Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hot Green Puris on a January Morning!!

Bathua (Chenopodium/ White Goose-Foot/ Fat-Hen) Puri

Bathua is grown extensively in North India with wheat. Bathua is rich in iron and is used to make raitas, saags and puris. Bathua puris can be eaten with pickle for breakfast, at tea time or as bread with vegetables during meal times.

For 18-20 Puris


Whole Wheat Flour (Atta) 3 cups
Gram Flour (Besan) ¾ cup
Bathua, cleaned 1 bunch
Asafoetida (Hing) 1 tspn.
Red Chilli powder a pinch
Salt (Namak) to taste
Vegetable Oil (Tel) for frying


Clean the bathua. Blanch the bathua leaves and grind them into a smooth paste with a pinch of salt.

Take whole wheat flour and gram flour on a flat surface and add in the bathua paste, asafoetida, salt and red chilli powder.

Mix these ingredients with flour. Add a few drops of water if necessary. Bind the ingredients together and then knead it into smooth dough. Round it up and cover with a damp cloth. Rest the dough for thirty minutes.

Divide the dough into 18 -20 equal portions. Round up one part of the dough, flatten it and smear it with oil. Roll out the dough into a circle.

Heat oil for frying in a deep pan. Add in the puris one by one and deep fry them until golden brown. Puris should be cooked on both sides.

Try these rich in iron puris with lemon pickle!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

7 Reasons To Eat or Not To Eat At Invitation’s Today; Sadanand Regency

Name: Invitation’s today, Sadanand Regency Hotel

Location: Ahead of National Sports Complex, Pune towards Hinjewadi. Located On the Mumbai-Bangalore Highway.

Date of Visit: 19th January, 2012 (Dinner Hour)

 You Must Try Dum Ka Murgh at Invitations Today.

Reasons To Eat.

Reason 1: The Location. Being right on the Mumbai- Bangalore Highway and close to the offices in Hinjewadi as well as Infotech Park this place is elegant and affordable.

Reason 2: This place has great ambience for the price bracket it serves. They have a well-lit and well-spaced out setting in the dining area. The bar set-up really stands out and furniture is neat and classy. I have been to this place a couple of times and it is usually peaceful and non chaotic.

Reason 3: The items on their menu and the variety of cuisines they have to offer sets this place apart from others in its category. Although like many other restaurants Invitations Today offers Indian, Oriental and Continental dishes, their selection of pastas, unique starters and soups is a breath of fresh air from regular menus. Tired of regular soups? Try Beijing Soup at this place. It is delicious.

Reason 4: Value For Money. A dinner for six adults with beer and without desserts cost us a little over fifteen hundred bucks. They also offer a regular buffet spread without starters which costs about 250 INR per person as on 18th January, 2012. With good ambience and good food, this is a good bargain.

Reasons To Not Eat

Reason 5: Recommendations by the Service Staff were not satisfactory. Simply because sweetish kebabs are not my favourite pick, the server ought to have mentioned that those moist, succulent kebabs he had recommended were sweet.

Reason 6: Continental Cuisine was not satisfactory.  The Spaghetti Milanese was very disappointing. The spaghetti was very sticky, dry and cold. The preparation was bland and substandard.

Reason 7: Dessert Selection. Although most multi-cuisine restaurants with an ala carte menu have limited items in the dessert section, since the menu of this restaurant was unique and special, a little more variety in desserts wouldn’t hurt.  

Clearly, the reasons to eat in this case are more than reasons not to eat. Do try out this restaurant at Sadanand Regency, it is clean, elegant and reasonably priced.

Ambience: 8/ 10 Very Good

Value For Money: 8/ 10 Very Good

Menu: 8/ 10 Very Good

Food: 7/ 10 Good

Service: 7/ 10 Good

That Thing About This Place: 7/ 10 Good

Very Good Ambience + Very Good Value For Money + Very Good Menu + Good Food + Good service + Good That thing About This Place = Very Good

Rating = 8/ 10

Monday, January 16, 2012

If Chillies Could Kill. I'd be A Dead Woman.

Mangalorean Prawn Curry

A tangy and spicy, coconut-based prawn curry. This Mangalorean curry uses two kinds of chillies, madras chillies and begdi chillies which are easily available in West and South India. If madras chillies are unavailable, Kashmiri chillies can be used. 

Serves 6


Prawns (Jhinga), peeled and deveined  ½ kg

For the Paste
Coriander Seeds (Sabut Dhaniya) 1 ½ tbpsn.
Cumin (Jeera) 1 ½ tbspn.
Carom Seeds (Ajwain) ¼ tspn.
Fenugreek Seeds (Methi Seeds) ¼ tspn.
Bedgi Chillies 2-3
Madras Chillies 2
Tamarind Paste 2 tbspn.
Coconut (Nariyal), freshly grated 1 ½ cups
Garlic (Lehsun), peeled and crushed 5-6

For the Curry
Vegetable Oil (Tel) 2 tbspn.
Onion (pyaz), chopped ½ cup
Ginger (Adrak), peeled and grated 1 inch
Green Chillies (Hari Mirch) 2-3, slit
Turmeric (Haldi) 1 tspn.
Salt (namak) to taste

Clean and wash the prawns and keep aside.

On a tava, dry roast coriander seeds, cumin, carom seeds (Ajwain), fenugreek seeds (methi), begdi chillies and madras chillies.

In a grinder, add in freshly grated coconut, tamarind paste, garlic and the roasted spice mixture. Grind this mixture into a smooth paste.

Heat oil in pan, add in chopped onion, grated ginger, green chillies and sauté for a minute. Add in the prawns, turmeric and salt. Cook the prawns till they turn white and curl up.

Add in the coconut mixture to the prawns. Stir in two cups of water to the pan. Let the curry some to a boil and then simmer for two minutes. Turn off the heat. Serve hot with steamed rice.  

Thursday, January 5, 2012

This Is Aamchi Mumbai

People love Mumbai for many reasons. I love Mumbai because I was seventeen when I moved here. It was the first time I was living away from my family. It is great to be young and feel free, even better being young and away in Mumbai. I remember college days and month-ends with money crunch. It was when I fell in love with Bagdadi, with Beer in Mondy’s, with Kulfi Falooda and with Mumbai city.

Chilli chicken and the famous over-sized rotis of Bagdadi or kebabs at midnight in Bade Miya, town has real magic. The long local train ride to town at noon just adds to the fun. It is like this feeling of being transported to a magical land far away. Hold me, I am getting carried away.

The little droplets of water rolling down the neck, only a pint of chilled beer at Mondy’s can beat the afternoon heat. Then again, why would I go for that pint of beer at Café Mondegar when I can get my Heineken straight from the keg? Have you ever thought why people are always swarming into Mondy’s? What is it about this place that even on a Tuesday afternoon it is buzzing with excitement? It spells life with the cartoons on the walls, the juke box, the pitcher of beer and the big bowl of noodles. Café Mondegar is not a restaurant it is a way of life. It is the way we love living. Many Mumbaikars cannot stop with their stories about that night at Mondy’s and that day they spent drinking beer at Mondy’s to get over the previous night’s hangover. As A. and I were sharing our stories about mingling at Mondy’s, a new story was unfolding itself before us that afternoon; a story that we will be telling in the years to come.

A. and I were there to attend the very disappointing exhibit of Uppercrust 2011. We didn’t enjoy the exhibit, we thought it would be more fun to go back to causeway and hog on some chicken curry and Jumbo rotis at Baghdadi. It is the most reasonable and by far the best meal you can have in town. Everybody knows the name! Mumbaikar or not, Baghdadi everyone knows. The very popular chilli chicken curry was my pick and A. opted for some butter chicken. He can’t handle green chillies. He went for the milder, cliché option. That distinct flavour in their chilli chicken is so distinct. Seems so simple and yet no one can get that flavour exactly the same. I will never forget the flavour of the best meal I have had with fifty rupees left in the end of March 2008. After paying the sum of rupees two hundred for a yummy and satiating lunch for two we moved on to Crawford market for dessert.

Badshah’s famous falooda was our next stop. Let me be honest, I have heard about this place about a million times from a million people but I hadn’t tried it out. Khus falooda was our pick although the Badshah special falooda seemed very tempting too. Nonetheless, we weren’t in the mood for dry fruits after heavy lunch so we went for the sweet, refreshing khus. I was conflicted, when I had the first bite, it was tasteless. Then I realised how to mix it up and eat and bring out the refreshing sweetness in a sunny afternoon.

Some say it is the city of dreams and some stay up because this city never sleeps. I love Mumbai because I always find food; at any time of the day or night, even when I was broke and even when I craved for pav bhaji after midnight. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Feel Like Breathing Out Smoke From You Ears This Winter? Kombdi Cha Rassa

Winter is the time to breathe out smoke, isn't it? In this chilly air, all you need is a spicy chicken curry to fire up your system. What better spicy curry than the fiery Kolhapur Style Hot Chicken Curry? So, steam some and fetch some water. This curry can even make your nose water.

Kombdi Cha Rassa (Spicy Brown Chicken Curry)

This is a spicy Maharashtrian chicken curry made with dried coconut and onion. Curry-cut pieces of chicken are cooked in a thin brown, runny curry called Rassa. Kombdi is the Marathi word for chicken. Kombdi cha Rassa is best enjoyed with soft, warm chapattis or steamed rice.

Serves 4


Chicken (Murgi), cut into medium size curry pieces 1 kg
Salt (namak) to taste
Lemon (Neeboo ka ras), Juice ¼ cup
Ginger- Garlic (adrak-lehsun) Paste 1 tbspn.
Turmeric (haldi) 1 tspn.
Red Chilli pwd. (Lal mirch pwd. ) 1 tspn.
Oil (tel)4 tbspn.
Onion(Pyaz), sliced 1 ½ cup
Garlic (Lehsun), peeled 8 cloves
Ginger (Adrak), peeled 1 inch
Green chilli(Hari Mirch) 3
Dried Coconut (Sukha Nariyal) ¼ cup
Coriander seeds (Sabut Dhaniya) 4 tbspn
Cloves (lavang) 5
Peppercorn (KaliMirch) 4
Cinnamon (Dal Chini) ½ inch
Dagadphool 2 tbspn
Dried Red Chilli (Sukhi lal mirch)  2
Sesame (Til) 2 tbspn


In a bowl mix salt, lemon juice, turmeric, ginger garlic paste and red chilli powder. Marinate the chicken pieces in this mixture and set aside.

Sprinkle salt on the sliced onion and squeeze out the moisture. Heat oil in a pan and roast the onion until they are brown. The colour of the onion determines the dark brown colour of the kombdi cha rassa so make sure the colour is deep but be sure not to burn the onions by evenly slicing. Set the brown onion aside.

Heat oil in a pan, add coriander seeds, pieces of dried coconut, cloves, peppercorn, cinnamon, dagadphool, sesame, ginger, garlic, green chilli and dried red chilli. Roast this masala together for 3-4 minutes on medium heat until becomes a darker shade. Grind this mixture into a thick paste.

Heat oil in a pan, add in the paste and cook on medium heat. Allow the mixture to leave the sides of the pan. Add in the chicken and the marinade. Allow the chicken to cook in masala for five minutes on low heat.

Note: While adding the chicken pieces to the curry, add in the leg pieces, neck pieces and other bony pieces first. Add in the bigger, fleshy pieces second and add in the small fleshy pieces in the end, five minutes before turning the heat off. This will allow the chicken pieces to cook evenly.

Add in 2 cups of water to the chicken curry. Check the curry for salt and cook the curry on low heat for 15-20 minutes till the chicken comes easily off the bone.

The consistency of the curry should be thin. Serve the Kombdi cha Rassa with warm chapattis or steamed rice.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sasta, Sundar Aur Tikau; Chung Fa, East Street

Do you ever wonder what Chung Fa means? I don’t think that their cook knows it either. Indian style ‘rasta’ Chinese is served in a small diner called ‘Chung Fa’ on East Street. We have eaten this kind of Chinese food standing on the street at the hawker around the corner. Chung Fa serves the same kind of Chinese food at similar prices, indoors. It is truly what we Indians call ‘Sasta, sundar aur tikau’ that is ‘reasonable and nice’. The sesame chicken and fried mushroom starters were crispy and satiating. The chicken triple Szechwan with rice, noodles, a spicy sauce and chicken pieces was filling and enough to fill two hungry girls, Nirali and my own.

I was meeting my high school friends after seven long years. The evening called for a venue that was close to our old school which was in the city centre, affordable and a common preference. Chung fa was perfect. It has all these qualities, rasta Chinese is common preference, Chung fa is reasonably priced and is located in the centre of Pune city. The ambience is a loud, cluttered and noisy. The diner is divided into two small dining sections. The inside section can make you feel a tad claustrophobic considering that the diner is usually full. The best part of this place is that it is great value for money. The server kept forgetting that people need a refill of water. Being located in the city, close to schools and a movie theatre it is more reasonable that many outlets in that area. According to Nirali, Chung Fa has another plus point; it is one of the few outlets that accept ‘Sodexo food coupons’. So, employees of those ‘Sodexo’ generous firms, dig in. That thing about this place is that it serves roadside or ‘rasta’ Chinese, indoors.

Ambience: 5/ 10 Below Average
Value for Money: 7/ 10 Good
Menu: 7/ 10 Good
Food: 7/ 10 Good
Service: 6/ 10 Average
That Thing About This Place: 7/ 10 Good
Below Average Ambience + Good Value for Money + Good Menu + Good Food + Average Service + Good That Thing About This Place = Good
Rating: 7 on 10