Inside the world’s largest community kitchen

The langur (community kitchen) at the Golden Temple serves 50,000 free meals a day to everyone, regardless of religion or class. More than 5,000 happy volunteers work round the clock, cooking up a full meal of tea, rice, vegetable, daal, chapati and kheer (pudding). A whopping 18 quantals (=18,000 kg) of daal and 50 quantals…

How NOT to make Dal Baati Churma

Friends in Mumbai told me I had to try dal baati in Rajasthan. It’s a typical desert dish consisting of, you guessed it, dal, and baati, a very dense dough ball that has been baked in ‘the oven’ (I will later find out that this ‘oven’ is actually smouldering cow dung). This version of the…

A recipe for khichidi rice and curd curry (khadi)

25 year-old Kunal is not your average guy, he cooks, massages people’s feet and makes flower mandalas. He is a co-volunteer here at Sapna Ranch, where he showed me how to cook khichidi , a simple ‘temple food’ invented by Saint Sai Baba. Khichidi is almost always served alongside curd curry (khadi). The mix of…

How to make delicious South Indian coconut chutney

A ridiculously easy recipe for coconut chutney, a tiffin-time staple across South India. Lakshmi’s “life started at 36”, when her two daughters had both started school and she was able to go out and get a job. Luckily for Lakshmi, her husband was liberal enough to allow her this freedom, many husbands would not be…

Alleppey special duck curry

This rich duck curry comes from Shaila, who was Bhagath’s mother. We could only communicate with smiles and head shakes, but over the four days we stayed with Bhagath, Shaila cooked us all sorts of delicious Keralan meals. This curry is an ‘Alleppey special’ and traditionally eaten on Sundays, much like the Sunday roast. The…

Jaffna Crab Curry

Vasanthy greets me with a smile and a light embrace on the steps of her bungalow. She wears a bright pink spotty dress and her dark blue eyes sparkle – apart from the greying hair tied back in a small bun, you wouldn’t believe she’s 55. It’s been an exciting journey to get here, sitting…