10 December, 2017

Dakshin Dwar- Holiday Inn, Mayur Vihar

Café on 3 is on the 3rd floor of hotel Holiday Inn in Mayur Vihar. These days they have special South Indian food promotion. Dakshin restaurant is not just associated with ITC. In fact, it started 28 years back in Chennai park Sheraton which is now Crowne Plaza. Head chef, Prabhakaran has been called from there for this food festival Dakshin Dwar. Chef Prabhakaran, the head chef of the iconic Dakshin in Chennai, would like to invite you to a specially curated South Indian culinary journey at Cafe on 3, Holiday Inn Mayur Vihar Noida.Dakshin Dwar opens at Café on 3, after glorifying the culinary traditions of the six South Indian states for 25 years in the heart of Chennai. The best of the legendary flavours from the restaurant will be showcased at the Holiday Inn Mayur Vihar.

The cuisine and concept of this food promotion are All South Indian states. Being a cafe, in the buffet, there is also regular stuff from North India but it is majorly South Indian states- 6 different cuisines. Kerala, Telangana, Andhra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and even Pondicherry. There are Chettinad specials also. There are 2 live counters- Dosa and Appam. Seeing someone do it is special.
We started with banana dosa with 4 different signature chutneys-Pineapple, tamarind beetroot and spicy tomato. So there is fruit, vegetable and tamarind. The First thing served is the heaviest food to drowse hunger with heavy food. It is like offering to God. Then soup is served. Starters are served at the table and then you take the buffet. Different spices- including Chettinad spices were used- 18 spices
different red chillies- byadaga chilli from Karnataka. Some food was prepared in gingelly oil which is very healthy sesame seed oil. Deserts were made of jaggery instead of sugar. Other oils used were peanut oil, coconut oil, etc. Pondicherry food is less spicy- lobsters in malai curry. Mix vegetable curry without spice and no chilli. They are mostly grilled.It was nice to get intricacies of food. Other things we tasted and tried was

Fish Fries.
Varappu vada- banana flour. Chana dal vada
veg and non-veg. kothu paratha.

Normally would not have this much variety of South Indian cuisine. So this food festival is something you must try.
Each variety made with different masalas and had different flavours. The flavours were of pepper, ginger, coconut, etc. It was a balanced meal.

Meen pollichathu 
Vazhapoo vada
Lady fish fry

Murungai rasam
Kodi Uluvacharu

Appam with pachakari stew stew
Appam with kozhi stew
Kothu paratha with veg
Kothu paratha non veg salna
KariveppilIai poondu kuzhambu
Motchai masala
Tomato pappu

Vennai mamsam
Kori rasa
Lamb kheema choru
Thanjavour meen kuzhambu

In desserts were tried:
Lychee payasam
Ada pradhaman
Badam halwa

Each dish was finger licking good. I would highly recommend you to try this food festival. It is on only until 17 December. So rush. Do not miss it.

09 December, 2017

Saree- the best gift ever

My dad used to travel a lot for his business trips. Every time, he went, he came back with sarees for my mom. Not one for sure. The minimum number he brought was four. They used to be gorgeous, drool-worthy sarees. After I got married, this must have been his first trip post my wedding. He was returning home and on the way had little time to meet me in Delhi. As always, he had brought about five sarees. He kept them in front of me and said, you choose. I said, "no they are for mom". He said, "at least choose one." I picked up the simplest of them all. Ganga Jamuna pure silk saree. The body was gorgeous cream colour and it had green and black borders. It could be worn both sides. I was fascinated with the concept. 
After few years, I was not wearing sarees so regularly and started giving them to mom. I gave this to her too. Few years went by and I asked her to give it back to me. When the saree came to me, the cream body had brown stains on it. My heart was broken. I would not have discarded my dad's gift that easily. I wanted to rescue it. So I went to my local dyer and asked him to colour the white body copper brown to cover up the brown stains. Voilà! and here it is again. 25 years old saree. My dad's gift to me that changed hands many times and came back to me. It was on the verge of extinction but was rescued and saved. Today I am proudly wearing it and thanking dad for getting me this beauty.
Oh, silk saree! your beauty is timeless. When you gift a traditional saree to someone, it is the best gift ever. It is like giving a piece of your heart. Every warp and weft is soaked in love. It is as precious as jewellery. 

08 December, 2017

Unleashing the saree

Saree has something about it that transports you to a state of mind that is happy, peaceful, contented, feeling pure and yogic in nature. It connects you back to your roots. You can never go wrong with simple classic sarees. Less is more. This sartorial heritage is straight from the looms. Remember the invaders came to India, for our treasures- silks. Today we have given up on our classic heirlooms for lycra and polyester. People value brands, denim, etc. Sarees are wrapped and packed and tucked away. It is time to dig them out, breathe life into them, listen to their stories, move your fingers gently on its folds, rub them to your cheeks and of course, wear them proudly.

This saree came out after 5 years (ashamed of myself. But I am going to rectify this from now onwards). See the last time I wore it here. Today the accessories and the blouse was different. 

06 December, 2017

Saree is not a "Hindu" garment

Do not associate saree with Hindutva or the National cause. Saree has been adorned in all the states of India, by women of all walks of life. Muslim actresses have worn it. The majority of saree weavers are Muslims. It is their only source of income. Most of the intricate motifs done on sarees are inspired by Mughals. Even if our current government is promoting saree, their efforts to do so should be applauded.
Multinational companies have successfully promoted their products and made us feel bad about our national products. We all know the benefits California almonds but we have been told that peanuts produced in Maharashtra will give us high cholesterol. Wine is good for the heart. In Indian households, we do not get wines. We get pickles. Pickles are our wines. But now we have been told that pickles are high in salt and will give us high blood pressure. The fact is that the generation which had pickles never had high blood pressure. Pickles aid in the absorption of vitamin D which is essential for absorption of Calcium, which is very vital for bones. So if you want healthy bones, have pickles.
These companies promoted that exercise can only be done in workout clothes. Whereas, Yoga was traditionally done in Kurta and Pajama and women wore sarees and walked and did all the work. Now everyone feels that it is impossible to work out in a saree. Let me tell you it is possible. Yesterday, I shot for a Tv channel, wearing a saree and showing every possible Yoga asana. You can see some of the scenes pictures here. They are on my Instagram. The episode will be aired soon and I will upload it when it is aired.

In the meanwhile, this is the second saree I wore yesterday for a beautiful evening in Artussi. In my next blog post, I will post pictures of the evening.

This saree is 25 years old saree. It was gifted by my parents. It has silk and gold zari thread. It has gorgeous hues of cream, gold and green. The camera is not doing full justice to its colours. It has subtle shades of dull gold, especially when it moves. The blouse, which is part of the saree is also 25 years old. It has not been altered. It has very interesting Mughal print on it. See the beauty of sarees. It is evergreen and always trendy. I paired it with Kundan earrings and bracelet in keeping with its Mughal and royal detailing.