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Showing posts from November, 2013

Maguri Beel - A Bird Paradise in Assam

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This is a long, nay, amazingly long pending post. I kept on postponing this in the hope that I will visit the area again next year, come back with better pictures, better bird collection and then write a post. Now since the Assam trip is postponed indefinitely, maybe I should write a short post. 

We had visited Maguri Beel in Tinsukia district, Assam, in January 2013. Almost a year back, as you can see. Now Tinsukia is the husband’s hometown. He had spent almost his entire life there and yet he never knew of the vast birdlife that existed just beyond his backyard. (Because, I had not happened to him then. Heeh.) When we joined the Birds of Eastern India community on Facebook, we were astounded by the sheer variety of birds reported from the Maguri Beel region. The chief contributor was Amar Jyoti Saikia, a genial doctor by profession and an ardent birder. If you want to gauge the depth of birdlife in Maguri Beel, do check out his albums on Facebook. You will be amazed.

Once we were in …

Going off the beaten track in Kuala Lumpur

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I have always been a dreamer. As a child I dreamt of travelling to realms such as Faraway Land and NeverLand, my young mind heavily influenced by Enid Blyton.   As I reached teenhood, I started pining for cities like Paris and Venice, the Capitals of Romance. Things changed as I started my career and my job left me gasping for a break. Then, I wanted to just chill out in places like New Zealand (blame it on the LOTR and Narnia movies) and go trekking /camping in the lush green forests there. 

Circa 2013, things have changed anew. I believe I am becoming a more ‘responsible traveller’, as middle age beckons from not too far. I try to fit in all the elements that my family would want from visiting a place. In this aspect, one city stands out as one of the perfect destinations – Kuala Lumpur. As I browse through the ‘Places to visit in Kuala Lumpur’, I am increasingly convinced of the fact that no one packs in as much as this city in Malaysia. It caters to everyone’s whims and fancies. 

My Sis's Cheese and Semolina Cake

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I have never been the baking sort. Baking as in cakes and breads and muffins and other stuff barring meat and fish. Those I love. Baking meat and fish, that is. Maybe my lack of sweet tooth is responsible behind my apathy towards baking cakes. And my inability towards following recipes to the T. Baking for me brings forth a scary picture of carefully measuring out things in ‘mils’ and ‘oz’ and ‘grams’, while I am only capable of ‘spooning’ my ingredients or describing them at best in ‘a small bunch’ and ‘a pinch’. No sire, I no bake. And thus, my recipe list will forever languish in the absence of even a single cake.

Or maybe not. When my sis sent me a photo of the cake she baked this morning, I decided to up my game and use it on my blog. So clever, I am. She tells me it was really scrumptious and it actually does look like that. It is kind of sad that now she has to mail me whatever she makes. Earlier, I could just run to her house and sample her cooking. Now, I can’t run to the US…

Traditional Knowledge, Natural Growth

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It seems only yesterday that I was lying on the hospital bed inside the operation theatre. My mind was fully conscious while anesthesia had numbed the lower part of my body. My eyes were covered. Suddenly I pricked up my ears. Was that…a baby’s cry? “Sangeeta,” I heard my doctor say. “Congrats. You have a baby boy.”  I shall never forget those precious words till my dying day. 


Two years have passed since I held the little bundle in my arms and looked with joy and apprehension at my son. I remember those initial days, filled with advice and anxiety. One tiny sneeze and the husband and I would panic and reach the doctor’s office who would laugh and shoo us away. Our parents provided us with age-old remedies, their roots entrenched in Ayurvedic backgrounds, while the doctor prescribed modern medicines. We decided to listen to both. 

As the husband and I endeavored to cope with the deluge of ‘baby tips’, one thing we agreed upon was to massage the baby with warm, garlic infused mustard oil…

Orange Chicken

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This is again something which I had cooked when my parents were visiting us. I had previously made an orange-mustard chicken that didn’t go down too well with the family (except my sis who loves everything I cook). I was hoping to redeem myself with this version of orange chicken. But even though everyone did say they liked it, I have a feeling that they were not completely truthful. The husband did put it subtly that it was a tad sweet for his taste. The parents, being parents, didn’t put forward any such critique. Oh, Deta had said, “I loved your chicken in cheese sauce.” Now why would he say that, I wonder?

Anyways, since I had clicked pictures of the chicken, I might as well put up the recipe. Maybe someone somewhere in this world would someday stumble upon this recipe, cook it and actually like it. I live in hope.

Orange Chicken



Ingredients:

8 chicken drumsticks
1 onion, finely chopped (optional)
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 green chillies, chopped
¾ cup orange juice, unsweetened
1 tablesp…

Galibore revisited: A short trip

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We made a quick trip to Galibore Fishing Camp once again a few days back and things had just warmed up when we had a great adventure and the birding session had to be cut short. No, we shall not discuss that adventure here. Instead, let me tell you about how amazing that brief birding period was, though there is not enough photographic evidence. 

As I had mentioned in my previous post on Galibore, the allure of the area is quite different from Bheemeshwari Fishing Camp, although both have the Cauvery river coursing through them. Its charm lies in the unpaved pebble-strewn jungle road, imposing huge boulders, thick foliage and the hills skulking close by with an almost possessive air. If I had not known about its fauna, I would have imagined a magnificent tiger basking on a huge rock under a shady tree. The last time we had passed through the Bheemeshwari area we were lucky enough to have come across a pair of Indian jackals (South Indian Jackal/Sri Lankan Jackal), which for a long tim…

Spicy Chicken Roast, Indian-style

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This is another kitchen experiment of mine that came out quite well. I was planning to cook something special for Ma’s birthday and before I could come up with a menu, Deta went ahead and bought some whole chicken legs. Now, I love to cook whole legs, they are delicious and remain juicy and moist instead of drying up. In the past, I had made crumb fried chicken and my own version of KFC chicken using whole legs. I didn’t want to put up the same fare again.

And so, I concocted this easy recipe, Indian at heart and yet inspired by the techniques shown in Masterchef Australia, a program which I follow dedicatedly (much to the husband’s chagrin). We were a big group at dinner that day and I was really glad to see my dish being appreciated by all. Thank God, there was no disaster that day and everything ended on a happy note.

Here is my recipe.

Spicy Chicken Roast, Indian-style



Ingredients:

4 whole legs of chicken, washed and patted dry
1 stick of butter
1 teaspoon refined oil 

For the marinad…