Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Chepa Mach, Shidol, Ngaari in the DC Metropolitan Area !!

I by nature am not a very helpful person. However there comes a time when one is armed with such invaluable knowledge that one has to pass it on. As the spiderman movies have so wisely opined -- "With great power comes great responsibility."

So ladies and gentlemen, here is the momentous news. After two months of frenzied and single-minded research, I have been able to, in my DC Metropolitan Area apartment, create a full bodied, volcanic, sweat-inducing shidol-chutney, completely from locally procured resources. A significant portion of my scant readership is now raising the Questioning Eyebrow and saying "Eh ? Shidol what ?". So I proceed to do some light-shedding. To the faithful, Shidol is also known as Hidol, Ngaari, Sepa Maach and Tungtap among other hallowed names. The faithless however prefer to term it as that-fermented-fish-from-stinky-hell. This treatise is for the faithful.

Any true aficionado of the Shidol-Chutney realises that there are two essential ingredients which make the soul of the chutney. The first being the awe-inspiring and volcanic Naga Morich or a pepper/chilly of equal potential. The second of course, is the Shidol itself. Once armed with these two, the rest is personal artistry. Here is how one may go about procuring them:
How To Get the Shidol:

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The location depicted above houses a row of Bangladeshi stores. Some of them do stock frozen Shidol. Ask for Sepa Maach or Shidol. They are not as fragrant as the ones one is wont to have, but they do serve very very well.
How to get the Naga Morich:
Sadly, the Naga Morich is not be found around here. One however has a more-than-passable substitute. One can drop into any supermarket and pick up a bunch of one of the Scotch Bonnet peppers. The Habanero variety is the best of the lot. After some experimentation, I have arrived at the conclusion that about two of these peppers amount to one small Naga Morich. These peppers however are not as fragrant as the Indian counterparts. So, one could contemplate adding a slice of a red bell pepper for the fragrance. So in review, if you crush two habanero peppers with a slice of red bell pepper, you get one Naga Morich.

I shall not explain the method for actually making the chutney because the ingredients and proportions in ones chutney are deeply personal nobody can tell one how to do it. One just knows.

UPDATE : On the Bhoot Jolokia / Naga Morich. If possible, use this one in the chutney

Friday, January 25, 2008

Money and Happiness

Money cannot buy happiness, but can buy interesting alternatives.

Monday, January 07, 2008

An Open Letter To Mr Andrew Symonds

Dear Mr Symonds,
This letter is about this recent fracas that you have got into with our cricket team. I understand that there has been some serious offence taken, on your part, with respect to some part of our cricket team pointing out the rather hairy (no pun intended) fact that you actually look like a monkey. I can understand your anguish and I truly empathise. I however am rather perplexed at the fact that you have decided to play the race card on this count.

I would like to assure you that the fact that you have the simian-semblance has nothing to do with your race, colour or heritage. It, like the proverbial shit, has happened. Some people remind others of the Brad Pitts and of the Denzel Washingtons. They are lucky. They are called good-looking. Some people sadly do not carry the same visual appeal. They remind other people of monkeys. I too occupy the position of the monkey-reminder within my peer group and I am fully aware of the fact that the position is not enviable. The consolation however, is that this lack of visual appeal does not result in making me a bad engineer and neither does it result in making you a bad cricketer. All it results in, is the paucity of sex. We monkey-reminders do not get the hot action as often as we would want to (or deserve to). That is all.

I am therefore rather puzzled at the fact that you should construe such an observation as racism, and as a result throw up such a tantrum. I have travelled and lived in different parts of the world and I would like to inform you that I have seen monkey-reminders in all colours and races. It is an international, cross-cultural phenomenon. To prove my claim, I present Exhibit A:

Although hard to believe, this is the very person who called you those names when you had called him a few. The next time he says not-so-nice-things about you, show him Exhibit A. That should shut him up. Running to the match referee, in all honesty is a bit pansy-ish.

Calling you a monkey is a a shallow observation, and a cheap shot at something as facile as personal appearance, but racism ? Come on Mr. Symonds, that is a wee bit extreme. What would be really really sad would be the fact that if people would construe your ( and Ponting's ) act as a convenient and cheap ruse to get back at a player who has been giving Ponting a difficult time on the cricket pitch. We would never know, but if you have done that, that would sadly be a great disservice to your heritage.

A great fan of your cricket,
Bald Monkey