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Vegetables


The Vedic art of cooking vegetables is unsurpassed in all the world. Vedic cuisine offers an infinite variety of vegetarian vegetable dishes. rla Prabhupda would sometimes tell the devotees that rmat Rdhr (Lord Kas eternal consort) has been cooking for Ka eternally and She has never offered Him the same preparation twiceeach dish always has an original taste. And in Caitanya-charitamrta, the Bengali scripture describing the pastimes of Lord Caitanya, there are vivid descriptions of feasts offered to the Lord by His devotees, that contain hundreds of delectable vegetable dishes.
Cooking vegetables Indian style means cooking them to bring out their flavors while retaining their nutritional value. The recipes in this chapter show you how to transform the most ordinary vegetables into wonderfully flavored dishes. The secret lies in knowing how to cook the vegetables with the proper spices. You can also combine vegetables with grains, yogurt, cheese, nuts, or fresh herbs.


Your neighborhood grocery should have almost all of the vegetables in these recipes. You can also shop around and see what else is available from local farmers and ethnic grocery stores. When selecting vegetables and other foodstuffs try to be conscious of their origin because, as the Vedas predict, this Age in which we are living is characterized by gradual degradation of the environment, including our foods. Already we can see that despite todays highly advanced medical technology, the most prevalent disease in the industralized world is premature aging. Many scientists attribute this to the contamination of our air, water, and food. Agro-business is much more concerned about profit than peoples health, and what we usually find in the supermarket is over-cultivated, hybridized, glossy-skinned produce with more eye-appeal than nutritional value. As far as possible use naturally grown produce that is compact and full of color. Its better to buy or grow vegetables that may be blemished but are free of chemicals. The yur-veda states that an important aspect of achieving physical health, and harmony with our surroundings, is to eat food grown locally and in season.


There are two principal ways to cook vegetables: wet and dry. To cook wet vegetables, first brown the spices in a little ghee or vegetable oil and then saute the vegetables in the spices. Then add some water and a thickening agent such as shredded coconut, yogurt, or pureed tomatoes. Keep the heat low and the pan covered to trap the steam. For dry vegetables, first saute the vegetables and then cook them without water, or with just enough water to prevent scorching. Then towards the end of the cooking take off the lid and cook off most of the moisture. Both wet and dry dishes may be eaten with rice or Indian breads.
 

There are also some other methods of cooking vegetables that are mentioned in other chapters of this book such as making vegetable pancakes, or cooking vegetables together with rice and dal, or deep-frying vegetables dipped in batter. For these methods, and for braising, baking, steaming, stuffing, and deep-frying, at one stage or another, you brown spices in hot ghee or oil. When the spices are browned, you add the vegetables. And provided your ghee is hot enough, the moist vegetables hitting the hot ghee and seasonings will make the chuum sound familiar to all Indian cooks.
 

Youll never find canned or frozen vegetables in Kas kitchen. Why use canned or frozen food when fresh produce is so readily available? The taste of fresh vegetables more than makes up for the time it takes to prepare them. Vegetables should be cooked just until tender and always eaten hot.

Alu phul gobhi paneer sabji

Alu phul gobhi ki bhaji

Alu gauranga

Bandgobhi alu sabji

Tamatar bharta

Tamatar paneer malai

Phansi kadhi

Matar paneer

Bengali tarkari

Matar alu tarkari

Sukta

Mah brinjal

Palak baingan aur channa

Sak

Paneer sak

Khati mithi sabji

Masala bhindi sabji

Upma

Bhari hui sabji

Alu tikkia tamatar sahit

Bhindi Massaledarh

Alu kofta

Palak kofta

Bandgobhi kofta

Nargisi kofta