Thursday, 26 January 2012

Tony Singh celebrates Burns and Tagore

Scottish Indian chef Tony Singh went down a firestorm as Scotland celebrated Burns Night 25th January with his unique – not to mention inuendo-laden – take on some traditional local dishes. 
The award-winning gastronome – hirsute and resplendent in Pagri and Tartan – entertained guests at his restaurant Oloroso in Edinburgh with a number of wonderfully innovative dishes, including ‘Cock-a-Leekie Kebab’, ‘Clootie Samosa’ with Whyte and McKay and the startlingly named but doubtless delicious ‘Haggis with Neeps and Tattie Tikki’. 
The concoctions had added meaning for Chef Singh for not only were the Scots celebrating their most beloved poet but India celebrates the 150th Birth Anniversary of that country’s greatest poet Rabindranath Tagore, who was said to have been inspired Burns.  In fact, one of his most beloved songs ‘Purano Shei Diner Kotha’ (Memories of the Good Old Days) was an Indian response to Burns’ Auld Lang Syne.
“As a Scot myself and a lover of all things food and drink, Burns Night is a date on the calendar I always look forward to,” says Tony. “As I also raise my glass to Rabindranath Tagore, it seemed appropriate to design a Burns menu which combines the two gastranomical traditions.”
Scots and Indians, he adds, have much in common. “We both love a tipple and a good laugh,” he says, “and haggis has always had a spice to it.”
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Haggis with a Neeps and Tattie Tikki
Serves 6
600g of prime meat haggis, cooked in boiling water and kept hot for service
3 large boiled-in-their-skins potatoes (Desiree are ideal)
Salt to taste
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 x egg
For stuffing:
200g drained, mashed neeps
½ tbsp chopped ginger
¼ tsp garam masala
¼ tsp salt
Red chilli to taste
1tsp coarsely ground, dry-roasted cumin seeds
Oil for pan-frying
1. Place mashed turnip in a bowl and add all of the stuffing ingredients. Mix well.
2. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and keep aside.
3. Peel the potatoes and mash them very finely into smooth mashed potatoes. Add salt and pepper and knead until properly mixed.
4. Divide it into 10 equal portions.
5. Now wash and dry your hands and rub them with a little oil. Take each portion of potato mixture and make a ball.
6. Taking one at a time, gently flatten each ball into a round patty of about 1/2-inch thick and place a portion of turnip stuffing in the centre.
7. Fold the edges together very finely so that mixture does not come out.
8. Now very gently flatten it into a 2-inch patty. (Repeat the procedure for all pieces.)
9. Heat 1 tsp oil in a non-stick pan.
10. Slip in the patties and pan-fry on both sides till crisp golden brown.
11. To serve, place the Tikki in the centre of a plate and place a ball of Campbell haggis on top.
- Vijitha Alles

Pakistani documentary in Oscar contention

A film about acid attack victims in Pakistan has become the country’s first ever to be nominated for an Academy Award. 
Director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s ‘Saving Face’ was nominated in the best documentary short subject category of the 84th Academy Awards to be held 26th February.
The film – shot entirely in Pakistan - highlights acid attacks on women and chronicles the work of acclaimed British-Pakistani plastic surgeon Mohammed Jawad as he travels around the country performing reconstructive surgery on scores of victims.
Chinoy said she is "speechless" to receive the nomination.  "An Academy Award nomination is stuff dreams are made of. It has reaffirmed my belief it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from, if you put quality work out there, it will be appreciated. I hope I can make Pakistan proud by bringing home an Oscar," she told the BBC.
According to government officials, there are approximately 100 acid attacks in Pakistan.  Activists however say that is a gross understatement with the actual number of attacks at several times the official figure. 
- Vijitha Alles