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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Celebrating Independence at 60

Hi!

Happy Independence Day to u all...... Twenty years back, did I know that we had to wish each other on the Independence day?

Or rather we believed it had to be celebrated with sombre respect and pride by hoisting the National flag and singing the patriotic songs. The serious event had its share of parades and guard of honour, a few lectures and finally the a familiar pack of dry food, with Poori bhaji, sweets of different size, texture, type that mix and embrace each other in the packet and in course of time, lend taste and flavour to each other, so that at the end.

Time has passed by, so no more visiting school on independence day to take part in the prestigious celebration with some special guest of honour. Any way, coming back to reality....

On our trip to Neemrana, along the enjoyable NH8, we stopped over for a quick breakfast at Jungle Babbler, a Haryana Tourism Motel with a great property. Another 40 mins down, as we snail through the steep and narrow village roads to the Neemrana, my esteem clutch coughed and poohed and breathed black smoke and lay their burnt.

Though we walked the last bit up, the valets and staff of the Neemrana fort Palace Hotel assured us that all will be well once it cools down.

The property has a private section operating as a 5 star heritage hotel and a public section open for public viewing and day spend available for a cover charge. My son was excited to walk up and down the steep stony slope of the fort palace while the adults faced the steepness with different degrees of ease.

After sitting on the swing, or looking through the same jharokha that the Rani of Dholpur Estate had once used to view the hill slopes and appreciating the architecture and the property, it was time to head for the lunch room. We had opted for the thali option.... with paanchmel daal, paneer bhurji, laal maas, raita and gulab jamun, served in traditional copper thali, katori and spoon.... awesome authentic Rajasthani fare, satisfying not just one but all sense organs.

Rest of the journey was uneventful, other than we stopping by roadside to change gear and start off once more.

As a closing note for the day, I had cooked Fiery Hot Crab Curry, early in the morning before leaving. Crabs though popular among Kolkata Bongs, slowly and steadily lesser and lesser number of people are patronising a crab meal at home sheerly because of its non-availability and a little elaborate cooking procedure.

My hubby loves Crabs very much and I am allergic to crabs.... but can take on this much for my hubby and best friend.

Crabs I managed to get from Chittaranjan Park. And the recipe is inherited from my MIL..... now for all of you readers

Fiery Hot Crab Curry

Ingredients:

1. Fresh crabs- 4, cleaned, limbs and claws cracked, but not shelled
2. Red Onions...2, large, ground into a paste
3. Ginger paste...1 tablespoon
4. Garlic paste.....1/2 tablespoon
5. Tomato....2 large, blanched, skinned, grated fine
6. Turmeric powder.... 3/4 tsp, level
7. Hot Chilli powder... 1 tsp, or to taste
8. Kashmiri Chilli Powder... 1 and 1/2 tsp, level
9. Potatoes... 2 medium sized, skinned and cubed(optional)
10. Mustard oil... 200gms (max)
11. Whole masala... Bayleaf(2-3); small green cardamom(2-3), clove(1-2), and cinnamon stick(1 inch)
12. Salt and Sugar to taste
13. Garam Masala powder...1/2 tsp


Process

1. Cleaned crab pieces rubbed with salt and 1/2 tsp turmeric
2. Heat oil till smoking. Reduce flame. Deep fry crab pieces for 2-3 mins or till they turn red, strain and keep aside
3. Fry the potato cubes in the same oil and keep aside
4. In rest of the oil, when hot, reduce flame and add the whole masala, stir for 1-2 minutes and put in the onion paste.
5. As the onion turns transluscent, add garlic followed by ginger, keep stirring.
6. As onion starts browning, add tomato and stir well.
7. Add turmeric, kashmiri chilli and the Hot chilli powder and keep stirring. As the masala starts leaving the edge, it is time to add the potato cubes and mix well.
8. After 2 mins of stirring, add garam masala powder and stir well.
9. Add 2-3 cups of water to avoid burning the masala and for gravy. Cover and simmer.
10. When gravy boils, add the crab pieces, keep covered and simmer.
11. Take off the cover and put flame on High, to dry up the gravy.
12. Keep stirring till gravy has dried up and gives a fiery red look to the crabs.
13. Serve hot with steamed white rice.

14. Never forget to serve with an extra empty side dish for all the shells and claws emptied.

Happy dining with Indian Crabs.