Sunday, August 19, 2018

Best Barbies in India

Even since my own childhood I have been a huge Barbie fan. A rarity in those days, the toy was very endeared and the legacy has continued. There is nothing foreign about this tall, blonde doll but as you can see the doll has her own Indian avatar too. Anyway are a few favourites that my daughter now has. I will also suggest a few sets that I personally like.

The Fashionista

There are many interesting pieces that your child (or you,) can enjoy for the dress up.

Here are our experiments...

The Barbie Iron On Style

This one is your regular Barbie. It includes three mix and match dresses including the one she is wearing plus a hanger of a sort. The iron has good detail but instead could have been smaller with an ironing board to go along. There are also a few stickers that can be ironed onto the dresses.

Barbie Bedroom Furniture Set

The set includes the bed, real bedsheet, the lamp and side table. The other things like the chandelier, the kitten and the cushion are not real. They are part of the picture printed on the cardboard and the TV is also a removable cardboard addition.

The Other Barbie Sets

The Rapunzel
The doll is beautiful. However, in case of our doll the dress is part of the doll and not a wear-on. Our set also did not include the frog. The hair is calf length for the doll.

The Accessories

We have all been tempted to add the interesting array of accessories and sets that the Barbie company keeps adding. My recent favourite is these automobiles. The automobiles can fit the dolls. The moped has more accessories where as the car can fit two dolls.

What is Best About Barbie?

The plastic is still best quality not only in appearance but also if little chew on them, these residue will not be dangerous.

The endless mix and match possibilities.

What is your opinion about the Barbie dreamhouse?

Friday, June 1, 2018

Bread Pakora Recipe: Indian Style Fritters

Bread is a versatile thing and when you dip into some batter it’s breakfast or supper, right? So fritters are easy and yummy and they are a perfect thing to snack on during winters. So here’s how I made this…

Bread with the crusts cut up.
Besan (gram flour) 1 and 1/2 cup
Coriander and Cumin seeds whole or powdered whichever you prefer.
Fresh Coriander chopped up
Red Chilly powder and salt to taste.
Oil for frying.

Mix up the batter by adding the fresh coriander, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, salt and red chilly powder to the besan flour. Mix them and add water just enough to get a thick cake batter consistency.  

Cut up the crust of the bread and cut them into halves.
You want to heat up the oil till it is very hot but lower it a little when you actually start frying. Then dip the bread into the batter and let the extra trickle off. Fry the bread dip till they are slightly reddish. If it is any less there is a chance the batter is not fried on the inside.
That is it! Try it with a dip of your choice for supper or at the tea time.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Gits Instant Rasmalai Recipe: Creamy Cottage Cheese Dumplings in Flavoured Milk

There are many recipes in India that turn milk into something incredibly delectable. Rasmalai is one such dish. It is sweet, spongy, creamy dumplings in sweet flavoured milk.  However, since it is so yummy it takes a great deal of effort to make it from scratch. Traditionally, it is made with fresh cottage cheese (made by curdling cow’s whole milk,) and turning them into dumplings and soaking them in sweet smelling spiced milk. But as a newbie cook I had learnt this recipe with this mix and if one lives in a place where all these ingredients are not easily available, you have this mix to go to.

Back when washing machines were not that common in India and heat-and-eat food items were still far from being in the market, our mothers had one weapon in their artillery, the Gits Instant Mixes. They can be called the Betty Crockers of India with a larger range of recipes. So when I got married I knew I had to have them around, whether it was guests visiting for a long stay or a last minute recipe on a lazy Sunday.
So this Rasmalai recipe is just as authentic as you can get. Although it is not mix-and-heat easy, it has most things you will need right in the box. Still you can add your own twist to it!
For this you will need:

Gits Instant Rasmalai Mix.
Ghee (clarified butter)
Dry Fruits crushed coarsely (optional)
Cooker or slow cooker

Before we start on the dumplings, we need to get the syrup ready. For this add sugar and water, for this dish, use 200 gm of sugar 200 ml water. (The standard sugar syrup is half the water to the sugar, i.e. 2 cups of sugar will be heated in 1 cup of water.) Heat on a high sim when dissolving the sugar and then on low sim. Keep stirring until the syrup is thick enough to stick between your thumb and the index finger.

For the dumplings we use the milk solids. Pour the mix into a mixing bowl, add milk and 1 and 1/2 tsps of ghee (clarified butter).

Mix them well and shape them into flattened discs. Although the instructions say we must boil them in water, I am steaming them in a cooker. Once done, apply some ghee on the slow cooker vessel or your pressure cooker plate, and let them steam for 10-12 minutes. You can use a microwave too if you wish, just don’t forget to apply the ghee on the microwave dish. 

Once these dumplings cool down, remove them from the plate and let them air for about 5 minutes. Then dunk them in the sugar syrup. The sugar syrup should be cold at this time, and the dumplings must immerse in them completely.

Flavoured Milk
This is the easiest part. Just empty the contents of the other pack into the milk. Add the crushed nuts and dry fruits at this point. You can also add the strands of saffron for an excellent colour. Keep stirring till it gets a little thick. The vessel you use for the milk must be much bigger than the quantity of milk, as you will be adding the dumplings to the vessel later.
Just let this milk cool down and then store it in the refrigerator. Once the dumplings have absorbed a good amount of the syrup, you can put the dumplings into the milk so they absorb the milk and get their creamy texture. Do this at least 3-4 hours before serving. Serve this delicious dessert chilled.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Nei Appam Recipe

I want to share a recipe called Nei Appam. Appam is a South Indian dish. These are usually made to be eaten with chutney as a breakfast recipe. But it is also made as a sweet with jaggery. We love the regular ones but these taste great too. They are sometimes fried but I have used the appam vessel so I had to use less oil, since they were sort of spot-fried! 🙂 They are perfect for breakfast or supper. Here’s how I made them.

1/4 Kilo Jaggery
1 and 1/2 cup of wheat flour (ideally this is chapatti atta)
1 cup of grated coconut
1 banana mashed
1 cup semolina
1/2 tsp cardomom
Oil for cooking

Soak the jaggery in 3 cups of hot water. The jaggery will melt in the water soon. Then add the mashed ripe banana, semolina grated coconut (dessicated coconut will do too,) and whisk them. Then add the flour and whisk till you lose all the lumps. The batter is ready. We want to taste the batter at this point and if you think it is not sweet enough you can add a bit of sugar.
Some people add baking soda to this batter but if you keep the dough covered for one hour it will be aerated enough to make fluffy appams.

Now we heat the appam vessel, pour 2-3 drops of cooking oil in each of those bowls. I added about a spoon and half of batter in each and covered it with a lid. But they don’t take long to cook, we have to flip them onto the other side in 20-30 seconds and then take them off the vessel with a spoon in about the same time. 

Serve them hot along with any dish of your choice. Or just pop them for breakfast.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Best Builders to Rent in Dubai UAE

When you come to a new country everything is new and things that will eventually become mundane are a task when you are new. One of the things is where to rent a house in Dubai that would be affordable as well as be in a good locality. The thing that most Indians do is to settle in Bur Dubai and Karama which makes sense as most of the offices are closer to this area. But if you can move a bit farther you can enjoy a more serene and traffic free areas that have affordable houses.

These are the houses that are affordable for the salary range of 200,000 AED or less including the expenses of daily living & schooling for kids.

Here I am covering 1-2 bhk flats...
Range of AED 50,000 to 90,000 a year

Al Wasl Builders

Wasl Builders
Range: 1 BHK AED 50,000
2 BHK AED 65,000 - 75,000
(Depends on area & age of the building)
(Muhaisnah & Qusais)

Wasl 1 BHK are okay but 2 BHK are grand for the price!


Total 500 Sq Ft 1 BHK
Parking, Water 24 Hours (Desalinated),
Kitchen - shelves, platform & chimney
Bathroom - toilet & tub
Bedroom 3 door closet

Locality Close To

Indian & British Schools nearby
Lulu Markets, Mirdiff City Centre
& even small Indian minimarts nearby
Decent Indian hotels & parks
Mamzar Beach & Sharjah

Discovery Gardens Township

Discovery Gardens Township

Range: 1 BHK AED 55 - 60,000
2 BHK AED 75,000 - 90,000
(Depends on area & age of the building)
(Jebel Ali, Dubai Investment Park)

Total Sq Ft 1 BHK
Parking, Water 24 Hours,
Kitchen - shelves, platform & chimney
Bathroom - toilet & tub
Bedroom 3 door closet
Play Area with Garden

Locality Close To

Jumeirah Beach, Offices,
Indian & British Schools,
Ibn Batuta Mall, NMC hospitals
& even small Indian minimarts nearby
Decent Indian hotels & parks

Bu Haleeba Builders

What Bu Haleeba lacks in outdoor amenities (doesn't have large complex buildings and
gardens,) it makes up for it in-the-house amenities.
THE 2 BHKs are GRAND!!!

Bu Haleeba Builders
Range: 1 BHK AED 55-60,000
2 BHK AED 70,000 - 90,000
(Depends on area & age of the building)
(Muhaisnah & Qusais)

Total 5-600 Sq Ft 1 BHK
Swimming Pool, Gym
Parking, Water 24 Hours,
Kitchen - shelves, platform & chimney
Bathroom - toilet & tub
Bedroom 3 door closet, Laundry Area
Locality Close To

Indian & British Schools,
Mamzar Beach & Sharjah
Lulu Markets, Mirdiff City Centre
& even small Indian minimarts nearby
Decent Indian hotels & parks
Bu Haleeba is what I would recommend.

They are the ones who look into little things such as building the kitchen inside, unlike
most houses in UAE where the kitchen right next to the living room door & first
room for guests to see. And they are not open kitchens but dedicated kitchens.

They are also dedicated to having long term tenants & building a community. They have
play areas and swimming pools. This is the place where we stayed for long and our kids actually had a childhood of sorts. Highly Recommended!

If you are into it you can buy row houses or villas that are available for rent for shared tenancy that round ups to about a AED 120,000 or up.