Monday, 30 June 2014

Chicken with Koldil

Chicken with Koldil is an Assamese delicacy, my family simply loves this superb dish ...

Koldill : Banana flower 
Serves 4

Ingredients :
4oo g Chicken, diced
1 Banana flower, chopped fine
Paste of 2 Onions+little Ginger+8 pods of Garlic
A few green whole Chilly
A few Bay leaves
Julienne of 1 Onion
1 tsp Turmeric
Salt, to taste
1 heaped tbsp of masala powder. Grind (dry) together : Caraway seeds(Shahjeera)+Coriander seeds(Dhania)+Tymol seeds(Ajwain)+Aniseed(Saunf)+Fenugreek seeds(Methi)+Cardamom(Elaichi)+Cinnamon(Dalchini)+Clove(Laung)
Chilly powder, to taste
6 tbsp oil (generally Mustard oil is used in Assamese cuisine)

Method of cleaning Banana flower:
Use only the very tender part, removing the layers. Chop the tiny long flowers that is found along the layers too, removing the stamens. Wash properly squeezing out the water two or three times.

Method of cooking :
Heat oil, fry all the ingredients leaving aside the powdered masala(spice), Chicken and Koldil. When half done put in the Chicken along with the powdered masala. (Chicken and Koldil can be added together)
Stir well and cook covered on low heat.
When Chicken is half cooked add Koldill, stir well and cook covered on low heat till done. Remember not to add water.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Innovative Teaching

picture source : Internet

The other day a call from a dear friend seeking a few tips on parenting took me several years down memory lane. She complained that her three year old simply refuses to go to school. Advice on parenting, does it really work ? I believe each and every child has his/her own individual mind and loves to be treated accordingly. Parents must keep up on ideas to match with their wards intelligence and preference.

I discovered a vast sea of knowledge in the course of bringing up two children. Life’s first lesson for me, as a parent  is to, not force children into anything but to make them realize that it is they themselves who miss out on the advantage if they do not do what they necessarily ought to.

Here's one such example. Our daughter, our first-born, got so much comfort at home that she refused to go to school. Every morning when it was time to go to school, she would cry, cough and sometimes force herself to even throw up to resist going to school. No amount of coaxing helped her. Even one of us going to school with her and sitting with her in the class was of no use. Waking her up in the morning was a task fit for the likes of a Superman! Worried and disheartened after months of desperate effort, we took up the matter with the Sister Superior of the school and other teachers, coming to a conclusion that we forget the past months, take a break and start afresh.

During this time my parent brain was working overtime for an idea to make our daughter see sense in going to school. Then suddenly I hit upon this game one day while reading a story to her. I discovered her interest in the sentences that I read out from the story books. Narrating this to my husband, we both got ready to set the wheels on motion. On the other hand during that time, my husband, an IAS officer had to leave for down South and stay on for-a while to attend a refreshers course. So we took a trip down South playing the game I had planned to, all this while.

picture source : Internet

Let’s start the game now. My husband and I would have fun reading the banners and hoardings aloud, discussing their contents, attracting attention of our daughter. The imagination in some even brought a twinkle to our three year old daughter’s eyes! Gradually, she too started showing interest in knowing what banners and boards had to say and unknowingly joined in the game. We would take long walks reading and discussing only the contents of banners and hoardings. Sometimes I would sing, "Utterly butterly ..." and she would join in "Delicious Amul". I would ask her to point the word "Amul". She would try hard to guess. And thus, finally she asked the much awaited question: whether she too could create words like that. We were almost achieving our goal! I got down to the final part of the game by telling her that these words were nothing but ABCs and their siblings, just placed in different orders to form different words. So during the rest of the trip she was busy placing the alphabets in various orders, juggling them to form different words. Our trip was almost coming to an end when one fine day she asked, “Momma, when do we reach home? I need to go to school tomorrow.” Boy, had we reached our goal!!

picture source : Internet

This elaborate narration is to share with other parents the importance of being innovative and looking out for alternative methods when so required in bringing out the intelligence in our children. Lastly, it is most important to be alert and maintain regular interaction with our children so that we can be up-to-date about their strengths and weaknesses and accordingly take steps to ensure their proper development in every field. 

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Colours of Kamakhya by night

Kamakhya temple is situated atop the Nilachal Hill, in western part of Guwahati city in Assam, at about 800 feet above sea level.
One of the oldest "Shakti Pthas" Kamakhya temple is a very important pilgrimage destination for the Hindus.

Ambubachi Mela is one of the festivals celebrated in the month of June every year. Being the centre for Tantra worship, Kamakhya temple attracts thousands of tantra devotees to this annual festival. 

During this festivals the doors of not only Kamakhya temple but all other temples remain closed for three days. This is believed to be the yearly menstruation period of Maa Kamahkya. After three days Maa Kamakhya is bathed performing rituals to ensure that the Goddess retrieves her purity. Then the doors of the temple are reopened for devotees to offer worship. 

During these three days some restrictions are observed by the devotees. They do not worship or perform any puja/any kind of religious rituals, read holy books, farming etc during these three days. 

Lakhs of devotees from various places crowd this temple during the Ambubachi Mela.

On other days, temple door opens for the devotees at 8am. Doors are closed at 1pm and reopened at 2.30 pm again every day. 
It is altogether a different feeling to visit Maa Kamakhya during the evenings.

The following pictures clicked on such an evening at Kamakhya temple prove how colourful it is on the Nilachal Hill.














Thursday, 19 June 2014

Kothalor Pitha

Kothalor Pitha or Kothal Pitha
(Sweetmeat made of Jackfruit)

Ingredients :

Ripe Jackfruit
Rice flour
A pinch of soda-bicarb
Oil to fry

Method :

De-seed a few pods of jackfruit. Take two pods at a time on a strainer and press with a spoon to collect the juice. 
Mix all ingredients well leaving aside the oil. 
Heat oil, drop spoonful of the batter with a spoon and deep fry on low heat till brown. Tastes great both served cold or hot.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Chicken Soup

This soup is my family's favourite. Can be eaten as a whole meal.
Serves 4

Ingredients :
6 pieces of chicken
 Salt, to taste
 1 tsp each ginger and garlic paste
 1 tsp butter
 10 to 12 button mushroom (canned), chopped
 1 and 1/2 cup sweet corn
 2 eggs
 2 tbsp tomato sauce or to taste
1 tbsp chilly sauce
4 to 5 soup bowl of water

Method :
Pressure cook chicken pieces with water and salt.
Remove the flesh from bone when cool. Put in the flesh back in the soup. 
Heat butter (do not wait for too long or the butter will start burning) and saute ginger and garlic paste. Do not let it turn brown. Pour the soup on it and stir. Add sweet corn, mushroom. Keep stirring occasionally. 
Add tomato sauce and chilly sauce. Check salt, add a little more if required. 
Break eggs and stir gently. Serve hot. 

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Pork with Bah gaaz and Bhoot jolokia

Serves 4

Ingredients for Marination :
Pork 500gm, cubed
Ginger 1 tbsp, chopped lengthwise
Salt 2 tsp
Bah gaaz (sour preserved Bamboo shoot) 5 to 6 tbsp
Bhoot jolokia 1, chopped lengthwise 
Mix the above ingredients well and leave for about 2 hours.

Ingredients to cook :
Oil 2tbsp
Garlic 6pods, crushed
Salt, some more if required
Mustard greens (Lai xaak) 2 bunches, washed and left whole

Method :
Heat oil, put garlic, stir fry for 1/2 a minute and add the marinated meat along with the marinade. 
Stir fry till water evaporates. Add 2 to 3 cups water and pressure cook. 
Pour onto a karai and cook on low heat till the gravy is reduced to the desired amount. Check salt and put little more if required. Add mustard greens and stir cook for a minute or two. The tasty dish is ready to be served.

 ***Do not let the herb get over cooked. 
*** Do not add the herb if the curry is cooked much before serving. Add the greens only after heating again before serving.