Thursday, July 23, 2015

Tandoori Cauliflower

Adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s book – “Great Escape – India”

Excuse the photography, in my hurry to sample the dish, i couldn't keep still!

This is like rassam – you can have it with rice also.

Serves: 2

  1. Cauliflower – 10-12 large florets
  2. Water
  3. Dahi (curd) – ½ cup
  4. Ginger – 1 inch piece, grated
  5. Garlic – 3-4 cloves finely chopped
  6. Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  7. Red chilli powder – ½ tsp
  8. Coriander powder – ½ tsp
  9. Salt
  10. Onion – 1 cut in rings
  11. Tomato puree – 1 tbsp
  12. Oil – 2 tbsp
  13. Garam masala – 2 tsp
  14. Chaat masala – 2 tsp


  1. In a pot of boiling water, add the cauliflower florets and keep them there for 2-3 minutes. Remove and put in a pot of ice cold water to refresh. Set aside
  2.  In a bowl, mix curd, ginger, garlic, turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder, 1 tsp each   of garam masala and chaat masala.
  3. Add the florets to this marinade and coat well.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (Skip this step if time is a constraint, but refrigeration helps the flavors of the marinade to get infused in the cauliflower)
  5. When ready for cooking, preheat oven to 180 Celsius and grease a baking tray. Spread the  cauliflower mixture over it.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes – 15 minutes on both racks (top and bottom) and 15 minutes only on the top  rack. Keep checking to ensure the florets are not burning when heat is on top rack only.
  7. While the florets are being baked, heat 2 tbsp oil, and add onions, tomato puree. Sautee till onions  turn soft – about 5 minutes. Keep stirring. Add garam masala and chaat masala and continue to cook  for another 5-6 minutes. Keep warm.
  8. Once the cauliflower florets are done, top them with the onion rings and garnish with coriander.
  9. Serve warm

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Left hanging

The headlines today in most papers in India read out boldly - "Yakub to hang on his birthday for 257 deaths".

What do you feel when you read this?
The first thought i had was better late than never, next thought was maybe capital punishment is not such a bad thing (to make my stand clear - i am still unclear on what i feel about capital punishment, i am not vehemently for it, especially given our flawed justice system where an error / bribe may cost someone their life,  but i do believe some crimes fall under the rarest of rare category, where death must be awarded, with unfettered access to higher court appeals and mercy petitions. Well, i guess that means i am not against capital punishment).
Then i read the headline again, what is the point of telling the public that we are hanging the terrorist on his birthday?
What is this disgusting satisfaction that we are supposed to get for hanging a man on his birthday. It obviously is completely coincidental, but it could very well have been a fact kept out of the headline. Unless you are a person directly affected by the blast, why would you feel glad over hanging somebody on their birthday. I doubt the satisfaction derived even if you were a victim of the attack. I think after 22 years, we should be ashamed that it took so long to deliver justice to the victims and instead of making a big show of such a big failure on the part of our justice system, the hanging should quietly take place and announce in the paper the next day, just like Ajmal Kasab.
Justice delayed is justice denied.

The 1993 bomb blasts were the first 1st serial bombings that we had ever witnessed, the first time RDX was used for terrorist operations after WWII ( Source). If India had taken a tough and aggressive stance then, fast tracking the case through the courts, sentencing and carrying out those sentences with the speed of light, maybe we could have avoided a few of the later serial bombings.
Obviously, even after setting up a special court under TADA, the case took 10 years to complete - in September 2003.
The special court started handing out sentences in 2006 and now in 2015 comes the news of the hanging.
The main accused are still absconding.
Maybe in 20 years time we will catch them and in another 20 years we will sentence them to die on their birthdays. By then we will have judges who would have been born after the attacks and would be incapable of comprehending the terror and destruction the attacks left in their wake.
 And victims who died without ever seeing the perpetrators brought to justice.

Source of image

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Under our Umbrella...

You think rain and all sort of images conjure up...for me, it is a nice cup of hot tea, a book (maybe a kindle), sitting by the window and some uninterrupted reading time, all to myself, all by myself, with the rain drops performing a symphony on their stage of the windowsill.
It also makes me want to sing and dance, and actually believe in the romance of life.

Aahh...rain....where art thou?

The sun is sizzling, the roads are hot, mirages are dancing on the tarmac, the trees are losing their green hope and turning to brown despair again. The metal in the street is hot to touch, and the dust is flying free in this torturous reign of rising temperatures. The phone is still buzzing with messages for "summer sale" from retailers, clearing away what they though was the last of their summer stock, more needs to be re-ordered. Ice creams and cold drinks, fired from the show, have been given lead roles again. Raincoats that eagerly stumbled out of moth balled closets, have been stuffed back in where they belong.

And to think we thought the last of the hot, dry days were behind us!

In that moment, when we thought we couldn't hate the sun anymore, couldn't envy its power anymore, couldn't take its unmerciful beating anymore, it gave way. The hot afternoon, suddenly turning dark, clouds looming overhead, threatening to spill if given an oh-so-tiny nudge. You wait, you watch. You have been tricked before. And not until you feel the first wet drop on your outstretched palm, are you going to believe that "acche din" are here!
Breath held in, palms outstretched, balancing on one leg (See Modi and yoga are not very alien from daily life), we wait and we wait.
And then - plop - comes down the first drop!
And Hurray! We celebrate, we dance, we play, we rush out to the destinations beyond the city to enjoy the rains - all because we believe the first drop of rain, cleared the path for the rest of the drops to make their way down to us.

But alas, the first drop, now looks like the reject material sent down to us, at a discounted price, to be enjoyed till it lasts, which is not going to be very long - well, because you know there is a reason you are paying a discounted price of the item!

The dance and play soon tires us with the sun cruelly grinning overhead, the rain destinations look at us quizzically, like hosts would at guests who turn up early for a party, wondering how we get fooled by the fake, first plop drop, every time!

And we travel back to (in time and space) to our mundane lives, complaining about the sun under our breath, lest he hear us and impose an emergency (heat storm, is what i meant) and then god knows when we will be able to get rid of him (5 years i should think!). Life goes on - the same place, the same people (ministers), the same intentions (corruption), the same drama (scandals).

Quite like our Indian government, you thought it would get better, but we keep swimming (that would be wrong, you would need WATER for that). Ok, then maybe you keep rusting in the hot (bure) days, waiting for the "acche din", but it seems like every scandal, every corruption, every breaking headline, has been borrowed from the previous ruling party, and no one has even bothered dressing up the characters differently, or changing the circumstances just a tiny little bit.

But we are a hopeful lot, looking into the future, try to shape it to meet our needs.
Beyond the blazing, selfish sun rays, we can see the clouds regrouping to "Rain in India"
Beyond the inept, corrupt ministers, we see the struggle of one man and his honest hard working team,  to "Make in India"

And as Indians, hope rests in our soul.
Every drop, however solitary, is going to remind us, not of the slush, the grime, the non-functioning drainage system, but of greenery, romance and life !