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Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie.. Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... I Am crazy about music,books,friends and my doggie... :)

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

[Recipe] Kewa Datshi

Off late during my trips to familiar towns, I make it a point to do something different.. Last time I was in Delhi, I explored not one but nearly 5 book stores and this time I decided it was going to be all about food. 

In the morning I went to Lunch at Whiskey Samba [DLF] and had a fabulous lunch with Chef Vikram for company... And then from there I headed all the way to East Delhi [ well, it is the other end of town from DLF, took me an hour plus one way to meet with the lovely Anita [a_madteaparty] who I have been following and interacting with for a while on Instagram [ i love that platform, it comes in super handy when you are travelling to a new town or connecting with interesting people]...  

Anyways, without digressing, by the time I reached her place it was past 3pm, and we sat down to yap a bit.. Her sourdough breads and bakes, her workshops have always fascinated and I kept wishing I was in Delhi during one session... That afternoon we spoke about her breads, her garden, the kitchen and soon she went on to talk about her love for fermentation as well. 

I tried two kinds of Kombucha she had made- black grapes and green grapes. It tasted a lot like wine  [distinct difference between the two was there].. She showed me her sourdough starter, how it blossoms during summer vs the time it takes during winter.  We chit chatted with her husband for a bit, before moving on to talk about some food dishes she had cooked recently, which had caught my eye.. One of them was Kewa Datshi.. I asked her about it and she explained the the Bhutanese dish is the easiest to make.. Traditionally it is just Cheese & potato, but her version was slightly different... 

I came back to Chennai and since then have made it a couple of times and it is quite a hit at home and with friends as well. Here is how I made it... 




Ingredients
Butter/oil
Garlic - 2-3 pods [ smashed/ Chopped up]
Green chillies- 2 [ Chopped up]
Onions - 2*
Tomato - 2*
Potato - 2*
Salt 
Cheese slices - 4-5
Water - 1/2 cup

Psst-  * Slice the vegetables in rings [ like you would for bhajji]

The process
In a pan, add the butter/oil
Next add the garlic and chillies, giving it a few mins to saute
Now add the tomato slices
On top of it layer the onion slices 
Gently place the potato slices on top
No stirring ~
Add the water
Place the cheese slices on top 
Cover with a lid and let it cook for 5-8 mins [ till the potatoes go soft, again no stirring]

Serve or just eat from the pan directly... ta da... There is something comforting about this dish. Oh and there is a variation to this, called Ewa datshi, which has tonnes of chilli 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Kommune, Chennai


















You step out of the elevator onto a huge open space with multi level seating arrangement and a DJ spinning tracks at the far end. Well, that is what I saw when I stepped into the 3rd floor at Kommune on GN Chetty road.  The word "Kommune" is of German origin and simply put, translates to "local community" or "group of people"or "village".. 

Located almost opp Accord Metropolitan hotel, this space is spread across three floors, two inside and one rooftop [which is yet to open]. They had just got their booze license and I got to try not one but two interesting cocktails whipped up by Mohit Kothari, Bar Manager at Kommune.  Along the way to the stairs I noticed there was a shelf with a bunch of books, and seating spaces at different levels as well. Quite cool~!

Taking the stairs, I went up to the 4th floor and found a cozy corner seat with friends of mine taking the sofa like seating on the other side. It was again a huge space, one that is ideal for big groups. There were tables with high chairs as well, if you dont like low seating. At first glance, I loved the colours- wood finish and turquoise on upholstery giving it a bit of pop. The tables are large, rustic and have shelf space below that is used for plates. Simple, neat and functional... 

The first drink I had was Whiskey sour with egg white on top, served in a fancy glass, with a dehydrated slice of lemon sitting pretty on top. The 2nd one was a Vodka based drink with nannari sherbat.. What stood out in the 2nd one was the slice of dehydrated orange peel with the brand name "Kommune" on it..

As for the food, I noticed the menu was quite extensive, unlike any other Restopub menu I have seen. The menu here spans across cuisines - ranging from Indian, Italian, Middle Eastern and even Continental. The first dish I opted for were the Avocado Fries [simply cos I have never heard of it and I love Avocados].. The crisp fries were served with two dips, both of which were very good. 

Then came the divine Greek Salad with plenty of beetroots, feta cheese, walnuts, pomegranate and lettuce. The dressing was tad sweet, but hey I was happy digging into the bowl nevertheless. Along with a few non veg dishes, in came the Schezwan Paniyaram- a twist on our humble Chettinad paniyaram, this one had been doused in schezwan spices and was quite hot for me..  The menu went on for pages, but we were stuffed and so chilled for a while sipping our drink, taking in the ambiance, catching up on life before our bladders yelled out to us and we made our way to the funky restroom. 

Oh yes, am gonna talk about the restroom as well. It is situated in the space behind the Dj, and as you walk into the restroom, you dont find a giant mirror throwing your face at you. Nope, no mirrors here, well there are but you gotta find em...  Imagine walking in her drunk, you would be lost... lolz..  

Before I forget, they also have a cozy private space if you wanna do a party or a gathering of sorts... So if you are looking for a new place to check out, this would be a good place to start....Have already made plans to hit the place one afternoon for lunch.. 

Meal for two: Rs 1500 or so..

Timings- 11am to 11pm

Address:
Kommune 
60 & 62, 3rd and 4th Floor, 
GN Chetty Rd, T. Nagar, Chennai- 600017

Call 078688 00077for reservations!


Disclaimer:

The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit  :-) 


Saturday, May 18, 2019

Avartana turns 2... ITC Grand Chola...

Amuse Bouche - thinly sliced Carrot with some yummy crunchy goodies inside.


The Rasam- with Cumin & Black pepper




Corn & Cherry Tomato [ with pomegranate & curd chilli]


Up close- Corn & Cherry Tomato [ with pomegranate & curd chilli]

Cracklings- [L-R: Ghongura leaf, sweet potato sheets with coriander & curry leaves, and Lotus stem served with Mango mush]


Sundried Tomato tapioca- Coriander chutney


Crispy chilli potato 2.0 with Pineapple & mint soup


Lemon leaf sorbet


Bottle gourd & Raisin- on a bed of Ginger & chilli sauce


Spinach & Curd cheese with tomato salsa and Aerated rice cake.


Fried Aubergine with Jaggery & Sesame sauce


Vegetable Rice with Okra Yoghurt


Vermicelli Yoghurt with preserved lemon


Almond Cremeux with candied orange ice cream & strawberry sauce
Celebrations are always fun, and exciting. No less when it comes to a restaurant! Happy 2nd Birthday Avartana..  True to its name, "Avartana" , a sanskrit word meaning rhythm, mysticism and magic, the restaurant has indeed been weaving magic and dazzling visitors, giving them an experience like no other! 

Known for its set course dinners, Avartana at ITC Grand Chola rolls out a revamped version of Jiaa (Soulful) -11course menu

Chef Ajit Bangera told us they are also likely to be making changes to their other 4 menus as I enjoyed the glass of clear piping hot rasam that was served from a French press. Starting with this, the rest of the evening went by with us savouring each of the courses that came by. The first time I was here was when they had just opened their doors and the feeling remains the same today as I walk into the restaurant. It has that oomph factor, right from the entrance to the decor and the food, including the plates/cutlery. 

More than the food, it is the techniques used, the ingredients, the flavours & textures that make this restaurant stand apart from the rest. The Crispy Chilli Potato 2.0 involves techniques that left us puzzled- as we pop the entire thing into our mouth, the little ball bursts and the liquid pops out with a medley of flavours. In the sundried tomato tapioca dish, the smooth sago exterior works well against the sharp coriander chutney and the tangy tomato filling. I could go on, but you get the drift right? When the spinach & curd cheese arrived on the table, I kept wondering about the textures, wondering what would be the surprise in this. As I cut into the spinach ball, the fork just went through as if it were butter. 

The Fried aubergine again had a crispy exterior that complimented the smooth inside, and the sauce was such a tangy sweet delight. It hit us then that we were almost at the end of the meal. Woah... Next came a small parcel with a spoon of Okra yoghurt. As we unwrapped it, I found rice cooked with vegetable korma of sorts, and it was such familiar flavours but presented so beautifully. We asked for a repeat of the okra yoghurt.. As with most South Indian meals, the last course is always something to cool the system, with curd. The new menu had Vermicelli Yoghurt with preserved lemon, cool comforting dish.

As with every dish, we looked forward to the last course, the dessert. We were served with Almond Cremeux with candied orange ice cream and a strong strawberry clove sauce. While the cremeux was light, the ice cream with candied orange was a fun accompaniment. The sauce was quite strong, though it worked well with the other two. 

It was yet another fabulous meal at a grand setting... That is Avartana for you!! So, if ever you want to indulge or just feel special, make a reservation and head out for dinner one evening. 

A Meal for one [Jiaa menu] - Rs 3,500 + taxes


Address: 
ITC Grand Chola 
No., 63, Anna Salai, Guindy, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600032
Call 044 2220 0000 for reservations.
Website : http://www.itchotels.in/hotels/itcgrandchola.aspx


Disclaimer:

The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit  :-) 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Burmese food at Soy Soi till 2nd June...










I love experimenting with food and so when a friend pinged me asking if I would like to join her for the Burmese Food festival at Soy Soi, I said yes instantly. Chennai is quite familiar with this cuisine, google "burmese food" or "atho" and you will see a whole list pop up, but I was sure there was more to it than the few I have had in our city.. 

The man of the hour Nay Myo Htet is the most humble chefs I have met. He is not a Chef who has worked in luxury hotels or travelled the world, he is a home chef, his family runs an eatery in Yangon. Nay Myo Htet’s simple no frills approach was quite refreshing. When we enquired about Burmese food, he said it was quite close to India.. They used plenty of coriander, chillies, tamarind in their dishes. Chef Peter of Soy Soi was there explaining the dishes and talking to us about how this festival came about. He also sheepishly admitted that he is yet to visit Burma but had heard of the food and so decided to try something new at the restaurant.. 

The meal began with the Htamin Lone Gyaw [crispy rice cakes served with spicy tamarind sauce] followed by three different hand tossed salads [Lethok]- one was  Burmese raw mango, the other cucumber & greens [Penny wort], and  finally Burmese tea leaf salad. My favourite was the PennyWort salad [with its mix of textures and flavours-crispy crunchy]. 

Oh I should mention the soup- Roselle soup [made with Ghongura greens] and was simply delicious... Infact, so much so that my non veg counterparts happily dug into this bowl [their soup had fish paste which many were unaccustomed to and so did not enjoy much]. A starter that stood out was Samusa Thoke - do not miss this dish [ it was Burmese samusa salad with lentil & saw tooth coriander sauce, almost like our samosa channa, I would have been happy with a bowl of this... ]

For the mains, we got yet another delightful dish- Khayanthi Hnat [ Burmese aubergene curry with coriander leaves, curry powder & red chilli powder] served with rice. I am not a fan of this veggie, but I loved this dish- it was tangy, spicy, charred and such a treat. I want to recreate this at home..  The menu did leave room for dessert, we got to try Sanwin Makin, moist semolina cake served with  chocolate cream, caramelised oranges and Ginger- honey ice cream and Shwe Yin Aye- traditional dessert made with Sticky rice, shaved ice, sago, pandan noodles and sweet coconut milk. I loved the former dessert [we did suggest they reduce the size of the cake...]

The verdict- I loved the food we had...The flavour profile is quite similar to our food, tangy sour spicy and simple... This festival is on till the 2nd June at Soy Soi.... A meal for two would be around Rs1200-1500 [approx] 

Call +91 78248 68314 for reservations.. 

Address: 
Soy Soi 
2/10, Gandhi Mandapam Road, Kotturpuram, Chennai -600085

Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit :-)

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Asian Station, KNK Road, Chennai



The Decor and the cocktail I had....
The cool menu..
Three different kinds of dimsums..

The clear glass noodle soup

Sushi...

Jasmine Rice and Thai Green curry..

Laksa..

Tab tim grob...

There I was, walking into this giant black gated space, with walls decked up in bright coloured murals and then finally the sun hits you as you turn the corner. This place used to be the Park Pod, and then it was known for The Slate, but today I was walking in to the newly opened Asian Station [adjoining The Slate]. 

They have a huge outdoor space downstairs, and a smaller indoor air-conditioned space upstairs. I noticed they had banners displaying the various IPL teams and a giant screen as well. Would have been good to have watched a few matches here. As I made my way upstairs, I couldn't help but wonder how at one point this entire place was Posh, looked world apart from the rest of the restaurants or hotels in the city and today it had a bit of run down look... Oh well~!! 

The closed space can seat about 25-26 people and is a long narrow hallway of sorts with cooling towers/Tower AC that helps keep it cool.. Their kitchen is downstairs[ Gulp, I cant imagine how the staff make trips up and down those narrow steps, sometimes carrying multiple dishes or plate].. The restaurant Asian Station, as the name suggests is all about the Pan asian cuisine- Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean and Malay. Infact, they have another outlet in Anna Nagar which is nearly 2 years old and doing pretty well I hear! 

The colours on the walls and seating was quite funky... But above it all, I loved their menu design. It was a simple one sheet, with flip option on each category. No pages and pages of complicated dishes, leaving you bamboozled.  From the soup section, I had the glass noodle clear soup, dimsums - I had a range of them, from carrots, to mushrooms to mix veg as well, each one came looking so cute and pretty in the bamboo containers. That apart I also tried their veg sushi, which was quite good [ packed with avocado and cream cheese] They were all yumm... 

For the mains, I had my favourite Jasmine Rice and Thai green curry... The other two at the table ordered Prawn red curry.. We did try their Laksa, but it lacked flavour punch [ the base needed more flavour, one of the friends dining with me was from Singapore and so she knew her Laksa...] In most pan asian places, the dessert section is quite small, we opted for the familiar Tab tim grob [ water chestnut] , which was alright [you cant really go wrong with it]... 

During the course of conversation with the man behind the brand- Rohan Ahuja, we came to know he had different chefs at the outlets and while Anna nagar one was doing very well, this one was about 2 month old and slowly picking up. He was looking at introducing a bento box style meal [targeting offices/corporate lunch] and making small tweaks to the menu as well. Coming from a completely non hospitality background, he was in love with food and so got into this business and had learnt the ropes of the business, and was quite kicked about the place. He also spoke about how that particular road had not one but nearly 5 restaurants serving asian cuisine and so it was going to be interesting to create a mark and draw crowds.... 

Well, next time you are in/around Nungambakkam, and looking for a new place to explore, head over to Asian Station~!

Address: 
Asian Station
#23, 13, Khader Nawaz Khan Rd, 
Thousand Lights West,  Chennai -600006
[Inside The Slate complex]

Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit :-)

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Humble drumstick [ Murungakkai]

"Boil it separately, not with the kuzhambu" instructs gramma to the cook. It will disintegrate and melt if cooked in the kuzhambu is her explanation... 


We use the vegetable quite often at home... Either in sambar or some such gravy based dish, while the greens are also used as part of a meal.. stir fried with daal, or with coconut paste .. We had the tree i our backyard, but then had to burn it down few years back no thanks to a fuzzy caterpillar of sorts. Uncle and I literally torched every leaf down... 

When we had cows at home, the leaves were fed to the cows... The leaves and the vegetable is very heathy, so much so that today you find moringa powder and capsules in stores... Being a delicate vegetable, it cooks fast and is quite yummy. When grandpa was around, there would fight as to who got most of the vegetable from the dishes it featured in... Some of us would remove the flesh with our fingers and mix them in rice, others would chew the whole stick [almost like a sugarcane piece] and spit out just the outer thick skin... 

About a month ago, I had the most warm comforting bowl of Drumstick soup at Whiskey Samba in Gurgaon... It had such amazing flavours and was accompanied by a Kale crisp with a few drops of sauces on it... 


Yesterday gramma had some drumsticks cooked along with rice in the cooker, but we forgot to have it as part of lunch and so I suggested we have it as soup. Gramma wasn't sure how to make the soup, and so I looked it up online and must say it turned out quite delicious..

During a conversation with my uncle later in the night, I mentioned the vegetable and he had a story to share as well.  At his daughter's school, they were reading a non detailed story that featured the Murungakkai... Apparently, the teacher asked the class if there were any south indians and if they had eaten Murungakkai... My cousin mentioned she had eaten it, her dad would remove the pulp and give her.. But did not remember what the vegetable looked like. Uncle shared this incident and we spoke a while about the vegetable... 

Curiosity got the better of me and I dug around till I found the story my cousin was discussing in class.. It was from Malgudi Days, called A horse and two goats.... Soon, I was watching the episode on Youtube and reminiscing about what a fun book Malgudi Days was....

The episode- Malgudi Days - मालगुडी डेज - Episode 42 - A Horse And Two Goats

Here is an excerpt from the story,

"Normally Muni’s wife starts the day by boiling him some millet for breakfast, then sending him on his way with a ball of leftover millet and a raw onion for lunch. This morning, however, there is no food, so Muni goes out of the hut, shakes the drumstick tree, and gets six drumsticks. His wife offers to boil them with salt, but Muni hankers for something richer—a drum-stick curry." 

If this got you curious, you should read the book ... Grab your copy here..  

Do you have any connections of food to shows/books? Do share them....

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Food Trails along the NH 48 at Madras Pavilion, ITC Grand Chola till 13th April


[Image courtesy: ITC Grand Chola]

The food comes from these regions..

The mains 
Millet Koozhu with accompaniments- sundakkai vathal, maavadu, mahanikezhangu oorugai, chillies, onions, and more..

Coorg Idli [like the Kadumbuttu], served with Tarkari Gassi[veg] and Pandi Curry[ nonveg]

Gujarati Dhokla
Veg Pulao 

Amarkand, sundal and cut mango with spice powder...

Jaljeera, Rose & Watermelon sherbat

A range of side dishes

Daulat ki Chaat

Pani Puri 

Rajasthan meets Delhi on my plate-
Dal baati churma, garlic chutney & Mirchi Parantha
 

Bun Samosa...

The Desserts

Gulab jamun with cream and dry fruits on top 

Dudh pak

Shahi tukda

Kadala paruppu payasam


Coorg coffe

Food Trails along the NH 48 is the first of a series of culinary showcases which aims to explore the country’s cuisine prevalent along the highways.


As NH 48 traverses the distance from Delhi NCR to Chennai via Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat & Karnataka, the highway comes alive with stories and local food, abounding with hearty, traditional cuisine, flavoured with regional nuances and folklore.

Chef Mofid from Delhi, Chef Mahesh from Rajasthan, Chef Shetty from Karnataka and Chef Sundar from Tamilnadu have put together dishes from various regions across the NH48 route... 

Some of the dishes were Daulat ki chaat - the light as air dish from Chandni chowk; Delhi, Dal Baati churma & Bajra roti plus the yummilicious Garlic chutney from Jaipur,Rajasthan; Bun Samosa, a distant cousin of the vada pav from Maharashtra; Dhokhla & Doodh pak from Gujarat; The Tarkari Gassi [veg korma] from Coorg, Karnataka; and finally there was the koozh with add ons from Tamilnadu... Well, the menu changes on a daily basis and so you never know what you are in for on the day you dine! 

The one thing that stood out about this festival was that the dishes all had their distinctive flavours and for those who haven't travelled the length of our country, it is a beautiful journey into the culinary world...  You can sit in the comfort of the restaurant and dig into a matka of Daulat ki chaat instead of making your way through the hustle bustle of Chandni chowk area... 

Just as we were polishing off the dessert bowls, Chef brought a pot of freshly cooked Sarai Ghosht biryani, and the guys just lost it.. One friend requested the chef if he could get a box to take home to his wife... Well, goes to show how flavours make or break a dish~Was super happy that the flavours were authentic, and the spread was quite extensive [there are the usual dishes from their buffet as well]... 

Food Trails along the NH 48 awaits you at Madras Pavilion, ITC Grand Chola till the 13th of April 2019 [ Only dinner]. It is priced at Rs2200 [excl tax]


For Table Reservations, call: 04449065272, email: mytable.itcgrandchola@itchotels.in

Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit :-)
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