New! Recipe of the Month

We are sharing favorite prasad recipes from Maharaj-ji’s kitchen in our monthly updates.  If you have a recipe to share or want to request a recipe for a favorite item of prasad please let us know by contacting media@nkbashram.org.

“Halwa for a Crowd”

This delicious cream of wheat pudding is a traditional sweet served often at the ashram. Here is our very favorite recipe, contributed by a member of Shanti Denduluri’s group from Albuquerque.

Ingredients:

8 cups sooji (cream of wheat)
8 cups sugar
14 cups unsalted butter or ghee
32 cups water
2 cups ground cardamom
Chopped almonds to garnish

How to:

-Heat sugar, water and cardamom in a pot until it comes to a boil and sugar dissolves completely, keep aside.
-Separately in a large pan melt butter or ghee and add sooji. Keep stirring it on a medium flame until the sooji turns golden brown and the ghee or butter separates from the sooji. This takes a bit of time.
-Once the ghee or butter can be seen to separate from the sooji, add the sugar syrup.
-Let the mixture simmer, stirring frequently, until the halwa thickens to the consistency of a thick pudding.
-Garnish with chopped almonds and offer to the Divine.

Jai Gurudev!


Protein Packed Lentil Veggie Cakes 

w/ Tomato Chutney 

We learned this veggie pancake recipe from a dear friend Jovahna (left) who comes frequently to the ashram to visit and serve.  It has become a Saturday Prasad favorite and can be served with any number of delicious chutneys and sauces like Tahini-Ginger or a quick Dill-Yogurt.  Here we have it paired with a tangy and delicious tomato chutney.

*Please note: the mung beans need to be soaked overnight and the batter is best when it rests for at least an hour, so plan ahead!

Veggie Cakes

(Makes 50)

Ingredients:

4 cups split yellow mung dal

2.25 ounces unpeeled ginger

3.5 cups water

3/4 cup +2tbl lemon juice

1 tbl+1 tsp salt

1/3 cup olive oil

2 1/4 tsp turmeric

5 cups thinly sliced kale stems

5 c shredded carrots

5 cups shredded cabbage

How To:

-Soak the mung dal overnight.

-Blend soaked mung beans on high with ginger and water to form a smooth-textured batter.

-Let batter rest in a warmish place for an hour or so.

-Add lemon juice and blend on high in batches until very smooth.

-Pre-heat griddle.

-Stir remaining ingredients into batter (salt, olive oil, turmeric and veggies)

-Put a little oil or ghee on the griddle and using a 1/3 cup measuring spoon, dollop batter onto griddle and press it lightly to make thickish pancakes.  Cook on medium to low heat (about 350 degrees) until thoroughly cooked and golden brown.

Tomato Chutney

(25 servings)

Ingredients:

10 cups of tomatoes cubed into about one inch pieces

7.5 tablespoons tamarind pulp

3/4 cup oil

2.5 teaspoon mustard seeds

2.5 teaspoon asafetida

3/4 teaspoon turmeric

5 tablespoons sesame seeds

5 tablespoons coriander seeds

2.5 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

25 whole red chilies

3/4 cup sliced ginger

2.5 teaspoon salt

5 teaspoons sugar

How To:

-Dry roast red chilies over low medium heat, stirring continuously to cook evenly till they are darker in color, about 2 minutes. Remove from the frying pan.

-In the same pan, dry roast sesame seeds, coriander seeds, and fenugreek seeds over low medium heat individually stirring continuously to cook evenly for just under a minute. Don’t over-roast.

-In a same pan add 3 teaspoons of oil.  When oil is moderately hot add ginger and stir-fry on low medium heat for about 3 minutes until ginger begins to turn light brown. Set aside.

-After spices cool, grind them into a powder. Set aside.

-In a blender just crush the tomatoes but do not make a paste. Set aside.

-In a pan heat remaining oil over medium high heat.  When oil is moderately hot add mustard seeds.  After they crackle add asafetida. Now add tomatoes, and tamarind paste. Stir and cook for about 10 minutes or until oil starts separating.

-Add the roasted spice powder, ginger, turmeric, salt and sugar, reduce the heat to low medium and cook for about another 8 minutes or until chutney is thick and oil is separated.

Offer to Maharajji and give thanks for this bounty!


Easy and Delicious Fresh Ricotta Cheesecake

We ended up with a lot of milk last week and tried this recipe using fresh home-made ricotta.  It was so good we had to make it again a few days later!  For a gluten-free option omit the crust and bake the filling directly on parchment paper and cut in small squares or spoon into paper cupcake cups and bake.

Ingredients

Crust:

Graham cracker crumbs – 1 cup
Sugar – 2 tablespoons
Unsalted Melted butter – 1/4 cup
 

Cheese cake Filling:

Ricotta cheese – 2.5 cup
Sugar – 1 cup
Cream cheese – 8 oz

Corn starch  – 2 tablespoon
Lemon juice – 2 teaspoon
Zest of 1 Lemon
Vanilla Extract – 2 teaspoon
Optional flavoring: saffron, ground cardamom, chocolate chips, berries

To make the fresh ricotta:

Warm 3/4 cups whole milk in a heavy bottom pan until it begins to steam and froth (stir frequently so that it doesn’t burn)

Add 1 tsp salt and stir to dissolve. Turn down the heat and slowly stir in 1/3 to 1/2 c lemon juice (2-3 lemons) until the cheese curds separate from the clear yellowish whey.  If the liquid is still cloudy and curds don’t separate fully, slowly add more lemon juice.  Turn off the flame. Strain through cheese cloth or a thin bar towel over a metal strainer.  Save the whey and use in place of liquid in soup, dal or other cooking or feed it to your garden (Salman used to say it makes a great hair conditioner too!) Let the ricotta cool until it is workable and proceed with the recipe. 

To make the crust: 

Combine all the crust ingredients and press into a 9″ x 13″ rectangular baking dish.  
 

To make the cake: 

Combine all ingredients (except chocolate chips or berries) in a food processor or mix with an electric mixer.  (Or do it the old fashioned way and stir it by hand-easier if the cream cheese is room temperature.) Mix in any optional flavorings.
 
Spread the cake mixture over the crust.  Bake for about 45 minutes at 250 degrees.
 
Drizzle melted chocolate, carmelized sugar, or warm berry syrup over it or just eat plain (super yummy like that too.)

Don’t forget to offer to Baba & Give Thanks!


Hanuman-Ji’s favorite snack!

Urad Dal Vada with Peppercorns

Temples to Hanuman-ji are found all over India with a wide variety of beautiful images of the beloved monkey God and with many wonderful ways of worshipping Him.  In south India, Hanuman-ji is frequently called “Anjaneya” or “son of Anjani”.  He is said to love crispy fried vadas, especially the ones made from urad dal and flavored with peppercorns, and apparently was fed these tasty treats by his mother to give him super strength.  Often 108 of these tasty treats are strung on a mala and offered around Hanuman-Ji’s neck (for him to nibble on!).  This recipe is for “medu vada”, or “soft vada” which are crispy on the outside and fluffy-soft within.  The traditional “Anjaneyar Vadai” also favored by Hanuman-ji and named after him, are more like thin crackers.  Also delicious, they take a set of teeth as strong as Hanuman-ji’s to bite into, so today we are making the softer ones that everyone can enjoy!

Have fun making these vadai.  It takes a little practice to perfect their donut-like shape.  If the batter sticks to your hands, try dipping your hands regularly in water between shaping each one or shaping them on a plastic Ziploc bag (or banana leaf ) held over your hand.

Medu Vada

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups urad dal (black gram/ ulundu/ minapa pappu)
  • 4 green chillies or to taste, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped coconut pieces
  • few curry leaves, roughly chopped (optional)
  • few coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • oil for frying

Directions:

  • wash and soak the dal for 4-5 hrs. or overnight in sufficient water.
  • Drain the soaked dal and grind it to a fine smooth paste in a blender or food processor, adding water only a teaspoonful at a time as needed. Do not add too much water. If the batter becomes too watery add a small amount of rava (semolina, sooji or cream of wheat).
  • Add green chillies, peppercorns, finely chopped coconut pieces, curry leaves and coriander leaves.
  • Mix well for at-least 5-10 min. This gives a nice aeration to the vada batter.
  • Add salt and once again mix well.
  • Heat oil in a deep pan.
  • Keep a small bowl of water handy.  Dip your hands in water and take a lemon size ball of batter.
  • Flatten with your fingers to form a round shape and make a hole in the center.
  • Carefully drop the flattened batter into the medium hot oil and deep fry on both sides till they turn a golden brown color.
  • Remove from heat and drain on paper towels to remove excess oil.
  • Offer to Hanuman-ji, asking for his divine strength to serve in the world!
  • Serve hot or warm with coconut chutney or sambar.

Jai Anjaneya Bhagavan!

Cooking Prasad with naughty little Hanuman’s band of friends….


Raw Raspberry Red Balls

Enjoy these healthy and delicious treats!

Makes 15-20 balls

1 cup frozen raspberries

15 dates, seeds removed

4 TBSP raw honey

1 cup raw cashews

2 cups desiccated coconut

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

Directions:

Place the ingredients into your food processor and pulse at high speed until the mixture is broken down, well combined and sticking together. Use your hands to shape the mixture into balls.
 
These are delicious drizzled or dipped in melted chocolate.  Or for a super red color, roll them in powdered freeze-dried raspberries offer to Maharaj-ji and enjoy!

Wintertime Kichadee

This is a typical kichadee recipe of Uttar Pradesh.  Thank you Archana Ji!
After all of the rich food of the winter holidays, it is time to get cozy and cleansed with a warm bowl of kichadee.  January 14 was Makar Sankranti this year, celebrated in various parts of India as a harvest festival marking the new year.  The traditional dish of the festival is kichadee-a seasoned mixture of rice and dal.  There are many variations on this comfort food, from sweet to savory.
This recipe was shared by Archana and her family who visited the ashram from Denver and spent the weekend of Makar Sankranti with us cooking prasad for Maharaj-ji and Hanuman-ji.  Archana’s husband Avinash hails from Allahabad, a city known to Baba’s devotees as the place where he spent his winters in the last years of his life.  There are many stories of Maharaj-ji’s lilas at the famous Bade Hanuman temple in Allahabad where every year in the rainy season the river Ganga Mata floods, rising up to touch Hanuman-ji’s feet.

Ingredients:

(Serves 6)

For the rice and dal mixture:
1 cup rice
1 cup split mung dal
8 cups water
Assorted veggies chopped medium in about 1″ pieces (Archana suggests using whatever you have seasonal and on hand, or use the mixture below):
1 large carrot
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 small zucchini
1 small potato
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
For the tadka (seasoning mixture):
1 Tbsp ghee
a pinch of hing (asafoetida)
1/2 tsp cumin seed
1/4 tsp mustard seed
4 whole cloves
5 peppercorns
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1″ piece of ginger, grated
1/2 jalapeno or other green chile, chopped fine (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-3 tomatoes, diced
1/4 c finely chopped cilantro for garnish

Method:

-Combine the dry rice and dal and rinse for several rinses under cold water.  Put it in a 3-4 quart pressure cooker or pot and add water, salt, turmeric and chopped vegetables.
-If using a pressure cooker, cook for 5-7 minutes on medium heat, or until the cooker whistles once.  Turn off heat and let cool while you make the tadka.  If using a regular pot, cook for 20-25 minutes or until the dal is cooked through thoroughly and the mixture is soft.  Add 1-2 cups hot water if needed to make the consistency similar to a thick soup or thin mashed potatoes, as desired.
-For the tadka, heat the ghee in a saute pan and add hing.  Immediately add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, cloves and peppercorns and saute until the seeds pop.  Add turmeric, coriander and garam masala and cook for one minute, stirring so the spices don’t burn.  Add ginger, green chile, tomatoes and salt and saute, stirring, until the tomatoes are soft.
-Add the tadka to the boiled kichadee and stir to thoroughly combine.  Add hot water if necessary to thin.  Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Serve to Maharaj-ji and enjoy!

Jai Gurudev!


 Chai Recipe

 


 Green Chile Apple Pie Samosas

Fusion cuisine at its finest!

“Killer” -Nikki
“Awesome”-Ready
These sweetly spiced individually fried apple pies with a hint of green chile goodness say, “Indian Ashram in New Mexico” like nothing else. A must for the holiday season.

Makes 24

Samosa dough:

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted ghee or butter
1/3 cup yogurt
2 tablespoons cold water, plus more as needed

Green chile apple pie filling:

2 tablespoons butter or ghee
4 cups apples, diced small
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon clove
pinch of salt
1/4 cup chopped green chile (New Mexico Hatch green chile, roasted, peeled and deseeded)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the samosa dough:

Blend the flour and salt in a mixing bowl.  Add the melted butter and rub it in with your fingertips until it is fully incorporated and the mixture resembles fresh bread crumbs.  Add the yogurt and one tablespoon water and work until the ingredients can be gathered into a ball.  Add the remaining tablespoon of water in dribbles to form a non-stick, kneadable firm dough.  Knead on a clean surface, adding water if necessary, for about 8 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and pliable.  Shape it into a ball, rub it with oil, cover and set aside to rest for 1/2 -1 hour while making the filling.

For the filling:

Melt the butter or ghee in a sauté pan and add the apples, stirring them around a bit. Add the sugar, spices, salt and green chile and cook until apples begin to soften, a couple of minutes. Add the cornstarch and stir to coat the apples. Cook for about three minutes, add the lemon juice, and turn off the heat. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.

Shaping and frying:

Roll the dough into a rope and cut into 12 equal parts.  Shape them into smooth balls and set aside, covered with a damp kitchen towel.  Take one piece of dough and roll it out into a thin round.  Cut the round in half to make two semicircles.  Dip a fingertip in water and moisten half of the flat edge of one semicircle and then bring it around to form a cone, pressing the dry edge and wet edge together to seal.  Fill the cone 3/4 full with cooled filling, moisten the inside of the opening and pinch the top closed, allowing a good 1/4 inch seam.  Make sure all seams are well-sealed to prevent oil seeping in to the samosa during frying and making it heavy and greasy. Make each samosa in the same way.
Heat 2 1/2 to 3 inches of oil or ghee in a pan over medium heat until it reaches 365 degrees.  Fry 3 or 4 samosas at a time 4-5 minutes or until they are crisp and golden brown.  Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Offer to Maharaj-ji and enjoy with your friends!

Jai Gurudev!


“Joe’s Mashed Turnips and Potatoes”

Ingredients:
 4 large turnips
3 large potatoes
3/4 c milk or 1/2 and 1/2
1/4 c butter
salt and pepper
Directions: Boil, peel and mash the turnips and potatoes.  Add butter and keep mashing.  Mix in the milk or 1/2 and 1/2 until it is creamy.  Add salt and pepper and offer to Maharaj-ji.

“Stefanie’s Warming Lentil Soup”

(serves 8)
Ingredients:
 2 cups orange lentils (masoor dal) soaked
3 yams, cubed
3 TBSP fresh grated ginger
3 TBSP fresh grated turmeric (or 1 TBS dry powder)
2 tsp whole cumin seed
16 oz or 2 cups veggie broth
Approximately 2 cups water
16 oz or 2 cups coconut milk
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt and black pepper

Ghee

Directions: Drain lentils.  Melt a generous amount of ghee in a pan and saute spices until fragrant.  Add lentils and yams and mix to coat with ghee and spices.  Saute for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Transfer to a soup pot and add veggie broth.  Add water until about 2 inches above contents. Bring to a boil, add salt and pepper and then turn down to medium heat and cook, covered, until tender, stirring occasionally.
Turn off heat and add coconut milk and cilantro.
Offer to Maharaj-ji and share with your friends!