Sunday, May 18, 2008

My Experiment with Sushi

Well the excitement around Sushi is not new and one keeps reading, watching, hearing about it every now and then. I had been eager to try out Sushi to figure out what all the talk was about.

There are two things that one would not want to happen when trying out a new cuisine/dish -
1.Trying it at a restaurant where they might not know how to prepare it and they end up serving you with a version which is enough to keep you away from further adventures.
2. Ordering a dish which would not fit your palate at all (e.g. asking some of our friends from the US/ Europe to partake Kolhapuri chicken as their first tryst with Indian food)

So I talked to one my buddies Shantanu (aka musa) who has dabbled a lot with Sushi (making friends with the Chef at a Sushi Bar in US) and got some tips for an amateur.

Recently on my way back from Manila I had an extended stopover at Bangkok airport (thanks to flight delay).As I roamed around the sprawling terminal I spotted a Sushi bar - my chance to satisfy this culinary curiosity.

I sat at the counter opposite the Chef and the first order was a Salmon Sushi (a safe bet to start as per musa). On the Chef’s recommendation I ordered some hot Sake for drink. It was served in a small ceramic flask to be had from a small cylindrical ceramic vessel resembling a mini shot-glass. (further reading and I know it’s called ochoko)
Then came the Sushi - rice covered with slice of Salmon along with Wasabi paste and Soy sauce. As for the taste, well it was bland if you benchmark it with regular Indian food, and definitely had some smell of the fish. (I am sure some of my friends who just can't bear any odor in the sea-food won't like it). I had too generous a helping of the Wasabi and it hit like a lightning :)...needless to say the next helpings were more careful.

Sitting at the counter I was in a position to watch the chef in action, as I waited for my next order - the Spicy Tuna rolls (rice and tuna rolled with chopped green chilies tossed in) I enjoyed this one more and was willing to try out some more, the only problem was I was already full.
It was an enjoyable experience and has left me with the desire to try out more varieties sometime. I didn't try the Sashimi (fresh raw fish without the rice), perhaps that would need more courage and some homework on what an amateur needs to start with !

Pity I wasn't carrying my camera, but here's how the Salmon and the Tuna Rolls looked liked.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Election Heat !

I have been following the run-up to the Nominations for the US Presidential elections since December and must say it's been quite an interesting experience.Although the major source has been the mainstream TV channels CNN, NBC, (even) Fox News and websites I have also managed to read some independent blogs and websites from units like MediaMatters.

I like the concept of a party coming up with its Nominee by first going through an election process. The wannabes campaigning within the respective party's support base,debating the issues on television makes the process more vibrant(For argument sake, ignoring the the criticism that News channels are backed by corporate interests or how lobbyists play a big role the process is intended to be more participative)

With the Presidential form of democracy the election is obviously more focused on the individuals, their personality, charisma and of course their gaffes.

While the socio-economic realities in India are different and we have a parliamentary system, it is difficult to say which one is better.I can't even imagine having Televised debates or such debates being of much use in the Indian scenario.But for country which became independent after the Second World War India is an encouraging example of an evolving and successful (people might disagree on the the degree of success)democracy.

And in spite of the differences one can draw parallels -
-Race and to a extent religion is a issue in the US the way vote banks based on caste and religion play a important role in India.
-How the pollsters go wrong be it opinion polls for a Primary or a State election in India.
-How candidates complain about the media being biased to them.

One thing that I have been puzzled by is the seemingly undue coverage given to things like false sniper fire comments, flag-pins, Pastor remarks rather than issues which more important for the ordinary citizen.It might be because these are more newsworthy and eye-catching stories on Prime time. I would like to think that people are more discerning and see beyond such things when making the choices.

As for me I am rooting for Obama.I am impressed by the fresh views he brings to the table and there is a certain genuineness in the man.He has done a great job at leveraging Information Technology for his campaign and the manner in which he seems to be mobilizing the youth(thanks to his oratory skills).For those who point at his inexperience, well the ones with a lot of experience haven't been doing that great a job too !

Be it India, USA, Africa or Europe I think the world needs young politicians.... with a fresh perspective.

While a friend of mine said looking at Obama she was reminded of me...that's not the reason for me supporting him :)

Good Times

A friend and ex-colleague of mine - Devendra recently wrote about Good Things in Life. I enjoyed it a lot and couldn't help writing down a few more in the comments for his post.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Garibi Hatao ?

The recent speech by the PM seems like yet another case of diversion tactics.
Coming from the man who's credited with the economic reforms (though it was the forex-crisis which forced to take tough decision, still no one can question his wisdom and service to the economy),it shows the frustration and political compulsions.
Are CEOs drawing fat pay-cheques, people spending on lavish weddings responsible for the inhuman conditions in which millions of our countrymen live ? It could to a certain extent in few cases, but isn't it the duty of the Government to prevent any exploitation of the poor and the labor class?
What has been done to tackle corruption in the last three years ? We have some of the best policy makers, one of the best delivery mechanism in place - the local self govt. bodies, panchayats, and innovative welfare schemes. But all this is rendered useless due to the inefficiency and leakage (for those who want to avoid the word 'corruption').
What is more disgusting - pocketing the money meant for drinking water in villages or spending one's money on family wedding ? Who is more irresponsible - those government school teachers who never turn up in classes or the CEOs who get paid in crores?
No doubting the intention behind the speech, but it is a matter of individual freedom and conscience as to how one spends one's money. You can't eradicate poverty by bashing the rich, neither would you get votes doing that !
Charity they say starts at home, lets see what the PM can do (if allowed to do).He's one of the weakest PMs who's forced to have murder-convicts in his cabinet and let go an efficient minister.
Till then, let's see how many Netas in Delhi refuse to attend lavish wedding receptions !

Saturday, April 21, 2007

India Shining , India Poised ??

While there's celebration (some well-deserved) over India one the move, you come across a shocking incident of a teacher spraying goumutra on Dalit students to purify them (and also of the effects of an earlier Dalit headmistress) ! You don't have to go into the interiors of one of the Bimaru states (as most of us would assume), it happened just under 100 kms away from one of the biggest city in Central India, a city with an International Airport, the orange city Nagpur !

Some might dismiss it as a one-off incident in Maharashtra - one of the progressive states, but it's an indication of how deeply rooted the misconceptions still are.

While most of us have been lucky to have parents who taught us to treat everyone with respect and dignity, there are still a lot of young minds where the seeds of the prejudice are being sown by the society around them.

And as we cry out against the discriminatory remarks on an international celeb show,perhaps a time for some collective introspection at how we deal with the grim realities in our own backyard ! At least, lets not deny that these issues still exist.

Will we continue to cruise along the path of economic progress, but as a lot of social scientists say, a huge disparity between the haves and have-nots is not a healthy sign for any nation in the long run !

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Miss Palampur - My Take !

For the uninitiated, there's a television commercial for Cadbury featuring Big B. Thanks to Youtube, you can view it online too -

ok, getting to the point. Last night, as the News channels were reporting the 'imporant' dates for the 'crucial 'AB Baby Aishwarya marriage, the remote came handy to avoid further torture, and there you had the Big B selling Cadbury on the other channel.

It got me thinking, how the plot could fit in the marriage thingy.

Junta : Amitji ! badhai ho !! bahurani bahut sundar hai !!!
Big B : haan bhai !! Lijiye muh meetah kijiye !!! yeh Miss World chuni gayein thee , ek sau pacchis se bhi jyaada deshon se ladkiyaan aayi theeein !!!
Junta : Bahurani kahin nazar nahi aa rahi .....
Big B : O bahuraani !!

Cut to - Aishwarya comes in and greets them.

Cut to - Big B and Aishwarya in the frame n
Big B to the Camera : "Agale saal se filmo mein Nahi aayegi ! "

Here's hoping she continues to work and not disappoint her fans (Deven, in case you read this ....apologies to you n the Ash fan fraternity :D )

Gosh ....I need to cut down on my television time !!!

Over and Out !

Over-enthusiastic fans, over-charged by the discussions of over-talkative ex-cricketers being aired on over-hyped TV channels, fueled by over-optimistic media managers, who bought over-priced Ad slots and then ....a set of over-rated players performing to their potential .......
That's how the World Cup 2007 got over for India !

P.S. - Yours truly was rooting for Dinesh Kartik from day 1, but the chap was never pikced up :(