Monthly Archives: December 2008

Oat Water

Over on my cooking yesterday I posted about gruel, referencing the famous New Vrindavan Oat Water.

Ahhh, the memories. Not for me but for some longtime New V residents. While the stories I’ve heard about the oat water never sounded so yummy (and usually included phrases like, “You were lucky if you got a raisin!”), Ghosh and Soma Prabhus have different memories. And they were even gracious enough to share recipes. In quantity!

And there was no mention that the oats used were from animal feed sacks as I heard. Just see how important prajalpa niyamagraha is.

Okay…so here are the comments…for the pleasure of the Vaisnavas. May your new year be filled with devotion and oat water!

Madhava Gosh said…
“just oatwater” ?

Apparently you have never had real oatwater.

It happens to be the one thing I do know how to cook, having been the one who first made it and taught the regular cooks how to do it.

Kirtanananda told me how to do it so I did and introduced it to the other devotees.

About half the normal amount of oats to water, it was cooked for 1-2 hours at a simmer until the oats lose their form and become one with the water, creamy. A few raisins added later but soon enough that they plump up. Some ginger and a bit of salt, and a tablespoon of ghee per gallon.

“Oat water” was a bad marketing choice for a name, oat broth or cream of oats would have conveyed the idea better.

Oat water was great, not an austerity, when taken hot.

December 30, 2008 11:41 PM

Soma said…
ahhh… oatwater, it is my favorite breakfast. I would eat it everyday if i could. I have such warm memories of it. We rarely ate oat water by itself. It was used like gravy on the rice. And it was an unbelievable improvement from the previous fare. it was one part of the day that we all looked forward to. Personally i didn’t like the raisins or dates in the oatwater. but because they would sink to the bottom i could just scoop it off the top and miss the raisins and dates.
anyway, i cooked the oat water for a few months in 1985. i still have the recipe that Amburisha prabhu wrote on a scrap of paper for me.
here it is;
14 gal. water
1 overflowing gal. of oats
3/4 cup of salt
2 cup rasin or dates
ginger and gee impurites if any.

(for the rice)
4 1/2 gal. rice
6 gal water(slightly less)
2 cups salt.
gee impurities if any

that’s the historical recipe from 1985.

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Going YouTube Crazy!!!

Just in time for the New Year I have figured out how to upload video to YouTube. Whoopee! This is a big moment in my life.

Unfortunately I don’t have much worth sharing just yet, but the Holy Name is always a safe bet.

Here are some quick clips taken pretty soon after we moved to Alachua. My friend Gopi, who moved here from North Carolina just a couple of days after we did, as well as Premananda Gour Prabhu and his wife Mayapur Malini are all chanting away along with my family. Fun fun fun. Premananda and Mayapur left for India shortly after we moved here and have been there ever since. They are very exuberant devotees.

Okay so here is the rip roaring kirtan ūüėČ

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

As you can see from the video, Premananda Prabhu is great at engaging the children, whom he truly loves. This is also evident from seeing his own kids, Bali and Kish, in kirtan.

Gopi (Gopiparandhana Dasi) chants super sweetly. She went to gurukula in Guyana an now her daughter attends the gurukula in Alachua.

Happy New Year to all..hoping to develop taste for the Holy Name…sweeter than….money!

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Sabjimata Garden Tour!


Thanks to my brother-in-law, the NASA Guy, and iSquint, I am finally able to upload video to YouTube. 

Last spring I shot a tour of our gardens at our old house in PA. Oh how I miss those gardens. Today my husband and I are re-listing our house with a new realtor. Our renter did *not* work out and I am dying to get the equity out of our PA house and into my 1962 kitchen.
But my gardens will be missed. Thankfully, I have this video to feed my nostalgia, something which I hear is very popular this time of year.
Unable to upload the video straight to this blog (yes, I know…I should be blogging on WordPress), you can find my stuff on YouTube. Yes, I’m on there as Sabjimata.
If you want to hear the voice behind the blog (no folks, that’s not Fran Drescher talking…it’s really me!), see my old gardens not during full bloom or simply waste your time marveling at how the grass is actually greener at Gita Nagari, then check out these links below.
Have a happy New Year! May all house sellers find buyers, may all old kitchens be gutted and remodeled and may our material desires die out and the beauty of our hearts be nurtured to full bloom!

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Hard Times

As we all are too keenly aware, money is not coming easy these days. But, perhaps, as a reminder that we don’t have it that bad or maybe just to let us know how well Charles Dickens did indeed have it, The New York Times published an article this morning titled: In Reality, Oliver’s Diet Wasn’t Truly Dickensian.

The main dish featured was, of course, gruel.  But unfortunately The Times did not include any recipes for the stuff.  After some online banter with an online friend about the famed oat water of West Virginia Gaudiya Vaisnavas, I set to work to uncover the mystery of gruel.  
Gruel can be made from a base of rice, potato, oats or bread. It is much creamier than just oat water and seems like it could be an okay dish once in a while–although I have to admit, every day would seem a bit grueling (groan). But it could be a fun dish for a recession inspired theme party.
Below are the links to a couple of gruel recipes. See you at the workhouse!

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Picnic With Lord Rama

Occasionally I get emails from moms just going veg and faced with the conundrum of what to feed their kids. So today, inspired by our play-guests–Nimai (who was outside picking camphor berries and loquat leaves) and his little sister Kamala Sundari–I decided to photograph our picnic, which took place in front of the animated Ramayana playing on the television. Hey, they’re on vacation!
The kids were really happy with the simple lunch I served them and that is why I am sharing it with you. Nothing fancy. No hard labor. Just elbow macaronis cooked with broccoli, hing, salt and a lot of buttah. Dalma–yellow split moong dal with vegetables…kind of like split pea soup with a whole lot of ginger and mustard seed. And the highlight of the meal–at least according to the kids’ reaction when I plopped it in front of them–were the papadams.
Papadams come in many sizes and varieties. Today we had plain urad dal papadams, big size. They are available at Indian stores, are not at all spicy and cook up very easily. You can either toast them over a gas flame by holding the papadam with tongs, moving back and forth over the fire. Or, as we did today, you can deep fry them for a better than potato chips effect. And healthier, too! Urad dal is a good source of protein and iron. And papadams are such a successful crossover food that even picky eaters won’t know they are getting a dose of Indian culture along with all those health promoting nutrients.

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Cheater’s Marmalade


I still had ¬†sour oranges left from Padi’s pickings so when, after a light lunch of wet sabji and pooris, my husband took the goslings to the splash park, I headed upstairs for some citrus squeezing. ¬†To give the jam some texture, I zested the peel, making my creation a very easy marmalade.

By using the zest I quickened the marmalade process and also ensured that my end result would not be bitter–something I am happy about. ¬†Since the oranges were oh so sour and since they only produced a quart of juice, I used a full sugar recipe (55%).
I am sure marmalade purists would disapprove. ¬†When making a traditional marmalade, the peel is carefully cut away from the orange and julienned, with only a thin part of the white stuff on the underside. ¬†This is the bitter part. Also, water is added to the juice. Preferring a more concentrated and intense flavor, I went full juice, adding no water. ¬†Of course, this gave me a smaller yield but I don’t mind.
After pouring the jars I set them on the countertop.  It was around 2 pm and the winter sun was low in the sky.  Light beamed in through the old window behind the jars and lit up the marmalade like molten sunshine. 
Unlike cooking a meal, which is quickly eaten and forgotten (what to speak of digested and excreted), jam making brings a satisfaction that is less ephemeral. After the pot boils and the jam is packed, the satisfaction of jam making lingers long past morning breakfast of toast and the latest jam. Months, even years later, a jar of jam may hang around, waiting for the lid to be twisted, the seal to pop. In this way, the moment of enjoyment expands beyond the normal limits of time and expiration and anticipation. Jam is a tasty delight that need not be savored right away. Jam can be cooked and canned and forgotten. And remembered at just the right moment, some time in the future, when faced with a naked cheesecake, a bare croissant or a burning curiosity to travel back in time and taste a season.
I’m hiding these jars until all the citrus in the shops is, once again, ¬†California fresh.

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"Mata, Look at My Butter. I’m Lalita Sakhi."

My favorite gopi, back from the forest collecting honey. ¬†Okay, that’s what Madhumati does. But this is Lalita and she just churned some pink butter.

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