A short trip to Saputara

We went on a short one night trip to Saputara in the middle of the week. It was a holiday for Independence day and the school was on a 4-day short break combining Independence day and Parsi new year.
The three of us, along with my in-laws left from Thane around 6:20 am. My parents were going to reach Saputara from Gujarat. They started at 5:50 am. We stopped at 7:30 am at Shree Dutta snacks on the Nashik highway for breakfast. It is famous for their Maharashtrian food. And Maharashtrian food is usually spicy. So, I and my daughter stuck to plain idlies and bread butter. The others enjoyed sabudana khichadi, upma, and sheera.
We left around 8:30 and headed towards Nashik. The route to Nashik is very scenic and especially so during monsoons. We were in Nashik around 10 am and took the diversion towards Saputara.

The road becomes a narrow 2-lane road once you divert from Nashik towards Saputara. This time, the road was quite bad with really huge potholes in some places. It might be due t…

DIY rakhis for kids and babies

Rakshabandhan is around the corner. I thought, why not try to make a rakhi instead of buying it; especially for the kids. It would be a fun activity for the daughter. It was a school holiday in the middle of the week due to Maharashtra bandh. This was a good way to utilize the day.

I looked around the internet and saw a couple of DIY rakhi ideas. Then it hit me that we have a flower kit in which there are foam flower cutouts which can be stacked on straws to make flower branches.

I thought of staking the foam flowers to create a rakhi. I used some decorations from a broken bracelet and old rakhis to give it a finished look. I used wool threads to create the string for tying.

Here's how I did it.
Cut out woollen thread. I measured around my wrist and doubled the length.

Tie 3 threads together with a sewing thread. I used 2 orange and 1 yellow thread. I used red thread to tie them together.

My daughter braided one to make a cohesive thread. For the other one, she wrapped the 2 orange t…

Makhni gravy for Paneer Butter Masala, Butter Chicken and Dal Makhni

You might remember my husband's birthday cake, way back in June. Well, today I am going to talk about the rest of the menu for the birthday lunch.
He loves paneer and dal makhni like most vegetarian North-Indians :). But, my daughter and father-in-law do not like paneer. They prefer chicken to paneer any day. I saw that the common link between all the three dishes was - makhni sauce. That would make my work easier. Instead of having to prepare 3 separate dishes with separate ingredients, I could prepare the makhni sauce beforehand and on the day of the lunch, I could just put the dishes together.

Paneer MakhniDal MakhniButter Chicken
I made the makhni sauce on the previous day and stored it in the fridge.

On the day of the birthday lunch;
For Paneer Makhni,
Combine a 3/4 to 1 cup of the makhni sauce with half the amount water to make it liquid.Brought it to a light boilReduce the flame to slow and added equal (to water) amount of cream. I used Amul cream.Check for salt and sugar. Adj…

Fresh date fruit chutney

I was talking to my mother one day on the phone and she mentioned that fresh red and yellow date fruits are coming to the market these days. Yeah, we mostly talk about food :). I believe these dates do grow locally in the dry and hot areas of Gujarat. She told me they taste nice and sweet.
We believe in eating seasonally and locally whenever possible. And this was an exciting new ingredient to try. So I was keeping my eyes open for them. I found them at the Hypercity store near me. If you never noticed them before, like me, here's the Bigbasket link to red and yellow date fruits, so you can see how they look like. They are currently "out of stock" and I did not see them at my local vegetable vendor recently. Maybe their short season is coming to an end. :( I was hoping to buy them again to make more chutney.

Back to the story, I came home with the dates. All excited to taste them. I washed one and put it in my mouth. Hmm...not sweet, too fibrous. Maybe this one is not as…

Alu wadi (Patra) recipe : crisp but not deep fried

During my daughter's summer vacation, we go to my parent's place in Gujarat for about a month. We come back relaxed and ready to take on the next school year. We also come back with a couple of more kilos on us; given all the delicious mangoes of Gujarat and even more delicious food cooked by mom.

This year she made the most delicious alu wadi (if you are in Maharashtra) (or patra, if you are from Gujarat) I had till date. Since we are talking names in different languages, the English name of the leaf is colocasia leaf. Anyway, I tried the recipe as soon as we were back and settled at home after the month-long vacation. I had to record this delicious recipe for reference.

This alu wadi is not deep fried but is crisped up on a cast iron skillet with a little oil. To achieve a good browning, the cast iron pan needs to be preheated on high flame first. Once it is hot, keep the flame low throughout the cooking. A small amount of oil along with low and long heat ensures a crisp ext…

Organising tools for the bathroom and kitchen

In my previous post, I talked about how I designed storage in my house. In this post, I want to talk about the storage organizers that I used around the house. I bought almost all of them on Amazon. Browsing Amazon was my favorite activity in those days. :) I have included links (affiliate links) to the products on Amazon, in case some of you might want to buy them.

You might have noticed that I did not mention anything about bathroom storage in my previous post. The bathrooms were given to us ready with all the fittings. As per our carpenter, in one of the bathrooms (guest bathroom), it was not possible to make an under-sink storage due to the sink shape. I needed something there to store cleaning supplies and a space for guest toothbrushes etc. There was a perfect narrow space between the sink and the bathroom wall where I could fit in a four-level sliding trolley.

The only other thing we bought for the guest bathroom was an expandable tension shower rod and a shower curtain to p…