Month: July 2016

Throwback: Jhal Magsi Rally 2014

Back in December  2014 Red Bull Pakistan invited me to cover Jhal Magsi Desert Challenge Race 2014 It’s a yearly race event between 4×4’s like the Dakkar rally and the Baja it is on a very smaller scale compared to those events but is the most challenging of all 4×4 rally in Pakistan. I was so excited to witness this rally race on the track. The adventure starts on the morning of 20th Dec. We left Karachi at 7pm and reached Hyderabad after 2 hours then we stopped at Al-Zaib Resturant at 10am for breakfast.

Our breakfast

Our breakfast

Here I met the famous Sabir Shah aka @AsliBinLaden

Jhal Magsi Rally

@AslibinLaden

Then we left for longest road trip of my life till now. We stopped at some restaurant outside Larkana for dinner at 6.30pm.

Tikkain and Maash Daal

Tikkain and Maash Daal

For first time I’ve tried Tikkain and Rosh. Tikkain was served with minced meat and fry kaleeji while Rosh is like Paya but they served piece of Rosh with minced meat, usually Rosh was served with the soup in which they cooked it for 4 hrs. Rosh was delicious and not so spicy while tikkain is dry and maash daal was okay. We left Shahdadkot at 7.30pm and then we reached Jhal Magsi after 16 hrs. At 2.30am they turned off all the lights were switched off. I thought this was the best moment to capture some night sky shots at Jhal Magsi. Orion constellation and Sirius (the brightest star system in the earth’s night sky) which was above our heads while Jupiter was rising from the East.

Night sky at Jhal Magsi

Night sky at Jhal Magsi

We slept at 4am and woke up at 7.30am. After freshen up we went back side of our tents where drivers were staying in their camps to photograph their vehicles. I was amazed to see those vehicles and how they modified them for the track.

Jhal Magsi Rally

Toyota Tundra

One of the driver told us that there is a delay in race and now it will start at 10.30am due to fog. So we went to the starting point.

Jhal Magsi Rally

Initial Starting Point

And here we are at the Red Bull starting point where Ronnie Patel was waiting in his 4×4. It was one massive crowd waiting for race to start while media personals were setting their equipment. That was the initial starting point for the race but due to fog they shifted it to the other point which was 10km away from this point and the track was shortened to 100kms.

Jhal Magsi Rally

Ronnie Patel – runner up of 2013 race

So we headed out with our driver Mustafa to the new starting point in his Land Cruiser. It was one bumpy ride as he was driving off-road with the speed upto 120kms. At times it feels like we are part of this race.

Jhal Magsi Rally

Our driver Mustafa

The race starts at 11.45am. Every driver was leaving with some difference of time. This year 48 drivers were participating in different categories. I was so excited to see this action live on track.

Jhal Magsi Rally

and this was the second starting point

Red Bull gives us the opportunity to explored different parts of this track including some jumps and the Muller River crossing so we can experience this race more closely.

Jhal Magsi Rally

after the jump

This was the first shot I’ve captured while standing near the jump. It’s bit hard to see them coming, all you can see is the dust cloud coming towards you. Here I’ve seen one of the best lift kits. After that we went to Muller River crossing. Where one massive crowd waiting for cars to passing by the river crossing.

Jhal Magsi Rally

Making splashes through the Muller River

Then we headed towards the desert side of the track which was the tricky one due to the slippery sand and many drivers were stuck at this point.

Jhal Magsi Rally

Making his way through the slippery sand.

The race ends at 5pm. Then there was a prize distribution ceremony at 8pm. Nawab Zulfikar Ali Magsi and Marvi Memon were the chief guest. For the first they’ve introduced Ladies category in this race and this year only two ladies drivers were participating.

Jhal Magsi Rally

From left: Tushna Patel, Marvi Memon and Maliha Elahi

Tushna Patel was the winner of Ladies category with time 2.03.34. She is the wife of Ronnie Patel and she was the first female ever to participate in the 9th Cholistan Jeep Rally 2014. She received her prize from Marvi Memon.

Jhal Magsi Rally

From left: Mian Farooq (co-driver), Tushna Patel and Marvi Memon

Speedtrap was won by Zafar Magsi and Luqman from team Red Bull is giving him his prize money.

Jhal Magsi Rally

Next morning we left Jhal Magsi at 9am and after 14 hrs of road trip we were back in Karachi at 11pm. The event was very well organized by Red Bull and their team. More pictures of this trip are uploaded here.

Exclusive Tour of the New British Council Library in Karachi

As a co-founders of KHIBookSwap, yesterday I and Ifrah Waqar were invited by the British Council for a exclusive tour of their newly opened library located at the British High Commission on Shahrah-e-Iran, Clifton.

Rabeea Arif, Manager of Libraries and Outreach Services and Maarya, Director Libraries at British Council Pakistan gave us a very brief tour of the library.

I was expecting a librarian at the reception and the place will be filled with lots of bookshelves but I was wrong. It was very grey and bright space designed by an award winning architect. Library was equipped with lots of high-tech stuff. First there was a digital booth to check-in and checkout the books. A self-service counter, where you can checkout up to six books and four DVDs at one time.

On the opposite side there was a huge shelve filled with lots of graphic novels. They’ve 800 graphic novels including all the famous Marvel and DC comics.

Currently they have 12,000 books available in 20 different genres. All the bookshelves have wheels so they can easily be moved to create more space. They have one auditorium which can accommodate 100 people for hosting different literary events along with two study halls and they all had collapsible walls. They’ve planned some events for Roald Dahl 100th anniversary as Rabeea told us.

British Council Library

Story telling and reading area for children

At one corner there was very a colorful reading area for the children surrounded by children books.

At the end of our tour Maarya gave us a demo of the Digital Table. It can be used to browse digital library, which has a huge collection of e-books, magazines, articles, digital media, newspapers. It also provides access to JSTOR – another digital library for academic journals, books, and primary sources. In between Rabeea Arif posted this picture on twitter.

Right now there are 3 different memberships available:

  • Individual Membership for 6000Rs*
  • Digital Membership for 3500Rs
  • Family Membership for 15000Rs*

* Individual and Family membership are only available for the residents in Karachi while people outside Karachi can avail Digital Membership.

The library will be open for public in August 2016.

More info can be found at https://www.britishcouncil.pk/

Chicken Malai Boti Recipe

I occasionally surf internet for quick and easy recipes and as I love BBQ, I recently found out the recipe of Chicken Malai Boti. It was very tender, tangy and juicy.

Ingredients

  • Chicken boneless ½ kg (2 inch cubes)
  • Green chilies 1 tbsp (grinned)
  • Ginger garlic paste 1 tbsp
  • White cumin 1 tsp (roasted and crushed)
  • All spice ½ tsp
  • Coriander 1 tsp heaped (roasted and crushed)
  • White pepper ½ tsp
  • Red pepper 1 tsp (crushed)
  • Cream 4 tbsp
  • Yogurt 2 tbsp
  • Lemon juice 2 tbsp
  • Salt 1 tsp heaped
  • Almonds 2 tbsp (blanched and grinded)
  • Clarified butter or oil for brushing
Malai Boti recipe

Malai Boti in the making from Snapchat: farman22

Method:

  • In a bowl marinate chicken cubes with green chilies, ginger garlic paste, white cumin, all spice, coriander, white pepper, red pepper, cream, yogurt, lemon juice, salt and almonds for 2 hours.
  • Put on skewers, BBQ until nearly done.
  • Brush with remaining marinade and BBQ for another 5 minutes.
  • Brushing with clarified butter or oil until done.

 

Sambusa Recipe

This Ramadan I am trying lots of different recipes. Yesterday I made Sambusa/Sambusak which is a special food served all over the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and East/North Africa. They go by different names and have different ingredients and this is just one way you can prepare them. Here I am following a Saudi Arabian Recipe which is quite similar to qeema samosa recipe.

 

Ingredients

2 dozen samosa wrappers

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 kg ground beef

1 green onion, chopped

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground cardamom

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

500ml oil for frying

To stick samosa wrappers

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon water, or as needed

 

Sambusa Recipe

Sambusa

Method:

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, leek and garlic, and cook, stirring until the onions are transparent. Add ground beef, and cook until about halfway done. Season with cumin, cardamom, salt and pepper. Mix well, and continue cooking until beef has browned.

In a small dish or cup, mix together the flour and water to make a thin paste. Using one wrapper at a time, fold into the shape of a cone. Fill the cone with the meat mixture, close the top, and seal with the paste. Repeat until wraps or filling are used up.

Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or deep heavy pot. There should be enough oil to submerge the wraps. Fry the Sambusa a few at a time until golden brown. Remove carefully to drain on paper towels. Best served when hot with green chutney or ketchup.