Thursday, September 20, 2012

Rehashing - 'So, you're a MADRASI'

Rehashing* is a word that has never really appealed much to me, but in today's case I'm going to embrace it. Having a fever is bearable. Enduring a cold and a sore throat is not. So as my brain is clouded, I'm rehashing something I wrote months ago. 

I had written the below post one afternoon as I was quite annoyed with a term used in relation to me. It wasn't the first time that it was used and I'm pretty sure it won't be the last as well. Most may not relate to this, many will not get it but some will understand completely. So, to those few of goes...


Priya Nair and I went out for a walk one day and we bumped into a friend who had come out for a stroll with a friend of his, who was alien to the two of us.
A few minutes after we got to talking, our friend Jignesh Patel's friend Rahul Khanna asked me the golden question that many-many people have enquired of me after I came into the beautiful and mental city that is Mumbai  - So you're a 'madrasi'?
Now I've always wondered about how this question had to be dealt with because I know that this is based on the assumption that all the people of the four southern states have been sealed together and gift wrapped under one label that is - "MADRASI"
''Yes, I am from the city of Madras'.
'So, you're madrasi.'
He turned to my good friend Priya who hails from Kerala and who had so mentioned that as well yet he states, 'So you're a madrasi too!'
Kill me now.
For all you who are still clueless about the dynamics of and other things South Indian please make a small effort to educate yourselves and if you can't really take the trouble of skimming through your knowledge base and rewinding to the third grade where they taught you this then I will do you a favor.
  • There are four states and numerous south Indian languages
  • Telugu and Tamil are not the same and saying 'same difference' will not make it so
  • All south Indians are not 'black'... in fact none are.
  • Sambar and idli is not the staple food for every south Indian, believe it or not there are a handful of us who enjoy meat and bones as well. In fact there are millions of us.
  • Not every one of us is a "brain", yes we all do have those squishy things in our head but in answer to your assumption that all of us are probably 99% scoring geniuses - no, that is not true. There are a few dumb nuts out there too (tough as it may be for us to accept).
  • Yes, we do love eating with our hands just as you like spewing alcohol and paan all over the world (see I'm sure you don't enjoy this stereotypical label now).
  • Not every south Indian has a monotonous IT job in the USA. We can be creative and fun and crazy and famous for other random things, if you have any doubts ask AR Rahman or Kris Srikanth or yea go ask Mrs. Giggles Aishwarya Rai
  • Bengaluru of Karnataka; Hyderabad is the capital of Andhra Pradesh; Tiruvananthapuram of Kerala and Madras or as we now know it 'Chennai' is the capital of Tamil Nadu.
So no. Priya Nair is not MADRASI.
No. I am not MADRASI.
If you want to refer to me by a generic term and you're not well clued in about the geography of your own country then just stick to 'Indian' or easier just stick to gender and call me a GIRL.
So yes. I am a girl.
Thank you. 

And these are Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes.
They are little cups of cake filled with Nutella in the center and topped with Hazelnut butter cream and a dollop of Nutella on top.


For the Chocolate Cake Base:
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • a scant 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder (increase to 1 1/2 teaspoons for sea-level)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Nutella 
For the Chocolate Hazelnut Buttercream Frosting:
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/3 cup Nutella
Preheat the oven to 350 (F) -- this is a 25 degree (F) increase from the original sea-level recipe temperature of 325 (F).
Put 3/4 plus 2 tablespoons flour, 2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 3/4 teaspoons baking powder, 3/4 cup sugar, pinch of salt, and 3 tablespoons butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
Slowly pour 1/2 cup milk into the flour mixture, beating well until all the ingredients are well mixed.
Add the egg and beat well, scraping any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
Spoon the batter into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until the cake bounces back when touched. Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
When the cupcakes are cold, hollow out a small section in the center of each one and fill with a dollop of Nutella.
Beat 2 cups confectioners' sugar and 5 tablespoons butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or, use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.
Turn the mixer down to a slower speed and slowly pour in 2 tablespoons milk. When it is incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed and continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy (at least 5 minutes).
When the frosting is ready, use a spatula to stir in 1/3 cup Nutella and continue mixing by hand until the Nutella is mixed into the frosting and it is an even light brown color.
When the cupcakes are cold and infused with Nutella, spoon the frosting on top and decorate accordingly.

Things are said in jest many times and it may be funny too most of the time but one off day may trigger a hurricane. Hence, if you are one of those who don't really know the difference and do use the term 'madrasi', here is a humble request. Don't.

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