I am a proud Indian.
Don't get me wrong I am not arrogant about it, nor do I get up every morning and think "Yes! I belong to a country with some of the greatest minds, cultures, traditions and the most passionate people in the World!" Not every morning ;-)!
However, there are often times when I just sit back and think this is my tradition and culture and I am proud of it. Like last night for example. I will get to last night a little later but first I want to tell you that it took me a while to get to this point.
For the "real" Indians back home or living around us, I was your clichéd Indian girl who left India at a very young age and brought up all over the World. Went to American and British schools and had friends from all over the World. Dresses, talks and acts "like one of those westerners" was often said about me.
My parents taught me the traditions and cultures of my country but never forced me to practice anything religiously. They also understood that it is not always easy to bring up children with feet in two worlds. As long as we were obedient, respectful, bringing good grades, know the borders set and not cross them, my parents were happy with the way we grew up.
However, I did at times feel like I had my feet in both worlds and was so often divided between both. For some of the so called "Westerners" I was probably the clichéd Indian girl. Trying to dress, talk and act "like one of them!"
There was always a small inner conflict. Where do I come from? One of the most difficult questions for me to answer. At times I would distance myself from being Indian and other times I just did not want to be like the other expats. But as I grew older and with the teachings of my parents and grandfather I slowly learned how to handle the conflict. I know today where I come from. A beautiful country. Admired by many for it's rich and colorful culture and tradition. Envied by some for our strength, passion and minds. Loved by almost all for our spirit and values.
I still dress and talk like a westerner, but I know my inner self is Indian and I am proud of it.
Photo from the official Merchants of Bollywood website
That pride came to show 100 per cent last night. Tom and I went to see the spectacular Merchants of Bollywood. As I live in a region of Germany where not many Indians live, I was amazed to see that the entire concert hall was filled with mostly Germans. With each dance and song the place rocked even more. For me, as the actors danced a lovely traditional dance my eyes welled up with tears of joy and pride. During the break I could not help but smile at a blond dressed in a gorgeous "ghagra choli" (a traditional Indian dress) and looked on in amazement as they went wild buying the music CDs for the show. At the end of the show I was stunned at the standing ovations and the shouts for an encore. As I walked out of the doors I just could not help but hold my head up high.
I guess I should now share a traditional Indian recipe with you. But I won't. Instead I am sharing a dish that is probably a little like me. A tart, which would represent my western exterior, with gorgeous red tomatoes and green olive, the colors of which represent my Indian interior.
This time I am taking you all on an exciting trip through 1001 Arabian dishes. The Monthly Mingles theme for this month is Arabian Nights. Deadline is April 11, 2007. Be there or you'll miss the belly dancing ;-)
Update: Due to the fact that I have received a few dishes from Morocco and do not want to disappoint these entries I will accept Moroccan recipes too.
The first event on the Daily Tiffin is also underway. Hope you will join the DT team and Show us your lunch box.
200g puff pastry
350g cherry tomatoes - cut in halves
30g green olives - chopped
2 spring onions - chopped
3 tablespoons Pesto all Genovese
150g grated Pecorino cheese
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon herbs Provence
Preheat the oven at 250 degree Celsius.
Line a round greased tart form with the puff pastry. Spread the base with the tomatoes, olives. onions and pesto. Cover with the grated cheese and sprinkle salt, pepper and herbs.
Bake the tart for 25 minutes. Take out and allow to cool.
- Do not refrigerate tomatoes. Cold temperatures destroys the flavor of tomatoes
- The easiest way to preserve tomatoes is but freezing them whole. Lay them on a baking tray and shock freeze them overnight. Then place in freezer bags and return to the freezer. Whenever your recipe requires some tomatoes, simply take out the required amount, thaw, peel and use in your dish. You will find an interesting know-how for freezing raw tomatoes here.
- Another way to store tomatoes is to peel and puree them. Strain the tomato sauce in a fine sieve and then fill an ice cube tray with the sauce. Freeze overnight then replace the tomato pulp cubes in freezer bags. Need a quick sauce? Now it's easy!
A lovely light meal enjoyed with a nice fresh salad. The crispy pastry base add a nice crunch to the smooth flavors of tomato and olive. Perfect for the lovely warm days coming soon.
My offerings to the current Jihva theme Tomatoes hosted over at My Workshop.
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