Monthly Archives: December 2017

Idly! Dosa! Vada! – The Taste of South India in Stockholm

Hej Hej!

You read it right. Hotel Saravanaa Bhavan opened in Stockholm a couple of weeks back and it was only last week I got the chance to try it out myself. Man! oh Man! It was very emotional for me to feel the softness of idly after so many days! Idly -the food that I survived on all my life, Idly- which was usually my breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Idly- the now forgotten routine, and I finally got to have the taste of it! Heavenly!

The smell of home invited me the moment I stepped in. The sounds of steel tumblers and plates, the amusing chatter and laughter vividly reminded me of the amazingly noisy crowded restaurants back home. Bubbling with so many people and life, Saravanaa Bhavan here is a mini India in Stockholm. It was quite interesting to see a lot of non-Indians in the restaurant trying out Indian cuisine.

The customer assistants in the place were very warm and friendly. In fact, most of them were students working part-time. Few familiar faces from KTH, too. So, I must say, the environment was super cheerful. I started my dinner by ordering a plate of “Mini Idlies” that arrived so quickly at my table, two minutes perhaps. The lovely Idlies floating in a pool of Sambar with a dash of coriander leaves and a lavish splash of ghee on it, is something to die for! One spoon into my mouth and it filled me with such a joy that I have been deprived of for quite some time. The aroma of Sambar and the softness of the Idly totally took over my soul! I don’t think I have enjoyed Idly so much in my life. What is that they say? you know the value of something only when you don’t have it. certainly!

Mini Idly Sambar

It is such a sin to have Idlies without having the “Medu Vada“. So, I ordered them! The vada was golden and crispy on its outside, while soft and tender on the inside. One can almost see the steam while biting it, so hot and so fresh! The feel of biting the peppercorn in the vada is what is the definition of ecstasy! A dip into the white chutney, and then into the Sambar, and off it goes into your mouth! Beauty!

Medu Vada

If you thought that I was gonna finish my dinner here, then you’re so very wrong. We just got started! There was no stopping me from this feast! My next order was “Mysore Masala Dosa“, a dear dish from Karnataka. Another crispy golden beauty, well, a bit crispy, a bit juicy with that spicy red chutney on the inside, stuffed with yummy semi mash potato stir fry, served with a range of chutneys, just the way it is served back home, hot, amazing and divine!

Mysore Masala Dosa

On to my next order on the menu, hmmm, very difficult, everything seemed inviting, my tummy wasn’t so ok with that apparently. Haha! I went on to order “Rava Kichadi“. The comfort food of every south Indian. No this is not the Kichadi that the north Indians make with rice and lentils. This is RAVA KICHADI! The Kichadi was amazing, it wasn’t soggy, it wasn’t dry, it was perfect, just how my mom makes it 😇

Rava Kichadi

My tummy was now almost full and I had no space in it for anything more, sadly. Although I did wanted to try a lot many. You know, it wasn’t just enough for the mind and the soul :D. But then, one cannot finish this scrumptious meal without a proper south Indian filter coffee, or can I? No! I always believed that I make the best coffee and the best tea in the world, I still do stick to that belief. I don’t even like my mom’s coffee. I can call myself a connoisseur of coffee and tea. Saravanaa Bhavan actually lived up to my expectations. The coffee definitely didn’t disappoint me. The perfect blend of decoction, milk, and sugar. Impeccable!

Filter coffee

My amazing dinner time, finally, finally came to an end. I couldn’t leave the place without meeting the man who ran the show, Mr. Arun Mohan. I truly appreciate the way they are doing such an amazing job by giving us Indians in Stockholm the taste of home. The best part is that every dish preserves its authentic taste. Very interesting and very commendable indeed! Can’t appreciate the whole team enough!

Happy Me!

 

Now to end the blog post, let’s talk about the expense. It definitely wasn’t cheap and at the same time, I wouldn’t call it expensive. Considering the fact that Sweden is an expensive city to live, and a meal anywhere would cost around 100 SEK, this was pretty decent. Besides, getting to have a meal that felt like home, I wouldn’t hesitate to pay that price. It might not be an everyday place. But, once in a while, every now and then, if you want to feel home and taste home, then you must head to Saravanaa Bhavan. And to all those who are considering moving to Stockholm for your studies, don’t think much about home food. We have it all here! Be it the raw ingredients or the yummy restaurants, Stockholm has it all!

I hope you loved reading this one, because I really loved writing this 🙂

See you soon!

Sindhu <3

Celebrating Lucia with lussebullar

Hey Folks!

Well, it is that time of the year when it is all celebrations around. Time to celebrate light and warmth while forgetting the cold and darkness of the time. Last week, on December 13, Sweden celebrated St. Lucia’s Day on the winter solstice. Although not an official holiday in Sweden, it is still an occasion that is celebrated across the country.

Legends say that this day is celebrated in the memory of Saint Lucia, a Sicilian saint believed to have been killed for her Christian faith. The name Lucia means “light”. It is said that when the Romans tried to kill her by lighting her up, the fire didn’t kill her. Another story says that Lucia would secretly bring food to prosecuted Christians who were living in hidings. To use her hands to carry more supplies instead of holding the candle, Lucia would wear a wreath on her head with candles attached to it.

In Sweden, and across the Nordics, ceremonies are held everywhere to celebrate Lucia. A girl is chosen to portray Lucia. She wears a red sash and a wreath of candles on her head. She leads a procession of boys and girls dressed in white, holding candles. They sing the famous “Sankta Lucia” song throughout the procession, a melodious and visual treat! Did you know that Swedes even elect their national Lucia? The video above gives a quick intro to the Lucia tradition and the video below is the Lucia procession held at KTH library.

This season is generally celebrated with Lussebullar or Lussekatter (Saffron buns) ,Pepparkakor (ginger biscuits) and Glögg (mulled wine, there is a non-alcohol version too). The oldest daughter in the home is often the Lucia. She brings lussebullar and pepparkakor to her parents, dressed in white, wearing the candle wreath, singing the Lucia song while her siblings might line up in the procession. A beautiful tradition indeed!

Being the eldest daughter in my family, I guess I have all the reason to bake some Lussebullar this season 😉 Although my parents live in India, they were so happy with me trying to have fun on Lucia day.

So, here is how I baked my Lussebullar, it wasn’t an expensive thing to do and I thoroughly enjoyed doing it. I followed the recipe online but tweaked it a bit to my taste. I added raisins to the dough and doubled the butter to make it softer.

Saffron butter mix

Raisins! ’cause I love them

The man behind the process – Yeast mix!

It’s all coming together! The dough!

Rolled up and ready to bake!

Beauties in the making!

The feast is served! – Lussebullar and Glögg!

It is an amazing feeling to be able to accept and appreciate the cultures across the globe. My saffron buns turned out to be very tasty and the time was well spent while this is something I’ll cherish forever. Being in an international environment really does open our minds to think and act broader. I am planning to bake ginger biscuits for Christmas. I’ll definitely keep you all posted about that!

 

See you soon!

Sindhu

Stockholm’s Holiday Season

Hey Folks!

We are into December, the holiday mood has already kicked in. The snow is here, decorated Christmas trees and fairy lights around the city make the atmosphere so cozy. It is such a beautiful experience to walk around the city to experience the Christmas spirit.

An Instagram boomerang is perhaps something that shouldn’t be missed 😉

Every house in the neighborhood is lit with beautifully decorated trees. So cozy to look at!

Last week was both so deadly, so successful and extremely fascinating. The most terrible deadlines were met and I have certainly emerged as a better person. Too many reflections, realizations, and not to forget the learning I have got out of the past week. Immense! I think its only during such times, we learn about ourselves. And, now having dealt with crazy things, I feel super liberated. 🙂

Well, it has already started to snow in Stockholm. It was my first snow experience and trust me, it was magical! I truly felt like living in the world of Narnia! The white snow can instantly lift up the spirits and the cheerfulness has no bounds. Everyone becomes a kid when it snows. White snow in the dark winters with a cup of hot chocolate and a warm cinnamon bun is what is called ecstasy!

Here is my first snow experience!

Few of my snowman versions 😝 ☃️

Snowfall and KTH ♥️

View from my room  😇

But, there is more to this Holiday season than the white snow and the fairy lights…yup! Shopping! There is a sale in almost every shop. Brands like H&M have offers that force you to shop. It’s inevitable! Haha! There are Christmas bazaars cropping up here and there. No matter if you’re looking around to buy a Christmas present or to renovate your wardrobe, the season has a sale in every shop.  I started my holiday shopping with a mission to make my room cozy and ended up spending a little over the budget. 😀

Shopping spirit at city central

Sale! Sale! Sale!

This lovely setup to welcome the winter 🙂

 My Kinda shop! 

Christmas Godis! 🙂

Finally, that’s how cozy I made my room. a little Christmas tree, a beautiful star and some warm lights for the cozy winter 🙂

Wish you a cozy winter! God Jul !   ☃️ ❄️ 🎄

Did you see the Nobel prize ceremony? Stay tuned to hear about my experience at the Student’s Nobel NightCap party 🙂