Thursday, June 23, 2011

Handloom Exhibition in the city...

So this hand loom exhibition is going on at Valluvar Kottam and it's pretty interesting... weavers and textile merchants from all over the country gather here to sell their beautiful wares. It can be a bit expensive but the stuff on display is really beautiful and different, you won't feel bad for splurging. Here are a few pictures...
This is the Valluvar Kottam monument. It looks pretty impressive.. 
with its intricate bas relief work depicting the poems of Thiruvallur, a great poet and saint who is believed to have lived before Jesus Christ.
The monument to this great poet is built in the form of a chariot, which explains the elephants in front...
More intricate work and the stone wheels...
At the exhibition...
Inside the huge auditorium...
A pretty saree...
Hand stitched patterns on this saree depicting a deer, the lady and a forest... reminds me of the story of Shakuntala.
More sarees...
Expensive silk sarees...
Jute bags...

More colourful jute bags...
 
Pretty white benaras saree...
Sheer cotton sarees...
A soft pashmina saree... 
More sarees hanging...
A silk jute saree...
The handloom unit...
Making a saree... thread count is important here.
The design blocks used to print patterns on cloth (known as the block printing technique...)
Here's a sample of how the block printing technique looks...
Elephant motif's to stitch on your dress...
Picked up these pretty shawls... they are really really wonderful, so soft and silky. Mom is modelling them here...

Well, that's all I have... I think the exhibition is on till the 27th of June 2011. So if you live in Chennai, you might wanna drop in, I hear they are held quite often... so you can catch them later too, if you do not happen to be in Chennai.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Conference calls that crack me up...

So I was on a conference call with my brothers and they started joking bout each other and in a few minutes it turned into an argument (about who should say sorry first and why). These conference calls always crack me up, like big time... I sometimes have tears streaming down my face listening to them talk nonsense. So the argument was going on and I was trying to get a word in when Manoj suddenly stopped speaking, and then Vinod stopped too cause Manoj wasn't replying. I was wondering what happened... when the following conversation played out...
Vinod : Manoj, what are you doing?
Manoj : Making a sacrifice.

That sent me into fits of laughter, he meant that by not arguing with Vinod, he was making a sacrifice. I usually mumble something about 'wise folks know when to keep quiet' when I don't want to prolong an argument, but this sacrificial approach definitely beats that.

Another snippet of conversation that cracked me up, Vinod wanted to book tickets for mom, so he asked me...
Vinod : Will mom be comfortable in business class or first class?
Manoj : Why don't you send your private jet...

Living up to their role! (check the link to understand better)

Monday, June 06, 2011

Its easy to walk in my shoes...

Like any other normal girl (okay woman) I love shopping for footwear... trying on different styles and then picking out the ones you instantly fall in love with, like the ones shown below. Aren't they pretty... 
One of the little pleasures of being a girl...
P.S: I know there's no point to this post, nobody reads my blog anyway...

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Paneer Tikka Masala equals Nirvana

So, I love Paneer... I think its way better than meat. I can't emphasize enough on how easy it is to whip up a paneer dish when your stomach is in the throes of insane hunger and you want some awesomely divine food that can send you into a rapture. (Talking bout rapture, here's a really funny article I came across when the whole 'world is going to end' drama was in full swing a few weeks ago.)

First, we'll work on the marinade for the paneer. In a bowl, combine thick yogurt with little cumin, coriander and chillie powder. Add salt too and mix this marinade paste well. 

Cube the paneer and drop it into the marinade, mix them up well and stick the bowl in the fridge for a few minutes while you get to work on pureeing the tomatoes. 

Wash and roughly chop up a few tomatoes, blend them well with a little water and set aside. 

Now shallow fry only the paneer pieces in oil, till they get a slightly brown tint at the edges. Save the yogurt masala paste leftover in the bowl to use in the gravy.

Here they are all fried up and looking delicious, these are totally irresistible. They can be served as starters too... folks will love them.

In a pan, saute finely diced onions and green chillies. 

Drop in some ginger garlic paste...

Saute them well, till they become a soft and mushy mess. 

Pour in the tomato puree that you blended earlier and give it a mix.

Now add a teaspoon or two of sugar, and give it a mix. Sugar is added to balance the acrid taste of the tomato puree, so if you've used a lot of puree make sure to add a little extra sugar. [Instead of sugar you can also add a spoon or two of honey.]

Now add the leftover yogurt marinade and let it simmer for a few minutes. [I dropped in the paneer too, thinking it would absorb the flavour and taste better, but please don't do that. The paneer is already fragile, mixing it around in this gravy will only break it up into pieces. Add the paneer at the very last step.]

The gravy would have attained a deeper red colour by now, be generous and pour in some fresh cream. In case you don't have fresh cream handy, pour in some thick yogurt. While pouring the yogurt, its better to first transfer the pan to the other unlit stove and drop in a spoonful at a time, mixing after each addition, so that the yogurt doesn't curdle and form white specks in the gravy. [Check if the salt and hotness quotient is okay, if not, add necessary salt and chillie powder.]

After the cream/yogurt has been incorporated into this awesome gravy cook it for a few more minutes. Then drop in your paneer and sprinkle garam masala powder on top. Simmer for a couple of more minutes... and you're done.

Ideally this is how it looks, the oil separates on top and then you switch off the stove. 

Garnish with fresh coriander and a dollop of butter, and then its time to dig in. It's nirvana in the palate... I kid you not.

Oh, this is the show off picture... I wanted to show off my homemade wine. In case you are curious bout that picture frame, take a peek here.