Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The gut wrenching situation in Norway and Somalia...

It's sad to think about what's happening in Norway and Somalia...mindless violence in one and terrible famine in the other. The situation in Norway shook me up, first of all you don't expect bomb blasts in Norway neither do you expect some deranged lunatic to start gunning down people there. Even worse was the fact that the shooting spree took place at a youth camp, where young folks gather annually to take part in political activities and make new friends. Imagine that, people just like you and me, on the brink of a new and exciting life... with dreams hopes and ambitions, imagine their plight as the trigger happy lunatic walked around the camp shooting everybody in sight. Apparently this demented lunatic entered the camp dressed as a police officer and after he started gunning down people in one section of the camp, he calmly walked to another section and told the students that everything was fine, and that they could come into the open. Believing him to be a police officer the students came out of their hiding places only to be fired at again... and this went on uninterrupted for close to an hour. He even fired into the groups of dead bodies to make sure no one was hiding among the dead. When the police arrived much later, he surrendered without any resistance. So far he seems to have worked alone, he doesn't seem to belong to any group the papers say. Before this shooting took place he placed a bomb near the prime minister's office, and killed about seven people there... at the youth camp about eighty people lost their lives. One can only imagine the sheer horror and trauma of the survivors and the victims family... all of them victims of a deranged mind.

In Somalia, the numbers are more... shockingly high, people just dropping down and dying cause of starvation. A mother seeing all her seven children die one after the after, entire families perishing... because of famine. First the cattle, herd, and all the livestock started dying with no food and water... then the people started migrating to Kenya and the nearby places, many perished along the way. The refugee camps in Kenya are apparently spilling over, they have no place to accommodate so many people... and the papers say the situation is indeed dire, the numbers are expected to rise drastically in the coming days. To make matters worse some militant group is hampering the UN relief work, they claim that there is no famine and they make it impossible for relief supplies to reach the worst affected areas. Why is this happening... why is the world minding its own business. What do you do when you see impossibly thin kids in newspapers just lying there in their mother's arms... how do you look at their faces and go about your day, knowing their day isn't gonna be long. Sometimes everything seems so bleak, these gut wrenching events only drive home the fact of how futile everything in life is...

Watch over all of them Lord... both the living and the perished.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Peanut chutney....

Here is a simple peanut chutney, something that can be made very quickly without having to go through the ordeal of cracking open a coconut, and then scrapping the life out of it. I am not much of a morning person, I have to ease into the day slowly.... and kneeling on the floor while struggling with the coconut scrapper is not something I look forward to early in the morning. The folks at home really like this too, so there you go... everybody wins. Getting started, roasted peanuts are required to make this chutney. You can buy an ordinary packet of peanuts and dry roast them at home, that's how I do it. Store them in an airtight container and they will remain safe... if you store the peanuts without roasting them, they tend to get rancid in a few days. So always dry roast your peanuts and then store them.

So here are the roasted peanuts...
Heat a little oil and saute some sliced onions, along with a few garlic pods and dry red chillies.
Grind the peanuts, the onion-garlic-red chillie mixture along with a little ball of tamarind, salt and water. That's about it, your peanut chutney is ready, you have to season it now.
Heat a little oil and drop in some mustard seeds, wait till they crackle insanely...
Then throw in a few curry leaves and some dry red chillies, fry them around for a few minutes.

Tip this spicy seasoning into the chutney and in less than 10 minutes your work is over.

So if your household is like mine, one that thrives on dosa's and idli's... then this chutney is equivalent to manna - in the sense of how real manna appeared to the Israelites in the wilderness. It's very easy to make this chutney appear on the table... and therein lies the whole beauty of it.