Monday, June 25, 2012

Warm Thai Style Chicken Salad

The video of a 68-year old lady, Karen Klein, who was abused by four teenagers while on a bus in New York has gone viral on the net.  Donations have been collected for her and the overall response from people has been kindness.  But who has apologized to her for what she had to go through?  I have seen people debate whether it is the school or parents’ responsibility for how those teenagers behaved. 

Where are our morals?  We always stood up when an elderly person needed a seat on the bus, always wished and thanked people for kindness shown.  We have never abused the elderly.  We have never been disrespectful towards our elders.  We have always set our morals high.  Then why is this degradation in morals affecting our new generations?  Where are we going wrong?

Preparation Time: 30 minutes + overnight marination
Serves: 4


1 red/yellow bell pepper, deseeded and cut into juliennes
2 carrots cut into juliennes
1 cucumber, cut into juliennes
2 spring onions, sliced
1 cup loosely packed fresh coriander leaves
1 cup Thai basil
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon olive oil

For the chicken and marinade:
2 skinless chicken breasts
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander

For the Dressing:
1 small fresh red chili, finely chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons oriental stir fry sauce


  1. Flatten the chicken breasts slightly and cut each lengthwise into two.  Further cut these pieces into thin long strips.  Combine all the marinade ingredients in a shallow bowl and mix well.  Add the chicken and toss to coat.  Set aside, covered in a plastic wrap in the fridge overnight.  
  2. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until well combines.  
  3. Combine the bell pepper, carrot, cucumber, green spring onions and herbs on a large serving platter.  
  4. Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan until smoking.  
  5. Fry the chicken on both sides until cooked through, about 4 minutes.  
  6. Remove and place on the platter of vegetables. 
  7. Drizzle on the dressing and sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds.  Serve immediately while the chicken is still warm.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Date Apple Cake

If you see a 12-year old driving a car on the highway, what would your reaction be?  How would the authorities respond to this act if bylaw a person is allowed to drive only when he is 18 years after holding a valid drivers’ license?  Knowing that this 12-year old is endangering his life and those of others on the road, as a responsible citizen, what should you do?  I am guessing you would each in the same way like me – alert authorities, the responsible guardian/parents of the child and if possible, perhaps even ground the child and vehicle till authorities arrive and take charge.

The legal age to sell cigarettes to a person in Belgium is 16 years old.  How many of us have seen this law broken time and again – children below 16 years come into possession of tobacco and openly flaunt disobedience of the law.  At bus stops and in front of schools you must have often seen children as young as 10 years puffing smoke.  As responsible citizens, how do we have to react to these circumstances?  Ignore the law being broken?

Preparation Time: 55 minutes
Serves: 8


½ cup white sugar

½ cup brown sugar
½ cup shortening
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon dried ginger powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 cup dates, deseeded and chopped


  1. Cream sugar and shortening; dissolve soda in apple sauce and add to the sugar mixture.  
  2. Sift the ginger, cinnamon powder, flour and salt.  Add to the wet mixture and mix well.  
  3. Now stir in the dates.  
  4. Grease a loaf pan and pour the batter into it.  
  5. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for about 40 minutes or till a toothpick comes out clean when pricked in the middle of the cake.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Dill Dal

One of my favorite herbs is Dill.  When I say favorite, it is not that I use it in everything.  However, when I get the opportunity to use it, I enjoy the flavor it gives to any dish – be it rice, a sauce, a curry or a salad.  Unfortunately we do not always get fresh dill in the market.  So when I do get some, I buy it immediately and use up the dill before it withers.  A stock of dry dill is also always available in the pantry for use on fishes or in rice.  The rice dill recipe with broad beans I will share with you at a later date.

I remember when growing up, we had a neighbor who could not stand the smell of dill.  She would literally throw up as soon as she smelt the herb.  It is strange how each one of us reacts to different things around us.  Tastes and smells are so subjective – you cannot say what you like would be liked by others.  But like I always tell the children – do not judge something without even giving it a try.  Give it a try and then use your senses to decide whether you like something or not.  Do not rely on hearsay.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4


100 grams dill
½ cup Green gram dal (roasted)
2 green chilies
1 big red onion (chopped)
1 tomato (chopped)
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon sugar
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon clarified butter
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ tablespoon lemon juice


  1. Wash and chop the dill.  Wash the dal.  
  2. Pressure cook the dill, dal, tomato, onion, green chilies, adding water just enough to cook.  
  3. When it is cool, churn well and then add sugar and salt.   
  4. In a separate pan, heat the clarified butter, and when hot, add the cumin seeds.   
  5. When the splutter, add this to the dal mixture and mix well.    
  6. Add lime juice just before serving.  Serve hot with rice or chappatis.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Meat Balls in gravy {Kofta}

The Euro 2012 is starting next week.  In the midst of all the excitement over football, reports about racism and white supremacy in the host countries have also been brought to the attention of the world.  Do international events like the Euro Cup, Olympics, Common Wealth games, Football world cup or any other international events bring to focus the attention of the world on the host country and thus force the country in question to take action for the better?  Or should countries with bad human rights records not be selected as host countries for international events until their record improves?  The question is what is the best approach? 

I remember when the Common Wealth games were to be hosted by India a couple of years back, corruption was the focus.  The officials and politicians in charge of organizing the games were the ones who took most of the money.  The games went ahead as planned, but not before some teams quit due to poor living and sanitary conditions.  The country was in focus in the world media and being an Indian, it was an embarrassment to me as well.  After the games, people were held accountable for the corruption involved – but did corruption in India become less?  No.  Ukraine and Poland are in focus now for the Euro 2012 over charges of rampant racism during their football events.  Many are flabbergasted at scenes of football fans taking the Nazi salute or the kicking and hitting of some non-white spectators during a match.  What is being done besides bringing it in focus of the world?  Nothing.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4


For the meat balls:
½ kilo minced meat
1 egg
4 tablespoons coriander leaves, chopped
1 large red onion, roughly chopped
1” piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 green chilies
½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
Salt to taste
To Fry:
4 tablespoons corn oil
For the gravy:
3 red onions, ground
1” piece ginger, peeled and ground
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
250 grams red tomatoes, skinned and chopped
¾ teaspoon garam masala
200 ml water
2 tablespoons yoghurt, for garnishing


  1. Beat the meat and egg together.   
  2. Combine the remaining meat ball ingredients together and grind to a paste.  Add to the meat mixture.   
  3. Roll the spiced meat into small balls about 2” in diameter and fry in hot oil to seal the juices, but not long enough to cook the meat.  Remove meat from the pan.  
  4. In the same oil, sauté the onions until golden brown and then add the ginger.  Stir fry for a minute.  
  5. Add the turmeric and the garam masala.   
  6. Now add the tomatoes and over a moderate heat fry until the tomatoes soften and become smooth in texture.   
  7. Pour in about 200 ml of water.  Bring to a simmer.   
  8. Gradually add the meat balls and juices to the pan.  Simmer for a further 15 minutes and garnish with yoghurt before serving.