Indian food

That Time I Danced At A Wedding

Oh hello again! You may have noticed that I went missing for a few days there, and the reason is that I was suffering from a little burn out. If you read my post and feature on Fashion Flash, then you may know that in addition to my day job, I also have a few other side hustles that I am pursuing. And after over a year of pushing really hard, it happened. I burned out. And so, I took a break from all my gigs, and did very little, end result being that I'm reinvigorated and energized for the summer!!

So while I was on break, I attended my cousin Sonya's wedding to her now-husband Steve. Now, most Indian weddings are five day affairs, but since Steve is not Indian, and this isn't India, Sonya and Steve had an abbreviated adaptation of an Indian wedding, but preserved my most favorite of Indian wedding events - the Sangeet. The Sangeet traditionally occurs the night before the wedding and is a time for song, dance and celebration, and a way for the two families to get to know each other. In an arranged marriage, the sangeet is also a time for the bride and groom to get to know each other before the big day. Sonya and Steve have been together for six years, so their sangeet was all for fun, and frankly, a way for Sonya's bridal party to get all pretty and dressed up and do some dancing.

I wore J. Crew leggings, a kurti (basically a tunic) from am:pm, and Bombay Taxi earrings (obviously).

Sonya, my aunt (her mom), my mom, and me

Sonya, my aunt (her mom), my mom, and me

A closer look at my outfit

A closer look at my outfit

Sonya and her bridal party. Photo credit: BrookeTysonPhotography.com

Sonya and her bridal party. Photo credit: BrookeTysonPhotography.com

Sonya and Steve at their Sangeet. Photo by BrookeTysonPhotography.com

Sonya and Steve at their Sangeet. Photo by BrookeTysonPhotography.com

It was such a great evening, made even better because not only did the bridal party dance, but Sonya's mom (my aunt) and her friends did a dance too! The DJ was great, mixing pop, 90s hip hop and Bollywood songs together, and the food (Indian of course) was so delicious. 

And in the event that you want more, here are my snaps from the night. PS, if you're not following me on snapchat, you definitely should - my username is shibanifaehnle

Overall, a lovely evening to celebrate a lovely couple! Congratulations to Sonya & Steve!

CLE Living: Gatherings Kitchen

There comes a point in your life where the line between friends and family starts to blur. And what better way to demonstrate your love for your family of friends than a home-cooked meal? You know what's even better? A home-cooked meal where neither you nor your friends have to clean up! Recently, my good friend and fellow blogger Charity organized a super fun evening where a group of friends gathered to take a private cooking event at Gatherings Kitchen

I've never done a group cooking class-- in fact, for me, cooking is a solo sport. So this was definitely a new adventure. Gatherings does not serve alcohol, but guests are welcome to bring their own, so armed with a bottle of prosecco (duh!) and a bottle of wine, Nick and I made our way over to Lakewood to cook. We had a group of about 12 people (the private cooking events have a max capacity of 16), and together we set out to cook an Indian menu of samosas and pakoras, lentil soup, Indian bread called khulcha, a lamb dish, a entree of chicken and vegetables, and Indian rice pudding for dessert. Gatherings advertises the event as four courses, but as you can see, we made a LOT of food!

Everyone paired off to work on different portions of our meal, but no one seemed particularly interested in making the chicken korma, so being Indian, and as previously mentioned, a solo cook, I decided to tackle this head on. Now if all of this sounds intimidating, it really isn't. Everything is perfectly portioned out, most of it is prepped, and there are 3 chefs on hand to help out. So at no point do you feel like you're on a sinking ship with no lifeboat. And you know what? It was SO MUCH FUN! We were all drinking wine and prepping food and having conversations, and along the way, I even learned a new way to chop onions! 

We cooked until we had our appetizers ready, and then it was time to leave it up to the professionals to finish off our dishes, and plate them, while we sat down for more alcohol, conversation, and table service. 

I have to say, everything was DELICIOUS!! The quantity of food was ridiculous, so most of us went home with leftovers (which were equally delicious heated up!), AND a cookbook to recreate the recipes at home!!!

One quick tip on cooking Indian food: I highly recommend finding a neighborhood Indian store (just google Indian grocery or Indian store) where you can buy spices for a really low price. They store for up to 2 years in airtight containers or you can freeze them. If you don't have one close, and/or you have Amazon Prime, you can also order kits like this one or this one

Overall, a fun, educational, and delicious way to spend an evening with friends or family or friends who have become family! Find Gatherings Kitchen here or on Facebook. The Supper Clubs (where you participate in a pre-scheduled class) as well as the private cooking events are $75/person! 

 

CLE Cooks: A taste of Mumbai

Yesterday, I finally pulled the trigger on something I've been thinking about for a few years.




I've always wanted to have a retail store, and yesterday, I finally founded my business, Bombay Taxi. Bombay Taxi will offer a selection of apparel and accessories, curated by me. And everything will have a little sparkle, because everyone should Sparkle Every Day.

Over the next few months you will notice a few changes to this page -- this site is in the process of being re-designed, and of course, Bombay Taxi will be launched too, so many exiting things in the pipeline here.

In the mean time, I wanted to take a step back and get a little nostalgic. It is the monsoon season in Mumbai, and given how wet and stormy its been here in Cleveland, its felt a lot like a monsoon here too! Anyway, one of my favorite things about the monsoon is eating grilled corn (bhutta) from the sidewalk stands in Mumbai---- Mumbai street food! Mumbai grilled corn is actually really easy to make, and while they usually use white corn in Mumbai, our more traditional yellow corn will do just fine.

Here's what you do: Mix equal parts salt and paprika (or red chili powder if you're feeling adventurous) on a plate. Slice a lemon into 4 quarters. Turn your grill on high, and de-husk your corn, but leave the stalk on as a little handle. You want naked corn on your grill. Now, grill your corn, making sure to give  it a little char on all sides. You may hear it pop- this is totally fine and normal. Once you have the char you like, take it off the grill. Use the lemon to grab some salt and lemon and rub it on the corn while you give the lemon a little squeeze. Enjoy and get messy corn-face! Its spicy and lemony and absolutely delicious!!!



So there you have it! A little taste from Mumbai for the next time you bust out your grill! Enjoy!

Cleveland Eats: Choolah

It is a well-know fact that I have impossibly high standards for Indian food. Having grown up in Mumbai, once gets used to a certain standard, and until lately, Cleveland has fallen woefully short. If the food is good, then the decor is awful (read: everything is covered in plastic), and if the decor is acceptable, then the food is all wrong.

I have 2 basic standards of judgement*: chicken tikka and naan. Chicken tikka should be juicy, served simply on a plate, with a size of green chutney, red onion and lime. Naan should be flaky, have air bubbles, and should be buttered at request so it comes out all glossy and buttery. If you've got these 2 pieces right, then you've got a great thing going. And at most places in Cleveland, at least one of two things go wrong.

I say this all as a preface to say that when I stepped into Choolah this past weekend, I had very low expectations. And I'm happy to say that I was blown away. Now, the thing about Choolah is that is focuses on Indian BBQ (in clay ovens called a tandoor), so its not a full Indian menu, but they do the tandoori food very well.


I ordered the Chicken tikka masala bowl-- the chicken tikka is served on a bed of rice, with the "masala" on the side. Also included is a side of green chutney, which is very nicely spiced but not spicy. I ordered a naan on the side as well as an order of samosas. I LOVED the chicken tikka - perfectly spiced (contrary to what you might think, tikka's are not really spicy) and juicy, and the masala sauce also had a really nice flavor and texture. The samosas were delicious and served with the same green chutney. I didn't ask for the hot sauce, but it is available on request if you want your food hotter. The only downside was the naan-- butter naan did not appear to be an option, and the naan was really close-- almost there. There was a difference in texture, but it might just be US flour vs. Indian flour. The decor was lovely and light and modern, and the 4 tandoors were up front and center so you could see exactly how your food was cooked!

Overall, a great experience, and one that I will certainly go back for! My only request is that they open a second west-side location because I'm about 45 minutes away, and when an Indian girl needs a fix of Indian food, she needs it to be closer!!! So all you east-siders, I'm officially jealous!!!

P.S. Please bring me some Choolah. Please?!


*Note that this standard only applies to northern Indian food-- I have different standard for South Indian food which I will get to at another time.