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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... :)

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Food hunt in Chandni Chowk, Delhi

Wanting to do something new, something offbeat, we decided to head out and explore Old delhi - Chandni Chowk to be specific...After walking up and down the streets, amidst crazy crowds, listening to people bargain till their throats ran dry,we headed out on a small food hunt, well it was more me than others, they just tagged along sweetly..  Earlier that day on Instagram I had spotted a picture shared by a friend that looked interesting, I commented asking him where it was from and he replied Delhi. I once again commented asking for details, and all he said was "Khari Baoli". I assumed there would be a step well around here somewhere [ since Baoli meant well/step well], but there was no sign nor did anyone know of it.. 
I had no clues where this was, but when we enquired came to know it is the largest Spice Market in Asia and was just around the corner. Everywhere I turned, i spotted shops retailing spices of all kinds, there were vendors selling fresh vegetables that looked so tempting and it was an assault on our senses and a feast for the eyes as well..
Once again, few stores down, I actually showed the picture to a hawker asking if he knew where this was available. He instantly pointed to a store down the road and said Gole Hatti was the shop to go to. They were quite amused that I was on haunt based on an image from the internet that was visible on my phone. :-) Was quite amusing watching their reactions, one guy called another guy and they both chirped away animatedly telling me to head down the road. Friends had gone ahead and found the place before I got to them to announce the name of the place.. And there it was, in front of my eyes. I was excited, like I had found something I had been looking for all my life.. Such cheap thrills in life, right? Went over to the counter outside and showed the man there the picture asking if they had the dish. He once again beamed, was full of questions and said they did have it, just enough for two portions. It is mostly served during lunch, and they had nearly run out of the stuff. 

It was nothing complicated- a matka pot with basmati rice at the bottom, a spoonful of Chole, a spoonful of Palak and some fresh vegetables sliced up on top- Radish, carrots and onions. It was called "Khullad wale Cholle Chawal" or "Palak Chole Chawal".. We took our prize inside the small restaurant, found a table sat down to sample it. Simple dish but was delicious[was priced at Rs 60].. I couldn't stop smiling and my friends were quite amused... 

During the evening, through the little chit chatting here and a hello there, I came to know that Khari Market was established around the Fatehpuri Masjid [Mosque] that was built in 1650 by Fatehpuri Begum[one of the wives of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan]. It was intact a ‘Salty Step well’ that was constructed during the Mughal Emperor’s reign wherein this salty water well was used for bathing animals. Nobody knew where the well was or if it is still around. 
As we walked back towards the Metro Station, the hustle and bustle of the market continued, people shouting to each other, vehicles nearly crashing into each other and people elbowing their way through the crowded alleys. 

Gole Hatti
2-4, Church Mission Road, Fatehpuri, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Batlivala and Khanabhoy, Chennai

She: Hi, free to catch up?
Me: Yes, what do you wanna do?
She: lets meet somewhere interesting and do lunch, if you are game...
Me: Yes, where?
She: Dai, you are the expert on restaurants.. my kids think so too.
Me: *drawing a blank*.. There is this new Parsi place I wanna check out
She: Chalo, you come here, we will finalise and go.
Me: Alright, done!

And that is how the lunch date happened... :D 

A simple white building with a tall board was what we saw first. There was Batlivala & Khanabhoy , Meena Tai and one more name on the board. We headed to Batlivala & Khanabhoy, telling ourselves we shall be back to explore Meena Tai soon.

This is the 1st Parsi restaurant to open in Chennai and though I was curious, I had no clues of Parsi food [only dish I had heard of was Dhansak]. We were greeted at the door by a staff, who then proceeded to walk us to the restaurant. We walked through a passage that had a collage of colorful wooden doors beyond which was a staircase that led us to the restaurant upstairs.  It had a very warm feel to it, resembled one of the homes from olden days and we were happy to see they hadn’t messed with the layout, architecture or décor. There was a wall filled with old ads on it, a simple glass door that led to a small seating area.  Once again, the walls were barren but for a few art pieces, the windows were open with glass doors shut so air conditioners could be used. There was another piece of antique furniture, resembling a dressing table near the kitchen area.

Once seated, we were offered the menu [which was a collection of turquoise sheets with printed menu on an exam pad] . Was quite impressed with the menu, it had sections for “all day dining”, starters, mains and desserts and vegetarian & non vegetarian were categorised.

We ordered the Baruchi Akuri – a heritage dish of Baruchi, a small town in Gujarat that was once populated with Parsis. This was an egg-based dish that had herbs, spices and dry fruits- raisins and cashew nuts served in a small pan.  Was served with Pav buns- it was light, fluffy, and quite delicious.   

The other starter we tried was Suran da Cutlets- crispy patties made with yam, a Parsi Garam Masala,whole spices and served with a tangy tomato chutney. These were quite yumm- had a light sweetness combined with spices. One plate had 4 pieces.

While we waited for the mains to arrive, we ordered drinks- i opted for Fresh lime soda[salt] while friend ordered Diet coke.. My drink came in a nice Mason jar [which again seems to have become the trend now] and was perfect~! 

On to the mains, we asked for a portion of Dhansak [A Parsi favourite-classic slow cooked dal-medley of lentils, vegetables& spices served with a portion of rice and Kachumber-pickled onions] - I loved the flavours, the daal was thick yet light, the rice had the subtle hint of caramelisation and the onions were also slightly sweet [they had been soaked in jaggery & tamarind I discovered]

In Parsi homes, dhansak is traditionally made on Sundays as it is a heavy dish to digest and owing to the long preparation time.
Dhansak is also always had on the fourth day after the death of a near one. There is no meat consumed for three days after the death of a near one. And dhansak is used to break this abstinence on the fourth day. Dhansak hence, is never prepared on auspicious occasions like festivals and weddings. [from wikipedia]

It was turning out to be quite a fun lunch... Interesting conversations, general catching up, good food, what more could we ask for.. 

Quirky pieces on their menu...

And now came the time for desserts- I chose the Santre ni Kheer [ yes you read it right, it was orange in Kheer], served in a chai glass. I was apprehensive for I was sure the kheer would be bitter cos of the acid from the orange, but it wasn't. The two blended well and the orange infact helped cut the richness of the kheer..

My friend picked the Malai Kulfi, which was quite rich and we had a tough time finishing it..

With our bill came this jar of mini sugar balls [ the same ones they give at temples in North India].. We hung around for a good hour post the meal, yapping away and finally left... The place was quiet and cozy..  which meant it would be good for business lunches as well.

The bill came to Rs1437 [included taxes & Service Charge].. The portions are just perfect and food is quite delicious!! 

#40, Maharaja Surya Road, Venus Colony, Alwarpet, 
Chennai - 600018
If you are coming from Tangerine, it is a few doors down the road.

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, February 22, 2016

Mainland China Asian Kitchen, Spring Hotel, Chennai

Few years ago, when I was a newbie to the whole food scene, I was offered a dish called Khao Suey.. A waiter at a restaurant gave me a bowl and told me to fill in whatever I wanted from the gazillion bowls sitting on the table. I randomly added things and was quite apprehensive about the flavours. But what do you know, I loved it and since then have made it at home and tried in at numerous restaurants as well. 

It is a one dish meal that tingles your taste buds and sometimes you feel a burst within your mouth. That is the beauty of Khao Suey..  Recently, thanks to a friend I discovered a restaurant in Chennai that serves up the most amazing Khao Suey.. It is Mainland China Asia Kitchen, located in Spring Hotel, Kodambakkam High Road. 

After an event, a friend suggested we head out here for dinner. I assumed it would be like the other Mainland China outlets- chinese cuisine would rule the roost. But then I noticed the name and curiosity hit. The girls who had been here earlier raved about the food and drinks. 

[image courtesy: Spring Hotel]

We ordered a round of drinks and got down to ordering starters and main dishes. For starters we went with Crispy corn and dumplings, and for the main we thought we shall try their Khao Suey.  And by the end of the meal we were all grinning away with joy. We were in some kind of food heaven! 

The Khao Suey is served on a large wooden board- a big bowl of Thai Green curry sits at the head of the board and then there were the other accompaniments- Fried garlic, friend onions, boiled noodles, fried noodles, finely chopped red chillies, lime wedges,coriander and peanuts. A few places also include boiled egg.. 

You are given a bowl, and you get to add as much or as little of the components and create your own bowl of flavours. 

The other dishes here were also good.. so far we have tried only one dessert which did not disappoint. It was the Caramel sponge cake wth caramel sauce.. 

Next time you are looking for something different or have been curious about Khao Suey, do head over here- you shall not be disappointed...

    Ground floor, Spring Hotel, 
    #11,Kodambakkam High Rd, Nungambakkam, Chennai 
    Phone:044 2823 8345

Friday, February 19, 2016

Food and Faasos

Have heard of Faasos, but was yet to try it. recently a friend said he had ordered through them and the food was good, he also shared a code that would allow others a discount of Rs50 on their order. So, I decided to give it a shot. Only hiccup was I had to download the app. Oh well, here goes is what I thought. 

Downloaded the app, opened it, explored it a bit before choosing some filters and finally made the choice. There are wraps, Indian meals, Combo stuff across both veg and Non veg. I picked the Dal Makhani Rice Combo which was priced at Rs139. 

At the final check out, I chose COD and that was that. I got a call few minutes later asking for exact directions to my place and within 40mins the food arrived. neatly packed and I got a Paper Boat as well along with my order.

The portion was good enough for a person and Dal Makhani was really yummy. They also gave a packet of pickle and some chopped onions along with a menu and cutlery. Was quite impressed with the app and service!! There was also a message that popped up asking for feedback few mins after the order was delivered..  

Go on, check it out.. download the app and give it a shot!! 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Desserts from Innerchef

Out of the blue I get a message followed by a call asking if I would like to try a few desserts from home bakers across the city. I say "Yes" [well, who in their right mind would say no..even if they aren't a big dessert buff like me] Within an hour a basket of goodies arrive home... Neatly packaged and labelled, they liked real tempting. 

One thing that I noticed right away was that the "Desserts in a jar" concept seems to have taken off everywhere and it was the IN thing here as well. I received 4 desserts, three of which were in a jar.. :) 

There was 
A Blueberry Cheesecake from Green Dot Cheesecake - The cheesecake was soft and melt in your mouth kind, packed with flavours.. Loved it.. 
A Tiramisu from Sneha Wadhwa - This was a bit disappointing as it was sour from the first spoonful..
A chocolate Nutella Jar from Sprinkles [Sirisha Ponnada] - This was heavy duty stuff, again quite smooth and rich
A salted Caramel Brownie Jar from Sprinkles [Sirisha Ponnada]- I loved the Salted Caramel.. it was yummy, salty sweet and delicious...

Who is innerChef?

innerChef is a food-tech company which offers meals in two formats: Ready-to-Eat and Ready-to-Cook. The Ready-to-Eat range is suited for the working professionals while the Ready-to-Cook range is suited for home-cooking. The company does not reveal any numbers but says that the they have been growing at 100% month-on-month since its launch in April 2015. Started from Gurgaon, the funds will be used to expand its footprint and launch 10 new kitchens across Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai. Additionally, innerChef will also focus on building Indulge – a Hyper Local Desserts Marketplace that will bring desserts from home bakers and neighborhood bakeries, across six cities within the next three months.

Indulge by InnerChef is a first-of-its-kind hyperlocal desserts marketplace where talented home bakers and neighbourhood bakeries can offer their products to millions of customers across the country. We are currently serving dessert lovers in South Delhi, Gurgaon and now in Bangalore. By the end of the year, we will be spreading joy in 6 cities. Our vision is to take Indulge to 100 cities within a year with 100,000 home bakers on the platform. So, sit back, relax and let dessert come to you - Indulge with us!
[Content from website]


Well, am curious to know what more they have in store and if they will launch services to my area soon.. But if you are a dessert freak, and would love some home made goodies, do download the app and give it a try!!