Celebrating friends

kalpanas kitchen living room

This last Sunday evening was celebrating a few friends and their milestone Birthdays.

As we get older, we realize that since our basic needs are now taken care of , what is really important is health and relationships. All these friends had played a special role somewhere, had expressed friendship at a deeper level, and as an expression of that appreciation, wanted to create a special evening for them.

Since I love to cook and create – recreate recipes, I came up with a menu which kind of evolved. What I have realized is that menu creation is an art and people often struggle with it. I struggle with it.

So what is a good menu?

Dining tableIt should be :

  1.  appetizing
  2. inviting
  3. sumptuous
  4. flow together
  5. consist of different rasas
  6. incorporate different colors

Going back to my passion for  cooking – I teach cooking. In America, the domestic help we get is limited and expensive.

I had a cooking class planned for Saturday, and for lack of any other suitable date that all could accommodate,  the dinner was to be hosted on Sunday. That would mean a few very important tasks to be done:

  1. House should be clean and presentable
  2. Test all the recipes before class
  3. Prep for the class
  4. Teach the class
  5. Cook for the Sunday Dinner

The class I was to teach was Gujarati yellow farsan class with the following recipes:



Wati dal na khaman

Wati dal na khaman (yellow dhokla from chana dal)


My ususal weekend helper – dear Sashka had left for Bulgaria.

My other helper Mary was going on a mini vacation. But thankfully my occasional helper Elena agreed to come on Saturday and get the house ready. I requested my cooking helper Manisha to come and help me prep for the class. She unfortunately had something come up and showed up half and hour into the class. So you can impagine my plight.

Even if I know a dish, and I have cooked it several times, I test all the recipes before class. So starting from Tuesday, I started shopping for the ingredients, grinding flour for Handvo, soaking and preparing wati dal na khaman, making handvo , At the same time I was thinking of the dinner. And so was preparing the pickles. And as one would expect, I decided to serve the dhokla and Handvo as appetizers, as I would have all the ingredients ready, all the soaking and fermentation done for the class.

So what would be the menu for The Birthday Dinner? what would the accompaniments be?


  • Handvo
  • Wati dal na khaman
  • Nuts
  • Drinks

Accompaniments with appetizer- all made by me in the preceding week. except for green chutney to be made fresh.

Chili pickle
Lemon pickle
Mango pickle
Green chutney. e
Plain Parathas
Sabji Tava Fry
Ganthia ni kadhi
Plain Rice
Gluten free cake – Dessert

So, here are 14 recipes that I prepared for the class and the Birthday Dinner. This is just an amazing menu and wanted to share if you would like to replicate it for your events.

As for the recipes- stay tuned

Sabzi Rava Fry


Gluten free cake

Gluten free cake

Karela tava fry