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QuestionDear Kurma,

Can you send me recipes for Matar Panir and Pear Chutney in quantities for 350 people. I am cooking a big feast at the Melbourne Hare Krishna Temple on the festival of Radhastami. Much appreciated.

Acintya Rupa Dasi, Melbourne Australia

AnswerDear Acintya Rupa, here they are. I am also cooking these recipes on this feast day, but only for 150. Happy cooking! Kurma.

Matar Panir for 350 feast-sized portions

2 cups ghee
1/3 cup mustard seeds
1 cup cumin seeds
1 cup chopped ginger
1 - 2 cups chopped fresh green chili
200 large ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced fine
1 cup ground coriander powder
less than ½ cup turmeric powder
¼ cup ground fennel
¼ cup garam masala
½ cup raw sugar
8 cups chopped fresh coriander
4 cups chopped fresh mint leaves
homemade curd cheese (panir) made from 60 litres milk, pressed until firm and cut into small cubes
ghee for deep-frying
10 kg frozen peas
whey or water
4 cups tomato concentrate
handful salt

Heat ghee in a very large saucepan over moderate heat.

Saute the mustard seeds until they crackle. Add the cumin seeds and stir until they darken a few shades. Add the ginger and green chilies and saute momentarily. Add the chopped tomatoes, powdered spices (except garam masala), and half the herbs. Partially cover and, stirring occasionally, simmer for about 1 hour or until the tomatoes break down and turn pulpy.

Heat the ghee for deep frying in a pan or wok over moderately high heat. When hot (185°C/365°F), deep-fry the cubes of panir cheese a batch at a time until golden brown. Remove and drain.

Add the panir to the tomato and spice mixture. Boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Add the tomato paste, peas and enough whey or water to bring it to a slightly moist consistency, add the sugar and salt and mix well; simmer for 20 more minutes. Before serving, add the remaining herbs and garam masala. Serve hot.


Pear Chutney for 350

1 cup ghee
½ cup teaspoons cumin seeds
½ cup fennel seeds
30 green chilies, seeded and sliced into thin julienne strips
½ cup minced fresh ginger
¼ cup turmeric
8kg firm ripe pears
4 tablespoons cinnamon powder
2 tablespoons freshly ground nutmeg powder
8 cups raw sugar

Heat the ghee in a large heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Sprinkle in the cumin and fennel seeds and saute until a few shades darker and aromatic. Drop in the chilies and ginger and fry for about 1 minute, or until aromatic.

Add the pears and turmeric and stir together for a few minutes. Stir in the cinnamon and nutmeg, and reduce the heat slightly. Add about one cup water.

Cook the pears, covered with a lid, for 30 or 40 minutes, or until they are broken down, fairly dry, and reduced. Add a little water if it really dries up, but better not to.

Stir in the sugar and cook the chutney for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until thick and jam-like.

Serve as an accompaniment, either warm or at room temperature.

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