One thought crossed my mind every time I took a sip of the Besan Doodh. The thought overwhelmed the bold cardamom and it distracted from the warm milk tinged with saffron. A small thing, really – a sentence, again and again, bringing tears to my eyes.
“I didn’t clip her wings.”
These are the words of Malala Yousafzai’s father. Malala is a young woman from Pakistan – just 17 years old. She is easily the greatest superstar in the peace movement right now thanks to her unapologetic opposition to those who would keep girls from receiving an education. Though she’d been blogging for the BBC since she was 11, the whole world paid attention when she took a shot to the head on the way to school at age 15, two years ago.
As of Friday, Malala is the world’s youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner and the first Pakistani winner. In a nice nod to her work for children’s education, she found out about the award during chemistry class.
Malala’s father was the first person to write a girl’s name on the family tree – a family tree that went back hundreds of years. Her father stood back and let her be 100% equal to her brothers. He insisted she be educated. And now she is a voice of inspiration for girls everywhere. She is strong. She is without fear.
Though a child herself, Malala is like a mother, speaking for those who have no voice. Caring for them when no other would.
Catering to the smallest
And then there’s Kailash Satyarthi – the Indian man who shares the Nobel Peace Prize with Malala. His story comes through the airwaves more quietly, ungilded by the media – almost a footnote to the Nobel Peace Prize press of Malala. But Kailash’s work is no less important.
Kailash has spent every moment since the 80’s working against child labor and oppression in India and throughout the world. He started a nonprofit called GoodWeave that helps consumers know they’re purchasing carpets made without child labor. Look for the label (the web site has a listing of retailers). He’s directly saved more than 80,000 children from brutal oppression. Sources report that Kailash is also a passionate cook and has been known to personally prepare meals for many of children he’s saved. With these meals, scared children open up. Smile. Become children again. Become free again.
Kailash doesn’t limit his fatherly love to his own son and daughter – he is a father to all children – opening his heart to each child who needs him. Without hesitation.
This is family. In the truest sense.
Family is not just a handful of people living under one roof.
Family encompasses the entire planet.
Family has no borders.
What a gift these two people are to the world.
To the human family.
Please join me in celebrating Malala and Kailash:
To toast Malala and Kailash’s achievements I sought out a drink that I could share with my family. The trick was finding one that would be enjoyed in both Pakistan and India.
Enter Besan Doodh, a hot, milky drink slightly thickened with chickpea flour (called besan flour). The drink is popular throughout the Punjabi region, which spans parts of Northern India and Pakistan. In a nod towards the children Malala and Kailash help, this hot drink is often sipped to soothe little ones’ sore throats.
While some simply use the flour, ghee, milk, and sugar, I rather prefer the recipes that add some cardamom and even a garnish or two. The overall flavor is milky, buttery-rich (thanks to the ghee), and earthy from the flour. The touch of sugar and cardamom gives each sip an ethereal pleasure.
Tip: Look for besan flour at your local Indian market or try “Garbanzo and Fava flour” from Bob’s Red Mill. It works just as well (garbanzo is just another word for chickpea)!
1 1/2 teaspoons ghee or butter
1 tablespoon chickpea flour
2 cups milk
sugar, to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
a pinch saffron
First, make a roux:
Melt the ghee in a small pot and add the chickpea flour. Cook, stirring continuously. the mixture will clump up, then – gradually – the ghee will release the oils. Add the milk, a little at a time at first so as to not create lumps.
Second, season the drink:
Add sugar and cardamom. Any desired garnishes can be added now or to the bottom of the glass. I prefer to cook them, as it’ll make the final drink more flavorful.
Simmer the milk for several minutes, until the sugar dissolves.
Remove from heat and serve immediately.
I shared these steps on Instagram the other day!
Enjoy. (But whatever you do, don’t clip your small, dreamer’s wings).
P.S. Looking for other Indian or Pakistani recipes? Look no further.