July 2019

Reviving the delicacy : Chicken Dak Bungalow

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One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. The lost and forgotten chicken dak bungalow is sure to be a treat for your tastebuds! This recipe takes back to the colonial times and is a huge part of Anglo-Indian culture.

Historically this curry is said to have been prepared in the dak bungalows or the resting houses of Calcutta where the British government officials, postmen, and sometimes guests would come to rest during their official trips, hunting expedition or during a night stay between journeys.

During their stay in the bungalows the caretakers, then known as khansamahs, used to prepare meals with the local fresh produce in a country style cooking. The curry was not about elaborate cooking or exotic spices, but about availability, simplicity and usage of basic ingredients as this dish was usually made without prior intimation about the guest coming. Since most dak bungalows had their own poultry and herd of goats this curry would use fresh curd, eggs and chicken. A standard meal would include steamed rice, dal, green salad, vegetable curry or a stir fry of veggies, along with the wholesome chicken curry and something sweet, usually a custard.

The addition of eggs and the use of whole spices was the speciality in this colonial recipe. Grinding the spices with a little bit of water and using that spice paste instantly for cooking was the most common in old style Bengali cooking. Spices like cumin, coriander, and red chillies were always used in making the spice paste. This type of curry comes with a whole boiled egg and potatoes in it. It’s a simple and hearty Chicken Curry which goes well with steamed rice but can be served with Roti as well.

The curry recipe may vary depending on the availability of ingredients from one dak bungalow to the other. Unfortunately this dak bungalow cuisine is a near forgotten culinary treasure that survives amongst the few remaining khansamah families and Anglo-Indian households.

Thanks to some Kolkata based restaurants, these dak bungalow style curries are gaining it’s popularity back!

Countries to travel to from India within 50K

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Travelling is becoming a way of life, getting away from our busy schedules is now becoming a necessity. One of the most tedious things to decide is usually the budget , because everything else depends on that, especially deciding whether to travel international or not. It’s a common belief that travelling abroad could burn a hole in your pocket , but we believe otherwise. It all comes down to the country you choose , and all you have to do is a bit of research , planning , advance booking and having a fun and memorable experience!

Asia is a huge continent full of countries that have a vast culture to offer. Especially south east Asia , which is a hotspot for many tropical landmarks. Some being , Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and many more. One can also visit countries like Bhutan, Nepal or Kazakhstan for a serene mountainous experience.

But putting aside our obvious options, there is a huge list of Arabian, African and Eurasian countries waiting to be explored on a budget.

 

RUSSIA

Russia is one shimmering palaces, tall fortresses and ancient churches. Must visit cities in Russia are Moscow and St Petersburg.

Historical villages like Pskov and Suzdal, are within reach of these cities as well.

Some other places to see are Lake Baikal, Altai Republic, Caucasus etc.

Flight tickets – Prices starting at INR 40,000 (Return flight tickets from Moscow)

Stay – As low as 1800-2100 INR per person per night.

Daily expense – INR 3000 – INR 5000

 

TURKEY

‘The land beneath the half moon’, Turkey is full of intriguing cultures, mosques, palaces, ancient cities and delicious food!

Must see places in Istanbul are The Kabak Bay, the butterfly valley, Cappadocia and the grand bazaar.

Flight Tickets – Around Rs 25,000 (From Mumbai to Istanbul Roundtrip)

Stay –  You can get hotels ranging from INR 1500 per night.

Daily Expenses – Around Rs 2,500

 

QATAR

Located in Western Asia and comprised of beaches Qatar is overflowing with ancient art displayed in museums, sacred religious places, spectacular skylines, sand dunes, world-class restaurants and active adventures.

Must see places in Qatar are the Museum of Islamic Art, Villagio Mall and Inland sea.

Flight Tickets – INR 25,000 – INR 31,000 (Roundtrip)

Stay – Airbnb options for 1500-2000 per person per night.

Daily Expenses – INR 3,000 – INR 4,000

 

OMAN

Situated gracefully alongside the Persian Gulf, Oman is amongst the best cultural tourism destinations. Its capital Muscat was once named as the second best city to visit in the world.

Must see places in Oman are Sultan Qaboos, Muttrah Souq, Sultan Qaboos, Musandam beaches, Ras Al Hadd, Shatti Al Qurum, Wadi Bani Khalid, Salalah etc.

Flight Tickets – INR 25,000 – INR 31,000 (Roundtrip)

Stay – As low as INR 2,300 at Airbnb.

Daily Expenses – INR 4,000 – INR 5,000

 

 

KENYA

Kenya has a lot to offer from a traditional African safari, hot air balloon safari, visiting the Savannas, playing with wildlife and relaxing on white sand islands with sparkling blue water. In Kenya you will also find rich and fascinating cultures, spotless coastal beaches, deserts and coral reefs.

Flight Tickets – INR 30,000 – INR 38,000 (if booked in advance)

Stay – Airbnb will get you accommodation as less as INR 1000 per night.

Daily Expenses – INR 4,700 – INR 6,000

 

 

JORDAN

The Crusaders’ castles, Roman amphitheatres and Christian mosaics have always intrigued worldwide travellers. Petra of Jordan is a world wonder that you should not miss. A ride during sunset through the Wadi Rum, getting drawn to the weathered stone, reddened dunes and desert landscapes are a must.

Flight Tickets – Prices starting at INR 33,000 (Roundtrip)

Stay – hostels available for a range of  500 – 1000 INR per night.

Daily Expense – INR 4323 – INR 6000

 

GEORGIA

Georgia is located at the intersection of Europe and Asia and has very dynamic cultures drawn from both continents. The capital city, Tbilisi is full of cobblestone pavements, maze-like streets and sporadic works of modern architecture. Whilst on the other hand, it has a sprawling cave monastery situated in the city of Vardzia.

Flight Tickets – INR 20,000 – INR 30,000 (Roundtrip)

Stay: As low as 1000-1500 INR per person per night.

Daily Expenses – INR 1,100 – INR 2,000

 

We hope this article was useful. Making an international trip is not just a dream, but a dream come true. From island and beaches, to mountains and valleys, you can now experience everything without spending a fortune!