Also known as "Nora Baker", "Madeleine", and "Jeanne-Marie Rennier", she was of Indian and American origin.
Our tours to India not only incorporate Jewish music, but also classical Indian music and dance. The theatrical Kathakali dance performances in Kerala, based on Hindu mythology, are complex art forms that have inspired Western artists like choreographer Mark Morris:
My friend Sasha Spielvogel, founder of the New York-based Labyrinth Dance Theater, brings the story of an unsung World War II heroine to the stage: NOOR tells the story of Noor Inayat Khan, whose father, Hazrat Inayat Khan, was a descendant of the family of Tipu Sultan, the 18th-century Muslim ruler of the Indian kingdom of Mysore, known as The Tiger of Mysore. Hazrat Inayat Khan was also a classical Hindustani musician and teacher of Sufism; he founded the The Sufi Order and brought Universal Sufism to the West. Although Noor grew up in a family that practiced pacifism, she became the first female wireless operator for Britain's SOE to infiltrate Nazi occupied Paris and was ultimately the last communication link between British and French forces. Code named Madeleine, Noor wanted to save innocent victims from the atrocities of Nazi Fascism, passionately believing in freedom for all people. She was eventually betrayed and after being transferred to Dachau her heroic life would end. Defiant to the end, Noor's last cry was “LIBERTÉ!”
For more information:
Every Baghdadi-Indian Jew knows what an aloomakala is! It is definitely one of my favorite Shabbat and holiday foods, and even gets my vote as one of my favorite all-around foods.
Aloo means potato in Hindi, and makala means fried in Arabic, so the potatoes reflect the intersection of Indian and Baghdadi cultures. More important than that, the potatoes are out of this world. In Calcutta, you could judge how good a cook someone was by the quality of their aloomakalas. And, as they say, no one can eat just one. Mouthwatering and delicious!
In India, we used whole round potatoes but the best potatoes I have found in the US for aloos, as we fondly refer to them, are Idaho potatoes. The recipe below is an adapted version of aloomakalas, which are traditionally made in a potful of boiling oil, though not much oil is absorbed. This recipe vastly reduces the amount of oil and is less arduous and time-consuming. Enjoy!
8 Idaho potatoes, peeled, cut in half, or thirds if they are large. Cut off the ends of the potatoes to make them flat.
Boil water in a large put and and add 1 tsp of turmeric (huldi). Add potatoes and boil 10-12 minutes. They should be a little soft, otherwise baking will take a long time. Drain.
Put a thin layer of oil in a 9x12 pan. Add the potatoes and turn so they are coated in oil. Roast uncovered in a 400-degree oven. Turn the potatoes every 20 minutes until they are evenly golden brown. They should be crisp on the outside and fluffy inside.
You might not be able to wait to bite into them but be careful as they will be hot! Enjoy!
More on aloomakalas from Ian Zachariah:
We Calcutta Jews are always thinking of ways to preserve our distinctive heritage! Our dear friend Flower Silliman has crafted the Jewish menu in a new restaurant in Calcutta called Calcutta Stories. The restaurant highlights the city's Jewish, Parsi, and Armenian culinary traditions. Flower has been chronicling Jewish-Calcutta cuisine through cookbooks in order to preserve an essential part of the community’s culture. Read more here:
This photo is from our visit to Calcutta last year.