Monday, April 29, 2013

Blog Birthday with a Pop of Pink!

Last week I celebrated my blog's birthday quite pompously! I blogged non-stop for four days (phew! that was a marathon..hats off to the bloggers who post daily) and then on the B-day I had a small cupcake party with my blog staff aka my photographer aka my husband! To tell you the truth, between work, house and blogging I was kinda feeling deadbeat to even dress for the evening. And so the easy answer to that was a pop of pink.
Pink blazer is such a fantastic pop of color! And a perfect compliment to it is stripes. When I think I have too much of color on my hand (or one me), I play it down with either stripes or polka-dots.
**StyleTip: A colored blazer is a go-to item for days when I feel lazy to think about putting an outfit together or matching patterns/color schemes. The blazer is especially welcome for spring days; when the temps are not-so-warm and not-so-cold – just somewhere in-between. 
We met in the town center for a quick sweet-treat which was followed by a spicy pani-puri (spicy Indian snack) hogging session at home. The cupcakes (red-velvet and devil's food) were oh-so-delectable! My staff was so happy with this treat and when I gave him a bonus with a peck on the cheek, well, I made his day :)
Enjoy the pictures from the blog's birthday revelries! 

P.S.: Have you entered the fabulous giveaway yet? Hurry 'cause it ends on Wednesday, May 1st. 

H&M pink blazer | Express denims | GAP striped tee |
Coach bag | Aldo wedge sandals

If you are in the D.C. area, you gotta try the sweets at the Red Velvet cupcakery

P.S. Sharing this post on YOLO Mondays linkup at Molly's!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Blog Birthday and a Giveaway (**Giveaway closed**)

(**Warning: This is an ultra-long post, people! Yeah, I have gone over-board writing it! If you are just interested in the 'fab' giveaway, head to the bottom of this post **)

Woot! Woot! Today is THE day! Today is the day when I penned down my first blog post - a humble Hello World (I am a geek that ways ;)). It's been a whirl wind journey one year of blogging. Officially, I think I can safely say that I am fashion and lifestyle blogger! Thank you to all my readers, fellow bloggers, friends and family for supporting me, cheering me through this journey. Let me say that almost everyone I met was confused about why I started this blog or why I am blogging or what is this need to blog. Don't I have enough things to do in the day? Why I am constantly taking pictures and uploading them on the blog? What's this new 'fad' basically? And like with every fad/whim, I think everyone (even I) thought that one day, it will cease to oblivion. But hey, I have surprised myself here (and everyone too)! Feels really proud to see your passion through the test of time i.e. the first year hitch!

Image via pinterest

When I started this blog, I was not working in a full-time job, but eventually down the road I started working and so blogging took a back seat. I was travelling, driving, shopping, enjoying life and in all this blogging too. I can definitely say that the content of my blog - my writing style, my aesthetic sense , the photography, and everything in between - has evolved because I have evolved the past one year. And without blabbering much, today I just want to talk about the ten things I learnt in the first year of blogging!

1. Coding and building pages - Well, to admit yes I am an engineer by degree and work in the technology industry. But, I have no experience in HTML or CSS coding. But hey, here's the surprise..all the pages, links, menu bars, and logos, all the 'special effects' on this blog have been built by yours truly! I googled, struggled, tried and tested CSS code to know how to change the particular components of the pre-set blogger templates. Not all of this was achieved in one day, but let me tell you the thrill and excitement that you see in something you have built from scratch is simply unbeatable!

2. Building a user-friendly and professional website - This has been an ever-evolving process. I have been religiously following different blogs for a couple of years now, so I did have an idea of the user experience of a blog. Just with that idea, I wanted to create a better place on the internet for me. I want to thank all the bloggers and my readers who have guided me through this process. Do check out the newly formatted 'lookbook',  'foodie corner' and 'travel diaries' pages.

3. Photography - A fashion blogger or for that matter a lifestyle blogger needs to have good pictures on his/her blog. Unless I was a brilliant writer (which I am not yet) readers would be mostly intrigued by the pictures. And it’s true a picture speaks a thousand words! So better get it right! We bought a DSLR last year, but to say the truth I had the least idea of how to shoot a good picture. But all this got better with time and experience. Lighting is what can break or make a beautiful picture (Believe me, that's a major factor in getting the colors of the outfit right!). Immense gratitude in this department goes to my better half for taking the time, efforts and of course money (ahem, DSLR is $$$) to get the photographs right! (It’s in his genes I guess, since my father-in-law is an avid photographer himself).

4. Writing - Though some of my friends have lauded my writing skills, I think there still a long way to go there. One year down, and I still struggle with the grammar, sentence formation, clean and concise writing. I think learning the nuances of writing a good post is always going to be a Work In Progress. Sometimes I go overboard and my sentences form paragraphs; but, I am learning to break them down and make it easier for the reader to understand my thoughts. 

5. Meeting people from different backgrounds/countries with similar taste and ideas - Starting this blog I was able to break the boundaries of distance. I am so happy to have a new category of friends now - Blogger Friends! We share similar passions, tastes in food, clothing, and travel and are more or so of the same age! BINGO, I say! Connecting with people on social media via day to day interactions is something I look forward to and makes me happy after a tiring day at work. 

6. Dressing for my body type - Most of the fashion blogs, I followed or still follow, are of bloggers with 10-on-10 figures. I am of the opinion that, anything or everything will just look fab on them! Though, I truly admire and aspire to have a body like that, I have to dress up for the pear-shaped body I have today. (Pear-shaped meaning, I wear small/XS on top but large for skirts/shorts/pants) The thing is, I cannot ape the clothes or styles my idol-bloggers are wearing. It took me some time to get this point with small mistakes here and there. But, my sense of dressing has started to get better and better with each passing day; I have learnt to look presentable and attractive without being out of place.
Additionally, it takes me a while to adjust or try new trends. Trends like colored denims, stripes, statement necklaces are much easier to incorporate in the daily wear. But to try something like peplums, printed denims, maxi dresses - it took me quite some time to find the perfect fit and material. But, the key here was to not lose hope or even go overboard trying a style that doesn't suit my body type. For me, I would say the styling risks I took in the past year are:

7. Sharing my travelogues - I think I have professed enough love about travelling and sharing with you all through this blog. Travels, for me, are a way to break the daily routine aka monotony of life. So, I am sure that my travels are something which will always inspire me to write about. 

8. Foodie corner - Cooking, trying new recipes, and sampling different cuisines is an integral part of who I am - though I wasn't this person when I lived in Mumbai. I never entered the kitchen then; maybe if mum was real pissed with me or tired or sick, I did occasionally paid visits to that room. I did eat out in Mumbai but that would be just the regular local cuisine; nothing fancy. Coming to the US, I had to learn to cook, learn to satisfy my cravings and then there was the 24x7 Food Network channel running amuck with inspiration. Though I would say that, my cooking has declined over the past year (as compared to my days in Boston - where I didn't pen my recipes but tried out variety of dishes in the kitchen). This is something I want to get enthusiastic about, again.

9. Social media and self-promotion - I am one of those people who don't like to talk about myself, my achievements, or maybe it's just that I don't know how to put forth my actual worth! I am struggling in that aspect; but thanks to twitter and my blogger friends, I am learning the art of self-promotion and branding! Well, some may even think I am on verge of narcissism, but for them I would just say that - Believe me, its immensely motivating to have an ego boost once in a while! And who doesn't like it when their efforts behind the stage are appreciated!

10. Balancing act - When I started this blog, I did not work full-time and so, it was easier to manage the blog work. But since I started a new job last fall, and it has become a true test of how I manage my time with work, home, and blog. I had to literally struggle to think of a good post idea, the number of posts started to decline, I felt a loss of inspiration to cook or create new outfits. (All my inspiration, now, was put to use every morning in creating office-wear looks and sadly, I didn't have a minute to spare then to record them for the blog) On the weekends, I was too exhausted/sleepy/lazy to dress up and take outfit pictures. I think most of my blog posts revolved around my travels in the summer or outfit pictures taken in summer. 
Eventually, I realized that, first I really loved to blog and secondly, if I want to get good at it then, I need to be better at time management. I started to plan my time on the weekends - I stopped watching tv shows, movies (endlessly), stopped being a couch potato. Once, while working in office, it struck me that it was much better working with a monitor and keyboard setup than a laptop. So, there I got a home office installed (thanks hubby!) and things are much faster when working on blog posts now. 
My drive to work was an hour long each way (read: I had a lot of ME time there); so thinking/brainstorming about post ideas while driving to work came natural. Every day, after work, I spent some time to check/update social media, and communicate with readers/fellow bloggers. Basically, small things here and there made big difference to my blogging routine and gave a momentum of sorts.

Finally, to wrap up all my year's work on the blog, it would have not been possible without husband's support. His interest in food, travels, dressing up, fashion sense, and of course photography has helped me to build a better place on the internet! His keen eye for angles, lighting and dedication towards his art is something I truly admire. And thanks for lending me a helping hand here and there :) So there you go, behind every successful passion, there is an equally understanding and supporting partner! Just saying thank you will not be enough..will treat you to a home-cooked memorable meal (which will definitely include a 'Leva-patil style' spicy chicken curry).

And well, there’s a treat waiting for all of you too! To celebrate this memorable day, I am giving away a beautiful piece of jewelry! (pssst guys, you can win this for the lovely lady in your life) 

You can win this gorgeous turquoise necklace by following these three easy rules: 
  1. Like ‘the Zing of my life’ page on Facebook
  2. Follow ‘the Zing of my life’ on Bloglovin
  3. Follow ‘the Zing of my life’ on GFC (Google Friend Connect located on the right hand side panel)
Get an extra entry:

Please leave a comment below mentioning all the accounts with which you are following and an email id to reach you in once single commentThe 'Blog Birthday' giveaway is open to US readers only. To win this giveaway, you must follow all the three required rules. 

The giveaway ends on May 1, 2013 and a winner will be chosen randomly.

All the very best, people!

**Update - This giveaway ended on May 1, 2013**

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Blog birthday series - Seven 'zingy' travel moments

Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer - Anonymous

I truly believe and live by these words. Travel, to me, is the one of the things in my life that keeps me going! I think my travels define me, educate me. It's not just visiting the place, but the complete process of planning the trip, booking tickets, making travel arrangements, the journey, the people, the food - all aspects enrich me with some experience or the other. And I should say that I am lucky enough to find a partner-for-life who loves travelling and is enthusiastic (probably more than me) about going to different places. 

Moving on to this post, the seven 'zingy' travel moments include my very first journey (by myself) to a foreign destination, our travels to the scenic west coast of the USA (which I had been dying to do for long), absolutely rocking time spent in the ultimate 'party' destination of the USA (Miami), as well as visits to the local neighborhoods like Georgetown, DC. One strong impulse to start this blog was, to document my travels and share the first-hand information about the places I have visited. After all, a journey becomes a memorable experience, and a little more personal, when you have reliable information from fellow travelers. And so, it is indeed an amazing opportunity to work with (Dwellable is an online portal to look for that perfect vacation rental.) 

I will always have a soft corner for the Scandinavian gem - Denmark. I was in my early twenties, travelling for business and it was my first journey outside India to a country whose primary language was not ENGLISH! I was in Copenhagen for around 4-5 months and the confidence that I gained through this journey is unparalleled. I can positively say that, I can never feel LOST in any country now; I can successfully find my way through any city, town, village. Well, if I am may humbly brag, I can successfully navigate through the New York City (NYC) subway. (Let me tell you, that's a definitive feat there! For any one who has been to NYC, knows what a tangled mess it is!)

For the most part in the last year, I wasn't slogging in the corporate world; and so majority of my time was spent either looking for new destinations, making travel plans or actually travelling! I think we traveled the most last summer - visited both the east coast tip of the US (Miami and Key west) and the west coast tip (Los Angeles and San Diego) and then the Midwest (Chicago) in Fall. Well, so if I can add my two cents here it would be - Stop looking for a better time to travel; start early for You Live Only Once :)

I have created a new travel page with a better user experience. Check it out for a quick tour of the destinations I have been to :) 

Well, take your pick, which travel post did you most enjoy reading about? Tell me! Tell me!

To read about a particular destination from the pic below,  you know where to click, don't you? :)
{1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7}

P.S. Tomorrow is THE day and there will be surprise waiting for you right here on the blog! Don't forget to check back in!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Blog birthday series - Seven 'zingy' foodie moments

I have been passionate about food long before I started this blog; passionate about eating different types of cuisines and trying them out in my kitchen. And the seven 'zingy' foodie moments are a combination of two and also a third type - travel food. For me travel is not just about visiting a new place, doing all the tourist-y things and shopping. A significant part of our travel plans are devoted to trying out the local flavors and learning new tastes. 

The seven 'zingy' moments include my experiments in the kitchen with Avocado soup and Thai green curry (I made this curry when my parents were here and they loved it! Best pat-on-the-back ever, I tell ya!), the best of my travel foodie memories via refreshing Kulhad koffee in Udaipur, gourmet Bhel-puri right here in DC and oh-so-delicious and fresh shrimp & crabs in Ocean city. Last but not the least the 'zingy' moments also include special delicacies (aka Tandoori Chicken) that hubby whipped up in the kitchen. He's a great cook but tad moody - when he is in 'the' mood, which is usually on the weekends and if Arsenal has won a matchhe will get into the kitchen and make something so perfect and elegant! On other days, I can hardly persuade him to step into the kitchen on weekdays to make the regular daal-sabji :)

I loved penning down these tried-and-tested recipes. But the high point was when some of you tried these recipes, loved it and shared the pics of the wonderful dish! Heck, it feels good when your readers appreciate and love what you shared with them :)

So, presenting the seven posts which, according to me, are full of flavor and 'zing' :) Take your pick and share it in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter! (again, if one pic is not enough to decide, hop on over to the posts linked in the numbers below)

{1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7}

Monday, April 22, 2013

Blog birthday series - Seven 'zingy' fashionista moments

This week it's ......(*drumroll* please) blog's first birthday! woohooo..I am so excited! It's been one whole year of blogging - non stop blogging for 365 days! And to celebrate this occasion I am going to post non-stop this week :) how about that?! The theme will be the seven most 'zingy' posts in each category I blogged for one whole year.

So without much ado, I bring you today the seven 'zingy' fashionista moments from past year! (weird concoction of words, right! But hey, who cares, it's my blog's birthday :) ) I have based my choices on the 'fashion' risks I took last year. Tried on a maxi dress, paired a kundan/Indian necklace with a lace dress, gave the peplum flair a shot and last but not the least incorporated a vibrant pop of color with a coral blazer. So, ladies (and any gentlemen reading my blog), go ahead, take your pick!

Psst..if you feel one pic is not enough to decide, hop on over to the individual posts linked to the numbers below.
{1- 2 - 3 - 4}
{5 - 6 - 7}

So, tell me, which one you think has got the zing ? Drop your choice in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter! Let the revelries begin!

Sharing this post on #YOLO Mondays linkup at Still Being Molly

P.S.: Unknowingly or knowingly, the 'zingy' moments seemed to have revolved around black and why not?! It's so flattering on me...right! right?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Photographic memory

You never know what might turn into your fashion inspiration. There is no dearth of inspiration thanks to the fashion blogs, entertainment  websites, apps like instagram, twitter, facebook and then of course there is the maha (humongous) source of inspirational pictures that is - Pinterest.
And the inspiration to my outfit of the day is a picture I saw in September, last year, on one of my must-read blogs - The Zar's. Ash, the blogger behind Zar's, had bought an exquisite lace skirt and a pink dress which she had taken a brilliant snapshot of and featured on her blog, as part of the haul posts. The striking combination of hot pink with burgundy stuck with me ever since then.

Incidentally, when I saw the same lace skirt supremely marked down (hello, Black Friday sales), I had to buy it! In my head I only had one look clear; the one that Ash had unknowingly planted in my fashion-conscious part of the brain. Burgundy/Maroon/Wine/Oxblood was all over the fashion magazine last fall and if I were in fall right now I would have definitely paired it with more fall-appropriate colors like mustard, browns, grey,  black, etc. But right now it's summer, and so I just went with the right pop of color that this skirt needs - hot pink!
So there you go peoples, today you are witness to one of the looks thanks to my photographic memory!

Ann Taylor lace skirt | J. Crew hot-pink top | Payless nude pumps | 
Coach bag | Beaded necklace from Groopdealz

Sharing this post on Long Distance Loving linkup party

P.S.: Do visit Ash's blog - The Zar's. Ash is a wonderful photographer, foodie, fashionista and an amazing writer. I dig her clear and lucid writing. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Chocolate and Coconut Lace Cookies

Chocolate and Coconut is simply a match made in heaven! And so here's a quick and easy cookie recipe that marries these two heavenly ingredients! I made these cookies for a Thanksgiving potluck at our place and served them for dessert with chocolate-chip ice cream. The cookies were a hit with my friends which wants me to share this recipe with you all :)

I adapted this recipe from one of my all-time favorite cooks on Food Network - Giada De Laurentiis. She is one smart, beautiful and savvy chefs on the network and watching her shows on the weekend is my much-loved activity (read addiction). So without much adieu, I present you the steps to create a yummy, crunchy and lip-smacking cookie *slurrrp*

Total Time: 39 min.

Prep: 10 min.
Cook: 9 min. 
Yield:18 cookies.
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 (4-ounce) bar bittersweet (62 percent cacao) chocolate, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (recommended: Nestle Chocolatier/ Ghirardelli)


1. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. Set aside. 
2. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, coconut, melted butter, flour, vanilla, and salt.
3. Using a 1/2-ounce cookie scoop or a tablespoon, scoop 6 balls of dough, 3 to 4 inches apart, on each baking sheet. Lightly flatten the tops of the dough. Cook until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the parchment paper, about 15 minutes.
4. Place the chocolate in a bowl and place over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until the chocolate has melted. Using a fork, drizzle the tops of the cookies with the melted chocolate. 
5. Freeze the cookies until the chocolate has set, about 5 minutes. Remove the cookies from the freezer and store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Cook's Note: If the cookies have baked into one another, use a knife or metal spatula to separate the cookies then allow to cool.

Unbelievable isn't it? Just five easy steps and the delicious cookies are ready to be savored :) Enjoy them with fruits, ice cream, cold coffee or just as is...I am sure you will not be done with one!

Picture via Food Network

Monday, April 15, 2013

No more snow!

It was so gorgeous last week that J and I couldn't resist to step out for a dinner-n-drinks soiree after work. And what better than vibrant florals to welcome this beautiful weather, right? I love the floral print with a black background; makes it easy to pair with variety of colors right from black, white, pink, green, red and so on. Multicolored-hoop earrings and a bright pink silk clutch added the perfect touch of glamour for a weekday date-night. ~~DIY Tip: Press the handles of the purse, inside the purse, to transform a purse to an over-sized clutch.~~
Comfortable wedge sandals completed this weekday dinner-date look. These platform strappy wedges are one of my faves; they are of perfect height, easy on feet, and I can walk in them for hours with no pain (go figure high-heeled pumps!). So, if you are looking to buy heels this summer, than definitely invest in a pair of platform wedges. The platform gives the required height without being uncomfortable or shaky. 

Anyhow, back to the dinner, and as expected, there was a wait in almost every other restaurant! But thankfully, we got a place on a patio table in a restaurant that is right in the heart of the town center. Needless to say, some drinks, apps and lots of people-watching followed thereafter :) 
All in all, a lovely time to revel in the the fact that, there will be NO MORE SNOW! *runs around in circles*

Target Merona floral skirt  (on sale - buy it here) | Ann Taylor lime green tee | 
Silk purse/clutch from Newbury street, Boston | Aldo wedge sandals (similar/similar) | 
Shoppers Stop hoop earrings (similar) | Ring from Lake Anne farmer's market |

Sharing this post on YOLOMondays at Molly's and The Pleated Poppy

P.S. Shocked to hear about the blasts at the Boston Marathon today! I have lived in Boston for five years and it's like my second home after Mumbai! Breaks my heart to hear this :( Thoughts and prayers to everyone affected! 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Black & White

I am sure life would be pretty boring black and white, but ironically when it comes to dressing up, guess what? It's not! On the contrary, it's the hottest trend of the season! This is my spin on the classic black-and-white aka monochrome look that has been doing rounds in the fashion & style blogging world for quite some time now. Almost all of us own the essentials to sport this trendy look. Like we all know, black skirt/pants and a crisp white shirt are both wardrobe staples where they can be both dressed up for an office-appropriate look and dressed down for a night-out look. 
The best part about this trend is that it gives a perfect op for mixing prints - and that's exactly what I did today. Long-sleeve polka tee and black-n-white wool skirt paired great for the not-so-hot-and-not-so-cool weather we are experiencing right now. A black vest ties it all together. The vest is on the roomy side; and that's where the black belt came to my rescue. I did have this incessant urge to add a pop of color, but I held it back - 'cause well, today's outfit is all about going the 'monochromatic' way! 

Give this style a try with some quick tips below:
  • Of course a simple monochromatic look would be white tee/shirt and black skirt/pants but it I assure you that it will be well worth attempting it's whimsical variation of black tee and white skirt/pants. 
  • Ideal trend would be to go all out mixing prints - polkas with stripes, stripes with florals, stripes with stripes (horizontal and vertical), chevron/zigzag print with polka dots, 'houndstooth' print with stripes. 
  • Keep jewelry coordinated with the outfit. If you have black on top, go with white jewelry; if you have white on top go with black necklace and earrings. 
  • Be creative with your accessories. Bags with black and white print will add the extra touch to a simple  white tee and black skirt/pants outfit. Similar with shoes. 
Have fun with this trend while it lasts :)

P.S.: Incidentally, I had a similar styling experience the last time I wore this trend

Ann Taylor wool tweed skirt (similar/similar) | Ann Taylor Loft polka-dot tee (similar) | NY& Co. vest (similar) | 
Bandolino peep-toe pumps @ DSW | Shopper's stop pearl jewelry set (Gift from hubs) |

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

the Mantra print

Happens to me all the time! I buy clothes and then they sit in the closet (with the tags) for days, weeks and some times even months *sheepishly agreeing*. All this is a result of sheer laziness combined with the wait for the right occasion/mood, as also ignorance of the fact that I own mint-condition clothes. Whatever reason it may be, but I suffer from this new-clothes-in-closet-but-nothing-to-wear syndrome from time to time now. And that is, of course, followed by an enormous guilt which I have of course decided to vent out here!

Anyhow, the good part is that I found a perfect solution/treatment for my condition. What I do is that, I pick out the brand new, never-worn items, put them on hangers and move them to the start of the hanger rack. This acts as a quick reminder for me to pick/try the new clothes whenever I am in a mood to dress up (for office/casual wear). I have been using this method for almost couple of months now and I am noticing the number of clothes declining from this section - which by the way, makes me a happy and proud gal :)

So why I am telling you this 'dukhada' (sob story) of mine? Well, 'cause the 'Mantra print' scarf was one such never-worn item. I bought this scarf on my last visit to homeland (India) while touring Jaipur. I spotted it in one of the souvenir shops in the Jaipur City Palace called Palace Atelier. The exquisite souvenir shop is within the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II museum and is managed by Princess Diya Kumari (Princess of Jaipur).The enchanting 'mantra' (Indian chant) print, silky feel and the block printing finesse of the scarf was an instant appeal for me. So after I bought the scarf, it has been sitting in the closet for a year almost, until very recently when I was in the mood (read guilt) to pair it for a spring-appropriate clothing. For once, I should thank this extended-winter weather (that we are having for quite some time now), 'cause my mantra-print scarf finally found it's way out of the closet! 

So there you go peoples, I am guilty of having clothes in the closet with the tags on them. Does it happen to you too? What are the tricks you engage to come out of this syndrome? Do share your feedback in the comments below, on Facebook or Twitter.

Banana Republic V-neck sweater (similar) | Inpink Burnt Silver Disk earrings | Esprit Trench |

Monday, April 8, 2013

Homemade Tandoori Chicken

This is hubs-special recipe for a perfect Tandoori Chicken at home! Hubs did a lot of research for this dish and then with meticulous perfection he made it during Thanksgiving holidays last year. The result was perfectly luscious and tasty chicken drumsticks - not something even I could have ever attempted to make! 
When he decides to try a dish, hubs does not have a prejudice about how daunting the recipe or preparation will be; this is something which I cannot overlook. I would have never attempted to make this dish, 'cause frankly I know that it's not quite possible/easy to recreate a restaurant-style dish (mainly 'cause of treating the chicken in an oven). Well, good that now we have two types of cooks in our house now - one to make the regular dishes and another who likes to recreate the fancy dishes. 

Thank you dear hubs for penning down this recipe and taking pictures for my blog! You are the best! 

Source: Adapted from ‘Indian Cooking’ a book written by Madhur Jaffrey
Preparation : 30 minutes + marinating time ; Cooking Time : 25 minutes @ 550 F (MOST IMPORTANT)
  • Chicken – 1.5 lb / 680 gm / 5 leg piece
  • Low fat Yogurt / Curd – 1 cup
  • Onion – 1 (small around 57 gm)
  • Lime – 1/2
  • Garlic – 1 clove
  • Ginger – 1/2 inch (size of garlic), peel the skin off
  • Green Chili – 2
  • Garam Masala – 1 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – 1 tsp or as per taste
  • Red food color + Orange Food Color (kesari powder) – few large drops
For Baking:
  • Jelly roll pan or cookie tray.
  • Aluminium/Aluminum Foil
  • Pastry brush (optional)
  • Wash the chicken legs. Let the water drain and place them on a large plate. Do not remove the skin part, it will actually protect the flesh when you bake. Create 2 slits on each side of the leg. The knife needs to touch the bone which means the slit is nice deep and big. This will help the marinade to penetrate into the chicken.
  • Squeeze 1/2 lime into a bowl. To the lime juice, add 1/2 tsp salt. Mix it well so that the salt dissolves. Now take 1 leg piece at a time, take some lime juice and massage the chicken on both sides. Using a spoon or your hand add few drops of lime juice into the slits and massage it. Repeat with other chicken piece. By the time you massage the last piece you would have very less juice, but that’s ok. Place them back on a plate and refrigerate it for 20-30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a blender/mixie, add yogurt/curd, garam masala, ginger, garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, green chili, sliced onion and grind it to a smooth paste. You might want to ensure that there are no small chunks of garlic or onion. Please feel free to adjust salt as per your taste. I have added extra salt to the paste.
  • Now take the chicken from the refrigerator. Remember the bowl that you used to squeeze lime, add few drops of food color and few drops of water. Using your hand or brush, rub the food color on the chicken piece. Remember to rub in between the slits as well. Now your chicken will look all red. Don’t panic :)
  • Pour the marinade in a large bowl or a freezer bag. Add one chicken piece at a time and massage the paste into the slits and on both sides and leave it in the bowl/bag. Repeat. Now close the bowl or zip the freezer bag. Give a nice shake and keep them back in the refrigerator. Now you can forget about the chicken at least for 8 hrs or one whole day. I usually marinate it a day before and let it soak for one whole day. More you marinate better the taste.

  • Next day: Clean up your oven (if you have any pots and pans in it) and preheat it to 550 F (that is the maximum I can set in my oven).  Take your cookie/jelly pan. Line it with aluminum foil generously. Take the marinated chicken out of your refrigerator, remove one leg piece and shake it up. Let the marinade drip completely. Place it on the cookie sheet/pan (ensure that the skin part covers the chicken). Repeat the same with other chicken pieces.
  • Using your oven mitts, carefully place the tray into the center rack of the oven. Set the timer for 15 minutes. Let it cook. Then use your oven mitts again and pull the tray out. Baste it with marinade  using a brush or a spoon or something else but not your hand and put it back in the oven for 10 minutes. Let the juices run out. Don’t worry if the juices around the chicken starts burning. At this extreme temperature it has to.
  • When the oven timer starts beeping, pull the tray out and let it cool slightly. Slowly take the chicken pieces. If it is stuck to the foil, no problem.  Remember I asked you to leave the skin part as is. So only the skin part might be sticking to it and the flesh part will still be safe :) That's it, lip-smacking restaurant-style Tandoori Chicken is ready to serve.

Serving Suggestion: Wrap the bone part with small piece of aluminum foil to give a gourmet look. Serve it with sliced onion, green chili, lime/lemon wedges and a spicy green chutney.

Variations: You can use Chicken breast or thighs, but the cooking time will vary as the breast will cook faster than the drumsticks.

Note: You can use the remaining marinade to make curries like Tandoori chicken masala. Else you can freeze it and use it to make another batch of Tandoori Chicken.

It would be interesting to know what type of cook are you. Do you agree that a recipe can be daunting and deter you from not trying or recreating a new dish? Or are you the ones that just go with the flow? Do share your feedback in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter!

Sharing this post on YOLO Monday linkup at Molly's

Friday, April 5, 2013

Birthday weekend

**WARNING: this is a photo-heavy post!**

It was my birthday last month (if you follow me on Instagram, you might have already known this) and I am kid when it comes to celebrating them! The day started off with hubs creating a birthday wonderland for the customary 12 o'clock cake-cutting (yummy black forest from a German bakery) followed by the gift-giving ritual. I have always wanted to party in the Big Apple on my birthday and so this year charming hubs took me off for a perfect weekend in New York City (NYC). 
He knew that the restaurant of my choice would be Junoon (Chef Vikas Khanna's baby) and he had promptly made the dinner reservations. But in between all the travel and reservations and birthday planning, hubs had planned an awesome surprise (and I didn't have the slightest hint of it!). Believe me; whenever something is up his sleeve, I have a slight idea of what's going on. 
It was a cold winter night on my birthday so here I was all decked up and wrapped in the woolen coat, scarf and gloves. Just as we stepped outside the hotel lobby and were heading towards the metro station, hubs held my hand and started walking towards the hotel parking lot. I was kinda confused by this gesture; I was about to tell him that the train station was on the other side of the hotel entrance. But as I walked a few steps I saw a LIMOUSINE! And right then hubs screamed in excitement ‘surprise for the birthday girl’ Yes! a LIMO ride to NYC! Absolutely loved this surprise and riding in a limo in Manhattan was definitely a ‘high’ for me! It was my first time ever in a limo and by the time we got down at our restaurant, I was dizzy with happiness :)

The culinary experience at Junoon was worthy of a Michelin-star restaurant and so was the ambiance; especially their lounge area with the full-size and beautifully carved wooden jhoolas aka Indian swings. It's an ideal place in NYC to celebrate a memorable occasion. Sadly, my hopes of seeing/meeting Executive Chef Vikas Khanna were not gonna come true that night; he was away in India shooting the MasterChef India series (and so, I had to settle down to watching him every day on TV). We ended the big day with a stroll at the amazing ‘Times Square’. All in all, couldn't have asked for a better day with the best person in the world! Thank you God!

On to my outfit, peplum trend has been around for a while. I have seen a good deal of bloggers (almost all of them) embracing this trend. I had heard and read that it was the perfect cut for pear-shaped people like me and had also tried a couple of peplum outfits in all the glory. But sadly, they didn’t work out great for me. While birthday shopping, I found this peplum LBD (little black dress) and decided to give it a spin. I was impressed that it fit me like a glove and so there, I was sold! I love the hint of lace on the back and dig the exposed-zipper look. Well, with a pretty peplum I matched a set of gold accessories – bold collar necklace, earrings and cuff. This was also my first time wearing stilettos  and thanks to the limo service I was saved from a lot of walking around that day. 
Well, time to stop my blabbering now and leave you to enjoy the pics!

Hubs: Banana Republic blazer | Express sweater and denims  | MK watch
Me: Express dress and jewelry | Tory Burch 'Amanda Logo' clutch | Payless pumps | H&M cuff

Beautiful memories from a whirl-wind day!
Delicacies at Junoon!


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