There are sadly so many tragedies Tamils in Eelam have faced by the Sri-Lankan Government. However, some of them, like the Sencholai Massacre are very painful to remember.
Today marks the 11th anniversary of the Sencholai Illam Massacre. On August 14, 2006 the Sri-Lankan Air Force jets bombed Sencholai Illam, a children’s home for orphaned girls. 53 Tamil schools girls and three staff members were killed. Many others – 150, were injured. These were all young girls who deserved so much more, and whose lives were cut short by a senseless act.
This attack was carried out despite the orphanage having been designated s a humanitarian zone. The GPS coordinates of the orphanage were given to the Sri Lankan military via the UN children’s agency, UNICEF, and the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) and was protected as a “No Fire Zone.”
You can read more about it on Tamilguardian.
In addition to cooking, I do a lot of reading. The book, The Mistress of Spices really confirms the magical properties of spices. It is the story a woman, Tilo, who is specially trained in ancient art of spices and appointed as a mistress charged with special powers. Tilo travels through time and ends up in California, where she opens a spice shop. She secretly uses her supernatural powers to read through her customers and recommends spices to treat different ailments of her customers. While she is content at all the lives she has changes, an unexpected romance forces her to choose between her supernatural spice powers or the enticement of modern life. This book was later turned into a movie starring Aishwariya Rai. If you are a spice lover, then be sure to check this book out. As Chitra’s other books, this book is beautifully written. The book is MUCH better than the movie, so read the book instead of the movie!
When making curries, it often calls for garlic (vellai poondu) and ginger (inji). Remember that it is always best to use a mortar and pestle to grind the garlic and ginger. I usually add peppercorns when I’m grinding garlic and ginger since I will often use peppercorns in my dishes. Ginger and garlic are very good for you. This is also why it is added to many curries. Many of the ingredients used in Tamil cooking has a reason beyond taste – much of it is based on the benefits of the spice to the body.
Garlic (vellai poondu) can be eaten raw or cooked. But it is such a strong flavour and odour that it probably is best consumed cooked in curries. It is believed to be antibacterial and contains antiviral properties. Garlic is commonly used to help digestion, treating coughs and colds, killing stomach worms and removing flatulence. It is also used to lower blood cholesterol levels by preventing blood vessels from clogging.
Ginger (inji) The English word Ginger was derived from the Tamil word Injiver. (Inchi- ver (root). It is widely used in Tamil and South Indian cooking. You will often see a paste made of ginger and garlic. Ginger is tooted for its benefits, including aiding in digestion, removing flatulence, indigestion and stomach cramps. See Verkombu for stomach cramps home remedy. It is also used to clear sinus and phlegm as it is an expectorant and helps loosen and expel phlegm. In the mornings, you can make a tea of ginger and cardamon to ensure you get some ginger in your day.