Crossing Borders...

"Panchi ,nadiya , pawan ke jhoke ,koi sarhad na inhe roke..Sarhad insano ke liye hain, socho tumne aur maine kya paya insan hoke"....by Javed Akhtar for a song in the film Refugee, 2000.

( What did you or I gain by being human when we cannot cross borders unlike the birds, winds or rivers who cannot be stopped....)

A legend of oral traditions holds that Lahore, known in ancient times as Lavapuri (City of Lava in Sanskrit), was founded by Prince Lava, the son of Sita and Rama, the Hindu gods. To this day, Lahore Fort has a vacant temple dedicated to Lava (also pronounced Loh, hence Loh-awar or "The Fort of Loh").

Lahore Fort ...pre independance

The oldest known description of Lahore was written anonymously in 982. It is called Hudud-i-Alam (The Regions of the World). In 1927, it was translated into English by Vladimir Fedorovich Minorsky and published in Lahore. In this document, Lahore is referred to as a small shehr (city) with "impressive temples, large markets and huge orchards”.

Lying on the main trade and invasion routes to South Asia, Lahore has been ruled and plundered by a number of dynasties and hordes.

Today, Lahore is a city in modern day Pakistan known for its great love for food. It is situated in the province of Punjab in Pakistan. Lahori food is much like the cuisine of northern india but with Central Asian and Middle Eastern influences.

That Lahore is a foodie’s city is evident since it is said that there are food streets like Gawalmandi where there are no motorized vehicles found till after sunset and late at night, when people come out to feast on the delights the street has to offer. Food can be ordered from any shop while sitting at one place.What a sight it must be !

Food streets of Lahore....

(Research source: Wikipedia and The Tribune)

I, too have a connection with Lahore.. My paternal grandfather was a doctor in the army and was posted in Lahore before partition. Both ,my father and uncle were born at King Edwards Hospital and lived in Nisbet Road for some time till partition.

My great grand father and mother (maternal), Pindi Das Sawhney and Kaushalya Sethi , lived on Mason Road in Lahore before partition. He owned a stationary shop called Punjab Stationary Mart in Anarkali Market. My maternal grandmother, Pushpa Sawhney was born and brought up in Lahore and was a graduate of the famous, Kinnaird College.She loved Lahore and would miss it immensly when she finally settled in Mumbai after her wedding. She loved non vegetarian food giving evidence of her Lahori genes...In my heart she holds a very special place .... and was loved by all!

My Maternal Grandmother ...Pushpa Sawhney Anand

An alley in Anarkali market , Lahore

Kinnaird College where my grandmother studied

I haven’t visited these places and do hope one day that I do …for now I will have to just savour these wonderful delights from these ancient cities. I was recommended these wonderful recipes from Bajia's Cooking , by a dear friend and was tempted to cook them for the blog.

(Since I have'nt had the privilege to visit Lahore , the pictures are sourced from the web)

On the Independance days of both India and Pakistan , I dedicate this post to those who have been fortunate enough to be a part of both countries and hope someday these borders of the mind will not rule over the borders of the heart.

The first is Lahori Fish

Ingredients:

1 filet of fresh fish (any fish which is good for frying)

1/3 cup of coriander seeds

A handful of carrrom seeds (ajwain) mixed with rock salt

A handful of black cumin seeds (shahi jeera)

½ garlic (to be crushed)

1/3 cup lemon juice

½ tsp red chillies, crushed

A handful of fenugreek [leaves/seeds/powder?]

¾ tsp salt

½ tsp turmeric powder

2 tblsp gramflour (optional)

Oil to fry

Marinating in its spices

To prepare:

  • Cut the fish into cubes.

  • Coarsely grind the coriander seeds, carom seeds and black cumin seeds in a grinder or with a pestle.

  • Crush the garlic and keep aside. Don’t use garlic paste or powder.

  • Add the mixture of spices, garlic, lemon juice, red chilles, fenugreek, salt, turmeric powder and gramflour to the fish and mix very well.

  • This does not need to be marinated, so heat oil in a karhai (wok).

  • Add the fish mixture and fry on medium heat. If the masalas come off the fish , put them back on the fried fish. It gives a very crunchy texture and doesn’t burn in the karhai!

Serve hot and enjoy!

The second recipe is Desi Chicken Karahi

Ingredients:

1 kg chicken, cut into pieces

1 medium to large onion

1/ cup oil

1 big piece of ginger

1 large garlic

6 tomatoes

¾ tsp salt

¾ tsp chilli powder

¾ tsp crushed chillies

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/3 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)

1 tsp coriander powder (dhaniya)

½ cup yoghurt

¾ tsp garam masala powder

Ginger for garnishing

1 Green chilli

A handful of coriander leaves

To prepare:

  • In a karhai (wok), heat oil and add the chopped onions.

  • Grind together the ginger and garlic and keep aside. Chop the tomatoes.

  • Once the onions become soft and start to redden, add the chopped tomatoes.

  • When the tomatoes start to soften, add salt, chilli powder, crushed chillies, cumin seeds, turmeric powder and coriander powder.

  • Cook (bhuno) till the oil separates, then add the ginger and garlic and the chicken. Put it on a low flame and cover the karhai (wok). No water is added.

  • Once the chicken is cooked, put it on high heat and add whisked yoghurt when the gravy starts to thicken. Mix it well.

  • Now add ¾ tsp garam masala powder. Cook on high heat. You will start to notice that the color of the gravy will deepen.

  • Add freshly chopped coriander and chopped green chillies and cook for just 1 minute. Put the flame off .

  • Add matchsticks of ginger and let the ginger infuse in the chicken.

Serve hot with rice or naan.

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