It is our last few moments in Rishikesh. Bhava and I are packed and ready to go. Dehradun. Delhi. Newark. San Diego. 36 hours of travel.
It is worth it. To sit by the Ganges, Hike in the Himalayas. Listen to sages. Be in the presence of enlightened ones. Meet international Yogis, adepts and Sadhaks. Soak in the bhav’ with my Bhava.
We were up early this morning, enjoying our final hours with “Ma Ganga” ~ Meditating in the predawn by the huge window in our room that overlooks this storied river; listening to her soothing yet powerful flow, while stirred by the punctuating cries of pilgrims heading to pay homage to Shiva at Neelkanth Temple, on the eve of Shivaratri. Then to the Ghat for Puja, flowers for Ma Ganga, and Sadhana with our fellow Deep Yogis.
We just had an early lunch at the Green Hotel before our beloved friend Madhav heads over to fetch us for the airport.
What did we have for our last meal? Why Palak Paneer, of course, along with Vegetable Kofta, a kind of Vegan Meatballs in a curry sauce, without meat, wheat, eggs ~ just pure delight. It’s the ultimate comfort food. Something I need lots of now, as departing this heavenly realm is never easy for me.
With this last hour, we could go back to the river, but at this point, that feels maudlin. It is hard enough to leave. Just thinking about it, my heart starts to crack. Instead, we look forward, thinking about all that we have to return to ~ our precious family, our friends, students, fellow Yogis, even our own holy waters – the Pacific.
I am also looking forward to sharing some of the Indian specialties we’ve enjoyed here, starting with these delightful Koftas.
While it includes a few “exotic” ingredients, the spices are usually carried by Whole Foods or your local spice shop. Otherwise, order in small quantities online from a reputable purveyor. Having said that, it does require one special ingredient: Gram flour. Also known as Besam, it is simply ground chickpea and is used in cooking, in natural home remedies for skincare, and in Ayurvedic treatments all over India.
Apart from having a high protein content, when mixed with an equal proportion of water, gram flour can be used as an egg-replacer in vegan cooking. You can find it at any Asian or Indian market, but in the meantime bread crumbs will work.
Vegetable Kofta Curry
1 c Cabbage
1 Red Pepper
1 c Broccoli and/or Cauliflower
1 Onion, chopped fine
2 T Gram flour (or bread crumbs)
1 t Garam Masala
1 t Ginger Paste
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 t lemon juice
Himalayan salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 T Peanut Oil (an alternative could be coconut)
1 c Tomato purée
1/2 Onion chopped
1 t Chili paste
1/2 t Ginger paste
1/2 t Garlic Paste
1 t Cumin seeds
2 t Coconut powder (flour)
1 t Fenugreek seeds (or powder)
1 t Turmeric
1 t Coriander
1 t Cayenne
2-3 Green chillies, sliced fine (or 1 t cayenne powder)
1 c Water
2 T Oil (ghee, Coconut Oil, Safflower Oil, etc.)
1/4 c Cilantro, chopped
Grate the vegetables for the Kofta and mix together in a bowl with the rest of the Kofta ingredients. Wet your hands with water and with your hands divide into 10-12 small portions and roll into round balls. Fry the koftas in hot oil until they brown all over (I will try baking these instead), and put to the side.
To make the curry sauce, heat the oil in a pan and toast the fenugreek seeds for about 1 minute. Add the cumin seeds and onion. Sauté until it turns a golden brown.
Stir in the ginger paste, coconut powder, spices and salt. After about 1 minute, add in the tomato purée and the water and bring to a boil.
Add the koftas made earlier and cook for 5 minutes.
Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with paratha or roti.
This recipe is a westernized amalgam of two very different recipes from Cooking with Sapana and Sindhi Rasoi to whom I am so grateful. If you make these before I get home, please let me know how you like them, and what adaptions you make.
Meanwhile, how about coming with us to India next year? It is not only magical, it is life-changing. And the food is endless delight!
Be home soon! Namaste!
Thank you Laura for giving us quite the taste of India and the recipe. Wishing all of you smooth travels home : )
Thank you, Federica. India is like Italy this way – devotion to family, deep tradition of spirituality, great food!
Safe travels, dearest of teachers! What a beautiful post. I feel how you feel. Love and blessings, Anne Marie Welsh The Saraswati Way Yoga for Writers Workshops and Retreats http://www.annemariewelsh.com/ 858.456.5205
I know you do, dearest Anne Marie. One day we’ll have to follow the Saraswati way to the river’s source. Meanwhile, lots of love!
Sounds marvelous! Can’t wait to make it, & also will enjoy having Beautiful You & Dear Bhava home with us on the pacific side… Much love & safe travels!
Thanks, Carolyn. The river runs through!
So wonderful, you get to bring home and share some of the essence of your journey’s experience both in your heart and into your kitchen. Namaste!
Yes, Kelly. There is so much to bring home. It is such a wonderful, beautiful place with such heart-imprinting people. We look forward to sharing. Namaste!
Thank you dear one. It looks yummy and the pictures are great too. Safe travels back home. Hugs to you both.
Thanks, Mom. You are one of the best reasons we come home!
A most loving and endearing email. India sounds nicer than Liberia! Peace and safe travels . Kevin
Thanks, Kevin. Guess that is why you are there!
I hope you are now back safe and sound. I am so sad you had to leave this beautiful and enchanted place!! I am saving my pennies to go with you next time.
Hope so, Pamela. You will love it!
Tat Tvam Asi, my beloved. Thank you for another wonderful, extraordinary, uplifting, heart-expanding trip!
i have never tried kofta, but your description alone begets its nature as a comfort food – sounds yummy safe travels.
Love the photos! Feel like I am in India and wish I was for that moment!
Marcia ~ we thought of you lots while we were there. I know you love India, too. One day perhaps we’ll go together. Lots of love!
You sound amazing here. So happy to see the colorful photos and hear your voice. The richness of your experience shines thru. Looking forward to more. I hope your journey was safe and that you are delighting in all the goodness of home.
Thank you, Robyn. It was an amazing trip!
Thanks for including a link to my blog and recipe for Vegetable Kofta curry. Felt extremely happy that the recipe worked for you. Shall try the curry/sauce, your way 🙂
Thank you, Alka, for help in translation – and in coming home!
Where to begin? Your travelogue is endearing. The meditation by the water and the kid jumping out of these virtual pages. I have never had Indian vegetarian koftas, though I am Indian myself. I also found the bananas as an ingredient intriguing. What a wonderful recipe I am happy you shared here. There are so many regional specialties I am not familiar with.
Coming from you Shulie, that makes my heart sing. I’ve really enjoyed your food blog, http://www.foodwanderings.com. Its fresh, and even poetic, approach to the “ethnic foods” of your heritage is inspiring. Thank you!
Wow, they look delicious! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thanks, Rohan. Hope you enjoy them.
Such moving story…even though I have never been to India, I can relate…This is an amazing recipe and I can’t wait to try it…<3
Thank you, Tiziana. It is such comforting food. Let me know if you make it, and if so, how you like it. Love to you ~