Skip to main content

Feed a Child, Nourish a mind.. For the Children of South Africa.

February 9 1994:

There are a limited number of day's in ones life that will never ever fade away from memory. They are etched, nay seared into your neurons, and nothing short of a catastrophic even will ever delete or write over those bits of information. No, I'm not including birthdays, anniversaries and other special social events in this. These are special bits of time unique to each individual, and the significance of these days are unique to each person who cherishes them.

February 9, 1994 was mine. It was the day I landed at Jan Smuts International Airport (as it was known then) , Johannesburg. A new country of which I knew nothing , other than the negative political reputation that was flashed across the media. Trepidation mixed with wonder and the deep internal  intuition that there was a life altering phase ahead of me. Its just that on that day, I had no idea HOW much South Africa would reward me and demarcate the next 3 years as the happiest & successful period of my life.

My stay in South Africa was not supposed to be more than a couple of months, but fate had other plans. An acceptance letter to the Biomedical Engineering program at the University of Cape Town, a peer reviewed Master's Thesis revolving around the subject of children afflicted with spastic cerebral palsy before jetting off to NYU based on the merits of my academic stint in Cape Town.

Even today, when I need to cheer myself up from the repetitive chores of everyday life, all I have to do is to go back Twenty years into the past. Nothing I do will ever completely  repay the debt of gratitude I owe to that beautiful land. The least I can is to offer up a healthy meal ( even if its virtual & in silico) to the children of South Africa. I'm honored & privileged to be part of the drive to raise funds for the Children of South Africa thats being organized by the Giving Table.

Its heartbreaking to read the statistics about the poverty afflicting the Children in South Africa (65% live under the line). 20 % of the children are orphaned due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic that have robbed them of parents. 
As concerned citizens, we do not have to take it upon ourselves to uplift the worlds in one shot, just need to help out one or two kids, spread the word and believe me, the trickle has the potential to turn into a flood. The folks at the lunch box fund, hope to raise $5000,  a very reasonable sum, towards helping to identify schools in South Africa and help them in ensuring that the students receive adequate nutrition in order for them to progress with their education.

This recipe for potato is one among the many many variants I make for my son for his school Lunch. In addition to nutrition, As much as retaining a culinary cultural identity is vital, children feel a need to believe that the lunches they consume among friends is 'cool' and not some uncommon 'fiddle faddle'. My kid likes these because they look like the chicken nuggets served up at the school cafeteria.

Potato Flaxseed nuggets: (makes 16 pieces)

You need:

2 Idaho/baking potatoes, boiled and crumbled
2 tablespoons flax seed meal/flour
2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs plus 1 extra cup for coating
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon Dried mango powder OR juice of 1/2 a lime
pinch of cayenne pepper powder or paprika
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Oil for frying

Combine all the ingredients (except the oil of course, and the cup of panko) in a mixing bowl and knead lightly into a loose ball. Divide into 16 portions and flatten each sphere lightly (you can shape it into oval nuggets if desired). Coat the pieces in the panko bread crumbs, lightly pressing the coating to stick to the surface.

Heat the oil in a skillet and fry each of the pieces 2 at a time until they turn golden brown. Drain onto paper towels to absorb any extra oil. Alternatively, pan fry the pieces in a non stick pan, drizzling oil as per your level of preference.

Serve with a generous portion of tomato ketchup.

You can also stuff these little nuggets into mini Pita bread rounds for a delightful variation.


Popular posts from this blog

Sputtering back....

I seriously feel like this scene from the movie 3 idiots .. remember this one? The way I kept racking up drafts and eventually stopped doing that as well. Lulled into complacence by the quick high from Instagram posts. Recipe measurements hastily scribbled into a Moleskine notebook faithfully depending upon my moods. The truth is that I keep over thinking the backstories needed to make the post more interesting while in reality the truth is that ideas and inspirations just occur spontaneously (like little itches , sneezes or twitches) whenever the opportunity happens to strike. Some really cool ideas that scare the beejeezus out of me and yet prove to be utterly delightful and simple in the end. Others, that seem so trivial that I feel it wouldn't be worth crowing about -- even if there are enough other recipes in that genre that get so much publicity simply because the author happens to have the right marketing knack. So in the past 4 years that I've been

Product Review: Ninja Mega Kitchen system and a recipe for Masala Dosa

 One of the biggest reasons for attending conferences is the priceless experience of meeting fellow bloggers and get an invaluable exposure to all things  culinary. This includes vendors with new products to savor and get inspiration from. I had no complaints about whatever appliances I had for making traditional Dosa (Traditional South Indian rice & lentil crepes) batter, a sturdy tabletop stone grinder that you could add the Urad dal, turn the timer on , and 30  minutes later, come back to a container full of fluffy, batter with the consistency of whipped egg whites. The The cons of this is the cleaning up, of the various parts, the roller, the grinding bin, the multiple trays on which the rollers need to be placed while transferring the rice & lentil batter, the invariable drips of thick batter on the counter.... you get the point, It takes quite a bit of time. I was pleasantly surprised when the appliance company, Ninja asked me if I'd like to try any of their

Pickling & preserving the Buddha's Hand!

 Got your attention with that sacrilegious sounding title on this post, didn't I? Well, I'm as spiritual as the next person out there, and never in my life will I ever commit that variety of Blasphemy, so nothing to fret about. I still wonder why these curious looking citrus entities (other than the obvious visual reason) were called such. It turns out that these fruits are used as a religious offering to the Buddha. My neighboring Whole Foods Market (which is quite some distance away, in Princeton) had a stock of these weird looking citrus and I must have been the oddball customer who immediately went cuckoo on spotting them. Since I had never seen one before, I immediately went for the biggest fruit with the most tentacles (since they were sold as individual units rather than by weight) The first three 'tentacles' were peeled off for their zest, dried in the oven and went into making a citrus salt for my Food52 Secret Santa .     Making