8 May 2018

Pointed Gourd Kuzhambu

         There are several varieties of stews in our country, closest relative in Tamil Nadu being Kuzhambu. Sambaar, Vettral Kuzhambu, Ara puli, Iru puli, they all come under this category. Basic concept being the simmering of Tamarind extract with spices and in some cases, lentils too and vegetables of choice.
Today mum tried out this Aracha vitta kuzhambu, which literally translates to Stew with ground spices/paste. While it can be made with almost any vegetable - white pumpkin, capsicum, Okra and many more, she made it with Pointed gourd (Kovakkai / Kundru / Thondekkayi) Inspiration from Agrahara Recipes.
ARACHA VITTA KOVAKKAI KUZHAMBU

Ingredients:
Pointed gourd / Kovakkai/Kundru - 1/2 cup, thin round slices
Dry red chilies - 4, medium
Bengal gram /Chana dal - 1 tsp
Pigeon peas, Arahar dal - 1 tsp
Fenugreek / Methi seeds - 1/2 tsp
Tamarind - cherry sized piece
Coconut oil - 1/2 tsp + 1 tsp
Fresh Coconut, grated - 1/4 cup
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
For Tempering:
Coconut oil - 1 tsp
Curry leaves
Split black gram / Urad dal - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Method:
1. Pressure cook the kovakkai / pointed gourd using very little water.
2. Heat 1/2 tsp coconut oil in a kadhai, roast red chilies and lentils till aroma is released.
3. Now add the grated coconut and roast till golden brown. Finally add methi seeds and roast, taking care not to let it brown too much. Let cool and grind to a fine paste using little water.
4. In a saucepan, add tamarind extract to the cooked kovakkai along with salt to taste & turmeric powder. Let simmer till the raw aroma leaves the tamarind. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat.
5. Now add a little water to the ground paste, mix well to remove lumps and add it to the simmering mix.
6. Pour 1 tsp coconut oil over the simmering stew. Let simmer for 2 more minutes, then remove.
7. For tempering, heat coconut oil, add mustard seeds, curry leaves and urad dal. Add to the stew.
Serve hot with rice, rotis or Dosas.

27 April 2018

Food knows no Boundaries - Sindh Kitchen

 Some places don't find you, you have to discover them. A treasure tucked away on the 4th floor of Bloom Boutique hotel in Malleswaram, just a stone's throw away from the Metro station and Mantri Mall, The Sindh Kitchen is one such place that has everything going for it, from ambience, decor, and of course the food.
We visited this place in a group, which is always good as we get to taste a little of everything. And we were an all-veg group. So yep, it was going to be interesting to see what the chef had to offer! And it was more than a pleasant surprise when the chef made us happy with so many dishes that we were actually spoilt for choice! Right from starters to the dessert, the meal was simply amazing. 
What we were served:
Starters:
Paneer tikka salad, Dhaniya coated crisp paneer, Soya chaap, Subzi seekh pao, Nawabi tikki, Stuffed karela, Stuffed mushrooms, Palak Patta chaat, Dal pakwaan, Mini kachoris and samosas, Afghani papad

Main course:
Afghani pulao, Subz lazeez, Bugha chawal and sai bhaji, Paneer Peshawari, Sunehri kofta, Makhan palak, Kadhi chawal and aloo tuk, Dal bukhara

Indian Breads:
Mirchi ka paratha, Baluchistani naan, Kashmiri naan, Khameeri roti

Desserts:
China grass, Angoori rasmalai with gajar ka halwa, Praghree

I must make a special mention here for the paneer varieties, and why not, because the paneer is sourced from Delhi, and you can tell that it's full fat milk! Palak Patta chaat was so delicate and crispy, fair warning, you may not want to share the platter.
Apart from that I cannot really choose just a few favourites here as all the dishes were truly amazing, especially the bharwaan karela. The kind of spices, the aroma and flavour that I relished that day are what that I have missed much since my days in Delhi and found recreated in very few places.
So Vegetarians and non-vegetarians, head to Sindh Kitchen Malleswaram to get pampered, if you havent already, the hot star North of town. 
And now, for the pictures!








 






 
 

16 March 2018

Chavadi - The getaway Verandah!

           I had heard quite a bit about Chavadi from my friends and finally got to visit it recently. The location is off Bannerghatta Road, it's set in a quiet street and on the 4th floor of Arama suites. (It also doubles up as a Breakfast spot for Arama suites guests, which is included in their room tariff)
From the moment you step out of the elevator to the fourth floor, you are greeted by a wall full of happy faces, pictures of restaurant guests collected and framed. 
Stepping in you are greeted by more artwork, talking about the sad state of rivers followed by bright paintings on the one side and a single shelf of books. Right away you know that this is going to be a happy place to get lost!
              
Moving on to the ambience and seating - it's a semi-covered seating area at multiple levels with good views all around. Especially great in the evening.
And now for the food -
Starters:
1. Mexican Stuffed Potatoes - good, portion was decent too
2. Deviled Eggs - Melt in the mouth, though I have had a slightly harder texture till now, akin to boiled eggs, this softer version was a first for me
Main course:
1. Penne in white sauce - This was OK, found it sweet for some reason. Will try the Arrabiatta next time.
2. Pizza Margherita - Wood-fired and crispy. Nothing to complain here.
Cocktails and Mocktails:
1. Spicy Guava Mocktail - The spice hits you from the first sip and it's hard to put down after that! A must try
2. Spicy guava cocktail - found this just as enjoyable
3. Chavadi Neera - Tender coconut water with a dash of vodka. Truly refreshing
4. Paan mojito - The paan taste is quite strong in this, another refreshing drink. At least I liked it!
5. Jalapeno margherita - This was my fav of the lot
6. Chavadi Sangria - This was good too, suggestion for them to make the fruit pieces a little smaller
Dessert:
I had the Tender coconut kulfi served in a mini kulhad. This I really liked as the texture was smooth and flavoured just right with the taste of tender coconut.
Overall, Chavadi is a great place to hang out with friends and family. Service is good too, I feel they have the potential to innovate little more with food and I am sure they will in the coming days. 
For now...enjoy the food pictures...
 

 
 

Chavadi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

14 March 2018

Kara Adai

          Our culture is as deep rooted and connected with God and festivals as with food. This rich heritage is a must treasure.
        Karadaiyan Nombu or Savitri Nombu is an important festival in Tamil Nadu, akin to the Karva Chauth in the North, w.r.t its significance and purpose - married women praying for the longevity of their hubbies and family welfare in general. and of course the prospective young girls praying for a good one too!
          The festival falls on the day when the Tamil month of Maasi is about to progress into Panguni. Though the exact time of performing the ritual varies year to year, it is roughly before the month transition actually happens.
Kara Adai, after which the Nombu is aptly named are steamed rice vadas, made in both savoury and sweet versions and served, for some reason, with butter!
Here are the recipes for both versions...
KARA ADAI (SWEET & SAVOURY)
Ingredients: (Jaggery version) Makes about 30
Rice powder - 1 ½ cups
Coconut, cut into small bits - ½ cup
Black eyed pea / Lobia / Karamani(cooked) - ½ cup
Jaggery - 2 cups
Water - 4 cups
Cardamom powder (dissolved in little water) - ½ tsp
Method:
1. Heat water in a large wok along with jaggery and bring to a boil till jaggery dissolves.
2. Add the coconut bits and reduce heat. Gradually add the rice powder stirring simultaneously, leaving no lumps.
3. Now add the lobia and cardamom powder(dissolved in water) and stir again till it all comes together. Remove from flame and let cool.
4. Knead the dough well with lightly oiled hands. Divide into equal portions and shape them into vadas.
5. Arrange them on the steamer plate and steam cook for about 15 minutes. Remove, let cool a little before transferring to the serving plate.
Serve with butter.
Ingredients: (Savoury version) Makes about 20
Rice powder - 1 ½ cups
Oil - 5 tbsps
Green chilies, chopped - 2
Coconut bits - ½ cup
Black eyed pea / Lobia / Karamani(cooked) - ½ cup
Curry leaves, roughly chopped - ½ cup
Mustard seeds (Sarson) - 1 tsp
Hing - a pinch
Salt to taste
Method:
1. Heat oil in a wok. Add the green chilies, mustard seeds and hing and fry a bit.
2. Now add 3 cups water, salt, coconut bits and curry leaves and bring to a boil.
3. Add the lobia and then gradually add the rice powder while stirring simultaneously. Stir till thick, remove and let cool.
4. Knead a bit with oiled hands. Divide into equal portions and shape them into vadas.
5. Arrange on the steamer plate and steam cook for about 15 minutes. Remove, let cool a little before transferring to the serving plate.
Serve with butter.

9 March 2018

Stuffed Atta Pancake

Weekday nights are the most challenging of all. What to make that will be jhatpat and healthy too? Something different than the regular fare yet not requiring too much work?
Rehash a bit of the usual with a little unusual. Here's a quick and easy to make Stuffed Atta Dosa /Pancake/Cheela made interesting with some veggies.
STUFFED ATTA CHEELA/DOSA
Ingredients: 
For the batter: (Makes about 15 medium dosas)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup semolina
1/2 cup slightly sour curds
2 tbsps Carrot, finely chopped
2 tbsps Capsicum, finely chopped
2 Green chilies, finely chopped
1 medium Onion, finely chopped (optional)
1 tsp Curry powder or Garam masala
1/2 tsp Chili powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Water as required
For the stuffing:
1 cup Grated Paneer
1 medium onion, finely chopped
Salt to taste
Idli chili powder, to taste OR Garam masala
Any other chopped vegetables of choice
Fresh coriander, finely chopped
Method:
1. Prepare stuffing of choice.. Chose grated paneer seasoned with Idli chili powder.
2. For the batter, mix wheat flour with semolina + finely chopped capsicum, carrots, green chilies and onions.
3. Add garam masala, chili powder, turmeric pwd and salt to taste.
4. Make a medium thick batter (dosa consistency) using thecurds(better if sour) and sufficient water as needed. Rest for 10 mins.
5. Heat pan, pour a ladle-ful of batter and cook on both sides using little oil till golden brown. Transfer to a plate.
6. Place stuffing on one end and roll. Cut into desired lengths or keep as a whole and serve hot.

18 December 2017

Bisi Bele Baath

A classic example of a one-pot meal in South Indian cuisine is Bisi Bele Baath. I call it a mash between a khichdi and sambar rice! There are many recipes for this, but for me, my mom's style is close to my heart. So here goes...

BISI BELE BAATH
Ingredients:
Rice - 1 cup
Toor Dal (split pigeon peas) - ½ cup
Tamarind – a small lemon size (soaked)
Sesame oil – 3 tbsps + ¼ tsp
Mustard seeds – 2 tsps
Hing powder – ¼ tsp
Cashews – ¼ cup
Ghee – 2 tbsps
Vegetables – 2 cups ( Mix of Drumsticks, Potato, Knol kohl, Carrot, French beans, Peas, Shallots (optional))
Coriander leaves
Curry leaves

Spice mix:
Dry red chilies – 6 med.
Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp
Methi seeds – 1 tsp
Poppy seeds – 1 tsp
Fennel seeds – ½ tsp
Cloves – 4
Green Cardamom – 4
Cinnamon – ½ inch stick
Grated coconut – 1 small cup

Method:
1. Heat ¼ tsp oil in a small pan and add red chilies and dhaniya seeds. Roast for ½ a minute. Now add the other ingredients except coconut. Roast for 1-2 minutes till light golden. Finally add the coconut and let roast till golden brown. Remove and keep aside to cool. Dry grind to a coarse powder.
2. Pressure cook rice and dal together with 6 cups water upto 4-5 whistles or till well cooked.
3. Boil the vegetables in minimal water till cooked. If using shallots, fry them for 1-2 minutes in very little oil and then add to vegetables for cooking. Drain but preserve the stock.
4. Use the stock for extracting tamarind pulp, make up to 1 cup.
5. Heat 3 tbsps oil in a large wok, add rai and let splutter.
6. Add the cooked vegetables along with hing and sauté for a few minutes.
7. Add the tamarind juice, salt to taste and curry leaves. Stir well and let simmer on medium heat till the raw aroma leaves. Lower flame.
8. Lightly mash the cooked rice+ dal and add gradually to the above mix, stirring continuously. Mix well and check for salt.
9. Once the excess water evaporates and the rice mix thickens, add half the spice mix powder and mix well. Check for taste and add more if needed.
10. Heat ghee and roast split cashews till golden brown. Add both ghee and cashews to the baath. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with raita.

11 December 2017

1131 - Angel Number for good food!

Some places leave you word-strapped, either way. 1131 left me word strapped for all the right reasons though. 
Let's begin with the place - 1131 or ElvnThrtyOne is located on 3 floors above Smoor on 100 ft Road, Indiranagar. The first level is a family restaurant, very cozy and there is a golf simulator area too. 
Second level is partially open to the sky with some lovely landscaping. There's also the live kitchen and bar here. A surprise element awaits foodies on this floor, won't reveal much but just ask for the Chef's table and let the surprise unfold.
Third level overlooks the 2nd and is pretty spacious. 

Now for the food - People familiar with House of commons will find the same high quality and flavours in food, not surprising considering the same executive chef governs both kitchens.
From the vegetarian stable, I tried:
1. Party nachos - this is a perfect starter if you are in a group of 3 and more. A huge platter of nachos made in house evenly topped with sour cream, beans, salsa and Guacamole. Thumbs up for this one.

2. Broccoli and Water Chestnuts - Totally loved this. The broccoli was superbly stir fried and the Singhare were crunchy. Loved the chili sauce.
3. Immunity Booster Salad - This was OK but yes, the health quotient is guaranteed to shoot up.
4. Tried a couple of Dimsums and Baos - OKish
5. Roma Thyme Farfalle - Simply brilliant, oodles of sauce and a crisp Garlic bread to match.
6. Pizzas - Tried the Panner Tikka and Mushroom ones. The crusts could either be chunky and cheesy or light and crisp, done the Italian way. These were in between so I again, Okish.
7. Flash Flamed Mango and Thai Basil Pannacotta - As glorious as the name sounds with smattering of oat meal crackers, brownie gravel and butterscotch cream. Guaranteed to disappear in a few minutes, and warning, you may not want to share.

 8. Tiramisu - This one is liquer free but taste is just as sinful
 9. Brownie sizzler - What can I say about this classic. Absolutely lived up to the expectations.
Address100 Feet Road, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar, Bangalore (Tip for Ola/Uber users, if you are unable to pin the location, select Smoor)
Bottom Line:
Location - 4/5
Food - 4.5/5
Service - 4.5/5
Ambience - 4.5/5

ELVNTHRTYONE Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato