Struggles of an NRI bride

As an NRI bride I had to put in a lot of effort in planning each and every detail of my wedding – with all vendors being in completely different time zones and not having the opportunity of face to face conversations and trials. And this post is NOT about that – because that deserves a whole book filled with all the gyaan and knowledge I imbibed in about 9 -12 months of
wedding planning (which is pretty much the duration of a masters course in this country!)

Over the last few years that I’ve spent in he U.K., I have built around me my own little family of friends that is not so little anymore. And I wanted all of them to be a part of my wedding festivities.

So save the date cards were prepared well in advance after intense discussions on which pic to pick (with boy friend threatening no more Friday romcom Nights for life if I chose a pic of him on hagrid scooter for the card! ) and circulated to our friends. We received an overwhelming response with so many people wanting to join us in India and I was in bride la la land. But what I had not anticipated was the questions that came my way regarding all the functions – so does the wedding happen over three days , oh god no – we just have pre parties and after parties and what not , the wedding itself is a couple of hour ceremony that will take place in between. However customs, ceremonies and dress codes that I take for granted were not so obvious to all my friends from here and I decided to prepare a reference guide for them. Th guide itself was inspired from one of the many wedding blogs I was reading at that time and focuses on North Indian weddings. However do feel fee to customise it as per your wedding schedule.

I also added some suggestion and tips for hotels and sightseeings options in and around Delhi. All the Kipling fans attending were super keen to know tiger sighting spots in India and I obliged such special requests as well.

Tabs after tabs were added with outfit suggestions for both men and women and segregated in to what could be worn for which function. While my planning skills are flawless, the bookkeeping ones don’t quite match and I seem to have lost the version with outfit sections. However I will definitely recommend adding that to avoid having guests turn up in heavy sarees and dance unfriendly shoes for the Sangeet night.

So use this lovely spreadsheet as an inspiration and customise away to suit your wedding ceremonies.

Advertisements

Coconut Fish Curry

Tonight’s meal was just supposed to be lazy food – some good old green curry paste from China town mixed with fish and served with rice. But sadly, the ready to eat paste was a massive disappointment and went straight in to the bin and hungry me was left with no option but to take back control.

I decided to make a Kerala inspired coconut fish curry. Growing up in a traditional Punjabi household, my go to dishes are always the tadka daals and butter chickens, but I do think that coconut milk and fish are a match made in heaven and tonight was the time to concoct this love potion.

Ingredients:

  • 1 sea bass fillet
  • 1 pureed tomato
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • half onion – chopped
  • about 150 grams vegetable mix of baby corns, tenderstem broccoli and beans
  • 2 green chillies
  • curry leaves
  • mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • spice mix – 1 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp jeera powder, 1/2 tsp garam masala and salt to tastewp-1485646410797.jpg

Method:

  • Start off with heating 1 tbsp. oil in a pan and add mustard seeds and chopped onions once the oil is hot
  • As the onions turn light brown, throw the vegetable mix, curry leaves and chopped green chillies in to the pan. Stir the mix for about five minutes
  • Now add the pureed tomato and cut sea bass in to the pan and cook for about 7 – 8 minutes till the fish is cooked
  • Finally add the coconut milk, spice mix and lemon juice to the pan and stir the curry for another 5 minutes

    wp-1485646439751.jpg

  • Garnish to your heart’s delight and serve hot with rice or traditional kerala parotta
  • wp-1485645677836.jpg

Coconut fish curry served with rice and pickle *yum yum*

Bridal Shower @ the Taj

2016 was a big year for our family, both me and my sis – baby S, commonly referred to as Su got married.

In the middle of the frenzy that was 2016 – oh its so romantic to get married to the love of your life and all the associated soppiness – was a crazy me trying to organise not only mine and Su’s wedding but also little sissy’s bachelorette, which couldn’t be anything less than Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

The first step of what was going to be one hell of a weekend was an afternoon tea with Su’s bffs. The plan was elaborate – afternoon tea followed by spa, clubbing and ultimately wrapping up with dinner in style, but the only hitch was coming up with stylish places that wouldn’t burn down our teeny tiny fancy purse clutches to ashes!

With that in mind and my party planner hat on, I embarked on my research to come up with list of sassy places. And that was no easy task with more than ten uber trendy girls who have tried and tested all new hot spots in London before they even show up in Time Out (Come on girls – you need to stop going out!).

But then search engine gods showed mercy and I came across the afternoon tea at the Taj 51 at Buckingham Gate – and voila that was it, an Alice in Wonderland theme afternoon tea, which was right from the movies.

The property itself is very centrally located – just a stone throws away from Buckingham Palace and Mayfair and boasts a beautiful garden worthy of a stroll after the tea and cake indulgence.

We were greeted to eye catching trays, vintage tea pots, chic tablewear, theme placards and colourful tableware. The tea selection was fantastic, with everything from Indian Assamese to Taj Speciality and Ceylon teas. Whilst I stuck to the standard black tea base, Su got a berry flavoured tea and wasn’t super impressed but as a tea traditionalist I do not believe in adulterating my tea leaves with fruit flavours and only blame Su for not being a fundamentalist.

wp-1485386110268.jpg

Afternoon tea adventures

There was no shortage of finger sandwiches and sweets- which ranged from Victoria sponge cakes to pocket watch macaroons and the very famous Queen’s recipe scones. My personal favourite was the mango tarts, the drink me strawberry potions and the highlight Queen’s recipe scones which were sinfully warm and buttery. This place is a delight for all sweet tooths out there.

wp-1485385595562.jpg

Delightful Queen’s recipe scones had us at the very first bite

There was an abundance of cakes and macaroons, and we got some packed as well which were later devoured in the wee hours of the morning after a super packed and fun filled day. wp-1485386385840.jpg

*Cutesy things that left us like grinning Cheshire cats*

 

Friday Movie Night

Whilst I have never been a movie buff – only a Bollywood fan, P is a certified cinephile who religiously watches all of the top 100 Imdbs as an annual ritual. And ever since we have been together, I have been compelled to watch movies – of all genres and languages (marriage – thy name is compromise!) every Friday night (so remarkably good and some that have been blocked from my memory forever).

We watched hunt for the winderpeople yesterday which is an endearing story about a kid and his foster father’s adventures in the beautiful landscapes of New Zealand as they are being hunted down by child services and the army. The film is a comical dynamite with dry wit, humour, cutesy gangsta”ness”, affection, action all rolled in to one big mush ball.

wp-1485619746176.jpg

 I didn’t choose the Skuxx life, the Skuxx life chose me

So grab some pop corns, roll in to the bed and switch on your tele – coz this gem is on Netflix – sigh! how did we ever live without on demand tv (*dives in to nostalgia*).

 

Accessories Crushing

Nothing beats day time wedding festivities on crispy winter mornings. Also it is lovely to take out some pastels and yellows from the closet unlike the darker shades suited more for the evening functions.

Also what better time to try some quirky accessories than the pre wedding functions.

Here is a glimpse of some super crush worthy bangles that will go perfectly with the lighter floral lehengas.

wp-1485103064528.jpg

Who said ghungroos are just meant for the feet. This one not only looks pretty but also sounds pretty awesome – and the sounds double up as a “hotness alert”.

wp-1485123968111.jpg

Love pom poms, and even more bangle pom poms. Uber chic and ultimate style statement to make.

These wont only add impact to your outfit but can also double up as amazing wedding favours!

 

 

Prawn Noodles

Chowmein is the staple fast food for most Indian students – one of the quickest and cheapest dishes to have in the college canteens. In London however, Indo Chinese is much harder to find and even after so many years here I haven’t had a “veni vedi vici” moment.

Always facing adversities with head held high, I decided to put my chef hat on and prepare my own version of prawn chowmein. And voila, within twenty minutes I had my yummy plateful ready which could take on any Chinese van in Delhi.

So here is the magic potion recipe –

Ingredients:

100 grams of noodles – I used the Sherwood egg noodle pack
half cup of prawns
1 green chilli
few coriander leaves
2 cloves ginger, small slice of garlic julienned (on a lazy day I use ginger garlic paste instead)
1 onion thinly sliced
1 carrot thinly sliced
1 tbsp. oil (olive, vegetable, sunflower, any other fancy oil)
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. lemon juice
spices – salt, red chilli, pepper

Method:

  • Boil the noodles, and once the noodles are moist and ready drain out the extra water
  • Prepare the prawns and veggies while noodles are boiling
  • Add lemon juice to the prawns and let them soak in it for a few minuteswp-1485047873679.jpg
  • Heat the oil and throw the onions, carrots, ginger, garlic and chilli to it. Toss for five – seven minutes and add the soy sauce and vinegar to the mix.
  • Finally, add the prawns and mix for another 2-3 minutes before adding the noodles
  • Drop in the noodles in to the prawn veggie mix and mix for few minutes
  • Garnish with coriander and serve and eat with love 😀
  • wp-1485042852000.jpg

 

 

 

Lovely Indian Food @ Chai Ki

Living in the wharf comes with its pros and cons. Whilst I have a superb river view, and wake up to the roaring sounds of splashing waves, the eating out options are fairly limited to put it politely (read: blehhhh). But then came the cross rail place with all its new restaurants. And boy, did our weekends completely change – leaving us no motivation to step out of east London.

As an Indian, I am a self proclaimed Indian food connoisseur and currently – Chai Ki,  which is the sassier version of its central London cousin Roti Chai in cross rail place has been trending on my list of  new Indian restaurants in London.

So P & I have been regulars here and usually end up at the Toddy Shop – which is on the ground floor and serves an all day menu. What I love about this place is a noise free menu – a small selection of street food inspired sharing plates. This trend is such a respite from the usual 10 page long menus at some traditional curry places.

This time around, I had the refreshing Kovalam Beach mocktail which had just the right amount of sugar in it. Their drinks menu is fairly extensive and you can experiment with a wide range of sharing tea pot cocktails too.

wp-1485010206858.jpg

So we ordered the burnt chilli chicken, Koliwada Calamari, dahi puri (after the toughest 5 minutes of choosing between the lovely bhel and this – such stress can break marriages! :P), konkan chicken and Malabar paranthas. Yes we can eat – don’t judge ;).

wp-1485007881444.jpg

Chilli chicken is a must try if you’ve grown up on the Indo Chinese food served back home. The calamari is not for the “make my food asap types” (translated as spicy as possible ;))- it had a lovely sugar coating which blended extremely well with the infused spices but implied that the squid wasn’t the crispiest.

What really disappointed me is the “chai” at Chai Ki, such few Indian places do it properly and unfortunately that for me is a deal breaker, and means no second dates usually, but then my love for chaat and all things street food will ensure that I am back at this place very soon (why, why am I so weak!!)