Friday, 15 August 2014

Til wale Murgh tikka

"Aloft the banner's flying o'er ancient Hindustan, Ye Saffron, White and Green 
proclaiming Freedom's sweetest morn"

I had not planned to post an Independence Day Special. This morning, I thought, why not? Since I started blogging I have resisted making tri-coloured dishes on Independence Day and Republic Day. Too may of those appear around this time. However,  I had made these succulent til wale kebabs yesterday and clicked photographs of it, later while correcting the images I realised I had incorporated the three colours of our national flag in the photographs. So I said 'what the hell... join the party already' Cliches are fun too. 

Talking of cliche, another Independence Day cliche in this country is the debate if we are really free. I once participated in a debate with the motion "India is a pseudo democracy, freedom a mere illusion" It was one of the most engaging debates I have participated in, I spoke for the motion, and the house was in favour of the motion too. That was in school. Today I wouldn't want to indulge in that debate. I feel such debates boil down to mere ranting, finger-pointing and muck hurling. We all have opinions, we all know who are to blame for all that is hindering our rightful pursuit of freedom, we are all conscious of all that is wrong and we are even more conscious of our rights denied or flouted. However, very few of us ever give a thought to our duties. All the hullabaloo about how voting or not voting determines whether or not you are a responsible citizen, is all good. The problem is we go vote, take our responsible citizen certificate, in this case the dot of ink on your index finger, and then we sit back on our couch and watch television, convinced that we have fulfilled our responsibility, and wait for things to change. By the way, now a days hotels and restaurants are offering free drinks and food, if you go and vote. But you probably know that by now. 

Oh and when things don't change in a week or two the diatribes against a new government begin. "Oh we feel disillusioned, our hopes are razed to the ground, etc etc," we say, as if we could solve our mundane domestic problems that fast. And in an age when every one is a bona fide political commentator, it is exhausting really. However, we will do all of that, what we will never, ever do is take some responsibility ourselves. Oh we are paying taxes you'll say. You pay taxes for your house too, does it mean you don't maintain it? 

We put our patriotism caps on this day, declare our love for our motherland, some of us shed a few tears too (what's our country without some drama), hum "mere desh ki dharti", "hum honge kaamiyaab' (Bollywood has taught us songs our indispensible to the expression of emotions)etc , the truth is this country is perhaps the most brazen example of "utter disregard for a fellow citizen." We do not care. All we really do is hark back to days of yore, barking (yes bark...not merely bask) in the glory of our distant past, making claims to our illustrious cultural heritage, while in reality all that is nothing but history. And tomorrow when our present  becomes history, it would be one of utter degeneration and decay, of tale of an entire nation's festering dreams.

OK I am ranting too. Who dare take the Indian out of the woman. 

Today, for every one in this country I wish the freedom of choice. For ultimately it all boils down to the choices we make in life. Every choice we make has a larger connotation that affects more than just our lives. 
And I wish this world freedom from all things that divide,  freedom from them and us, freedom from you and me. And for myself I wish freedom from my own vices.

Yes I watched Narendra Modi's speech ceremony. No I couldn't resist giving a speech myself. That's another thing we are awesome at....Speech. We take freedom of Speech very seriously, quite literally and without a thought!

Coming back to my Til wale Murgh Tikka, I had it a few days ago at a Punjabi specialty restaurant in town, fiery chicken tikka with traces of coarsely ground sesame in its crust. and loved them. Of course I couldn't coax and cajole their guarded recipe out, so I trumped up my own. These ones are great too a more sesame. I love the nuttiness especially 


Boneless Chicken - 1 kg
Sesame seeds (white til) - 100 gms
Thick yoghurt - 180 g + 2 tbsp
Garlic paste = 1 tbsp
Ginger paste - 1 tbsp
Coarsely ground cardamom - 1 tsp
Red chili powder - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Vegetable oil - 6 tbsp
Melted butter for brushing


Marinate the chicken with all the ingredients listed, overnight or for at 4-6 hours.

Preheat the over at 200 degree centigrade.

Thread the marinated chicken pieces onto wooden skewers and grill in the over at 200 degrees for 30 minutes or until chicken is tender and a dark saffron in colour. Midway through, bring out the chicken and brush them generously with melted butter.

You could crank up the heat to 250 degrees for a few minutes towards the end to get those charred edges.

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