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Indian Recipes Samar Halarnkar “Our Daily Bread”: Hindustan Times

List of vegetables in Assam

Image via Wikipedia

My Srinagar garam masala
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel (saunf) seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp poppy seeds
2-inch piece of cinnamon (dalchini)
12 dried red chillies (Kashmiri chillies, or any other)
2 black cardamoms
5 green cardamoms
12 cloves
Roast these spices on a medium flame until the seeds start to snap and crackle. Stir constantly for a minute, as the aromas release, but take care not to let them burn and blacken. Either pound the spices in a mortar pestle or in a mixie (which is what I normally use). Empty into an airtight glass bottle.

Once I had my masala, I found it enough for these three dishes.

Serves 4

Roast chicken with Srinagar masala
1 full chicken, skin intact
4 tbsp Srinagar garam masala
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup rum
Salt to taste
Marinate the full chicken, skin intact but slashed with a knife, with the garam masala and olive oil. Add salt and rum (I always use Old Monk). Let it marinate for 4 hours, at least. Place chicken in a casserole with lid and roast on oven mark 4 (or 180 degrees Celsius) for 2 hours or slightly more. You may not need to do anything for the first hour. Use the liquid released to periodically baste the chicken as it starts to brown. Serve whole, with roasted potatoes and onions if you wish. Carve on the table. It should yield to the first plunge of the knife.

Serves 4

Eggplant with coriander and sesame seeds
12-14 small eggplants, quartered or smaller
1 large onion, sliced
1 large tomato, chopped fine
2 tsp coriander seeds, roughly pounded
2 tsp sesame seeds
3 tsp Srinagar garam masala
11/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste (better, use freshly chopped ginger and garlic)
1 tbsp olive oil (more if needed)
Salt to taste
Splutter the sesame seeds in gently heated olive oil in a non-stick pan. Add the coriander seeds and stir for 30 seconds. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add ginger and garlic. Add the Srinagar garammasala and sauté (with a dash of red-wine vinegar or water) till the masala blends. Add the tomato and toss well. Add eggplant and sauté until well done. Adjust masala if you wish. Top with fresh coriander or parsley (I used parsley) and serve hot.

Serves 4

Couscous with peppers, zucchini and Srinagar masala
1 large cup of couscous
1 zucchini, cut lengthwise and sliced into slim half-circles
1 red pepper, cut into 1/4-inch pieces or juliennes
1 yellow pepper, ditto
5 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp Srinagar garam masala
2 tsp parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp coriander seeds, pounded
Salt to taste
Lay the couscous on a flat dish. Pour boiling water or vegetable stock, as per instructions on couscous packet. Add a few drops of olive oil, salt and fluff up with a fork. In 1 tbsp of olive oil, splutter sesame seeds. Add the garlic and sauté until it starts to brown. Add zucchini and sauté. Add salt. Sprinkle the masala and toss. Add 1 tbsp of red-wine vinegar or orange juice while sautéing. Add peppers and toss for a minute before taking off flame. Pour the vegetables over the couscous. Sprinkle with parsley and pounded coriander seeds. If this is too vegetarian for you, add-as I did-leftover kebabs or sausages (after chopping into small pieces) to the couscous.

October 11, 2010 Posted by | culture, India, recipe, social | , , , , | Leave a comment

Friday market buzzing outside jama masjid srinagar on Twitpic

Friday market buzzing outside jama masjid srinagar on Twitpic.

September 10, 2010 Posted by | India | | Leave a comment

Abhinav Bharat, the Malegaon Blast and Hindu Nationalism: Resisting and Emulating Islamist Terrorism

Abhinav Bharat, the Malegaon Blast and Hindu Nationalism: Resisting and Emulating Islamist Terrorism.

September 8, 2010 Posted by | culture, global, history, India, politics, social, Terrorism, war | | Leave a comment

VIDEO Islam 270 Million Bodies In 1400 Years – What Every Kafir Must Know! | Israel Muse Portal

VIDEO Islam 270 Million Bodies In 1400 Years – What Every Kafir Must Know! | Israel Muse Portal.

July 31, 2010 Posted by | culture, disaster, freedom, India, Israel, Muslim, religion, war | | Leave a comment

Why we must call it saffron terror and nothing elsePOSTED BY ZIA HAQ ON SUNDAY, JULY 18, 2010

A brand of terror is rapidly unfolding, giving rise to a highly dangerous label: “Hindu terrorism”. It is being attributed to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS, a powerful right-wing organization that espouses fierce cultural nationalism built around Hindu values.

For those led to believe that only Muslims could be terrorists, evidence to the contrary is mounting. Top RSS men are under arrest for facilitating terror strikes at Muslim shrines. As the evidence mounts, sewed lips are slowly opening. The nation wonders how entrenched “Hindu terrorism” is. Yet, we must not call this “Hindu terror”. That’s too sweeping a phrase.

I am privileged enough to understand that a significant number of this nation’s Hindus is tolerant. To sully their faith with a wide brush of terror this way is to commit the same mistake as calling terror “Islamic”.

I do not hold such a bias against Hinduism. My love for Hindu temple towns, such as Varanasi and Pushkar, is enduring. These are the usual places where I go on occasional vacations. These labyrinths of a city rising upwards of the ghats (river-bank steps) are amazing. I have spent enough time strolling around these ghats, talking to Hindu priests and astrologers who crowd these places. I have never found any streak of hatred, radicalism or fascism in them. I have always found these places, just like the frolicking foreign tourist, to be abodes of peace.

However, the truth is upon us. Years of promoting intolerance and hatred have caused the saffron brigade (taking its name from the Hindu sacred colour) to tether on the edge of terrorism.

There we are: we must call this saffron terror and not anything else. Hindutva terror could be another apt term, but unfortunately it runs, semantically, very closely past the word “Hindu”, cutting things too fine for us.

Yet, “Hindutva terror” is an effective term to distinguish it from Hinduism, which has none of the former’s fanaticism and militant ideas that form a foil to Islamist terror. Note that I have not used the term Islamic, but Islamist. These distinctions are not just theoretically important – but they also form the basis of street opinion.

Singling terrorists out should be our singular goal, as I have said earlier. Therefore, organizations like the RSS, its political front, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and all like-minded organizations should come out of their denial mode. Their Frankenstein’s monster is threatening India itself.

Muslims already agree that many among them have interpreted an extreme meaning out of Islam to justify violence, so that it suits their political needs. The RSS, the BJP and indeed the whole saffron brigade should be wise enough to do the same. That would be the first step in taking corrective measures. It’s never too late to admit and learn from our mistakes.

The RSS’s ultimate goal, in theory to be achieved through the BJP, is to turn Indian politics on its head, and replace its cultural and religious diversity with a monolithic Hindu nationalist ideology. There was a time when their predecessors drew direct inspiration from Adolf Hitler’s and Benito Mussolini’s intolerance, which led to killing of 4 million Jews, a dark chapter in history that goes by the name of the Holocaust.

This adoration of Hitler leads to the suspicion that it is theoretically possible that they might repeat the Holocaust on Indian Muslims. They are already doing it, if not on a similar size and scale as Hitler’s. Muslims are the prime targets of Hindutva extremists, followed by Christians. Only recently a BJP legislator has been convicted for widespread anti-Christian violence in the eastern state of Orissa and sentenced. It is this brand of nationalism that sidesteps India’s diversity and broad-based political institutions, which is dangerous.

If the RSS is indeed a cultural organization, then why does it give military-style training to its cadre, I wonder? Who are they arming themselves against? Do they not trust the Indian Army and other defence forces with their job?

How are they being allowed to thrive, when they openly question many of the Indian Constitution’s immutable tenets? If they believe in religious freedom, why do they insist that all Indians are of Hindu descent and should convert back? (They have such an illegitimate gumption that many of their adherents often point out that Islam doesn’t allow or tolerate conversion to another faith.)

The RSS, along with its acolyte outfits, remains the foremost offender of good Hindu-Muslims relations. They have no suitable place in modern Indian society, just like their counterparts among extremist Muslim outfits. By legitimizing their ideas, the BJP has only hurt Hindu-Muslim ties beyond repair, as some would say.

The BJP’s campaign to destroy a 16th-century mosque in northern India sparked nationwide communal riots between Hindus and Muslims, claiming hundreds of lives.

The 2002 riots in Gujarat were India’s first full-fledged political pogrom because governments of the day at the state and federal level, both led by the BJP, let it go unchecked. The clashes, which killed more than a thousand people, drove a painful wedge between Hindus and Muslims.

The weaker Hindutva extremists become, the stronger Hindu-Muslim relations will be. The closer Hindus and Muslims come, the better a place India will be.

The BJP is seen moving towards a more secular platform now. This swing is more notional than real. One reason behind this slight shift is because the party seems to realize that Hindutva has proved to be, after all, a short-term asset but a long-term liability. But that’s just a small, wobbly, baby step. Not a sure-footed stride.

July 21, 2010 Posted by | culture, global, India, social | | Leave a comment

Maoists in India

The relentless Maoist attacks have become India’s biggest security threat as Maoist separatists have inflicted another deadly blow on Indian security forces. According to reports Twenty-six personnel of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were killed in a Maoist ambush in Chhattisgarh’s Narayanpur district on the 29th of June, 2010. Only in last April 76 less equipped CRPF personnel were killed by Maoist attacks. Netizens analyze the cause behind the Maoist onslaughts and discuss ways to tackle the threat.

There are many theories to interpret the Maoist problem, which has a long history. While some likeRaunaq Pradhan think that it represents a freedom struggle, others suggest that it is a form of class struggle.

Aju Basil James at The Viewspaper discusses the reasons behind the Maoist insurgency:

The basic problems, many experts proclaim, are the age old ones of poverty and unemployment. The Maoists are concentrated in the forests of Chhattisgarh, Jharkand and Orissa, the area popularly known as the ‘Red Corridor’. These areas are primarily inhabited by tribals and indigenous people. Even as India achieves high growth rate figures and climbs up the ladder in international circles, these people have received next to no benefits of the economic prosperity seen in the big cities. They are still oppressed by bureaucrats and exploited by politicians. If anything, they have only faced the negative side of the liberalised economy – land grabbing by private companies, exploitation of natural resources and a further apathy from governments.

chhattisgarh village, India

July 5, 2010 Posted by | freedom, global, India | | Leave a comment

Hindustan Times Newspaper & Blogs I find this newspaper to be very informative on issues regarding the Middle East. The blogs written are also fair and somewhat knowledgeable of current events. The Indian people to me seem a peaceful sector.I enjoy the refreshing outlook the paper prints.

June 21, 2010 Posted by | India | | Leave a comment