Kadi - A curry made with yoghurt, vegetables and Pakoras

Punjabi Kadi and Pakoras

The Punjab is a hugely fertile part of India.   Outside the big cities of North West India, Punjabi families are typically engaged in landowning or farming.   This connection to the land influences what people eat, when and how.  

Punjabi food tends to be seasonal.   The style of cooking and depth of flavour varying according to the season.   Families which are part of the Indian disapora (like mine) have adapted food styles according to the climate they find themselves in and local produce.   This dish however transcends geography.

Kadi (pronounced Kard-Hi) is, well, a curry.   At it’s heart is yoghurt.   Now how can you cook yoghurt and prevent it from curdling?   That’s what I’m about to share with you.

Kadi - A curry made with yoghurt, vegetables and Pakoras

Kadi – A curry made with yoghurt, vegetables and Pakoras

Ingredients (to serve 4)

  • A 500 g pot of Yoghurt (NOT Greek style set yoghurt)
  • 3 tbsp Gram flour (don’t substitute other flours)
  • Half a litre of water
  • 1 medium Onion
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • A 1inch piece of fresh Ginger
  • Half a tsp of Salt
  • 3 tbsps Mustard Oil (avoid Olive Oil, it kills spices)
  • You can also add any additional vegetables you like, potatoes and red capsicum work well, as does cauliflower.   If you prefer, add a dressing of fried salted Okra at the very end.

Spices

  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • Half a tsp Fenugreek seed
  • 2 tsps of Nigella
  • 1 tbsp of Coriander seed
  • 1 tsp of Cumin seed
  • 2 fresh Green Chillies
  • 8 – 10 curry leaves
  • a pinch of Ajwain
  • a handful of fresh Coriander
  • 1 tsp of Turmeric

Method

This recipe will only address making the Kadi – Pakoras are a whole other ball game which I’ll explain another time.

In a blender, paste together the onion, ginger and garlic.

Toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a pan, turning often.   As soon as your first coriander seed pops, whip the seeds out of the pan and into a mortar, using the pestle to grind down the toasted seeds into a fine powder (add a little salt to aid the grinding) – toasting these seed spices releases oils and adds a depth of flavour.   Set aside.

In the oil and on a high heat, add the rest of your seed spices (Mustard, Fenugreek, Curry Leaves and Nigella).   As the mustard seed starts to pop, whack in the onion, ginger and garlic paste, turn the heat down, mix and cover stirring occasionally to avoid burning.   After around 4 minutes, add the ground cumin and coriander.   You can also add any vegetables you choose at this stage.   If I’m using a red capsicum and potatoes I tend to add them at this stage and coat them in the spices.   You can par boil your potatoes before you add them, or as I do, add them raw but make sure they are cut small enough to cook reasonably quickly.

In a bowl, vigorously mix the yoghurt, gram flour and water with a balloon whisk.   Gram flour binds the two other constituents.   Once mixed, add this to the pan.   Make sure you stir the pan often as in the early stages the gram flour will sink to the bottom.   If you don’t keep stirring there is a danger that the dish might separate.   Yuk.

Now, add chopped green coriander stalks, the chillies sliced open lengthways, the turmeric, a pinch of Ajwain seed and any remaining salt.   Reserve the coriander leaves as a flavoursome garnish (with additional chopped green chilli and salt if you like).

Keep stirring.

As the mixture starts to bubble – keep stirring.   Cover the pan, set on a low heat.   Keep returning to the pot and stirring to ensure there is no separation.   Do this repeatedly.

I cannot stress this enough – keep stirring.

After about 20 minutes – and if you have been stirring assiduously – you should find that the Kadi coats the back of your wooden spoon readily.   Check that any additional vegetables you may have added are cooked through.   Taste for seasoning – if you’ve followed my suggestions it should be fine.

You can serve this dish in bowls with rice.

Garnish with fresh coriander leaves (add chopped green chilli and salt to taste at this stage).

Eat and enjoy!

Cauliflower Cheese (with Pasta)

The weather is cold.   You’ve had it with fatty, rich Christmas fare.   Let this simple Cauliflower Cheese with Pasta come to your rescue.   This dish feeds two people very well indeed as a main dish or can be served as an accompaniment to a main meal (roast beef with all the trimmings, say).

Ingredients

  • One medium to large Cauliflower
  • A couple of handfuls of Penne Pasta
  • 2 – 3 rashers of good bacon (trimmed of fat)
  • Grated strong cheddar and parmesan – not too much of either
  • Mustard powder – a good tbsp
  • Paprika
  • Red Chilli powder – a pinch
  • 2 tbsps Olive oil
  • I tbsp of plain flour
  • 1/2 pint of milk

Method

  • Steam a quartered Cauliflower for around 25 mins (I prefer this to boiling the nutrition away)
  • Boil pasta for around 8 minutes – drain and set aside
  • Take the olive oil, add flour, mustard powder and mix into a paste over a low heat.   As soon as the flour appears to turn colour add a dash of milk – mix furiously to prevent lumps – keep adding dashes of milk till you have a creamy looking base for your bechamel sauce
  • Add a small handful of grated cheddar cheese
  • Stir well till all the cheese has melted, turn off the heat and set aside
  • Cut the bacon into small pieces and cook in a little olive oil – add to the bechamel
  • Now, take your steamed Cauliflower and lay into a flat pie dish, mix in the pasta and pour over the bechamel, grate on a little more cheddar for colour, dust some paprika over along with a little red chilli powder and slam into the oven at gas 6 (180 C) for around 20 minutes …

It’s a stand alone meal with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, the tang of mustard, the savoury bite of cheese and though it all the green freshness of the Cauliflower …

If you want to make this dish richer add more cheese and cream.   If you’re a vegetarian leave out the bacon and use smoked paprika instead of ordinary paprika to round out the flavours.

The Beginning Of The End Of Patriarchy

sanjitchudha:

A brilliant read – a must read in fact.

Originally posted on kirstymackirsty:

FeminaziAuthors: Kirsty Mac, Kara Beavis

Historically, feminism has had a numbers problem. The establishment has always figured as an omniscient force, with the number of misogynists outnumbering feminists.

Revolutions have a punk aesthetic. And punk, by its very nature, is about targeting the establishment by the marginalised even when the numbers are small.

Social media has changed the numbers game for women. It’s a decentralising and democratising tool used for connectivity, information exchange, passing a comment on current affairs, and, in the last week, passing a live wire of electricity around the world. Feminists are multiplying, and with every win, growing in confidence and power.

There have been surprising new developments each day since Julien Blanc’s Australian departure. With an already thriving feminist network in Melbourne, it took one woman, Jennifer Li, to ignite a fire by initiating a petition to Como Melbourne and creating the hashtag #takedownjulienblanc.

A petition to stop Blanc…

View original 1,263 more words

Being a happy human

Unhappiness – yours and others – can be caused by many things.   Your own and other people’s behaviour for a start.   Using the examples of racism and sexism, let’s explore how we can be happy humans.  

Racism, like sexism, happens because you collude with it. Is that a surprise? It shouldn’t be.

Like any bullying behaviour (racism, sexism etc.) it can be overt or subtle. Group dynamics can be deeply racist or sexist without ever being overt.

Think about the way you might behave.

  • Telling someone to stop being over-sensitive is the equivalent of saying “I don’t care, I’m not the subject of the crap you’re dealing with so, whatever” ;
  • Ascribing the achievements of, say, a person of colour, to the white person standing next to them is to say to that person of colour “you are incapable of original thought / action in my opinion” (as though you were the centre of the universe, an ultimate arbiter) ;
  • Misrepresenting what a person has said or done in order to ‘diminish’ them in other people’s minds, so, “so and so is just an Accountant” (read: boring, linear, numbers – incapable of creative thought, expression or deed) ;
  • Talking over someone or after them as though to ‘amplify’ their point is actually to undermine them totally, it says “you are incapable of expressing ideas in our language because of your otherness / stupidity / incapability” ;
  • Refusing to apologise – a way of tacitly acknowledging you’re wrong whilst simultaneously defending your unsustainable sense of self-referring ‘rightness’ against all evidence to the contrary …

For any of the examples above you could replace the person of colour with, say, a woman, a transgender person, a disabled person … any human being not defined as ‘normal’ by your self-reference.

None of this is overt. Conveniently you can always wriggle your way out of any suggestion of racism or sexism, instead blaming the person who is affronted.

Multiplying insults is yet another example of bullying behaviours. Victimise someone, then blame them for speaking about what you’ve done or the way you’ve behaved and encouraging a kind of lynch mob to back you up.

Why does this happen? In short, self-reference. Self-referring behaviour means that examples like this go unchallenged.

What does self-reference mean? Here goes …

If you only mix with / talk to / exchange ideas with people like you all you will ever do is enforce the ‘rightness’ of your wrongness.

That is self-reference nailed in one sentence. How can you have your assumptions reasonably challenged when what happens around you enforces your self belief so totally?   And you made it that way – you are responsible.   You do have to apologise and moderate your behaviour.

We’ve seen it in action with the recent cases of Julien Blanc, Dapper Laughs and now Redfoo.   The aforementioned examples are a group of men who mixed largely with men like them, never sought out opinions or ideas from anyone not like them and then wondered why people not like them (which is most people by the way) might be offended by the rape culture they advocated. Racism, like the sexism described above, works very similarly.

Is there a solution? Of course:

  • Think;
  • Engage openly with a rich variety of people, not just people like you;
  • Listen to people, don’t tell them what to think or steamroller over them;
  • Think again;
  • Discuss ideas and approaches with a variety of people, they might surpise you with insights;
  • Think again;
  • Give credit where it is due …

Above all, self examine every minute of every day – see what it feels like.

Here’s a handy tip – tell yourself you are not the centre of the universe. Start there. The people on the receiving end of your rudeness – no matter how unconscious it may have been – have to self examine every minute of every day because of your undermining behaviours. Imagine how destablising that is. Credit people you’re offending with some humanity.

Try and you might learn something about yourself, your place in the world and how you could change your behaviour to truly respect people instead of undermining them to make yourself look like a passable semblance of a human being. It’s not difficult, it’s called being a proper humble and happy human with the capacity to make others so.

Kate Tempest: Genius & Heart

I have hope for the future. The grace with which Kate Tempest congratulated Young Fathers on their Mercury Prize win; the intelligence she displays in her lyrical performance poems – both speak so much for the future.   The future, that indefinable sense of hope that we all need to make life worthwhile … people like Kate Tempest show us a future where perhaps people might have a care.

Game Birds: Pheasant, Partridge and Quail

I love game – whether Pheasant, Quail, Partridge, Venison or Boar.   Game meat is typically stronger in flavour than farmed meats like chicken, pork or beef. These recipes came about when a friend turned up with a Pheasant, a pair or Partridge and four Quail.   I was unsure what to do with the feathery carcasses.   Hanging them in a locked shed for a few days seemed sensible – and an internet search confirmed this.

A few days later following a chat with a nurse, a dear friend’s mother to whom I’ll always be grateful, and her practical lesson in dressing both Pheasant and Partridge I had the birds ready for cooking.   I’ll spare you the details however.

Read on for a Phesant and Partridge casserole recipe – Pheasant and Partridge cooked with shallots, herbs and wine and served with Celeriac and Potato mash.   I’ll write up a recipe for Quail with rose petals and Pomegranate with delicate spicing later … male_pheasant_drawing_by_chuckrondeau-d3fxptb

Pheasant & Partridge

With a pheasant and a pair of partridge that you’ll end up with enough food for at least 6 people.   Read on for the method, make your own ingredients list from it.

  • Take the beautiful (prepared) meat and with a sturdy knife cut into even sized pieces, bones and all
  • Rub 4 tablespoons of flour into the meat (with a good slug of olive oil)
  • Add freshly ground pepper and finely chopped Rosemary, Thyme and Parsley to the meat and again, rub into the meat (then wash yr hands!) and set aside for an hour – I avoid salt at this stage as it toughens the meat
  • Reserve some Thyme and Parsley to add later
  • Finely chop 3 shallots, a couple of sticks of celery and a carrot (chop celery and carrot v. finely indeed) – sweat these on a medium heat till golden in a generous amount of olive oil to which you have added an inch of cinammon bark
  • Whack the heat up high
  • Add the meat (flour herbs and all) to the shallots, celery and carrot, brown the meat turning frequently (you really need heat for this – anything less and you’ll end up with tough and rubbery meat, a ruination)
  • After about 4 minutes add a cup of water to the meat and ensure that the pan is thoroughly deglazed
  • Once the pan is deglazed (the water will probably have largely cooked off by now), add a good amount of water to the dish, about a litre ought to do it, added gradually in two or three stages – never at once …
  • I also add a small glass of white wine at this stage
  • You should now have a reasonable and flavoursome gravy starting to form … I add a tablespoon of Bisto dissolved in an inch of water at this stage or one of those clever little chicken stock pots, a purist might take a week to cook this by boiling bones to make a stock from start, I don’t have the time
  • Stir well, add a twist of pepper and about half the herbs you set aside earlier, stir again … turn heat down and cover to simmer gently for 5 minutes
  • Taste the gravy, add a dash more water if needed and any seasoning – cover and simmer on a v. low heat for 25 minutes

I serve this with Celeriac and Potato mash – take an equal amount of each vegetable, peel and boil well.   Once boiled, mash with a generous knob of butter, a twist of mace and a pinch of salt and if needed, two tablespoons of milk. To serve – Plop some mash onto a plate, to one side.   Ladle into the plate the lovely game and gravy.   Dust the casserole with the remainder of your fresh finely chopped Parsley and enjoy.