Thursday, July 24, 2008

Lovely weather here down south, and a great time to be on vacation. Showers every alternate day, and mostly at night, makes it all the more pleasant and un-invasive. Great for morning walks, the soil still being damp and at places squelchy, dotted with chocolate puddles. The morning breeze being so fresh and invigorating, that it falls under the list of ‘those inexplicable’ blissful sensastions.

The roads in the early part of the day, bears no resemblance to what it is, during the better part of the day! Wading through a sea of vehicles, could well be an adventure sport in its own right! Nosing your way, sidling into the gaps, instincts razor sharp, you need them, either to swerve dramatically, to avoid an over speeding driver, zipping inches away, or to wedge your vehicle into the narrowest gap in front of you, before nudged by a million other forms on wheels. Its survival of the fittest, the fastest and the smartest out there. While in the back seat, its best to just shut your eyes, or take part in some deep, engrosing conversation, wherein you allow yourself not to be distracted by a racey action-flick, unfolding right before your eyes!

Just thought would touch upon some interesting features about food in the Middle East. The staple diet or rather the one you would order in an restaurant would be like khubuz and hummus (vegetarian), and showrma or shish taouk(non-vegetarian) along with pickles and garlic dip, and of course the famous Biryani .

Khubuz (has varied spellings and pronunciations!) also known as 'pita', very much like our Naan, and is a bread baked in a kiln, and removed by metal rods, just like our rotis. But slightly thicker and sort of spongy and yeasty.

Shawarma is a non-veg dish (of chicken or lamb) where the soft tender cooked meat, is shredded and garnished. Eaten as a roll or sandwhich with the khubuz.

Hummus is a dip or a main side dish, basically made of ground chickpeas or channa. It has a nice smooth consistency and is very wholesome.

Shish taouk is basically chicken kabab, served with salad. The only difference, from its Indian counterpart being that, they form one long section, instead of chopped individual pieces.

Garlic Dip - Not sure what the exact Arabic name is, but it is an almost inevitable accompaniment, and is said to neutralise the effect of excessive fat and oil in the meal.

Biryani - To be honest I have not tasted a typical Kuwaiti Biryani, so will refrain from saying much, except for the fact that the dish did indeed cross over from Persia across the Arabian Sea to India. So I would think it would taste much the same as it does in India! Maybe another blog can be dedicated to this Queen of all Dishes at a later stage; Or would welcome fellow bloggers or readers to contribute towards this section.
From my limited knowledge, and from what I have observed from my short stay in Kuwait, I understand that the cuisine, is a mixture of Lebanese and Iraqi and Arabian cuisine. And ofcourse the country has been sort of swamped by fast food chains, which are so very popular, that you tend to find them more, than the typical Arabi restaurants, and followed closely by Indian restaurants of course. So we do have our share of Dosas and Butter chickens and Utthappams and Naans, regulary at the local 'Udippis' or 'Saagars' and the 'Daawats'!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A summer evening

The fauna and flora here is nothing spectacular I would think, or rather nothing much to write about; but still when you set your mind to it, you can have your share of greenery, or rather in this part of Kuwait, it would be ‘brownery’. The fact that the landscape is so oft ravaged by sandstorms, the plants bear the brunt, and tend to be laden by the constant onslaught of sand particles. They seem to sort of weigh down on them, and stay put, giving them a brownish tinge, to the entire structure of the plant, tree, so much so that it merges perfectly with the sandy landscape.

Right in the middle of summer vacation, another month or so, to go still, and you see crowded streets, malls, and of course open grounds, dotted with numerous football teams, of varying age groups, and varying energy levels. Was reminded of our playgrounds being crammed, with charged up feisty players, (predominantly the 5-14 yr olds) brandishing their invincible bat, and lunging with all that they have got, to get the perfect yorker. And scanning for a similar sight, was awarded with one, and heart did leap with joy to behold a team, made of all but 8 players, but the spirit there all the same, heaving a mighty six, and the lunge to catch the ball. Cricket is around, trying to carve a niche, and managing to, amidst the roaring fury of football mania.

When you search for beauty, you are sure to find it, or so I would like to think. So as the twilight set in, managed to get this ‘colourful’ image, with the tiny dot of moon, heralding yet another long, warm night.