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.