Strange are the ways of the world. It certainly feels that way sometimes. Take for instance this endeavor that is worth almost a billion dollars and yet it looks like that? Yes, Mukesh Ambani's home. There are mixed reactions everywhere: from claiming that this has put India on the map (uh, wasn't it there already?) to calling it an ugly display of wealth. I'll agree with the ugly because I don't know what they were thinking when they designed that. Wealth? It's theirs to do with as they please, hopefully with a dose of social responsibility; but what does interest me more are the sustainable features, if any, that were built into this 27 storey behemoth that will be home to 4 people with 600 employees and a 160 car multi-level parking lot.
Next up was the revelation that good tomatoes cannot be found in India (thanks, Sra for the link!) and must be imported from upscale supermarkets in the UK. Huh? Ever considered growing your own heirloom varieties? Or paying someone in your local area to grow them for you? And, this 'wisdom' comes from a high profile Indian foodie. Again, where is the social responsibility?
Worse still, those hideous Red Delicious apples grown in the US are being imported by India. Anyone with a little bit of taste steers clear of these apples, in particular!
What happened to good sense along the way?
Even more strange was the feeling that came over me when I found myself staring at the tagline of another food blogger. It was very scarily like my own tagline - it was rewritten, of course - but clearly she lacks the smarts to cover her bases well enough, to hide the fact that she was 'inspired.' For the record, my tagline is:
I am fully aware that it isn't very profound and that it reeks of being hastily put together to meet some silly deadline. It doesn't go nearly as far as back as 2003 when I first started this blog, but I remember that it was possibly in the year 2004 that I penned this. The earliest proof on the interwebs is dated September 2006, long before this food blogger started on her own journey (sic). What does it say about you when you have to use other people's taglines to arrive at your own?
Maybe it's the season, but I am seriously creeped out.
My friend Shalan had some wise words for me which made me put this aside and step out to enjoy whatever offering autumn had for me. Here are some phone pictures from my jog/walk last week. (The movie has a soundtrack, which ends rather abruptly instead of fading out.)
The excitement for Hallowe'en is building up as is the joy and sharing that comes with Diwali, the festival of lights. A couple of years ago, right around Diwali time, Nupur sent me her copy of Suvir Saran's American Masala: 125 New Classics from My Home Kitchen because she felt that I would be able to make the most of the meat and poultry recipes. This is just one of the many kind and thoughtful things that Nupur does! And, it made my Diwali even more special that year.
There are very few people who can do fusion well and Suvir Saran is a chef who does just that and so much more. In American Masala, he has been able to add the warmth of Indian spices to dishes that are familiar to a western palate. He demystifies and simplifies to create flavors redolent of a world cuisine, rather than a specific ethnic cuisine. The book exudes Suvir's personality, whatever little I have been fortunate to experience. In the brief blurbs that accompany each recipe, he speaks tenderly of his childhood years and of those who influenced his food choices. I particularly love his spicy roasted cauliflower, which I have made several times over for a discerning group of Indian friends. Today, though, I thought I would feature one of our other favorites from his cookbook, lamb seekh kababs.
The first time I laid my eyes on that recipe, I had to read it over and over as there was no ginger or garlic to be found in the list of ingredients. No oil either! I was intrigued. I also loved what I thought was a Persian touch: the addition of dried fruits, either apricots or figs.
I have made these kababs with ground turkey and with local ground lamb, the latter wins hands down. Since I do not have a gas grill and I didn't have the enthusiasm to fire up some coals, I cooked these on high in my broiler. These lamb kababs are succulent and very easy to make. Just perfect. You have to try them!
- 1 lb lean ground lamb
- 5-6 dried figs
- 1/2 small red onion, chopped fine
- 3 green onions, chopped fine
- 2 hot green chillies, chopped fine
- 1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped fine
- 1/8 cup cilantro, chopped fine
- Zest and juice of half a lemon
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp red chilli powder (or more)
- salt to taste
- chaat masala, for garnish
- Soak dried figs in some warm water for about 10 minutes. Chop fine.
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients gently.
- Divide into 8 portions and form each into a short thick cylinder. Thread each onto a skewer and squeeze and pat to lengthen them into long kababs.
- Broil until browned, about 4-5 minutes each side. Or grill them, turning over once, till done.
- Sprinkle with chaat masala and serve with some lemon wedges.
- Suvir's recipe was for 2.5lbs of ground lamb. I halved all the other ingredients for 1lb of lamb and increased the amount of chilli powder.
- Suvir divides 2.5 lbs into 8 equal portions. Neither I nor my skewers can handle quarter pound per skewer so I decided to halve that amount and keep it at approximately half of a quarter pound per skewer. That way, I got to eat 2 whole kabas and that made me really happy!
- You could use dried apricots instead of dried figs. I am not sure how many dried apricots you would need but aim for 1/4 cup when chopped, for 1 lb of lamb.
- I didn't miss ginger or garlic. That there was no oil was an added bonus!
- Kebabs, kababs, kebobs, kabobs. They are all the same thing!
- This makes for great burgers, too.
Thank you for all the wonderful birthday wishes earlier this month! I made it to the summit of Flattop Mountain and had the best birthday yet!