Saturday, 30 May 2020

Reflecting and eating Rainbow Chard Pakoras

I've had a busy week working from home made harder by the racism both here and in America,. The racism is not new, it's continual, its painful and its gut wrenching, its real. I've cried these tears before, now I cry for young people who have had to witness the brutality against black bodies replayed over and over again. I know that pain. Black Lives Matter.

One of the reasons i started my blog was for my mental health and wellbeing.  It was my escapism. My space away from those racial  microaggressions in everyday interactions as my work evolved around discrimination and prejudices and social justice, I consciously made a decision not to write about those things here, because I did not want this space tainted by ugliness of other peoples behaviour, but people have become more emboldened in recent years that even i cannot pretend anymore.  
Subtle racism has even seeped from some food bloggers in the past. I often noted as a non white vegetarian food blogger that started ten years ago, I was often excluded from the collaborations that thrusted some white food bloggers into the 'limelight', they would never extend the invitation to me and in some cases 'actively' exclude me.  It still happens. They know they have this power, privilege and influence, but they would never admit that racial bias played a part in their interactions with me.  I know it did. I will write about that some other time. Today is not that day.

As the only brown face in white spaces there were no safe spaces for me, so Blogging became therapy from both overt/direct and covert/indirect racism.  Growing vegetables was therapy.  Cooking was therapy.  Baking was therapy. 
So without further ado here are some Rainbow Chard Pakoras aka Onion Bhaji's that I made last weekend.  I am missing seeing my family, my father and mother (who are shielding), my brothers and sister in laws, my nephews and nieces - my intergenerational family.  I look forward to joining them again to sit down and eat pakoras and samosas.  I don't make Pakora aka Onion Bhaji's that often partly because I do not have a deep fat fryer and partly it's something my sister in law will knock up for me when I got over, so Pakora's like Samosas always feel like a treat for me.  But the hankering for fresh pakoras got me motivated and it was perhaps one of the best recipes I've made with the last of the Rainbow Swiss Chard (that had begun to bolt in the garden).  I shallow fried the Swiss Chard Pakoras in a wide pot.  They were delicious, crisp and mildly spicy. 

Still as much as the Rainbow Chard Pakora were delicious, I long to eat again with my family and know that they are all safe, not just from coronavirus that is disproportionately affecting Black and Brown people in the UK, but also from the racism that constantly ripples in our lives, we are always on edge for the tirade, the racial tsunami ...


  1. So sorry to hear how badly the racism in the states is affecting you. I worry so much for American and how things seem to be spiralling out of control - they need some strong leadership and that does not seem about to happen right now. I worry for my international colleagues who must find it so hard to connect over zoom without great English. One of the sad things about the lockdown situation is how it seems to affect the vulnerable so badly and take away support they need so badly. I hope you and your family are safe and that you can see them soon!

  2. Oh, that saddens me Shaheen. I know there's rascism and I despise it. Living in a smalltown in the south of England which appears to have only recently opened its doors to anyone outside of Berkshire(!) we see xenophobia more than racism but it's all the same small-mindedness which can lead to the horrors we are currently witnessing on the news. The saddest thing about it is that those same people will comment with disgust about what they see in the US, but ignore the instances that we have power to change in our own country. X

  3. Thank you for writing this. It is heartbreaking what people are capable of doing and it seems that there is no change. It makes me totally speechless and I can't comprehend what people have to go through in their everyday lives. I would've thought that at least a global pandemic would make people stop and think... :(
    Your pakoras are very nice by the way, have a lovely Sunday!

  4. Here we have burning cities and right-wingers deliberately trying to undermine any idea of justice. It is scary and horrifying and cops are now keeping their cameras off so it is harder to know when they've done wrong. The only thing of note to come out of this kitchen is a modified baked rice recipe. I hope you will stay well.

  5. This is so so so sad ... I send you a hug.
    And wish you can join your family soon to have your fried pakoras. And for all the rest!
    I do not have a fryer either. But i enjoy so much pakoras...
    As i said in your previous post, i'd steel 1 or 2 (or 3!) if i was near!
    By the way, i love your plate.
    Wish you a happy, lighter, full of peace and joy day.

  6. Thank you for speaking about this. I've seen a bit of the 'things aren't so bad here' attitude around the racism and police brutality in the US, which worries me that people aren't paying attention to the horrors closer to home. I hope you get to see your family soon too.

  7. Dear Shaheen
    I can only imagine how tired, frustrated and saddened you must be of waiting for this racial tsunami. The situation is a truly frightening one and I am so very sick of people finding ways to justify their privilege. Yours was a brave post and I'm glad you wrote it - it takes courage to speak out.
    Keep well,

    1. Thank you Tonia for taking the time to read and comment.


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