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Friday, April 29, 2016

Contest Alert : #StyleYourHoliday with Limeroad !!

Yes, it's that time of the year. Even as you have your bags packed and are all set to go on that vacation, the timing is right to bring out the fashionista in you. For each woman is created unique and possesses a style quotient of her own.


















Limeroad, the one stop fashion destination is hosting a contest that allow you to show off your style, win some admiring fans and also a chance to win 500 Limeroad points ( equivalent to Rs 500 shopping credit ).

So, here is what you have to do -

1. Login to limeroad.com

2. Go to the scrapbook. Select any one of the holiday templates.

3. Click on each product and choose one from the many options.

4. Put together a look that would make you proud !!

5. Finally tag it with #StyleYourHoliday and #SwetaBiswal


Yay !! You are done in a few minutes :)

The winner ( for my blog ) will be chosen by me. But do hurry up as the contest is only till tomorrow (30th April) midnight !!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Chaula Bara ( A Rustic style Vada from Odisha )

Have you ever wondered if there is a key to your memory ? If yes, is it just one ?  Or do such multiple keys exist which have the power to selectively unlock small sections of one's memories ? To me, the human mind sometimes seems like a beehive with cell upon cell crammed together. But while they may seem identical, each one is unique and holds something specific. And most importantly, there exists a singular key for each cell.

But at other times, digging into the human mind reminds me of looking/ exploring for water /oil under a rocky terrain. Just like the water or oil which is trapped between two layers of solid rock and can be harvested only if we reach a specific depth, neither less not more, the human mind seems to have layer and layers of memories superimposed one upon the other. Reaching for a specific memory thus requires knowledge of a very specific nature which can enable one to penetrate to the particular layer which holds the information.

The reason that I have been ranting about the human memory is because I sometimes fail to recall certain things even after people remind me about them. And then, all of a sudden, things jump at me when I am least expecting it . This recipe for example evaded me till I got to sample some prepared by an Odia neighbor of mine. This old lady is one of the few who still prefer to make 'bara' in this manner while most of us prefer to follow the biri 'bara' recipe.

Read on for the recipe -


















Preparation Time - 30 mins

Ingredients -


  • 1 cup split biri / black lentil ( i use the skin variety )
  • 1 cup arwa rice ( jeera rice or sona masuri will do )
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 2-3 green chili ( finely chopped )
  • 1 small onion ( finely chopped )
  • 2 pinch baking powder
  • salt to taste
  • oil for deep frying


Preparation -  Wash and soak the biri and rice for 7-8 hours ( overnight ).

Drain excess water and grind into a thick smooth batter .

Keep aside for ferment for a good 4-5 hours .

Mix in the cumin seeds, green chili and onion along with the salt and baking powder. Let it sit for 15 mins.

Cooking - Heat sufficient oil for deep frying.

Drop small balls of the batter into the oil. Cook till brown on one side and then flip to cook on other side as well.

Remove and drain on paper towels.

Serve hot with ketchup and green chilis.

















Note - One can also use crushed ginger, curry leaves and cilantro to enhance the flavor. The smaller the size, the more crunchy it will be, so take care to keep them small.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Tangerine unveils ‘Coolers’, a summer collection with a twist !!

Coolers. Do you always associate the word with the images of tall glasses filled with chilled liquids in beautiful shades of mint, aqua, lavender or rose that soothe the senses even before they tickle your palate ? If yes, it is time to do a rethink. For Tangerine, the home decor specialist introduces 'Coolers', a range of summer bed linen that is designed exclusively to soothe the scorched mind and imbibe the tired soul with a sense of inner calm.

With the bedroom being the oasis of our existence, it becomes very important to strike a balance with the colors we use in this area. With a single color dominating the bedroom space, it becomes tough to balance the energies. Hence, the use of two solid colors is always recommended by home experts .

So, get ready to chill out this summer with a new range of 'Coolers' .

** Press Note -




Tangerine unveils ‘Coolers’, a summer collection with a twist
~ Inspired from shades of summer beverages, Tangerine’s Coolers collection is soothing to the eyes, soft to feel and refreshing to the core ~
Mumbai 2016: “What’s your color this summer,” asks the home d├ęcor solutions specialist, Tangerine. With Coolers, Tangerine walks an extra mile to add to summer homes a cool and contemporary twist. The all new range of bed spreads and pillow cases has a cool, calm and refreshing appeal akin to the effect summer coolers have on our senses.
With this unique bed sheet collection by Tangerine, lime meets mint, lavender meets beige, aqua meets rose to add to every bedroom, a twin touch of calm and comfort. As the name suggests, Coolers is inspired from subtle shades of summer coolers such as Blue Lagoon, Lavender Lemonade, Lime Kiwi Punch, Cucumber Punch, Mojito and shades of the refreshing Ice-teas.

The collection is designed keeping in mind what every summer homes truly deserves, a look that is serene, soothing and stylish in equal measure.  Known to be a trendsetter, Tangerine has beautifully placed two solid colors in each combination to create a look that beats the heat.

The self-textured dobby weave bed sheets and pillow cases in solid colors are made in 100% cotton combed yarn. Tangerine has brought in a double mercerized finish to every piece of linen, adding a delicate sheen that exudes class, comfort and the contemporary look the brand is known for. Weaved in a high 330 thread count, the Tangerine Coolers collection is a perfect blend of textures that pamper in a super quality fabric that feels soft and comforting.

Mr. Rajiv Merchant, Founder, MD & CEO, Tangerine shared, “Coolers is a unique way to welcome this summer on a calming note. We have put in a lot of thought behind blending two complementing solid colors, the detailing, the texture and its feel, to ensure every home brings in a summer makeover with a twist. Coolers as the name goes, is meant to refresh, rejuvenate and keep it light in the bedrooms when there is bright sun shining outside.”

With Bed sheet sets in King XL size comprising one bed sheet and 2 pillow covers to match, the range priced at Rs.2,499/- onwards is available at the Tangerine stores across the country.


Let’s go the Coolers way with Tangerine and bring along, hues your home will love this summer!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

PLACEofORIGIN.in - Discoveries and Reminiscences

My day starts with it. But my rendezvous with 'Tea' does not end at that. I usually have a couple of cups throughout the day interspersed with a caffeine shot or two for that extra kick. As a Mom of a hyperactive four year old boy I need all of it and even more to keep me going throughout the day. And since these brews are such an integral part of my daily routine, I prefer nothing but the best that I can procure at my convenience. To be honest, I do not have the energy to drive half-way across the town to some quaint little shop selling gourmet/connoisseur teas. Nor do I believe in pleading with a relative to bring back a few kilos of tea from a trip to the North-East. Not my cup of tea as I would put it. Pardon the expression, but that is how I am.

With PLACEofORIGIN.in I have finally discovered that now I can have my tea and drink it too ! It is just the right website for people like me and everybody else who covet the good things in life. It could be something that one has grown up with or discovered in the course of one's travels. But with 'PLACEofORIGIN.in' one is guaranteed an encore of the flavor experience without ever resorting to substitutes or inferior replacements. As the products are curated from the very source producers, rest assured that you are getting the best of it.

That brings me back to my favorite cuppa. Given the wonderful benefits of green tea, which include fat burning and lowering cancer risk, I am quite particular about the brand (preferably organic) that I pick. And with this website, I am ensured a steady supply of my favorite brew. Plus with the numerous options that are available, there is always that additional benefit of having the freedom to switch between multiple blends and flavors. Green tea flavors like Saffron-Kahwa, Himalayan Tulsi-Rhododendron and Berry Blush are virtually impossible to procure from supermarkets or even other online sources.

Image courtesy : www.placeoforigin.in























Coffee connoisseurs can get their pick from the multiple options available on the website. The names of all the various blends in stock read like a dream. Rain Song Dark Roast, The Deep Bliss Blend and The Sunkissed Blend are enough to make me feel caffeine deprived. Don't you agree ?



But the best part is that they also sell those yummy snacks that go really well with your chosen brew. The website stocks the Shrewsbury biscuits and Chitale Bandhu Bhakarwadi from Pune, Almond House Bisticks from Hyderabad and the most decadent stuff from Moshes and Sleight of Hand from Mumbai. But these are just the ones that I am partial to. Foodies can look forward to savoring stuff from across the length and breadth of the county. Bakes, sweets and savories from places like Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Indore and many other cities are waiting to be grabbed. In short, if there is a city marked on your foodie roadmap, the guys behind 'PLACEofORIGIN.in' might just beat you in the race to get there.



















Still on the same page ? Then, go ahead and try it !

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Marwadi Bhindi ( or Besanwali Bhindi )

Bhindi or Okra is one of the most versatile vegetables. Available throughout the year and easy to prepare, it is omnipresent in our lunch/dinner menu. From a plain stir fried version to a more dressy stuffed one and even as a sweet-sour gravy, we love it in all forms. But during fasting days, I get into a quandary as most of our odia recipes use garlic along with Bhindi. That's one of the reasons why I am always on the lookout for 'no onion no garlic' recipes.

Surfing through the net, I chanced upon this easy fried Okra recipe by Sanjeev Kapoor. The fragrant chick peas flour and spices coat the okra and form a thick layer of powdery deliciousness over the crisp veggies. It was a hit with the family and I ended up making it three times within the span of five days.

Read on for the recipe -















Preparation Time - 20 mins

Ingredients - 

  • 15 medium sized okra
  • 4 tbsp besan or  chickpea flour
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp amchur
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 2-3 tsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp ghee 
  • salt to taste
  • lemon juice for garnishing
  • cilantro for garnishing

Preparation - Cut the okra into diagonal pieces.

Cooking - Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet. 

Add the okra and fry till crisp. Remove and keep aside.

In the same skillet, add the ghee. Add the besan and fry till fragrant. 

Add the coriander, amchur, chili powder, turmeric and garam masala. Fry for 30 seconds.

Add the okra, sprinkle a few teaspoons of water and fry till the vegetables are evenly coated. Remove from the skillet.

Garnish with lemon juice and chopped cilantro.

Serve immediately .

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Lemon Chili Popsicles ( A Blast from the Past )

Summers can be quite unforgiving in the interiors of Odisha. The oppressive dry heat coupled with hot gusts of wind can sap up one's energy levels within the first few hours of the day leaving one with that listless and parched feeling. Not very surprisingly, digging into something chilled on such days actually feels like being offered Manna from heaven. One such sweet memory from my growing up years in Rourkela, a tiny steel township in Odisha, is that of  'Popsicles', then fondly referred to as the 'kathi' (meaning stick) ice-cream or ice lollies.

Imagine the plight of a bunch of school kids being held to ransom ( for knowledge, no ulterior motives detected here ) behind the huge wrought iron gates of a convent on the blazing summer days. The interiors of the classrooms being no better than the fiery blast furnaces that the city is known for. We would wait eagerly for the last bell to go off before rushing out to descend on the lone ice-cream vendor stationed outside the gate. That too for the ice lollies which were available in just 1 flavor and about three to four shades. Talk about being uncomplicated. Orange, beetroot red and yellow, three distinct shades which were sadly identical in taste, but were labelled as different flavors by the wily vendor. Now that my memory cells are all jogged up, I remember that there was a white one too. Milk ice-cream to be precise but which was kept always relegated to the last. Only to be picked when the others ran out. While those lollies did a great job of quenching our parched throats, there were some obvious side effects. The dripping liquid stained the hands, tongue and sometimes even one's cheek. But the worst was when it dripped all the way down to strain our pristine white uniforms and socks. No prizes for guessing the fallout. That could take up another blog post or two if I were to put it in candid details. However with the advent of branded ice-cream parlours, the ice lollies became a thing of the past and I conveniently forgot about them. That is till they re-emerged in a brand new avatar. The dazzling display of colors that stared at me from the pages of a leading daily seemed nothing like the ice lollies that we had relished. Food ! Indeed, it has come a long way.

But then I have come a long way too. 1816 kilometers to be precise. No less. Jokes apart, sitting in the cool confines of my Bangalore flat, I admit struggling to get used to this alien sounding name which kind of interferes with those sepia tinted memories of mine. "What's in a name?", Shakespeare may proclaim. " A bunch of memories and maybe some more too", would have been my reply a new months back. But not any more.

Inhibitions are the single largest factor that get in our way to achieving 'food nirvana'. This realization hit home when I tried out octopus and squid for the first time (of course with a lot of trepidation)  and fell in love instantaneously. That led me to create a bucket list of all those wonderful dishes/ingredients that I had been missing for the longest time. And i have been revising it ever since.

So, when I tried my hand at making popsicles, I went all out in my efforts to make it something memorable. And hence the birth of the 'Lemon Chili Popsicles' which also packs the freshness of mint and that subtle flavor of sea salt ( or 'Himalayan pink salt' for the more fastidious folks ). It turned out to be a double delight when my popsicles ran out within 20 mins of making their maiden debut and within another hour, I got a email mentioning 'Sweet and spicy' to be the current #foodventures theme. Now, if you have been following my blog, 'Foodventures' is an exciting venture by my food inspiration Vikas Khanna, and my favorite food and travel writer cum host Vir Sanghvi which promises to change the way we have been looking at food.

For now, check out the recipe for 'Lemon Chili Popsicles'  -


















Preparation Time - 20 mins ( plus 4-5 hours freezing time )

Ingredients -


  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 2/3 cup sugar syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • a handful of mint leaves 
  • 3-4 green chilis
  • 2-3 pinch sea salt/ Himalayan salt

Preparation - To get the sugar syrup ready, boil sugar and water in equal quantities for a few minutes. Once it thickens, remove from flame and keep aside to cool down.

Take the green chilis and chop into small rings. De-seed them to minimize their heat. (It is ok if a few seeds are left behind)

Take 1/2 cup lime juice, 2/3 cups sugar syrup, 1 cup water, 6-7 mint leaves, a wee bit of green chili and 2-3 pinch sea salt in a blender jar. Blend for 2 mins.

Strain and pour the liquid into the popsicle molds and top each one with a few mint leaves and chilis .

Pop the molds into the freezer and let it set for 4-5 hours. Overnight is always preferable.


















De-mold by rubbing each one between the palms. Serve immediately.

That was my version of a 'Sweet and Spicy' foodventure. Check out this fabulous video which features the culinary giant, Vikas Khanna,  with his 'Sweet and Spicy' foodventure - 









If you are also passionate about embarking on adventures with food and have something in mind that fits the bill of being 'Sweet and Spicy', share it on #Foodventures by Axis Bank Dining Delights HERE. Who knows it might just be your lucky day and you could get a chance to feature in a video with one of the two food visionaries - Vikas Khanna or Vir Sanghvi !

Do not forget to drop a comment or two on the blog. I love to read them all.

Sabudana Chiwda ( Navratri Special )

The navaratri celebrations ( or fasting ) are drawing to a close. And I have been gloriously lazy this time around and almost skipped doing a special series for the folks who have been fasting. So, this is a last ditch effort to redeem myself with a yummy snack that is going to be in vogue even when the days of fasting are long over.

With 'Sabudana' trending all over the cyberspace in so many different avatars, I was almost tempted to embark on yet another foodventureous voyage. But changed my mind at the last moment and decided to do this simple 'farsan' or mixture. With the schools closed, a continuous supply of snacks is the order of the day . And hence the reason behind picking this recipe.

Read on for the recipe -



















Ingredients -
  • 1 cup Sago/sabudana ( big pearls )
  • 1/3 cup peanuts
  • 1/5 cup raisins
  • 1/5 cup cashews
  • 1/5 cup thin coconut slices
  • 1 tsp pepper powder ( as per taste )
  • 1/2 tsp black salt (or pink salt)
  • Canola Oil for deep frying


Cooking - - Heat sufficient oil in a wok. Take the sabudana pearls ( 2 tsp each time ) in a  metal strainer and dip into the hot oil. Keeping the flame on medium to high, fry each batch till all the pearls are puffed up. Do stir it up in between to ensure even cooking.

Remove and drain the pearls on paper towels. (Pop a few into your mouth to check if done. If they are still hard, fry for a longer duration)

Once all the pearls are done, fry the peanuts in the same way. Drain them on paper towels.

Finally do the cashews and raisins. ( This step has to be real quick else the cashews will brown too much and the raisins will get bitter )

Frying the coconut slices comes the last. Fry them till brown. ( I prefer to do this separately as it changes the smell of the frying medium )

Put all the fried ingredients in one big mixing bowl. Sprinkle black pepper powder and black salt over it. Toss to get everything coated evenly.

Allow the mixture to cool down before you pack it into an airtight container. Lasts almost a week ( that is if you are kind enough to leave it alone )