Math Recipe Project

By Swetha Tandri

The Recipe I Chose

The recipe I chose was Chana masala, a gravy dish representing my Indian Culture. It consists of 13 ingredients. The difficulty level is easy, serves 4 people, and takes roughly 50 minutes to make.

The Process I Chose

The Process I chose for converting to any number of servings was comparing two ratios with an unknown variable, solving for the variable, and making sure that they equal a proportion. I did this when I converted from 4 to three servings and 4 to 250% more that it can serve, which is 14 people. For example, one of my ingredients was 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil for 4 servings. I am going to put that information in a ratio of amount to servings so the fraction would be 2/4. I want to make the amount with 3 servings exactly proportional, so I am going to put the ratio in the same format. So the other fraction is x/3 servings. The next step is to multiply both sides by three isolating x, giving a result of 6/4=x. You make a fraction into a mixed number and the final answer is 1 1/2 tablespoons to serve three people.

The process I chose for converting from customary to metric

The process I used was to multiply a measurement unit by the conversion factor. Since most of the ingredients were measured in teaspoons, I found out how many milliliters were in one teaspoon, and used that factor to convert. For example, I am again going to use my first ingredient which is 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. I wrote that as a fraction of 2 tablespoons/1. The metric unit I am going to convert it to is milliliters. 1 tablespoon is equivalent to 15 milliliters, so that is the conversion factor. So then I put that as a fraction with milliliters as the numerator and tablespoons as the denominator. I multiplied the fractions across and the result was 2 tablespoons is equivalent to 30 milliliters.

Data Table For Converting Ingredients

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One More Note...

The process of making the recipe does not change because it is a gravy. When you alter the servings, it only increases or decreases the amount you are making. So that does not affect the process.

The Three Criteria

The three criteria I chose for evaluating my recipes are:

  • How it looks like: From my background knowledge of Chana masala, The correct way it looks like is orange, cooked chickpeas with orangish brown gravy. I will also judge by comparing it to the picture given in the recipe online.
  • How it tastes like: I cannot really describe the taste, but both of them should taste the same.
  • Smell: They should both have that same tasty odor.
How I am going to judge how both recipes fit the criteria is that I would rate the dishes from 1-3. "One" is that the dish has too many errors does not turn up at all what I had in mind. "Two" is that the dish turned out almost correct, but a few flaws are visible. For example, for color, I would give a two for the three people serving that had a slightly darker orange shade than what it was supposed to be but not totally off. "Three" is the highest rating and that means that no mistakes can be spotted and that the recipe turned out correct and the way it was supposed to. Aside from that, after I rate both recipes, I will give a separate score of 1-3 based on the results on how similar they are. 1 meaning they are not at all similar, 2 meaning that they are close, but not exactly similar, like a recipe that got all 3s and one that got 3,3,and 2. Lastly, 3 means that they turned out exactly similar.

Picture of How Chana Masala Looks Like

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Results and Rating the Outcome

When I graded the original recipes, here is what I found:

Original Recipe:

  • This dish got a three in looks. The chickpeas and gravy were the correct color, and it looked exactly like the picture on the recipe website.
  • This dish got a three in smell. It smelled exactly like all the other Chana masala batches I have ever tasted, which was appetizing.
  • This dish got a three in taste. This in fact was one of the best I have tasted because of the quantity and quality of ingredients.

Recipe With Three Servings:

  • This dish also got a three in looks. It looked exactly like the original recipe as well as the recipe picture.
  • This dish got a three in taste and smell for the same reasons as the first recipe.


  • Obviously, given the results are the same for both of them, I give a 3 for similarity.


Based on these results, my process was correct because I produced similar recipes that were very proportional. I knew that my conversions were proportional because they were perfect with the amount of ingredients I added. Even if I added too much or too less of something, the whole outcome of the recipes would have turned out wrong. The calculations in my process affected the results of my 3 criteria. First of all, they were rated a three which meant they were exactly similar. I gave a high rating on all of them because I saw a correct consistency in looks, smell, and taste in both recipes that would have been different if I made a miscalculation. Several lessons I have learned from this project were that patience and accuracy are really important in cooking. If I could change anything about the project, I would try to make the whole recipe without any help. Most of all, this project helped me understand how math could really make a difference in the world of cooking.