Friday, July 6, 2012

Party for a Cause

What do you want for your birthday?

The question that, when asked of my husband, never yields a simple answer.   He is one of those people that is just difficult to buy for…he never wants anything. 

But why should I complain about that?  I will instead count my blessings and tell you about what I did for him as a birthday gift. 

Remember back a few months when I was talking a whole lot about our trip to India?  Well that trip left a huge impression on us.  We often think about the people we helped and want to continue helping them.

So, I threw a party.  For Karl.  It was an Indian themed extravaganza.  All of the donations we collected are being sent over to Chevuru to help buy materials so that they may continue building homes.

I threw a similar party last December before leaving as a fundraiser.  It was extremely successful.  So why not do it again, and make it a birthday party?  

Here is what I made:

1)    Saag Paneer-This was a first for me-making cheese!  I was puzzled though, because the finished paneer had virtually no flavor.  It also completely fell apart and basically became a very thick cream when I stirred it into the saag.  But every cloud has it’s silver lining-even though this dish (my ‘experiment’ dish) turned out nothing like I thought it would, it was the favorite!

2)    Butter Chicken-Butter chicken is delicious because, well, it has an obscene amount of butter in it.  I made this for the last Indian themed party I threw and it was a major hit. 

3)    Dahl Mahkhani-The world of dahl in Indian cuisine is positively daunting.  When we were at a restuarant in Agra, India, I took a chance ordering something I had never heard of before on the menu.  It happened to be dahl makhani, now one of my all-time favorite Indian foods.

Find the Dahl Mahkani recipe here.

4)    Chicken Tikka- If only I had a big enough grill on which to cook these!  I opted for the baking method this time, which turned out well.

5)    Saffron Biryani Rice- There is nothing particularly special about the preparation method for this rice.  I used some spices we bought in India, stirred them around in the rice and water before cooking them.  Unfortunately I do not have basmati or jasmine rice, but sushi rice works in a pinch.

6)    Naan-By far one of my most favorite things to make, regardless of the cuisine.  Who doesn’t like bread fried in butter?

I have used this recipe multiple times and it hasn’t failed me yet!  Find the recipe here

To bring the whole Indian theme together, Karl, a friend who also went to India on our trip, and I all dressed in our traditional Indian outfits.  Our friend was also kind enough to offer her services drawing henna onto peoples feet and hands.  

In India on New Year's Day.

Our friends who came to the party donated generously.  We will be donating $500 USD to Chevuru as a result of the party.  This was the only present Karl wanted…to help those less fortunate then us.  (This is partly why I love him so much!)

Happy Birthday, Karl!

Note: If you would also like to help the small village of Chevuru, India build sound homes.  Please visit this website.  Go Longitude is an organization that partners with Ravie Kumar and his team the Association ofRelief Volunteers (ARV).  They do amazing things.  Check them out!
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  1. Oh man... this is just too awesome on so many levels. :)

  2. Buying stuff for dudes is always hard. You have to listen to the subtle hints that are dropped. If he doesn't give any, a 12 pack of his favorite beer will always suffice. :-)

    1. Ha! Excellent point. I have actually done that in the past. :) Unfortunately his favorite beer is impossible to find in Japan.

  3. That food looks AMAZING!!! What an awesome idea!

    1. Thank you! I was happy with how it turned out. :)

  4. I'm just slightly jealous that you own authentic Indian garbs...

    1. You should go to India! It was truly an amazing experience. :)