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…

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Binoy Nazareth Experiences the Passion and Pleasure of Puttu


   Go On A Delicious Sojourn 

Do you want to travel with me to discover a truly flavorsome path? It is said that one needs to share the goodness of life and I intend to do just that by taking you to a practically gourmet destination known for its quintessential and exquisite cuisine. I think by now, everyone has heard of Kerala, a land of stunning scenery, artistic culture and a culinary haven for the foodie.  
Interestingly enough, the cuisine of Kerala has been influenced by the Dutch, Middle Eastern, Portuguese, English, Jewish and Arab traders. With indigenous dishes being amalgamated with foreign tastes, Kerala boasts of a rich repertoire of culinary concoctions which have mesmerized the palate and have taken its cuisine to delicious heights.

Discover Mesmerizing, Magical and Mouth-Watering Dishes of Kerala 


The fragrance of spices, the aroma of Thalasseri Biriyani, the smoky and delectable Nenthrakka chips, the sweet prathamans, pungent pickles, the hot karimeen pollichathu and countless culinary delights showcase the art of cuisine in Kerala. With vegetarian and nonvegetarian concoctions to tickle the taste buds, one of the most talked-of culinary experiences is the 24-course Sadya which is served during the Onam celebrations. Needless to say, every dish stands out with the flavor of coconut and coconut oil. 


Known for coconut trees populating every nook and corner of its green and verdant state, Kerala has infused the taste of coconuts into every dish possible. In fact, it’s difficult to find a dish without coconut in Kerala! Talking of coconuts and the incredible flavor it adds to any dish is another subject altogether. I daresay that no guest would come away feeling empty and hungry in this land of plenty. But, I digress…I just want to tell you about an exotic and divine dish which I had the privilege of tasting, relishing and enjoying. Puttu, like Kerala is God’s own dish which is made with white rice powder and of course, coconut. As an unusual accompaniment, Puttu is served with chickpea gravy. This spicy and aromatic gravy has a coconut base which is seasoned with red chilies, mustard seeds and curry leaves in coconut oil. There are other Puttu variants with yet another tasty breakfast dish made from Matta rice or red rice which is equally magical.   

Experience the Heavenly Melt-in-the Mouth Puttu 

Let me tell you what I enjoyed the most besides being surrounded in a cloud of fragrances, aromas and steaming dishes of this serendipitous and tranquil backwater land. It’s Puttu, of course! Basically a breakfast dish, Puttu is a rice cake with grated coconut which is steamed in a cylindrical bamboo holder or steel steamer. Normally served with gravy comprising of kala chana or black chickpeas with coconut milk, spices and shallots, this dish can also be enjoyed with ripe bananas and an accompaniment of papadams. With jackfruit being plentiful as well, Puttu may be served with this sweet fruit instead of bananas. I traveled to the zenith of taste as I relished this melt-in-the-mouth dish with sweet black coffee which brought out the gourmet in my soul. 


Being an ardent chef at heart and an ambitious gourmet, I could not resist the urge to try this famous and popular breakfast dish. So I got this ancestral and authentic recipe from a good friend of mine to bring back the memory and the experience of relishing Puttu. 

This is how Puttu is made: 

Ingredients needed: 

 Rice flour                            2 cups 
 White Raw Rice Pachari    ½ kg. 
 Water                                  ½ to ¾ cup 
 Grated coconut                   ¾ to 1 cup 
 Salt to taste 

Method: 

Soak the raw rice for 2 hours. Drain the water and let it dry for a while. Grind it into a coarse powder. Keep aside. You can also substitute the raw rice with rice flour. Place the coarsely ground rice in a pan and heat for 5 minutes. Be careful that you do not roast the rice. Take it off the fire and let it cool. Next, take a big bowl or vessel and place the coarse heated rice flour in it. Sprinkle water lightly on the flour. The water should be carefully and slowly mixed so that the flour does not get pasty or lumpy. Add salt to taste and knead the damp flour mixture gently till it reaches the consistency of bread crumbs. 

Take a Puttu Kutti or a Puttu making vessel (This is available in the market). This is very akin to an Idli steamer. It has two sections. The lower section holds the hot water and the upper section comprises of the puttu mould. There are perforated plates which separate each section. Fill the bottom of the puttu maker with water. Heat till the water simmers and is hot. Now take the perforated disc which comes along with the puttu maker.  Place the disc inside the puttu maker. See that it fits in perfectly and is not crooked or shaky. Fill the bottom of the puttu maker with grated coconut.  Slowly add about 6 tablespoons of the coarsely ground rice flour. Keep repeating the process alternating between the grated coconut and the coarsely ground rice flour. Top the filling with grated coconut. Place a lid over the puttu mould and position it on the perforated plate. Once the steam starts to escape from the vessel, turn the flame to low and keep for another 5-6 minutes or so. Your Puttu is now ready. 













Serve hot with kadala curry/gravy, egg gravy or green gram curry and papadams.  
  

Sunday, 13 August 2017

DISCOVERING A RICH HERITAGE AT MOUNT RUSHMORE – A BINOY NAZARETH ADVENTURE

Charismatic. Colossal. Cultural.

Following footprints in the sands of time with legends echoing around the Wild West, I traversed the path of an intrepid traveler through the much-trodden trail to Mount Rushmore. I love adventure and as an ardent adventurer, I indulged in a sojourn in South Dakota, the land where famous pioneers, the aura of pre-historic beasts and the heart of the heritage of American Indian tribes surrounds visitors.
With the sun, filtering through the ponderosa pine, cottonwood, oak and other coniferous trees, I discovered a breath-taking view of the magnificent sculptures of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt carved into the granite surface of Mount Rushmore. While the ranges of the Black Hills of South Dakota provide a startling yet appealing sight, the 1700s sculptures reveal the work of Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln Borglum. The memorial park evolves over 1,278.45 acres and is 5,725 feet (1,745 m) above sea level.
These four prominent Presidents of the United States of America were chosen as they had created the most important events in the history of the United States. The concept of the sculptures can be attributed to the South Dakota historian Doane Robinson so that tourism would be promoted with the mountain being renamed after Charles E. Rushmore, a famous New York lawyer.

Experiencing the Wonder of South Dakota

3
Walking through trails to experience the massive park in South Dakota, I absorbed the scenic surroundings with wildflowers and Ponderosa pines. Sightings of wildlife are thrilling and as one ventures on a trek, squirrels, marmots, rabbits, mountain goats, chipmunks, deer, mammals, amphibians and birds can be seen at various locations.
With something for everyone at Mount Rushmore, I took in the sights and sounds at the Presidential Trail and the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center & Museum. The amenities include Mount Rushmore Audio Tour, the Amphitheater, the Sculptor’s Studio and the Youth Exploration Area. Some of the tourist attractions include the Memorial Ice Cream Shop, the Mount Rushmore Bookstores, the Carvers Café, the Gift Shop and the Memorial Ice Cream Shop. My love for adventure and the penchant to try out new things took me through exciting chairlifts, wheeled sleds and the Aerial Adventure Park as the latest addition to Rushmore Tramway Adventures with its pulsating courses.

Traveling on a Delicious South Dakota Sojourn

My true-blue adventurer spirit, the secret to a traveler’s charisma set off to explore the delectable side of life as I traveled on a chairlift ride to indulge the senses at an ultimate al fresco experience. The Mountaintop Grille offers scenic views of Mount Rushmore and displays gorgeous views with flowers and waterfalls. Relaxing in a congenial ambience, I savored mouth-watering nachos, burgers & brats accompanied by an ice-cold beer. South Dakota specialties include gumbo, steaks, Italian cuisine, seafood, pizzas, muffins, Cornish pasties, jerky, roasts, tacos and many more delicious dishes. I added to my repertoire of experiences by visiting casual and fine dining eateries, chuckwagon supper and dinner shows, cafes, supper clubs and restaurants that inundate the South Dakota region.
4
Delving into the American Indian heritage to treasure a memorable culture, I took a piece of the Black Hills and Badlands experience back as a keepsake as I browsed through the souvenir and gift shops that showcase original Western art, Sioux beadwork, pottery, leather, star quilts, gold jewelry and innumerable memorabilia.

Exploring the South Dakota Heritage and Culture

Traveling through the prairies, I visited the American Indian communities whose heritage, art and craft still vibrate through South Dakota. Known as the land of the Nakota, Dakota and Lakota, there are nine Native American tribes who live in South Dakota. I enjoyed and experienced their awesome hospitality and admired their incredible art.
5
With adventure all the way, I filled my South Dakota experience with non-stop entertainment that evolves over hiking, rock climbing, fishing, hunting, camping and visiting museums. As a perfect way to an adventurer’s heart, the state offers visits to dig sites to discover evidence of prehistoric humans and animals. In addition to outdoor recreation, amusement & theme parks, information and learning centers, I celebrated my action-packed trip to Mount Rushmore with sightings of burros, wild mustangs, herds of buffalo and the largest collection of reptiles in the world. With the spirit of freedom and the love of the great outdoors, I treasured my experience at Mount Rushmore as an inspiring and memorable adventure.
CELEBRATING THE SPIRIT OF FREEDOM AND INSPIRATION AT MOUNT RUSHMORE