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Curry Puffs, aka Keema Samosas: Savory Snacks For the Best of Times

If you’re anywhere from the Indian Subcontinent, particularly the southern part of the continent, or even parts of southeast Asia (think Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore), you will most likely recognize the name of these savory snacks called Curry Puffs.

Think Samosa, otherwise.  Same concept of deep-fried puff-pastry or whole-wheat dough with a delectable filling, only it’s not Peas-and-Potatoes like you’d find in the ubiquitous Samosa; it’s a fragrantly spiced Keema-and-Potatoes filling that you’ll find in these Curry Puffs.  Keema is hindi for mince-meat, by the way.

And we had the pleasure of making a big batch of these last evening.  Three generations went into its creation:  My mother made the dough; my daughter rolled it into tiny circles and carefully placed the filling inside each one; I prepared the filling, and crimped the edges of each fragile curry puff; and finally, my mother painstakingly fried each one to a golden crisp.

Serve it up with three kinds of Chutneys:  Tamarind & Date, Red Hot Sriracha Thai, and All-American Ketchup.

Hands down, it was a Yeh Hui Na Baat kinda bite!

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Star Staff Writer Makes Splash On Front Cover, Time and Time Again!


I happen to share a roof with this incredible creature of a person who also happens to share a last name with me.  And while I stand amazed at all the things that she is accomplished in, I cannot help but highlight this one additional area in which she has made a name for herself:  literally made a name for herself on the front cover of all four issues of the high school newspaper that she writes for, The Emery.

So, here’s to having her name in print on a publication with a readership of several thousand students and several more thousand parents and others in the community.

It’s great to be published, and it’s great to have one’s story make front cover at that!  Congratulations, SAI!  The show does go on!

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IKEA: Where Function Meets Art & Swedish Fare Is Always An Option

So, what does a trip to IKEA mean?  Well, it usually means what might seem like an endless browsing of the myriad floor-plans in the showrooms on the upper level before you eventually descend down to the “marketplace”, the area where you can actually pick up the things you wish to buy before you can find your way to the check-out lines.

Well, that’s what a trip to IKEA usually means.  But occasionally it could also mean making a stop in the IKEA cafeteria to grab a quick snack or beverage and perhaps even sit down in the very spacious dining area to catch your breath and refuel. 

Which is what we did yesterday:  refuel, that is.  And the items that comprised the pseudo-Swedish menu included Swedish Meatballs with Lingonberry Sauce, Potato Chive Medallions, Creamed Spinach Crepes with a Butter-Chive Sauce, Swedish Fries (that looked and tasted suspicioulsy American), and a slice of Swedish Apple Pie (that also looked and tasted suspiciously American!).  

All in all, a nice stop for some Swedish fare until I make that trip to Stockholm one day!

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The South End: India population grows to 1.2 billion

 NEW DELHI (AP) — India is now home to 17 percent of the world’s people as its population climbed to 1.21 billion this year, though growth actually slowed for the first time in 90 years, census officials said Thursday.

The South Asian nation — second only to China in number of people — added 181 million in the past decade, said C. Chandramouli, the census commissioner. That increase alone is nearly the entire population of Brazil

United Nations projections show that India could overtake China and its 1.34 billion people as the world’s most populous nation by 2030, though Chandramouli said a more rigorous analysis of data would be needed before India made its own projections.

India’s population is now nearly equal to the combined populations of the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Japan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, he said.

Yet, the 17.6 percent increase was down from 21.5 in the last count a decade ago. The last time India showed slowing in population growth was in the 1921 census.

The numbers released Thursday were preliminary and official figures and analysis weren’t expected to be released until next year.

The census, India’s 15th since 1872, was a mammoth effort spread out over a year. It involved 2.7 million census-takers who surveyed some 300 million households, noting for the first time whether people live in basic huts or concrete structures, have electricity and access to toilets and if they have spent any time in schools.

The questions will help administrators develop policies and set budgets for a nation where 800 million people live in poverty.

Almost all residents, regardless of nationality, are included in the count, even those imprisoned like Pakistani Ajmal Kasab, who is on death row for his role in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Millions of homeless were also counted.

The initial numbers show a decline in the number of children under the age of 6, down 5 million since 2001 to 158.8 million. They also indicate a continuing preference for male children over females in a country where female infanticide is still common and the government has banned doctors from revealing the sex of unborn children.

A gender breakdown among children showed fewer girls than boys are being born or surviving, with 914 girls for every 1,000 boys under the age of 6, compared to 927 for every 1,000 in the last census.

“This is a matter of grave concern,” Chandramouli said.

Indians continue to favor sons over daughters mostly because of the enormous expenses involved in marrying off girls. Even the poorest families are often likely to go into debt arranging marriages and paying elaborate dowries to their daughter’s new family. Hindu custom also dictates that only sons can light funeral pyres.

“Whatever measures that have been put in over the last 40 years has not had any impact on child sex ratio and therefore that requires a complete review,” India’s Home Secretary G.K. Pillai said.

The overall sex-ratio showed a marginal improvement, with 940 women counted for every 1,000 men compared to 933 in the last census.

The census also showed that the literacy rate went up to 74 percent nationwide for people aged 7 and older, from about 65 percent in the last count.


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Cherry Blossom Season in DC Right Now – National Geographic


Last year at this time, we spent a week in Washington, DC and took in the wondrous sights of the cherry blossoms, among other things. Amazing how they know to bloom right on time!  Click on the picture to go to the NG website for the complete gallery of cherry blossom pictures.

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Yellow Carnations & Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake: Sweet Dessert for a Sweet 2011 ICC World Cup Victory

And what’s all this about, you ask?  Well, this is Part Three in a series of three consecutive posts celebrating the sweet victory of the 2011 ICC World Cup victory.  And where might the other two be, you say, and what are those about?  Not to worry, they’re all right here.  The Breakfast of Champions Ode to Sachin & the 2011 ICC World Cup post is right here, and the Hyderabadi Biryani In Honor Of The Boys of Mumbai is also right here.

 So, what would you serve for dessert after a breakfast and dinner like that?  Well, that’s a tough call, but I’d vote for Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake, of course!  This delectable dessert is a variation of the traditional cake by the same name, and was made by my indescribably amazing firstborn.  It is a variation because instead of pineapple rings, pineapple chunks have been used, and instead of a regular round cake, she baked it in a bundt pan. 

It was served with a scoop of the finest Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and a Drizzle of Pineapple Juice & Marmalade Syrup, a concoction that came right out of our imaginations, by the way.

Oh, and those fresh yellow carnations on the table:  we picked those up from a trip to the supermarket.  Yellow, the traditional color of homecoming, perfect in a way for the event being celebrated:  a homecoming of the World Cup after a very long time!

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Hyderabadi Biryani In Honor of the Boys of Mumbai

Well, this is part two in a series of three posts devoted to reiterating the notion that food is love is food.  And if you’re lost already, not to worry, I shall explain.  The 2011 ICC World Cup win by India yesterday is so sweet a victory that it produces the most intense of such emotions, you see, and so after the Breakfast of Champions post that was offered up yesterday, I must now offer up an account of the food-celebrations of the rest of the day.  So, what could possibly be better than Hyderabadi Biryani on an occasion so grand?  Nothing, I know.  And so Biryani, it was.

The last time I made this meal was last Christmas.  Click here for a lovely refresher.  And rest assured that the modus operandi for yesterday’s making of this divine dish was no different.

So, here’s to India’s love of cricket, and her mastery of it.  And here’s to Hyderabadi Biryani, the way God intended it.  If Sachin were to have a bite of it, know what he would say?  He’d say:  Yeh Hui Na Baat! 

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Ode To Sachin & the 2011 ICC World Cup

I’ve been watching Sachin Tendulkar since he first came onto the cricket scene as an unknown sixteen-year old.  Already in high-school at the time, I, like my friends was quick to notice this youngster not much older than us doing these amazing things on the cricket-field.  The boy could bat and bowl and run and do all things well– my goodness, who was this kid anyway?

Well, the kid has come a long way today, and while my memories of the 1983 ICC World Cup are non-existent, the memories of today’s victory of the same event will last a while.  Sachin, you’re a sweetie, and we love you to death!

And so– may I tell you what the Breakfast of a Championship World Cup looked like for me? Let the record show that in anticipation of sweet victory today, I made Masala Dosais and served it up with Chutneys and Eggs.  Yes, let the record show that a breakfast of champions was made and served by me on this day, Saturday, April 2, 2011 to celebrate the 2011 ICC World Cup.