Tag Archive | West-Africa

Fusion-Chickpea-Burgers

Namaskaram friends – who is ready for Tea?

You – you or you ? Then please come and join me at my table for some delicious little “Fusion-Chickpea-Burgers” – (…… of West-Africa and India).

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The original recipe I managed to extract from a dear friend in Nigeria, where we lived for nearly 5 years a long time ago! Her cook seemed to have a never-ending supply ready for ‘Madam’s visitors’, and there were always plenty, since her husband was the Governor of Western Nigeria. She and I became very good friends over those years and it was truly sad to have to say goodbye to her and the family.

Over the following years I ‘tweaked’ the recipe a bit here and there to suit our personal taste. I have not made this for quite some time until the other day, when I was caught having been a bit over ambitious cooking far too much ‘white Kaddala’ – Chickpeas. I believe that most of you can just go to the nearest grocery store and buy tins of readily cooked chickpeas – I cannot, but this is not too much of a bother. I normally just soak the amount I need overnight and wash and cook them the next day, ready to be used in all sorts of recipes – Indian or International – (I particularly love to use them in a nice fresh salad), so you can always find a container of them in my fridge.

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Now, cut a long story short, looking at this big bowl of cooked chickpeas suddenly the idea of making some delicious snacks for our tea time came like a flash. But where did I keep the old recipe? Of course, in the hurry I could not find it and so just from memory I jotted it down and started ‘tweaking’ again and I came up with the following:

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I do hope you like this and will give it a try.

Remember: if you cannot buy tinned chickpeas – soak and boil!!!! In advance.

I used the following for 8 little Burgers:

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1 ½ x cups of boiled chickpeas
2 x medium sized boiled potatoes
½ x cup of very finely grated carrots
¼ x cup of finely chopped red capsicum
4 x garlic cloves
1 x tsp of hot red chilli flakes
1 x Tbsp of wheat flour (you can use 1 x egg instead for binding, if you prefer)
1 ½ Tbsp of Chaat Masala (store bought)
Salt and pepper to taste
A splash or two of Tabasco
Plenty of finely chopped coriander (you can also use parsley instead)
Oil for shallow-frying!

Method:
Put everything with the exception of the carrots (those have to be grated separately) into the Mixy and pulse just for a few seconds. You may have to add a few drops of water – so keep checking.

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Do not over-pulse this, a little bit of crunch is nice!
Wet your hands and start making small Burgers – not to thick thou. Keep on a plate/tray and move to your freezer for 30 minutes or so.

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Add little bit of oil to your favourite frying pan and on a medium to low heat start frying those little Burgers – 3-5 minutes each side was enough for mine, but please keep checking yours – they should end up golden brown and not dark!!!

Drain on plenty of kitchen paper and serve while still hot – with a nice cup of tea or coffee.
They are also very nice for Lunch or a light evening meal with a good salad on the side.

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And guess what – tomorrow I will make yet another batch for my freezer!!! – after all there are still chickpeas left!!!

BTW, today is my late mother’s birthday – Happy Birthday, Mutti – R.I.P

Guten Appetit.

Carina xx

Scheiss Wetter! . . . and the friendly Umbrella

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Something woke me up in the middle of the night – it was a noise I had not heard for many months – the sound of rolling thunder, sometimes near, sometimes a bit further away so it seems and then……Rain!!!

A quick peek at my bedside table clock told me that it was just after 2 am – and the thunder and the heavy rain ‘stayed’ over our area for the next few hours, bringing the temperature from the previous day down quite a bit to a more tolerable level – oh, what Bliss!!!

We are at the end of February (by the time of writing) and it normally never rains in February – after all the refreshing Monsoon does not arrive here until June and then normally stays with us for 4 months, bringing much relief from the scorching heat to the farmers, their cattle and for us humans too (never mind the chaos on the waterlogged roads etc.).

Lying now half-awake on my bed I started “daydreaming” (I do not think the word “night dreaming” really exists in this context, or?).

Many many years ago, in my previous life in fact, we had just arrived in Berlin/Germany from a nearly 5-year posting to a certain West-African country. Berlin – this beautiful city I had visited so many times during Fashion Week and on other occasions seemed to welcome us with open arms.
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Our official house, smaller than all the previous ones but very comfortable, was near the famous Olympic Stadium in a very nice area, the streets lined with plenty of beautiful trees, a sight which pleased our eyes tremendously.
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The house had a standard sized city garden at the back and I could not wait to get “my hands dirty” digging in the soil and planting roses, roses and more roses. But my hopes for a lovely ‘English rose garden’ were soon to be shattered, due to the extremely poor i.e. neglected soil condition.

In the first few days after arriving in the house I used to sit quite frequently on the terrace nurturing a decent cup of hot German coffee and trying to visualise 2 main things; who were our neighbours right and left of the property and where should I plant this and that.

The neighbour on our left turned out to be an old lady who lived all alone in her big house and who’s main concern was a possibility of a number of small children running freely in our garden screaming their heads off (she softened a bit when she realised that there were no children to disturb her precious peace!) She softened even more over the following months when she found out that in fact I was born in Germany and therefore actually spoke her language.
But it was the property on our right which stirred up my curiosity somewhat. And before I actually ever saw my neighbours our dogs, their 2 beautiful German Shepherds and our big black Labrador, whom we had flown in from West-Africa, had made friends, ‘talking’ through the dividing chain-link fencing. Then one day I saw her, a nice looking blond woman my own age, standing in one of her upstairs windows and when she saw me looking she waved with a big welcoming smile, signalling me to come down to our mutual fence, so we could talk.

Herzlich willkommen, Frau Nachbarin (welcome, Mrs Neighbour) I am Heidi “ she said extending her hand over the fence. And then something very strange indeed happened to me (and to her as well, as she later told me) by shaking her hand and introducing myself to her I suddenly had this feeling, like I had known her most of my life – something I only had felt with one other person previously.

Of course I invited her immediately to my house for “Kaffee und Kuchen” (Coffee and Cake) according to German custom. The next day she came over and we sat, chatted and generally enjoyed each other’s company.

By the time she had to leave and walk just a few steps to her own house next door, the heavens had opened and it was pouring with rain – so I lent her one of our big golf umbrellas to see her home safely.

The next morning our Security –on- duty brought me a nice little thank you note returning my own umbrella and a gift. What was it? Wrapped tightly, decorated with a big big bow and suspiciously looking like a stick of some sort.

But, when we unwrapped this ‘stick’ it turned out to be yet another umbrella.

Quickly I rushed into the garden and only there did I open the gift, since I was brought up that one must never open an umbrella inside the house – bad luck indeed!! And then seeing the writing I just burst into laughter, so much in fact, that a tear or two ran down my cheek, since I had neither heard nor seen this quite standard phrase “Scheiss Wetter” for what seemed to be an eternity, but soon I got used to hearing this every time the rain, snow, fog or just cold came.

In fact it seemed that all the Foreigners posted to Berlin have learned this phrase right from day one of their arrival in the city.

Over the years this umbrella has brought so many happy smiles and even comments while living in London and now here, too. After all we do get quite a number of German speaking tourists into Kerala.

Of course all this is now a long time ago, the umbrella is still with me, having survived all those years, all those moves but most of all, my friendship with Heidi and her lovely family. We do write to each other frequently and talk occasionally on the telephone. She is still very much in my heart and I pray that one day JS and I can fly over to Berlin and we can all meet again

Tschuess for now, Carina

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PS
According to the German/English Dictionary “Scheiss Wetter” literally means “Shit weather

…so ein Scheißwetter! what awful etc weather! …