A case for onions – hot off the press

I open WSJ this morning and BAM! An article about onions on the front page. Not just any onions, but onions in India. Apparently the kitchen king in all our Indian dishes has taken on a price increase like never before. If you thought gold was expensive, take a look at a kilo of onions. A whooping Rs.70/kg. So if your stock options and mutual funds are raking in mud instead of dollars, good time to think about investing in onions. Joke!

This article was an eye opener. This quiet merry maker in all dishes is reeking havoc not just among the masses, but also is beginning to shake the parliament. Yes! You got it. This root vegetable is also a political king pin. The government has responded like it is a national emergency. All exports of onions have been banned for the next month. So desperate is the situation that we are looking at Pakistan now for help. An estimated 2,000 – 3,000 tons of onions will arrive soon to meet the shortage.  The prime minister, the agriculture minister, and the famed Rahul Gandhi have all intervened to reassure the common people. All this because if there were elections anywhere in the near future, the Congress Party would definitely have reasons to be worried. So price control becomes a problem of metamorphic proportions.

In a country, where the poor survive on less than a dollar a day, having to pay a staggering Rs. 70 for a kilo of onions is simply daunting. This is more than text-book economics. Onions go up, then will follow tomatoes, garlic, lentils and everything else. Anyone remembers the time when the NRI was denied the comfort of dal and rice just a year ago because we had the same situation. Rice and dal were banned for export for the longest time I can remember. My kitchen was deprived of the wafting aroma of sona masoori and sambar. The stove top cried in anguish every single day for want of spluttering mustard seeds and curry leaves. Blah! These are just silly ruminations of a tea high mind in the morning.

But the fact remains that basic sustenance is still a very large issue that we have to contend with at home. So until the prices of onions stabilize lets all turn to alternatives. How about radishes or potatoes in your chicken curry and paneer tikka masala? Any takers?

Cake

A simple, comforting cake recipe that mom used to make every single Christmas.

Ingredients:

500 gms all-purpose flour

500 gms butter

500 gms sugar (lesser if you don’t want to od on sugar)

1/2 cup milk

8 eggs

a pinch of salt

1 tsp baking powder

grated orange rind or two pinches of powdered nutmeg for that subtle aroma

Method:

Keep the butter outside so it reaches room temperature. This will make it pliable and you don’t have to stab at it.

Sieve the flour and set aside.

Mix sugar and butter in a large bowl till smooth.

Whisk the eggs till nice and frothy. Add this slowly to the butter mixture and blend.

Once the three have been mixed, add the flour little by little and work it in to a smooth paste.

Sprinkle the baking powder, salt, and essence and blend them in.

Now add the milk add blend.

After all the ingredients have been mixed, keep stirring the mixture. The longer you blend, the softer your cake will be.

Grease a baking dish and bake at 400 for 40 min.

Do the toothpick test to check if its done.

And voila your cake is ready