“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.” – Margaret Mead

I spent an afternoon with my adorable, fourth grader fluff ball cousin recent and was, as usual, amazed by everything she did. She regularly demonstrates more awareness, confidence and wisdom that I only hope for at 27. I guess children are captivating because of the second chance they represent. You can’t help but try to atone for your mistakes by trying to keep them from repeating them. As if dictating their behavior will absolve us of ours.

There are two things that have been floating around in the back of my sub-conscious since that afternoon. The first, how far do children really need to be protected and do we really help them by shielding them? Obviously I don’t think second graders need to be exposed to extreme violence or sexually explicit material but what about rigorous schools and coaching? Is shoving a kid into a classroom for 10 hours a day setting them up for the hard knocks of real life or just oppressive? What about choice? We can’t allow kids to make all their decisions because they may be too young to understand the consequences but there’s a whole range of decision making that precedes that level. When I was growing up most of my friends and I didn’t get to pick what we wore from our wardrobe, forget about shopping for it. Baby fluffball though is a little diva who will not entertain sartorial interference. She picks what she wants and when she’ll wear it with accessories to match. I’m not sure if there’s any connect, what with not having any kids and definitely not having a degree in child psychology but her increased sphere of independence, appears to me, to make her more sure of what she wants. An attribute that will stand any little girl in good stead.
I guess, based on my once in a financial quarter interaction with people under the age of 23, the most important thing you could teach a kid is how to live well. To all those who would insist that the most important thing is actually math and that all this holistic living, new age bullshit doesn’t work in India, I highly doubt that if you manage to raise a kid with some hobbies, some athletic acumen and a healthy sense of perspective “who haath se nikal jayega.” Every day I meet young people who spent their childhoods in tuition centers and as adults don’t have the tools to move beyond going to work like an automaton, getting their work done like it’s homework, counting the hours till they can leave, with only junk food and alcohol as outlets. Anything that lends a kid the ability to combat stress while giving them a sense of perspective and accomplishment will take them much further than a 97 in Chemistry in Class 8.

Perfectly sized for any young cretins in your life, these shrimp sliders were a revelation. They’re adorable, fuss free finger food and the juicy shrimp chunks burst on your tongue with the complementing flavors of garlic and orange. I have to admit these aren’t exactly for a reluctant chef, getting the patties together and keeping them together while frying them was tough. I’m not particularly good at frying things anyway, all the oil and pressure freak me out but if you’re handy with a sauce pan and don’t mind getting your hands dirty, these little shrimp burgers are definitely worth trying. 

Makes about 6 mini burgers
Recipe adapted from Food 52


What you need:

250 g frozen shrimp

¼ cup red pepper (chopped into little bits)
5 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp garlic paste
1 egg
1 cup refined flour (maida)
1 orange (zested and juiced)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon

For assembly:

6 small burger buns

Cheese Slices (optional)
Lettuce leaves (optional)
Tomatoes (sliced) (optional)
Cucumbers (sliced) (optional)

How to:

1. Defrost the frozen shrimp and chop into tiny bits. Add in the egg, red pepper, the zest of the orange and a couple of tablespoons of orange juice.

2. Pop some oil into a small pan and roast the garlic till it browns and is fragrant. Stir the garlic into the shrimp mix.

3. Flour up your hands and make little patties out of the shrimp.

Note: This isn’t that easy and you may need to mix some flour into the shrimp mix just to get it to hold. Basically throw maida into the mix, around it, around your hands and do whatever you have to do to get the patties to hold together. Try not to use more than a cup of maida in this whole process though – otherwise you’ll end up with shrimp pakodas.

4. Now that you have patties that (mostly) seem to hold together, heat up the olive oil on a large flat pan. Add more oil if you think you need it.

5. Once the oil is hot, carefully transfer your shrimp patties on to the pan. Let the patties cook till they start to change color at the base and then very carefully flip them over. Let the other side cook.

Note: Should take about 4 -5 mins on each side but you’ll be the best judge of when it’s cooked through.

6. Slice your burger buns, slather the insides with butter and stick them in the oven for 5 minutes to toast up.

7. Layer the buns up with mayo, tomato/cucumber/lettuce or whatever else you like.

8. Add a squirt of lime over the shrimp patties and assemble them into the burger buns. Serve.