February Update

In the past few days, I created a goal for myself which was to post a Feb update before 28th. 😀 It has been a supremely busy month (spoiler alert: didn’t succeed in the most important task that showed itself this month). However, this month shall be remembered as a month of some good firsts.

I am taking cue from Lyssy’s post here to take stock of my month, she calls it “What’s Up Posts”, it was started by her blogger friend Shay 8 years ago it seems!! Let’s see if I manage to do it every month.

I am going to answer all the questions in the below card for the post then.

What We’re Eating?

This month presented a lot of opportunities of trying new take-outs in big groups. This also made me think about being a bit of a restaurant snob on food delivery apps. What I mean is I always look for food I want to eat when ordering in, but if I don’t have any fixed, well-loved restaurants to order from, it becomes a risky situation when a lot of people come over. It’s a hit and miss. While I used to make fun of people who had designated restaurants to order from on food delivery apps, I am now becoming one for at least big hangouts! I have discovered some gems already. If you are a person reading this from Gurgaon, you might want to order from ‘Punjabi Angithi’ for some good North Indian starters/finger food and ‘Being Chef’ for an all-encompassing good menu – they literally have everything from Thai Curry to Pizza and its all above average!

What I’m Reminiscing about?

I am in general someone who reminisces a lot, so its difficult to keep a track of this. 😀 But, exactly at this moment, nothing.

What I’m Loving?

I loved going to my first ever cricket match in a stadium. I am not into sports, so didn’t expect this. It was definitely fun and now going to watch one in Dharamshala where the stadium is surrounded by mountains is so on my list!

What we’ve been up to?

The best part of this month was the chance to reunite with some of our close friends who don’t live in the same city/country.

What I’m dreading?

Like I mentioned at the beginning, I didn’t succeed in an opportunity that presented itself. What I’m dreading is how it affecting my confidence, honestly dreading is a small word for how I am feeling about it right now.

What I’m working on?

I am going to repeat this from last month: I am trying to work on this. Trying being the keyword, haha!

What I’m Excited about?

Funnily, I am actually excited about March despite it being a loaded month at work, and I have work travel too. However, I am looking forward to the other things – my husband’s birthday (Sometimes we literally do nothing on these ‘special’ days, but I still look forward to these days), the chance of going on another small vacation. Oh, just realized I actually have one more tiny vacation coming up which I totally forgot about!

What I’m Watching/Reading?

For someone not big on watching a lot of new stuff, I did watch a couple this month!

First, I watched ‘The Romantics’ which is like a documentary on Yash Raj Films, one of the biggest movie producers in Bollywood. While it was not what I expected it to be (I thought it was about Bollywood in general and not Yash Raj specifically), it had a lot of nostalgia, which is why I suppose so many people loved it!

I am now watching ‘You’ on Netflix. Frankly, I am quite irritated with this show, because its quite a done and dusted concept of a sociopath trying to control life of his beloved (hint: as my husband says, Shahrukh from Darr :D). However, because of the cliffhangers we are going along for now.

As for reading, I think I am finally becoming that person who reads multiple books together (and takes time to complete even one of them). I am reading ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ which is my 2nd for this year. I talked about it in my January update as well. It is just about okay. More on that later. Then, I also started ‘Kashi ka Assi’ from my trip to Banaras, a book I stumbled upon in a bookstore there. It is stories from Banaras so I just bought it but its not what I expected at all! I am also reading ‘The Book Thief’ from the beginning of 2022! Its a hard copy at my parents place so I read it when I visit.

What I’m Listening to?

I have nothing here, the podcast thing I mentioned in my January Update also hasn’t caught up yet.

What I’m Wearing?

First of all, I am glad I wore some of my office clothes when I went to office once! Shouldn’t be too happy, as I do have a lot of work from office days happening in March what with my work travel.

Secondly, I am glad for the opportunity of getting to wear Indian wedding stuff at the wedding that I attended.

didn’t have a picture, so took a screenshot from a video

Thirdly, its about time for a spring clean-up and my wardrobe really needs a clean-up because for someone who doesn’t impulse buy, its a huge red flag to think ‘I can’t find anything good to wear’.

What I’m doing this weekend?

I am looking forward to it, will share later. However, I did go to the World Book Fair happening in Delhi until 5th March, and it was so good to be back at it again!

What I’m looking forward to next month?

I already covered that above.

What else is new?

  1. I bought some new makeup, so I look forward to sharing about them soon!
  2. There’s this Pizza chain where I live called Fat Lulus. We went to their Khan Market outlet after the cricket match and I loved everything we tried, albeit it was expensive than what I expected.
  3. Despite Google offices having family days where people can bring in their their near & dear ones, I had been to my husband’s office only once until February and it was a very stressful visit because I really cannot be okay going anywhere on my workday. However, this month I went one day when I was on leave and it was so good to try all the amazing food in peace. I really want to go again!
  4. Grateful for the Google layoffs being over in India, I hope there’s no second wave of this, really.

January Update

It has been a month of too much on my plate. Mainly because there were almost 3 trips that I took, thus, leaving no weekend for just being. I am sure all of you have seen those memes about ‘this is the fastest January ever’ and right now, I am feeling exactly that.

So, where did I travel to?

Before 2022 ended, Rahul and I took a quick trip to Rishikesh with two of our friends. It was quite impromptu as Rishikesh is only 6 hours drive away from where we all live and Rahul & I were anyway visiting my parents, who live even closer to Rishikesh. Our friends decided to pick us up on their way and it was a very smooth and chill trip. I’ll write about it in a blog post and link back here.

After that, my friend and I took a much awaited trip to Banaras, the ancient, holy city in India. I don’t remember properly but I am very likely to believe that she and I have been thinking about making this trip since 2016 and so glad that we finally made it. Again, a post is due.

Then, this weekend that just passed us by, Rahul and I went to Jim Corbett National Park with my parents. I would probably not dedicate an entire post to it as it has very limited things to do, so let me just get to it here. Basically, its a national park where you can be one with the nature – flora and fauna both. The place is famous for tigers and there are regular forest safaris arranged for tiger spotting. I have been here once more before with my engineering friends and there used to be only early morning safaris back then. This time, there were afternoon safaris as well, which is what we opted for to avoid the early morning cold. Literally no one I know has ever spotted a tiger in the Corbett Safaris and so was the case this time for us. 😀 There are very less tigers in the entire national park region anyway. We did, however, spot tiger paw marks. My trip highlight was the Kosi river that flows from this place. When I had been to Corbett the last time, I didn’t know about the river, neither was my resort situated near it. My husband researched and told me about the river and that there are resorts next to it. Hence, I spent time looking at the river from my room’s balcony and we also went to sit there. It was really peaceful and calming.

I am then taking cue from Lyssy’s post here to take stock of my month, she calls it “What’s Up Posts”, it was started by her blogger friend Shay 8 years ago it seems!! Let’s see if I manage to do it every month.

I am going to answer all the questions in the below card for the post then.

What We’re Eating?

I mentioned here how I am trying to eat healthy in my daily routine. The only thing is that this month didn’t have a lot of routine days, but that also means I loved so many things during my trips. Banaras trip was exceptionally good when it comes to food. I have written all about my Banaras food expeditions on my Instagram here, in case you would like to know.

What I’m Reminiscing about?

I am in general someone who reminisces a lot, so its difficult to keep a track of this. 😀

What I’m Loving?

Absolutely loving my rhythm and carving a routine for myself in all the chaos. I should also mention here even though I hadn’t considered it while writing out this post that I am thankful for the chaotic but fun travel opportunities.

What we’ve been up to?

Work, travel and finding moments for myself and even for me and my husband.

What I’m dreading?

I am going to meet a lot of a particular side of my extended family in the upcoming days, dreading is too strong a word, but I am cautious of it getting too overwhelming.

What I’m working on?

Snail’s pace but I am trying to work on this. Trying being the keyword, haha!

What I’m Excited about?

Even though I mentioned I am worried about getting overwhelmed about meeting the said side of my extended family, I am looking forward to enjoy in the wedding this is for. I love Indian weddings more than anything!

What I’m Watching/Reading?

I just completed my first read of the year – The Hindu Way by Shashi Tharoor. It was a roll over from 2022, now I am onto my second one – The Accidental Prime Minister by Sanjay Baru, I have never read a book on politics and, surprisingly I am quite enjoying it.

I am watching ‘The Crown’ every now and then, mostly with my meals. I am not able to binge watch it because a) I cannot play it as background music while working since it requires attention the first time, b) my husband does not enjoy it, and a couple of hours at night is the only time we have in common apart from breakfast so I don’t want to watch such a long series during that time.

I recently concluded ‘Emily in Paris’ and man do I love it! I never expected to enjoy it so much. I might do a post on it, you know.

I am also watching the Indian version of Shark Tank, not enjoying it as much as the Season 1.

I may have re-watched a lot of stuff, and I am also looking forward to watch SRK’s latest movie Pathaan after 4 years in a movie hall. Although I don’t have a lot of hope from the story, but just for the heck of watching SRK on big screen.

What I’m Listening to?

Oh, this is a good one for me. So, I may have mentioned that I am not into any specific music, mostly anything nostalgic Bollywood or any famous Punjabi songs float my boat. Every now and then I listen to random podcasts but I haven’t found one that I love and its very random and also very infrequent. However, very recently, I have kind of started building my podcast listening habit to avoid looking at my phone in mornings and right before bed. I am liking it not only to avoid screen time but also because I am leaning to informative stuff. I won’t share which ones I am listening to because I don’t have a strong opinion yet on this. 😀

What I’m Wearing?

I am sad that I didn’t use a lot of my winter stuff on my trips, but kind of repeated the same things. I just wanted to be super comfortable and not try at all. I am also sad that my two boots that I love have started to chip, because I definitely wanted to use them more. I’ll probably check with a shoemaker who sits outside my house if something can be done.

What I’m doing this weekend?

The coming weekend, i.e. Feb first week, would be the weekend I would want to chill completely. Let’s see how that goes, although knowing some upcoming things, I think it would be busy again.

What I’m looking forward to next month?

The said wedding fun.

Planning for more travels, especially a big one, fingers crossed.

Most importantly, improving some things about my work.

What else is new?

I had to think hard for this, so I am just sharing a silly thing that came up in my mind – I am soon going to try a fun takeout and planning to convert it to date night. Let’s see how that goes.

4 foods from Himachal I cannot get over with!

Remember my trip to Manali and Kasol in 2021? First of all, please show that post some love since it was truly one of my favorite trips. Living for so long in the mountains is a dream come true for me, and I cannot be more thankful that this pandemic allowed us to do that.

Now, onto the topic for today, I had this post sitting in my drafts since long from the time I was reminiscing about all the good food I ate on that trip. A disclaimer though – all the dishes mentioned below except one are not specific to Himachal Pradesh. They are popular in the rest of North India as well, but I am specifically going to talk about the Himachali versions today.

Let’s get started:

Siddu: This is the only one on the list which is a pure Himachal based dish. Siddu is basically a dumpling made of flour (it didn’t seem like wheat flour or all purpose to me but I Google-d and it is in fact wheat flour only) and its filled with spicy pastes, like the regular North Indian Spices, salt, pepper, red pepper, coriander powder etc, but the real deal is poppy seeds paste. It seriously changes the game. It’s usually served with, well, again some spicy chutneys (dips) and loads of ghee (clarified butter) on top. I think its the kind of dish which either you would love a lot or hate a lot. For me, its the former. I would kill to eat a nice Siddu plate right now, but its a very traditional Himachali dish. Honestly, I have started appreciating foods that are only available at certain locations a lot more as I realize that everything being available everywhere just takes the charm away.

Rajma Madra: Rajma is red kidney beans and though rajma curry is the most popular North Indian dish, but “Rajma Madra” is specific to Himachal. It is basically Rajma curry but in a very thin and spicy gravy. Its almost like a thin consistency, spicy soup and despite the thinness, goes well with rice. Personally, I am not as much of a rajma lover as North Indians usually are, but I love this Himachali version a lot. I also read up just now that its probably different because the gravy is yogurt-based. Yumm!

Kadhi Pakora: Funny thing, as a kid, I used to hate Kadhi and never understood how can it be someone’s favorite food. As a grown up, I have nothing but respect for this yogurt curry. I was once out with few colleagues in Ljubljana, Slovenia to an Indian restaurant and a foodie colleague of mine ordered Kadhi (which was served under the soup section there). I didn’t expect him to like it because its a very distinct taste. He fell in love with it. Anyhow, coming back to the Himachali Kadhi. Now, the thing is that Kadhi is made in many variations across India, or at least in the states above the peninsula. 😀 Rajasthan has a very thin soup-like Kadhi and Gujarat ones have some sweet and sour thing going on but the Kadhi in Punjab, or higher up North, like Himachal, is super thick and rich, and is always served with Pakoras (fritters) dipped in it. What I especially liked in the Kadhi in Himachal was that it was not supremely thick like the ones you get in restaurants, which are nothing but killjoys really. It was just the right consistency, thick but not chokingly. 😀

Bun Chole: I don’t know which North Indian state this street/fast food belongs to but in recent times, I have most commonly seen them in Himachal. Basically, a super spicy Chole (white chickpeas) dish is made and served stuffed inside buns like a hamburger, along side green chillies and raw onions. My spice-loving a*s loves it and misses it now.

I know, I know. My list is very generic and I haven’t even touched upon very traditional cuisines. I really hope I get to taste more of Himalayan cuisines. In fact, on that note, I recalled that I love this restaurant in Delhi – Yeti, the Himalayan Kitchen – I think its Nepali and Tibetan food. I have only been there once but I wholeheartedly recommend it IF AND ONLY IF your spice tolerance is high.

The Most Productive Meal Menu

What is a productive meal menu, you ask? Depends on what you are trying to achieve from your food habits, but I classified this week as productive because I managed to completely clean the fridge before I embark on my trip for two days and also didn’t order in even once! Not that anything is wrong with ordering in, in fact, its one of the things I enjoy, but you know what I mean.

You will notice as you go along in the list of things I ate over the week, that the consumption of protein was not as good as I would have liked, but that’s because I was focussing on using up stuff. In general, I am critical of food wastage and my fridge is usually easier to clean before a trip because its not filled with a lot of store-bought condiments or things like that which you can’t consume in one go.

Have a look at what I ate this Monday to Friday 😀 and I am thinking of doing this again soon, when I eat more of what I wanted to and didn’t focus on fridge cleanse. This week also had a lot of other things that are not part of my usual routine. For example, it was a chill work week, so I was waking up quite late which meant a heavier breakfast & a snack type lunch. Also, a friend was staying over, so lots of rice type one pot meals instead of roti (Indian flatbread) which require more effort.

Also, I enjoy Youtube content of meal plans and such a lot, do share your food related stories in the comments as I would love those!

Don’t forget to look beyond the picture for some explanation of the meal menu :D:

I created this table in my notebook especially for this post and I am going to give you some more context if you are not an Indian & some of the words don’t make sense. First of all, my husband and I usually can’t do without three proper meals. However, in this meal menu, you would notice two lunches as just chai (Indian milk tea) and something to munch on. As I already mentioned, that’s because I was waking up late and breakfast was heavier than usual. Aside this, I would like to incorporate a lot more protein and actually my other weeks are definitely better than this one in that regard.

Now, a glossary of sorts 😀 –

Roti is nothing but the staple Indian basic flatbread, I usually use multigrain flour for this, but its traditionally meant to be whole wheat.

Chawal is nothing but plain boiled white rice.

Chai is Indian milky tea, which some people call as masala tea, but just so you know, I hate masalas in Chai. Only ginger and tulsi (holy basil) for me.

Idli is steamed rice cakes, traditionally made in South India.

Sambar is a vegetable stew that goes well with Idlis.

Poha is cooked rice flakes, and I would say its an acquired taste, but its a staple in our home, especially because its filling but not as carbs heavy as bread and also because we make it with matar or green peas always, which are high protein.

Gobhi is cauliflower & paratha is a heavier Indian flatbread. So, Gobhi paratha is an Indian flatbread stuffed with cauliflower and then fried with ghee (clarified butter), again a winter delicacy but this is one of my husband’s favorite treat so its a regular with us.

Methi is fenugreek leaves, which is a gift of winters in India and both of us love it.

5 Indian things I appreciated after living abroad | Blogmas 2

I clearly remember how much I used to hate my mom’s habit of putting excessive coriander in everything. And then I went to Europe for around 10 months and I missed it’s presence in regular food terribly. I came back and became equally or more obsessed with coriander.

So, i dedicate this post to 5 such Indian things that I have only appreciated either when living abroad or with age. I am sure Indians who moved abroad to settle can add a lot to this list. If you are reading this, please do consider adding yours in comments!

1. Amla: Indian gooseberry is a superfood that doesn’t get the credit it deserves. I know you will say that it’s way more popular than many other superfoods but my point is just how versatile and tasty it is in so many dishes. Why people don’t eat it more often? Maybe because they don’t know how easy it is to incorporate in so many dishes! Apart from amla candy & murabba (preserve), nothing else seems to be super popular. I think I’ll do a post on some easy peasy recipes with amla.

2. Coriander: of course. No brainer . Chop and put it in any Indian dish and see its magic happen.

3. Spice box: just why do people elsewhere not use a spice box? Just why? If you are reading this and don’t know what this is, please Google. You will know its importance in a South Asian’s life. This point can also be extended to pressure cooker actually. Why are people buying canned legumes and not using a pressure cooker?

4. Fresh mangoes need i say more?

So this is my list but i am sure many others can be added to this list. Please do let me know in comments. Mine are a lot around food but yours don’t have to be. 😀

My Favorite Recipe from the internet | Garlic Pull Apart Rolls

Why I decided to write this post – we come across many recipes on the internet everyday and that too from so many different sources that I am sure all of us have bookmarked and saved recipes across portals. But this one stands out so much for me in many ways –

  • One, it turned out really amazing! It initiated me into not being scared of baking, because if your first recipe is so good, what can you not do? 😀
  • I found it online really long ago on a blog (details below). This was at a time when Instagram probably didn’t exist and I used to read many random blogs regularly. 😀
  • I made this recipe with multiple variations (one suggested by my brother which he also ended up loving the most) many times, but once I decided to make it after a long hiatus and I couldn’t find it again online. In baking, as many of you would know, knowing the right ratios & measurements is very important unless you are a seasoned baker, so I was really heart broken to not find it!
  • Ever since then, I have searched for this lady’s blog online and the recipe many times. I clearly remembered her blog name and her name also, this recipe meant that much to me. 🙂 I also saw multiple other recipes of the same dish but I wasn’t happy with their descriptions. It was totally a “she’s not Rachel” thing. 😀 And, then, one day I finally saw her old blog popu in some pinterest post on one of my Google searches for the recipe. It’s still not clickable but I took frantic screenshots & I am sharing them below.

On a separate note, I think the same person now blogs here – http://cakencurry.com/. Again, found out because of trying random searches of her name, user name and what not! 🙂

Here’s the recipe for you. Garlic, cheese & bread – what’s not to love?