Bhajee Vegetable Curry

2 Tbs. mild curry paste (I use Patak’s)
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 Tbs. panch puran spice (5 spice mix, available in Indian shops, optional)
4 Tbs. fresh cilantro, chopped
½ c. water
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cauliflower, broken into flowerettes
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
½ lb frozen peas

Put curry paste, tomato paste and 2 T cilantro in large non-stick pot on medium-low flame. Add potatoes and ½ cup water. Cook 10 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally. Add cauliflower and carrots and cook about another 20 minutes, until vegetables can be pierced with a fork. Add peas and cook another 10 minutes until tender. Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice pilau.

(You can substitute almost any vegetables for these).

Pilau (Rice)

2 c. Basmati rice, rinsed and drained
3 c. water
1 Tbs. oil
1 tsp. salt
2 cinnamon sticks
6 cloves
6 cardamom pods
1 bay leaf
pinch of saffron or ¼ tsp turmeric

In an oven-proof pot, saute spices and salt in oil (except for saffron) until the cardamom pods start to pop, a couple of minutes. Add the rice and saute another minute, until grains are coated with oil. Add the water (and saffron, if using) and bring to boil, then remove from flame and put in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until all water is absorbed (if pot is not oven-proof, transfer into an oven-proof dish. To continue cooking on top of stove, turn off flame but keep covered until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes). Garnish with kishmish badam.

Kishmish Badam (Raisins and Almonds)

¼ c. slivered almonds
¼ c. raisins
2 Tbsp oil

In small saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp oil on low-medium heat until warm. Add slivered almonds and saute, stirring continually, until golden. Remove and drain on paper towels. Add 1 Tbsp oil to same pan, saute raisins until they plump up. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel (they will shrivel back up). Mix raisins (kishmish) and almonds (badam) and sprinkle on rice before serving.

Calcutta Vegetable Cutlets

1 16-oz. package frozen mixed vegetables (make sure it includes green beans)
2 medium thin-skinned potatoes
2 tsp. cilantro or parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp matza meal or breadcrumbs, plus 1 cup for coating
1 egg
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
oil for frying

Immerse vegetables in boiling water for 5 minutes, or microwave according to package directions. Mash by hand, or very gently in food processor. Scrub potatoes. Boil, cool and mash. Add to mashed vegetables. Add rest of ingredients, except 1 cup matza meal and oil. Form into balls and flatten slightly. Put crumbs or matza meal in a plate. Dip the patties in the crumbs or matza meal until they are coated.

Heat oil in deep saucepan until it begins to form bubbles. Fry the patties in the oil until golden. Turn over and fry on the other side. Add more oil if needed. Remove from oil and drain well on paper towels. Makes about 20 cutlets.

Note: Instead of frying, you can bake cutlets in oven. Place in a greased pan in a single layer. Drizzle oil on top of each cutlet. Bake in 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Turn over with spatula and cook another 10 minutes.

Beetroot Leaves or Spinach Mahmoosa

½ lb. beetroot leaves (buy a bunch of beets and separate the leaves) or spinach, cleaned and dried
½ cup water
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 small piece ginger, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 T oil
¼ tsp. turmeric
½ tsp salt
2 large eggs, beaten

Remove tough stems from spinach or beetroot leaves. Cut into strips. Put ½ cup water and greens into large saucepan and bring to boil. Cook covered, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool. Drain spinach or beetroot leaves, squeezing as much water out as possible.

Saute garlic, ginger and onion in oil until lightly browned. Add turmeric and salt, keep stirring for about two minutes. Add spinach or beetroot leaves and continue to stir for 2 minutes. Add eggs and stir until scrambled. [or cook eggs in separate pan until softly scrambled. Fold into spinach or beetroot leaves and cook one more minute.]

Piaju (deep fried veggies)

1 lb. onions
1 c. olive oil


1 ¼ c. chickpea flour
½ c. water
¼ tsp. turmeric
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. salt
pinch chili powder

Slice onions in food processor. Set aside. Chop cilantro in processor. Add rest of ingredients for batter and mix together. Add onions and mix with a couple of quick spins.

Heat oil in skillet or deep pot. Shape batter into rounds like falafel balls. Batter will be a little loose. Put in oil. Turn over to make sure golden brown and crisp on both sides. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle lemon juice on top before serving (optional). Serve warm as appetizer or snack.

Makes two dozen.

Aloo Makala (Calcutta Deep-fried Potatoes)

4 lbs. small russet potatoes, or larger ones, cut in half
About 2 quarts peanut or vegetable oil for deep frying

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and boil for 5 minutes. Drain and let cool.

Pierce the potatoes with a fork all over. Place them in a heavy, wide-bottomed pot and add oil to cover. Heat oil over medium-high heat, then cook (do not stir) until tiny bubbles appear on the potatoes, about 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the potatoes continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until they are medium-gold, about 2 hours. (At this point, the heat can be turned off and the potatoes can remain in the oil until ready to serve, up to 3 hours.)

Just before serving, turn the heat to medium-high and fry the potatoes until they are very crsip and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the potatoes and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

Fruit Salad with Pomegranate

Fill a small bowl with pomegranate seeds and place in the center of a large platter. Use whatever fruit you like that is in season and arrange it around the pomegranate. It’s nice to vary it by color. Here are some suggestions:

1 pineapple, cored and cut into cubes
2 nectarines, sliced
strawberries, whole or halved
green grapes
mango, cubed
papaya, cubed
kiwi, sliced

Decorate with mint leaves.

Kooleecha (Coconut Cookies)

2 c. coconut
¼ c. milk or pareve substitute
6 T butter or margarine
½ c. sugar
1 c. semolina
poppy seeds or kaloonjee
Moisten the coconut in the milk or milk substitute for 5 minutes. Cream butter and sugar together. Add the semolina and coconut/milk mixture and mix well.
Take 1 heaping tsp. of mixture and shape into a ball. Flatten it slightly and sprinkle seeds on top. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake in 350 degree oven 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 20.


1 ½ cups red dal (masoor dal)
½ small onion, sliced
1 tsp. turmeric
2 cloves chopped garlic
pinch asafedida
1 tsp. ground cumin

Wash and rinse dal. Add water to cover about an inch above the dal. Boil. As soon as it comes to a boil (watch it as it might overflow), lower the flame. Remove as much froth as you can. Now add the sliced onion, turmeric and salt. At this point you may put the lid on and cook on a medium flame. Slowly cook for maybe a half hour, stirring occasionally until some of the water dries. If you see water bubbling, it is not ready. Most of the water should dry and the dal will have been cooked.

The next step is called tarka. This is prepared in a small skillet – pour about 2 teasp. oil in skillet until very hot. Add about two cloves chopped garlic, a pinch of asafetida, 2 teasp. ground cumin and cook for a minute or two.

Lift the pan toward the dall pan and add some of the cooked dal to the hot pan with the garlic and cumin. It will sizzle. Add this mixture to the dal pan. Cook for another minute or so until flavors are blended. You may use a hand blender to just blend because the cumin and garlic mixture tend to lump.


4 ½ cups flour
2 ¼ sticks margarine
¼ cup rose water
¼ cup water (approx.)
1 tsp. essence of rose water
1 lb. raw shelled pistachios
1 ½ cups sugar
¼ cup rose water
¼ cup water
Few drops of essence of rose water
Work margarine into flour and mix thoroughly by hand. Put liquid ingredients in measuring cup and gradually add to dough. (I buy a 7 oz. bottle of rose water and a 1 oz. essence). It should be a soft dough, malleable and easy to shape.

For the filling – mix together the ground pistachios with the sugar. Add the rose water, water and essence gradually until the consistency is such that you can make small walnut sized balls. Make the pistachio/sugar/rose water balls. Make the dough balls. You should have an equal amount of each.

To make the mamoul
Take a walnut sized lump of dough. Roll it into a ball and hollow it out with your thumb. Pinch the sides up to make a pot shape. Fill with pistachio ball, then press and pinch the dough back over the filling, making a little ball shape. Lay them on a cookie sheet and flatten slightly with tines of fork. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Do not let the pastries become brown. They will become hard and their taste will be spoiled. While they are still warm, they will appear soft and uncooked, but on cooking they will become firm.

When cold, sift confectioners sugar over them. They will keep a long time in a closed container.

Halek (Date Haroset)

Use four packets pressed dates. Break into pieces and put into a large stock pot. Add a half-gallon of water. Crush by hand and continue blending with a hand blender. Date pieces may stick to the blades; remove and keep blending until smooth. Have another pot ready. Put one-half of the dates into a strong pillow case. Squeeze out the juice thoroughly into the second pot. Repeat until all the dates are squeezed into the pot. Bring to a boil on a high flame, then lower the heat and stir almost constantly for one to two hours until the juice thickens and yellow-orange froth forms on the surface. Remove froth and turn off heat. No froth should remain when bottling. Cool. Makes approximately one and a half grape juice bottles.