Best Roomie Yet

It was about 6 months ago when I heard our old friend, Young Paras, was looking for a place to stay in Dallas for his summer internship.

I met him long ago when I was in my mid-twenties, single, and member of an urban tribe at The Village, which is a neighborhood of 10-12 apartment complexes near a major university.  We said the urban tribe was like college, except we had money.  We were SINRs (single income, no responsibilities) and meanwhile we all pursued our silent search for a/the significant other.  At the end of perhaps a Wednesday evening, we would gather at someone's apartment and play poker.

Sarah and I, being the few ladies at the poker table got annoyed with the serious tone at the table. So to resolve that matter, we would spontaneously speak in British accents.  My English name was Fiona and hers was Matilda.   And not one person was entertained...except Young Paras, the baby at the table.  At a young 20, just shearing past his teen years, he laughed at our accents and jokes, and didn't know any better - that his laughing would only encourage us to continue.

After a 7 year hiatus, Paras returned to Dallas for a summer intership.  And he's still Young. 

You can imagine my husband's reaction when I asked him if Young Paras could live in our house for the summer.  "You want another man, who I have never met, to live with us?"

Young Paras was a perfect match for my husband and I from the start.  You see, he is OBSESSED with food.  And as I blog, photograph, cook, fail or succeed, he takes GREAT interest.  This was so contrasting to my husband who only eats to survive.  Meanwhile, he LOVES sports and is fluent in dude-speak, so now my husband could actually discuss sports with someone who cares. 

Every day, Young Paras would come home through the front door and yell from the hallway, "Hey! how was your day?" quickly followed by finding me in the kitchen and extend a "Can-I-help?"  We would talk food/photos for an hour with food network on in the background, until my husband walked in through the back door and we would greet him in chorus "Hey, how was your day?"  While Young Paras was busy with making wedding plans and decisions, he always made time to have dinner with us at the dinner table.  We were a family. 

Paras tasted and analyzed my food and would finish his plate and kindly commented with "Best ____ Yet":  Best Italian Yet, Best Salad Yet, ... I even made a gross hodgepodge of stuff one day from leftovers and he said "Best Hodgepodge Yet".  And it wasn't long before my husband and Paras developed a budding bromance and started playing words with friends on their smart phones with each other, while sitting next to each other in the living room.

Then summer came to a close so quickly and Paras had to go back to finish his last year of school.  I didn't even get to say goodbye.  When he left, my husband and I felt like our son left for college.  The house was empty.  We were empty nesters.   :(

Cheers and congratulations to Young Paras, who is getting married this weekend.  Paras, we miss you dearly and wish you the best, and hope you return to Dallas with your wife!

The following is a concept he and I came up with while watching Cupcake Wars, Bollywood episode.

Farewell Mango Cupcakes (with Srikhand Frosting/Icing)

Make these to say goodbye.  These might be good enough to convince them to come back.  Srikhand is a sweet and rich mango-cardamom custard, a very popular dessert in India.  It can be made with thickened yogurt (greek yogurt) or cream cheese.  I've never seen it used as an "icing" but it works PERFECTLY here.

Mango Cupcake Recipe from Holy Cow Vegan (makes 12 cupcakes)

Followed her recipe exactly, except I omitted the ground cardamom in her recipe because it's already in the Srikhand Icing

Srikhand Frosting/Icing (inspired by Showmethecurry.com  See their original recipe here)

1 8-oz package cream cheese (do NOT get reduced fat for this)
1 tsp ground cardamom
2 oz plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of saffron
Chopped pistachios


1. Pulse 8 oz cream cheese in a food processor a few times.  Add sugar, cardamom, and greek yogurt. Process until completely smooth.  Add pinch of saffron and pulse again, until fully combined.  Scrape the sides of the work bowl as needed.  Allow to sit for an hour at room temperature.  Saffron threads will release some color.

2. Put cream cheese mixture into a piping bag.  I used tip #32.  If you don't use a tip, no worries. It will still look great.  Use the back of a spatula to spread cream cheese on each cupcake.

3. Garnish with chopped pistachios


  1. Good idea to use shrikhand for icing. I would love to come up with a vegan shrikhand recipe-- it's one of those treats I really miss. :)

  2. WOW! These look so delicious! And the images are stunning. I want one right this second!

  3. awwwh...beautiful post. it made me tear up a little:) Gorgeous cupcakes and congrats and best wishes to young paras! Even when's he's a grandpa, he'll always be young paras to us:)

  4. Aw congrats to Paras and such a sweet story/experience! You look so young it's hard for me to imagine that you could feel like a parent hehe but he's lucky to have had you guys.

  5. Those cupcakes look amazing and must taste just heavenly! Delightful flavors.



  6. Vaishali - thanks for the mango cupcake recipe. it was PERFECT and i'm floored that it's eggless and turned out as moist and delicious as it is.

    Valentina - honestly i don't have much of a sweet tooth, but these were sooooo good. i had one as i wrote this post!

    Sarah - i agree about the grandpa comment! we need to do another poker night at matt's!

    Xiaolu - thanks for thinking i look young! - i'm exaggerating a little, as i am known to do. young paras is only about 5 years younger than me. but i did understand a little better what our parents went through when we left the house.

  7. rosa - thank you. these really are soooo delicious!

  8. You rang?

    That is a very sweet story. I think Mr. Young is a very lucky man.

    Also, due to my cardamom obsession, I shall steal your frosting forthwith. Due to my mango allergy, I shall pair it with a different cupcake. Ginger perhaps?

  9. The mixture of flavors looks delicious! I can't wait to try this. And congrats to Paras!

  10. oh my god! the best recipe ever! I just want to eat it right now. Love the use of shrikand and what an amazing concept of pairing it with mango cupcake. Double score!

    On a related note -- I think every home needs a version of Paras!

  11. Such a lovely post. such a great idea to use shrikand icing on the cupcake. The mango cupcake is a delicacy!!

  12. You are as charming as ever! And your recipe, too!

  13. cheryl - ginger or pistachio would be a great choice. i would opt for pistachio so that when you leave it out for a month and it looks green you just say "but it's pistachio!" ;-) and you said "forthwith"...you moved up even further on the coolness scale.

    Nyssa - thanks for stopping by! i appreciate your comment!

    Tres - If you try it, let me know! i love feedback!

    Lentil - thanks! good to see you here...miss your posts!

  14. Rashmi - yes, i agree! every home needs a Paras, but once you have one, it's hard to let them go!!! thanks for reading!

  15. Looks so yummy.......V good idea of mango shrikhand.


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