Devotees of Krsna add the spiritual ingredient to integrate the parts of the "total person."

In America during the 1950s, white flour and sugar were considered "good foods," pesticides and chemical additives were considered scientific improvements, and "good health" meant not being sick. The family food budget tallied to a reasonable amount, and Mom had a fourcourse meal hot on the table by 6:00.

The 1960s found Americans looking askance at traditional medicine, pesticides, and processed, chemically preserved foods, and looking for ways to avoid disease and to be their own doctors. The granola generation was born and, along with it, aerobic exercises.

Krishna Conscious Food

As health-care costs escalated tremendously in the 70s, interest in diet and exercise escalated with it. And with positive results. Between 1972 and 1982, cardiovascular disease mortality in Americans declined twenty-eight percent. Life expectancy increased from 71.2 years to 74.6. Americans were becoming more fit.

The mood of the 80s continues along the same track, as portrayed in this introduction to the Better Homes New Cookbook (1984): "Proper nutrition, a balanced diet, and good health are concerns all of us share. . . . Since busy schedules have become a way of life, we placed an emphasis on ease of cooking. . . . Because food costs are on the rise, most of our recipes are prepared 'from scratch' to help you stretch your food dollar. . . . "

Many believe that the next development after becoming healthy and saving time and money will be to cultivate wholeness, to become a "Total Person," a spiritual being with fully developed social, emotional, occupational, intellectual, and physical awareness.

A special twelve-page advertising section in the center of a recent Time magazine described the likable, well-adjusted "Tom the Total Person." This theoretical idol, Tom, "knows and lives by the principles of a healthy physical life." He eats a variety of foods (both vegetarian and nonvegetarian), avoids too much saturated fat, cholesterol, and sugar, and eats foods with adequate starch and fiber.

Among these various ideas, diets, and modes of living, one factor is consistently absent: God's role in one's quest for happiness. Although in the quest the public is carried by the winds of updated scientific research and theories, Krsna's devotees are not. Krsna's devotees remain on Krsna's route to happiness, unaffected by the speculative routes of others.

In a time beyond memory, Lord Krsna offered humankind a healthy diet with a practical means to grow spiritually. Krsna's diet and culture, as valid and perfect today as it always was, enable us to spiritualize our lives and to become transcendentally happy. A devotee recognizes that Krsna is I ultimately the proprietor and enjoyer of everything. As Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita, He is the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities. In accordance with Krsna's desire, the ingredients for a devotee's cooking are always vegetarian and pure ("Offer Me with love and devotion a leaf, a fruit, a flower." Bg. 9.26). So automatically devotees have a lower food bill than meat-eaters and are blessed with a , healthy, low-cholesterol, low-calorie, all- natural diet.

Although a devotee has an arsenal of time-saving recipes, he doesn't consider cooking a meal something to get out of the way. He sees it as an act of love and devotion: he is cooking for Krsna's pleasure. Above all, the devotee knows that his purpose is to transcend this mundane world and enter Krsna's infinitely higher spiritual world. Krsna Himself asserts that the devotee will achieve that sublime end by practicing Krsna consciousness: "With your activities dedicated to Me and your' mind and intelligence fixed on Me, you; will attain Me without doubt" (Bg. 8.7)., The devotee is aware that for one who serves Krsna, the supreme Total Person,; by hearing about Him, remembering Him, and cooking for Him, the path to becoming total opens wide.


(Recipes from The Hare Krishna Book of Vegetarian Cooking, by Adiraja dasa)

Deep-fried Vegetable Balls in Tomato Sauce

(Alu kofta)

Preparation and cooking time: 45 minutes

Servings: 4-6

15 medium-size tomatoes
2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 dried chilies, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons turmeric
3 teaspoons salt
5 medium-size potatoes
½ medium-size cauliflower
4 ounces chickpea flour
3 tablespoons fresh coriander or parsley
1 teaspoon garam masala
¼ teaspoon asafetida
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
ghee or vegetable oil for deep frying
1 cup plain yogurt (optional)

1. Place the tomatoes into a pot of rapidly boiling water for 15 to 20 seconds. Drain them, rinse them under cold water, and then peel and mash them.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of ghee in a saucepan over a medium flame and fry 1 teaspoon of grated ginger; add the dried chilies. Follow with ground cumin and ½ teaspoon of the turmeric. Stir-fry for a few seconds.

3. Now put the tomatoes into the pan, add half the salt, cover and lower the flame. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

4. While the sauce simmers, peel the potatoes; then trim the cauliflower and break it into large flowerets. Wash both vegetables thoroughly; then grate them through the large holes of a metal grater. In a mixing bowl combine the grated vegetables, the chickpea flour, 2 tablespoons of the chopped coriander leaves, and all the remaining spices. Mix thoroughly. The grated potatoes should give enough moisture to bind the ingredients together. Knead the mixture fort minutes; then form it into 20 to 30 small balls.

5. Heat the ghee until it almost smokes, and drop in the vegetable balls. Deep-fry them for 4 to 5 minutes, until they are uniformly golden-brown and crisp. Then drain.

If you use yogurt, stir it into the tomato sauce and allow the sauce to heat for 2 minutes. Put the kofta balls in a serving bowl and cover them with the hot sauce. Garnish with the remaining chopped fresh coriander or parsley leaves, and offer to Krsna.

Deep-fried Spinach-and-Cheese Balls

(Palak kofta)

Preparation and cooking time: 40 minutes

Servings: 4-6

1 pound fresh spinach
1 tablespoon ghee or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 dried chilies, crushed
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon asafetida
7 ounces panir (milk curd), drained and chopped
2 teaspoons salt
10 ounces chickpea flour
ghee or vegetable oil for deep-frying

1. Wash the spinach thoroughly, remove the large stalks, and then wilt the leaves by plunging them into boiling water for a few minutes. Let them drain well, and then press out any remaining water. Chop the leaves into small pieces on a cutting board.

2. Use a medium-size saucepan to heat the ghee and fry the ginger and the chilies, followed by the ground spices. Add the chopped panir and stir-fry for 1 minute. Then add the spinach. Toss in the salt and mix the ingredients well with a spoon. Transfer the mixture onto a smooth working surface, add the chickpea flour, and knead well.

3. Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls and deep-fry them in ghee until lightly browned; then drain. Offer to Krsna.

Stuffed Cabbage Leaves

(Bandgobhi kofta)

Preparation and cooking time: 1 ½ hours

Servings: 4-6

4 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
1 cinnamon stick 2 inches long
5 cloves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon asafetida
2 pounds tomatoes, pureed
4 tablespoons raisins
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 ½ teaspoons salt
3 ounces chickpea flour
1 pinch ground pepper
1 small green cabbage
2 ounces almonds or cashews, crushed
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 or 2 dried chilies, crushed
8 ounces panir, drained and chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander leaves or 1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon paprika

1. In a small saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of ghee and stir-fry the cinnamon, cloves, ground cumin, and asafetida for 30 to 40 seconds. Put in the pureed tomatoes and cook gently for 30 minutes to obtain a smooth sauce. Then fold in the raisins and add the lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of salt. Discard the whole spices and remove the saucepan from the flame.

2. Put the chickpea flour into a bowl with a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Mix with just enough water to make a thick batter. Cover the bowl with a cloth and set aside.

3. Cutoff the hard stem of the cabbage and place the cabbage into boiling water with 1 teaspoon of salt. After at least 5 minutes, carefully remove the cabbage and rinse it under cold water. Cut it at the base and peel off 6 to 8 leaves without breaking them. Use a small paring knife to pare down the thick section that runs down the middle of each leaf (without cutting through the leaf). Pat the leaves dry and set them aside.

4. Heat 2 tablespoons of ghee in a small saucepan and brown the crushed nuts, grated ginger, and chilies. Drop in the panir with the coriander leaves, paprika, and remaining salt. Cook over a medium flame, stirring constantly until all the ingredients are well mixed. Now spread out the cabbage leaves and place a tablespoon of the filling in the center of each one. Fold over the edges of each leaf and roll it into a tight roll.

5. Dip the rolls into the thick batter and deep-fry them for 4 to 5 minutes in hot ghee until golden brown. Put the stuffed cabbage rolls on a serving plate and cover them with the preheated tomato sauce. Offer to Krsna.