Preparation of Food
To be acceptable to everyone, Langar is always vegetarian
Langar – Cleanliness, Purity
Repetition is to impress the importance of purity needed exactly like preparing Parshad. Strictly follow the same discipline for preparing Langar. The purity and cleanliness of the kitchen, utensils, mind, body, hands, and preparations is maintained. While preparing food, gossips are avoided, and the mind is kept occupied with Naam-Jaap or with recitation of Gurbani. Jappu ji Sahib is the leading Bani (Scripture) for recitation while preparing Langar or Parshad. In the kitchen, head should be kept covered, and no one should nibble or eat anything in that area.
Langar – Rasad
Grocery i.e. uncooked food, needed for preparing Langar.
Estimate – A rough estimate of items needed for Langar
A food prepared for 25, can conveniently be served to 30, may be 35, that for 50 to about 70, for 100 to 125 or so, and for 150 to 175, a few less or more. Minor adjustments might have to be made by adding a little water and appropriate amount of condiments to Daal (pulses), beans and vegetables with gravy, and a little milk to Yogurt (curds). Chili, pepper and salt should not be added inconsiderately for whatsoever reason. We should keep in the mind those who shall eat it.
Langar – Unexpected Situation
In some unexpected situation, or emergency, precooked vegetarian fast foods can be availed. Pre-baked flat breads, Naan, and other breads are easily available. Vegetable pizza can be served, and children like it. Those who prepare such foods, well know the quantities needed.
Langar – Ready made Food
Sometimes, ready-made vegetarian food might have to be served as some urgency.
If the Sangat is more than estimate, easy preparations in the needed amount can be cooked fast. Potatoes, mixed vegetables, pulses like Masar, Moongee, and plain rice can be prepared in a short time. Rice will cut down the required need of Chapatis to about one third.
Langar – Estimate for 150
Mrs. Parminder Kaur Grewal, has given the following estimates for the quantities of some raw foods for 150 guests. The quantities can be adjusted according to the estimated number of persons.
Ataa (wheat flour) 30 lb. It should make 350-400 flat breads, sufficient without additional rice. The flour should not be pure white. Its breads become hard and tough, soon. Some mix a little Maidaa – fine white flour to give a good look to the bread. Full cream milk, or Yogurt added to the flour keeps breads soft. The kneaded flour may be left for a couple of hours to rise (get fermented) to make it soft. For this purpose, adding baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) should preferably be avoided, and small quantity of vegetable yeast may profitably be mixed with it. It raises the flour and produces vitamin B-Complex, too. Have the proper mix of flour for making Poorees (deep fried breads).
Rice – 20 cups (10 lb.) of rice, without additional breads (Chapati), will serve 150 persons,. To make both breads and rice, half the amount of rice (5-7 lb.) and 10-15 lb. of wheat flour (200-300 breads) should be sufficient. For Zarda – saffron colored sweet rice, 5-7 Lb., and for Kheer 3-4 Lb. of rice should do.
Vegetables – All vegetables together – Gobhi (cauliflower), carrots, green peas, potatoes, Dhaniaa (fresh coriander leaves), Pudina (fresh mint-leaves), green onions, etc. will make a total of 25-30 Lb.
Tomatoes and onion 3-5 Lb. each, ginger 1-2 Lb., and garlic ½ Lb., should be okay.
Daal- lentils (pulses) e.g. Maash (black), red beans (Raj Mah), small kidney-beans (black eyed beans) etc. 8-10 LB.
Condiments , salt, red pepper, and green pepper should be used with restraint to leave the dishes eatable by everyone. Make minimum use of chili and pepper. Excessive addition of condiments leave the preparation uneatable.
Butter – 4 Lb., and if it is butter oil, then about 3 Lb. It will mainly be used for preparing Parshad. Quantity should be reasonably more if full Langar has to cooked with pure Ghee (butter oil). Vegetable oils should preferably be cholesterol-free. One half to 3/4 gallon oil should be in stock.
Plane Yogurt – for making Raaita (chickpea Yogurt) etc., 3 Gallons. Indian stores sell ready-made chickpea balls. Check instructions on the packet or ask salesman and purchase the amount your need. Raaita (mixed yogurt) can be made with other vegetables.
Mixed Pickle – like ‘Panch Rangaa Achaar’ etc. 1-2 Lb. Finely cut carrots and onions may be added to it.
Parshad – Wheat flour 3 Lb.., salt free butter 3Lbs, sugar 3 Lb.. One usual 8-ounce cup measures about one pound. Adding a small quantity of Soojee (cream of wheat) to wheat flour, renders the consistency of Parshad pleasantly grainy. It makes it less sticky, but if it is much more, the flour will not bind together well. If it is butter, it should be slightly more to burn down to butter-oil. Beetroot sugar is less sweet and it should be added slightly more. Parshad should not be over sweet, over dry, or over oily.
food, should be kept very simple, but usually it is not. Commonly, a sweet-dish (dessert) is also there e.g. Kheer – sweet rice pudding; ice cream; fine saeviaan (sweet noodles,); or sweets. Some also serve tea, coffee, and maybe cold drinks as well. There is no end to Sewa – selfless service. Unless it is the Gurdwara service, the Sangat provides Langar in turn. Sweets and fruits may be brought by other devotees.
Langar – Condiments
Salt, pepper, chili, are served. Also, onion, pickles, Chutneys etc. are provided.