The Magic of an Arabian Weekend
This is my real story…
Every girl has a dream. A dream that one day, a prince would come and take her to his kingdom. After marrying ofcourse 😉
When young, I was in awe with the cartoon character of Jasmine (from Disney’s Aladdin). I always wanted to live Jasmine’s life. And though not publically, I kept waiting for my own Aladdin to appear in my life. 🙂
Years passed by and it seemed, that Genie did grant me my wish. I met my very own version of Aladdin. And coincidentally, we both, like Aladdin and Jasmine, met in real deserts of Rajasthan!! One thing led to another and a few months back, we got engaged.
Just a few days back, when I was having a girl talk with few girlfriends of mine, this topic of similarities between Jasmine and my life came up. And all of them were of the view that since ‘the Genie had indeed granted me my wish’, it called for a party!! A party which would celebrate this Arabian magic. At first this seemed like a ridiculous reason. But I gave in to their demand because in a way, I would be celebrating my own happiness. 🙂
And just to bring some extra excitement and involvement among my friends, I proposed that we have a weekend party with the theme – ‘Arabian Nights.’
Since it was just 4 of us, we decided to use one of our living rooms as the party venue. The dress code for the party was to be Harem pants (loose fitted pants, which hold the ankles tightly. (These would definitely be comfortable for the kind of seating arrangement which I would detail later). I chose Harem because even Jasmine used to wear one. 🙂
To go with the Harem, I chose a fitted plainer top and a hair band to match the colors. Now the most important part was the hair-do and I am really glad that all my friends have long hairs… 🙂 And they can easily manage to copy Jasmine’s hairstyle 🙂 And definitely the flat pointed open belly, in silver or golden to complete the look 🙂
Once I shared my thoughts with my friends, everyone became super excited about carrying this ‘Jasmine’ look. I myself went on a hunt for the perfect outfit, as I was the Jasmine in this entire buildup. J And since this small party was about celebrating the most important relation of my life, it became all the more important to keep the theme alive and not to miss out on anything.
Now a theme-party cannot be successful without proper ambiance. And a proper Arabian ambiance would require lots of colors and yellow lights…
Having spent most of my life in Rajasthan, best colors for an Arabian ambiance which I could relate to were colorful splash of bright tones of Fuchsia Pink, Turquoise Blue, Bright Orange, and Shiny Purple, i.e., all warm and dark colors for creating a typical desert-like ambiance of the room.
We used our dupattas for making tri-color drapes falling on one wall. And to have a soft yellow lighting, we went ahead and replaced 2 CFLs of the room with low wattage yellow bulbs!!
The seating arrangement was to be a round table with soft cushions in different colors. Since it was a small gathering, it was nice to gather around a round table.
And yes… how can I forget the most important thing, the flying carpet??
🙂 That became our dance floor (for a later stage)
I chose few more things to add as props. Long candle stands were placed in one corner of the room and few shorter ones were spread in an irregular fashion in the room. I also managed to borrow 2 brass cut work lamps from my aunts’ place to be hanged at two different corners of the room. And believe me, these lamps did perfect justice to the theme 🙂
And last thing to add to this ambiance were aromas. I specially picked up a few perfumed candles from the market to gel with party’s theme.
Outfits – Done
Ambiance – Done
Props – Done
What’s left was food. And with everything Arabic, how could food be far behind?
I must say that I was really relieved by the fact that, like me, all my friends were fond of authentic non vegetarian food. This really made my task a little easy, since the whole theme and whole ambiance would get complete with good and authentic non vegetarian food. Food was to be something that would eventually give credibility to my efforts and I personally believe that food is something which makes or spoils a party.
And when I wanted good non vegetarian food, I wanted dishes which came with fine taste, fine quality and fine aroma. These according to me are the 3 most important things that make a perfect dish.
So when I think of good food, and that too of good ‘authentic’ non-vegetarian food at a decent price, one name comes to my mind – ‘Kitchens of India‘ . Whenever I think of the curries I bought from here last, my mouth starts watering. They have some of the most amazing chicken curries and of course not to forget their chutneys, which are simply un-put-downable. 🙂
Since my gathering was not that big, I planned that everyone should enjoy a good variety of amazing and authentic Mughlai food.
So, this is how the food was done:
I started the dinner by serving light shorba, Malai Chicken Tikka and smoked Red Chicken Tikka (most preferred chicken starters). I chose two types of tikkas keeping in mind the different taste-bud preferences for spices. Now, the chicken starters would be incomplete without nice dips (chutneys what you call in local language) and shredded salad. So for the dips, I served Carrot Black Pepper Chutney and Mango Garlic Chutney from Kitchens of India.
And here is a confession. While preparing for the party, I really had a tough time resisting myself from having a go at these chutneys.. 🙂
Once starters were done, we moved on to the main course. Here also, I was bamboozled with the options which Kitchens of India had!! But, I had no choice but to choose just a few since the party was only for four of us. I chose to add one of the chicken curries, one of my favourite paneer preparations and a daal.
So for the chicken gravy, I used two varieties of curries amongst the available ones. One of them was Chicken Darbari, and the other one was Murgh Methi. Chicken Darbari as the name suggests is the dish for the royal courts. And because of this royal connection, the dish was rich in taste and flavours. Murgh Methi on the other hand focused on the rich aroma and taste of an Indian herb Methi (English: Fenugreek), which is yet another rich ingredient of the Indian food .
And I am telling you guys, when I was preparing these dishes, I was supremely confident that my party is going to be a grand success. 🙂
Though we all were hard-core non vegetarians, I also had a few vegetarian aces up my sleeves. I prepared Paneer Malai. As the name suggests, this dish had chunks of tender & mouth melting pieces of paneer in rich tomato gravy.
I also prepared a daal using Kitchens of India’s Daal Bukhara (the default favourite of mine). And to complete the course, I ordered a Rumali Rotis from a nearby restaurant.
Once the main course was done, I jokingly announced that the party was over. And as expected, there were loud boos about the absence of sweet dish. And this is what I was waiting for. 🙂
I had planned to surprise everyone with the most traditional form of sweet , i.e., the Halwa. And for that, I choose a personal favourite – Hazoori Petha Halwa (from Kitchens of India). This was a childhood favourite of mine, the one with shredded petha cooked with milk and ghee, rich in color and aroma.
And once we were done with the food, I played a playlist of Arabian musicals on my laptop and external surround sound speakers. And I swear to God, we had 4 Shakira(s) dancing on those belly dancing numbers for hours…(on the magic carpet ofcourse…) 😉
Seriously, I could have never imagined having such an innovative and exciting party at my very own home!!
Note- This post is an entry for Kitchens of India’s My Weekend Party with Gourmet Food competition.
PS -This post is by Aditi Agrawal