Karuna's Kitchen

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Who Are We?

Contact Karuna's KitchenKaruna’s Kitchen is a family business which began in 2001 in Temple Bar Farmer’s Market, when we took over the “Pure Vegetarian” food stall from our friends Richie (Ragunatha Bhatta) and Jenny who had started the business there three years earlier.

Initially, our focus was on Indian vegetarian dishes such as curry, samosas, chutneys and pickles. Over the years, we have expanded our range to include favourites from international cuisines, such as our Italian “Panzarotti” , Spanish “Croquettas”, Greek “Spanakopita” and Feta and spinach spring rolls from Australia’s famous vegetarian chef – Kurma dasa.

Our full range includes eight savouries or finger foods, vegetable and chickpea curry, tomato and panir subji, a selection of 5 Indian chutneys and our best selling “Spicy Chilli Pickle.”

We have several wheat free dishes inlcuding our curry, panir subji, spicy koftas and king koftas.

Although we are lacto-vegetarian, we also provide several vegan items on request such as our vegetable samosas, spicy koftas and alu patras.

As well as our market stalls, we also cater for both large and small events – parties, weddings etc, and a wider menu is available.


About Vedic Cooking and Ingredients

What distinguishes Vedic cooking from other types of cooking is the cook’s spiritual consciousness, the awareness that the food is being cooked as an offering to God or Krishna. The Vedic sastras explain that the thoughts and the consciousness of the cook enter into the food and subtly affect whoever eats it.

In the Bhagavad Gita 9.26, Lord Krishna explains that He accepts vegetarian offerings, be they no more than a leaf, a flower, a fruit or some water. If such an offering is presented with devotion, He accepts it and the ordinary food then becomes spiritualised – Krishna prasada, the mercy of Lord Krishna.

Find out more about our special  ingredients here and find out more about Hare Krishna cooking here.


Some¬†ingredients that we don’t use

No meat, fish or eggs

Bhagavad Gita, dating back at least 5000 years, identifies meat, fish and eggs as foods harmful to bodily well-being. The Vedic literatures describe that the purpose of fish is to keep the ocean clean, the purpose of the chickens and pigs is to keep the land clean, and the purpose of the cow is to give milk.

According to the Gita, meat, fish and eggs are foodstuffs in the modes of ignorance and “cause distress, misery and disease”. Instead, foods in the mode of goodness are advocated.

“Foods dear to those in the mode of goodness increase the duration of life, purify one’s existence and give strength, health, happiness and satisfaction.” Bg 17.8


No Garlic or Onions

Susie Chang from Taiwan asks:

“I have been speaking with Hare Krishna devotees recently, and I learned that they do not include garlic or onions in their diet. Can you explain why this is so?”

Short answer:

Aspirant devotees don’t eat garlic and onions because they cannot be offered to Krishna. They are members of a botanical family (alliums) that stimulate the central nervous system and are counter-productive to devotions.

Long answer:

You may know that onions and garlic are botanical members of the Allium family – along with leeks, chives and shallots. According to Ayurveda, India’s classic medical science, foods are grouped into three categories – sattvic, rajasic and tamasic – foods in the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance. Onions and garlic, and the other Alliums are classified as rajasic and tamasic, which means that they increase passion and ignorance. {“Garlic and onions are both Rajasic and Tamasic, and are forbidden to Yogis because they root the consciousness more firmly in the body”, says Dr.Robert E.Svoboda}

Those that subscribe to pure brahmana-style cooking of India, including myself, and Vaishnavas – followers of Lord Vishnu, Rama and Krishna – like to only cook with foods from the sattvic category. These foods include fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs, dairy products, grains and legumes, and so on. Specifically, Vaisnavas do not like to cook with rajasic or tamasic foods because they are unfit to offer to the Deity.

Rajasic and tamasic foods are also not used because they are detrimental to meditation and devotions. Of course some of the Alliums have specific health benefits; garlic is respected as a natural antibiotic.

In recent years, the cardiovascular implications of vegetable Alliums has been studied in some detail, although the clinical implications of onion and garlic consumption from this point of view are not well understood (Block 1992; Briggs et al. 2001)

Nevertheless, despite medical comings and goings, alliums are still avoided by spiritual adherents because they stimulate the central nervous system, and can disturb vows of celibacy. {Garlic is a natural aphrodisiac. Ayurveda suggests that it is a tonic for loss of sexual power from any cause, sexual debility, impotency from over-indulgence in sex and nervous exhaustion from dissipating sexual habits. It is said to be especially useful to old men of high nervous tension and diminishing sexual power.}

Nevertheless, there are still many adverse things to say about garlic and onions. Not so well known is the fact that garlic in the raw state can carry harmful (potentially fatal) botulism bacteria. Perhaps it is with an awareness of this that the Roman poet Horace wrote of garlic that it is more harmful than hemlock”.

You may be aware that many strict vegetarian Buddhists also do not eat any of the Alliums for the same reasons as adherents of India’s Ayurveda – they disturb meditation. If you visit any strict vegetarian Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, or Japanese restaurant anywhere in the world you will most likely find no Alliums in any of the cooking.

In ancient Tao writings, one sage Tsang-Tsze described the Alliums as the “five fragrant or spicy scented vegetables” , and that each have a detrimental effect on one of the following five organs – liver, spleen, lungs, kidneys, and heart.

Tsang-Tsze said that these pungent vegetables contain five different kinds of enzymes which cause “reactions of repulsive breath, extra-foul odour from perspiration and bowel movements, and lead to lewd indulgences, enhance agitations, anxieties and aggressiveness,” especially when eaten raw.

That in a nutshell is why I don’t cook with garlic and onions. [Taken from Kurma’s Blog here, his official website is here]