Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Khangkhrai Jwng Maitha Jwng

Khangkhrai Jwng Maitha Jwng : a curry of river crab with roselle

Maitha is one herb, Bodos seem to love and eat in plenty, mostly cooked with fish. It tastes sour. A bunch of this herb adds to the flavour, enhancing the taste of daal if added while cooking.   

A few Bodo terminologies :
1.Khangkhrai : crab
2.Maitha : roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa)
3.Jwng : with

Bodos cook a wide variety of delicious dishes with crab, which is low in saturated fat, yet a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B12, protein, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper and selenium. But not to forget the fact that crabs are high in cholesterol and sodium. 
Crabs are found both in fresh waters as well as low laying areas where rain water collects leaving the area muddy in semi tropical regions like Assam. It's amazing watching young boys diving into the river and hunt for crabs that live on the river bed in holes. It does need an expert pair of hands to catch crabs under water. They catch crabs with hands by holding the crab from behind avoiding the deadly pinch from a crab pincer.  
Quite a few variety of crabs are found here.The best is Khangkhrai Alari, extremely delicious with plenty of fat. They are found in the paddy fields. After the cultivation and first shower of the season, they come out to the surface and get caught. 

Khangkhrai Bathwn  and  Ondla Jwng Khangkhrai Jwng  are two other delicious indigenous crab dishes Bodos love.  

Khangkhrai Alari

              Method of cleaning:

Wash well, break the shell in half ...

... discard the shell after removing the crab meat and fat from inside.

The crab meat

The fat.

         To cook this Bodo delicacy, you need :

khangkhrai 1 and 1/2 kg (In this recipe I have used Khangkhrai Alari which is the tastiest) 

maitha 1 bunch

paste of 1 onion
paste of 12 pods garlic
chilly to taste

salt to taste
turmeric 1 tsp

mustard oil 2 tbsp

                           Method :

Heat oil, fry onion and garlic paste along with chilly. Add turmeric and salt, keep stirring. 

Add the crab meat, stir fry. 

Fry till golden brown. 

Put in the cleaned and washed maitha, keep stirring till it dissolves. 

Once the maitha gets dissolved ..... 

..... pour in 2 cups water, cover and cook till the crab meat is tender. check salt and remove from flame. 
Serve this delicacy with a plate of steamed rice. 

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Sun City, South Africa

Sun City, the world's most distinctive luxury casino and resort, has a unique heartbeat and an African rhythm of its own, also known as Africa's Kingdom of Pleasure. Situated in the Northwest Province of South Africa, barely two hours' drive from Johannesburg, this entertainment complex borders with the Pilanesberg National Game Reserve. 
 The park was originally owned by three local tribes, and is now administered by the North West Parks and Tourism Board.
The resort has four hotels, above picture is of Palace of the Lost City, one of four magnificent luxury hotels of Sun City. 
The Grand Pool at the Palace is just outside the main entrance. This intricately decorated pool is the ideal place to relax and take in some African sunshine. You can also enjoy light meals and drinks here.
Inspired by a fantasy lost African tribe, the Palace has been lavishly created with rich architecture, mosaics and frescos that add to the mystical ambience and magical aura of this grand hotel, from the opulent hand-painted dome of the reception area to even the smallest detail.
The hotel is surrounded by lush botanical gardens, trickling streams and hidden walking trails that ensure that the Palace does indeed feel like a lost city. Miss world pageant where Aishwariya Ray was crowned Miss World was held here.  
The unique towers with elephant tusk embellishments are a symbol of the true luxury and splendour. 
The Cascades Hotel is the grand old lady of South Africa's Sun City Resort, set amidst lush tropical forests. A stroll through the forest along one of the many winding footpaths is a relaxing experience that all but erases the presence of the bustling Suncity

  In addition to the swimming pools located at each of the 4 hotels at the resort, SunCity offers a multitude of thrilling water activities.
The Valley of the Waves at Sun City’s Lost City is one of the resorts major draw cards. Featuring a large wave pool, capable of generating 1.8meter waves every 90 minutes and a sandy beach.
Visitors can find the latest in entertainment and gaming in the Entertainment Centre, plus a wide range of fast food outlets, restaurants and children’s facilities, one can sit back, relax and enjoy a cocktail or sumptuous meal at a wide variety of restaurants from seafood and sushi to grills and fine dining. Children have great fun in the kiddies games arcade, to slots floors and the Superbowl which boasts performances by world famous artists.
Hmm ... the best part of Sun City, the entertainment Centre, so here we go to the gorgeous and high tech Casino !
Wow ... some one is upto some real gambling !
While at Sun City it's time to relax, unwind and make the most of the world-class facilities on offer. You can go horse riding and mountain biking, shopping, wining & dining and gambling
Sun City has two of the best golf courses in Africa. Both courses were designed by the well-known Gary Player and offer challenging courses in extremely scenic surroundings.
Memory of the lovely time together in the posh-lush surroundings of Sun City. Kevien Peterson, our guide, a great soul, I thank him for the time he spared for us.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Kruger Museum, Pretoria, South Africa

One of the must visits when you are at Pretoria, South Africa, is the Kruger Museum. The museum consists of the original house, two display halls and Paul Kruger's State Railway Coach. The South African Government purchased the entire property and restored it, leaving it open for public in 1934 and declared a National Monument in 1937.
The Kruger Museum, the home of Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger, President of the old 'Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek' (ZAR), who lived here with his family during the last sixteen years of the 19th century.
His family joined the Voortrekkers in 1836 settling down near Rustenburg where he was granted the farm 'Waterkloof'. He took a leading role in the war against Britain when Voortrekker state known as the Boer republic was annexed by the British. Soon at the age of 57 Kruger was elected President and took up residence at Kruger House in Pretoria. 
The dining room where President Kruger gave thanks to God and prayed for his nation and family before every meal.
Mrs Kruger did lot of sewing, her sewing boxes as well as her other sewing works are on display too. The large mahogany wardrobes, safe and other furniture are beautiful. 
 Loved the pantry and the kitchen, objects of enamel and porcelain ware and other household utensils from the period can be seen here.
Mrs Kruger supervised the kitchen and housework until the end of her life. 
The Museum bears witness to the forceful personality of the man Kruger. The Zar Hall, where personal possessions from his youth as well as the State coach and the ox-wagon are exhibited gives a historical overview of the political career of Kruger. Numerous tributes and tokens of sympathy bestowed on President Kruger indicate the international support for the Boers' struggle for independence during the Anglo-Boer War from 1899 to 1902.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Sterkfontein Caves, South Africa

Declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1999, Sterkfontein Caves is a limestone caves of special interest to paleo-anthropologists located in Gauteng province, just an hour's drive from Johannesburg, world famous for their fossil finds and a very well known visitor destination.
The scientific exhibition centre is very informative showcasing early life forms, mammals and hominid fossils among other topics.
The Sterkfontein Caves are owned by the University of Witwatersrand whose scientists have been responsible for the main excavation of this site. They are credited with many of the famous discoveries including the world famous "Mrs. Ples" and "Little Foot" an almost complete skeleton dating back more than 3 million years.
 :-) Can I lift the cave ? 
But before taking a trip into the caves, make sure you are wearing the right kind of shoes which are comfortable as well as sturdy. 
Whew ... tired... 
Remember to leave handbags and other luggage behind. There are quite a few tight spots pathways to negotiate in the caves, hence, it is not advisable to go on the tour of the caves if you are claustrophobic,    suffer from acute asthma, chest problem, rheumatism or have a weak knee. 
A view down towards the lake in the caves, one diver has died here. 
Behind the gate is the on going excavations of "Little Foot". Modern excavation of the caves began in the year 1890s by limestone miners who noticed the fossils and brought them to the attention of scientists.
After a wonderful guided tour of the caves, it is most refreshing and relaxing to sit in the Sterkfontein Restaurant, sipping a cup of coffee and enjoying the panoramic views.  But of course the trip is incomplete without a visit to the gift shop to pick up souvenirs.