Food for the mind and the body.* Jan 3, 2012

Food for thought: Everyone has to die, but some deaths don’t have to be

Iraq Body Count, a British NGO reports that in about nine years of war in Iraq, more than 162,000 people were killed. About 130,000 were civilian casualities; that is, eighty per cent of those who died due to the war had nothing to do with the war, except that they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In a village in the mountainous terrain of north India, due to fog and consequent poor visibility, a school van and a truck rammed into each other. Twelve of the thirteen who died in the accident were children, all in the age group five to eight. It was early morning and the children were on their way to school. The children were from a village and they were going to a private school which was about fifteen kilometres [ten miles??] from their homes.

Food for the palate [because life has to go on…]: Carrot and squash kootu

Cut up 2 big carrots and 1 squash into small pieces and cook tender. Also cook 1/2 a cup of split red gram till soft. [Just pop all the stuff into a pressure cooker. ]

Grind to a powder 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, 1/2 a teaspoon each of black pepper seeds, cumin seeds, raw rice, a few mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds,4-6 red chillis, a pinch turmeric. Soak the powder in a little water, just so it’s completely wet, add about 2 teaspoons of grated coconut to the mixture, and keep aside for about ten minutes.

Also soak tamarind [about half a medium-lime] in 1/2 a cup of water and keep aside.

Heat  a teaspoon of oil in a pan, add the ground and soaked mixture, fry for a minute over a slow flame.  add the cooked gram and vegetables, and squeezed tamarind water. Add salt, simmer till thick and the aroma makes you hungry. [Allow to simmer for at least ten minutes.]

Seasoning: Heat a teaspoon of oil, add 1/2 a teaspoonful each of mustard, split black gram and a pinch of asafoetida. When mustard splutters and gram browns, add a few curry leaves, pinched into small bits. Add seasoning to thickened kootu. Eat with rice or bread.

* Each day of this year, I hope to provide some food for the mind and for the body too… The former, from news I get to read every day, and the latter, from the vast repertoire of  Indian vegetarian fare that I draw on to cook at home.


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