Sitting so far away from Pakistan I can only feel an iota of the pulsating excitement, contagiously high energy levels and fervent hope that has enveloped the country just days before the election. As all political leaders prepare (and one recovers from a heart-stopping fall) for the finale, there is immense dialogue on social media explaining voting procedures, identifying polling booth stations and other necessary information required for honest and transparent voting. However, social media has added a lot of laughter and merriment to the entire election countdown as well.
Facebook and Twitter are having a field day due to the up-coming elections in Pakistan. Every morning (with eyes half closed and still in bed) when most of the ardent facebookers are scrolling down the fresh ‘Newsfeed’, common updates like “I am going to the loo – right now” have been replaced by “My name is Sher Khan and I am voting for Imran Khan”. If you see a “1” on Facebook, that means a silent countdown to Election Day, and not a poo count.
Photographs and videos of the Poli-cricketer are flashed all over starting from his younger, Oxford days to the current dynamic, articulate politician and recent fall stirring up huge crowds with his decent promises (and die hard looks).
Messages on twitter are now the likes of “ On the way to Jalsa in Kasur, stopped at Bulley Shah’s mazaar to offer salaam” and “Mian Saab addressing a historic public gathering at Sahiwal” (Might as well since Mian Saab himself could be history soon)
You Tube is showing videos of the young Zardari conveniently turned Bhutto making speeches for his party whilst standing in front of a life size photo of BB Shaheed. Seems as if he has done a crash course in Urdu from a Spanish teacher of Pathan descent. “Aur yeh bhee yaad rakhna Lahoore aur Peshawere bhee mujhey utnay hee aziz hai jitna Larkana” (Na saeen - jhoott nai boltey)
Artists and caricaturists are drawing in their sleep as well. “Ballas” hitting the “Sher” is a common one. The “tagga” is seen shouting “I luvv you tttooo”, The Dictator is glimpsed in a complete self-pity mode and the self-exiled hero is sobbing outside the Big Ben in London. Donkeys, cats, lions all have taken up roles of our political leaders attacking the others with their intellect, claws and power.
Tomcat has officially taken over as the spokescat for all political parties and common man. Whether it is “Sher kee Khala” or an innocent voter it is doing a fabulous job with its adorable squeaky voice to get the message across. The much controversial white tiger could not take the heat of the pre-election naara baazi and competition with Tomcat so decided to head upwards.
Pakistan has never witnessed such pre-election excitement ever before. The common man, TV and Film Artistes, Singers, Parents and Children, Pakistanis settled abroad – everyone has woken up to the desire to make Pakistan a “Pakistan”. The need to enforce truth, transparency, and transformation is bulging with enthusiasm and eagerness.
Very soon we will know who takes up the future of Pakistan in their hands and molds it around for our betterment (God willing). Until then sharing the recipe of a very staple, basic and mouthwatering Pakistani dish that is sure to stir up promises of hunger due to its toothsome flavor and simple good looks. The recipe was given and prepared by a very dear friend, Aisha Rasul who was summoned early in the morning to cook this favor for you and me. A working mother of three she obediently succumbed to my orders and turned around the dish in no time. In her usual modesty she says it has no recipe “just the way I’ve always cooked this daal, don’t know since when though”
Mash ki Daal (Serves 4 Junoonis)
1 ½ Cup Mash ki Daal (Urad Daal) soaked for at least 3 hours prior to cooking
3 tbsp. Oil
1 Medium sized Onion (Finely chopped)
½ tsp. Garlic (Finely chopped)
½ tsp. Ginger (Finely chopped)
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Red Chilli Powder
½ tsp. Cumin Powder
½ tsp. Coriander Powder
Handful of Coriander Leaves
Sliced Green Chilli
½ Onion (Sliced and browned)
- Heat oil and gently brown onion, when evenly browned add in all the spices, ¼ cup water and gently simmer to get an even masala
- Add the pre-soaked daal and fry in the masala for a few minutes until evenly coated with spice mixture.
- The trick to making this daal is to not add water all at once (instructs my friend)
- Little by little keep adding water and gently stirring until the dall gets tender yet retains shape. This can take up to 30- 45 minutes.
- Once tender, the lentils will swell up slightly. Take off heat, set out in a dish, garnish and serve
Feasting Recommendations: Best eaten with a freshly cooked Roti, accompanied with coriander chutney and achaar.
We all know which political party has the right recipe to bring about the storm of change and transformation for our country, to enforce a correct mixture and balance of transparency, honesty and vision and to ultimately satiate the basic needs and hunger of the common man. So go pick your man!
Here is to the all time favorite daal roti, a speedy recovery, honest voting and HAPPY TABDEELI!