Saturday November 18, 2017

Catering to our platters – Caribbean East Indian recipes

image source:

By Annesha Das Gupta

Here is a video that you might like to watch:

 Back in 1838 when a ship full of laborers left the port of Calcutta to meander its way towards the islands of Caribbean, it not only was carrying the people of the Indian origin but also the roots of India in itself.  The culture of India was being transported to its new destinations.

And keeping in the lines of this journey, blossomed the new culinary tableau, an awe-inspiring coalescence between Caribbean and Indian cuisines.

Now to give a further taste of the gastronomy, Dr. Kumar Mahabir, a renowned anthropologist and Meera Heeralal, a degree holder in LIS from College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts in Trinidad and Tobago, have presented us with their new book – Caribbean East Indian Recipes.

In the preface of their text, the readers are orientated with the work that has been done and the recipes that had been compiled:

“This cook book represents a comprehensive collection of over 70 ‘traditional’ vegetarian recipes. They have been handed down by our fore-parents from India by word of mouth and practical example for over 4 generations. The food that is now cooked here is distinctly Indo-Caribbean’ in flavor.

The recipes reveal the secrets of preparing delicious Indian dishes, some of which are unknown to the non-Indian community in the Caribbean.

In the book “Caribbean East Indian Recipes“, the authors cover a wide range of tasty and exciting dishes, from light delightful snacks to dinner-party specials – from the various types of rotis, daahls (daals), kuchillas, chutneys, achaars, sweets and desserts to chokas and vegetable ‘talkaries.

The books also make us aware of the sumptuous dishes like that of Aloo Roti to lip-smacking chutneys and surprisingly it also includes a glossary of the Hindi words utilized while drawing out the recipes along with the nutritional values of some of the ingredients.

To buy the book from Amazon, click here

We will put in one of the Indo-Caribbean recipes for our pleasure ( both yours eyes and tummy) extracted from the pages of this book :

Preparing a tamarind chutney :-

Introduction – This sour/sweet relish is often served with snacks like aloo pie, saheena, etc. It can be used with any kind of food to enhance the food’s flavor.


  • 6/8 o-s shelled ripe tamarind.
  • 4 tsp/4*5 ml spoon minced garlic and bandhaniya (shado beni)
  • 1/6 pt/100 mls water
  • Water for sauce. (about 150-200 mls)
  • 1 hot pepper (minced)
  • Pinch of ground geera (cumin)
  • Salt to taste.


  • Rinse tamarind lightly in a bowl of water.
  • Add 150-200 mls water to tamarind.
  • Leave to soak for 10-15 minutes.
  • Mash with fingers until pulp separated from seeds.
  • Mix rest of ingredients with tamarind except the pepper.
  • Use a spoon to add pepper and mix thoroughly.


In India, raw cane sugar is substituted for brown sugar and freshly ground black pepper, finely chopped fresh ginger root and fresh lemon juice are used as addition in ingredients.

The book has reviewed by many salient professionals like academics and journalists, though most prominent of them is perhaps the one by Dr. Nalini Natarajan, an English professor at the University of Puerto Rico:

“The book is truly a testimony to the culinary tenacity of rural India’s transplanted people. It is also very user friendly, compact and accessible to all regardless of their ethnicity or nationality”.

Caribbean East-Indian Recipes, has been published by Chakra Publishing House Ltd. and can be purchased both in the West Indies and US.

To buy the book from Amazon, click here

The review has been prepared by Annesha Dasgupta. Annesha is a student of Sociology, pursuing her degree from IGNOU, Kolkata. She has a special interest in the branches of Feminism, Sexuality and Dalit Studies. Twitter: Dancingbluepen


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‘Trinidad Express’ Editor Accused of Discriminating Against Indian Writers for their Weekly Columns

A letter, written by Kumar Mahabir who is an Assistant Professor at University of Trinidad & Tobago, explains the accusation in detail

Kumar Mahabir
Trinidad & Tobago flag. Wikimedia

Trinidad, August 28, 2017: The Editor of a Trinidad & Tobago based newspaper called ‘Trinidad Express’ is accused of discriminating against Indian writers for their weekly columns.

A letter, written by Kumar Mahabir who is an Assistant Professor at University of Trinidad & Tobago, explains the accusation in detail.

As of now, there has been no response from Trinidad Express Editor Ms. Omatie Lyder. Kumar Mahabir’s letter can be read below-

The Secretary, Board of Directors
One Caribbean Media (OCM) Limited
Express House
35 Independence Square
Port of Spain
August 25, 2017
Dear Sir/Madam,
Bias against Indians by Express Editor, Ms Omatie Lyder
In keeping with its “national” mandate, the Express editor should be fair, balanced, diverse and objective.
Editor Ms Omatie Lutchman Lyder has been giving space to three Afro-centric columnists: Professor Selwyn Cudjoe, Keith Subero and Raffique Shah – the same three (3) Afro-centric columnists every single week.
She often provides space to a fourth Afro-centric writer, this time as a guest columnist – Professor Theodore Lewis. Ms. Omatie published Part 1 and Part 2 of his articles entitled “Kamal Persad trivialising history.” She published his two guest columns four days apart on August 11th 2017 and on August 15th 2017.
Ms. Omatie often publishes long letters by another Afro-centric writer, NJAC Chairman, Aiyegoro Ome.
Indo-oriented writers like myself (Dr. Kumar Mahabir), Kamal Persad, Dool Hanomansingh, et al. are not assured of a weekly space in the Express.
Is it time that we call for Indians to boycott sales and advertising in the Express?
If we are not given a complementary weekly space in the Express, a delegation of us plan to meet the Board of Directors of OCM to provide empirical evidence of the bias by Ms. Omatie against Indian writers with Indian perspectives.
Dr Kumar Mahabir, Assistant Professor
University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT)
2011 National Award (Silver) recipient for education
Chairman, Chakra Publishing House Ltd (CPH)
Chairman, Indo-Caribbean Cultural Centre Co. Ltd (ICC)
Vice-Chairman, Indian Caribbean Museum
10 Swami Avenue, Don Miguel Road
San Juan, Trinidad and Tobago
Tel: (868) 674-6008
Tel/fax: (868) 675-7707
Mobile (868) 756-4961

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Worshipping many Gods in Hinduism is a Sin in Christianity: says a newspaper ad in a Trinidad Newspaper

Do you pray to your trinity, Mahatma or Mohammed in a form or a formless way ? What's your battle-side ?

Idol worship in Hinduism
Idol worship. Image source: WIkimedia common

Trinidad and Tobago: September,08,2016: The Internet is divided into two sects: one the worshipers of Ganesha with pictures of idols swamping their timelines, other the anti-idol worshipers, who condemn bowing down in front of Plaster of Paris (POP). However, it’s not always black and white, there are people standing at the grey lines and they are the one’s who respect the strong emotion behind worshiping an image of God.

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Opinions and pieces of advice come free of cost and are thrown at wholesale prices. Hence, arrives one from Noah Days Ministry (email: ENoah999 (at)  Their recent piece on idol worship included about 8 psalms from the bible and lines that read out “Hindu religion incorporates different forms of idol worships which contravene the first commandment of God and are highly unacceptable to Almighty God”.

Being subtle is certainly not Noah Days Ministry’s strong suit!

Idol worship advertisement from the Noah Days Ministry in Trinidad
Idol worship advertisement from the Noah Days Ministry in Trinidad

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Let’s take an example to understand perceptions here. Sitting in a yoga class, your instructor tells you to shut your eyes and hum ‘Ommm’ while visualizing the Om chakra, which is thought to be an energy point. The instructor tells you that it’ll help you focus instead of letting your thoughts drift away elsewhere. No, Noah Days Ministry is going to raise a hand and question that ideology, simply because it works! But isn’t that the point of worshiping an idol- believing in a physical representation to help focus on an aspect of prayer or meditation.

A Hindu shrine in the yard of a building at Rochard Road, Penal, Trinidad. Penal is a town in South Trinidad with a population of approx 13000. NewsGram thanks Dr. Kumar Mahabir for providing the picture.
A Hindu shrine in the yard of a building at Rochard Road, Penal, Trinidad. Penal is a town in South Trinidad with a population of approx 13000. NewsGram thanks Dr. Kumar Mahabir for providing the picture.

Dr. Kumar Mahabir shared his views with NewsGram regarding the advertisement published in The Trinidad and Tobago Guardian. He said that he waits on other Hindu individuals like him, writers and leaders (including the Hindu Women’s Organization) to respond to this Christian’s attack. He will particularly wait for a list of people who are often quick on the draw to attack Sat Maharaj. Although, please wait before you commend the brother to the black side of the debate. His rage over the published piece is not completely irrational. After all, the summary of these 10 passages is notorious- ‘According to the many bible verses cited, all idol worshipers including the Hindus and Jews are guilty of breaking the rules set by the Almighty, the only God to be bowed down to’. Having said that, Noah Days Ministry doesn’t fail to mention how the Roman Catholic organization and many Christians too stand guilty in their eyes for propagating ‘idolatry’. Conclusion? The rage over religion biasing stands invalid.

Fellow brethren! stand at any side of the fence- vehemently oppose statues in a temple or submit your Monday mornings to Hanuman veneration. Pick any side, choose any image but believe in patronage offered to your mind through prayers and meditation.

– by Karishma Vanjani of NewsGram. Twitter: @BladesnBoots


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The Hindu View of Trinidad and Tobago.. book to be launched

The book in form of articles and essays by Sat Maharaj has been compiled by Dr. Kumar Mahabir


April 13, 2016, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago: 

A book entitled The Hindu View of Trinidad and Tobago: Selected articles by Sat Maharaj has just been published. It is written by Dr. Kumar Mahabir, an anthropologist and the same author of Sat Maharaj: Hindu Civil Rights Leader of Trinidad & Tobago (2014).

 Mr. Sat Maharaj is a religious and cultural leader in Trinidad and Tobago. He is the Secretary General of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS), the major Hindu organisation in the multi-ethnic society. Sat is hailed as a Hindu civil rights leader of the twin-island republic, and as the most influential and longest-serving spokesman for Hindus outside of India.

The book comprises a collection of Sat’s newspaper columns which were originally published in the Express, Newsday and Guardian, the three daily newspapers in the twin-island republic. These selected columns span a period of 20 years from 1996 to 2016.

The Hindu View of Trinidad and Tobago consists of 108 articles organised thematically into eight sections: Politics, Education, Culture, Religion, History, Icons, Society and the Maha Sabha. The articles address local, national, regional and international issues that are of interest to general readers as well as researchers and scholars.

Dr. Koenraad Elst is quoted in the book as saying: “Sat Maharaj has developed Hinduism in Trinidad and Tobago into a vibrant religion which is earning its rightful place in the tropical sun. This collection of articles provides hope and promise for all those who struggle for visibility and equality in the Hindu Diaspora.”

Elst obtained his Ph.D. from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, and is the author of Decolonizing the Hindu Mind (2001) and Return of the Swastika: Hate and Hysteria Versus Hindu Sanity (2007).

At the book launch on Saturday evening, the feature speaker will be Lennox Grant, a columnist and former editor of Tapia, Expressand Guardian newspapers. Other speakers will include Swami Aksharananda from Guyana who obtained his Ph.D. in Religion from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the USA. Remarks will be made by Professor Ann Marie Bissessar, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, UWI; and Ravi Dev, a former New York attorney, now an Indian civil rights activist in Guyana.

The Hindu View of Trinidad and Tobago will be launched on Saturday April 16, 2016 at 5.00 p.m. at the Lakshmi Girls’ Hindu College Auditorium, St. Augustine, Trinidad. The launch is open to the public by reservation ONLY.  Contact: 645-2745, 645-3240, or

For additional information, contact Dr. Kumar Mahabir at 756-4961, 674-6008 or