Category Archives: Holidays

Happy Independence Day (and Happy Birthday to me!)

Today marks India’s Independence from the British – 1947 was the year India was born as a sovereign nation. There are celebrations held throughout the country. Every year, in New Delhi, the capital, the Prime Minister will hoist the flag and deliver a speech. There will be a display which highlights India’s cultural diversity, and the country’s armed forces. If you are interested in the significance and symbolism behind the Indian flag, check out this link.
I happen to share my birthday with India’s. When I was a kid, I can remember thinking, “Nothing cool happened on August 15.” When I arrived in India, I discovered that the whole country celebrates my birthday, I decided that was… “pretty cool.”
Happy Independence Day!

Happy 4th of July! Why not make Kulfi?

I hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th of July (Independence Day)! We are spending the day at a friend’s house – sort of an all day food-fest! Our town has a really neat Old Fashioned 4th of July parade as well, so that will be fun to watch. There will be lots of street venders and an antique car show. Basically your small-town America 4th of July! Then around 10:30 the city has a fireworks show over the bay. (Yes 10:30 is late for fireworks, but believe it or not it is still not completely dark!) There is something beautiful about fireworks over the water! Our friends who are hosting all of us for the day have a front row seat for the fireworks – since their house is situated right over the water. My only complaint (being a Texan girl) is that I usually have to wear a sweatshirt or jacket because it gets so cool. That is a completely foreign concept for me in the middle of summer!
My husband even gets into the festivities. He of course loves the FOOD and the fireworks. I think all Indians love fireworks – well maybe not ALL Indians. But fireworks are certainly a big part of the Diwali festival and other festivals in India. Of course, my husband likes setting off his own fireworks or “crackers” as he calls them, which we never did as kids – the best we got were sparklers!
So I’m responsible to bring some sort of dish to the party – I remember last year my Mother-in-law was here and she made this awesome Indian potato dish. Everyone loved it. I was thinking of doing something Indian as well. Then the idea struck me – 4th of July = homemade ice cream. Why not fuse East and West and make Kulfi? If you haven’t tried kulfi (an Indian ice cream with all sorts of yummy flavors like pistachios, cardamum, mango, etc…) you don’t know what you’re missing. I’ve made it once before, and it turned out great. You don’t even need an ice cream freezer (although I did use one when I made it).
So if you’re up for trying it out, here are a few recipes:
Mango Kulfi (pista chips are pistachios)
Cool Kulfi (with dried cranberries and pistachios)
I might give one of these recipes a try – the recipe that I tried earlier came from my favorite Indian cookbook. There seem to be lots of methods of making Kulfi – so the best way is to pick one and run with it! Your friends and family will thank you!
Anybody tried making Kulfi before? Success? Failure? I’d love to hear about it…

Happy Republic Day!

Tomorrow is India’s Republic Day, so why not celebrate in style! India obtained Independence from Britain on August 15th, 1947, however January 26th marks the day that the constitution of India came into effect (in 1950). Republic Day is celebrated all over India. In New Delhi, there is an annual flag raising ceremony and military parade. After the military parade, an extravagant cultural parade, with many different states and people groups represented.
If you’re feeling particularly patriotic, or if you want to impress your Indian spouse or significant other, play the video below to listen to (…and sing along with?) the Indian National Anthem, Jana-gana-mana. At one time I could sing the whole thing, my husband wasn’t aware that I knew the song, so you should have seen the surprised look on his face…
As a side note for anyone who is interested, until January 26, 2002, it was illegal for the general public to fly India’s flag (except on a few selected national holidays). I was living in India when the amendment to the flag code was passed, and I recalled people being excited to know that they could now fly the flag out of patriotism at any time in the year. A friend also told me how lucky I was as an American to have always had the right to be able to fly our flag with pride. Sometimes I guess it is easy to take even little things for granted that we’ve always been able to do…

India’s Reaction to President Obama

In light of today’s Inauguration of President Obama, I found this interesting article from the Times of India, India, US Relations: Love-hate Across Presidents. You’ll find out who was the first US President to visit India, who supported India’s independence, and who helped strengthen the Indian-American friendship.
How will President Obama’s foreign policies affect US/India relationships? Only time will tell!
Amusing side note: Don’t you just love the time difference between the US and India? I mean we used to get a kick out of talking to my in-laws on New Year’s Eve (our time) while it was already the “next year” (India time). I just looked at the date on the article – since it was published in India I’m technically posting about it before it is even written. How’s that for a scoop? lol!

Can you believe it’s already December?

Christmas is just around the corner! Of course this time of year we think about our families & loved ones. It is great to celebrate the holidays together. One of my favorite parts is picking out gifts for each person & trying to surprise them. Often times I’m unable to surprise my husband though. He is great at surprises and always seems to think of something wonderful to surprise me.
Last year, I thought that I’d turn the tables and surprise him with a new laptop computer. His old one had seen better days — especially when his hard drive crashed and he lost most of his thesis-in-progress — we knew it was time to replace it. So I waited until just 2 days before Christmas and went out shopping alone to the computer store. I picked out a shiny new laptop and brought it home, and hid it in our guest room upstairs (all wrapped up).
I was sure I’d pulled off the ultimate surprise. In fact, just to throw him off, I had told him I wasn’t getting him anything big for Christmas – and not to expect much. I got him a new wallet and a couple of odds-and-ends to put under the tree – but kept the laptop hidden upstairs. I was so excited I could hardly wait until Christmas morning!
So first thing the next morning, we got on our web cam with my family back home and his mom in India (we had a virtual Christmas with all the fam!) and opened our presents. He tried to act happy about the wallet, but I could tell he was disappointed with the slightly boring gift. So once we’d opened all the presents, I snuck upstairs while he was talking to our family online.
I came back with his laptop all wrapped up in a pretty package with a huge red bow. His eyes got wide and he started smiling his guilty smile. He opened it and acted so surprised. Until he started laughing…. I asked why he was laughing at and he finally admitted that he’d checked our bank account the day before and saw the large sum was missing and that it was spent the computer store. So he had a pretty good feeling what he was getting – and he’d played along the whole time! I was a little disappointed – until he told me the reason he’d checked the bank account is because he was going to buy ME a laptop! (Boy was I glad he’d checked or we’d have cleaned out our account!)
Anyway, the moral of the story is don’t try to outsmart your husband – and if you do try – do a better job at covering your tracks than I did! Don’t worry though – I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve for this year! *wink*
P.S. The photo above is of our first REAL Christmas Tree – that’s one advantage of living in the Pacific Northwest – an abundance of evergreens! (We’re planning to go this weekend to cut our own.) I’ll try to get a close up of our ornaments – they’re hand-painted paper mache balls from Kashmir. At the right of the photo is a huge gingerbread house that I made.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving today! This time last year, my husband and I were in India, for a 3 week visit. Since Turkeys are not readily available in India, we decided to be a bit unorthodox and celebrate Thanksgiving dinner at Subway – eating Turkey subs!
We took the whole family – parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, uncles, aunties, and even a few friends. I told the story of the origin of Thanksgiving and why we celebrate it. One auntie couldn’t understand why we had to eat Turkey – so she got an “Indian-ized” veggie sub. If you’ve never been to Subway in India, check out the photo above for some of the local flavors. Turkey or no turkey, we made some great memories that we still cherish and talk about today.
Well, back to the present – I better get my Tandoori Turkey into the oven – or we’ll be celebrating at Subway again this year!

Tuesday’s Tip: What goes with Tandoori Turkey?

I got inspired by yesterday’s post about Thanksgiving dinner with an Indian twist. I began to wonder, what can I serve with the Tandoori Turkey that will stand up to the strong flavors…
After some research, here are a few ideas I’ve found to help complete Thanksgiving Indian style:
I’m definitely going to try a cranberry chutney recipe and a pumpkin curry! When I was carving pumpkins for Halloween, my MIL asked me if I was going to use any for pumpkin curry. I had never heard of such a dish, but now I think I must try it!

Make it a Tandoori Thanksgiving

So if you live in the USA, you know that Thanksgiving is on Thursday! How is it already the end of November?
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, but this year my husband and I are on our own for Thanksgiving. We get to go to visit my family for Christmas, but it is too far to make two trips so close together! So in the spirit of intercultural marriages, and bring both cultures to the “table” – so to speak – I am planning to make my first ever whole Turkey with an Indian twist!
Maybe some of you are fans of the American version of the Japanese show “Iron Chef.” If you tuned in for the Thanksgiving special, you saw one of the chefs prepare a Tandoori Turkey. What better inspiration could I ask for?
So I rounded up a few recipes, and if you’re still struggling to come up with something interesting this Thanksgiving, give one of these recipes a try. Better start thawing that turkey right now!
(whole turkey recipe)
(uses tandoori cutlets)