Sunday Desi Brunch + My Day

My Day

Happy Sunday! The sun is shining and it’s a nice relaxing Sunday for me. I have no plans, other than checking out Kung Fu Panda 3 at night. Hubbz and I have made Sunday Movie Night a regular thing. It’s nice way to end the weekend before heading back to dreaded Mondays.

This morning I woke up and checked my Facebook. I saw a post regarding cultural appropriation and Indian culture. The post claimed things like – you can’t wear bindis, bangles, henna, unless you are South Asian or getting married as a South Asian bride. I thought those claims were way over the top so I commented.

Usually I avoid commenting on articles on Facebook because I can’t stand trolls and I also don’t want to invest time in reading replies to my comments. This time, however, I just had to! It irked me that this idea was out there, so I responded –

“Wow this is extremely strict. Sarah Tina what do you think? I think wear and do whatever, but sometimes it might look corny to rock another culture so hard, i.e. Beyonce in cold play video.”

I always tag Sarah and Tina in brown posts because they’re smart and desi and they get it! Yes, that Cold Play video did bother me – why is Beyoncé in this? Why couldn’t they just have Sonam Kapoor represent India, if that was the intention. I may seem contradictory in my opinions (see next comment below), but I just wasn’t feeling that video. Anyways I also said –

As a Pakistani American, my opinion is wear whatever you want! My friends have rocked sarees, bindis, henna, and I love that it’s a way of sharing the culture I grew up in. Also as a non-hindu I may have a different perspective because we wear bindis, henna, bangles for fashion (yes even in Pakistan). Some south Asians may get offended if they feel that these items are religious.

When I state my opinion, I like to say “I think” or “my opinion is” because I believe it feels unfair and sometimes inaccurate to make a claim without actual science to back it up. That may just be because I’m a Libra, or perhaps because my Masters in Science has the idea engrained in me to Google it first (using reputable, legit sources) or to do an actual study.

What are your thoughts on cultural appropriation or cultural exchange? I’m really grateful to be in America, where we can actually discuss things like oppression and psychological ideas and problems as well.


I woke up thinking, it would be nice to go to brunch with A. However, brunch equals money and extra calories. It also means I would have to yelp a few places, make a reservation and actually get ready while the sun is still out. Let’s be real, that’s just too much work for a Sunday morning! Instead, I decided to make Chana Pullao – spicy chickpea rice. My mom makes the best food in the world, and her Chana Pullao is off the charts. A decided to make Indian Huevos Rancheros – spicy egg + veggies. You’ll have to ask him for the recipe!!

Here’s my recipe for Chana Pullao.



  • 1 tablespoon ghee or cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas
  • 1.3 cups Basmati rice (I go a little over 1 cup to match the proportion of chickpeas)
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • water as needed


1 teaspoon each of:

  • salt
  • chili powder
  • turmeric
  • cumin seeds (you can add 2 tsp if you love cumin seeds, like I do!)
  • cumin powder
  • garam masala powder
  • coriander powder
  • Chana Masala spice mix
  • curry powder spice mix


  • cooking spoon
  • medium sized pot
  • strainer
  • two small bowls (for chopped cilantro and tomato)
  • one medium sized bowl (for rice to sit in water)
  • knife
  • cutting board
  • one spoon to scoop tomato paste, garlic paste

1.) Rinse rice three times in cold water. Let it sit in enough water to submerge the rice.

2.) Chop onions, tomato, and cilantro. Set tomato and cilantro aside. Fry onions in the ghee or oil on medium heat until golden brown.

3.) Rinse chickpeas in a strainer and set aside. Add cumin seeds, garlic and garlic paste. Stir until you hear the seeds pop.

4.) Add all of the spices. Fry for a minute. Add chickpeas, chopped tomato, and tomato paste. Stir for a minute.

5.) Reduce heat to medium-low. Strain water from rice then add to pot. Add milk. Add water if needed to submerge rice and chickpeas up to 5 mm (half a cm) above the rice.

6.) Let cook for about 20 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro and add more salt to taste. Serve with raita or yogurt.

Final Product – Chana Pullao


Total prep time: 5 mins

Total cook time: 20 mins

Here is A’s Indian Huevos Rancheros masterpiece.

Yumminess galore! Enjoy with mango mimosas like we did!

Mango nectar and sparkling champagne. Yes, we are a corny married couple!


Happy brunchin!

References: A = Aditya



Island Hopping

Warm, white sands pillowing on your feet while you lay in the bright, bold Caribbean sun gazing at the turquoise waters…ah such is the sweet life of the Caribbean islands. My husband and I truly relish island hopping as we call it. Ever since we got engaged on a cruise in 2012 we have been avid cruisers. There’s nothing like cruising the ocean and watching every wave sway by as you meditate on why we are on this Earth. Whoa got real deep real fast! That really is the number one reason we love cruising, though. We are on this Earth for a reason and being one with the water truly feels connecting to the foundations of our existence.

Additional perks to cruising are unlimited food, drinks, and entertainment, including world-wide cuisine and Broadway shows. A cruise is a practical mode of transportation for island hopping! You get a chance to taste a bit of each island on your list and feel the flair of each culture and terrain. We love connecting with the locals and getting an idea of the way of life. We pick out our favorite islands and make a note to visit again.

On this trip, we visited Miami and boarded the Norwegian Getaway to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, and Cozumel Mexico. The cruiseline’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay (Bahamas) was originally on the itinerary but was cancelled due to poor weather.

Norwegian Getaway

Our first night in Miami we stayed at a swanky hotel on South Beach – The Shelbourne. We checked out our favorite spot in South Beach at night, called Mango’s. Mango’s has a variety of performers and a dance club in the back as well. Here’s some shots from Espanola Way and a performance at Mango’s.

After a night in Miami we boarded our cruise. The ship is a sister ship to the Norwegian Breakaway, part of the Breakaway class. This means that they are mega ships and you can literally find anything to do on the ship. There are yoga classes, an arcade, craft making seminars, and several places to simply gaze at the ocean. Here are some shots from the ship.

We chose a package that included unlimited beverages. This was a great perk since you could order a mango mimosa in the daytime and end with coconut mojitos by night. The variety of complimentary restaurants on board satisfied our diverse tastebuds. I was really happy to find daily rotating Indian food specials, since I’m addicted to rice and daal (lentil curry). At night, we would kick it at the Bliss Lounge where they played hip hop, 80’s, and international music as well. Everything on the ship was so thoughtfully designed and upscale. Some nights we checked out the arcade and Dueling Pianos lounge. There were also Broadway shows – Burn the Floor and Legally Blonde. Here’s some snaps of activities on the ship and a video from Dueling Pianos – an improv of Pulp Fiction to hip hop.

On the way to an island there were some Sea Days, where you simply enjoy the perks of the ship. We had a balcony so we would stay there most of the time and stared at the beautiful blue sea.

View from our balcony

At ports, we mostly found a nice beach and went in the water. We also went around the islands on historical tours. In Jamaica, we revisited the site where Aditya proposed – at the beach near Dunn’s River Falls. Since we have been to Jamaica, we didn’t see anything new. We love Jamaica for it’s fun vibes and gorgeous beaches.

Grand Cayman was very fancy. We hung out at the beach at the Ritz Carlton. We visited “Hell” in Grand Cayman. This was a tourist attraction and consisted of a group of limestone formations that resembled what one could imagine as hell! Seven Mile Beach felt so luxurious; this was definitely my favorite beach on the trip.

The last island we visited was Cozumel, Mexico. Here we visited the Mayan ruins and saw ruins from structures built from an ancient community/village. Walking through the village was tough and rocky, but worth seeing. We also saw the rough yet serene coastline of Cozumel, which had massive cerulean waves hitting the shore.


Cozumel had a warm feel, despite the fact that there is active drug trade happening on the island, especially at night. The people of Mayan origin were very welcoming and kind.

Lastly, we finished our vacation with one more day in Miami – we just adore Miami! We went to the Everglades and had brunch at the Ritz Carlton, Coconut Grove.

I hope you enjoyed the highlights from our trip! We can’t wait to cruise again!!!