Friday, October 14, 2011

Cinnamon Balls

The East and the West – the East where you have the saints and gurus and the West where you have materialism; the East where you have lack of democracy and the West where you have too much freedom; the East where God is seen in everything and the West where “I” is everything.  This week I was told of another difference – apparently the women in the East have no stress compared to the women in the West.  The reasons I am told are because the women in the West, time and again have to prove themselves to be better than their male counterparts.  You do not have this in the East.  Women there know they would never be treated as equals with men, so accept that.  They do not need to prove anything to anyone.  

Men and women can never be the same.  However, they do deserve to have equal rights and status in society.  Then why are men still paid more than women for the same job in the West?  Why do we still have so less women in the Parliaments?  What is the ratio of the male world leaders to the female world leaders?  We have come a long way  in the emancipation of women, but still have a long journey ahead of us.  And equality of man and woman is not only for the West or for the East – this is something the world will embrace.  Gender prejudice, like all other prejudices, we should try wipe off from the face of the earth.  Equality of sexes is not longer just a good idea – it is one of the prerequisites to peace.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 18 balls

1 ½ cups ground almonds
½ cup caster sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 egg whites
Oil, for greasing
Icing sugar, for dredging


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.  Grease a large baking sheet with oil.  
  2. Mix together the ground almonds, sugar and cinnamon.  
  3. Whisk the egg whites until they begin to stiffen and fold enough egg white into the almonds to make a fairly firm mixture.  
  4. Wet your hands with cold water and roll small spoonfuls of the mixture into balls.  
  5. Place these at intervals on the baking sheet.  
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes in the centre of the oven.  They should be slightly soft inside.  
  7. Place a spatula under the balls to release them from the baking sheet and leave to cool.  
  8. Sift a little icing sugar on to a pate and when the balls are cold, slide them on the plate.  
  9. Shake gently to cover the balls in sugar and store in an air tight container.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Radish Flat Bread {Mooli Paratha}

Have I anytime told you that I do not have an oven in my kitchen?  Well, I had one of those small little table top ones which I used to bake my cookies and cakes in, but last week it fell apart.  So now I am “oven-less” and so in effect “cake-less” and “cookie-less” which is good for my weight.  But I cannot live without an oven.  So you would think I would just go out and get myself an oven.  That was the intention.  But then we passed some places for installation of new kitchens, and decided we needed a new kitchen too which would include the new oven.  

We spent three hours sitting with a designer in one of these kitchen places and made a sort of design on what or how we would like our kitchen to look.  At first I was not at all interested in the design as I was apprehensive about how it might look in real, but then after we completed the design, I did not like what was designed but it gave me a clearer idea of what I would like.  So this week we will again go to another place with the “clearer” idea I have in my mind to see what we could be offered.  My main criteria for a kitchen are a gas oven since I have the notion that I can control it better, a five-burner stove so I can prepare several things at the same time and not bother about the size of my vessels and a marble top work space since I think it looks nice.  For the rest, the design, the esthetics and the color – those are left to my husband’s discretion.  We do work well as a team and divide our tasks and risks and the blame.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 10 flat breads


2 fresh white radishes
2 cups wheat flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon red chili powder
½ teaspoon carom seeds, crushed
Warm water, as needed


  1. Sieve the flour and keep aside.  
  2. Grate the radishes and mix with the flour.
  3. Mix all the ingredients with the mixture.
  4. Knead gradually and add more flour if needed.  Since the radishes have water, there is no need to add any water.  Keep aside for 10 minutes.  
  5. Divide the dough into 10 equal parts.   
  6. Flour a flat surface and with a rolling pin, roll out.  
  7. Heat a flat iron girdle, and when hot, put the rolled out bread on it.  
  8. Roast on both sides till brown and done.  
  9. Continue rolling the rest of the divided dough and cook at the same time.  Serve hot.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Spicy Kebabs

Choices – freedom to make our own choices – whether good or bad, whether right or wrong – just the thought that we have the freedom to do what we want is a good feeling.  But to what extent do we go and abuse our freedom?  For example, yes, we do have freedom of speech and freedom of press.  But does this entitle us to defame others or commit blasphemy?  If I tell you that you cannot do so, then do you still have freedom?  Do we misuse or take “freedom” for granted?  Better still, do we even understand what “freedom” means?

We come across choices every day in our life – choices that seem relatively simple to us and sometimes choices we make unconsciously, but choices nonetheless.  An unconscious choice I could make could for example have an impact on my carbon footprint.  I could choose haricots to make for dinner – the choice here would be to buy haricots grown and shipped from Kenya or haricots grown in Belgium.  Or I could choose to work for a company whose goals are against my principles – I could choose to leave that company and work someplace else or continue working there even if it means going against my principles.  Getting up every day and knowing I get to make the choices in my life, makes me happy.  However, with this freedom also comes a responsibility which we often choose to ignore.  I do have freedom of speech – but with this comes the responsibility I have to make sure I do not say things that are untrue, do not vilify others and treat this freedom I am given more sacredly.   

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Makes 30 balls


450 grams ground beef/chicken mince
1 egg
3 garlic cloves, crushed
½ red onion, finely chopped
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 ½ teaspoons cumin powder
1 ½ teaspoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 ½ cups fresh breadcrumb
1 small green chili or red chili, seeded and chopped
Salt to taste
Corn oil for deep frying


  1. Place the chicken mince (I substituted the chicken for the beef) in a large bowl and add the egg, garlic, onion, spices, seasoning, lemon juice, chili and half the bread crumbs.  
  2. Using your hands or a wooden spoon, mix the ingredients together until the mixture is firm.  If it feels sticky, add more bread crumbs and mix again till firm. 
  3. Heat oil in a deep pan.  Shape the mixture into balls or fingers and fry, a few at a time, for 5 minutes or until well browned all over.  
  4. Using a slotted spoon, drain the kebabs and then transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper.  Cook the remaining kebabs in the same way and then serve with a spicy sauce.