Sunday, September 30, 2007

Innovative Recipes: Cooking Simplified!

I have always been a great connoisseur of food and cooking and have been always been excited about trying to cook variegated recipes with little innovations. But then cooking became a challenge when I came to US. An altogether different set of food items, new food habits coupled with the busy life of a Ph.D student made to venture into cooking in a way that the food came out tasty, while it would eat less time! Here go a few of my hand-crafted recipes. To the best of my knowledge and experience, they have come out to be nice and tasty, as well as serving to be labeled as a quick meal!

Recipe 1: Scrambled Fish (time needed: 20-25 minutes)
Ingredients: Coby Fish (any fillets would do, e.g. salmon etc), finely chopped onions, lime juice, minced garlic, green chillies, salt, turmeric, cumin seeds, corn oil, paprika (optional).
Method: If the fish is frozen, keep it outside for a few hours and let it thaw. Then heat some oil in a cooking pan. Add cumin seeds and the green chillies. Once these start boiling, sim the stove and add the fish pieces slowly. Let them fry till they turn brown and the softness reduces. Add the onions along with the salt, tumeric and garlic. Let it cook till the onions turn translucent and the spices look well blended in. Then using a sharp spatula, scramble the fish to small pieces and mix everything very well. It will come out as a nice blended in mixture of fish and onions. Touch up with lime juice and red paprika (optional). Serve hot with warm plain rice or fried rice.

Recipe 2: Thai Chholle (time needed: 15-20 minutes)
Ingredients: One can of garbanzo beans, one can of coconut milk, chopped onions, red chilly paste, salt, turmeric, chaat masala, corn oil, cilantro to garnish.
Method: Heat oil in a cooking pan and add the onions. Let it cook till onions turn translucent. Add salt and add the garbanzo beans (strained and cleaned from the can). Let it cook for 2-3 minutes and then add turmeric. Mix well and after about 5 more minutes, add the coconut milk. Mix everything very well and let it cook for sometime. Then add the chilly paste and the chaat masala. Blend well and chholle is ready. Serve hot over rice.

More to come... keep waiting!

Saturday, September 29, 2007


I had a pretty weird dream yesterday night: weird to the extent that I can even now visualize some strange creature I saw in the dream, in front of my eyes. Precisely, I would describe it as some land-dwelling sharks, because of the ability of the usual sharks to thrive on land with human-like mobility!
I dreamt that my lab (AME) is (re-)located by some really beautiful beach (most probably it depicted UC Santa Barbara or UC Irvine!). Just out of the blinds in the coridoor where now I plainly see a bunch of cars stuck on the road in Tempe downtown, the view in the dream was very spectacular: a placid beautiful beach with lush green foliage, blue waters and golden sand. It was very captivating till one fine day we see two sharks coming out of the ocean and walking up through the land till they disappear in the wild by the beach! We were among the first to notice the sharks coming out of water and it was great fun to watch them, but just for fraction of a second. In seconds, our ecstacy turned into horror of what is going to happen to us given these strange dangerous animals in the city. We called '911' and tell them of all what had happenned so that they take necessary precautions to save the residents of the city from these animals. And then I quickly called one of my very good friends asking him to move to a safe place before these animals start any kind of devastation. I depict to him all that I had witnessed: the sharks coming out of the water and then disappearing in nowhere. But as unfortunate it could be, this account from my end did not fright him the slightest and he was out with his camera to capture these rare sealife! Tension only crawled up and I could feel fear tickling down by blood every moment I was inside the lab: the only assumption to me being, it is safe inside a five storied building. But soon the cops declared a crisis situation as they reported the sharks started hurting people. We were asked to evacuate the lab building. But before they put me into some safe place, I thought I will figure out whats up with the friend. I called him and made some arrangements so that we meet. But every moment I knew it was a tricky situation: photographing the sharks meant facing them and that in turn meant being a victim. I could see risk so close at hand...
The dream was long and very abrupt. But it made me think over many things. First, why did I have such a dream. Is it because I am watching too many movies which is taking me away from reality? Or is it because I fear natural disasters? Or is it a threatening to the human-kind of a changing world and changing environment? Or it is about my concern for some people whom I care about?
I don't the answer. But it is one of the dreams I would always remember. May be a reminder that the way and the rate we are degrading the environment, probably time of not far when the Nature would take on us...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Merging 'Physicality' and 'Virtuality'...

Needless to say, the primary aspect that distinguishes human beings from other living creatures on the planet is their ability to communicate in a manner which cultures semantic sense. Today's research direction in Computer Science is moving more and more towards identifying means to make our lives more conducive to our ambiance: merging 'physicality' and 'virtuality'. Nevertheless, while theory has its own beauty in itself, developing another algorithm which can solve the Travelling Salesman problem in polynomial time with an accepted error bound is not going to answer the question raised by the design of a conducive human environment. While this suggests, human beings are central to the next generation research, it is imperative to inculcate in the research the complexity of the manner in which we decipher semantics around us.
For the sake of generality in the systems perspective, let us consider the 'human machine' to be a flip-flop black box with standard input and output: we receive and collect information from the outside world via our five senses, perceive them in some manner under a personalized context, and then output them via some media in the form of an action. And the inherent media for us to interact with the outside world is communication, precisely the semantics we decipher. Such interaction via some media is always accompanied by a observable action. Consider this example. The blog I am writing today to communicate my thoughts: writing a blog post is an action here. However, beyond media and action, we encounter further hidden observables. This blog makes me mirthful and I reflect that in my email to my Mom. We accrue sentiments.
There are several dimensions to address for a unified framework that attempts to generate a conducive environment to human beings amidst the physical world and the virtualism of computers. Media, action and associated sentiments are just one of the facets. A more comprehensive analysis of deciphering the complex human semantics is what conjures up the next step of technical and research challenge.