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  • Autism Speaks… Story of a mother's tryst with Autism

    April 2, 2013

  • So-Saree's One year of Blogging - A Journey Back in Time

    January 9, 2014

  • Nikhil Thampi Love Through Nail Art

    January 27, 2014

  • Saree Style Tips from the Royalty Rajmata Gayatri Devi

    March 4, 2014

  • Life's Lessons The Intriguing Case of Jiah Khan’s Suicide

    June 13, 2013

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Sunday, 15 October 2017

HEMA MALINI - When Dreams Transcend and Reality Confounds

As clichéd as it sounds, She really is the one and only “Dream Girl” who has graced Indian cinema, 
ever. Gorgeous ladies have always dominated the Hindi film industry, but it is difficult to think of anyone who has enamoured us – males and females alike, for so many decades.
The lyricist who penned down the immortal Dream girl song, just about managed to capture the beauty of this mesmerising diva - She really is like poetry in human form! Add to that those absolute mouth watering sarees, her natural charm and aura of sophistication and you have the perfect package!
And just like perfectly aged whisky (I really am full of clichés today!), Hema Malini has not
disappointed us with the passage of time. Maybe it is enviable genes, her strict dancing routine or decades of hard work in perfecting perfection, she really shows no signs of aging or losing any of her impeccable fashion sense!
Whether it is a dance show or an award function, a photo shoot or her daughters’ weddings, Hema Malini manages to effortlessly pull off any saree and always end up looking like someone’s dream taking human form.
Here are just a few pictures I managed to put together of my saree idol; hope you enjoy them as much I did.


-Gouri Patwardhan
 For So-Saree

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Diwali Special **Prawn Biryani Recipe** for Beginners

Biryani is a classic South Asian rice dish often cooked on special occasions. Although I love cooking variety of Indian cuisines, I always refrained from cooking biryani because of its lengthy and elaborate cooking procedure. It’s a known fact that cooking the finest biryani needs a certain finesse to bring out the perfect flavour and taste which I believe only seasoned cooks can accomplish.

Not that I’ve lived away from home before, but finding the perfect biryani in Vancouver that pleased my taste buds seemed difficult. Therefore, as they say, necessity is the mother of invention or rather trial and error in my case , I finally decided to take up the challenging task in my own hands. Ever since I moved to Vancouver I have not only started cooking more often than I’ve ever cooked in my life but I also cooked that one dish which I thought wasn’t my cup of tea. My sister in Mumbai makes a mean biryani so she was my go-to person for the recipe. However, to make my job simple for the first time at cooking biryani, she modified the recipe to make it as simple and easy for me. I can’t thank her enough for sharing this simple yet delicious recipe with me that I can easily cook whenever I crave a Biryani. In the past 3 months, I have already cooked it thrice and each time it turned out better than before. Since it has also been approved by a couple of friends here it might make its way to my Diwali party menu this year.

Today I’m going to share a simple, quick and tasty Shrimp/Prawn Biryani Recipe. It is inspired by the Hyderabadi style of cooking biryani in India. This recipe is highly recommended to beginners like me who have occasionally or never cooked biryani and also for all those veteran cooks out there who might want to try something different and simple. 
With the Diwali festival around the corner I hope this recipe can find its place in your menu this festive season. 
Here’s the step by step process of making this delicious rice dish. 

Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 30 to 45 mins
Serves: 4
For Marinating Prawns:
Prawns/Shrimps – 15 to 20 medium size
Chili powder – 2 tbsp.
Turmeric powder – 1 tbsp.
*Biryani masala – 2 tbsp.
Coriander powder – 2 tbsp. 
Ginger Garlic paste – 1 tbsp.
Salt – 1 tbsp.
1 Large Onion thinly sliced and fried
½ Cup chopped fresh mint leaves
¾ Cup Plain Curd/Yogurt
Green Chilies – 1 slit (Depending on how hot/spicy you like)
Optional: Lemon juice – ½ tbsp., Saffron - a pinch, Warm Milk – 4 tbsp. 

*Any Biryani masala works. I used Shan’s chicken biryani masala, since it was handy. My sister makes her biryani masala from scratch at home. Recipe to be shared some other time.

For Boiling Rice:
Basmati Rice – 2 cups
Oil/Ghee – 1 tbsp.
Bay leaves – 2
Cinnamon sticks – 3
Cloves – 5
Green Cardamom – 3
Shahi Jeera – ½ tbsp.
Salt – 1 tbsp.
Mint leaves – ¼ cup
Optional: Fennel seeds – ½ tbsp. Star anise – 2, Black Cardamom – 2, Mace or Javitri – 2, Black Pepper – 5

Step 1: Start with soaking basmati rice for 20 to 30 mins. Do this first, so while you’re done with the other preparations the rice is ready to be cooked. 

Step 2:
Chop the onions into thin slices and deep fry until dark brown and crisp.

Once done, set aside and let cool.

Step 3: Marinate the Shrimp/Prawns. Add all the spices, crushed fried onions, mint leaves and yogurt to the prawns and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes.  

Final product for marination. 

Step 4: Boil water in a vessel and add whole spices, mint leaves, oil and salt. The spices and mint leaves give a nice flavour to the rice. Don’t add the rice yet. Let the water boil with the spices and mint leaves.

I personally don’t like bits or whole spices in my food unless they are clearly visible and easy to take out. I hate the idea of accidently biting a whole clove or cardamom while eating my biryani. So, I tied all the whole spices except for the bay leaves into a clean handkerchief (muslin cloth). By doing this the rice still gets the flavour and fragrance of the spices and you don’t have to worry about biting into a whole spice while enjoying your biryani.

Step 5: While the water is boiling on the side, take a thick bottom pan to cook biryani and heat 1tbsp. ghee in it. Add the marinated prawns to the pan and spread evenly. Add sliced green chillies on top depending on how spicy you like it. Keep the heat low until rice is added.

Step 6: In the boiling water add the soaked basmati rice and cook the rice for 5 minutes on high heat. Don’t let the rice boil completely. Leave it 3/4th cooked and strain out the water immediately.

Step 7: Spread the half-cooked basmati rice over the marinated prawns that’s been cooking on low heat for 5 minutes. Add some fried onions and mint leaves on the top. Optional - Add Saffron milk for colour and fragrance. (Soak Saffron milk in warm milk for a few minutes before adding to the rice)

Step 8: Cover the pan with a tight lid and cook on high heat for 5 minutes. Turn the heat low and cook for another 15 to 17 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it rest for another 20 minutes before opening the lid.

Toss the rice gently to mix with the prawns and gravy before serving.

Serve hot with onion raita and enjoy.

Let us know in the comments if you try this recipe and like it. 

 For So-Saree Canada

Friday, 6 October 2017

How I Plan To Get Diwali ready!

My favourite time of the year is finally here. And I can't even tell you how excited I am. Diwali is a few weeks away. And like every year I want to put my best foot forward.
But this year, I plan to do things a bit differently and that is exactly why I have decided to pen down this post.
Age has really got me, and instead of the usual show-off, I plan to spend my Diwali in a peaceful, quiet and sober style, close to home this year.
So let's see what I plan to do...

It's been ages since I stopped doing fireworks on Diwali. The conscious human in me, just decided one day that I would give up on fireworks, to control air and noise pollution. This year too, it will be no fireworks for me or anyone in my family.


Gone are the days when me and my sister would make our Diwali lanterns from scratch at home with supplies available at home or bought from a craft store. Then we grew up and life happened. Slowly we moved on to quick fixes and bought Diwali lanterns from the store. The prettiest and most economical lanterns won our vote, without realizing that we were actually helping the Chinese economy flourish due to our ignorance and laziness.
So this year I am making amends.
I have bought an earthen ware lantern that we picked up from our short trip to Kutch. It is not only eco friendly but also gives me the satisfaction of supporting local craftsmen. Make in India definitely has my vote.


Shopping for Diwali outfit used to be an annual ritual. But not this year. This year I have decided to recycle my old outfit and give it a new look.
I am teaming my mom's decade old silk saree with my crisp white shirt to go for the Indo fusion look.



This year my plan is to go makeup free. But that's easier said than done. Going makeup free actually needs a lot of effort and planning. In order to achieve a healthy and glowing skin before Diwali, I am planning to go on a detox diet, binge on fruits and fresh fruit juices whenever I can and workout atleast 4 times a week. Along with this regime, I have already started using this amazing product called Shape Up 10-in-1 Skin Enhance Oil from VLCC, which works wonders to correct uneven skin tone, stretch marks and hydrates your skin to give it a fresh and healthy glow. I have been using this product for the past one week, and I can already feel the difference. My skin looks hydrated and feels soft. This product is enriched with raspberry, chamomile, green tea ferment, marula and argan oils which are known for their anti aging properties. Plus it has been infused with vitamins A and E along with coconut, jojoba, rosehip, almond grapeseed and bunch of other power house ingredients which help to make your skin supple, soft and gorgeous. And at a price of Rs. 700 for a 100 ml bottle, I think it’s a total steal.


Instead of buying sweets from shops, this year I am going to make Diwali sweets at home with the help of my mom's recipe book. After all its high time I get a hang of making traditional Diwali Faral recipes.

What are you plans for Diwali?
Do let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Celebrating the colors of Navratri in Canada!

‘Navratri’ the festival of nine-nights starts today. During these nine auspicious days, Goddess Durga, is worshipped in each of her nine forms and each day has a unique ritual associated to it. It is one of the longest Hindu festivals celebrated all over India in different styles. It is a celebration of good over evil! 

Having grown up in a metropolitan city like Mumbai, I witnessed Navratri being celebrated in several different ways and with a lot of pomp and zeal. The rituals are more are less common across; people clean and decorate the house to welcome the Goddess in their homes, consume only vegetarian food, some even fast for 9 days, offer prayers (Pooja) and food (Prasad) to the goddess twice a day and play garba and dandiya (dance form originating from the state of Gujrat) in the evenings. Navratri is close to my heart because all these rituals were followed by my mom, and me and my sisters grew up observing and celebrating these rituals with a lot of enthusiasm. Every year I look forward to celebrating Navratri because of the various fun things associated with it. 

One of my favorite things about this festival is the celebration of 9 colors. It is believed that one can show their respect and devotion for the goddesses by wearing the 9 colors (one color dedicated to each day) during all the nine days of Navratri.  All men and women across the country try their best to adorn the color of the day, particularly women who dress up in their best sarees and traditional outfits. It’s a beautiful sight to see the spirit of joy and happiness everywhere. Every year I look up the list of Navratri colors in advance and make my wardrobe ready to adorn the designated colors on all 9 days. This year too I wanted to do something similar, but living away from home comes with it’s own challenges. It is a bit challenging, as I cannot flaunt my desi outfits at work every day. However, I wanted to preserve the Navratri tradition in Vancouver. So, I came up with 9 professional/office wear looks that I will adorn for the next 9 days. With my current wardrobe, I somehow managed to incorporate the colors in my outfit.

The 9 colors of Navratri 2017 are as follows:

Day 1 - 21 September 2017 Yellow
Day 2 - 22 September 2017 Green
Day 3 - 23 September 2017 Grey
Day 4 - 24 September 2017 Orange
Day 5 - 25 September 2017 White
Day 6 - 26 September 2017 Red
Day 7 - 27 September 2017 Blue
Day 8 - 28 September 2017 Pink
Day 9 - 29 September 2017 Purple

Here are my 9 looks adhering to the 9 colors of Navratri 

Day 1: Yellow

Day 2: Green

Day 3: Grey

Day 4: Orange

Day 5: White

Day 6: Red

Day 7: Blue

Day 8: Pink

Day 9: Purple

Hope you enjoyed reading and watching. Let me know in comments if you have your 9 color outfits sorted for Navratri this year.

For So-Saree


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