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Monday, December 4, 2017

Ghugni Chaat | How to Make Ghugni from Scratch | Recipe


Ghugni Chaat | How to Make Kolkata Style Ghugni Chaat at home | www.jyotibabel.com
Ghugni Chaat #Recipe



Ghugni Chaat is one of the most loved street foods from the lanes of Kolkata. And contrary to the popular belief about street foods, it is quite a healthy protein packed dish to indulge in. Try any area in Kolkata that is famous for its street food, you are bound to find a conspicuous vendor selling Ghugni.

In simple words, ghugni is a spicy curry made from dried white peas (that has been soaked for at least 6 hours or overnight) topped with chopped onions, tamarind chutney, a handful of coriander leaves and a specially roasted masala. Ghugni is to Kolkata what chole chaat is to Delhi. It is one of those dishes I make when I am running out of veggies in my pantry. With just a few ingredients, you can have a hearty and tummy satisfying meal.

When I was in school, there was a vendor who could come to our school park to sell ghugni during lunch breaks. From what I remember, there used to be a huge crowd surrounding his cart – all enjoying a plate of hot ghugni chaat. Back then I was quite averse to street foods since I was not sure what kind of hygiene standards they maintained. So, I never bought a plate of ghugni from him. Although today I enjoy having street food from street vendors, I am still very choosy. Well, that’s just me. These days whenever I crave street food, I end up making it at home.

Looking for more street food options, check out the recipe for

Ghugni Chaat | How to Make Kolkata Style Ghugni Chaat at home | www.jyotibabel.com

How to make Ghugni Chaat at home

Ingredients:
1 cup dried yellow peas
1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp ginger-chilli paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp cumin powder
2 medium tomatoes blanched and pureed.
1 large boiled potato, boiled, peeled, and mashed roughly.
A pinch of hing
1 tbsp oil
¼ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp chilli powder
Salt to taste

To serve:
Chopped onion
Chopped fresh coriander
Lemon slices
Specially roasted masala (bhaja masala)

In order to prepare the roasted masala, take 2 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp coriander seeds and 2 whole red chillies. Dry roast it in a pan over medium heat till they change colour. Grind it into a coarse powder in a pestle and mortar. Add 1 tsp of black salt and mix. Store it in an airtight container and use as needed.

Method:

1.       Wash the dried yellow peas and soak them in fresh water for 6 hours or overnight.
2.       In order to cook the peas, add the drained yellow peas to a pressure cooker and water such that the peas are covered in water. Add ½ tsp salt and cook it on high until one whistle. Wait till the pressure is released and open the cooker.
3.       Heat a Kadhai, add oil and when it is heated add hing and cumin seeds. Will the cumin seeds splutter, add ginger-chilli paste, garlic paste and stir. After a few seconds add the chopped onions and a pinch of salt. Cook till the onions are translucent. It will take about 3-4 minutes.
4.       Now add the tomato puree and stir. Add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, cumin powder and stir again. Cook till the tomato puree leaves oil in the sides.
5.       Now add the cooked peas and mashed potato. Give it a good stir. Check the spices. Add more if necessary. Bring it to a boil and then cover and lower the heat. Cook for about 5 minutes. When done turn off the heat.
6.       To serve, add the ghugni to a deep plate. Top it with a dash of lemon juice, tamarind chutney, chopped onion, chopped coriander, and the specially prepared roasted spice mix. Serve it hot.

Ghugni Chaat | How to Make Kolkata Style Ghugni Chaat at home | www.jyotibabel.com

This post is a part of the Blogging Marathon under the theme 'Make Street Food at Home'.

BMLogo 
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#83

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Anything But Books Tag

anything but books tag jyoti babel
Anything But Books Tag #Ramblings

Long ago I had been tagged by my blogger friend Tarang for this interesting tag post – Anything But Books.  For reasons unknown, I have taken almost an eternity to answer it. I took a blogging break in September when I went on my annual holidays to my mom’s place. After coming back, blogging has somehow taken a back seat and that is evident from the sparse posts I have done in the past 2 months.

Anyways coming back to this tag post, there are some interesting questions that are not related to book in this tag and the tagged person has to answer it and pass it on to other bloggers. Let’s start now.

Name a cartoon(s) that you love.

As a kid, I loved watching Mowgli (Jungle Books), Duck Tales, and Tom & Jerry. I am somehow glad that in our times we didn’t have YouTube and had to wait almost a week to watch our favourite cartoons. That taught us to be patient and to value our precious Sunday TV hours.

What is your favourite song right now?

I am still a big fan of songs from the old B&W Hindi movies. I remember their lyrics too. Unfortunately, I am not very mindful when listening to songs these days – I can’t even recall the lyrics if you ask me. Generally, these days I listen to songs on Radio sometimes and I love the songs by Arijit Singh. But, no favourite song in particular.

What could you do for hours (that isn’t reading)?

Spending time on Pinterest and fantasizing about cooking flawlessly decorated cakes and exotic dishes. However, I seldom get enough time to do that. Maybe someday!

What is something you love to do that your followers would be surprised by?

I have nothing very surprising to share. But, there is something I like to do that I have seen not many people like to do – if my mood is set (of course not every day) I can spend hours in cleaning and organizing my kitchen and home. Yeah!

What is your favourite unnecessarily specific thing to learn about (this can do with books, I guess)?

I didn’t get this question. If it means what I want to learn - well there are a ton of things. I want to learn how to swim (Yes, I can't swim - maybe I will learn with Baby M), I want to learn to apply makeup (I am too bad at it and usually don't bother about it ) and many more things (the list would be too long if I went on writing).

What is something unusual you know how to do?

I thought really hard, but I don’t think I have any such special talent.

Name something you’ve made in the last year (and show us, if you can).

I think I can mention about some new dishes I have learnt to cook. Check out my Vegetable Biryani, Beets Brownie, and Tortilla Chips from scratch.

What is your most recent personal project?

I am working on my second blog. It is still in a work-in-progress phase and will most likely go live from January next year. Apart from food, I will be writing about a number other things that interest me.

Tell us something you think about often (maybe while staring out of windows).

I think my mind wanders easily when I am staring out of the window. Often the thoughts vary drastically – like sometimes I might be thinking about what to cook, and somedays I might be pondering over the philosophical nuances of life.

Give us something that’s your favourite, but make it something oddly specific, not like your favourite food, but like your favourite food when you’ve been studying for hours and forgot to eat. Or, you know, something like that.

Studying for hours and forgot to eat! Yes, that has happened to me in the past. But, I can’t think of any food item I would crave then. But, here is one thing oddly specific – when I am watching a movie in a movie theatre I want caramel popcorn. If that’s not available, I would rather not binge on anything else.

I would like to pass on this tag to a blogger I recently discovered through Twitter – Anagha. If you happen to read this post, do check her blog too.

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!



Monday, October 30, 2017

Harnessing the Windmills of the Mind by Abraham Thomas | Book Review


Harnessing the Windmills of the Mind by Abraham Thomas
#BookReview

In the pell-mell of life, who has not sometimes felt overwhelmed? The mind seems to be in an endless churn...leading us in circles of despair, anger and frustration... Where do we turn when we are floundering? The answer lies within. Windmills offer practical and sustainable ways forward through Effective Mind Control (EMC).

How to control your temper

How to cultivate patience

How to face grief

How to deal with guilt

How to escape from the well of sudden disappointment

How not to feel dissatisfied with life

How to avoid despair over the lack of meaning in your life

These pages abridge the behavioural aspects of the AI thesis about the mind on the Effective Mind Control website. EMC has drawn keen interest from around the world, logging over half a million page views from over 150 countries. EMC assumes that IA, an intuitive algorithm, enables the mind to apply inductive reasoning to manage attitudes and behaviours. Windmills suggest simple mental and physical exercises, followed by wise men across the centuries, to change our own views and actions...pointing the way towards a positive life experience.

The review of this book has been long due. I had received a review copy of the same from Leadstart Publishers. Actually, I had chosen this title from a list of books they had to give way for review. The reason why I was interested in this particular book was the tagline of the book – achieving effective mind control. Well, who doesn’t want to have a full control over their minds? All of us and we all know that it is a herculean task.

As I read this book I realized that you cannot read it in a go. The book is thought-provoking and you have to slowly soak in the nectar of the book. And also unless you apply what you have learnt through the book, you can’t give your opinion about the same, right? That is one of the many reasons (travel, blogging block, Diwali, etc., among others) why it took me so long to write about it here.

The author has described the human brain as a composition of millions of windmills that control how we are, how we behave and how we live our lives. If we can guide and have control over these windmills we can take charge of our lives. And this can be done by following some mental and physical exercises. Sounds easy, right? But, to be able to practice them in everyday lives needs a person’s willingness to change, patience and above all discipline.

The author has touched on every aspect of our lives, the problems and dilemmas we face – sadness, guilt, fear, disappointment, anger, impatience, low self-esteem and more. All these take a toll on the quality of our lives and make us show the futility of our meaningless lives. The irony is that the solutions to all our problems lie within us. But we do not know how to go about it. That is what the book shows us - with the help of breathing exercises, mindfulness exercises the book shows us some ways that can help in fostering positive thinking and a positive attitude towards life and help us fight our own demons.

While I can say the content of the book is great, I wish it was written in a different way. At some point, it starts to sound boring. If it had been written like a practical workbook, it could have been utilised better by the end users.

You can check out the book in Amazon



Thank you for stopping by. Cheers!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Book Review | Return of the Trojan Horse – Tales of Criminal Investigation by Amit Dubey


Return of the Trojan Horse – Tales of Criminal Investigation 
by Amit Dubey #BookReview

The blurb says:

Hello Amit, don’t waste your time; you can’t hack my system. But we will hack your country! Ameen.

They know me! This wasn’t good. The greatest fear a hacker has is having his identity revealed. During investigative operations, I always guarded my identity like the Kohinoor diamond. Then how could they have reached me? It was a-l-m-o-s-t impossible. 

A young software engineer, who, as a hobby, starts helping the Police in solving criminal cases, turns into a critical resource for the Force. He becomes entrapped in the system. Return of the Trojan Horse is the riveting narration of how he is compelled to draw inputs from his personal life and use sharp thinking and advanced technology to solve the criminal cases he is brought into. Based on real life, the book reveals the next generation methodologies used in crime investigation.

With the advent of internet and technology, our lives have changed drastically. We cannot imagine living a day without internet and our gadgets. Every facet of our lives is touched by technology; from the way we shop our groceries, plan our holidays, to how we book our cabs, movie tickets, etc. Whatever we do on the internet, we leave our digital footprints behind. While technology has made our lives easier, it has also made us more vulnerable.

We live in a world where criminals and terrorists are using hi-tech methods and equipment to plan their acts. And hence it is no surprise that those involved in criminal investigations also use advanced technology and next generation methodologies to crack crimes cases. Return of the Trojan Horse – Tales of Criminal Investigation by Amit Dubey gives us a sneak peek into the world of crimes and criminal investigation and how big a role technology is playing in today’s time.

Before I talk about the book, here is something about the author Amit Dubey that you should know. He is a well-known persona in the field of Crime Investigation in India and helps various police departments and security agencies in India to solve criminal cases. He is an IIT alumnus and a software engineer by profession. He speaks regularly at international conferences on cybercrimes and ethical hacking. He has also been featured by CNN-IBN as a National Security Expert.

Given the author’s background, I had high expectations from the book as I felt that the author will be drawing in from his rich experience in the cybersecurity field and will have something interesting to share. The book didn’t just meet my expectations but surpassed it. There are three different fictional case studies in the book - one dealing with a terrorist attack, one involving a kidnapping case and one revolving around a hit and run case (although I do feel somewhere they do have some resemblances with real incidents). All of them are narrated in simple and easy to follow language. The author doesn’t aim to preach or educate you about anything – he just narrates you a story of criminal investigation and how with the help of technology he helped in solving them. The use of technical jargons is minimal and hence the storytelling never feels overwhelming at any point in time.

As you go through the pages of the book, you will know how easy it is to track anyone who uses a smartphone and is connected to the internet. It is quite scary in a way that we are all oblivious to how vulnerable we all are in today’s time connected by technology.

The narration in the book is crisp and to the point. Yet, it often evokes many emotions in the reader– at some point, you will feel angry, sometimes anxious and helpless and often you will feel a strong sense of patriotism. A good pick for anyone interested in reading stories from the field of cybersecurity, criminal investigation and ethical hacking.

This book makes for a great gift for any book lover. So, this Diwali you can gift it to a book-loving friend of yours.




I received a free copy of the book from Leadstart Publishers in lieu of an honest review.


Friday, September 1, 2017

Jason Cage (Jason Cage Series #1) by aKay Brothers – A Book Review




Jason Cage (Jason Cage Series #1) by aKay Brothers 
#BookReview

Books can make you travel places and that is one way it helps in breaking the monotony of life. Last few months things were quite busy at my end and I was hardly getting any time to read anything worthwhile. All the titles I had at hand were not looking very inviting and were pushed away with the ‘read later’ tag. And then I got a mail from the authors of this new book ‘Jason Cage’ for a review and as I read the blurb I was instantly interested.

The authors of this book call themselves aKay Brothers – a pen name under which they are writing a series of books centering around the life of the protagonist named Jason Cage. The book review I am posting today is for the 1st book that has been published recently.

What an interesting and exciting read this book has been! And now I can’t wait for the next book in the series. At first instance, I felt it was a crime thriller, but then there are elements of paranormal fantasy and also some sub plots in historical settings. The best thing about the book is the pace of the story – it builds up interest in the readers and gets them hooked. Even when the settings in the book change, the pace is maintained and that I believe is one of the hallmarks of a good writer.

But, then there is something that needs to be worked upon. I came across a number of editing errors and spelling mistakes in the book that needs to be done away with to enhance the reader’s experience. A tighter editing is recommended for future books.

Jason Cage is a man with a mysterious birth and has a life that is far from normal. He is tormented by his dreams – they are the precursor of events that are about to happen in someone’s real life or in some cases have already happened. But one thing is common - his dreams bring bad tidings. After losing his parents to unnatural deaths and after a stint at a Medical school where he befriends Lisa and Bill, he finally seeks solace in a Buddhist Monastery in Ladakh. Jason knows that his stay there won’t last forever, so he tries to make the most of his time there by keeping a very low profile. But, little does he knows that his dreams will strike him again and he will not have an option but to follow them.

Don – a peculiar creature resembling a lion is Jason's companion and has been by his side most of the time since his birth. The uncanny and peculiar thing about it is that it is visible only to Jason. The author takes us places through Jason’s dreams – sometimes to a time more than half a century ago where a doctor is trying to frame his friend as a blood sucking vampire and then to place where a man meets his death in the most mysterious circumstances after opening a parcel. There is again a sub plot with the settings in ancient Egypt where a man’s folly leads to the rising of the devil.

Amidst all this, there is this dream where Jason sees that Lisa’s (who used be his crush in his college days) life is in danger. That’s when he decides it is time to venture out and save Lisa. But how is he going to do it? He has no idea where Lisa is and to top it, he has no money. How will Jason embark on his journey to save Lisa and will he be able to do it?

Another plot running through the book is that of Dr Dhristi from RAW. After a successful mission of capturing LeT head (seriously that reminded me of the Akshay’s Kumar starter movie –Baby), she deploys her best man to get hold of Jason Cage. Why? That’s a question I am hoping would be covered in the next books.

Just as is expected from books where the story is revealed in a series, there are too many unanswered questions in the first book of the Jason cage series.

What has the Egyptian devil from centuries ago and RAW from the present times got to do with Jason?

How all of these are going to converge to Jason is a thing to read in sequels as and when they get released.

This is a book outside my frequently read genres and it was a welcome change for me. Anyone who is interested in crime thrillers or books on paranormal fantasy will surely find it a great read. If you want to know more about the book, you can visit the author’s website. www.akaybrothers. You can grab a copy of the book on Amazon too.

I received a free r-copy of the book from the authors for an unbiased review.



Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

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