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Recipes: A Feast for Festivals

By Prem Souri Kishore Email By Prem Souri Kishore
November 2012
Recipes: A Feast for Festivals

Yam Kabab Pilaf (Fragrant Rice and Yams)

A pilaf, or pulao, is not very different from a biryani. It is rice cooked with ghee, and spices, often with meat. This is a delicious vegetarian pilaf made with yams, but cauliflower or even cooked corn also makes a delicious pilaf.


1 pound yams
1⁄2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon chopped green chili
1 teaspoon chopped red chili
1 tablespoon crushed cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons grated coconut
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
3 tablespoons besan (chickpea flour) or gram flour
1⁄2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon fresh crushed ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
salt to taste
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Oil for frying

2 cups rice, washed thoroughly and drained
Salt to taste
2 onions, chopped
3 green chilies, chopped
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 cloves
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon grated garlic
2 cups pureed fresh tomatoes
1⁄2 cup milk
Cashew nuts, sliced and fried

To make yam balls:
Wash yams and boil until soft.
Remove skins and mash.
Grind cumin seeds, green chili, red chili, cilantro, coconut, and poppy seeds.
Add the paste to the yams with besan, ground turmeric, ginger, garlic powder, and garam masala. Add salt to taste.
Shape mixture into one-inch balls stuffing each with a little cheese as you make them.
Fry in hot oil, drain, and set aside.

To make rice:
Parboil rice in salted water, and drain.
Heat some ghee in a medium skillet and fry chopped onions.
Crush half of onions and add to rice. Set aside remaining onions.
Heat a little oil in another skillet and fry green chilies, ground cardamom, cloves, ground coriander, ginger, and garlic.
Stir mixture into rice.
Place tomato puree and milk in a pot and bring to a boil. Add rice mixture.
Place yam balls in rice, cover and steam for 10 minutes. Garnish with remaining fried onions and cashew nuts.



Double Ka Meetha (Bread Pudding with Nuts and Raisins)
This is a rich and satisfying dessert.
5 slices regular white bread, cut into squares
1⁄2 cup ghee
2 tablespoons chopped cashews, toasted
3 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
1⁄2 cup sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cardamom
A few raisins
1⁄2 cup milk
1⁄2 cup heavy cream

Fry bread pieces in ghee until toasted. Place in a shallow casserole.
Sprinkle with toasted cashews and almonds. Set aside.
Place sugar and 1⁄4 cup water in a saucepan.
Bring to boil, then cook over low heat for 10 minutes to make a syrup, stirring frequently.
Stir in cardamom and raisins. Then cook for a few more minutes.
Spoon hot syrup evenly over nuts and bread.
Bring milk to a boil and pour over top of bread. Spoon cream over top.
Cool for a couple of hours.



Mysore Pak (Flaky Chickpea Dessert)
This sweet dish, a traditional dessert served at festivals and rituals, is a treat at the end of a meal and has a distinct character all its own as well as a crumbly appearance.
11⁄2 cups sugar
13⁄4 cups water
1 cup besan (chickpea flour)
2 cups ghee

In a saucepan, dissolve sugar in water and heat, stirring until you can pull the syrup into a thread.
Add besan to syrup, a little at a time to avoid lumps.
Reduce heat and add 2 tablespoons of ghee.
Stir well and continue adding ghee, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the mixture becomes porous.
Transfer onto a greased dish and press mixture down to about 2 inches thick. Cool for 10 minutes.
Cut into square shapes and allow to cool more.
Can be stored in an airtight container in a dry place.


Reprinted with permission from Prem Souri Kishore’s India: A Culinary Journey, published by Hippocrene Books, New York. Kishore is an author, lecturer, and broadcaster based in Los Angeles. Born in Bangalore, she has also lived in Britain and the Middle East. Her India: An Illustrated History was published by Hippocrene Books in 2003.


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