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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, August 30, 2011

Delightful Treats for Ramzan

The month of fasting is nearly over and Muslims across the world are gearing up to celebrate Ramzan [also called Ramadan or Id-Ul-Fitr].  And there is no hiding that Food and Ramzan has a strong connection. Think succulent kebabs, delicious Biryani, rich curries and molten malpuas served at the best restaurants across the country and you have your excuse to dig in. Here is a heads-up on the Top 3 places across the country to visit,
kurbani ka meetha 
Khoobani Ka Meetha
[Image courtesy]

If you have plans of visiting Mumbai, then this is the right time to go, for you are in for not only a visual treat but a gastronomic one as well. Mohammad Ali Road with its street side stalls and small hotels are overflowing with people eager to try some of the Ramzan specialities.  The kebabs [Beef and Chicken] are the show stoppers and the best ones are found at Haji Tikka, Khara Tank Road in Bhendi Bazaar.  However, if you are not the adventurous kind, then you should visit Khiri where you will find various rich meat dishes, especially beef. Another area in Mumbai that serves up quite a storm is Khau Galli in Central Mumbai, which comes alive post 9pm with streets brimming with people vying for a plate of Biryani or kebabs or the sweet dishes.

[Image Courtesy -]

On the other hand, Lucknow has its pride in Tunday Kababi, a century old family-run restaurant  that dishes out plates of  Galouti kebab like nowhere else. Akbari Gate on the other hand is where you get the most divine glass of Kashmiri tea that is perfect before starting your food trail. Make sure to visit Haji Sahib's shop for a slice of the traditional nihari and kulchha. Wait, its not over yet, you should sample the makhan malai, Lucknow’s own version of saffron-spiked ice cream before you can call it a day.

Image Courtesy: Flickr

Ramzan is synonymous with Haleem and the best Haleem is available in Hyderabad only. Tasty and delicious Haleem here is a plate of minced meat cooked with ground wheat and oodles of butter. Pista House, near Charminar at the old City offers the 2nd best Haleem in town. Biryani is another dish that is a must have during Ramdan season. Called Nawabi or Dum Biryani, No Eid is complete without this Biryani.  Take your pick from Lamb, Chicken or other meat, either way you are in for a treat like never before. Also order a side of mutton korma, mutton do pyaza or murgh musallam, and zafrani murgh to add to te beauty of the meal. Finish off in style with a plate of Kulfi, sheer khurma or sevayyian (which is vermicelli that has been cooked in milk topped with nuts),  khoobani ka meetha (apricots pureed cooked with sugar and topped with fresh cream) and the traditional phirni.

mango kulfi 
Image Courtesy: Recipes ebest

Let the celebrations begin!! Enjoy the treats no matter where you are...!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Twist of Taste with Vineet Bhatia

I have seen a gazillion trailers for this show and finally managed to catch a few episodes of it and find it quite interesting..... Not only is it about food, but also a travelogue of sorts....

Michelin Star Chef Vineet Bhatia from Australia travels to 13 Indians cities, samples the local delights and then works on creating a twist to the dishes to create something new ...  This is being telecast on the ‘Twist of Taste with Vineet Bhatia’ show on Sunday's at 9pm on FOX History & Traveller

Last night watched the Twist of Taste with Vineet Bhatia in chennai and LOVED it... 

  Vineet & Rashima Bhatia

While in Chennai, he visited ---
Murugan Idli Shop for some yummy Dosa and South Indian fares.... 
Grand Sweets and Snacks in Spur Tank Road where they tried Mysore Pak, Coconut laddoo, and Payasam
and finally, Rashima devoured a glass of Hot South Indian Filter Kaapi in Sangeetha Apoorva Restaurant...

Vineet then went on to add a bit of twist to the taste by creating Indian Uttapam, serving it as a Lasagne- layered with potato curry, topped with a coconut chutney served alongwith a martini glass - a scoop of Curry leaf ice cream topped with Hot sambar,
He also recreated Curd rice, serving it with Baby potatos+ Okra curry and Pineapple in coconut milk around it... 
Finally, for dessert, Vineet served Payasam ice cream, & a frozen dessert that had South indian coffee+ almonds in an ice cream...

Looking fwd to the next episode!!

Image courtesy- Livemint

Saravana Bhavan, NSC Bose Road, Chennai

We waited and waited... We were tired and hungry.. We had been walking for nearly 2hours and all of us had been up at 5am!! 

And then finally, a good 25mins later the plate of Pongal & Vadai with Sambar & chutney landed on our table... I dug my spoon into the pongal, blew on it and took a mouthful to realise it was COLD... Sigh.... Now i am double sure that i Still dont like Saravana Bhavan............ 

The only thing we look forward to in the morning is HOT breakfast.... and we were the only people in the hotel- about 30 of us, some in the AC rooms and a few of us outside...

We had finished our walk around the Mint street and part of the package was breakfast at Saravana Bhavan on NSC Bose Road, adj to the High Court. 

And then, a friend ordered a plate of mini idlies dunked in sambar, which looked good, but not sure if that was ok... The Poori & potato curry did look quite appealing...

But must give it to them- The Coffee was good- Not too sweet, not too chikkaryish, but just right!!! 

The hotel did have a good feel to it, it was an age old building with the ceiling in true Madras ceiling style, with beams running the length of the ceiling and across as well. There was long stemmed fans buzzing away.... 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Eggless Chocolate Cake in Microwave

I had posted this on my other blog the day i made the cake and now reposting it here!!

What you need:
1cup maida
3/4 tsp baking powder, 3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa pdr
1/2 tin milkmaid
1cup milk
Few drops of vanilla essence
1 1/2 tbsp powdered sugar
75gms Butter

How to make the cake:
Step1- In a large bowl, Mix the maida,Cocoa powder, baking powder and the baking soda.. Then use a sieve and dust it off onto a plate or another bowl. keep this aside..

Step 2- In another mixing bowl, take 75gm butter, to this add the powdered sugar and mix well till it gets fluffy( you could use a blender for this purpose or the spoon is good enough)
To this add the mentioned quantity of milk n vanilla essence
And then add in the milkmaid.. mix all nicely till it becomes smooth and creamy..

Step 3- Take the bowl (from Step 2), and to this mix in the maida mixture, and beat well till the whole things blends nicely..

Step 4: Pour the cake mixture into a microwave proof bowl and bake for 5mins.
Once time is up, let it sit and cool for about 3minutes before you touch or test it out..

Ta da... your cake is ready...

I tried making double the quantity at home.. all that i did was double the materials used and cook it for 10mins instead of 5... tastes yummmy.. nice n soft.. :)

If you wish, you could add icing to this with Icing sugar, butter and instant coffee mix... :)

Tip to chk if cake has baked well:
Run a sharp knife straight thru the cake to see if it is cooked.. if the knife comes out clean, its done...

Cooking is an art

When baking, follow directions.  When cooking, go by your own taste.  ~Laiko Bahrs
 How true... I am reading this quote for the 1st time, but i have been doing exactly that for as long as i can remember!! :) 

Whenever friends or family ask me for a recipe and procedure, i stumble, because i go by judgement rather than with teaspoons and tablespoons... measures beat me hands down, and must say i've not had the need for them till date...

I learnt to cook by watching mom and Gramma... i also learn from friends... but yes, there are recipes i recreate from watching TV shows, cookery books and blogs... 
I aint gloating, but i can pride myself in managing to cook up dishes- traditional and otherwise based on my own judgements and eye measures, and they have turned out YUMMY.. even if i do say so myself!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Burgundy's in Somerset

It was Saturday evening and i was looking forward to an evening out. This evening i knew was going to be different, for it was going to be spend in the new swanky Burgundy's in Ascott Somerset, MRC Nagar, Chennai.


 As i walked in around 7.15, the place was alive with beautiful chandeliers and people buzzing about. Vipin Sachdev after the success of Subway and Tuscana and Kryptos has now launched this all day dining restaurant. Burgundy is an all-day multi-cuisine dining place. B-Bar, he claims will have one of the longest bar counters There is also going to be a new Chinese Restaurant in the building- The Jade Wok!

The evening was filled with fun , food and music! There were people walking in, there were some trying to grab a Bakhlava or maybe a swiss roll. And then there were some scrambling to order a thin crust yummilicious Pizza....  

I dont think i have seen this amount of food in a long time. There were dazzling plates filled with little treats -both Veg & Non-veg..  Apart from food, there were quite an array of juices passed around adeptly by the waiters. As the evening wore on, the place was getting packed with people vying for a bite from one of the unique platters.  

What an evening it was.. I am looking fwd to visiting Burgundy's once it is launched, with the B-Bar, Music-Bar and all .. I left the venue towards home as the music floated in the air and smiles spread cheer in the air.... 

Good luck to Vipin Sachdev.. he sure is revolutionizing the Food arena in Chennai!

Oh and the Restaurant/Cafe/lounge bar opens doors to Public on 1st or 2nd Sep!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Maya, unravelling the mystique of Nellore cuisine

Three tired and hungry friends went around Nungambakkam looking for a restaurant to have dinner in. We finally ended up at Maya, the newly opened restaurant on Khader Nawaz khan road, in the same building as the New Cascade Restaurant and United Colours of Benetton. It is in the basement!! 

The place is owned by Sandesh Reddy, the man behind Sandy's Chocolate Laboratory.... 

As we pushed open the glass door with Black prints on it, the dark stairway led to a brightly lit restaurant that was near empty... The place had a swanky plush ambiance, that started with the motifs on the door to the seating arrangement and the lighting as well. 

We chose a semi circular seating near the door that was made with concrete and comfortable silk seating upholstery. The decor continued on the menu card as well. On the walls were posters of the various spices used in our cooking. Simple and Chic were the 1st words that popped into our heads..

 As we sat immersed at the interesting menu, the waiter brought three small shot glasses , saying "complimentary drink of the day". It was almost like the rasam i make at home, except stronger. Was divine, and we went in for a 2nd helping. We were also served a small Banana-wheat dosa and a mini Pesarettu as well , once again "Complimentary".. 

A long tray then landed on our table with 5 mini dishes with some interesting looking powders and chutneys which was served with a tiny shot glass of Ghee..

Paruppu podi... Curry leaves powder..Gonkura Chutney..Ginger Chutney..finally Coconut Chutney...

Within minutes we had devoured the dosas and chutneys, which were lip smacking.. it was then time to order the main courses..

The menu Card, the center sheet has the main dishes and the date on top, which was interesting to note!!

We kept it simple and ordered dishes that would arrive fast...

Starters--  Baby Potato fry

Main course- Vegetable biryani + Raita
A Brinjal based side dish - full brinjals cooked with spices and peanuts

The Food was hot and simply delicious. Though these two dishes dint have Andhra flavour, the baby potatos were hot and spicy... We went in for a 2nd order of the Vegetable Biryani  and a Tender coconut payasam + ice cream. The waiter brought the ice cream in a cup and poured tender coconut milk on it. It was light, simple and quite tasty.... We were full and burped with pleasure!  :-)

The restaurant had a section that had a glass partition, ideal for a family gathering.. The Kitchen is open, and looked very neat and organized. 

Ambiance- 8/10
Food - 9/10

Alcohol- No

Menu-Veg & Non veg
Price- Rs1600 for 3 of us 

Parking- If you are lucky, you might get a space in the building, else you can park across the road or somewhere down
Valet Parking- No
Overall Rating - 8/10

Address:  Platinum Building. 
New No 32 Khader Nawaz Khan Road, 
Chennai- 600006. 
Tel: 42137774 
Open from: 12.00 noon -3 .00 pm and 7.00-11 .00 pm