The Madhur Jaffrey Cookbook

I have loved Indian Cuisine since I was very young, living in England. We were in London and chanced upon Veeraswamy’s Restaurant. It became a regular place to go for my parents. And for me, if I was lucky. But it wasn’t until a many many years later that I discovered the joys of a very simple and very sweet Indian treat – GULAB JAMUN.


“You could call them fried milk balls in syrup” is how Jaffrey describes them in The Madjur Jaffrey Cookbook. And that is exactly what they are. A mix of powdered milk, whole milk with a little flour thrown in. A cross between a doughnut hole and an Æbleskiver. Kinda! After frying it is ‘syruped’ and then soaked in a cardamom syrup. Eaten warm – YUM YUM!!


      2 lbs granulated sugar
      3 cardamom pods, slightly crushed
      1 3.4 pints water

Combine water, syrup and cardamom pods in a 3-qt pot. Simmer until sugar has dissolved. DO NOT STIR!! Pour 1/2 of the syrup into a serving bowl (about 2 qt). Leave remainder in the pot with the pods.

    Milk Balls:

      6 oz powdered milk
      3 oz AP flour
      4 fl oz veggie oil or ghee
      4 fl oz milk
      veggie oil for frying

Make a soft dough with the powdered milk, flour, oil and milk in a bowl. Make small, smooth 1″ balls out of the dough.


Heat the oil in a deep frying pan (about 3″ of oil) over a LOW flame. The jamun need to be fried slowly.
Test the oil by putting one jamun in the oil. If it browns too quickly it is TOO HOT. If it fries too slowly, turn the heat up. The jamun should end up a golden brown.


Don’t fry more than aoub 5 or 6 at a time. When they are done lift them from th oil and put them to simmer in the syrup for about 5 minutes. It takes about 5 minutes to fry a batch, so while one batch is frying, one batch is ‘syruping’. After 5 minutes or so place them in the fresh syrup in the serving bowl. Repeat until all the balls are fried, syruped and in the serving bowl. Cool, cover the bowl and refrigerate. Discard the syrup in the pot.


These can be served cold, at room temp or slightly warmed – the way I like them. When served, only the jamun should be served, not the syrup.

I had promised myself I would make these for the last PL with Donna Hay’s 6 month run. My first batches were a little too brown. It wasn’t until the last 10 that they finally turned out just right.
The recipe makes at least 24. I made 1/2 of the recipe and ended up with 14.

This is potluck week for I Heart Cooking Club. The recipe is on page 839 of Madjur’s book.


I live in the South. We eat a lot of rice in the south. A lot of rice. And usually a long grain type of rice. But in the past few years we have discovered other types of rice. Jasmine. Brown. Basmati. Brown Basmati. Even Black rice. THAT one I haven’t cooked yet but I have it. Basmati has become one of our favorites. I am always glad to find new ways to use it. Like this dish from Madhur Jaffrey.


Rice, onions, mushrooms, cumin. The ingredient list is short, but The rice is very tasty.

    2 cups Basmati rice
    4 Tbl oil
    1/2 tsp cumin seeds
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    4 medium mushrooms, finely chopped
    1 tsp salt
    2 cups water

Wash the rice several times and drain.
Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan with a tight fitting lid over medium heat. When hot, put in the cumin seeds. Stir and fry for a few seconds. Put in the onion and sauté for a few minutes until onion is soft. Add the mushrooms and sauté for another 2 or 3 minutes. Add in drained rice and salt. Saute for a 3 to 4 minutes. Add two cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low and cook for 25 minutes or until rice is done.

This was a perfect simple side for any dish. When I make it again I will double the cumin. And I would use more salt. This time I made 1/2 of the recipe but used the same amount of mushrooms. Recipe from The Madhur Jaffrey Cookbook page 163

This is potluck week with I Heart Cooking Club so we can cook with Donna Hay, or current chef, or with anyone else whose dishes we have been enjoying. I chose to cook, again, with Madjur Jaffrey. So many of her dishes I still want to try. Check with the other IHCC members and see what they made for potluck.

A few weeks back I made a curry for a friend and me. While I was at it, I made poories/puries to scoop up the lovely sauce that was left behind. What is a poori? It is very much like a chapati, a flat bread, that is fried.

IHCC P1030451-001

The difference between a chapati and a poori is the addition of a little oil. If you have ever had Indian Fry Bread or Mexican Sopaipillas, then you have something like a poori.

    2 oz all-purpose flour
    2 oz whole-wheat flour
    1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    about 1/4 cup warm water
    oil for deep frying

Sift flours and salt into a medium bowl. Stir in tablespoon oil and mix in enough of the water to make a soft dough.

Knead dough 5 minutes and then lightly cover with oil and plu in a plastic bag and let rest 30 minutes. Divide dough into 12 pieces; roll into balls. Dust balls with flour and cover with a damp cloth. Roll each ball out to about a 3-inch round, keeping unrolled balls and finished rounds covered with a cloth.

Half-fill a deep pan or deep-fryer with oil and heat until very hot over medium heat. Fry one or two poori at a time, turning over once, for 30-60 seconds. Keep patting top of the poori gently with a slotted spoon as they cook in order to make them puff up.


Serve at once.

Eaten by themselves they are rather tasteless, but used like a biscuit with a good Indian stew they are delicious.

And, while very non-Indian, they aren’t bad coated with a little powdered sugar.


This week was Potluck with I Heart Cooking Club and while we are cooking with Donna Hay until the end of March 2014 we can use any of the past chefs for Potluck. Again I went with Madjur Jaffrey. The recipe is on page 820 of The Madjur Jaffrey Cookbook Go visit with the other members of IHCC and check out their POTLUCK dishes.

Americans LIVE for dessert. In India meals usually end simply with fruit. According to Madjur desserts, as we know them, are saved for special occassion meals. I am waiting to try my hand at Gulab jamun (fried milk balls in syrup) which I hear is quite an undertaking, but have made Kulfi whiuch is an ice cream type dish. It was very tasty.

Somewhere in between in difficulty is MALPUA.


These are simple pancakes which are fried and then submerged in a light syrup flavored with cardmom.

    6 oz sifted AP flour
    4 fl oz milk
    6 fl oz heavy cream
    1 1/4 lb sugar
    2 cardamom pods,slightly crushed
    3 Tbl vegetable oil (more if needed)16 fl oz water

Mix the flour, milk, and cream with a whisk. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Make the syrup by combining the sugar, 16 fl.oz of water, and the cardamom pods in a pot. Bring to the boil without stirring. Lower heat and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, or until all the
sugar dissolves. Put syrup into serving bowl large enough to hold pancakes as well.
Heat the oil in a 10 – 12 inch frying-pan over a medium flame. Pour in enough batter to make two 4-5-inch pancakes at a time. Cook pancakes slowly on both sides so they get
golden-brown and crisp. As pancakes are done, lift them out and put them into the syrup. Finish all the batter this way. Adjust heat so as not to burn pancakes, and add more oil as
you require it. There should be about 3 tablespoons of oil in
the frying-pan constantly. Malpua can be served either at room temperature or slightly
warm. Bring bowl of pancakes and syrup to table. Each person should serve himself-only the pancakes, not any of the syrup.

These were so simple to make and very very sweet. The batter was very thick and went into the oil more like balls than pancakes. But after flipping them and pressing them down they made nice little disks.

This recipe comes from Jaffrey’s The Madjur Jaffrey Cookbook (page 837).

Come Visit IHCC where we are cooking with Madhur Jaffrey through March. Join us! Delicious recipes!!

I wish!! So many questions I would ask. But, alas, this is just a virtual Tea and I am bringing just one of the treats.


Pekoris are vegetable fritters made with onions, potatoes, peppers, cauliflower or any other vegetable. “They are generally eaten with tea….” according to Jaffrey in An Invitation to Indian Cooking.

They are the Indian equivalent of batter fried potatoes or onion rings. And quite tasty since the batter contains cumin, tumeric, and pepper.

Use 1-inch flowerets of cauliflower (a small head), or 1/8-inch-thick onion rings (4 medium-sized onions, or Italian pepers cut in 1/2 lengthwise. I used potatoes, cauliflower, and onions. Chickpea flour is very light, so do weigh it.

4 oz chickpea flour (beson), sifted {Chickpea flour is very light, so do weigh it.}
1/4 tsp salt {I increased this in my second batch and it brought out the flavor more.}
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
karhai {Which is basically an Indian wok}, or other utensil for deep frying
salt and pepper for sprinkling on cooked pakoris

Put the chickpea flour in a bowl. Gradually mix in about 7 fl. oz. water, until you have a thickish batter thick enough to coat the vegetables. Add the other batter ingredients and mix well. Cut the potatoes into rounds 1/8″ inch thick, and put into a bowl of cold water.
Heat oil over a low flame until hot but not smoking. Take a few potato slices at a time, wipe them dry, and dip them in the batter. Now drop them into the oil. Fry slowly, 7 to 10 minutes on each side, until they are cooked through and have turned a golden-brown. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Do all pakoris this way, never putting in more at one time than your deep-frying utensil
will hold in one layer.
To serve: Serve pakoris while they are crisp and hot with either the Fresh Green Chutney with Coriander Leaves and Yogurt or Fresh Mint Chutney with Fruit. The chutney is used as a dip.
If you’re feeling lazy, tomato ketchup or Chinese duck sauce or a combination of soy sauce, white vinegar, grated fresh ginger, and a dash of Tabasco can be used as alternative dips.

I had some trouble getting the batter to stay on the veggires so I powdered them first with cornstarch and that worked better. I guess you could dust with chick pea flour as well. These are best eaten HOT before the batter gets a little soggy.

If you want to join the tea come over to and share the treats.


I would love to visit one. So many fragrances. So many colors. I doubt I will ever be that fortunate (Bucket List?) but I can find and use new spices in my kitchen. And that is what our ‘assignment’ was for IHCC.

    The Indian culture revolves around spices, discover some new ones this week!

And of course I had to find not the most fragrant spice, but the smelliest one. ASAFETIDA!! I had only heard of this spice one other time in a Patricia Cornwell book. The heroine of her books – Kay Scarpetta – was covered in the stuff when a ‘bomb’ went off in her hands. Lucky for her that was all she was covered in. This spice is really something else!! Understandable!!!

So I knew I had to find some and see, or rather smell, for myself.

    How bad could it be??

      Yeah, THAT bad!!! aka: devil’s dung, or stinking gum.

But once added to a dish, it loses it’s ‘fetid’ odor and merely enhances the other ingredients. It imparts a very strong onion-garlic flavor to Indian dishes and is commonly used in conjunction with tumeric, as it is with this dish.

The asafetida lingered so that you could taste the ‘fragrance’ but it was just barely there. In the background. Like using salt. You only notice what it does for the other ingredients.

    4-5 medium-sized potatoes
    2 tbs vegetable oil
    1/8 tsp ground asafetida, or 1/8-inch lump asafetida
    1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds {I had to use ground because I could not find my whole. I used the same amount.}
    1-2 dried hot red peppers, (optional) {I used about 1/2 tsp of crushed pepper flakes.}
    1/2 tsp turmeric
    12 fl. oz tomato sauce {Recipe to follow.}
    1 tsp salt

Wash, peel, and quarter potatoes. Put them in bowl with cold water to cover.
In 2-3-quart pot, heat oil over medium heat. As it heats, put potatoes in colander to drain. When the fat is hot, put in the asafetida; after it sizzles (5 seconds), add the cumin seeds; when they sizzle and change colour (5 to 10 seconds), add the red peppers, which will begin to change colour in a couple of seconds. Now put in the drained potatoes and the turmeric.
Fry the potatoes for about 2 minutes, stirring them now and then.
Now put in 3/4 pint water, tomato sauce, and salt. Bring to the boil. Cover and allow to simmer very gently for about 1 1/2 hours.
To serue: Take to the table in a deep dish. Give each person a little bowl to serve their own potatoes as well as the sauce.
These potatoes are best served with pooris, chapatis, or parathas, but they are also good with plain boiled rice and Lamb with Onions and Mushrooms. Left-overs can be put in the blender or mashed to make an excellent soup.

This was actually a very mild dish. I think the peppers would have upped the heat. I think I would add a little more cumin and a little more asafetida next time. I used chapatis and while making them was not too hard, using them is an art. I liked these and will make them again.

The recipe is on page 725 of The Madhur Jaffrey Cookbook which contains over 650 recipes. It is a combination of two of her previous cookbooks – Eastern Vegetrian Cooking and An Invitation to Indian Cooking. I bet I can find plenty of recipes for the next 6 months!!!

Jaffrey’s Tomato Sauce

    Take 16 oz of canned tomatoes and pour the contents into a stainless stee; pot. Add 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp sugar. Bring to a boil. Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently and braking up the tomatoes until you reduce the contents by half. Pour contents, after cooled, into an electric blender and blend until you have a smooth paste.

I considered using canned sauce, but decided to use Jaffrey’s recipe instead. It was a good call.

You can join in with I Heart Cooking Club if you like. Just visit the web page and find the weekly ‘assignments’ and cook along with us.


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