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...

30 June 2017

Pindi - Pind da swaad

Pindi , a word that's synonymous with the villages of Punjab and frontier cuisine. Presently managed by the 3rd generation after Shri K.L Wadhwa, the founder, Pindi Bangalore continues its culinary legacy from its humble beginnings in Delhi. They say laughter is brightest where food is best. My jury is still out on that but I will say that Pindi at HSR is a great place to spend your afternoons and evenings with your family, friends and colleagues alike.
Here's a review (vegetarian dishes) after my recent visit to the place.
Starters - This is where Pindi scores BIG. I tasted :
1. Bharwaan Chutney Aloo - Potatoes well done, not over-stuffed, chutney just about spicy. Warning - You can't stop at one!
2. Paneer Kurkure - The papad crusted paneer rolls pack a nice crunch. Paneer is soft and well spiced. A flavourful crust is just as interesting as the stuffing, a pleasant change from the usual flour, oats and crumbs crusted fare.
3. Seekh kebab - This again was my favourite. After the first 2, the spice factor continues to flatter the palate. None of these 3 were a let down. Thumbs up.
Main course - The benchmark for anything is set against comparable parameters. For me, the benchmark for comparing north Indian dishes is by tasting the staple dishes. I had :

1. Pindi Chole - Sadly, this did not excite me much. It was more like Chole masala. I appreciate the spices are "homemade" but we tend to have a completely different vision and version of Pindi chole in our minds. Even to take it at its face value, the masalas did not encourage me enough.  
2. Palak Paneer - This was not the usual pasty Palak Paneer we often have elsewhere. The spinach was chunkier and the paneer was OK.
3. Dal Makhani - Liked this one. As homely as the taste gets. With Roti or rice, or I could have this on its own too!
4. Kadhai Paneer - This was OK, sadly no Wow factor. They definitely use Paneer better in the starters I  feel.
The Indian breads were standard fares and quite soft. 
For dessert, I tasted Gulab Jamun with Ice cream - Soft but a tad too sweet for me

Overall a must visit. Their mocktails, especially the flavoured Lassis are great. Service is good. Starters are a must have. And their rooftop dining is often talked about for all good reasons.