New Year Eve !!

This being my first year in Hyderabad, husband planned to go out on 31st for a new year party close to our place. He had received a lot of reviews about the event and some of his friends were also planning to attend.

The event was HITEX BITE on 2011 and its highlights were -

·         BITE ON 2011 will be the biggest open air new year event in Hyderabad
·         The event will have estimated gathering of 4000 upwardly mobile people from the twin city.
·         Fabulous live performances by Jassi and his troop.
·         Surprise female international DJ and Live Bollywood Performers from Mumbai.
·         4 dance floors, flying sound of 1,00,000 Watts, dazzling DJ, bollywood/techno/house remixes, pulsating lights with celebrative ambience.
·         Unlimited food and cocktail

Husband brought 2 passes for us and we reached the venue at 9. The party was just getting started. The host welcomed us and spoke for some time with us. He then asked us to help ourselves with the starters.
With less people at that time the place was quiet. So we were chatting and talking and enjoying starters. Slowly more people joined in and the music started. 

In sometime the place was full and music was played. Then we had the singers playing and lot of other music orchestras being performed. Music was good and we were enjoying the place. As we were headed for main course, people started coming on the dance floor for DJ. I got excited by that and asked husband to join. So we quickly completed our dinner and had a blast on the dance floor. It was an amazing experience and we had a wonderful time. 

Then as the clock struck 12, there were some more special performances by the singers after which they continued the DJ for sometime more. We then left the place by 00:30 having thoroughly enjoyed the event.

Karthigai !!

Karthigai Deeepam is celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Karthigai (November-December) in Tamil Nadu. 

This being our first Karthigai after marriage, we received new set of traditional earthen oil lamps from my place as 'Thalai Karthikai' gift.

On this day, people clean the houses in the morning and and decorate with rangoli to place lamps on it. In the evening, hundreds of lamps are lit using a main lamp in pooja room. The lamps are placed  around the house, on the windows, outside the door, and also in the balconies welcoming the festival. At our place, we have a main lamp called the elephant lamp which was given by mother-in-law.

The festival is then celebrated by preparing Flattened Rice balls mixed with jaggery, Nei-Appam or Athirasam , vella seedai and Adai. 

Bursting of crackers marks the occasion which is then followed by a nice peaceful dinner.

Garam Masala !!

I use Garam Masala mostly in making any gravy with Chapatis. I used to purchase ready made Garam Masala from supermarkets. My mother-in-law uses home made garam masala and always praises the special flavor that comes from them. Then I decided to give a try and it came out really good. Unlike other powders, this requires more time grinding in the mixer to ensure we get a smooth powder. 

Coriander seeds - 3 tablespoon
Cardamom - 2 tablespoon
Pepper - 2 tablespoon
Cloves - 2 tablespoon
Fennel seeds - 1 tablespoon
Star anise - 3 to 5 pieces
Cinnamon - 5 sticks
Nutmeg - Quarter to half 
Bay leaves - 2 

1) Dry roast all the above ingredients in a pan
2) Allow it to cool
3) Grind it to a nice powder 
4) Optionally you may also want to sieve it through a big metal strainer to make smooth powder.
5) Store it in a airtight container.

Birthday Celebration !!

Last Sunday happened to be my birthday. Husband had planned for a small cake cutting and dinner at Hard Rock Cafe. So husband and I decided to celebrate my birthday at our favorite Hard Rock Cafe in GVK mall. This place happens to be favorites for both of us. Also this is one of the few place here serving excellent food along with great music.

So we went there in evening and this was the first time I was visiting Hard Rock Cafe in Hyderabad. I had been a regular visitor to this cafe in Mumbai but after moving to Hyderabad this was my first visit. 

As we entered, we were given a warm welcome. On our right was the Rock Shop, which had its own unique modern retail look and feel. This shop provides a huge array of products ranging from t-shirts to unique patterns to their signature pins.

We then moved in to our table which was in a quiet little corner. From there we were able to have a good view of the entire cafe. The cafe was good enough to seat around 180 people.

The interior was classic and as always unique. There was a band that was playing Alternative Rock when we were in. This is again a genre which both of us like.

The food was the best part. We started with Fish and Chips. This was my ultimate favorite in Mumbai and I wanted to try this here. It is seasoned & breaded fillet of Basa fish served with seasoned fries & tartare sauce. The taste was just so yummy. The fish was really tender, and it almost melted in my mouth.

Then we had my husband's favorite Jumbo combo along with Pina Colada. The jumbo combo includes spring rolls, Onion Rings,Potato Skins and Tomato Bruschetta  served along with four different sauces such as mustard, mayonnaise, BBQ and cheese. The potato skins were totally lip-smacking! The onion rings were good too. We were completely filled with this and loved it. 

Along with the food, we had Pina Colada. It was really very refreshing. The service was excellent and the food was on time without any long waiting. 

We completely loved the ambiance there and the staff were also very cooperative and friendly. It was evening well spent. 

Thank you Hard Rock Cafe Hyderabad for giving me memorable moments on my birthday. 

Diwali !!

This year we celebrated Diwali together as a married couple. It’s supposed to be very special occasion since it is out first Diwali as husband and wife. 

Diwali is termed as festival of lights. It is a happy occasion with firecrackers and  lamps illuminating the ambiance in our homes along with sweet delicacies and new attires. 

My husband and I had been looking forward for this occasion for a long time. After wedding this is the first time we will be meeting our parents.The first Diwali is being hosted by the bride’s family for the newlyweds. 

We reached Chennai two days before Diwali so that we could spend time with my parents and help them on the preparation and decorations around the house. We also had some shopping being planned. We also went to purchase the crackers of our choice.

On Diwali morning, we got up early to have our oil bath. After that we put on our new attires, said our prayers and then went outside to burst crackers. Once we were done with initial crackers celeberation, it was then time to enjoy the sweet delicacies.We then distribute the sweets to our neighbors and relatives and this is a good time to also bond with them.

The next day we left to Trichy to spend time with his parents. In a way we will be celebrating Diwali with both our parents. we reached their place for lunch enjoyed the company. At night we had all my husbands relatives come over for dinner. We burst crackers too and had a good time chatting with them. A Diwali to remember! 

It was a fantastic day and I had a great time with my husband and family.Happy Diwali once again!

Rasam Powder !!

Rasam is very frequently made in Iyengar household. My husband likes to have Rasam almost every other day. My mother-in-law prepares Rasam powder at home. So i borrowed the recipe from her and tried my version of it which came out good.

There are many variations in making this powder. This is the recipe i used. 

Red Chillies - 1/4kg
Coriander seeds - 1 cup
Toor Dal - 1/2 cup
Black pepper - 2 teaspoon
Cumin Seeds - 2 teaspoon

1) Dry roast all the above ingredients in a pan.
2) Allow it to cool
3) Grind it to a fine powder in a mixer.
4) Store the ground rasam powder in a air tight container

Sambar Powder !!

Sambar is very frequently made at my place. Earlier i used to purchase ready made sambar powder from supermarkets. My husband gave me the idea of making it at home and i decided to give a try. But it came out good and gave an awesome aroma to the sambar :)

There are many variations in making this powder. This is the recipe i used. 

Red Chillies - 1/4kg 
Coriander seeds - 2 cups
Urad Dal - 1/2 cup
Channa Dal - 1/2 cup
Toor Dal - 1/2 cup
Fenugeek seeds - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric Powder - 1 teaspoon

1) Dry roast all the above ingredients in a pan without adding oil
2) Allow it to cool
3) Grind it to a nice powder 
4) Store it in a airtight container.

Ganesh Chaturthi !!

This week we celebrated first Ganesh Chaturthi after marriage. I have many of my childhood memories related to this festival. Having grown up in Mumbai, i have always been a part of this awesome festival and look forward to it. This year Ganesh Chaturthi is on aug usually lasts for 10 days.

At my parents place, we celebrate this festival by keeping a small idol of Ganesh at home for 1 day. We then invited many guests and relatives and would have prayers and distribute modaks to them. After that we do the immersion of the Ganesh after 1 day. But at my in-law's place they do not follow this tradition. But my husband was fascinated by the idea of keeping Ganesh at home and so we brought a cute looking Ganesh and plan to keep for 3 days and invited neighbors to our place for the prayers.

For the first time I made these items and pretty impressed with the outcome. I will share the recipes later :)

  • Steamed Modak
  • Sweet Pooranam
  • Mani Kozhakattai 
  • Medhu Vadai

Essential Powdered Spices!!

On initial days after marriage, I used to purchase all the essential powdered spices from supermarkets. But over time I have learnt how to prepare them at home.

Preparing the powder at home is very easy and can be done on a need basis. Also it will be fresh and like any home made food, it has a special aroma.

Below is the list of my essential powdered spices used regularly in my cooking -

Garam Masala
Sambar Powder
Rasam Powder

My Spice box !!

Spice box or Anjarrai Petti as they are called are basic essential in every south indian household. These are containers having multiple compartments which help to store different spices. They are either made out of steel or plastic.

My mother-in-law gave me this container . It is made of plastic which is easy to use for day-to-day cooking. Most of the basic spices I store in this box are the ones used for cooking on daily basis.

In the picture above - items in my spice box are - 

  • Black Mustard Seeds
  • Cumin Seeds
  • Fenugreek Seeds
  • Black Pepper
  • Urad Dal
  • Channa Dal
  • Red Chillies

Kitchen Equipment Essentials !!

Once we have our groceries and spices in place, let us now look into the basic kitchen equipment which are essential in our day to day cooking. Some of these equipment's were already in place in our apartment or passed on by my mother during wedding. But none the less, we need these on a day to-day basis and form the basis of all experiments in the kitchen.

Cooking Utensils

A few basic utensils form the daily ground for our cooking. 

A Sharp Knife

A sharp knife is a bare minimum equipment in every household. Either be it for cutting fruits or chopping vegetables every cook should have a nice sharp knife in their kitchen.  They come in various sizes. The type and size of knife you need depends on what is comfortable for you.  While making a choice on getting a knife think about why you need it for an how you going to use your knife.

A Cutting Board

This is another basic you probably must have. A regular sized cutting board will be sufficient enough to chop all the ingredients in one place making it easy to add them quickly as needed.  In most supermarkets the commonly available ones are the hardwood cutting board and plastic cutting board. I personally have both of them. My mother gave me the regular plastic cutting board whereas mother-in-law gave me the hardwood cutting board which had a self attached cutter to it. 

Mixing Spoons 

A minimum of two mixing spoons preferably Find ones with long handles will be helpful so you don’t burn your hand while mixing.


The Wok is an essential equipment in all households. Traditionally carbon-steel, aluminium or cast-iron woks were commonly used as it is available at low prices and also cook better. These days we also have various nonstick pans serving same purpose which are easy to cleanup but more priced compared to traiditional woks. In my opinion if you are looking for quick heating of onions then the cast-iron wok is a good choice but for dishes which need you to cover the pan and cook for longer periods of time, nonstick is a good choice.

Tadka Saucepan

This is an optional pan you can use for making tadka. Tadka is an Indian cooking technique of heating up spices such as Mustard Seeds, Cumin Seeds or even Coriander Seeds to make a delightful flavor which is then added to a dish. My mother considers this pan among her essentials but my mother-in-law uses her saute pan itself for the tadka process.

Mesh wire spoon

A mesh wire spoon is suitable for stirring and deep fried type of cooking.

Spice Mortar

This is a good tool to quickly grind whole spices before adding them to a dish. 

Food Processor/Mixer

This tool is a great time saver for grinding or making pastes and is a definite must have in every kitchen


Tongs are an optional extension when needing to carry hot utensils or pour turn a mushroom or fish out an ear of corn from boiling water.  My mother-in-law performs this using her kitchen cloth itself but I am somehow more comfortable using tongs to handle hot utensils.

Rolling Pin & Board

This is a basic essential for making chappatis. It is round in shape and great for keeping the dough looking round as you roll it out and the rolling pin is easy to handle and light enough so that you don’t use too much pressure on the dough which can make it stick.

Griddle or ‘tava’ -

These griddles are used specifically for chapatis, omelettes and other flat-breads. Traditionally iron griddles were commonly used but these days we have various nonstick griddles serving same purpose. 

Spice Box

These are containers having multiple containers which help to store different spices. They are either made out of steel or plastic

Pressure Cooker

This is another very essential tool in every household for cooking rice or lentils. They have a whistle release feature which release the pressure in short duration independently and cut down on cooking gas and time. 
These days we also get electric pressure cookers which can help save cooking gas and space on your stove. These cookers take more cooking time than normal pressure cooking.


This is primarily used as a serving vessel. It is used for storage of cooked food like Chapatis.

First Grocery List !!

The first step in the kitchen is to have the groceries in place. Only if we have basic groceries in place, can we then experiment new recipes using the spices in our utensils :) 

I have come up with the top essentials in our grocery list when we started our adventures in cooking.


White Rice
Whole wheat flour
Flattened Rice 
Puffed Rice 


Toor Dal 
Chana Dal
Urad Dal
Moong Dal
Masoor Dal
Rajma (red kidney beans)
Whole Moong Beans


Whole Red Chillies
Red Chili Powder
Turmeric Powder
Black Mustard Seeds
Cumin Seeds
Coriander Seeds
Fenugreek Seeds
Sesame Seeds
Cardamom pods (green)
Black Pepper
Bay Leaves


Garam Masala
Sambar Powder
Rasam Powder


Refined oil
Gingelly Oil



Setting up the kitchen !!

There is a famous quote "The kitchen is the heart of a home". 

When we moved into our apartment as newly weds , the first room that was on our list to setup was the kitchen. The reason being that the Kitchen is the Most Important Room in the House.

My day begins in the kitchen with a cup of coffee. We need to prepare meals in the kitchen and sometimes even eat in the kitchen. 

So it is very important that to setup the kitchen to kick start our day smoothly. For someone like me who never knew ABC of cooking, setting a kitchen from start seeming quite overwhelming task.

But over time, with the help from my mother and mother-in-law, i realized that we can setup the kitchen if you have the basic ingredients, groceries and equipment's.

A new beginning !!

People come into our lives for a reason. We may not know what that exact reason is but once those people are in, they help in so many ways, ways that they don't know and some ways that you might be shocked to realize.  From personal experience, there couldn't be enough words to express how i feel about them entering my life, yet the only thing i can say is thank you!

Welcome to my blog, where I plan on documenting my adventures as I enter a new phase of life after marriage through the series of exciting events and challenging learnings.

Capturing the best moments of your life in photos in your writings is the best thing you can ever do.My goal is to keep the blog updated with photos and fun stories at least once week, hopefully more. 

I’m incredibly excited to start this blogging journey! I hope you enjoy my blog and join me in this new journey of life.