Winter and Chikoo
DId I tell you earlier that Chinese Goats, locally known as Chikoo is not only soft and delicious but also leaves such small trace of fat in our hands that you can simply wash it with water sans soap!. So, this winter I decided to procure one from near Chitkul where farmers from Tibet often cross over and sell their lot. I drove my new Red Mahindra Thar bouncing the 16 inch tyros across tough terrain deploying the 4×4 at steep turn s and finally got one. The goat – one of the first traveler in my jeep rode back with me to Sangla – not before it covered most of the back with droppings maybe out of the bouncy ride so unlike him. We kept it at the hotel next to my house and it bleated most of the chilly night probably in anticipation of its fate. Next day we git it butchered by the local guy who did it free in exchange of the head, intestines and fat. I got the skin, about twenty kg of meat and the liver while Symonds, my landlords doggy – about nine months old played with the unskinned leg pieces all day. I also got the skin which now lies stretched on a ply board for drying before I use it as a seat cushion in my Thar.
We first separated the ribs and then the meat was chopped in smaller pieces. The pieces were then hung in three sets on strings after sprinkling pepper and salt and some turmeric. This happen a day before the year ended and on 31st we had roasted spare ribs, roasted liver and meat curry. The jerkies now hang in my guest room and every now and then we pluck pieces like apples and roast them. Believe me they will sure remind one of Haji’s meat near Park Circus at Calcutta – maybe even better ! Not to mention we also got a local grass eating lamb – both these animals will sure pull us for the next two months when we intend to get another.
So much for the goats and lambs – but I need to also mention about the heavenly Anguri prepared from grapes at Ribba only in Kinnaur. This and the a full bar of chocolate to mark the beginning and end of delightful dinner ecery day. apart from that we are in the middle of the first major snowfall with neary 18 inches of white covering the road in front and the backyard. While my better half spends her time in warm comfort of Calcutta with invitations every day I spend my time with my cats below three blankets most of the time.
At other comfortable moments during the day time I have taken up tuition for the poor school kids here revisiting maths, english, economics etc. which keeps me well occupied. At other times I drive off road across the valleys and rivers and boulders. The Thar is a beast with a 2500 cc turbo charged Crde engine and 16 in tyre’s but the one thing which helps is the double suspension supporting a 200 mm ground clearance. I have decided to keep it open back except for winter when I need to pull the hood to protect it from snow.
Winter is fine with a combination of maggi, meat and kichdi which comes with a subtle inside sensation of cholesterol fighting high metabolism but eventually losing the war to a grass eating animal from across the border.
Happy New Year to all – its never late and I celebrate each day here !