Monday, 18 December 2017

Mushroom & Broccoli Savory Muffin

The holiday season is already here and I am feeling very festive. I took a leave for two weeks and wanted to really have a laid back end of the year. Movies, baking, cooking, shopping and decorating are the major activities I am indulging into. I never knew baking could be so much fun despite being messy :P. 

Yes I am quite messy with the kitchen when I am baking. Still need to get the hang of the stuffs and do things systematically. Its usually the recipe sheet lying on one corner, newspaper laid out for straining the flour, mixing bowl, chopping board and ladles and whiskers , well the list is never ending. But still I'm in love with baking.

From the time I got the microwave I was planning on baking something savory, muffins to be precise. I wanted to bake something with my favorite veggies, but getting a good recipe was the main task. Then one i really liked which had mushrooms. Read it here. But then I tweaked it and added all the veggies I wanted or had in pantry. I wanted to add spinach but unfortunately it wasn't available in the house and I was lazy to go out and get it.

Find the recipe below. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed making it!

Preparation Time: 20 minutes  
Baking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 5 muffin
Cuisine: English

  • Mushroom - 5 , finely chopped(filling), 1 - sliced (garnish)
  • Broccoli - 3-4 florets finely chopped
  • Zucchini - 4 gm, finely chopped
  • Garlic - 5 fat cloves finely chopped
  • Butter - 1 tbsp
  • Flour - 1 cup
  • Baking Powder - 1 tsp
  • Cheese cube - 1
  • Milk - 90 ml
  • Egg - 1
  • Refined oil - 30 ml
  • Salt as per taste
1. Finely chop the mushroom, zucchini, broccoli, garlic. Keep some fine slices of mushroom aside for garnish. Take a pan and add the butter. When it sizzles add the chopped vegetables and saute till the raw smell is gone. You can add a pinch of salt just to cook the veggies faster. Make sure the broccoli retain its vibrant green color. Keep it aside.

2. Mix the flour and baking powder. I strained the flour before mixing. Grate the cheese and fold in. I kept 1/4th of the cube for garnish.

3. Mix the wet elements (oil, milk, egg) and whisk them in medium speed to make a uniform mixture. Add the wet mixture into the dry mixture and fold in. Adjust the salt level. Add the sauteed vegetables and mix well to make a thick batter.

4. Preheat oven to 180°C or 350°F. I used silicon muffin moulds. Grease the inside of the muffin cups with a little butter and use a ladle to pour in the batter into each mould. Make sure you leave enough space in the mould for the muffin to rise and take shape.Garnish the top with mushroom slices and grated cheese.

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes in convection mode in the pre heated microwave. The muffins will be done when you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.

Enjoy your muffins with green coriander sauce or any sauce of your liking.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Chola Shaaker Ghonto (Chana saag / Chickpea green medley)

Winter is here and everything is already so beautiful. Winter is a time for going on a gastronomic frenzy as the produce you get at this time of the year are simply so fresh, flavorful and tasty. 

I am having a gala time in my kitchen exploring many new dishes, adding new dimensions to existing traditional dishes, creating fusion of Bengali and Marathi cuisine, its just too much fun! 

When I am alone I usually avoid preparing leafy vegetables as its a hell lot of hard work to clean them. At the same time I just love the greens. Give me any leafy vegetables and I am a happy person. But the amount of hard work deters me every time. This time since mom is visiting me, I dared to try out a number of leafy vegetables. Chola shaak or Chole ka saag or Harbhara is such a thing.

Mom says, I have had chola shaak as a kid. But by seeing the shaag I couldn't recollect. Only when I tasted it did I remember that I indeed had tasted it earlier. Usually other years we get the whole bush of Chola Shaak along with the green chola, but I didn't notice chola shaak being sold. The chola shaak which has chickpeas are not suitable for this preparation as the leafs are dry and hard. The shaak which is just sold separately needs to be picked for this recipe.

Actually I went overdrive with this leafy vegetable thing due to my colleagues who would bring different greens every day to lunch. Maharashtrian saak recipe usually has shenga or peanuts in it which I totally love but never tried making myself. So this time I thought lets make it the Marathi way. But then mom wasn't too confident neither did I have the time to look up in net. Hence we mutually agreed to do it the old Bengali way with fish. I had some good potions of Rohu in my pantry too so everything fell into place.

Once the dish was made and I tasted it, it revived a good lot of childhood memories. The earthy flavor of Chickpea greens really is out of the world. It goes very well with steamed rice alone. I finished my whole rice just with this and didn't even touch the other dishes. Do try this simple yet tasty preparation if you happen to get these leafy vegetable anywhere near you.

Preparation Time: 60 minutes or more 
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4
Cuisine: Bengali

  • Chola Shaak/ Chikpea greens/ Harbhara - 1/2 kg
  • Green Chilli - 3-4
  • Jeera / Cumin whole - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric as required
  • Salt as per taste
  • Refined Oil/ Mustard Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Fish - 250 gm (Rohu  curry cut (peti) / Shoal fish head)

1. Cleaning the shaak:  This is the most important, tricky and time consuming part of the preparation. You need to separate the leaves from the stalk as soon as you get it from market. Because if you keep it in fridge it will wilt and become difficult to separate the leaves from the stalk. 

Pic Courtesey : Internet
Separate the soft leaves and soft stalks from the hard stalk. Now wash the leaves. I usually take a big strainer and keep it inside a bigger vessel. Then I fill the strainer with the shaag and let the water run over it. The water accumulates inside the bigger vessel. And now you can dip the strainer two three times inside that water so that your shaag is clean and less water is consumed for cleaning.
2.  clean and marinate the fish/fish head in salt and turmeric for about 10-15 minutes. Fry them in mustard oil and keep aside.

3.  Heat a pan and add mustard oil. When its hot enough temper it with cumin and split green chillies. When the cumin is fragrant add the washed shaag. Add turmeric and fold in. 

4. The shaag will sweat and start reducing. Cook till all the water is evaporated. Adjust the salt.

5. Add the fried fish. With the spatula break the fish as small as you can and mix well with the Shaag.

Note: The dish can be prepared without fish as well. Fish is just to add an extra flavour to the already flavourful greens.

Serve it with steamed rice and daal.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Penne Pasta in Pink/White Sauce

My Journey with Pasta has been a bitter sweet one and dates back to the time when we were kids. Pasta wasnt a fad back then. I remember we used to call them simple macaroni. And whenever mom would prepare it or mention it I would go meh! Rubbery white things with no taste what so ever and looking like a snail, how appetizing can it be to a 5 year old.

That impression of pasta had stayed back in the mind somewhere. So when the world was going ga ga over pastas I hardly had any interest. Then came the time when I finally decided to give the Sunfeast ready to cook pasta a try. I was told the white sauce one was good. And guess what I was greeted with the same macaroni shaped pasta. After staring at them for a whole minute I thought fine lets give it a try. And I loved the result. Creamy, buttery soft pasta. Thats probably the first time I felt good about this particular dish.

A lot of time passed in between, and my pasta pangs were only limited to the ready to cook pasta. Until recently when a group of friends went to Sundarban hotel beside the Osho Commune in Koregaon Park, Pune. It was a veg restaurant and we sat in the open seating space. There was an assortment of various cuisines and we decided to go for Italian. It was thin crust pizza with all the works and 'pink' pasta. That was the first time I ever came to know that something as a pink pasta also exists. It was a custom order -"Load it with all the vegetables you have with a pink sauce". I was curious for the outcome and finally when it arrived it looked gorgeous. The sauce looked coral coloured and the greens of zucchini and broccoli gave it a contrasting hue. About the taste I can only say, I had never tasted anything so heavenly in Italian before.

That dish made me totally fall in love with pasta and was also the main inspiration behind me trying the following recipe for the first time. And i was pretty happy with the outcome. Have a look!

Preparation Time: 15 minutes  
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2
Cuisine: Italian


Pasta & Vegetables:
  • Penne Pasta or any Pasta - 1 and 1/2 cup
  • Zucchini - 1/2 cup chopped
  • Brocoli - 1/2 cup chopped
  • Mushroom - 1/2 cup chopped
  • Salt as per taste
  • Refined Oil/ Olive Oil
  • Butter - 1 tsp
  • Garlic - 7-8 cloves finely chopped

White/Pink Sauce
  • Tomato  - 1 medium made into paste
  • Milk - 1 cup (250 ml)
  • Fresh Cream - 2 tbsp
  • Corn Flour - 1 tbsp
  • Garlic - 1 clove (minced)
  • Black Pepper - 10-12 (ground coarsely)
  • Paprika or Red Chilli Flakes - 1/2 tsp
  • Dried Oregano or optional(or pizza seasoning) - 1/2 tsp
  • Butter - 1 tbsp
  • Sugar as per taste
  • Salt as per taste

1. Boil the raw pasta according to the instructions given on the package or you can follow the following instructions : Take about 8-10 cups of water in a deep bottomed pan. Bring it to boil and when its boiling add the raw pasta and add 1/2 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of refined oil. Boil the pasta until al-dente (having a slight bite and not very soft). Ideally the pasta should be cooked for 11 minutes stirring occasionally. to check if he pasta is cooked lift one pasta in the fork and take a bite. If its slightly firm but breaking then its properly cooked. If its too hard to bite then it needs more cooking.

Note: You can use whole wheat pasta to make it healthier and kid friendly 

2. Transfer the cooked pasta to a large colander and drain the water. Run cold water over the pasta to stop the cooking process. Sprinkle a little oil and toss the pasta. Keep aside

3.  Heat 2 tsp of oil in a skillet and add the broccoli. Add a pinch of salt to make it cook faster. Toss the broccoli and cook till its crunchy but cooked. It will take around 2-3 minutes with lid on. Keep it aside

Note: Since Broccoli is harder than either of Zucchini and Mushroom hence I sauteed them separately.

4.  In the same skillet, add about 2 tsp butter and let it heat. Add the chopped garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes till fragrant. Toss in the mushroom and Zucchini and fold in. Cook for about 2-3 minutes and both Mushroom and Zucchini will start wilting. Add the cooked broccoli. Saute all of it for a minute and turn off the heat. Dont put a lid on at this stage as the enclosed steam might impact the vibrant green of the veggies. 

Note: If you are using shrimp, this is he stage to add. Make sure you have selected tiny shrimps.  Clean and devein the shrimp. Toss in the raw shrimp while sauting the vegetables. It will get cooked in the same heat and will not loose the flavor or become rubbery. Add a little more butter if u want to enhance the flavor

5. Take two table spoon of butter in a pan. When its sizzling add two cloves of finely chopped garlic. Saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomato paste at this stage and saute till the raw smell goes off. Then add the cornflour. If you are using any white pasta mix you can add 1 tbsp of it at this stage. Add full cream milk and keep stirring till it thickens. Add a tbsp of fresh cream and fold in. Add the ground black pepper, oregano/pizza seasoning and chilli flakes at this stage and mix everything. Adjust the salt and sugar level at this stage.

6. Add the cooked pasta and vegetables and fold in everything. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the pasta sauce coats the pasta and vegetables uniformly.

Dish out the pasta into a pasta plate, give a slight drizzle of virgin olive oil and serve hot.

Pasta Pointers:

  • Pasta should be prepared just before serving it.
  • Pasta needs a lot of water and a deep bottomed pot. Trying to cook pasta in a shallow pan and less water will make them stick together. Always follow cooking instructions on the pasta packet for best result.
  •  Adding salt to the water makes pasta taste better by bringing out the natural flavor of the pasta.
  • Drain the pasta immediately when it has reached correct firmness. This will stop the cooking process
  • The Italians way is to toss pasta with just enough sauce to coat it, not make a gravy of it

Friday, 29 September 2017

Khichudi Bhog, Labra, Payesh and Chutney on a Navami Morning

Hello Readers, I am back like more than a year after. Different commitments on personal and professional fronts kept me away from my blog which I missed so much. And what can be a better time to be back other than our very dear Durga Pujas.

Just as Mahalaya was approaching the smell in the air also started changing. Especially in the mornings, one could distinctly smell the Shiuli, the signature smell of Durga Puja mornings. The place where I stay has a few Shiuli Trees on the way and passing them brings back a lot of childhood memories. During the Durga Pujas as a kid I visited my maternal grandparents house. We had a Shiuli tree in the garden. My dida used to wake very early in the morning and gather the flowers fallen on the ground for doing prayers. That earthy smell of morning mist and Shiuli is something I can only talk about but one has to experience it to understand.

This time around Durga Puja is happening on all weekdays. Hence I decided to take two days off on Ashtami and Navami. Pushpanjali, Pandal Hopping and Pet Puja was the main agenda for the days. Yesterday I went for the Ashtami Pushpanjali at Apte Road. Its a Puja hosted by the Bengali Association. The Puja used to happen in Siddhi Garden on Raja Mantri Road till last year which was considerably closer to my place. But for some reason this time they shifted base to the Central Park Hotel grounds which is pretty far from my place. By chance I noticed the change in venue, when it came in paper but many were not so lucky and ended up clueless after reaching Siddhi Gardens. Hence I felt the attendance was quite less as well at the pandal. Plus the previous location seemed better in terms of ambiance and space. I felt overall look was also lackluster unlike last year. Post pushpanjali I had luchi and cholar daal at the stall and it was super! Breaking the fast with such a scrumptious dish makes your day really.
Top: Congress Bhavan , Bottom : Apte Road
The other Puja I went to was of Congress Bhavan. Its also a very old Puja in Pune. And the pratima of Ma Durga over there was really very beautiful. She was decked in my favourite colours red and gold.  Stayed there for a while and then got some misti doi and fish fry as parcel and came back home.
Fish Fry & Misti Doi
Fortunately I was home before a heavy downpour started in the afternoon. This has been a lingering problem this puja. The rains are playing a spoilt sport this time every single day. Infact we had a dust storm today followed by a heavy downpour in the afternoon. I had plans of visiting otehr pandals in the city today but considering the weather I changed my mind and impromptu decided to make a full blown Bhog on Navami. Fortunately for me the main ingredients were all avilable in the pantry, a few of the vegetables I had to get from the market. It took me whole morning to prepare and make each of them but it was super fun and the final product was so awesome that I wish I could pat myself on the back.

Bhoger Khichudi is very special to every Bengali. It not only has the flavours of spices but the aroma of dhuno, which makes it taste awesome. Now when you prepare at home the aroma of dhuno apart everything else can be mimicked. I had made many mooger daaler khichudi before but this particular recipe that I found on the net today really came out awesome! I just added a little things here and there differently from the recipe. See the original recipe here.

Niramish Moong Daal Khichudi

Preparation Time: 30 minutes  
Cooking Time:  1 hour 45 minutes
Serves: 4
Cuisine: Bengali

  • Sona Moong Daal/ Unpolished Moong Daal - 1 cup
  • Gobindobhog Rice / Kolam Rice - 1 cup
  • Fresh Ginger paste- 2 1/2 tbsp
  • Green Chillies - 3
  • Potato - 2 medium , diced
  • Cauliflower - 1 small, Cut into medium sized florets
  • Fresh Coconut - half cup cut into small pieces
  • Green Peas - 3/4 cup or as per preference
  • Raisins - handful, soaked for 5 minutes in water
  • Cumin Powder  - 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric Powder - 2 tbsp
  • Everest Sahi Garam Masala Powder - 1 tsp
  • Ghee (clarified butter) - 2 tbsp
  • Mustard Oil for frying
  • Sugar as per taste
  • Salt - as per taste
1. Wash the rice and keep aside

2. Heat a heavy bottomed kadhai and add the daal to it. Dry roast it  till some of the daal gets a light bown/pink color, while stirring continuously with a spatula. You need to continuously stir it because unattended daal might burn which will impact the taste. Wash the roasted daal in cold water. Transfer the washed daal into the same kadhai and add 4 cups of water. On medium head cover and cook the daal till its half cooked.

3. Once the daal is half cooked add the washed rice and cook them together till rice is half 3/4th cooked. Add more water if required.

4. I used frozen peas here. So thaw the peas for half an hour by putting them in water. If using fresh peas, just peel and keep them aside.

5. Take another wok and fry the cauliflower florets, peas and diced potato. Keep aside

6. Add some ghee in the wok and fry the coconut pieces till edges are lightly brown. Then in leftover ghee toss the raisins for 1 minute. Keep this aside as well.

7. Now add 2 tbsp of mustard oil and let it heat. Toss in split green chillies and add the ginger paste, turmeric, cumin powder, salt and sugar. Saute for a few minutes lowering the flame so that raw smell of ginger is gone. Add a little water to make it a paste. Add the fried cauliflower, potato, peas, raisin and coconut and fold in.

8. Add this masala to the almost cooked rice and daal. Fold in. If you feel more turmeric is required add now. I also added 1 tsp of raw ginger paste at this stage to enhance the flavour. Let it cook for a while till everything is cooked nicely. Make sure you stir occasionally so that the khichudi doesn't stick to the base of the wok. 

9. When the khichudi is almost done, add the garam masala and top it off with a generous amount of ghee. Fold everything in and let it rest. Put the lid on so that the flavours are properly infused.

Enjoy your khichudi hot!

Labrar Torkari (Vegetable Medley)

Preparation Time: 20 minutes  
Cooking Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 4
Cuisine: Bengali

  • Potato - 2 medium, each cut into four pieces
  • Sweet Potato - 4, diced
  • Pumpkin - 100 gm, diced
  • Brinjal - 2 medium, diced
  • Borboti (yard long beans) - 12, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • Fresh Ginger paste - 1 tsp
  • Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Kalonji - 1/4 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds or Methi dana - 1/4 tsp
  • Mustard Seeds - 1/4 tsp
  • Dried Red Chilli - 1
  • Turmeric - 1 tsp
  • Mustard Oil - 1 tsp
  • Sugar as per taste
  • Salt - a pinch

1. Cut the vegetables as mentioned and keep them in water for 15-20 minutes.

2. Heat a heavy bottomed kadhai and add mustard oil. Fry all the vegetables in the following order - Potato, sweet potato, pumpkin, brinjal. Add a little salt while frying, to get them cooked quickly. And keep them aside. Then fry the borboti separately so that you can control the color. Keep aside.

Note: Frying the vegetables separately will give the dish a better taste

3. Heat a heavy bottomed kadhai and add mustard oil. When it is smoking add all the whole spices and red chilli. When the spices are fragrant add the ginger paste and fry for 30 seconds. Add the fried vegetables to it. Add turmeric, salt and sugar and fold everything in. Fry for a while till the raw smell of ginger is gone. 

4. Now add 1 and 1/2 cup cups of water and cover the pan. Let the vegetables get cooked properly. Give it an occasional stir so that the vegetables doesnt stick to the pan.

5. When the vegetables are tender, open the lid and dry any excess water till the vegetables reach its desired consistency.

Gobindobhog Chaler Payesh (Rice Kheer)

Preparation Time: 5 minutes  
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2
Cuisine: Bengali

  • Gobindo bhog chal - 5 tsp
  • Full cream milk - 400 gm
  • Bay Leaf - 1
  • Raisins - handful
  • Nolen gur (optional) 2 tbsp
  • Sugar - 2 1/2 tsp

1. Wash and keep the rice soaked in water for 30 minutes

2. Heat a heavy bottomed kadhai and add the full cream milk. Add the bay leaf. Let it come to a boil and then add the soaked rice. Reduce the flame to medium. Keep stirring it continuously so that layer doesnt form on the milk.

3. When the milk is reduced to half add the sugar. Keep coking it till the rice is cooked completely.

4. Meanwhile grate the gur and make a paste of it with water and keep aside.

5. When the payesh is almost done, switch off the flame and add the gur to it. Fold in. Make sure you add the gur only after heat is switched off else the milk might curdle.

Let it rest for a while. Serve the payesh hot or cold with the bhog.

Tomato Chutney

Click here to see the recipe ->

Serve everything piping hot. Add a dash of ghee to the khichudi before serving and have fried papads on the side.

Wish you all a happy Durga Puja!

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Day 2: Bangkok To Krabi Resort , Ao Nang

Ao Nang Beach
I was super excited this day to begin with. It just a matter of a couple of hours before I could witness an infinity of turquoise colored water and sharp rocks jutting out from the sea.

Our flight was scheduled to depart at 9:35 AM local time from Don Mueang Airport. Don Mueang was nearly 45 minutes drive from our hotel and since it was a domestic flight hence we were required to report only an hour before the flight time. But just to be sure, that we reach on time (people suggested Bangkok traffic was unpredictable at times) we had planned to leave by 6:30 AM itself.

We called the reception to send an attendant to carry our stuffs down. Within 5 minutes the attendant arrived and escorted us to the reception. Our cab was already waiting for us. The check out process was quite smooth and quick. They gave back the security deposit to us in dollars itself :).

All formalities done we were off on our way to the Airport. Thankfully it was early morning hence no vehicular traffic was there in the alleyways, else I shuddered at the thought of the jam that we had witnessed the day before at noon time. As we came from the alley into a bigger road we saw that already many stores were open and also street food vendors were already busy with chopping, frying and dishing out the goodies to people.  It was a bit unbelievable that even at 6:30 in the morning people had such enthu to shop and eat. Had it not been for the flight I wouldn’t have got out of the bed before 7:30 AM at the earliest. But then actually it’s a good idea to beat the crowd. If you are an early riser and want to peacefully do your shopping then early morning is the best time – pleasant temperature, no rush, ample walking space. This format of various timed markets was indeed something anyone would appreciate.

Soon we hit the highway. Any mega city looked pristine in the morning when there was no traffic; Bangkok was also not an exception. The air felt much cleaner and we were cruising at a constant smooth speed.

This day another family was supposed to join us from the airport. The Sharma family – Abhishek, Rajani and their 5 year old kiddo Kangan. From here it was a common trip for both the family. Abhishek is my husband’s colleague. When he came to know that hubby was planning for a Thailand trip this summer, he also decided to join with his family. It was summer holidays for his kid and they usually went for a long trip around this time every year. When we were dilly dallying with the dates of the trip, it was Abhishek who zeroed in on the dates because even before he booked a hotel, he had gotten the return flights from Kolkata to Bangkok as he had got some super cheap deals through makemytrip for this sector. The Sharma family was coming from Bhopal. But they decided to take a longer route to Kolkata via train and then Bangkok via flight.

We were in Maharashtra and either had the option of coming from Mumbai or Pune. We both were in favor of having a comfortable and less tedious route even if it meant a few bucks more. What’s the point if we get a whole lot tired before even the vacation started?  With a tired body one can hardly enjoy anything. So both the families had taken a different route to Bangkok. The Sharma family had arrived at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport in the wee hours of the morning, and were supposed to take the airport shuttle to Don Mueang. There is free shuttle service between the two airports, hence it’s convenient for travelers to go from one to the other airport without paying a hefty amount for taxis.

It took us around 40-45 minutes to reach the airport. The taxi dropped us at one of the gates. We entered the building but after walking for sometime we could not locate Air Asia counter, hence we started asking people but no one seemed to know or maybe there was a language problem. Finally we stopped a police officer moving around in his segway, to ask for direction. He mentioned that we should go to terminal 2. We came out of this terminal and looked around for any signboard saying “Terminal 2”. There was none. And there were hardly any people around to ask for direction. It was nearly deserted. We started walking straight down the direction the officer had indicated.
After a couple of minutes we saw some passengers offloading their luggages from a taxi. Hopefully we asked them about this elusive “terminal 2”. But they didn’t speak English nor did they understand. They only shook their heads.

So we kept walking. There was still no signboard or anything indicating Terminal 2. Finally we spotted a sweeper cleaning the pathway. We asked him and he pointed to the door just in front of us. We confirmed twice with him before going through the gates. Lo and behold we had finally reached the obscure terminal 2. Apparently it seemed that Terminal 2 was for domestic departures.

It’s really contrasting situation inside and outside the building. Outside we could find a soul whom we could ask for direction and inside the place it was buzzing with people. Glitzy food stalls were scattered all around the place. Finally we could see a lot of direction boards giving directions for the check in counters.

If Suvarnabhumi was spectacular, Don Mueang wasn’t far behind. It also looked quite trendy and big.  We had to again walk for sometime before we reached the Check In area. The line wasn’t too long at the Air Asia counter and also there were quite a few number of counters which made the check in process quicker. One thing was we didn’t have to undergo baggage screening for our check in baggages. This could be viewed as a security threat but also it showed that since it wasn’t such a terror prone country, these people trusted the intention of the passengers.

When I was doing web check in for Air Asia flights, it didn’t allow me to book two seats together for the Bangkok-Krabi leg. If I was giving an auto selection option the website was choosing two seats in separate rows not even close to each other, even though I could see many seats available adjacent to each other. Auto selection offered seat allocation free of cost. And if I wanted to pick my own seats it was putting a charge on it. What kind of crap was that I didn’t understand. Maybe it did so, so that in panic you would pay for the seats just because you wanted the family to sit together. I had read the same kind of experience by many travelers travelling in Air Asia. A mother had written in a forum that she and her little kids got separate seat allocations. What I did was I had done the web check in with two different seats only, thinking that it’s a one hour flight. But while doing the baggage drop at the counter I asked the person whether we could change our seats to something side by side. I also requested for a window seats if possible. And surprises I got both the demands met. So you see even if you get separate seats while doing web check-in in Air Asia, you could reach the airport a bit early and ask for changing your seats.

Once we had check-in we decided to grab some breakfast. The Sharma family had yet not arrived. Abhishek had not purchased a SIM yet so he was contacting hubby through airport wifi. But for long we didn’t hear from them so we thought they were yet to reach Don Mueang .

For breakfast we weren’t looking for a Thai spread, rather something to fill up our stomach without burning a hole in our pockets. Any food stalls inside the Airport is expensive so we choose the safer option – Mac D.  We had some hiccups choosing the chicken items from the menu as the sales guy at the counter had difficulty understanding us. Finally we settled for two spicy chicken burgers and fries. The bill came to 247.66 THB which was cheap as per Airport standards.

Usually Mac D provides spare glasses which you can fill up with water. I went to the counter to get some glass but they were totally clueless about what I was asking. After like 5 minutes of struggle someone guessed that I was asking for water. But they didn’t have option of water, only you could get pepsi or sprite, so I dropped the idea.

The burger was good, chicken was very moist and crunchy and tasted better than what we get in our country. We had a lot of time in hand so we spent a leisurely 30 mins over the burgers. Yet there was no sign of the Sharma family. We waited for some more time, but then we felt guilty of occupying a table without having something to eat for a long time. So we decided to proceed for the security check.

The security check was done in a jiffy and we proceeded towards the waiting lounge.The waiting lounge was very huge. It had wide expanse of empty spaces than sitting places. It almost felt like you can play football in the empty area, it was that big!

We settled down in two empty seats. In between we got a message from Abhishek that they have reached the airport. It was 8th May and mother’s day. So we called up our respective homes and wished both the mothers. Most of the people sitting in the lounge were busy in taking selfies. There was a couple sitting in the front row of us and for the entire 30-40 minutes we were waiting they were engaged in taking selfies in all poses imaginable. We also took a couple of pics  but got bored of the background soon.

It was almost time for the plane. The Air Asia ground staffs were taking position near the exit door of the lounge. We wondered what kept the Sharma family from reaching still. Finally after some more wait hubby said he could see someone in the distance who looked like Abhishek. I looked back and saw a man walking down with luggages and a small girl hopping beside him. It was indeed them.  We exchanged pleasantries with the other family. Their girl Kangan was a super cute kiddo. She was a bit reserved for initial 10 minutes or so and then she came to full form. Rajani told us that Kangan had enquired whether we had a kid too and once she knew we didn’t she was at peace. She surely likes all the attention to herself. LOL! It was mainly because of her that our trip became even more enjoyable.
We also learned what made them so late. They didn’t web check in and also didn’t include luggage limit which booking the tickets. Hence they ran into a argument regarding the luggage charge. And after that they were also stopped at the security check as Rajani was carrying a deo bottle which was over 100 ml. Abhishek had even tried to reason with the officials that the new bottle was over 100 ml but now the content was less that 100 ml! But the officials made them discard the bottle eventually.

Soon we got the call for the boarding. We walked down the exit gates towards our aircraft. Both families had seats in different rows. The Sharma family was some rows behind us. The Air Asia seats were quite comfortable, much much better than what Indigo offered. Both were low cost airlines but there was so much difference.

Air Asia Food
The Air Asia Menu was also quite extensive. They had asian food items like thai green curry also as a part of the offering. And at affordable prices too. We were already filled with the burgers we had at Mac D, hence I thought of trying out something from the menu on our way back from Krabi.

Bird's Eye View of Krabi from flight
The flight was of 1 hr duration and time just flew. Just before the descent started we could see the wide span of the fabled ocean beckoning us. I felt a rush of adrenaline as the clouds cleared and I saw the sea. It was too far, but still I could spot the limestone mountains jutting out of the turquoise span. Ah what a visual delight it was!I have made it to the paradise!  I tried to capture the first glimpse of the Krabi landscape in the picture.

Soon we landed. The temperature was very pleasant outside. It wasn’t humid as compared to Bangkok even if it was so close to the sea. We nearly had to walk 200 yards to the terminal building from the point where the plane dropped us. With every step I took I was feeling happier. It was just a matter of some hours before I was in the sea.

It was a small terminal building possessing only the most basic facilities. There was only one belt from where we had to collect our luggage. Since there weren’t many people, we got our bags in next 10 minutes. We took an escalator up from where we could get the taxis.

There are several options like taxis, buses, shuttles etc to the Krabi town and surrounding places of Krabi. Bus was the most economical option but the bus wouldn’t provide a door-to-door drop to the hotels. It only stops in the designated bus stops. We didn’t know how far our hotel was from the bus stop so we didn’t take the bus. But actually we later got to know that the bus stop is right outside our hotel gates. So if you are staying at Krabi Resort, Ao Nang go for the bus.

We took a shuttle instead for 600BHT accommodating the 5 of us. Actually its like a minivan which could accommodate 8-10 people easily. We paid for the minivan and were asked to wait outside with the receipt for the vehicle to arrive. We waited for a couple of minutes before the driver came and picked us up.

Krabi was slowly unfolding before our eyes

We were staying in Ao Nang and not proper Krabi town, as we had heard it had one of the best beaches in Krabi and also nearer to the sightseeing places. It was approximately going to take 45 minutes to Ao Nang from Krabi Airport. We drove out of the airport and the scenery began to change. There was so much greenery around and roads were nearly empty with hardly any vehicular traffic.
Krabi, the capital of southern Thailand's Krabi Province, is a town near the Andaman coast. The main attraction of this land is its white beaches and cluster islands. As we left behind the town area the scenery became totally unreal. We could see greenery filled random cliffs all around the roads. Clean gray span of clean roads, quaint single storied shops, restaurants fringed the roads, stunning rock formations, powder blue sky, pink and purple blossoms bursting out of the green hedges and occasional Thai traditional looking buildings. It was a scene straight out of a picture postcard or a Hollywood movie. I was absorbing every single frame in my minds camera.

First Glimpse of the Turquoise Span
While Krabi Town may be the provincial capital of this province, it's the beach town of Ao Nang 20 kilometers away that is tourist central in Krabi. After a long and picturesque drive we reached the fringes of Ao Nang. And the turquoise sea almost sprang out in front of us. That was a real dramatic moment. All of squealed together at the sight of the sea. We drove parallel to the palm-lined stretch of sand, multi shades of blue-green water, dominated by the large cliffs.

Laid Back Krabi-Ao Nang Town
Slowly we saw the resorts coming up in the landscape. We crossed Holiday Inn and a number or other resorts. Every corner of the town had a virgin untouched vibe. There was a relaxed atmosphere all around. And the area was so clean, it added to the beauty.

Krabi Resort Entrance

Finally we reached Krabi Resort around 12:30 PM. The moment we entered the gates of the resort I was spellbound at least. I had read that it was a big resort but how big I didn’t know then. The beautiful laidback ambience is so peaceful that you get rejuvenated immediately. Some arial shots of the resort is given below so that you get a fair enough idea about its location and size. Too Beautiful!

Arial View of Krabi Resort - Picture Courtsey Internet
Arial View of Krabi Resort - Picture Courtsey Internet

Arial View of Krabi Resort - Picture Courtsey Internet
Arial View of Krabi Resort - Picture Courtsey Internet
The reception area was very classy. Typical Thai architecture building. There were a lot of seating places all around. As I had already mentioned in the previous blog that all hotels in Thailand had check in time of 2 PM, same was the case with Krabi resort as well. The Sharma family was more tired than us since they were continuously travelling from 3 days. We tried to talk with the reception in giving us a room earlier but they said that rooms were being set up at that moment so we had to come around later. 
Krabi Resort Reception
So we kept our bags at the reception. The bags were properly tagged and kept together. There were luggages of many other tourists as well. So the hotel strictly followed the policy of no early check ins.

The reception area had washrooms. So we decided to freshen up a bit and then head for having lunch. The washroom was spacious and neat. The first thing that mesmerized us was the soothing lemongrass fragrence  that was omnipresent in the washrooms. Me and Rajani were wondering from where it was coming, then we noticed small oil dispensers placed below the handwash area. The fragrance was so much soothing that we delayed coming out of the washroom just to soak in the heavenly essence!
Day & Night View of Krabi Resort Reception
We decided to have food in the Ao Nang town rather than the hotel and made our way out of the resort. 

The day had just begun for us in Krabi and we had a lot to discover in the next few hours.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...