Archive for December 15, 2013

Fried Tilapia

Taking a break from posting my travel posts, here is a very tasty Fried Tilapia recipe. I learned this recipe from one of my friends, Manasi. She had invited Sam and I for lunch and made this fish and served with rice and lentil, which was very tasty. Ever since that day, I have made this fried Tilapia on a regular basis. Since it is easier to find frozen tilapia than fresh ones, this recipe will give you an idea of how to cook frozen tilapia. It is very easy to make and tastes very good.

Ingredients:
5-6 frozen tilapias fillets (thawed)
2 tablespoon lemon juice
Cayenne pepper to taste
Salt to taste
1/2 cup semolina flour (or as needed)
1/3 cup of vegetable oil to fry

Directions:
1. In a large plate, marinade fish fillets with lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper for half an hour. DSC_0132-001

2. In a separate plate, spread semolina. Take a fish fillet and roll in the semolina flour. DSC_0151-001

3. Do the same for the other side.DSC_0135-001

4. In a frying pan, heat 1/3 cup of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the fish. Cook until brown.DSC_0143-001

5. And cook both sides. DSC_0147-001

5. Enjoy with rice and red lentil. DSC_0148-001

 

Sightseeing Around Kathmandu Valley

I recently saw a facebook group called “1001 things to do in Kathmandu, Nepal” which gave me an idea to put together a blog post about sightseeing in Kathmandu. If you are planning to visit Nepal, you will probably want to stay a few days in Kathmandu and if you do, here I have listed pictures of places that you could visit.

For those of you who do not know about Kathmandu, Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal. Even though Nepal is known for being the home of Mt. Everest, the elevation of Kathmandu is 1,400 m (4,600 ft). Since the uprising of Maoist in Nepal, people from villages have migrated to Kathmandu city making the population highly dense about 5 million. Due to this uncontrolled growth of the city both in terms of people and infrastructures, the city feels very unsupervised. I like to call it a “city of renters”.

Although too crowded and polluted, Kathmandu is undeniably charming. Kathmandu houses hundreds of temples, stupas, and monasteries showing religious tolerance. Kathmandu is chaotic to say the least but if you get too annoyed by the craziness of Kathmandu, you could always go to other parts of Nepal.

This list is not in any particular order nor are these the only places to see in Kathmandu. (Unfortunately, I do not have pictures of Bhaktapur)

Boudhanath. Boudhanath is one of the famous Buddhist Stupas in Nepal. 25126_1365249964490_4797028_n

Sam and I in Boudhanath.25126_1365248484453_2335281_n

Boudhanath. One of the activities you could do in Boudhanath is feed these pigeons :) 34163_1440475565083_1454827_n

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Thangka shops in Boudhanath. Thangka are hand painted art illustrating Buddhist deities. 34982_1450657339621_4942581_n

Thangka artists. Thangkas are very detailed and intricate which makes them very difficult to make.35101_1450656539601_2674230_n

Shops in Boudhanath38092_1450658499650_4050290_n

Purchasing incense. 25126_1365257364675_4486625_n

Malls: If you are into shopping, there are dozens of malls in Kathmandu these days. 27107_1367827468926_8197234_n

Eating Dosa (South Indian dish) in City Center31334_1384544926852_3706135_n

Bhatbhateni shopping center. 31808_1415853869556_3786502_n

Basantapur Durbar Square is the old royal palace of Kathmandu Kingdom. You can see a lot of palaces, temples and Sadhus in Basantapur. You can also get photo op opportunities. We took a picture with this Sadhu and he asked for Rs 100. I should have asked for a few business tips from him :)

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There are a number of shops in Basantapur where you can buy handmade decorative items for a reasonable price. However, you must bargain. Unlike in western cultures, in Asia bargaining is an art form. The trick is to have a sense of humor and not take it too seriously.

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Sam getting a lot of attention while learning to play bag chal which literally means Tiger’s move. It is a board game that can be played by two people and watched by many :)27107_1367941911787_7895314_n

Basantapur with Sammy.27107_1367943071816_4498255_n

Fun pass time at Basantapur: watching people from the top of the stairs.
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Shops.27107_1367940991764_5008629_n

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Kal bhairav is a Hindu god.

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Bead shop near Asan. There are a number of saris, beads, shoes and vegetable shops at Asan. Ever since I was a kid, I love shopping here. 27107_1367961952288_1531236_n

Always chaos at Asan.27107_1367962272296_5831982_n

Beautiful kurtas.27107_1367962672306_7204214_n 27107_1367962752308_7045723_n 27107_1367963272321_8069606_n

Flower shop! Marigolds27107_1367963752333_3017964_n

Must make your husband give you a ride on rickshaw.27107_1367964312347_5521249_n

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Thamel is another place that you should not miss. Since it is a tourist district, you can experience a lot of fun here. From being invited to smoke marijuana (illegal in Nepal) to being asked for $$ randomly on the street by street kids, Thamel is very entertaining.24696_1371300235743_4859133_n

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There are lots of restaurants and entertainment places in Thamel. Went to check out Pokhara Dohari Nachghar with my parents. Dohari is a type of folk musical activity.  31808_1415874030060_163842_n

Nepali Dinner31808_1415871670001_7436322_n 27107_1369529071465_4531492_n

Stupa at Dharma-Kriti Vihar near Asan. 27107_1369548431949_590802_n

Vegetable market on the street.27107_1369549151967_635169_n

Newroad is downtown where you can find many electronic and other shops. This picture was taken during Nepal bandh which literally means Nepal closes. Often initiated by political parties, during Nepal bandh, you can not run any business or vehicles. 31334_1382467834926_6010105_n

Gold shop in NewRoad. When it comes to gold, people in Nepal buy only 24 carat gold, they don’t mess around :)27107_1367829908987_6486589_n

Statue of King Prithivi Narayan Shah (founder of modern Nepal) at Singhadurbar. Singhadurbar is the administrative center of Nepal.31334_1382468714948_4568297_n

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Located north of Boudhanath, Kopan Monastery is on a hill. It is beautiful, well kept and  houses 360 monks.

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Narayanthan: Hindu temple of lord Vishnu.31334_1384540886751_5356951_n 31334_1384541686771_3031676_n

Located in Sanga, the tallest Shiva in the world (that’s what I was told). 34283_1430840204205_6364073_n

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We went to the opening ceremony of this place. 34305_1430840364209_8332158_n

At another amazing place, Patan. With my friend. 34540_1450646179342_7213177_n

Krishna temple in Patan.34548_1450638539151_1424367_n

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Dhunge dhara (traditional stone spout) in the background. 34662_1450640699205_3320876_n

 

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With a very handsome man. 35065_1450640979212_3371334_n

Bangle shop.35304_1450646779357_7068524_n

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Patan Durbar Square. 38431_1450651659479_736376_n 38494_1450640459199_7142941_n

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Swayambhunath is another famous stupa. Unlike Boudhanath, Swayambhunath is visited by both Buddhists and Hindus. 24316_1371832369046_2336170_n

You can find very naughty monkeys around Swayambhunath . 24316_1371836249143_6504469_n

Famous stairs in Swayambhunath . 24316_1371849129465_3014822_n

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Swayambhunath stupa on the top of the hill. 24316_1371852369546_8048576_n

You can view the Kathmandu Valley from the top of the hill at Swayambhunath . Unfortunately, the visibility is very low during some parts of the year due to air pollution. 24316_1371852929560_3587655_n

With children of god at Pashupatinath. Pashupatinath is one of the most famous hindu temples around the world. Unfortunately, I don’t have other nice pictures of Pashupatinath. I took a lot of pictures of Bagmati river but it is very contaminated (not shown). 24796_1372760152240_1719212_n

Founded by Newari community, Kirtipur is an ancient city that has maintained its tradition.  35713_1433676715116_1098066_n

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A view from one of the restaurants in Kirtipur. 37258_1433678955172_6944088_n

Located 32km east of Kathmandu, Nagarkot is a very popular tourist destination. Because of its peaceful ambiance, Nagarkot attracts both domestic and international tourists. 26678_1434582617763_6601962_n

Beautiful hotel at Nagarkot36921_1434583377782_2969605_n 37374_1434626818868_7298833_n 34153_1434627098875_6458477_n 36453_1434626738866_661088_n

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Namche to Tengboche .

Continuing from the last post….Before we left Namche, we visited the Sherpa Museum which is located on the hill above Namche. We also visited a few of our family friends. Growing up in Kathmandu, my sisters and I didn’t really know very many Sherpa people or our relatives. This trip was a wonderful introduction to my own culture. Learning about Sherpa communities and witnessing the beauty of culture, the place and people made me feel proud to be Sherpa. Unlike other parts of Nepal, Sherpa villages are very clean and well kept especially in the Khumbu region (Northeastern Nepal).

Enjoy the post about our journey from Namche to Tengboche. I had difficulty choosing pictures for this post since all of them are so beautiful. I narrowed it down to around 40 pictures out of the nearly 2000 pictures we (mostly Sam) took.

Mom and I. Beautiful Namche in the background. DSC_2395-001

Beautiful flowers in Namche.  DSC_2415-001

Sherpa Museum with traditional kitchen wares.  DSC_2417-001

Cups made up of wood. DSC_2421-001

Outside the museum with lots of prayer wheels. DSC_2465-001

Prayer wheels. DSC_2474-001

Beautiful valley.DSC_2481-001

TrailDSC_2485-001

Stupa on the way to Tengboche.DSC_2517-002

In front of the Stupa. DSC_2519-001

Trail to TenbocheDSC_2520-001

Tea time at Ama Dablam lodge. DSC_2584-001

Can you see the mountain?DSC_2585-001

Children in the mountains learn to ride yaks at a very young age?DSC_2598-001

I was the only person on the trail wearing hot pink. DSC_2609-001

Doing my best to look cute despite not showering or seeing a mirror for a couple of days. DSC_2614-001

Sam was impressed at the large loads some of the mountain women were carrying and tried to lift one himself. DSC_2620-001

It turned out to be much heavier than Sam expected and the whole group of porters got a huge kick out of his attempts at lifting the heavy load. DSC_2625-001

Sam finally gave up but provided some good entertainment. DSC_2626-001

Last bridge before Namche. DSC_2640-001

We were too late to see the rhododendron (national flower of Nepal) in bloom, however luckily there was one late bloomer.  DSC_2661-001

On the way, we met this group of traveling nuns. They spoke Tibetan, so only my mom could talk to them.DSC_2666-001

Sam and I resting our legs. DSC_2681-001

My coat got torn on some bushes, luckily we had some band-aids to patch it with before all the feathers came out.  SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

Potato bread being cooked on a traditional earthen stove. The stove is L shaped, wood is fed in the bottom and food is cooked on the top.  DSC_2634-001

My mom hired Dawa to help us with the trip. He really liked taking photos and also didn’t mind posing for a few. But he was also an amazing hiker. Despite carrying a heavy pack, he was always way ahead of us and always had a big smile.

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These stones are placed by passing hikers. SDC14099-001

As we got higher, the fields became less lush and the landscape got drier. SDC14083-001

As soon as we reached Tengboche, I started posing for pictures :)DSC_2695-001

I even made Sam pose for a couple photos.DSC_2699-001

In front of Tengboche. Built in 1923, Tengboche is the largest monastery in the Khumbu region. Despite being destroyed twice, first by an earthquake in 1934 and again by a fire in 1989,  it has been rebuilt and still stands tall which shows the commitment and faith of Sherpas in the area. DSC_2703-001
We stayed at a hotel in Tengboche. SDC14115-001

Dinner time in Tengboche. It was hard to eat, we were so tired. SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

Sam got up around 4am in the morning as usual and went on a hike. He took beautiful pictures while I was still sleeping.  Tengboche has a panoramic view of the Himalayan mountains, including the well-known peaks of Tawache, Everst, Nuptse, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, and Thamserku. Here on the right, you can see Ama Dablam with the first morning rays of sunlight shining from behind it. On the left Mt. Everest is obscured by clouds.DSC_2717-001

This is Tengboche monastery, supporting buildings, and the hotel we stayed at (in the bottom left) from the hill above Tengboche.                                                                           DSC_2820-001 DSC_2798-001 DSC_2758-001 DSC_2757-001DSC_2729-002DSC_2843-001

Alternative style of prayer flags. DSC_3052-001 DSC_3047-001 DSC_3032-001

There were plenty of mountain flowers. DSC_3021-001 DSC_3020-001 DSC_2878-001 DSC_2871-001 DSC_2847-001 DSC_2846-001

I finally woke up and took a few photos before breakfast.                                   DSC_3102-001

We even found a yak to pose with. I might look like I am dancing, but really the yak moved suddenly and I was running away :)DSC_3133-001

The yak got breakfast before I did. DSC_3127-001

The monastery is painted with beautiful bright colors, and the mountains provide a beautiful backdrop. DSC_3123-001

We kind of hoped we could fly back all the way to the bottom since the hike was so long.DSC_3112-001 DSC_3110-001

The monastery kitchen, where food for ~30 monks was prepared. DSC_3137-001

Breakfast time at last. DSC_3194-001

Breakfast included chapati with potato and vegetable curry.DSC_3201-001DSC_3193-001

Dawa and I practiced the ancient Buddhist art of levitation. Dawa was very good since he committed less sins than me.DSC_3154-001

Butter lamps in Tengboche. DSC_3143-001

Lighting butter lamps. DSC_3139-001

Mom and I tried to pose in front of Everest, but I blocked the view.DSC_3236-001

Pointing at Everest. DSC_3232-001 DSC_3228-001

Sam and I trying to look as goofy as possible. DSC_3223-001 DSC_3217-001

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Blue pine cones. I had never seen such a blue thing in nature before. DSC_3346-001  DSC_3290-001

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Sam picked some flowers for me.DSC_3275-001

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