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    Dated : Monday, July 31, 2017

Cook Time

Mridula Baljekar
Award-winning cookery writer, Mridula Baljekar is the best-selling author of 27 Indian cookery books and the proud winner of two international cookbook awards. Her book, The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook, was awarded the Best in the World by the prestigious Gourmand International Cookbook Awards in 2013. Mridula was also the winner of the “The Best Asian Cookbook in the World” for her book Great Indian Feasts in 2005, by Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Mridula presented 52 shows for Carlton Food Network, her own series ‘Mridula’s Indian Kitchen‘ and 13 episodes of the highly acclaimed ‘Spice Trail‘.She owned a contemporary Indian restaurant in Windsor, Berkshire, England, winning several prestigious awards, including the winner at the Best in Britain Awards from 2002-2006.

Chicken with Chilli & Lime (Mirchi aur Nimbuwali Murgh)

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4
Each serving contains:
Kcals: 196; g fat: 7; g saturated fat: 2.25
500g boneless chicken thighs, skinned and halved 
Juice of 2 limes (nimbu ka ras)
2 teaspoons Ginger Puree (adrak ki puree)
2 teaspoons Garlic Puree (lahsun ki puree)
1 large onion, finely chopped (bareek kate hue pyaaz)
½ teaspoon ground turmeric (peesi hui haldi)
1 teaspoon Ground Roasted Cumin (bhunnke peese hue jeere)
2 teaspoons Ground Roasted Coriander (bhunnke peese hue saabut dhaniye)
½-1 teaspoon chilli powder (mirch powder)
1 teaspoon salt to taste (namak swaad anusaar)
1½ teaspoon sugar (chini)
225g Boiled Onion Puree (unble hue pyaaz ki puree
200ml warm water (gunguna paani)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves (bareek kate hue dhaniye ke patte)
1-2 green chillies, seeded and cut into julienne strips (lambe kate hue bina beej ke hari mirch)
2 red chillies, seeded and cut into julienne strips (lambe kate hue bina beej ke laal mirch)
½ teaspoon Garam Masala
. Put the chicken into a non-stick saucepan, at least 25cm in diameter, and add the lime juice, ginger and garlic purees, chopped onion and turmeric. Stir to mix thoroughly. Place the pan over medium heat and cook gently until the contents begin to bubble, then cover and cook for 10-12 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. At the end of this time, the chicken will have released its juices
. Remove the lid and increase the heat slightly. Cook the chicken until the juices are reduced to a thick paste- this will take 4-5 minutes. Stir frequently to ensure that the thickened paste does not stick to the bottom of the pan
. Add the cumin, ground coriander, chilli powder, salt and sugar. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook for a further 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly
. Add half the onion puree and cook, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes or until the onion puree is dry enough to coat the pieces of chicken. Repeat with the remaining onion puree and warm water, then cook, uncovered, for 4-5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened
. Reserve a little of the fresh corianderand each variety of chillies for garnish and add the remainder to the chicken along with the garam masala. Stir well to distribute the ingredients and remove the pan from from the heat. Garnish with the reserved coriander and chillies, and serve with Tandoori Bread or Chapatis and Cucumber and Peanut Salad

Meatball Curry (Kofta Kari)

Preparation time: 20-25 minutes
Cooking time: 40-45 minutes
Serves: 4
Each serving contains:
Kcals: 200; g fat: 8; g saturated fat: 2.8
450g lean minced pork
2 teaspoons Ginger Puree (adrak ki puree)
1 teaspoon Garlic Puree (lahsun ki puree)
1-2 green chillies, seeded and chopped (bareek kate hue bina beej ke hari mirch)
1 small onion, coarsely chopped (baareek kate pyaaz)
15g fresh coriander leaves and stalks (dhaniye ke patte dandi ke saath)
1 teaspoon Garam Masala
Tomato sauce
400g can chopped tomatoes or 450g fresh tomatoes, skinned and chopped (bareek kate tamatar)
1-2 green chillies, seeded and chopped (bareek kate hue bina beej ke hari mirch)
1 teaspoon Garlic Puree (lahsun ki puree)
1 teaspoon Ginger Puree (adrak ki puree)
5cm piece of cinnamon strick, halved (Dalchini ki dandi)
6 cloves (Laung)
1 teaspoon salt to taste (namak swaad anusaar)
1½ teaspoons sugar (chini)
½ teaspoon Ground Roasted Cumin (bhunnke peese hue jeere)
2 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander leaves (dhaniye ke patte)
. Line a grill pan with aluminium foil and brush lightly with oil
. Put all the ingredients for the meatballs in a food processor and blend until smooth. Devide into 16 folf-ball-sized portions and shape into neat rounds by rotating and pressing gently between your palms so that the mixture is quite compact. Place the meatballs in a single layer on the prepared pan
. Preheat the grill to high. Grill the meatballs 7.5cm below the heat source for 4-5 minutes or until browned. Turn the meatballs and cook for 3-4 minutes or until browned. Remove and set aside
. Put all the ingredients for the sauce in a saucepan and add 75ml water. Bring to simmering point, cover and cook for 15 minutes
. Cool the sauce slightly, remove the whole spices and either puree in a blender or press through a sieve
. Put the cooked meatballs in a non-stick ssssaucepan and pour the sauce over. Cover and cook over low heat for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally
. Stir in the ground cumin and fresh coriander until thoroughly mixed. Serve with any bread or boiled basmati rice, and a raita or salad


Book Review

Sita: Warrior of Mithila
By Amish
Reviewed by Gayatri Jayaraman

There are many books that attempt to retell the Ramayana through the perspective of Sita, especially in times that urgently seek inclusive, feminist viewpoints. Popular amongst these have been Samhita Arni’s graphic novel Sita’s Ramayana, Devdutt Patnaik’s Sita, an Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana, and Volga’s The Liberation of Sita.
In Amish Tripathi’s Sita, Warrior of Mithila, for the first time, we get a Sita we deserve. Sita is creator and destroyer. She is the shaper of destinies, not merely of her own, but of those around her and of tribes, here the Malayaputra, that depend on and worship her, and of Lord Ram, Scion of Ishvaku’s himself. Without giving away too much of the plot, Amish’s Sita is a stick-wielding, skull-bashing, knife-throwing, fiery tempered military strategist afraid of very little and with the skills and training to be counted among India’s finest statesman and leaders. It is only when Amish erases the existing frame within which we know Sita and redraws it do we realise how much there is to fill in the gap: Her birth, her origins, her relationship with her adoptive parents, her friendships, her own politics and her society. Who is Sita, where is she from, how does her mind work and what shaped it? Who has she been, as a young woman, before she became spouse? And what in the making of her defines the kind of partner that she will be?
The book achieves what few feminist tomes are able to – it gives Sita an identity of her own – you do not really confront Lord Ram till the concluding quarter of the book, and there he is more a supportive partner to Sita’s primary fate. Sita comes alone, riding her steed of consequence. She may have been born to circumstance but she wields it as her weapon. The company of women she cultivates are not sighing surrender. Sita here is Bhoomi, the disciple of Rishi Shvetaketu and the favourite of Rajguru Vishwamitra, daughter of the spiritually inclined Janak and the pragmatic Sunaina. Deeply visual, the book takes you along as Sita arrives at a hesitant blossming towards her responsibilities – towards a kingdom that blames its economic decline on her unthinking offence to her uncle Kushadwaj, towards controlling her temper, by which a young boy in the slums is greviously injured, to the tribe that worships her, to a fragile sister and father dependent on her, and to the husband that acts to protect her. She learns that there are consequences to all actions and laws and breaking and abiding by them too is strategic. She is no demure bride to be of a prince who would be Lord, but a woman who picks a strategic alliance most suited to her mission. She owns her mistakes, crafts her collaborations, and maps her betrayals. There is great ownership of karma in Sita.
Sita Warrior of Mithila then is not so much a book about a spouse of a Lord past, as much as an inquiry into the feminine principle of statesmanship. As a political leader herself who must operate within a world of royally egotistical men, how does Sita view alliance, collaboration and balance? One of the most fascinating conversations in the book occurs between Bharat and Sita on the masculine and the feminine principles of society, the authoritarian and freedom in governance. Rescued from flailing about in an assigned destiny, Amish’s Sita must counterbalance the multiple influences on her, and shape her own politics.
Publisher: Westland Press
Availability: Amazon
Price: 345/-

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What a man can be, he must be. This need we call self-actualization.
— Abraham Maslow
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