Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mung Sprout Salad

Why does a massacre have to take place every time before the world decides to take action?   Why do we wait for genocide before we take a stand against it?  Syria has been an issue for the past months.  We know that there has been shelling and killing of innocent victims.  We know that the UN has been helpless in breaking the cycle of violence there.  We have seen endless reports on the brutality of the regime and the helplessness of its people.  Then why did the massacre of Houla have to claim the lives of more than a 100 men, women and children before the leaders of our nations decided to take some action – small action – albeit some action.

Syrian diplomats have been asked to leave in several countries to show outrage over the Houla massacre.  Ties now have been completely cut off with Syria.  When I am upset with my children for misbehaving or bringing home bad results, I cut off ties with them for a day or two – things just get worse.  They rebel; they test the limits even more.  Through dialogue and encouragement things work differently.  I do hope the Syrian regime is not like my children.  I do hope they do not test the limits they can go to with their atrocities now that the world has decided to cut them off.  

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4

2 cups Mung sprouts
1 medium white onion
2 medium red and firm tomatoes
½ cup coriander leaves
1 green chili
1 cup potatoes, boiled and cubed
1 firm ripe mango
2 tablespoons roasted groundnuts/peanuts
1 tablespoon orange juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste


  1. You can make 2 cups of mung sprouts by washing and soaking 1 cup mung bean overnight.  Wash and tie in a fine muslin cloth the beans and keep in a dark place for about 8 hours.  Occasionally sprinkle with water to keep the cloth damp.  For longer sprouts, leave for another 2 to 4 hours. 
  2. Chop onions, tomatoes, chilies and coriander finely and keep aside.   
  3. Chop mango into small cubes and mix with the vegetables gently.
  4. In a bowl, whisk together the orange juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.   
  5. Add the dressing to the onion mixture.
  6. Stir in the potatoes and groundnuts and garnish with coriander leaves before serving.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Baked Spinach with Spaghetti

Sometimes before my children even finish their breakfast, they are already inquiring about what’s there for lunch or dinner.  Before today has even started, they want to know what is going to be done for the weekend.  If they were good planners or strategists, I could understand them asking these questions.  But they are just 14 and 10 years old – why do they have to know what even I sometimes have not bothered to think through.  Why not enjoy what’s in the moment?

A lot of information is available at our fingertips these days.  I put on my digital television and have the program schedule for over 100 channels for the next week in seconds.  I log on to my internet provider and I can see how much my internet usage has been over the past days, how much I need to pay them for my bills and all the upgrades I can get if I just agree to pay them a few euros more.  I log on to a news website, and all articles I might find interesting are suggested to me based on my past reading statistics.  Are we getting overloaded with information?  Do surprises scare us?

Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 6


800 grams Spaghetti or Fettuccine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups milk
4 tablespoons cheddar cheese, grated
1 teaspoon black pepper powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 eggs
1 cup dried soya
500 grams spinach
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Salt to taste

  1. If the soya pieces are not pre cooked, wash and soak them in water for 20 minutes.  Squeeze out the water and keep aside.  
  2. Wash and drain the spinach leaves.  In a big vessel, blanch the spinach.  Drain the water and cut roughly and keep aside.  
  3. Heat the butter in a pan and add the flour and stirring continually.  When a nice aroma comes, add the milk gradually still stirring.  
  4. When the sauce thickens, add the cheddar cheese, salt, pepper and the cayenne pepper.  
  5. As soon as the cheese has melted, add the eggs and beat them in the sauce.  
  6. Now add the blanched and drained spinach and soya pieces.  Mix well. Put off the flame and keep aside. 
  7. Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions.  From the pictures you can see that I have used fettuccine which takes lesser time to cook than spaghetti.  Drain and keep aside.  
  8. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.  Oil a baking tray and add the spinach sauce and spaghetti. Mix well.  Garnish with parmesan cheese and put in oven for 15 minutes.  This can be served warm or cold.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Black Chickpeas & Rice

I came across a very interesting quote today:
“The world suffers a lot. Not because of the violence of bad people, but because of the silence of good people!”  - Napoleon

I genuinely believe that the world is filled with good people.  There are very few people who commit bad deeds.  But the overwhelming majority is the good people – people like you and me.  Then if people like you and me is the majority and we wince every time we see what is happening in Syria or want to take action to save the millions in Sudan or know we are heading towards environmental catastrophe with the way we are abusing our natural resources – is it you and me to blame for the suffering of the world because we choose to keep silent and “go along” with what is happening?  When did the minority become stronger?  Were we not always told that good prevails over evil?

What can I, an individual entity, do to change the state of affairs of the world?  What can I do to stop injustice?  How can you and I get to break the silence of the good people to stop the violence of the bad? 

Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 6


2 cups black chickpeas (kala channa)
2 cups basmati rice
1 big yellow onion
1 green chili
1 teaspoon dried mango powder
2" piece cinnamon
3 cardamoms
6 cloves
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
100 grams tomato puree
3 cups hot water
1 tablespoon corn oil
2 tablespoons coriander leaves


  1. Soak the chickpeas for 12 hours in water.  Now pressure cook this with 1 cup water for 20 minutes.  Keep aside.  
  2. Wash and soak rice in warm water for 15 minutes.  
  3. Chop onions and slit the chili and keep aside.  
  4. Heat oil in a vessel and when hot, add the cumin seeds, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves.  Now add the onions and the chili.  Fry stirring continually for 8 minutes or till the onion is golden brown.  
  5. Now add the chickpeas and the mango powder and stir for another 5 minutes. 
  6. Add the tomato puree and drain and add the rice.  Mix well.  
  7. Boil three cups of water and add to the rice chickpea mixture.  When it boils, reduce flame and cook on low flame covered for 20 minutes or till the rice is fully cooked.  
  8. Garnish with coriander leaves before serving.