The Surprising History of Bhang, India’s Edible Cannabis Drink

During Holi, the annual Hindu festival of colors, a drink called thandai, which literally translates to “cooling off,” makes an appearance in India. Depending on where you go, the traditional milky concoction might be laced with hints of an edible Indi…

During Holi, the annual Hindu festival of colors, a drink called thandai, which literally translates to “cooling off,” makes an appearance in India. Depending on where you go, the traditional milky concoction might be laced with hints of an edible Indian cannabis called bhang.

What is bhang? An avocado-green paste made with the young leaves, flowers, and stems of the cannabis plant, which get soaked, ground, and then mixed with whole milk or yogurt to make a shake. The legal status of cannabis in India is fuzzy—in some states it's permissible, in others not—but go for a drive in many places and you’ll spot government-run stores beaming back at you with the words “Bhang Shop” in bright scarlet letters.

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Fresh Turmeric Tea

Let’s warm up with some fresh turmeric tea, shall we? It’s golden and earthy, spicy and soothing at the same time. Fresh turmeric is too precious to…

The post Fresh Turmeric Tea appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

turmeric tea recipe

Let’s warm up with some fresh turmeric tea, shall we? It’s golden and earthy, spicy and soothing at the same time.

Fresh turmeric is too precious to go to waste, so this tea is the perfect way to use up any leftover turmeric you might have on hand.

turmeric tea ingredients

If you’re a fan of fresh ginger tea, I’m confident you’ll enjoy turmeric tea. Turmeric and ginger are close cousins, after all. Like ginger tea, turmeric tea can also help settle an upset stomach.

Try turmeric tea as a mid-day pick-me-up, or wind down with a mug in the evenings. It’s simple to make, and a lovely alternative to caffeinated or alcoholic drinks.

Continue to the recipe...

The post Fresh Turmeric Tea appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

The Sweet Sikh Ritual of Karah Prasad

When you’re five years old, your priorities in life are simple: 1) wreak havoc, and 2) eat sugar. While my parents were generally wary of my consuming obscene amounts of sugar, they conveniently turned a blind eye when it came to the holy karah prasad—…

When you’re five years old, your priorities in life are simple: 1) wreak havoc, and 2) eat sugar. While my parents were generally wary of my consuming obscene amounts of sugar, they conveniently turned a blind eye when it came to the holy karah prasad—a staple dish for Sikhs in places of worship and made at home as well. In my childhood, it was an enabler of sugar-induced frenzies. In this regard, our family’s monthly trips to the gurdwara to offer prayers were a combination of dread (two young children high on sugar, what could go wrong?) and delight.

The gurdwara (literally meaning “God’s gates”) is characterized by its wide, open halls; the Paathi, whose sole duty is to read from the scripture Guru Granth Sahib; and the sweet offering of the karah prasad made at the end of the ardas, or the prayer service. As a child, this dish was my only incentive to put on a kurta-pajama, cover my head with a scarf, and wear the garb (both literally and figuratively) of understanding religion for an hour. While my parents devoted their time and energy to the service, I daydreamed about the forthcoming sweetmeat, a symphony of tabla and harmonium scoring my reverie.

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Making Paneer at Home Is Totally Doable, Promise

Considering that India is one of the largest milk producing countries in the world, it is rather surprising that it doesn’t have a major cheese-making culture. You won’t find stinky and moldy cheeses in the shops that line India’s busy, narrow streets …

Considering that India is one of the largest milk producing countries in the world, it is rather surprising that it doesn't have a major cheese-making culture. You won't find stinky and moldy cheeses in the shops that line India's busy, narrow streets —but almost every dairy shop carries paneer, an immensely popular fresh cheese. 

Paneer is such a dominant culinary symbol in India because, unlike other cheeses, it doesn’t require animal rennet. This makes it perfect for the predominantly vegetarian Indian diet. Paneer makes a great meat substitute in most Indian recipes, but even non-vegetarians like myself love it. From sweets, to fried snacks, to cream-drunk royal curries, paneer is used in North Indian dishes extensively. Its mild taste, texture (similar to that of halloumi or tofu), and capability to soak in flavors and withstand high cooking temperatures make it a household favorite. 

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12 Sweet, Savory & Delightful Diwali Dishes

Everyone loves a good Diwali meal. It’s a coming together of rich colors, textures, and flavors—a celebration of light. To help you plan for your own feast this season, we’ve put together this handy guide outlining some of our favorite refreshing salad…

Everyone loves a good Diwali meal. It’s a coming together of rich colors, textures, and flavors—a celebration of light. To help you plan for your own feast this season, we've put together this handy guide outlining some of our favorite refreshing salads, hearty mains, and clever sweets and drinks, all perfect for Diwali (or anytime!).


1. Lentil & Basmati Salad With Tamarind, Coconut & Cilantro

No Indian festival is complete without a rich, rice-based dish on the dining table. Biryani can sometimes be too labor-intensive to cook for a small crowd, and this rice salad offers a light yet festive alternative. With add-ons like unsweetened coconut, Le Puy lentils for protein, and a tangy tamarind dressing to toss everything in, this south Indian dish is a winner.

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The Unlikely Resilience of the Calcutta Chop

The Bengali chop might be the perfect metaphor for the British colonial era. The British forged an Empire that sought to impress its culture upon India, but was so heavily influenced by the colonized that a hybrid new form emerged. The chop traveled fr…

The Bengali chop might be the perfect metaphor for the British colonial era. The British forged an Empire that sought to impress its culture upon India, but was so heavily influenced by the colonized that a hybrid new form emerged. The chop traveled from English kitchens to Indian ones gathering spice, egg wash, mince, breadcrumbs, and chickpea flour until it had only the faintest resonance with its original. Along the way, it paused at that most British of institutions—the Club—which was crucial in disseminating it through Bengal.

Once the British subjugated India, they began prospecting for a simulacrum of home for the "preponderance of single British men, or married men living singly in India, especially in the early decades of colonial rule," writes Mrinalini Sinha in her essay, “Britishness, Clubbability, and the Colonial Public Sphere.” Clubs fulfilled this purpose splendidly, banding together to form a community. Unsurprisingly, these mirror kingdoms of Britishness functioned on exclusion and racial homogeneity. Club members—largely upper class, male, white European colonials—cupped the power of the country firmly in their hands; it was at these old seats of power that deals were brokered, policy was decided, and social connections were started or scuppered.

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A Love Letter to the Vastly Underrated Kidney Bean

One unexpected consequence of this year and a half of relentless home cooking is that I’ve developed an affinity for ingredient deep dives. It usually goes as follows: I’ll stumble upon a new-to-me or long-overlooked ingredient, and spend a week or so …

One unexpected consequence of this year and a half of relentless home cooking is that I’ve developed an affinity for ingredient deep dives. It usually goes as follows: I’ll stumble upon a new-to-me or long-overlooked ingredient, and spend a week or so cooking it in as many ways as possible using (mostly) what I have on hand.

A few months back, while sleepwalking through my weekly grocery store trip, an unassuming bag of dried kidney beans jolted me to attention. Why do I almost never cook with kidney beans when I’ve never met a bean I don’t like? I wondered, hopefully not out loud.

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The Star of My Kitchen? This Do-Anything Plant-Based Protein

Vegetarians spend a large part of the day trying to figure out ways to add more protein to their diet. Even for an Indian vegetarian, whose average meal is more or less balanced—carbohydrates from roti or rice, vitamins and minerals from sabzi, and pro…

Vegetarians spend a large part of the day trying to figure out ways to add more protein to their diet. Even for an Indian vegetarian, whose average meal is more or less balanced—carbohydrates from roti or rice, vitamins and minerals from sabzi, and protein from dal—it can be exciting to move beyond lentils and sprouts in search of more protein.

Beyond the everyday staples above, the most obvious vegetarian choice of protein across the country is paneer, followed by tofu and soy granules. I like to crumble ample amounts of tofu in my morning burji (a spiced scramble of sorts) and make keema out of soy granules, sometimes stuffing it into a samosa to make a quick snack. I turn chickpea mash into kebabs, saving paneer for rich vegetarian kormas and saags. But with so much noise around dairy (for reasons related to human health and animal welfare), the lack of availability of homemade tofu, and the fact that soy granules always come out of a cardboard box, meeting tempeh has changed the game for me.

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A Round of Applause for This Contest-Winning Crunchy Kale Chaat

Our latest recipe contest, Your Best Restaurant Inspired Recipe, gave us the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the hard-hit restaurant industry that has continued to make us superb meals infused with love and passion through the struggles of the last…

Our latest recipe contest, Your Best Restaurant Inspired Recipe, gave us the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the hard-hit restaurant industry that has continued to make us superb meals infused with love and passion through the struggles of the last year.

With a massive outpouring of delicious recipes paying homage to favorite local restaurants and eateries, our work was certainly cut out for us. Deciding on the final five was challenging, but after testing and tasting and tasting some more, we were able to narrow the field to our two finalists: Shri Repp's Crispy Kale Chaat and Meredith's Sweet & Spicy Piloncilo Cheese Spread.

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