Editor’s note: As of press time, library officials said they were still deciding the status of the gala, and hope to make a decision this week on whether to keep the event as scheduled. Check the Cabell County Public Library website or Facebook page for the most current information regarding the event.

HUNTINGTON — The “Magic and Mystery of India” takes those in attendance on a fascinating journey discovering culture, entertainment and foods as part of the annual Library Gala sponsored by Cabell County Public Library.

The 19th annual library event features a short visit to India on March 28 at Marshall University Student Center, Don Morris Room.

Since the coronavirus has become pandemic and travel has ceased in many cities, this is a great way to learn Indian culture, while sampling the country’s food without traveling.

“We are looking forward to having a great evening in India for our 2020 gala,” said Judith Rule, library director. “This will be a great way to visit a country without having to travel.”

The 2020 event features a reception at 6:30 p.m., including a silent auction and passed hors d’oeuvres, followed by a four-course gourmet menu and an appropriate wine accompanying each course beginning at 7 p.m.

The menu is prepared by visiting chef Rajiv Jaggi, originally from India and currently working at Sodexo Corp. office in Maryland. Jaggi is accompanied by John Palowitch, Huntington’s Sodexo’s chef. Available dishes include Kachumbar Salad (cucumber, tomatoes, red onions, radishes and nuts on bed of greens, tossed with lemon cilantro dressing); Mulligatawny Soup (chicken broth with flavored lemon, yellow lentils and basmati rice); Tandoori chicken with makhana sauce; and Aam ki kheer (mango-flavored rice pudding with pistachios). Vegetarian meals are also available with prior request.

The reception wine includes sparkling Prosecco and Mango signature cocktail.

“We have added some new things this year, such as the silent auction, a dance and open bar after dinner,” said Norma Casto, the library’s special events coordinator and gala chairperson.

The cultural experience can better be understood by entertainment provided by the Charleston Ballet performing Bollywood dancing and the Tri-State India Association performing traditional dances and teaching those in attendance the intricacies of the beautiful dances.

“I believe the entertainment and food will be outstanding,” Rule said.

Since 2002, the library has conducted a fundraising gala featuring a foreign country, which have included Italy, France, Australia, Argentina, Spain, Germany, Ireland, South Africa, Egypt, Medieval England, Brazil, Scotland, Israel, Japan and Holland.

“We’ve been doing these galas for 19 years now,” said Casto. “Each gala has been just a little bit different as we moved from country to country.

“But all of them have had a big something in common,” she said. “All of them have been a great deal of fun, with no long speeches, lots of good food and drinks, and wonderful entertainment.”

One thing that hasn’t changed in this gala lineup is the master of ceremonies — James “Jim” Casto, reporter and editor at The Herald-Dispatch for 40-plus years before retiring in 2004, and well known for his portrayal of Collis P. Huntington in Tri-State area performances.

Tickets are $125 for individuals, $800 for half corporate table or $1,500 for a corporate table with eight seats. Proceeds go toward helping build a new $5 million Barboursville Library, which currently is Cabell County’s oldest library facility designed decades before the digital age.

“The profit from the evening will be used to match our National Endowment for the Humanities challenge grant,” said Rule. “The NEH granted us $400,000 in a challenge grant that we must match with $1.2 million.”

For reservations or more information, call Casto at 304-528-5700. Tickets may also be purchased online at https://sendomatic.com/Gala2020.

Following are a couple recipes from the gala menu prepared by chefs Jaggi and Palowitch with Sodexo to be served at the event:


2 quarts stock vegetable

5 1/3 ounces Mung beans, dried, whole

10 2/3 ounces chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, raw, diced 1/2 inch

1/3 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 1/3 cinnamon sticks

2 bay leaves, whole

1/3 teaspoon black peppercorns

2/3 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons canola oil

1/3 teaspoon cumin seed

2 teaspoons mustard seed

5 ounces yellow onions, fresh, chopped

1/2 ounce fresh garlic, minced

2/3 ounces fresh ginger root, minced

1 1/3 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2/3 teaspoon curry powder

5 7/8 ounces potato fresh, peeled

8 2/3 ounces fresh carrots, peeled, diced 1/2 inches

5 1/8 ounces fresh tomatoes, diced 1/2 inches

1 1/3 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh

Prepare vegetable stock according to recipe; crack peppercorns prior to use. Under running water, rinse beans two times. In stock pot, add stock and next eight ingredients. Bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer 20 minutes. Heat pan over medium heat. Add oil, mustard and cumin seeds. Saute until crackling. Add onion. Stirring occasionally, saute 2 minutes. Add cumin, coriander and curry powder. Fry 5 minutes or until oil appears on surface. Add mixture to stock. Stir to combine. Add potatoes, carrots and tomatoes. Cook 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Minimum internal temperature should be at least 165 degrees 15 seconds. Add lemon juice. Stir to combine. Hold hot at 140 degrees or above for service.


2 cups packed, chopped spinach

1 medium red onion, diced

2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and grated or minced

1 Serrano, chiles, stems removed and finely sliced

1 1/2 cup chickpea flour (besan)

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1/2 teaspoon red chile powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain) or cumin seeds

Pinch of asafetida/hing

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water

Oil for deep frying

Mix everything to semi-thick batter. The batter should not be thin. Take spoonfuls and fry pakora in hot oil until golden brown in color. Serve palak pekora hot with chutney, tomato sauce.

Note: Remember, spinach and onions release water once mixed with salt and spice powders, so be careful while adding water. Just add 1/2 cup water first. Mix well and keep aside 5 minutes. If batter is still thick, add more water.


400 grams cottage cheese (Paneer)

2 large onions, quartered

2 tablespoons oil

3 cloves

4-5 black peppercorns

2 (1-inch) sticks cinnamon

1 bay leaf

2 jalapenos, split

1 teaspoon ginger paste

1 teaspoon garlic paste

1 tablespoon coriander powder

1 1/2 teaspoons red chili powder

1/4 cup cashew paste

1/2 cup yogurt

1/2 cup cream

Pinch saffron

1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder

Salt, to taste

1/4 teaspoon green cardamom powder

Cut Paneer into 1/2-inch-wide and 1-inch-long pieces. Boil onions in 1/4 cup water. Drain and allow cooling. Grind to fine paste. Heat oil in kadai; add cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon and bay leaf; saute for 3-4 minutes on low heat so it does not get colored. Add ginger and garlic pastes and continue to saute 5 minutes. Add coriander and red chili powders and salt. Cook another 3-4 minutes. Add cashew paste; saute another 2 minutes. Add yogurt; saute until water from yogurt gets absorbed. Stir in cream, saffron, garam masala powder and salt to taste. Add Paneer; stir gently to mix. Sprinkle green cardamom powder; serve hot.


1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 1/8 pounds ground turkey, 90/10, raw

2 ounces onions, red, fresh, minced

3 teaspoons ginger root, fresh, minced

3 teaspoons garlic, whole clove, peel, fresh, minced

3 teaspoons peppers, jalapeno, fresh, minced

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 1/4 teaspoons cumin, ground

1 1/2 teaspoons coriander, ground

3/4 teaspoon paprika

2 tablespoons cilantro, fresh, chopped

2 tablespoons eggs, cage free, liquid with citric acid

In large bowl, combine ingredients. Mix well. Hold refrigerated at internal temperature of 40 degrees or below for at least 1 hour before use. Using scoop, portion out 2-ounce portions; roll into even cylinders and place on treated sheet pan. Bake in preheated 425-degree convection or 475-degree standard oven 10-15 minutes. Minimum internal temperature should be at least 155 degrees 15 seconds. Hold hot or cool quickly to internal temperature of 40 degrees or below. Use within 2 days. Reheat quickly to internal temperature of 165 degrees 15 seconds.


2 1/2 ounces lemon juice

4 7/8 ounces red beets, fresh, julienned

9 7/8 ounces English cucumbers, fresh, julienned

6 3/8 ounces red onions, fresh, sliced thin

7 3/8 ounces daikon radish, fresh, julienned

7 3/8 ounces fresh carrots, julienned

1 1/4 ounces jalapeno peppers, fresh, minced

2 1/2 ounces fresh cilantro, chopped

1 1/4 ounces fresh mint, chopped

5/8 teaspoon cumin, ground

1 1/4 teaspoons salt, kosher

5/8 teaspoon paprika

Use gloves to seed peppers. Pepper juice can burn eyes. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after seeding peppers. Soak julienned beets in cold water 1 hour so color doesn’t bleed on other vegetables. Drain, rinse and pat dry before use. In large stainless steel bowl, combine ingredients. Toss gently to combine. Hold refrigerated at internal temperature of 40 degrees or above for use. Use within 24 hours.


2 1/2 teaspoons canola oil

1 1/4 teaspoons cumin seed

8 cloves, whole

1 1/2 whole bay leaves

1 stock cinnamon stick, broken

1 2/3 cups Basmati rice, raw, rinsed

1 1/2 pints water

3/4 teaspoon salt, kosher

Heat oil in saute pan over medium high heat. Add next four ingredients. Stir quickly until they become fragrant, about 10 seconds. Remove from heat. Add washed rice to treated hotel pan. Add water, salt and toasted spices. Stir slightly to mix. Cover hotel pan with foil; steam in steamer 20 minutes. Minimum internal temperature should be 140 degrees or above. Remove from steamer and “fluff” rice with fork. Remove bay leaves and cinnamon sticks prior to service. Hold hot at 140 degrees or above or cool quickly to internal temperature of 40 degrees or below. Use within 24 hours. Reheat quickly to 165 degrees 15 seconds.



1 1/4 cups Basmati rice, raw

2 3/8 quarts reduced fat (2%) milk

6 ounces sweetened condensed milk

1 1/8 ounces granulated sugar

1 3/4 teaspoons cardamom, ground

5 1/2 ounces mango cubes, chopped fine

3 ounces mango cubes, chopped fine

Wash and rinse rice 3 times until water runs clear. In heavy bottomed pot, bring milk to simmer. Reduce heat to low; let slow simmer 15 minutes until reduced by one-fourth. Add washed rice; cook until rice is tender and is custard consistency, about 30 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid sticking and scorching. Add condensed milk, sugar, cardamom and first mango. Stir well. Serve warm or cool quickly to 40 degrees or below. Fill each 5-ounce sweet shot cup 2/3 full with about 5.3-ounce dessert and garnish each with 1/4-ounce chopped mango. Can be served warm or hold refrigerated at 40 degrees or below. Use within 48 hours.

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