Time for some offsite fun!

A trip to God’s own country amidst hectic schedules, SKR’s Offsite was a refreshing break! It was all about fun, food and a fabulous time for the entire SK Restaurants team. The presence of my better half, Alyona made it all the more special for me and all the team members!

 

Read on to know more about this short yet productive vacation…

 

Day 1 (September 1, 2016): Destination: Kochi Marriott Hotel

The group got a super melodious and grand welcome with the chenda melam – a traditional music performance with the chenda, a percussion instrument. This was followed by a lavish lunch. The Marriott team outdid itself with this one! Post lunch, it was time for a cycle tour of the picturesque Fort Kochi – the team peddled their way for almost 2 hours in the area and other places of interest in the Old City. Super exhausted and hungry, we went straight for dinner before retiring for the day, and the next eventful day!

 

Day 2 (September 2, 2016): Yoga and Sadhya

Started on a healthy note with a yoga session on the helipad with a view to kill for! After a hearty breakfast, it was time for an exciting water polo match. There were 2 teams, Red and White. The Red team headed by Rajeev Matta played their way to victory!

The most awaited part of the day was the authentic sadhya (‘banquet’ in Malayalam) lunch – an array of pure vegetarian dishes traditionally served on a banana leaf.

After such a heavenly meal, a nap was in order. Soon it was time for the conference meeting where the team members time-travelled with a presentation that spoke about SK Restaurants in the year 2015. It ended with a trailer for FY 2016-2017 and a felicitation ceremony for Rajeev Matta, CEO, SK Restaurants for outstanding contribution throughout the years.

 

Day 3 (September 3, 2016): Trek and treat!

An early start to the day with an exhilarating trek at the Athirappilly Waterfalls – India’s answer to Niagara Falls! With munchies to snack on in the bus and an Ad-Mad game alongwith it, the 2 hour journey went off in a blink! Athirappilly Falls is situated in Athirappilly panchayat Thrissur district. Straight out of the movie Bahubali, the falls were a sight to remember! Photography sessions followed by fun in the water amidst flora and fauna – what a day! Reached the hotel for a lovely hi-tea. It was party time in the evening! All the team members were dressed to kill for the dance party, suspenders for guys and minis for the girls. Other than toe tapping music, the highlight was the Fun Awards. And the winners were…

·         Best Dancer (Male) – Saurabh Saxena

·         Best Dancer (Female) – Sugatha Menon

·         Best Dress (Male) – Rajeev Matta

·         Best Dress (Female) – Aditi Mehta

·         Best Entertainer – Anupa Das

·         Most Punctual – Rahil Aga

·         Human Vulture – Swapnil Jaiwant

·         Late Lateef – Amar Mhole

·         Surprise Buddy – Esha Makwana, Reshma Nair and Priyanka Chavda

Day 4 (September 4, 2016)

It was the last day and a day to revel in the beauty of God’s own country and what better way than to float languidly on the backwaters? The team departed for a cruise in a House Boat. Coconut water and endless cups of coffee added to the charm of the day. After lunch, the rest of the day was kept for leisure – some shopping at the nearby markets, a visit to India’s largest mall, Lulu and eating out! Just before leaving for the airport in the evening, SK Restaurants felicitated the team at Marriott with special gifts for their warm hospitality.

 

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Ganesha’s Favourites

It’s that time of the year which every person from Maharashtra looks forward to with plenty of zeal, excitement and joy. For someone who is not from the state, Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations are like a revelation. I had a couple of North Indian friends, visiting Mumbai for the first time during Chaturthi last year and I still remember how mesmerized they were with the fervor that takes over the streets during those 10 days. The larger than life aartis, for even larger than life Ganesha idols and the delicious food that follows – it is tough, even for a Mumbaikar like me to not to get lost in these 10 days of pious activity.

Between the joyous homecoming and tearful farewell of Maharashtra’s favourite god are 10 days full of festive fun which like any other celebration in India is studded with stunning food. I believe that bhog for the gods becomes even more special when you prepare it yourself because all that love, dedication and bhakti translates into the food better. So this year I am going to share with you 3 simple but delicious recipes which you can dish up this Chaturthi.

Ukdiche Modak

ukdiche_modak

These little steamed semi-translucent rice flour dumplings stuffed with a sweet jaggery and coconut mixture are and will always be numero uno on the list. Lord Ganesh apparently loves these and I can totally understand why! One bite into the soft coating and you are welcomed by a sweet, juicy filling and the lightest aroma of green cardamom. Though mawa modak is also as amazing, when it comes to that actual feel, these white beauties win hands down. Divine indulgence for sure! Click here to take a look at the other types of modaks you can prepare – right from chocolate centered to melt in the mouth mawa ones to crispy fried modaks.

Puran Poli

puran-poli-ytThese thin wheat flour rotis with a generous sweet chana dal stuffing inside are something that every true blue Maharashtrian swears by! The stuffing known as puran is made with a mix of soft boiled chana dal, jaggery and cardamom powder and melts as soon as it hits your tongue. Served with a dollop of ghee or toop as it is known in Marathi, puran poli has its share of serious fanatics and is always in great demand during Chaturthi. You can also shape the puran into laddoos, top with a cashewnuts each and serve it up in a brand new avatar!

Choorma laddoos

churma_laddoo

These are not really difficult to make, but can be a bit time consuming. Dough balls made with semolina and whole wheat flour are fried in good old desi ghee till they crisp up and go a gorgeous golden brown in colour. These are then crumbled and mixed with more desi ghee, melted jaggery, powdered sugar and nuts, shaped into laddoos and finally rolled in poppy seeds. These sweet earthy laddoos make one of the best bhog/ prashad items ever. Definitely Ganesh approved.

 

What are you eating this Chaturthi? Let me know in the comments section below.

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi to all!

Happy cooking!

Happy eating!

Ganpati Bappa Moriya!