Well, it was way above anything any resort could ever provide.
Other than the hours of adda and amazing good food that came one after another starting from luchi and ending in Thai taking a circuitous route through Ilish and Dal-Gosht in between, there was bird-watching right at their backyard.
Birds from glowing gold-finch to tiny hummingbirds, red cardinals to blue birds all flock their backyard. K and M have many bird feeders hung up and that is what attracts these tiny birds out of thin air. They clearly love all the bird watching and have different kinds of feeds depending on the birds' choice. The American Gold Finch apparently favor Thistle seeds. The hummingbirds prefer sugar water and love red colored feeders. The blue bird is omnivore and prefers insects in its diet. Pheww, picky they are.
I have never been with birds so close before unless we take into account my paternal grandparent's sprawling and old home where birds lived along with humans in a peaceful co-existence. Well by birds I mean mostly "House Sparrows".
They made their nests in the skylight---ghulghuli as we said, laid eggs and ate rice and fish curry off the dining table. It was not totally unnatural to find straws of hay in your charchari as the arduous male sparrow carried raw material to repair his nest. If it was not hay, it was twigs, or a piece of cane from the rocking chair. The male of the species were always flapping wings around the outer verandah appearing to be very busy in one home improvement project or the other.
The female sparrow lived a more relaxed life and I am sure took long naps because many a summer afternoon we would have to sweat out in the sticky heat unable to switch on the ceiling fan because a spoilt sparrow child had chosen that moment to fly across our bedroom in a game of tag. My Thama, who had otherwise accepted the birds as a legacy, would at times get exasperated with the mess they made and get one of those broomsticks with a long handle to shoo the birds away. She never threw away their nests or did anything that would permanently ban their return though. The birds therefore stayed in that house, being neither nurtured nor watched, but living a comfortable life and feasting on fish curry-rice.If I recall I harbored no special feeling towards them. Just like the cats who sat around our feet munching on fish head, or the crows on the banana tree who cawed so deep that it broke the silence of an otherwise sleepy afternoon, the sparrows belonged to that house as did we.
Now, after many years, I watched birds. By Choice. I took my tea and sat out there in the mornings watching those colorful birds, the sophisticated cousins of my once home's "house sparrow". But as is my norm, I did not take my camera along and was not able to capture good pics on the camera. Some of the bird pics are from K from another day.
The food T the K's home as I have said was gorgeous and the Dal-Gosht that K made on Sunday was something I have never had before. Goat meat cooked with chana dal to a softness that is downright sinful, it is a beautiful dish. K said he had followed the recipe from this youtube video. I watched the video and it was pretty simple to follow.
However we do not eat a lot of meat at our home and so I wasn't going to try out this recipe for a while. But it was so good that I thought some of you might be interested.
I therefore decided to post the recipe, roughly as K said which actually religiously follows the You Tube video except for the amount of Oil. Since K's goat meat had fatty pieces he let it cook in its own fat instead of adding too much oil. At least that is what he told me.
Wash and clean about 1.7-2lb(approx one and quarter kg) of goat meat.
Soak 1/2 Cup of Chana Dal in hot water for 2 hour
In a pressure cooker
add goat meat
1 cup warm water
2 tomatoes roughly chopped
1 cups of onion chopped in large chunks
6-8 fat cloves of garlic (half a head of garlic roughly)
1 tsp of Red Chili Powder
1 tsp of Cumin Powder
1/2 tsp of Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp of Turmeric Powder
Cook the meat for about 4-5 minutes at full pressure.
While the meat is cooking in a mortar ground
1 tsp whole black pepper
1"of whole peeled ginger
Also heat about 3 tbsp of oil and fry 1/2 cup of thinly sliced onion
Once the meat is done open the lid add
the chana dal
about 2 cups of warm water
the ground paste
Close lid and cook for 2 more minutes.
Don't cook too much else the dal will be mushed. Check to see the meat should be cooked by now.
Now do the tadka by adding to above the fried onion and the oil. Mix and let it cook for a couple more minutes. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander leaves