DIY Mithai Boxes

“Good food is all the sweeter when shared with good friends.” -Unknown

DIY Mithai Boxes

A simple DIY to create Diwali Mithai Boxes.

Growing up, during the weeks leading up to Diwali, I would watch my mom pack dabbas (boxes) for neighbors, family and friends. She would lovingly fill tins and trays with a mix of homemade and store-bought treats. After moving out, I decided to carry on this tradition and have been doing so ever since my first married Diwali. After having Little Mirchi, logistics made it difficult to deliver these treats throughout the week, so now we all bundle up the night before Diwali and hand deliver them all in one go. It’s become our very own Diwali tradition.

DIY Mithai BoxesDIY Mithai Boxes

In India, Diwali is the time the halwais (confectioners) take out their most elaborate boxes, trimmed with velvet, satin and stone work, to display their colorful desserts. I’m always on the hunt for nice tins but am never able to find anything with an Indian touch. This year after searching for simple boxes and tins I realized I could decorate my own. It was so easy and they came out so beautiful, I wished I had thought of this sooner!

DIY Mithai Boxes

DIY Mithai BoxesAll you need is your container of choice, a solid color is preferable and temporary tattoos! I wanted an Indian theme so I chose metallic henna designs on white tins.

DIY Mithai BoxesStep One
Cut out the tattoo design you want from the sheet (if needed) and decide where you want to apply the design on the box/tin.

DIY Mithai BoxesStep Two
When you have a perfect position, peel the plastic cover off of the temporary tattoo.

DIY Mithai BoxesStep Three
Place the paper on the box with the tattoo side on the box. Apply pressure evenly.

DIY Mithai BoxesStep Four
With a damp sponge or wash cloth dab on top of the tattoo paper, covering the entire tattoo. Be sure to completely saturate (not soak) the paper because the water is what releases the tattoo from the paper. Hold this for 30-60 seconds to ensure the whole tattoo is transferred.

DIY Mithai BoxesStep Five
Peel the paper off to get a look at your decorated mithai box!

DIY Mithai BoxesStay tuned this month as I share fun and festive recipes to help fill these boxes. Every Wednesday until Diwali, Love Laugh Mirch + Bharat Babies have teamed up to share a new recipe and printable for your little ones to color and learn how children all over the world celebrate Diwali. We look forward to celebrating this holiday season with you and your loved ones.

DIY Mithai Boxes

DIY Mithai Boxes

If you enjoyed this post, check out these Diwali inspired posts.

5 Reasons Why Kids Should Garden

“Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden?” -R. Brault

5 Reasons Why Kids Should Garden

Earlier this summer we planted a mini garden on one of our balconies with the help of my Dad. In our family my Dad is known for his green thumb and ability to grow the most stubborn of fruits, I always joke that I didn’t get his gardeners thumb. Since our space was small we decided on a hybrid hydroponic vertical garden and a few potted plants.

5 Reasons Why Kids Should Garden5 Reasons Why Kids Should Garden5 Reasons Why Kids Should GardenI was doubtful on how the garden would progress, as much as l love fresh herbs and produce I’ve never succeeded in growing anything myself for a long period of time.

To make sure I didn’t forget to water and tend to the plants, I made a routine of checking on our garden while making my morning chai. Every morning Little Mirchi would go outside with me and look for signs of growth and giggle with delight as they spouted from seedlings to stems. That wonder in her eyes was encouragement for me to tend to our garden daily. When our tomato plant started to turn yellow, Little Mirchi kept telling me to give it dawaii (medicine). She was so keen on nursing the plant back to health that she would remind me every night “Mumma amato plant get betta”. I loved watching her heart grow for nature and gardening.

5 Reasons Why Kids Should GardenSome of my favorite memories are those of my brother and I helping our parents garden. Even better was when the tomatoes would ripen and we would make fresh salsa, the mint would grow for chutney and we could pick our own sweet summer mangos.

5 Reasons Why Kids Should GardenThere so many reasons why kids should garden, here are just five of them:

Unplug 

Gardening forces you and your little ones to unplug and enjoy nature. In today’s world getting away from the constant social media, iPads, TV’s and phones is a rare occasion. Planting a garden helps you unplug from technology and connect with nature instead.

5 Reasons Why Kids Should GardenEat Healthy

As kids watch their plants blossom, their vegetables grow and their fruits ripen they become increasing excited to taste the fruits of their labor.  Kids that grow up around homegrown vegetables are much more likely to eat them, and at the very least at least try them.

5 Reasons Why Kids Should GardenResponsibility 

Tending to a garden gives children a sense of responsibility, ownership and pride. Little Mirchi was in charge of watering the smaller plants. If she ever caught me watering them without her she would run and say “Mumma I do it! I do it!” I often saw her greeting the plants, saying hello, good morning and see you later… it was the cutest thing ever!

5 Reasons Why Kids Should GardenUnderstand Nature

Gardening helps you teach kids about nature and how it works. Why are bees attracted to flowers? What does it mean when the leaves turn yellow? What happens to our plants as it gets colder? As their curious minds question you, you can not only tell them, but show them how nature works.

5 Reasons Why Kids Should GardenCalming

When you grow your own food you develop a personal relationship with your garden which helps you feel connected. Gardening also reduces stress in kids and adults. It stimulates all the senses without being overwhelming and let’s children get comfortable with things they might not of tried before.

5 Reasons Why Kids Should Garden

This year was our first year of having a garden and I am already planning out our transition to fall and next summers bounty. It’s been one of our favorite things to do this summer, watching the fruits of our labor grow.

Images courtesy Taylor Carment Photography

Ganesh Chaturthi Printable

Ganesh Chaturthi PrintableFrom his sweet little eyes to his large floppy ears, Lord Ganesha appeals to children and adults of all ages. Ganesh Chaturthi, the festival that celebrates Lord Ganesha’s day of birth is an occasion that’s rejoiced for ten days with prayers, street parties and feasts.

Ganesh Chaturthi PrintableGanesh Chaturthi PrintableKnown as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences, he is also the deva of intellect and wisdom. Ganesha is also invoked as the advocate of learning. Traditionally, prior to school starting children pray to Lord Ganesh for any obstacles to be removed. As the god of beginnings, he is also honored at the start of every religious ritual and ceremony.

Ganesh Chaturthi PrintableDue to his elephant head many kids are attracted to the plump, dessert loving god. My husband tells me stories about when he was a child and how he would go sit at the clay makers shop next door to his house. The clay maker would let him help mold the ears and other simple parts.

Ganesh Chaturthi Printable

Because each part of Ganesha is so important and significant, I wanted to create a fun way to educate little ones. Bharat Babies and Love Laugh Mirch teamed up this Ganesh Chaturthi to bring you a free printable to help teach your little darlings about Lord Ganesha. The printable is a great way to let your kids be creative while learning about the meaning of Lord Ganesha. I printed it on standard A4 card stock pape for Little Mirchi to enjoy and learn!

Ganesh Chaturthi PrintableFrom both our families at Bharat Babies and Love Laugh Mirch, Have a festive and sweet Ganesh Chaturthi.

download-printable

Seviyan Kheer

“Do everything you have to do, but not with greed, not with ego, not with lust, not with envy but with love, compassion, humility and devotion.” -Lord Krishna

Seviyan KheerSeviyan Kheer is a popular dessert made in many South Asian households during celebrations and religious festivals. Regionally the names differ, so it also goes by the names dhood wali seviyan, sheer khurma or payasam. Comprised of roasted vermicelli noodles that have been slow cooked with milk, saffron, sugar and dry fruits, it’s one dessert that is a childhood favorite for many.

Seviyan KheerSeviyan KheerEvery year for Janmashtami I make a milk based dessert, as Lord Krishna was very fond of all things dairy. Janmashtami is the annual festival celebrating the birth of the Hindu deity Krishna. There are thousands of colorful tales sharing the naughtiness and sweetness of Bal (Baby) Krishna. Storybooks are filled with tales of his love for butter and yogurt and how he & his friends would sneak into neighboring homes and devour all their dairy.

Seviyan KheerSeviyan KheerSeviyan Kheer is best made in a heavy bottom dish (I used my enamel cast iron pan). I also prefer to use whole milk when making it, as it adds a richness to the dessert.

Seviyan Kheer

Seviyan Kheer
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Seviyan Kheer, a popular dessert made in many South Asian households is comprised of roasted vermicelli noodles that have been slow cooked with milk, saffron, sugar and dry fruits.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 6 cups
Ingredients
  • 7 cups milk
  • ½ cup seviyan / vermicelli noodles (roasted/broken)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • ⅛ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 6-7 saffron strings
  • 2 tablespoon sliced cashews (raw)
  • ½ teaspoon rose water
  • 1 tablespoon pistachios, sliced for garnishing
Method
  1. In a heavy bottom pan add milk and warm over medium heat.
  2. Once hot, add saffron and cardamom pods and bring milk to a boil. Add sugar and seviyan and reduce heat to a slow boil, mixing often to ensure the milk doesn't burn.
  3. Let the milk simmer for about 20 minutes, until the milk is creamy and reduced to almost half.
  4. Add the cardamom powder and cashews while letting the seviyan kheer simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat, once cooled to luke warm mix in rose water.
  6. The seviyan kheer becomes thicker in texture as it cools. Garnish with pistachios. Seviyan Kheer can be served chilled or warm.

Seviyan KheerEnjoy

Celebrating Raksha Bandhan With A Toddler

“Being brother & sister means being there for each other.” Unknown

Celebrating Raksha Bandhan With A ToddlerRaksha Bandhan (also known as Rakhi/Rakhri) is the Hindu festival that celebrates the love and loyalty between brother and sister. On this day sisters tie a rakhi (blessed thread) on their brother’s wrist, which symbolizes the sister’s love and prayers for her brother’s well-being, and the brother’s promise to protect her. After the rakhi is tied, sweets are exchanged and the brother gifts their sister a token, as a thank you for their prayers and blessings. There are stories dating back in Indian history to the Rajput Queens and how they would send rakhis to neighboring kingdoms, as peace offerings, binding the kings in brotherhood.

Celebrating Raksha Bandhan With A Toddler

Little Mirchi’s first few Raksha Bandhan celebrations were enjoyed simply, with her having little grasp of the festival. This year however, she was more understanding of the concept and excited to send her rakhis to cousin brothers. Celebrating Raksha Bandhan with a toddler can be fun and exciting, especially when you get them involved. Here are a few ways you can get your little ones involved with the festival making it fun for the whole family.

Celebrating Raksha Bandhan With A Toddler

Make a day out of it
We dedicated an entire day to decorating cards, picking out rakhis and going to the post office to send them off. Making a big deal out of small traditions will help your little ones understand the importance of them.

Celebrating Raksha Bandhan With A Toddler

Decorate Cards
If your mailing your rakhis, chances are you’ll be tucking them in a card. Have your little one paint, color, draw and personalize the card. Little Mirchi traced her hand this year and sent her brothers high fives!

Celebrating Raksha Bandhan With A Toddler

Let them pick out the Rakhi
Sure it’s easy to pick up a few but it’s even more fun to see their eyes light up when choosing between all the different varieties. Little Mirchi made sure she had a good mix of blue, green, yellow and red rakhis!

Celebrating Raksha Bandhan With A Toddler

Get crafty
If you’re really feeling crafty, make your own rakhis. We love this round up of over 15 DIY rakhis.

Something sweet
As it’s traditional to exchange sweets between brother and sister on Raksha Bandhan, spend an evening together making or putting together favorite desserts.

Celebrating Raksha Bandhan With A Toddler

Make your own traditions
The beauty of culture and traditions is how they continue to evolve with us. I remember watching my Mom last year “virtually” tie Rakhi on her brother via FaceTime and then proceed to do Aarti and feed him a ladoo. I got a kick out of it but loved how they adapted with circumstances.

Celebrating Raksha Bandhan With A Toddler

However you decide to celebrate, be flexible and make it work for your family so it’s fun and memorable!

Enjoy

How To Shop At Farmers Markets

How to Shop at Farmers MarketsSummer and Fall is my favorite time to shop for fruits and vegetables. Not only is some of my favorite produce in season, the Farmers Markets are open which means access to fresh, local food. Farmers markets are a great way to get your shopping done for the week, flavor artisan foods, discover local artists selling handmade goods and support local. They have a relaxed feel with friendly vendors ready to educate and help you when your looking for something in particular. Today I’m sharing a few tips on how to shop at farmers markets effectively and efficiently.

How to Shop at Farmers Markets

Plan Ahead
Most of the fruits and vegetables you will find at the farmers markets are locally grown and pesticide free. This means their shelf life will be short. It’s best to plan ahead and buy only what you need for the week.

How to Shop at Farmers Markets

Take Your Own Bags
Many vendors sell you fruit and vegetables in the actual harvesting trays and mini crates. If you plan on buying multiple items, taking your own bags would help ease the load without the threat of produce falling everywhere.

How to Shop at Farmers MarketsTalk to the Vendors
Looking for a certain vegetable? Unsure of when your favorite fruit is in season? Talk to the vendors! Most vendors are happy to help you find what what your looking for, advise on harvesting schedules and tell you more about where their produce comes from.

How to Shop at Farmers MarketsBe Mindful of Timing
Keep up with your local Farmers Market for timings, rain days and seasonal specials. Many vendors that host markets in city centers have long commutes, it’s important to remember when they open and close at the market to ensure you have ample time to shop.

How to Shop at Farmers MarketsBring Cash
Some vendors still prefer cash or have a card minimum. Remember to bring cash (preferably small bills as they’re on the go and most likely don’t have access for large amounts of change).

How to Shop at Farmers MarketsHave Fun
One thing I love about shopping at our local farmers market it that it’s in our local park. My little one loves our morning strolls on Saturdays, munching on a croissant while I peruse the produce vendors and ending our morning on the swings. It’s a fun way to pick up your weekly produce with the family.

How to Shop at Farmers Markets

Happy Shopping!

All images courtesy Taylor Carment Photography

Bharat Babies | Padmini is Powerful

Bharat Babies | Padmini is PowerfulOne of the reasons I love this blog is that I get to meet so many fellow bloggers, momtrepreneurs and liked minded women. Such was the case when I crossed paths with Bharat Babies founder, Sailaja Joshi. Sailaja is a consumer anthropologist and gender sociologist turned entrepreneur. With degrees from Northeastern University, Simmons College and Harvard University she’s used her collective academic wits if you will to help address and fulfill a need she saw first hand as mom to two. She lives just outside of Harvard campus with her husband and two little ones, who constantly help support her in her Bharat Babies work.

I chatted with Sailaja one evening after our little ones had gone to bed and it was like catching up with an old friend. I love her enthusiasm for growing a community, her passion to connect our children to culture through books and her willingness to keep creating.

Bharat Babies | Padmini is PowerfulIn the Spring of 2013, Sailaja Joshi was on a mission to complete her baby registry in preparation for the arrival of her first child. Inline with her “library” themed baby shower, Sailaja went on the hunt to find books about Indian culture that she could share with her newborn daughter. Of the few books that spoke to her Indian heritage, Sailaja realized that none of these books took into account the developmental needs of her growing child. Recognizing this gap in children’s literature, the idea for Bharat Babies was born. The mission of Bharat Babies is simple: design and produce developmentally appropriate books that tell children’s stories about India’s Heritage. Appropriate for infants through elementary school.

Sailaja offered to send me a few Bharat Babies books including a level one book, Padmini is Powerful, perfect for Little Mirchi.

Bharat Babies | Padmini is PowerfulMy first thought was how perfect the book was aesthetically for toddlers, a small colorful board book that can be easily handled and even taken along for car rides, road trips or longer plane journeys. Padmini herself, is simply adorable. Her quirky, nerdy personality is heart warming and brings a realness to her. The book is a fun, easily relatable journey where Hindu gods and their characteristics are introduced. As someone who is trying to raise a culturally and religiously aware child, I love having having a book like this to show and talk through with my little one. It helps relate my daughter to our daily prayers and instill what we can learn from different deities. It’s a great starting point to get children curious and excited about culture and religion.  My favorite part of the book is the end where we are reminded we are just as powerful. The little mirror at the end is empowering and Little Mirchi absolutely loved it!

Bharat Babies is offering our Love Laugh Mirch readers $5 off a purchase of 19.95 or more starting today through August 21st.

Use code LLM5 at checkout!

Bharat Babies | Padmini is Powerful
The sweetness and powerful message behind this simple book prompted me to do a small Q&A with Sailaja about Padmini and the inspiration behind this book.

What or Who was the inspiration behind Padmini?

Amy, our author of Padmini is Powerful often says that Padmini is her spirit animal. Much like her, she’s rough, tumbles and has lots of strength. When I met Padmini in our manuscript, I realized that she was the girl I wish I had seen in my books as a little girl. She’s someone who isn’t perfect and that’s what makes her such an amazing character.

What have people’s reactions been towards Padmini?

Padmini has become a fantastic addition to our Bharat Babies collection. People, don’t just love it, but they truly feel the need to hear “You are powerful.” This past April, we were in LA for the LA Times Festival of Books. The event was a tough one for me as it was the first time I had been away from my children for so long, the first time I had been on the West Coast for Bharat Babies, and the first time we were at such a huge event. And really, the event was a financial failure. The first day of the festival it rained so, so hard to see failure happening. And then, this young Latina mom came up to our booth. She was so sweet and she picked up Padmini is Powerful to read. As she flipped through the pages, she got to the very end, to the mirror where it says “Padmini is Powerful and so are you!” It was here, that her eyes started to fill with tears. I got nervous, that something had happened, but she then quietly told me, “No one ever tells me that I’m powerful. No one tells my sons this.” This book is much more than simply a Hindu God primer, it is a text that allows children (and parents) to see themselves as powerful. It places them as the hero of the story and that is something you don’t see everyday.

Bharat Babies | Padmini is Powerful

Bharat Babies | Padmini is Powerful

Will Padmini be featured in any future books?

Ooooh! Spoilers 🙂 Yes! In fact Padmini is coming back with her friend Harini in our upcoming book Harini and Padmini Say Namaste. Newsletter subscribers will be able to pre-order the book in the upcoming weeks. As a small startup, we rely on our community members to support our pre-order campaigns so we can get the funds necessary to do our print runs! Readers can sign up here and to find out the latest on BB happenings!

Will Bharat Babies be coming out with more board books similar to PIP, geared towards younger toddlers?

Yes! We’ve heard from our community and the response is YES! YES! We know you want more board books and we want to make them! We have a couple of ideas up our sleeve, but if you want to see more, make sure you support us! As a small business, its always a chicken and egg game for us. To make books, we need lots of money. But we have to sell books first to get said money! It’s a challenge for sure, and we’re hoping to change that in the next couple of months, but until then, make sure you support us!

Bharat Babies | Padmini is PowerfulYou can purchase Padmini is Powerful and the entire collection of Bharat Babies books at BharatBabies.com

Remember to use LLM5 for $5 off a purchase of 19.95 now through August 21st.

Happy Reading!

All images courtesy Taylor Carment Photography

10 Reasons to Visit Grandparents

10 Reasons to Visit Grandparents, views from a grandchild and parent.

10 Reasons to Visit GrandparentsCurrently we’re in Florida enjoying summer holidays at my parent’s house. It’s a tradition we started when Little Mirchi was just three months old. An extended vacation at my parents, where they get time with her and I get time with them!

Growing up my parents filled our annual summer holidays with trips to Bombay and London, they never wanted us to feel the void of being far from grandparents. I’m so grateful for their efforts, I cooked with my grandmothers, formed close bonds with my cousins and enjoyed the benefits of both sides of my family. My husband often reminisces about his summers as a child on his Nana’s khet (Grandfather’s farm) and the fun he had with cousins. As we both had childhoods filled with grandparents we knew it’s what we wanted for Little Mirchi as well. So every year we make our best efforts to make sure she gets time with both sets of grandparents, after all there’s no love like the love of a grandparent. As a grandchild I savored the days spent with my grandparents. Now as a mother I have a different view, one as a grandchild and one as a parent, and let me tell you, visits to grandparents are equally important from both set of eyes.

10 Reasons to Visit Grandparents

From the eyes of a grandchild:

1. No rules, no schedules
Nani ka ghar (Grandmothers house) means no strict schedules and no strict rules. They did the parenting thing years ago and are now in it for the fun.

2. Getting babied no matter your age
Getting fed by their hands, bedtime stories, cuddles in bed, no matter your age, you’ll always be a baby in the eyes of your grandparents.

3. Tel Malesh
Long day of doing nothing? Oh you poor thing, let’s make it even better by Nani’s warm tel malesh (oil head massage). Grandmothers hands have the magic to put us to sleep with a gentle stroke on the head.

4. Embarrassing stories about your parents
Who else knows your parents like your grandparents? No one. Grandparents will tell you embarrassing stories about your parents, so you have ammunition for the next time they tell you how they walked to school in the rain/snow/heat.

5. Time
Grandparents were busy working/being parents when your parents were young. Now they finally have more relaxed schedules which means more time for you. This means more home cooked foods, more stories and more time spent with your head in Nani’s lap hearing stories about family history.
10 Reasons to Visit Grandparents

nani ke nuskhe

From the eyes of a parent:

6. There is no vacation like a vacation at Moms
Give the kids to your parents, go for a spa day, no mess to come back to, no dinner to cook. It’s the one true vacation that us Moms get, a visit to our own moms house.

7. Nani ke nuskhe
Nazar utaro, remove that evil eye. Haldi Dhood/Turmeric Milk and all the other home remedies your Mom/Mother in law have up their sleeve will be revealed. Save them for later and thank heavens for generations of knowledge.

8. Instilling culture/religion effortlessly
Grandchildren are amazed by the beauty of grandparents day to day lives. They will sit with them in evening Puja (prayers), listen to fables and try on all their jewelry while dancing to the latest Bollywood number, keeping your parents young at heart. For us parents, it’s a sense of pride and relief.

9. They make the best caretakers
Who else can you trust better to take care of your kids then your own parents. Need a girls night out? A date night? Request the help of your parents, your kids won’t even notice you’re gone.

10. They will make your kids do things you can’t
Eating vegetables? Fighting a fear? Letting go of the bottle? Potty training? Grandparents have a magic way of getting grandchildren to try new things and helping with parenting hurdles.

Whatever the reason may be, time with Grandparents is precious. Savor the moments and make memories every chance you get!

10 Reasons to Visit Grandparents

Lychee Rose Mojito

This lychee rose mojito is sweet, refreshing and ready in under 10 minutes. It’s the perfect drink to serve at a party, picnic or enjoy on a warm Summer evening.

Lychee Rose Mojito

In my books, mojitos are the ultimate summer cocktail: mint, lime juice with a bit of fizz – it doesn’t get any better than that. Oh but it can. With summer comes the season of one of my favorite fruits, lychees. When I was younger I would eagerly wait for our summer trips to the market where we would pick out the reddest, ripest lychees. Fast forward to a few years ago, my husband and I lived near a Thai restaurant that made the ultimate lychee mojitos. I was a fan from first sip, they were perfectly sweet with plenty of lychee muddled with the mint. It quickly became one of our go to dinner and drink spots.

Lychee Rose Mojito

Lychee Rose Mojito

This Lychee Rose Mojito is a twist to this classic cocktail that takes the refreshing flavor of citrus and mint and fuses it with the sweetness of rose and lychees; delivering a sultry and beautiful  summertime spirit. As I’m a big fan of mocktails, I’m providing two versions, one with rum and one without. The first time I made this recipe at home, I made is sans the rum and I can assure you it tasted just as good.

Lychee Rose Mojito

Lychee Rose Mojito

Traditional Mojitos are easy to make. Muddle your lime and mint. Add in rum, simple syrup, and sparkling water. Pour over ice. For the Lychee Rose Mojito I decided to skip the simple syrup as I added lychee juice. You can adjust the sweetness to your liking.

Lychee Rose Mojito

Lychee Rose Mojito

This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled to accommodate a party or picnic.

Lychee Rose Mojito

Lychee Rose Mojito
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Lychee Rose Mojito made with fresh limes, mint leaves, lychees and rose water. A refreshing drink for a hot summer night!
Author:
Recipe type: Drinks
Cuisine: International
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces lychee juice
  • 20 sprigs fresh mint
  • 1 lime, cut in small wedges
  • 2 ounces sparkling water
  • ½ ounce rose water
  • crushed ice
  • 2 ounces white rum (optional)
Method
  1. In a small pitcher or large glass add mint, lime and lychees. Muddle together for about a minute until all of the juice is squeezed out of the lime and the oils have released from the mint.
  2. Add lychee juice and rose water.
  3. If adding rum, add now and mix.
  4. Fill each glass with ice.
  5. Pour half of the mojito mixture into each glass.
  6. Top with sparkling water and garnish with fresh mint.
Notes
If you don't have lychee juice you could substitute three ounces simple syrup, this will result in a more subtle lychee flavor.
 Lychee Rose Mojito
Lychee Rose Mojito
Enjoy

The Obliteration of Indian Food

The obliteration of Indian Food. Where do I begin? The title sounds quite dramatic right? What can I do, I was thoroughly irritated when I penned this. You see, recently I’ve noticed a trend, something gets anglicized, it becomes a sudden trend. Exposing other cultures to the world, great. The problem is somewhere along the lines while becoming trendy, hip and widely accepted the item losses it’s authenticity.

Love Laugh Mirch_Cooking_3

Let’s take food for an example, Indian Food to be precise. Belonging to the blogging community, I often find myself researching the hottest food trends. I was so perplexed when I saw a familiar yellow drink I grew up drinking labeled as “Golden Milk“, claiming all the benefits of the traditional medicinal drink. Golden Milk? Really? If you’re wondering about the drink bloggers and health fanatics seem to be raving about, it’s  Haldi Dhood (Turmeric Milk), you know the first thing your Nani or Dadi (grandmother) prescribed you when you were down with a cold. The problem isn’t with the world knowing our Ayurvedic secret ;). The problem is the extremes of recipes I see, mix agave, serve it on ice, add vanilla essence. There is a reason behind each spice in Indian cooking and Ayurvedic science. Turmeric is added as an antibiotic, a cleanser, honey to sooth the throat, black pepper for its warming properties and it’s all added to hot milk, where all the ingredients come together to warm and soothe the body.

Love Laugh Mirch_Cooking_1Then there’s this. Whatever it is, it’s not Biryani. They could have easily called this an Indian inspired Chicken bake but by calling it Biryani is an insult to Biryani. There are times I understand the need to translate a name, perhaps Kadoo ki saabzi doesn’t sound so appetizing at “curried pumpkin”. When I first started sharing my recipes I was lost on how to name my recipes without losing its authenticity. In the end I decided to call a spade a spade, saabzi is saabzi, translating is fine, but let’s not completely change the essence of a dish and remain calling it the authentic name.

Love Laugh Mirch_Cooking_2Now you’ll probably wonder why things like this get me so riled up. I’m no expert cook nor the sole representative of Indian food. I do however pride myself in trying to preserve authentic Indian homemade food. I’m trying to cook and document my grandmothers and mothers recipes so I don’t lose that homemade taste, my husband gets his childhood cravings satisfied and my daughter knows and appreciates what real, authentic Indian food tastes like.

So the next time you’re out for dinner, cooking with Indian spices or talking to a friend from another culture, familiarize yourself, understand that biryani doesn’t have to be like your grandmothers chicken bake, it can be someone else’s Nani’s Sunday special Biryani, and that’s okay.

Live deliciously friends.

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