Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Binoy Nazareth Goes California Dreamin

Experiencing the Essence of Wanderlust

With love of all inspiring things great and small, I decided to take the road to California to experience my passion for sunny beaches, great food and revel in an intoxicating atmosphere. Evolving over 900 miles on the Western border of America, the California dream became a reality as I stepped into the land of diverse people, cable cars, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Alcatraz Island. With innumerable things to do, I tried to cram my itinerary with hiking through the national parks, going on wine tasting tours, visiting Disneyland, relaxing on sunny beaches and experimenting with water sports.



Integrating traditions, foods and languages from all around the globe, California displays roots in the cultures of Asia, Mexico and Spain including the eastern part of the United States. My quest for adventure accelerated my heartbeat and increased the anticipation of discovering the famous Californian cuisine and a fusion of culinary styles including sampling the sparkling wines. As a must-do on my bucket list, I gorged on the popular California pizza, salads, seafood, barbecued meats, Asian and Latino food.

Delighting the Palate with a Culinary Repertoire



Exciting and exhilarating, my California sojourn was topped with adventures galore and a chance to travel incessantly through a culinary repertoire and a kaleidoscope of classic Californian dreamy dishes. I relaxed on divine beaches with a cool Boba drink and satisfied hunger pangs with great hotdogs and Italian subs. As a daring spirit took over, I took off paddle-boarding on the crystal-clear waters of Lake Tahoe and later went rock climbing at Yosemite Park which offered many other outdoor activities. Every meal time and in-between was punctuated with the marvelous cuisines of California. My culinary adventure evolved over custom crepes at Harajuku Crêpes, seafood burritos, filling Matt Cain sandwiches, incredible porchetta sandwiches, Korean, Chinese and Japanese fare. After fortifying my system with an amazing range of cuisines and cultures over many days, where I enjoyed a great game at the seventh hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links, experienced the mesmerizing Pismo Beach and let Santa Maria Valley catapult me on a sparkling travel through great wines which brought out the aesthetic in me, I then headed towards Lone Pine and the small town in Owens Valley in my rental convertible.



San Francisco with its world-class attractions, stunning scenery and a strong presence of fusion cuisines satisfied my senses with its awe-inspiring concerts and music that echoed everywhere. It was time for a California pier experience which I wasn’t about to give up on and strolled along Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf and the Santa Monica Pier to absorb the unique pier experience. As the California sun glittered on the famous Golden Gate Bridge, I drove through this iconic structure and of course took innumerable photographs to take memories back home.  With the misty hills of San Francisco echoing with ancient tales that swished around the age-old forests, it was time to surround myself with the majestic and massive Redwood trees at Redwood National and State Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a United States National Park on the North Coast of California. Muir Woods was another site to cherish, with its monumental trees that can fit multiple people like me in their trunks.



Every day was a treat, from San Francisco to Sacramento, and from San Jose to San Diego to LA, as the sunshine warmed the heart, I toured through the delights of life with barbecued Baby Back Ribs from Phil’s BBQ, Praise the Lard from The Waffle Experience, Cioppino from Sotto Mare Chocolate with sweet deserts to melt in the mouth with Bouchons from Bouchon Bakery and Julian Apple Pie from Julian Pie Company across these beautiful cities. While a colorful melee of sights and sounds twirled in a wild dance of colors, Chinatown in Los Angeles beckoned with its red lanterns and Pagoda styled buildings. I shopped, dined, wined and toured the traditional dimsum destinations, temples, art galleries, awesome Asian-fusion eateries and tasted the popular French dip sandwich. No trip to California is complete without a visit to the famous Laguna and Malibu Beaches where celebs frolic on golden sands and I found myself admiring a picturesque view with a cool cocktail to quench my thirst on these sun-kissed paradise beauties.



Time flew and disappeared around a kaleidoscope of magical and mesmerizing attractions as I packed my bags and got ready to take inspiring memories of a delightful and action-packed California adventure back home.


Take Off with Binoy Nazareth on a California Culture Trip

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Goan Goat Curry Cooked with Passion by Binoy Nazareth

























Delicious. Delectable. Delightful. 

Have you ever been on a delightful, delicious and delectable travel? Does your wanderlust look for places which are both idyllic and interesting? I travel to quench my thirst for discovery of all things great and small which covers a kaleidoscope of the facets of life. One of the most relaxing trips I have gone on was to Goa, a small but laid-back coastal region on the West Coast of India.

Goa offers an incredible array of places to see with waterfalls, caves, churches, rock art, forts and the most amazing beaches amongst other intriguing sights. The culinary expertise of Goa never fails to amaze me and my taste buds were all agog with excitement for a repertoire of delicious entertainment. With any amount of eateries spread all over the place, Goan cuisine displays a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes which evolve over pork, chicken, mutton and seafood. I went on a never-ending journey of delight and explored every nuance of this delectable travel. With the strains of an experienced chef and a gourmet running through every pore, I have tried my hand at re-creating myriad dishes, but one of the most breathtaking, tasty and awesome dishes which I experienced at the emerald land of Goa was the Goan Mutton Curry.

Try Out a Sizzling Flavorsome Travel

I felt compelled to share this tasty and melt-in-the-mouth recipe which is made with goat meat, yogurt, rich spices and coconut milk. Are you ready to come with me on a flavorful journey to taste and relish an excellent dish?

Goan Goat Curry

What you need:
Mutton cubes – 500 grams
Big onions – 4 (thinly chopped)
Tomatoes – 4 (pureed)
Garlic paste – 1 tablespoon
Green chilies – 4 (ground to a paste)
Yogurt – 2 tablespoons
Ginger – 1 inch (chopped and ground)
Red chili powder – 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder – 2 teaspoons
Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
Garam masala powder – 1 teaspoon
Coconut milk – 2 cups
Bay leaf – 1
Cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
Vinegar – 1 teaspoon
Vegetable oil – 2 tablespoons
Salt to taste

What to do:
Wash the mutton under running water and clean thoroughly.
Blend red chili powder, yogurt, garlic paste and turmeric and keep aside.
Marinate the mutton cubes with the red chili powder, yogurt, garlic paste and turmeric. Set aside for a period of 2-3 hours.
Take a pan and heat two tablespoons of vegetable oil.
Add half a teaspoon of cumin seeds and the bay leaf and sauté for a couple of seconds.
Add the ginger and green chili paste. Sauté for a few more seconds.
Stir fry the chopped onions till it is glassy brown and add pureed tomatoes.
Add the garam masala and the coriander powder with one teaspoon of vinegar and salt to taste to the sautéed mixture.
Add the marinated mutton and mix well with the mixture which is already simmering.
Cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes on a low flame.
After the mutton is cooked, add two cups of coconut milk and cook for 10 more minutes on a low flame.
Add salt and red chili power as needed.
Keep stirring till the entire mixture along with the mutton turns a reddish brown color.
Cover the pan and let it boil on a low flame until the mutton is tender and succulent.
Your Goan Mutton Curry is now ready. Serve hot with Roti or steamed rice.



Travel with Binoy Nazareth Through a Goan Sojourn


Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Binoy Nazareth Journeys Through the City of Nazareth


Fascination for the spiritual, historic places, adventurous trails besides discovering the wild and wonderful aspects of Nature have always been close to my heart. This time, I decided to take off in to a journey of peace, tranquility and to discover the holy aura of the sacred city of Nazareth. I have always been intrigued with Nazareth, the little town where Jesus grew up. As I explored the ancient town of Nazareth which is the capital city of the northern district of Israel, I was inspired by the interesting sights, archeology, the Middle Eastern charm combined with the modern culture.



An old and revered historic city, Nazareth is located in Lower Galilee and is the largest Arab city. Being the hub of Christian pilgrimage, Nazareth has been associated as the boyhood home of Jesus. It was here that Jesus preached in the synagogue and was rejected by the people. I walked around the Nazareth Village where excavations had taken place and noticed with awe the 2000-year old winepress carved in to the bedrock. The ruins of terraces, watchtowers and a vineyard stretched silently having witnessed the greatest phenomenon of Jesus and His miracles. I could just imagine Jesus walking around as people gathered from far and near to hear of His wondrous parables.

Traveling Through a Kaleidoscope of Sights

As the day rolled into a balmy afternoon, I wondered about the life of people of those times as I took in the sights of the stone quarries and the spring-fed irrigation system. It was asked in that time if anything good would come out of the small and almost insignificant, Nazareth not knowing that the prophecy of ancient times would come true in the form of a Messiah.



As a must-see pilgrimage center for a believer, here I was, actually reliving the past where stupendous incidents took place causing the little town of Nazareth to take pride of place on the map. My spirit of adventure took over and I wandered through the ancient paths, alleys and the maze-like streets of the old city of Nazareth. I found myself right in the middle of Shuk or bazaar which was teeming with life, color and awash with the smell of spices with the sound of the muezzin calling people to worship. Buzzing with vibrancy, the Shuk ranged out myriad surprises with souvenirs, exotic apparel, food delicacies, Middle Eastern antiques and a kaleidoscope of everything imaginable. I found myself haggling with the local craftsman over Dead Sea cosmetics and a beautifully carved hookah.

Sampling an Exotic Array of Delicious Culinary Delights




Though the people of those days ate simple yet tasty, nourishing food, Nazareth ranges out an exotic and delicious spread. The cuisine and the culture of this old city inspired my taste buds to go on a tasteful spree at hummus eateries where you can enjoy fatayer, sharwarma, baklava, knafeh and tehina and halva. Tasting this excellent food is a privilege for a foodie and gourmet chefs with the hummus being light and creamy along with the incredible Lebanese sandwich and of course kebab in a grilled pita. I was delighted at the repertoire of culinary delights which is endless in Nazareth with the ultimate street food. I loved the Awaeh or sugared jelly doughnut, goat’s milk labaneh, shanklish cheese and sizzling lamb chops. My culinary journey evolved over the most amazing sesame cookies, ma’amoul, karkish anise cookies, barazek, sabanekh or pastry triangles with wild spinach filling and steaming, myriad delicious food.

Journeying Through Ancient Mists

As I made my through this unique Middle Eastern atmosphere the spirit of adventure had already captured and rejuvenated my soul to discover and delight in an exceptional tour of Nazareth. I walked down the narrow streets and admired the picturesque homes of the hospitable people of Nazareth. Making my way to the Church of the Annunciation decorated with beautiful paintings, I discovered a history of Byzantine and Crusader periods in its sacred history. Memorable in its rendition, the Church of Saint Joseph is structured where Joseph, Mary’s husband had his carpentry shop while the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation is near Mary’s Well. Though I was reluctant to leave this historical site, I wandered through the incredible Maronite Church, the Salesian Church and St. Gabriel’s Church to revel in the mists of time.



The interesting museum housed in the White Mosque reveals the history and the beliefs of Nazareth. Magnetic and mesmerizing, The City of Nazareth threw open its ancient secrets and I was amazed at the underground passages of the Greek Orthodox bishop’s house and the compound built by the Russians. The ancient Bath House, the Megiddo National Park, the holy caves of Nazareth, the old Roman town of Seppheris and the Nazareth Village completely occupied and boggled the mind. Of course, a trip to Nazareth is not complete till one visits the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee to relive ancient times and revel in a memorable and historical past.



Travel with Binoy Nazareth Through the Ancient and Awesome City of Nazareth

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Binoy Nazareth Goes on a Culinary Travel


Rich. Ravishing. Royal.
I could imagine the aroma of Chicken Makhani making its way across deserts, sand dunes, salt-lakes and the craggy rocks of the riot-ridden regions during the Indo-Pak Partition to reach Delhi on a long, arduous yet delicious journey. Creamy, rich and buttery, Chicken Makhani stems from Punjabi cuisine and has become a hot favorite having been concocted by Kundan Lal Gujral. I simply had to taste this marvelous and popular dish and was stunned to know that it was made with leftover chicken in rich gravy of butter, tomato and cream. Though I had sampled this dish in Mumbai during my adolescent years, there’s nothing like tasting the original at Moti Mahal Delux in Delhi, India. 
With its popularity, Chicken Makhani or Butter Chicken is a hearty and robust dish and is served by most of the restaurants in India besides making its simmering way to almost every part of the globe. There are so many variations that go towards the making of Butter Chicken or Chicken Makhani. Some of the chefs use sugar to sweeten the dish while others use honey. In some restaurants, cashew paste is used and in others fenugreek leaves are used to heighten the aroma.
Showcasing the Art of Blending
Being an ardent chef, I was completely intrigued by K. Gujral’s innovative idea of making use of leftover chicken. Showcasing it in a deft and brilliant dish that takes the palate to through a delicious and satisfying travel, Chicken Makhani involves softening dried pieces of chicken which has already been cooked in a Tandoor or clay oven. The trick here is to skillfully combine dairy fat and tomatoes and K. Gujral had used the art of blending in cream, butter and tomatoes to conjure up a delectable curry.  
My tour to India in 2013 included a 10-day visit to Delhi where I also visited the Taj Mahal in Agra, a must for every visitor who believes in eternal love and appreciation of all things unique. Actually, one can take the aspect of uniqueness and blend it in with all facets of life.  That’s my passion and my forte which showcases trying out unique dishes and mastering its art. Being a gourmet and a chef at heart, let me take you on a culinary adventure which make the taste buds tingle and will leave an aromatic trail with lasting memories.

This is my version of Chicken Makhani or Butter Chicken:        

Ingredients:  

·         Chicken skinned and cut into pieces – 800 grams
·         Kashmiri red chili – 1 teaspoon
·         Lemon juice – 1 tablespoon
·         Salt to taste
·         Butter – 2 tablespoons

For Marinating:

·         Yogurt – 1 cup
·         Kashmiri red chili powder – 1 teaspoon
·         Salt to taste
·         Ginger paste – 2 teaspoons
·         Garlic paste – 2 teaspoons
·         Lemon juice – 2 tablespoons
·         Garam masala powder – 1/2 teaspoon
·         Mustard oil – 2 tablespoons

For Makhani Gravy:

·         Butter – 3 tablespoons
·         Green cardamoms 2-3
·         Cloves 4-5
·         Black peppercorns 7-8
·         Cinnamon – 1 inch stick
·         Ginger paste – 1 tablespoon
·         Garlic paste – 1 tablespoon
·         Green chilies chopped 2
·         Tomato puree – 400 grams
·         Red chili powder – 1 tablespoon
·         Garam masala powder – 1/2 teaspoon
·         Salt to taste
·         Sugar/honey – 2 tablespoons
·         Dried fenugreek leaves (Kasoori Methi) – 1/2 teaspoon
·         Fresh cream – 1 cup

Procedure:

For Marinating:

Make deep cuts or incisions across the chicken pieces. According to me, this will help the flavor of different ingredients to soak into the meat. Then add lemon juice, red chili powder, salt and mix well.
Place the yogurt in a muslin cloth and hang it up to remove extra water for 15 to 20 minutes. Then in a bowl, add ginger and garlic paste along with yogurt and mix well, add the chicken pieces. Add a tablespoon of mustard oil and mix again.
Keep the marinated chicken in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours to absorb the flavor.

Preparation of chicken:

After marinating, set your microwave or oven to preheat at 200 degrees. Then skewer the marinated chicken pieces. Cook the chicken pieces in a microwave or oven till it’s almost done and you can see oil on the tray below.

For the Makhani Gravy:

Heat a pan and add butter to melt. Then add green cardamom, cloves, black peppercorns and a cinnamon stick about one inch in length and sauté them well till they start popping. Then add the rest of the ginger garlic paste and green chilies, sauté them again for two minutes.
Now add tomato puree, garam masala, red chili powder, salt and a cup of water. Mix them well and boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for another ten minutes.
Add the chicken pieces to the Makhani Gravy. Bring it to a boil until the chicken pieces are cooked well and have absorbed the flavor of the Makhani gravy.

I advise serving Chicken Makhani hot with Indian roti, naan, paratha or any type of flat-bread. This recipe is guaranteed to make the mouth water and give you the satisfaction of going on a steaming, sizzling and delightful journey to a delicious abode.
Continuing the Culinary Adventures of Binoy Nazareth…