Showing posts with label Kathmandu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kathmandu. Show all posts

May 29, 2017

Over the river and through the woods...


Well, we didn't go to grandmother's house but we did go over some rivers and through some woods! Yes, we went to Kathmandu again. Above you see a mural of the Pokhara valley painted across the back of a truck we waited behind for about an hour. The mural is replete with para-gliders, Lake Fewa, and Mt Machaapuchre looming in the distance. The large bird is Nepal's national bird which is called a danphe, Himalayan monal, or Impeyan pheasant.


Look at that early morning traffic! Absolute gridlock! Sheesh!


Finally a tiny goatherdess cleared the road and bade us farewell.


Bibi's LOTD was a travel smart abaya, palazzos, and hijab in dreamily comfortable modal and viscose. A pair of golden bejeweled sandals with matching handbag added a touch of bling to this Arabesque ensemble. 


Here's the first horrific crash of the day. The 174 kilometer/108 mile long Prithvi Highway we drove to Kathmandu on is one of the most dangerous roadways in the world. 


And there were landslides. With the start of the rainy season this is always a hazard. It gets worse when the Monsoon starts.


We decided to stop for a snack in Mugling and check on road conditions ahead. The veg momos were yummy and we learned the highway was going to be closed until 2 pm due to another landslide. 


So we did a little shopping and met some beautiful people. The black dot on the baby's forehead is to ward off the evil eye in case you're wondering.


Smoked fish are a local specialty in the villages along the river. We passed on the fish but picked up some fresh locallly grown ginger and dal. 


Here's horrific crash number two on our trip. Yes, it is a large (18 meter long) truck flipped over on it's side. No, there weren't any tow trucks there. In fact this truck's cargo was being unloaded by hand onto another truck. 


And finally the road was reopened and we were on our way! There was the usual traffic jam over the grade into Kathmandu. While the Sheikh did business in Kathmandu Bibi was lazy and luxuriated at the spa and lounged by the pool in her burkini sipping virgin mojitos.


Then we came home. The kitties jumped in our dusty and dirty duffel bag and refused to leave. I think they missed us. So anywho, I took lots of photos for future posts on our little trip. We did a side trip to a little village that was so pretty. Ramadan has begun and so I'll be busy cooking up all sorts of goodies for iftar and suhoor.

Calmly currying on,
Bibi

Feb 12, 2017

OOO Baby, Baby, It's a Wild World...

It's hard to get by just upon a smile....


So we went to Kathmandu on an inventory run again. Domestic delivery services aren't very reliable here in Nepal so we have to pick up our orders from our artisans ourself. Nepal is still a cash based economy so there's that to consider also. I keep a pre-packed suitcase in the hall for just such blitzkrieg excursions.


This time of year there is a lot of dust. We've only had one day of light sprinkles since September. If you've ever wondered why everyone's eyes are bloodshot in Nepal this is it! Just to add to the eye and upper respiratory misery agricultural burning will start soon. 


The usual and customary landslide narrowed the road to one lane for about a mile. 


The usual and customary vehicular accident blocked the road for two hours. Somehow that large truck sideswiped that little silver microbus. The large truck had barely a scratch but the microbus was about a foot narrower in the back. Three passengers suffered minor head lacerations. We saw two other accidents that day. One was a truck vs motorcycle and the other was a three car pile up. Unfortunately the motorcyclist and his passenger where killed upon impact. The three car pile up resulted in two fatalities when passengers were flung from the vehicles. This highway has the reputation of being one of the most dangerous in the world with good cause.


We stopped for lunch at a village called Mugling that is famous for it's oranges. They are the ugliest pockmarked and wrinkly oranges you've ever seen but their perfectly tart-sweet flavor is divine! We then stopped for lunch at our favorite casual roadside eatery.


We were seated and greeted by our favorite maître d'hôtel, Mr Ali.  Mr Ali is such a snazzy dresser. 


You just know your meal is going to be fresh when the main course comes strolling through the dining room. I'm really glad Mr Ali keeps that mop at the ready too.


Despite the rustic ambiance this is always the best meal on our trip! This is a typical Nepali meal of dal-bhat-tarkaari (lentils-rice-vegetables). Even the rice is grown locally in the village! The dal is the bowl full of yellow lentils flavored with ghee, cumin seeds, and red chilis. The tarkaari or vegetable sides are all spicy hot. My favorite is the simple mustard greens stir-fry which is a Winter specialty. The chicken is served in that little bowl at the top left separately. Meat is always a special treat and cut into small pieces in Nepal. The curried chicken was delicious served in a caramelized onion, ginger, and garlic sauce rife with green chilies. The thalis at these little informal restaurants are prix fixe and "all you can eat." The waiter comes round and tops up any item you'd like more of.


The waitstaff was quite attentive also. 


The waitstaff was quite sad to see us go. And was quite impressed with the games on my phone. It took two Tootsie Pops and five mini Mars bars to get my phone back. (Oranges were not valid currency at this establishment.)


This tulip magnolia or Magnolia liliiflora was the prettiest thing I saw in Kathmandu. Gorgeously fragrant too! Kathmandu was in tatters as road repairs were hurriedly taking place before the Monsoon rains begin. The Chinese have volunteered to update and expand the main thoroughfares of Kathmandu. Apparently a lot of the drainage and water systems under the roads were damaged in the 2015 earthquakes and needed replacing.  So there was dust, mud, holes, trenches, and mayhem everywhere. It actually looked worse than after the 2015 earthquakes! I allowed the Sheikh (aka Dear Husband) to brave the mess whilst I lounged in luxury at the hotel. Had a good laugh at Zoolander 2 and Rock the Kasbah on HBO while sipping virgin mojitos. I know, I know, I need to show y'all Kathmandu! But it really was looking SO BAD this time and seriously hard to get around. Wait till the Monsoon rains come and wash everything clean. Then I'll take pics of Durbar Square, Boudinath Stupa, and Bhaktapur for you!

Ooo, baby, baby, it's a wild world
And I'll always remember you like a child...
I wonder how Yusuf Islam (the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens) is doing nowadays?
What's your favorite Cat Stevens song?

Jul 20, 2016

I think I'm going to Kathmandu!



So once again we went to K-K-K-Kathmandu!


Yes, we went to visit the In Laws in Kashmir for Eid! The first leg of the journey was to Kathmandu (also known as the the Big Momo) to catch a plane to Delhi. As you can see our Ms Dawg escorted our vehicle in the early morn to the end of town. And then we were off on the treacherous East-West highway once again!


Here's one of the many beautifully lush and verdant tiny river valleys we passed through. Rice paddies, corn fields, and blue skies forever during a brief parting of the Monsoon cloud cover. All this farm land has been carefully terraced to take advantage of the Monsoon rains as you can see. Remember the charred hillsides and fields I showed you earlier in April? Well, this is what comes next.

Of course all the rivers and streams are brimming and a muddy brown during the monsoon rather than their usual glacial blue gray. This bridge is like 1,000 ft high.


Unfortunately this is an all too common sight in Nepal. This is one of the many commuter busses going from the town of Pokhara to Kathmandu which has veered off the road. Traffic laws are unenforced and driving safety is unheard of in Nepal. We usually see an average of about ten to fifteen accidents whenever we go on this highway. Nepal's East-West Prithvi highway is one of the most dangerous in the world. Luckily this bus didn't crash into one of the steep ravines or off a cliff along the highway, these passengers were able to climb out of the vehicle unassisted. The recovery van (a tow truck in US English) might come along in a week or two to retrieve this bus out of the ditch. Or perhaps a farmer with a large tractor might give it a yank onto the road. Then the accident vehicle might sit for a few days in the middle of the road until it's owner comes to claim it. It is not unusual for injured passengers to stand on the edge of the road waving down passing vehicles for a ride to the hospital. Most ambulances in Nepal are 4WD but never seem to show up at accidents.


It is definitely the Monsoon. This is the highway which has turned into a river for about 150 ft. After that was a small landslide (50 ft.) we drove over. 


Who is that glamorous hijabi?
Yes, that's Bibi! This is a boredom selfie. One of the better uses for a smartphone in my opinion. After exhausting all your lives on the various Candy Crush games and playing umpteen million games of solitaire it's SELFIE TIME! No, I am not duck lipping that's what my lips look like. So after this miserable road trip we boarded a plane to Delhi only to catch another plane to Kashmir! Woo Hoo! I'm tired just thinking about it!

Feb 12, 2016

Kathmandu Style Mutton Curry

Kathmandu style mutton curry, kathmandu, mutton curry, recipe, nepal, nepali, lamb, gravy, beef, easy, spicy, beef, venison, mutton, curry, Nepal is an amazing place of beautiful mountains, lush valleys, and rich cultural heritage. Although it is a tiny nation only about the size of the American state of Arkansas, it is home to many different ethnicities and cuisines. All Nepali cuisines are influenced by it's neighbors: India, Tibet, and China. This curry's fusion of Indian spices with the Chinese touch of spring onions results in uniquely Nepali dish. I first tasted this delicious curry in a restaurant in Nepal's very multicultural capital, Kathmandu.

Kathmandu style mutton curry, kathmandu, mutton curry, recipe, nepal, nepali, lamb, gravy, beef, easy, spicy, beef, venison, mutton, curry,
Ingredients for marinade
Ingredients:
1kg/2lbs goat/mutton, lean & bone in preferred, cut into 3 inch pieces
3 TBS cooking oil (mustard oil if you wish to be authentic)
1 TBS ghee
2 C onions, finely sliced into half moons
3 cassia leaves/tej patta
1/4 C cilantro/dhania, chopped roughly
3 spring onions, green tops only snipped into 1 inch pieces
Grind to smooth paste for marinade:
1/2 C yogurt/dahi
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger paste
1 C onion, roughly chopped
1 C tomato, roughly chopped
1 TBS ground coriander/dhania
1 TBS ground cumin/jeera
2 tsp fennel/saunf seeds
2 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1 tsp cayenne plus 1 tsp paprika)
2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp salt

Here's what to do:
1) Grind all ingredients listed under marinade to smooth paste in mixie, food processor, or blender.

Kathmandu style mutton curry, kathmandu, mutton curry, recipe, nepal, nepali, lamb, gravy, beef, easy, spicy, beef, venison, mutton, curry,
The marinade is mixed.
2) In an airtight container combine marinade paste with mutton, make sure each piece is thoroughly coated. Seal container and allow meat to marinate for at least four hours or up to overnight in the refrigerator.

Kathmandu style mutton curry, kathmandu, mutton curry, recipe, nepal, nepali, lamb, gravy, beef, easy, spicy, beef, venison, mutton, curry,
All meat pieces thoroughly coated in marinade.

Kathmandu style mutton curry, kathmandu, mutton curry, recipe, nepal, nepali, lamb, gravy, beef, easy, spicy, beef, venison, mutton, curry,
Sealed up & ready to go into the refrigerator.

3) When ready to cook, heat oil and ghee in pressure cooker or a deep, heavy bottomed skillet. Fry finely sliced onions until a deep brown.

Kathmandu style mutton curry, kathmandu, mutton curry, recipe, nepal, nepali, lamb, gravy, beef, easy, spicy, beef, venison, mutton, curry,

4) Add tej patta/cassia leaves and mutton pieces, and marinade to the fried onions. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer stirring frequently for 8 minutes. If mixture begins to scorch add 1/4 C water, reduce heat and continue cooking.

Kathmandu style mutton curry, kathmandu, mutton curry, recipe, nepal, nepali, lamb, gravy, beef, easy, spicy, beef, venison, mutton, curry,

5) If using pressure cooker add chopped cilantro/dhania, snipped spring onion tops, and 3 C water to mixture and stir well. Seal pressure cooker and allow to cook for 5-6 whistles or until meat is to desired tenderness. If using deep, heavy bottomed pot or skillet add chopped cilantro/dhania, snipped spring onion tops, and enough water to cover mixture by 2 inches. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer until meat is to desired tenderness and gravy is to desired consistency. The traditional Nepali way to cook this kind of curry is to allow it to slowly simmer over a couple of hours, adding water in small amounts (usually 1/2 C water at a time) until meat is to desired tenderness and gravy is to desired consistency.

Kathmandu style mutton curry, kathmandu, mutton curry, recipe, nepal, nepali, lamb, gravy, beef, easy, spicy, beef, venison, mutton, curry,

6) Salt to taste and serve with steamed rice, achaari/pickles, a tarkaari/vegetable dish, a fresh chutney/chatni, and roti. Actually it's great with just buttered hunk of French bread too.

Kathmandu style mutton curry, kathmandu, mutton curry, recipe, nepal, nepali, lamb, gravy, beef, easy, spicy, beef, venison, mutton, curry,

Helpful Hints:

Not fond of goat? This recipe works well with beef, lamb, venison, or water buffalo stew meat also.
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