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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... :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pudina Peas Pulao with Spinach Kofta in Tomato Gravy

Today, i bring to you flavours from our home kitchen :)

It was nearly midnight and i was sitting in grandparents room having random conversations while flipping through Good Housekeeping magazine. The last few pages had a bunch of recipes and i was randomly reading out the Vegetarian ones. The last recipe was "Spinach Kofta in Tomato Gravy".. Read it out loud, we deliberated on how it would taste, what it would go well with, etc etc...

The next day was Monday, i was all set to attack the day early on, and went over to gramma who was in the pooja room.. The conversation went something like this-

Me: Aarthimma, so whats the plan for lunch?
A'mma- Something interesting.... Are there veggies at home?
Me: yes, there are a whole bunch of veggies.. There is also spinach wilting away
A'mma: Can we make what you read out last night? Maybe have that with Chappatis?
Me: Sure thing...

Few mins passed.... it was 11am, i was prepping up for lunch, when she came into kitchen and said "Dont think we can make Chappati for all for lunch, lets make rice instead, what say?"
Me: ok, whatever you say aarthimma :)
[my head had started to play around with ingredients available at home]... Thus was born a YUMMMY lunch...

Pudina Peas Pulao

2 cups Basmati rice
2 tbsp Pudina paste[ i had made a paste of pudina leaves few days ahead, which was sitting pretty in the freezer]
2 green chillies
100 gms fresh peas
3-4 cloves
3-4 cardomom
2- cinnamon sticks
small bunch of fresh pudina leaves [for that zing]
Ghee or oil
Salt to taste

In a pan, saute the spices without any ghee or oil.
Add ghee or oil, saute the Green chillies for a few mins
To this, add fresh pudina leaves and the paste and slightly let them warm up...

In the Rice cooker-
Pour the required amount of water
Add the spices, green chillies, and pudina paste+leaves
Add the peas
Add salt
Add a spoon of ghee or butter [optional]
Shut the lid and allow it to cook...Stir occasionally so the spices, peas and rice mix well..

Voila, in about 25-30mins, the Pulao is ready....

Spinach Kofta in Tomato Gravy
2 bunches Spinach leaves [ chopped up roughly]
Water [to cook spinach in]
Cheese [ about 2-3 tbsp]- i used Kraft Pepper flavoured cheese[the only one i found at home]
Cornflour- 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Oil to fry


Boil and cook the spinach with very little water
Drain off water, and roughly blend it in a processor or with a spoon
Drain excess water and set aside
To this, add the shredded cheese and Cornflour
Add salt and mix all the ingredients well
if you feel it is wet, add more cornflour or maybe a boiled potato

Make sure the oil is hot in the Pan
Add the Spinach kofta gently and allow to get golden brown
Drain off excess oil, and place them on tissue

Tomato Gravy:

4 Tomatoes[ chopped and cooked to a pulp/puree]
Salt to taste
1tsp Cumin Seeds [jeera]
1tsp Cumin Powder
1tsp Coriander Powder
a pinch of Turmeric Powder

Other optional ingredients*
3 Onion
4-5 cloves of Garlic
1 tbsp Coconut/Cashew paste[ optional]
*- I dint use these are grandparents dont eat onions or garlic

In a pan, add wee bit of oil, and put in all the ingredients.
Allow it to cook for a few mins till all flavours blend in well.

Now, put the Kofta into the gravy gently and allow it to come to a boil...

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Kirky's, Adyar

While looking for a new restaurant to try, we remembered Kirky's and made our way to the restaurant. There is a small boutique of sorts on the ground floor and the restaurant is tucked away in the 1st Floor. As you walk in through the Black glass door, the interiors immediately draw your attention. The black light fittings, white and black patterned wallpaper, and the funky tables and chairs are quite appealing. We were shown to a table near the entrance. Black table with 2 black chairs and 2 yellow chairs was the setting! 

There was a huge Burrp certifcate on the wall stating that Kirky's was renowned for their Desserts!
The menu was also quite extensive and quite tempting. Between the 2 of us we ordered Onion Rings and Chicken Wings.. The onion rings were ok, not as crisp as elsewhere, and friend said the Chicken was avg tasting. She said she could taste a bit of chinese sauce in it. Since it was a hot day, we ordered 2 watermelon juices, and what we were served were 2 watermelon+mint+lemon juices, which did not go down well with us. The waiter said that is the watermelon juice they served! oh well..

Moving on, we ordered Mulgitwany soup, which took over 20mins to arrive, and when it did, we were wondering what we had ordered. The soup was diluted Tomato sauce, with oodles of chinese flavours, pepper and almost raw veggies..

Braced ourselves for the main course and decided to play it safe by ordering Vegetable Augratin and Pasta arabiatta, thinking they cant go wrong in these.. Phew, the dishes looked good,, but thats it... The pasta had roughly ground sauce[that tasted very indian, almost like biryani masala had been ground with tomatoes and Italian herbs] sitting limp on top of the penne pasta.

Dint want to venture any further and decided to end our meal there.

Service: Average
Food- 1/5
Cost- Slightly expensive. A meal for 2 minus desserts came up to Rs720
Will i go back to Kirky's - Very unlikely
No.19, 4th Main Road, Nehru Nagar, Adyar , Chennai
Landmark: Near Nalli Silks
Phone: 044-42115135

I have seen this in many restuarants- the waiters have no clues about the dishes, or what the specialties of the resto are. Wish the restaurants took time to educate their staff..

Haji Ali

The 1st time i heard of Haji Ali fruit center was through my cousin, and on a Sunday we decided to visit the place. As we turned into Greams Road, memories came flooding back... The Juice center is right next to my Ex-office, it had been 5yrs since i had been on that road... 

The ambiance was quite nice,  nothiing over the top, but quite simple and neat. We chose a table near the window and started scanning through the menu card. 

While they do serve juices, milkshakes and fruits with cream, they also have an extensive menu for food items- sandwiches, pizzas, burgers  & fries. Their sandwiches are quite yummy, and the chutney has a bit of Mumbai flavor in it.. 

Mango with Cream
Strawberry with Cream
Strawberry Faluda
Mango Faluda
1 plain Vanilla ice cream 
1 plate of French Fries
was ordered.................. 

We sampled all the drinks, enjoyed some, while others were avg.. Few mins later, beckoned the waiter to place more orders-

Lychee with cream
Mango Milkshake
More Fries

Since that 1st visit, i have been back there atleast 3 -4times and everytime i try to order something different... Each of the dishes, ice creams and drinks have been divine...

Their portions are quite large, especially the milkshakes, and Faluda, plus they are quite filling... Once we went to Haji Ali around 10pm and ordered 
Fruits with ice cream
Strawberr Jelly with ice cream
2 veg grilled sandwich
 [Pic courtesy-]

These were simply delicious... and we left with a big grin on our faces! The place serves only vegetarian food dishes, so dont expect other options! The one dish that everyone has been raving about is Custard Apple with cream, so the next time i visit i shall dive into this as well :)

During my most recent visit, i discovered they have opened an outlet in T-Nagar, right next to Cafe Coffee day, Prakasam street.. The corner that joins with GN Chetty road, near Maverick Gym!

Service: Quite prompt
Ambiance- Cosy and comfortable
Cost- Reasonable 
Haji Ali Juice Centre 
85B, Murugesa Naikar Complex,
Greams Road. 
Call (044) 28292220 or 28292227 for details or home delivery.
Haji Ali juice Center
#124 Sterling Point, Near Bharathirajaa Speciality Hospital & Research Centre, 
G N Chetty Road, T Nagar, Chennai - 600017
Call (044)-28342704,28342705,28342706

Tuscana, Chamiers Road

Italian food ranks on top among my favourite cuisines and Tuscana on Wallace garden had me at the 1st slice of pizza i bit into. So, when i was invited to lunch at their newly opened outlet in Chamier's Road, i was more than happy to go.

 The wooden archway at the entrance and the ambiance inside are quite inviting. Unlike the Wallace Garden outlet, the ambiance here is quite informal and casual.. There is a small waiting room, and 2 rooms with tables in them, all together can probably seat close to 30people. There is a Red scooter in the passage along with other little touches that add to the whole Italian feel. 

We started with Focacccia all' Aglio e Cipolla [focaccia bread with roasted garlic & onions] and thin crust Pizza Potto e Brocolli [broccoli, caramelized onions & potato], followed by an All vegetables Pizza [yellow, green, red bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, and tomatoes]. The non veg Pizza Americana looked interesting and i did steal a basil leaf from one of them :)

Amidst a lot of talking, sharing experiences ranging from Travel, Politics, food and others, main courses arrived. Since we were a fairly large group [nearly 10], we were offered quite a few options- both in veg and non veg.
 Large prawns

 Polenta Pasticciata

The main course for us vegetarians was Polenta Pasticciata [Baked Polenta casserole with Porcini, tomato, basil with Fresh mozzarella & pecorino] and Impilata di Verdue Arrosto [ Pumpkin, zucchini, sweet peppers and Bocconcini cheese layered with napoletana sauce]. For the others, there were 2 dishes - Chicken  breast escalopes  and Large Prawns[which by the looks on their faces, they loved...]. There was quite an amount of food, and we devoured every morsel with delight.

And then ofcourse came the delightful desserts, which looked sinful and must say tasted just as good...

 Torta di Cioccolato di Fusione

 Torta Soffice Di melle

There was the Tiramisu [ which is probably among the best that i've eaten so far], Torta Soffice Di melle [ Apple cake with lemon and almost custard cream sauce] that was divine with every mouthful. And then the show stopper- Torta di Cioccolato di Fusione [.warm chocolate cake with melted chocolate in the center served on a dark chocolate sauce]...  I know the names of all these desserts sound like tongue twisters, but mind you, it was irresistable... Gooey, warm and yumm!!

The meal was wonderful- Good food, good company, and a lovely place! Perfect for a group lunch/dinner. The food is light and dint make me sleepy or heavy.

Service: Excellent.
Ambiance- Casual, informal, cosy
Location- Almost adjacent to Park Sheraton Hotel, Adyar.. [For those who live on the other side of town, do visit Tuscana in Wallace Garden ,or Kryptos in Khader Nawaz Khan road]

I am sure to be visiting either of the Tuscana outlets soon and frequently! I have been to Kryptos in KNK road once, and what we had was good.

Psst- This lunch was a treat by Vipin Sachdeva for us bloggers.... Thank you Vipin & Neha for the wonderful experience!

Mahamudra, Isha way of eating

The orange sign  board was hidden amidst the branches of the tree.. As i entered the gate, the stone and glass building caught my attention... I was wondering where the restaurant was, but understood that everything was within that majestic building.
This was Isha Life, promoted by Jaggi Vasudev..
The complex had within its walls-

 The building from the gate
  • Isha Fitness center- resembled a modern well equipped Gym
  • Shambavi- Spa and Massage
  • Mahamudra- The Restaurant
  • Shambavi- The Boutique above the restaurant
An art work on the wall

As you walk in through the glass doors, you notice the tall pillar like structure with many serpents entwined around it located near the Reception desk. I turned right in the direction of the Restaurant and spotted yet another similar structure.

There were also a few Stone urulis with flowers in the lobby...  One needs to cross another room to get to the restaurant. This room had a shelf displaying the various products retailed there and a section dedicated to Jaggi Vasudev's Cd's and DVDs. There was a sofa that looked very comfortable.

I crossed the threshold to step into Mahamudra, the restaurant. The ambience is beautiful.. There is an entire wall of glass that opens to the outside garden, with a walkway and plenty of trees and plants. 

The restaurant is huge, in 2 levels. I sat in a table near the window, facing the kitchen. Apart from the usual cutlery and napkin, there were 2 jugs of water on each table. A waiter brought me the extensive menu card -

There were 
Sandwiches- Chilli cheese to Chocolate-Cheese Sandwiches
Thali-Lentil soup, dosa,ragi vada, akki roti, raagi porridge, wheat bisi bele bath, broken wheat curd rice, 2 kinds of salads, wild rice pudding n few side dishes[veg] as well... - this was the menu the day I visited!
A la carte dishes
Coffee, Tea, and juices as well 
The menu had me chuckling more than once, to a point where i actually had a chat with the waiter about the elaborate explanation for each of the dishes.. I realized it was designed that way for the Foreigners..

The window behind my table

It was quite a spread..I gave into temptation and decided to try the Bisi Bele bath made using Broken wheat and it was divine! The spinach soup was alright, nothing exciting.. it had some pieces of paneer floating around in it and tasted more like spinach puree.. And was served with multigrain toast, which was fresh.  After the meal, i went to explore the store upstairs before returning to the restaurant for hot Filter coffee.

The Path outside... seen from within the restaurant...

The menu talks about how they use the finest in oils, and their dosas are made using olive oil spray, while their vegetables and wheat are all in the menu as they are good for health. The entire concept revolves around Ayuveda it says.. But, one need not worry at the mention of the word "Ayurveda". The restaurant is anything but strange weird food.. The dishes served here are good, and most of them are what we are familiar with.. 

The food is primarily South indian with a few dishes from other parts of the country added in for variety!

Ambience - 5/5
Service- 4.5/5
Food- 4/5
Portions- could be better - 3/5
Menu- 5/5
Restaurant seating space- 4.5/5 -Quite spacious but does get crowded over the weekend i guess[ I had gone on Sunday and the place was near full] 
Cost- 4/5- The Thali is about 290Rs, and is limited servings only.
                 A la carte dishes are priced around 120-140Rs each.
Car park- plenty of space
Restaurant Mahamudra inside Isha LifeNo.117, Luz Church Road, Mylapore, Chennai 600 004.
Opp Devaki Hospital & Right next to Rangachari Clothe Store
Phone :+91 44 4353 5555 / 2499 1757
Mobile : +91 95000 31160,
e-mail :
Website: Isha Life / Mahamudra

Bon Appetit!