull out an ice cream tub of kichari and heat it up in a pot. (not a microwave!!!! Tongue out yuck!) of course its best fresh cooked but when you don't want to cook its sure beats junk food.

ahhh kichari .... ' a poor man's feast fit for a king'

 

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