Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Capsicum Mushroom Chicken - Restaurant Style

I don't know if this is an Indian recipe or Indian Chinese recipe. May be a combination of both. In any case, this is one of my favorite party buster.

Here is how I go about doing it.
Get fresh cut whole chicken and cut into further small pieces. Wash until the blood is pretty much washed and marinate with salt, paprika, ginger powder, garlic powder, freshly ground black pepper, paprika and chicken masala powder. Adjust the amount to get desired taste.
Cut red onions into half rings and saute in a large skillet with desired oil. Once the onion turns brown, add ginger garlic paste, long cut green chili pepper and saute for a while. Then add cut tomato and saute until the mix becomes a pulp. Add marinated chicken pieces and cook in low flame until the juices start flowing. Add quarter cup of water if you don't see much juice. Cook for 20-30 minutes with a lid to cover. Remove the lid and add finely chopped spring onions and cilantro and cook in high flame for 5-10 minutes till the juice disappear.
Meanwhile, on a separate woke, stir fry cube cut red bell pepper (Capsicum) and sliced mushroom on high heat. Once the sides of the pepper and mushroom turns brown and you don't see any moisture in the pan, add salt and crushed chili to taste. Pour the contents to the chicken prepared in above step.
Serve in a large bowl. Squeeze half lemon and garnish with chopped spring onion and cilantro. (Curry leaves if you like south Indian flavor).
Note: The picture shown is taken today while we are vacationing in Seattle. Hint....to our other friends....you have good reason to have us come over for a visit :)

Sunday, May 6, 2007

To save or use - that is the question about carbon credits

My parents never owned a car in their life time. They mostly walked to their schools and studied books during day light. They took public transportation to get to work and worked without fan and air condition on hot and humid days. Our annual electricity usage averaged below 30 KWH (US average is around 9000 KWH per year) when we were growing up. Even that was very high among our many neighbors. We did not have a refrigerator until we started going to college. Many families in my village still do not have refrigerator. We bought our first television when I was 20 years old. I am just 34 years old, Thank you very much if you thought I am a very old man!

When I got a job that paid well, I bought a car. It had three quarters of a liter engine, two cylinders and four crammed seats. It probably gave me 50mpg (miles per gallon). But that was too much petrol (gasoline) compared to the 150mpg I was getting from my old Vespa scooter. But it was worth the prestige and mark of success it brought to my otherwise lower middle class Indian life.

It was an opportunity of a life time to come to the US and see the prodigal life styles of baby boomers in the US. McMansions, Hummer Limousines, larger than wall TVs, 8 passenger SUVs for the soccer moms and 400 horses for the NASCAR dads, the list is end less. But it did not tempt me to buy a V8 as my first car. I went with the Asian bet on Honda Civic. It had four cylinders, 100 horses and five comfortable seats and gave 32 mpg. Not a bad upgrade from the two cylinders. I found my peace in my civic among the gas guzzling SUVs and roaring sporting machines crowding southern California freeways.

Then all of a sudden, the largest contributor of global warming (US) realized that the way of extravagant life at the expense of the unsustainable fossil fuel is at risk. Celebrities lined up at Prius dealerships until Toyota started making it in abundance. Al Gore bought a hybrid lexus SUV as a brand ambassador for inconvenient truth. He also bought carbon credits to offset the global warming caused by the energy costs of his Tennessee Mansion. Oscar went green by buying carbon credit.

That made me realize the pile of carbon credit I have been sitting on all my life. As a legal heir of carbon free ancestors, I inherited lots of carbon credits. I also managed to collect quite a lot of carbon credit on my own. I walked to work for many years until I moved to a place that was beyond walking distance. We used very little electricity to cool and very little gas to heat by continue to practice thermal management as in the old days. Thermal management is a fancy word for opening windows in summer nights and wearing warm clothes in winter. Thanks to Victoria Secret, sleeping with nice warm sweater in winter is so un-cool these days. We switched off lights when not in use. We bought CFLs in place of ordinary bulbs. We used home filtered water instead of the plastic bottles from Fiji. We banked online with paperless e-bill.

So we decided to use some of the carbon credit slowly but cautiously. We just didn’t want to run out of it in my life time. Using those credits, I decided to buy an SUV. I saved some credits by buying a super low emission vehicle (SLEV) with above average SUV mpg. Later I lost my Honda civic. So I had to use more of those credits once more to buy a Honda V6 instead of a 4 cylinder. But I believe I still have more credits left even to buy and heat a McMansion at some point in my life. So I have to be careful not to spend too much of my carbon credits. I would rather save the habitat for Sundarbans tigers than owning a McMansion habitat. But then that is what I though when I did not own a car. 'I would rather save the ozone than save a walk'. Saving planet is awfully difficult when you have the means, especially in a 'Super Size It' and indulging society. When some one is urging the public to ride public transportation, they mean what they say. The 'public' to ride public transportation so that there are less cars in the freeway when they cruise along in their Lexus RX 400h.