Sunday, November 19, 2017

Home made clamp sabji/sukka

On the way to airport to drop my parents, i encountered a child selling clamps at the signal. With the intention to help, i approached her and finally bought it without bargain.

My parents sitting behind me were surprised on how i will cook it , since i never cooked any thing in my life apart from dal and rice. But my mom decided to use the time remaining to drive the airport to write all the instructions for cooking it.

i guess the biggest hurdle was cleaning it which i managed by calling another friend since mom and dad were not reachable.

But in the end the dish turned out to be delicious. As i researched more,  i realized that clamps are actually good for health

[The vitamin B12 in clams helps in cell reproduction that aids in maintaining health skin. Clams also contain riboflavin or vitamin B2 which helps in the proper development and functioning of the skin. The high protein and omega-3 fatty acid content of this food, too, is good for your skin, hair and nails. Clams are surprisingly high in iron]  Source :

Here is another interesting article from livestrong on the benefits of clam

Ingredients for making Clamps Sukka/sabji
  • Small/medium sized clamps, cleaned– 1 cup
    • (The one I got had lot of sand. So it took 5-6 washes to clean sand)
  • Onion, chopped - 2 big
    • (You can modify the onion based on your preference. I prefer lot of onion in any dish)
  • I picked all the powders available in the round masala box. My mom instructions was add 1/2 tsp of all masala available in box
    • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
    • Red chili powder – 1&1/2 tsp
    • Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
    • Coriander powder - 1tsp
    • Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
  • I was told that this paste when added to food helps in digestion. So sourced this for the first time from nearby shop
    • Ginger/Garlic paste - ½ to 1 tsp
  • Below items were recommended to top up the taste of the final sabji
    • Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
    • Curry leaves – I randomly picked up some fresh leaves that I had sourced from market. Did not count them. But can vary based upon your taste
    • Salt to taste    
    • Olive Oil – 4 or 5 tbsp
    • Cilantro – 2 tbsp

Here are the steps for preparing Clamps sabji
  • Wash the clamps thoroughly in the running water.
  • Chop the onion and cilantro.
  • Place pan on medium flame and add oil into it.
  • When oil heats up, add chopped onion. Fry till onion becomes soft.
  • Then add ginger garlic paste. Fry till raw smell goes off from the paste. 
  • Add all dry masala powder .Fry for 2 minutes
  • Now add clamps and salt. 

  • Cover and cook till the clamps are cooked well.
  • You can add little water, which will help the clamps to cook fast.
  • When clamps are cooked, uncover the pan and try to remove the water from the mixture by turning flame medium to high flame.
  • If you do not want the masala to be dry, then no need of this step.
  • Lastly mix in the chopped cilantro.
  • This clamps sukka can be served with chapathi or just with the plain rice and dal.

As a child at home, I have tried same sabji with dried clamps. This dish today with fresh clamps turned out to be better than my expectation

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

'Respect for Elder' earns me the respect in foreign land first time

First overseas travel is always special in the life. Excitement and joy of the first travel can never match the energy levels during other trips.

My first overseas trip happened to be in land of Uncle Sam. Fighting all constraints , fighting with the bosses (internal politics , visa constraints , strong case for young techy to land in-front of experienced executives etc ) OR over-hours in office to ensure my outcome exceeds expectation OR fighting internally with queue of wait listed people, I was finally about to land in USA - FLORIDA.

But as with all first timers ( I guess), in the last minute I had messed up lot of things. The biggest miss was that i had forgot to get any CURRENCY notes. As a stop gap arrangement, my company arranged to source the CURRENCY card recharged at one of the money exchange counters at airport. They also did some arrangement so that i can get some actual CURRENCY notes.

Standing in the long queue, I noticed an elderly couple standing besides me. Out of Courtesy,  I decided to give them a way. They were surprised at my gesture and the people behind them looked at me hoping as if I had gone mad.

It was a long queue and for some reason it was moving slow. Unlike India were people stand as if they will climb on the people in-front, in this line people had maintained sufficient distance. People were calmly standing. The lady at the counter was slowly executing her work. Though it was annoying, I was trying to distract myself from thinking about the slow pace of her work.

But as a saying goes 'you can only be a lion in your own area', I was patiently waiting in a foreign land. It was more disturbing to watch the elderly couple waiting in the queue. They were shivering. I decided to take the matters in my hand and approached the lady at the counter.

She frowned at me and ignored me. I knocked at the door. This annoyed her and she immediately yelled at me and called security. I was shocked. Dressed in blue (I assume they were COPS or security) , some people just came in and asked me what was happening.

Before I could answer, they asked me to show my passport. After going through my documents, they just asked me what the problem was. I explained to them that I wanted the lady at the counter to help the 'elderly couple' first so that they do not suffer more. The COP smiled after hearing me and just went away.

I was surprised. He just asked me to go back and stand in the line. By this time, I was the villain for the whole crowd. I apologetically stood in the queue.

After five minutes, the cop was back with another person dressed in a suit and introduce me to him. The person (the manager of this shop) first of all thanked me for being concerned about other citizens and loudly clapped for me (the COP joined him).

Suddenly everybody smiled. The manager then said 'sometimes the cultures' make a great difference and such positive from different cultures are welcome in american society. He also made it a point to explain the whole scenario to people standing there. Suddenly I turned from a villian to a HERO and people were cheering for me.

I was amazed that my simple gesture was appreciated so much by the crowd. But, I guess the values of respecting elders learnt from my family is what automatically got awakened in this situation.

Check more interesting details on #MoreIndianThanYouThink here

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

Accepted widely across many organizations in 100+ countries, The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the world’s most popular English language test for non-native English language speakers.
Launched in 1980 by Cambridge English Language Assessment and the British Council, IELTS assesses the ability to read, write, listen and speak English at different places such as work, school and social places at new life abroad.
Exam Format
·         Academic: If you wish to go to school or get professional registration in IELTS accepted countries, then this exam should be given
·         General: If you wish to go to school or work or attend training or settle in IELTS accepted countries, then this exam should be given
Exam Components
This exam has four main components. Speaking component of this exam can be done either before or after three other exam components (listening, reading and writing) are completed. There are no breaks between the three written components. 

For more details about the exam and centers, visit British Council website.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Learnings of a first time Aquarium owner

Some people dream of having an aquarium at home. Well the dream is good, but what is important is that proper care needs to be taken care of the new members

A video posted by amar (@amarnaik) on

Most shops suggest many remedies but i would like to share some of my learnings.

Past history

We initially bought goldfish. But they could not survive for more than 2 weeks. When we enquired with the shop owner , we were told following reasons

 - Healthy fish death is an indication that hey have taken away the evil spirits from home (according to chinese calendar) since it takes away the bad things happening at home

i happend to call another store, then they told me that possible death reason could have been due to

 - excessive shocks. they could not tolerate the unhealthy water from taps. They advised to keep the water in sun for 4 days before putting it in acquarium

Well i do not deny the above findings, but the death of fish disturbed us. We were not willing to buy more fish since we did not another fish deaths at home. After researching for many weeks, we finally decided that we should try second time.

In the second phase of this journey, we bought pair of Molly.  Today we have successfully been able to maintain the aquarium for more than more month and the fishes are healthy


1. Aquarium needs to be cleaned once a week. But do not change the whole water. Make sure 30-40% of the old water is mixed with new water. This does give fish the shocks of new atmosphere

2. Give them food twice a day. Many fish owners told me that remove the food from aquarium, if fish do not eat it in 15 minutes since dissolved food can make the water dangerous. But i noticed that the fish eat food slowly and then need an hour to slowly eat

3. Contrary to what i was told (to add mixture of tap water and  mineral water), the fish survive well in tap water. I have been using tap water and stopped using mineral water

4. Size of the food consumed varies based on the fish. Molly used food which are smaller sized compared to gold fish food

5.When you change water in aquarium, move the fish to another container. Let the container have the water from aquarium so that fish do not feel to much change. the same water can be added back to the aquarium.

So any of you have any experiences maintaining the aquarium. Would love to hear them out !!