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 -
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
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...
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
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
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.
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
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...

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

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

26 October 2017

Mexican Mint-Peanuts Pesto Pasta

           Mexican mint or Cuban oregano or Indian Borage or Karpooravalli ilai or Omam Ilai, many names for such an enchanting plant. Till now we have mostly used these leaves in our must-have morning concoction called Sukku Kaapi, or in a raita or rasam. But today I was driven to try it in something more interesting. Pesto seemed like a good one to try.
So here it is..
For the Pesto:
Mexican mint leaves - 4-5 large or 7-8 medium
Roasted peanuts - ¼ cup
Garlic cloves - 3-4
Salt, pepper to taste
Cheese slices - 2 (One can use the traditional processed/Parmesan cheese instead)
Olive oil - ¼ cup
Pasta of choice, cooked al dente
Olive oil - 2 tbsps
Broccoli - 5-6 florets, blanched
Spinach - 1 bunch, blanched and coarsely blended
Salt, pepper to taste
1. Add the pesto ingredients to a blender jar minus the olive oil and give it a quick pulse.
2. Add half the olive oil and blend once. Add the remaining oil and blend again.
3. Heat olive oil in a large wok and add the broccoli. Saute for a bit.
4. Add the blended spinach and let simmer on low. Add salt and pepper.
5. Once the mix becomes a little thick, add the pesto and give a quick stir. Turn off flame.
6. Add the cooked pasta to the spinach-pesto sauce and mix well but gently.
Serve hot.

25 October 2017

Brewklyn - brewing happiness!

           Where do I even begin about this place!? Brewklyn isn't the first micro-brewery I've visited (and surely not the last), but this is definitely a landmark in Kalyan Nagar. It's nested on the 4th floor and has a cool vibe from the moment you enter. The brain child of Prashanth Patil and Neeraj Chandrasekar, the passion and thought that has gone into this place shows. 
Right from the beers to starters to main course to desserts, there is plenty to feel spoilt for choice. 
Amongst the beer varieties, I particularly liked the British Pale Ale and Biggie, the German style lager. I prefer Shandy though (sorry purists) which was light and refreshing, just as I was hoping it would be. 
Starters - Loved all that I tasted. An advantage of visiting an eatery in a group is that you get to sample a bit of everything! 
Jalapeno Cheese bites were simply melt in the mouth. Tawa Paneer was okay. Pita and Spinach corn bites was another stunner. Vegetable kurkure - okay, a good dish to munch on while enjoying your beer. 
Main course - Veg pizzas, Farmhouse and Italiano were decent. Turophiles will especially like them coz they were oozing with cheese! 
Veg Cannelloni was amazing. 
Desserts - Moving on to desserts, the Apple pie was a show stopper for me. The tartlet base was super crunchy, apple crumble delectable and the portion just right. Cheesecake, warning, you might not want to share! 
And speaking of ambience, try not to sit around after ordering your food. There's a pool table, foosball table, a rooftop (I believe open to parties) else, simply walk around and enjoy the view.
Verdict : Will definitely visit again....
And now, enjoy the pictures!
Brewklyn is at - No.30, B.R Plaza, CMR Road, HRBR Layout, Kalyan Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560043
Directions - Google Maps
Location - 4/5
Ambience - 4.5/5
Food - 4.5/5
Service - 4.5/5

17 August 2017

No food like home food

          No matter where you eat, from street food to fine dining, nothing beats home food at the end of the day, especially if it's mom's, or even better, grandmother's cooking!
When we travel however, we do tend to yearn for that taste of home food, how the local cuisine actually tastes, something that restaurants can rarely recreate.
         This is the vision behind the endeavour started by Authenticook, to bring diners close to home food. The process is simple, as a diner you:
- choose the city you are in
- select from the cuisines on offer
- choose from the list of home chefs
- check out the dates the pop-ups are going to be hosted, or request for a date of your choice
- pay for the number of diners and you are good to go. Best to go in a small group or a family so the cost gets divided.
           I had an opportunity to try out this arrangement, and what better way to start out in Bengaluru than the taste of typical Karnataka food. The host, Mrs Soumya resides in Old Kanakapura Road, Basavangudi, about 5 minutes away from Lalbagh metro station. When I arrived at the location, I wasn't sure what to be more excited about - the food or the mansion itself which according to the hosts was more than 80-90 years old!

The residence is at the ground level and on the first level they have a superb games cafe called 1980s Games Cafe; which is just that. All board games that any 60s, 70s and 80s kid would identify with, simple pleasures that are sadly losing out to digital counterparts. You will also find the old style Chausar, Pallankuzhi apart from the usual popular board games. Plus you have quick eats available to boot.
Now back to the traditional food on offer. My menu consisted of:
Millets roti with chutney
Capsicum Vangibath with Alu Raitha
White Rice with Halsande Kalu Sapesru & Palya
Gavale Payasa
Dal Vada
Curds and Pickle
            Millets roti is a total sellout item in my opinion. The older lady of the house, Soumya's mother in law prepared them fresh herself, in fact, most of the cooking is by her. The cherry on the icing is the home made butter and chili chutney. Simply out of this world! The vangibath, raita, palya and dal vada were all just as I expected them, the homemade flavour, just as a grandmother would make it for you!
           Now the Gavale Payasa is an interesting addition. This delicacy is popular in Maharashtra and possibly North Karnataka too. The Gavale is our own version of the pasta, a pure labour of love, which can then be made into bhaat or kheer. It was simply amazing, my first time.
Beyond the food, what stands out in this kind of arrangement is the hospitality, the homeliness and you can have your food fully assured that it will be safe. Kudos to Authenticook for that.
           So go ahead and book your next home meal. Take your family, colleagues and friends with you, because the more the merrier! For now, enjoy these pics...