Wednesday, June 01, 2005
For reasons completely unknown to silly little me, the West Midlands (AKA, where I am right now) is known for being the epicenter of British-Indian cuisine (or as the Brits call it, sub Asian food).
The food of India is so pervasive here, there isn’t a food store I have come across yet that doesn’t serve or sell something tikka, balti or curry. Gas stations, pizzerias, butcher shops, fish and tackle, you name it, along side the more pedestrian fare you can get a wide variety of tasty snacks, including something called bhaji, a deep fried treat that (oh dear, am I about to say this? Yes, I fear I am) is good to eat. And yet, fountain sodas are hard to come by. Go figure. (Must be something to do with the aversion to ice.)
I tried to do some basic research on the bhaji, but didn’t come up with much. I just know it is something that is deep fried, and tastes super yummy. Based on a few samplings, I got creative and made a batch last night. I was super excited about how easy and delicious, deeply mahogany and beautiful they were. The onion flavor comes out well, but they are insanely hearty, so next time, I think I would make them smaller. They are actually quite similar concept into the corn fritters I made a few days ago, yet much denser and with a very different taste, with the heat of the chile, the hint of lemon from the coriander and the sweetness of the onion. They are a sensational snack, and easily reheated if you want to make a few in advance. Try it, and enjoy!
1 large onion, rough chopped, then lightly mashed (you want some of the onion juice to release)
¼ teaspoon coriander
¼ teaspoon cumin
large pinch of salt
1 jalepeno pepper, rough chopped
1 cup flour (or, if you can find it, chickpea flour. Look in the low-carb section at the market, it's there sometimes)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup water
Oil to fry
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, spices, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the middle of the mix and add the egg and onion. Gradually add water to make a semi thick paste. The consistency should be such that no liquid should drain out of spoon when dropping them in the oil. Fry in very hot oil, in small batches and serve immediately with mint raita (mix plain yogurt with a bunch of minced mint).
Makes eight small or four large
According to several surveys, 30 to 40 percent of families do not eat dinner together five to seven nights a week, though most families eat dinner together some days a week. Families with older teenagers eat fewer dinners together than those with younger children.
A 2004 study of children 11 to 18 years old found that frequent family meals were associated with a lower risk of smoking, drinking and using marijuana; with a lower incidence of depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts; and with better grades.
Another study last year, a survey of 12- to 17-year-olds found that teenagers who reported eating two or fewer dinners a week with family members were more than one and a half times as likely to smoke, drink or use illegal substances than were teenagers who had five to seven family dinners.
A study published last year found that girls who reported having more frequent family meals and a positive atmosphere during those meals were less likely to have eating disorders.
Researchers at Harvard looked at the types of activities that promoted language development. Family dinners were more important than play, story time and other family events. And those families that engaged in extended discourse at the dinner table, like story telling and explanations, rather than one-phrase comments, like "eat your vegetables," had children with better language skills, said Dr. Catherine Snow, professor of education at Harvard and the researcher of the study."When there is more than one adult at the table, it tends to make talk richer, topics are established by adult interest and can be extremely valuable opportunities for children to learn," Dr. Snow said. - NY Times