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A True Taste Of Asia

Pakora Curry (Khardi)

500 gm yoghurt
3 cups of gram flour (baisan)
2 onions
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon rai seed (fenugreek seed)
1 teaspoon methi seed (mustard seed)
1 teaspoon heeng powder
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons red chilli powder
2 teaspoons turmeric powder
4 to 5 curry leaves
2 teaspoons coriander powder and half a bunch of coriander


Preparation of baisan dumplings:
Take 2 cups of baisan in a large bowl. Add salt, 1 teaspoon of chilli powder, chopped coriander, 2 chopped green chillies, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 chopped onion. Put at least 2 cups of water to make a smooth paste. Set it aside for about half an hour. Then take some oil in a wok. When the oil is hot put the baisan mixture one by one using a teaspoon. Fry dumplings until golden brown.

Preparation of yoghurt sauce
Put one cup of gram flour, salt, heeng powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder into the yoghurt. Mix them with a beater. Make sure there are no lumps (to avoid lumps blend with an electric blender). Take one cup of oil in a large saucepan and heat it. Then add all the seed ingredients into the oil. After a few seconds, pour the yoghurt mixture with 5 cups of water into a pan. Stir it continuously with a spoon until it starts boiling. Cook this mixture for about 30 minutes. Later put the baisan dumplings in this mixture and cover it. Cook it for another 10 minutes. Finally, take chopped onions and curry leaves and fry them with 1 tablespoon oil for one minute. Then temper them on yoghurt mixture. Serve hot with steamed rice or corn bread.

Fried Chicken Wings

40 chicken wings
1 1/2 teaspoons finely minced ginger root
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup flour
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
1 teaspoon water
1/2 teaspoons salt

Remove wing tips and cut each wing in half at the joint. In a mixing bowl combine the wings and other ingredients except the oil.

Mix, cover and refrigerate for 3 hours.
In a large, deep pan heat the oil. Add wings and fry until golden brown on both sides. It takes 12 minutes in all.

Hot Crab Dip

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
2 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 pound flaked crabmeat
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350° F. Mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, garlic, onion, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, horseradish and lemon juice.

Add the crabmeat and combine well. Place in a lightly greased 1-1/2 quart baking dish. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. (Can be prepared several hours ahead and refrigerated until baking.) Bake until hot and bubbly for 20 to 30 minutes.
Cool for about 5 minutes before serving. Chopped nuts can be placed on top before baking to add a bit more flavour.

Italian Bruschetta

1/2 loaf French or Italian bread
1 large peeled red pepper divided into 4 pieces and roasted
1 small purple eggplant
4 slices mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup basil pesto
1 cup marinara sauce
1 slivered garlic clove in 1/2 cup olive oil

Slice 4 3/4 inch thick pieces of bread from a loaf and brush one side of each with olive oil. Place on hot grill (or under broiler) until toasted. Brush the other side with oil, turn and toast. Remove from grill. Place toasted bread on a cookie sheet and top each with pesto.

Slice eggplant into 1/2 inch thick slices. Cook eggplant in the same manner as the bread and place on top of bread. Top with 1 piece of pepper and 1 slice of cheese.
Bake in oven at 450 degrees until the cheese melts. Remove and serve at once on a bed of marinara sauce.

Hot Shrimp Dip

8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon garlic sauce
1 teaspoon chives
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 ounces canned or fresh shrimp
1 tablespoon paprika

Cream together all ingredients adding the shrimp last. Spoon into a baking dish sprayed with cooking oil. Sprinkle with paprika and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve with crackers or toast points while hot.



In pursuit of happiness  

According to Aristotle, happiness belongs to the self-sufficient. But even after having gained self-sufficiency and freedom, we cannot call ourselves happy! So I say that happiness can come from apparently little things like saying 'hello' to a colleague in the morning or smiling at a total stranger on the street.

It's more important to be happy than to be right. Many a time in life we sacrifice our happiness only to be right. We forget that a pile of right deeds does not always culminate into peace or joy. Therefore, don't make a decision based on others' definition of righteousness. Try to live life with an open heart, an open mind and an open hand. Compliment three people everyday. A genuine compliment is more valuable than a pricey gift. And it actually takes nothing more than willpower to praise people for the good things they have.

Despite your busy schedule, see if you can get up early in the morning and watch the crack of dawn. The yellow sun springing onto the east sky is one the loveliest scenes of nature. Don't waste an opportunity to tell someone that you love him/her. Be tough-minded but tender hearted. Be kinder than you have to be. You will see that people around you will treat you with similar kindness.

There are times when everything seems to go wrong- the world around seems harsh and insipid. In one of those bad days don't let your real feelings surface. Try to be in a cheerful mood even if you are down. Your happiness will touch others and make them put away their own gloom. Remember that a person's greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.

From personal experience, I can share that there are not many people who like to appreciate others for their good work and fortune. Set aside any fear that you feel while valuing others for their good deeds. When you arrive at a job in the morning, let the first thing you say brighten everyone's day- it might be a joke or a small anecdote. Lavishness doesn't buy happiness. Living beneath one's means is the key to happiness.

Showing off your wealth or making irrational purchases will only ensure short-term peace. But if you are looking for long term happiness and peace then involve yourself in work that will give not material but mental satisfaction. Make some donations every month. The amount isn't important- it is the thought of helping a poor soul that would bring joy to your heart. Happiness might be an abstract term but not an unattainable one. A little change in perspectives can take us closer to happiness…

By Penelope


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