Thursday, 4 February 2010


“An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” - Mahatma Gandhi

Some of you may know that Australia is a popular place for international tertiary students to study in. Not only do we have a very good University system, but also students who complete certain specially prioritised courses (based on community and economic needs), can then apply for residency in Australia. Education is a good way for immigrants to gain entry into the country. This is meant to fill the occupational and developmental gaps in our country’s social and economic system, as well as building up our population. On the ground level some tension is being created as the native population view the incoming migrants as competitors and there are also some racial prejudices that are coming to the fore.

The latest wave of “educational immigrants” are mainly from the Indian subcontinent and Melbourne seems to be particularly attractive as a destination city. There have been several unfortunate occurrences in the past couple of years that have involved attacks on Indians and in the last few months even some fatal incidents. Racial tensions have escalated to alarming heights and there has even been diplomatic crossfire between Australia and India over these episodes.

Most of the population (especially in multicultural Melbourne) is supporting the Indians and deplores the violence and prejudice against minorities. However, there are small pockets of racist elements and also violent gangs that target such minorities. Melbourne’s established Indian community is quite a large one and is relatively well-organised and affluent. They are well represented in all strata of society, all the professions and Melbourne Indian restaurants are amongst the best in the nation (even better than some Indian ones in India!).

A tremendous initiative that has been recently organised as a show of solidarity with the Indian community and Indian students here in Melbourne is outlined by the organising group’s website. In this mass protest aptly and alliteratively called “Vindaloo Against Violence” the challenge is to turn out en masse at Melbourne’s Indian restaurants on Wednesday 24th February and have an Indian meal as an indication of support for the Indian community and to show actively that Melbourne does not support any form of violence, but much less against innocent students who have been sent here by their families for a better future. A fantastic initiative and well-deserving of widespread support, sign up now if you live in Melbourne and don’t forget to book your table for the 24th!

In the meantime, here’s a chicken vindaloo recipe to try at home!


3 cups chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 and a 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (about 4 medium)
1 teaspoon tomato paste
2 and a 1/2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garam masala*
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 skinless and boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 and a 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 and a 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth or water

Blend all of the ingredients (except for the oil, chicken, potatoes and broth) in a food processor until a paste forms. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add paste from processor and cook until golden, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Add chicken and potatoes; sauté for five minutes. Add broth and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Uncover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes longer. Season with more cayenne, if a hotter vindaloo is desired, and add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with boiled basmati rice and a side dish of Greek-style yoghurt on which you have sprinkled some chopped coriander.

*Garam masala is a spice mixture available at Indian shops, some specialty foods stores, and many supermarkets. To substitute, mix 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin, 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon; use 1 teaspoon of mixture.

Bon appétit!


  1. Am aware of the tension and occurrences of violence.

    The photo of the recipe looks delcious. I will copy and paste it, to try later in the month, maybe on the 24th!

  2. What a good idea, Nic!!!
    I think people all over the world should have such initiatives to show support for minorities.
    I'll try the recipe out, thanks!