Amrits(t)ories: Part 2

I tried really hard to make the title catchy, but clearly, that didn’t work. It can only go uphill from here, right? Anyway, let’s get to the point. Many months ago, some of my friends and I went to Amritsar in Punjab with the sole (or should I say soul? No?) purpose of eating. Well, we did visit the famous Golden Temple and the infamous Jallianwallah Bagh, but that’s beside the point. I’d like to dedicate this article to the three wonderful people with whom I took this trip – Vikrant, our guide-cum-driver,  without whose Lancer and love this trip would not have been possible; Dikshita, the anal-retentive planner, because of whose obsessive planning and diligent room-booking, this trip went without a glitch; and Aditi, with whom I did the “travel” part of travelling and with whom I shared a room and the back seat and a love for bindis. You guys were the best! Much love to you.

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From far left: Me, Aditi, Vikrant, and Dikshita.

The point, of this article is that if you leave four gluttons in a car with a wad of cash, at least three of them would’ve gained some weight by the end of it. Anyway, because we covered a fair few number of places (emphasis not on few) during the course of the almost four days that we were in Amritsar, the “vivid gastronomical experience” is going to be covered in two posts. Find Part 1 here. Also, yes, I do remember that I posted part 1 of this many, many months ago, but because I’m an ace procrastinator and because I was kind of busy these past few months, this long overdue post comes out today.

After stuffing our faces with phirni (or rice pudding, as I previously mentioned), we had to go back and sleep, because, well, that’s exactly what happens when one consumes so much food. One feels sleepy. But of course, we started off again at around 8, because there was no time to waste, and much food to try. Also because Vikrant got us soya chaap (which is essentially like vegetarian tandoori chicken), and food kind of gets you moving. At least, it got us moving, disappointing as it was. You see, this particular soya chaap was Vikrant’s favourite, and we’d heard him talk about it. A LOT. But even he had to admit that it wasn’t very good that day.

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Soya Chaap from Santosh Chaap

Anyway, we moved on to Adarsh Tikki after this, and like any person who has the remotest idea what tikki is (basically a crispy fried cutlet, usually made out of potatoes. Tikkis are famous; McDonald’s India has the McAloo tikki burger), we expected…tikki. What we got, however, was basically a bastardised version of mutton curry. Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious, but it wasn’t tikki. It was served with hot, buttery kulchas, and despite my initial shock at what it was (0r wasn’t), I rather enjoyed it.

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“Tikki” at Adarsh Tikki

One of the things Amritsar is known for is its fish. It isn’t a coastal area, granted, but Amritsar is known for its fish as much as it is for its kulchas. And so, we proceeded to Amritsar’s finest, Makhan Fish and Chicken Corner for some Amritsari fish. And again, we were a little disappointed. It was…different, and not what we expected. This is not to say that it was bad, just that it didn’t exceed, or even meet our expectations. I would still recommend it, though.

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Fish at Amritsari Fish and Chicken Corner

Because we were still hungry, the gluttons that we are, we went back to Sardar Dhaba for their delectable keema naan, and then stopped for dessert. We had the most adorable little gulab jamuns (deep-fried, milk-based balls drenched in sugar syrup)  and crispy, delicious jalebi (deep-fried spirals made of flour, and drenched in sugar syrup) at Sharma Sweets. The gulab jamuns had absorbed just enough syrup and actually melted in the mouth. The jalebis were crisp, yet juicy only in the way well-made jalebis are. I should mention here that theses sweets contained enough ghee to drown a small nation. And thus ended day two of our food trail.

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Gulab Jamun and Jalebi from Sharma Sweets

We had a late breakfast (brunch, more like) the next day, a Sunday. We went to Kulcha Land for Amritsari kulchas. What, pray, are Amritsari kulchas, you may ask. Well, I could answer that question by calling them little bits of heaven, but a more appropriate answer might be “Indian bread stuffed with a mixture of spiced potatoes, and sometimes, other vegetables”. Okay, I’ve lived in Punjab for over four years. I’ve had my fair share of Amritsari kulchas. What I didn’t know was that I’d been eating them wrong for over four years. You see, traditionally, the kulchas are served with chole (spicy chickpea curry) and sort of hot and sour chutney poured over chopped raw onions. There’s also a ton of butter that goes with it, but that’s irrelevant here. What I didn’t know was that you’re supposed to pour the chutney over the chole first. And what do you know, it tastes better like that. I should take a moment here to thank Vikrant Malhan for teaching me to eat Amritsari kulcha the right way.

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Amritsari Kulcha at Kulcha Land

You know what makes breakfast better? Gola. Gola is desi ice lolly – basically, flavoured syrup poured on shaved ice and served on a stick. And if made correctly, it is one of the most amazing things ever. I have had golas, and only golas for lunch before. Every Indian’s favourite flavour of gola is kaala khatta (which is a sour, thick syrup) served with a drizzle of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. (It’s funny how fancy the humble kaala khatta sounds when you’re describing it like so.) So yeah, we had golas at Ram Karan’s, which Vikrant claims is very famous, but it wasn’t anything special. They were good, sure, but I’ve had better golas, to be honest.

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One of the many Ram Karan gola stands

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My kaala khatta gola

Our next meal was chicken pakora. Pakodas are battered and fried fritters, usually made of onions, hey, what’s good for the onion is good for the chicken. The four of us finished a whole kilo of chicken pakora between us. Served with green chutney and lemon wedges, it was pretty damn great. And filling. Let’s not forget filling.

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Chicken pakora

We went to get chaat afterwards, but because we were late, we only got to try what was left over. We tried papri chaat (crispy, fried dough served with boiled potatoes and chick peas, with curd and tamarind chutney on top) at this one place whose name I cannot remember, and it just made me sad. Maybe we went there at the wrong time, but that had to be the most miserable excuse for papri chaat ever. And I’ve had the pleasure (not) of tasting papri chaat in my college canteen.

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Papri chaat

And that’s it. That’s all I have to say about Amritsar. We left early next morning, hearts content and stomachs full. Vikrant’s mother made us aloo paranthas for the way back, and they were heavenly. There must’ve been a couple of items I ate in Amritsar I did not like, but there were many more that made it to my ‘favourites’ list. The keema naan, most importantly. There isn’t much I wouldn’t do to have that damn naan again.

‘Til next time!

Amrits(t)ories: Part 1

I tried really hard to make the title catchy, but clearly, that didn’t work. It can only go uphill from here, right? Anyway, let’s get to the point. A couple of weeks ago, some of my friends and I went to Amritsar in Punjab with the sole (or should I say soul? No?) purpose of eating. Well, we did visit the famous Golden Temple and the infamous Jallianwallah Bagh, but that’s beside the point. I’d like to dedicate this article to the three wonderful people with whom I took this trip – Vikrant, our guide-cum-driver,  without whose Lancer and love this trip would not have been possible; Dikshita, the anal-retentive planner, because of whose obsessive planning and diligent room-booking, this trip went without a glitch; and Aditi, with whom I did the “travel” part of travelling and with whom I shared a room and the back seat and a love for bindis. You guys were the best! Much love to you.

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From far left: Me, Aditi, Vikrant, and Dikshita.

The point, of this article is that if you leave four gluttons in a car with a wad of cash, at least three of them would’ve gained some weight by the end of it. Anyway, because we covered a fair few number of places (emphasis not on few) during the course of the almost four days that we were in Amritsar, the “vivid gastronomical experience” is going to be covered in two posts. Find Part 2 here.

We reached Amritsar during the later part of the day, so the first meal we had in this city was dinner. At Sardar Dhaba, where we devoured seekh kabab (spiced minced lamb cooked in a clay oven called a tandoor) and keema naan (Indian bread stuffed with minced mutton). The keema naan, for me, was the highlight of the trip. For the first time, I believed in love at first sight. Actually, at first taste (get your mind out of the gutter). The naans were crisp, to the point where you could actually hear the crunch as you bit into it. It came halved, with green chutney, keema curry, and little knobs of butter. The keema was well-cooked and well-flavoured. Merely writing about it is making me drool about a small ocean. This, for me, was the clear winner. It had me with the crunch. That was all I needed. One crunch, and I was swooning.

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Sardar Dhaba.

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Keema Naan at Sardar Dhaba.

The seekh kabab was also absolutely splendid. It was soft, succulent, and just perfectly spicy. Traditionally, it is eaten with a buttery, soft kulcha (a form of bread), but we enjoyed it better plain. Oh, we also enjoyed the kulcha better plain. I wanted to serenade the kabab with a love song. It was unlike any other seekh kabab I’d ever had. It was also the best seekh kabab I’d ever had. So far, so good.

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Seekh kababs at Sardar Dhaba.

So the next morning, Aditi and I had to get up (not so) nice and early, because we’d planned to visit the Golden Temple and Jallianwallah Bagh before breakfast. We were ravenous by the time we came back, and went to Kanha Sweets for breakfast. We had poori-subji (fried Indian flatbread with curried potatoes). The pooris were served with channa (spicy chickpea curry), aloo, and some form of chutney topped with onions. The channa was amazing. It was spicy, the channas were cooked to perfection, and it tasted amazing with the pooris. The highlight of this dish, though, was the aloo (potatoes), because at first glance, it looked like regular, savoury aloo as is usually served with poori, but looks can be deceiving, because this aloo was sweet. It was flavoured with gur (jaggery – think brown, concentrated sugar) and dotted with pumpkin seeds. The first few hits felt weird, because like I said, we’re used to spicy potatoes, but the taste grew on me very quickly. The others didn’t like it so much, but I loved it, and went for multiple helpings. Breakfast was accompanied with lassi (a thick, sweet yogurt drink), which tasted divine, but because of the presence of malai (cream of the crop) in it, the texture of it, I abhorred. I hate malai. Detest it. There was also some form of halwa (sweet) we ordered afterwards, but again, it wasn’t as good. The pooris, though. *sighs*

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Poori-Subji at Kahna Sweets

Lassi and halwa at Kanha Sweets.

For lunch, we went over to Beera Chicken to have their famous tandoori chicken. Now, from the outside, Beera doesn’t look like what is perhaps one of the most famous establishments in Amritsar, but it is. You’re served crudely chopped, yet perfectly cooked pieces of chicken in a large plate, accompanied by copious amounts of lemon and onion and chutney. We finished one and a half full tandoori chickens between the four of us, and we were only just getting started. Succulent and well spiced, Beera’s tandoori chicken lived up to my expectations, for sure.

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Beera Chicken.

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Tandoori chicken at Beera: The making of.

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Tandoori chicken at Beera.

So after this, we went on to eat pani puris (it’s a shame if you don’t know what pani puris are; also called gol gappas and puchkas, they are fried puris filled with either aloo or channa, served with flavoured ‘pani’ or water) at Bachchu Lal’s. The pani puris were good; spicy, tangy, and well, juicy, but my issue was that there was no sookha (dry) puri at the end of it. After a good pani puri session, you need a well-made sookha puri to actually finish, you know? But other than the disappointing lack of sookha puri, Bachchu Lal’s pani puris were pretty damn good.

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Pani puri at Bachchu Lal’s.

We finished off our afternoon session with phirni (rice pudding) for dessert. It was, by far, the best phirni I’ve had in life. Served traditionally, in a matka (earthen dish) to keep it cool, it was a great way to end the afternoon, and is also, a great way to end this post. Part 2 coming soon!

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Ahuja’s, from where the phirni was

The phirni from Ahuja’s Sweets. 

Adios, amigos!

How it All Started

When I was nineteen, my college revamped its newsletter. They asked us for articles, and I decided to try my luck. More than 300 articles were submitted; out of which about fifteen were chosen and published. Terrible odds, I thought. A few days later, one of the editors of said newsletter told me he enjoyed reading my article; I honestly thought he was joking. And then another one of the editors told me something similar, and then another. And then one day, not long after, the Chief Editor told me I was a good writer, and that my article was pretty damn good. Now she was one of those students that we all looked up to in college, and praise from her was praise indeed. Still, though, I never thought they’d publish me. But they did. And that’s how it all started.

This is the article itself. It was published in the college newsletter Carpe Diem, in December 2013. I personally don’t think the article is anything other than average; I think I’ve grown in the time as a foodie and as a writer. But anyway, here goes.

FOOD: INDIA’S TRUE CULTURE

India, universally is known as a country with ‘Unity in Diversity’, and nothing unifies a truly diversified population like food. India’s food culture and habits vary on the basis of season, region and religion – from dosas to parathas and dhoklas to rasogollas; from rice to wheat; from mustard to jeera. Despite this staggering variety, India has a unique food culture, one that is loved across the five oceans and seven seas.

Food defines Indian; whether it is chaat at the Mumbai seaside, kakori kebabs by the streets or Mysore masala dosa out of kiosks. The amazing thing, however about Indian food, is that, well, everyone loves it. Even Indians. Punjabis love dosas and South Indians love rasogollas. Wimbledon may have strawberries and cream, but Indian cricket matches have roasted peanuts and tender coconut water.

Indian food culture, is also one that has revolutionised the world food culture. The Everybody Love Love Jhalmuri Express is a Kolkata street food business in London. Vikas Khanna is a Michelin starred chef who cooks Indian food. The British Indian Restaurant not only serves Indian food, it serves vegetarian Indian food. The cherry on the cake (pun intended), however is the upma. The humble South Indian breakfast made headlines when a modern version of the same with mushrooms made New York Chef Floyd Cardoz winner of the reality show Top Chef. Who would’ve thought an unpretentious, simple semolina dish seasoned with onions and mustard would be a hundred thousand dollar dish???

From samosas to golas, whether simple and unpretentious or Michelin-starred and served on a gold plate, everyone loves Indian food. It’s the next big thing. Seriously, move over strawberries and cream!!!

By Anuradha Herur,

II year

 

Why Buffets are the Best: An Analysis

As it would be obvious from the title, I am very fond of buffets. As it would also be obvious from the very fact that I have a food blog, I am very fond of food. See, now, I’ve come across plenty of people who are fond of food, also, but I, sirs and madams and other members of the audience, am a full-blown glutton. Like I would probably be found in Dante’s third Circle of Hell kind of glutton. I have been known to stuff my face with food for no rhyme or reason, other than that I was bored out of my mind. I can well and truly tell you that I fall in the “live to eat” category. The only other thing I do with so much passion is read books, but that’s besides the point. My love for food is very deep and profound; so much so, that the first question I am asked when I lose my temper is “when was the last time you ate?” Now, I embrace this gluttony; it’s a matter of pride for me even, and no one can take this away from me.

I can hear readers (if any) screaming at me through the screen to get to the damn point already, and so, I’m going to make it. As a person with both a large appetite, and an unnatural love for food, there are two kinds of meals (barring home-cooked meals) that if consumed, satisfy me completely. One, is the traditional ‘ele oota’ (plantain leaf meals), but that’s a story for another day; the other, is the buffet. I love buffets; they have variety, and the quantity of food you can serve yourself with is unlimited. The reason I decided to write this article is mostly that I’ve been to a few extraordinarily scrumptious buffets off late, and I realised, I was so much happier after a buffet meal than I was after one ordered a la carte. Another more important reason to love buffets, is budgeting. I mean, I (alongwith my equally gluttonous friends Deepak and Nidhi) have stuffed my face with at least 40 different dishes in what claims to be Bangalore’s longest vegetarian buffet at Subz for a mere price of Rs. 325 per head (I’m not kidding you, there were at least 14 different kinds of dessert alone). I’ve also stuffed my face at the slightly more expensive but completely ‘Jain’ buffet (Jain food, in India, is vegetarian food with no onion or garlic) with mother dearest at Sattvam, which had perhaps the same number of dessert items (including cold stone ice cream), but didn’t turn out as long (it was delicious, nonetheless). I have enjoyed buffets at other places also (more notable ones being Sangam at Parijatha in Bangalore, and Pirates of Grill in Chandigarh), but again, I digress. What I’m trying to say is that buffets satisfy both the foodie and the glutton in me. You do you, buffets, don’t ever change. I will always love you.

Now go, enjoy your own favourite buffets. Godspeed!

Say Cheese!

Alright, we’ve pretty much established that I like cheese. A lot. And sometimes, I get this hankering for a cheese omlette. Not just any cheese omlette, the particular one they make at Alliance Francaise in Bangalore. I mean, it’s the best goddamned cheese omlette I’ve eaten ever. And I’ve eaten a lot of these. Jeez, Anuradha, it’s just an omlette; get over it, you say. But see, here’s the thing. It’s not just an omlette, it’s the omlette. The first time I ate it, I knew I’d keep going back to them for more. Hoping that no one from AFB will read this blog post, I’m even going to admit that I’ve lied about attending classes there just so I could eat that oozy, delicious omlette.

The omlette is light and fluffy, and perfectly spiced. It has just the right amount of vegetables to add texture and flavour. The egginess doesn’t overpower the veggieness, and vice versa. Now, this ratio of egg to vegetables is very important, because more often than not, I’ve noticed that an omlette becomes overpowered by the taste of vegetables. This omlette, though… So anyway, I’m here for the cheese, so let’s just talk about the cheese for a bit, shall we? I love me any food that just oozes out oodles of cheese when you cut into it. And with this omlette, all I had to do was poke at it with a fork for all that creamy, semi-melted cheese to start flowing (that’s what she said?). Oh, and what amazing cheese it was. Gooey. Melty. Salty. Golden. Excuse me as I wipe the drool off my keyboard.

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Oh, it also comes with thick buttery slices of bread, but who cares about that, next to all the cheese?

Introducing Cheesy Blasters?

So you know how Liz Lemon says “take a hot dog, stuff it with some jack cheese, fold it in a pizza”? That. What if I told you that kinda, sorta, well, some bastardised cousin of it at least, exists in the quaint hamlet of Patiala?

Say hello to Patiala’s very own pizza burger; the delight of students everywhere and well, sometimes of their parents too. So I’ve already mentioned that I have this special affinity to street food, ‘Patiala Burger’ just proves why. Priced at a mere thirty rupees a pop, the bhaiya works at lightning speed preparing what is perhaps in my top ten list of the most amazing things I’ve ever eaten.

So instead of the usual burger patty, Patiala Burger incorporates the best part of the pizza (okay, so I think that the crust is the second best part, don’t jump at me), the toppings, and puts it in between two burger buns. Pretty straightforward right? Wrong. The procedure also involves multiple kinds of cheese, and other spices, finally finishing it off with a dollop of fresh cream. And then this goes into a grill where it sits for about five minutes before coming out all cheesy and delicious. Slightly burnt with the cheese all oozing out of its sides. Yes, cheese. So much cheese. All the cheese. Because, cheese.

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The organisational level of the bhaiya is better than J’s organisation in Men in Black, and as you sit there, munching on bhel, waiting for your order, you can’t help but the struck by the finesse of his making these amazing burgers. It’s almost as good as the burger itself.

 

Heart Attack on a Plate?

I am a huge fan of street food. Not only is it cheap, but I have, in my vast (not) experience, found that street food is, in many cases tastier than your run-o-the-mill restaurant food. India, as I’m sure many people know, is famed for its street food, especially its chaat. And while Patiala, the city I currently reside in, is not known for its chaat, it does have this phenomenal pav bhaji place.

Nestled underneath a flyover, near the railway crossing, in the tiniest of streets, is Bombay Pav Bhaji. Surrounded by bigger shops, mostly selling electronics and sweets, it is easy to miss this place if you aren’t familiar with the area. But if you are familiar with it, you begin to miss it too, but differently, in your heart, when you’re eating something else. Then you suddenly remember the warm bread, and the dollops of butter, and thus begins your craving, one that can only be satiated by playing a visit to this tiny establishment.

Pav bhaji is basically bread with a spicy vegetable curry. But, oh, it is so much more! The bread has to be roasted to perfection, slathered with butter. The bhaji has to be spicy; it generally consists of a mixture of potatoes, onions, and tomatoes cooked in spices like turmeric and garam masala, finished with a dollop of butter. It is traditionally served with a side of raw chopped onions and a wedge of lemon. It is an amalgamation of different flavours and spices. As a fan of this delicious, yet simple dish, my quest of finding the perfect pav bhaji has ended. At least for now.

Priced at merely 30 rupees a plate (they charge extra for extra pav), Bombay pav bhaji serves up its version of this classic Indian dish with a little extra spice between the buns. And the butter, oh, the butter! They should be charging 30 rupees for the amount of butter that we consume in one serving of this dish. The pav is bathed in it, and the bhaji is swimming it it. Suffice to say, I’m probably obsessed with this place. The pav, the bun is roasted in melted butter and stuffed with some amazing mixture of spices (a trade secret?). The bhaji is then cooked, and ladled onto plates; I can’t really explain the preparation of pav bhaji. It is a spectacle in itself, and viewing this only adds to the charm of the dish.

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Please excuse the terrible photograph. We’ve already established that I’m a terrible photographer, and that I get worse when I’m hungry.

Cheerio! 🙂

Shimla Diaries

So my friends and I went backpacking (kind of) across Shimla this last week, and we had fun. There was snow, and scenery and a lot of other things, but because this is a food blog, let’s focus on the food here.

So we landed in Shimla on the evening of the 12th, and we were starving. Like haven’t seen food in a week starving; and as a result of that, there is no photographic evidence of the food, but I will try and paint you a word picture. So we had chicken momos, cheesy garlic bread, the family veg pizza, and the sausage cheese burger at Beekays, a bakery at the very beginning of Shimla’s Mall Road. The chicken momos, which came with a generous amount of mayonnaise, Schezwan sauce, and the local green chutney were amazing. The chicken was tender, and well spiced, and the skin wasn’t thick enough to overpower the chicken-ness of it. The mayo, oh my dear god, the mayo! As a person who is usually not a fan of mayo, if I tell you the mayo was edible, it means that it was pretty good by normal standards. But this mayo, I sing praises of. It was thick, creamy, and not too eggy. It was brilliant. The garlic bread was freshly toasted, and the cheese was all melty and oozy, and well, delicious. It quite literally did melt in our mouths. The pizza was good, really good. I mean, how do you describe good pizza, right? 😛 The sausage burger was basically four pieces of tender, juicy sausages smothered with cheese, and placed inside a burger bun. And it was heavenly.

For dinner the same day we went to Wake and Bake cafe. I ordered their bacon, cheese and egg waffle with cream sauce with a cafe mocha, and the others ordered hummus with pita, white sauce spaghetti with garlic bread, lemon iced tea, and chicken hollandaise. My waffles were amazing! The cheese, the egg, the bacon- they were all perfect, and the cream sauce added the right amount of flavour and texture to it. Also, bacon! *fangirling hard*. The hummus and pita was pretty damn good, except well, for the lack of garlic. The chicken hollandaise, though, must be top three amongst the blandest things I have eaten in life. The salad that came with it was nice and crisp, and the chicken was cooked well, but that’s about as far it goes. My coffee was brilliant, though, and being the coffee addict that I am, I am going to put it up on a pedestal, and call it the highlight of my day. The iced tea was also quite good, but coffee is coffee. For dessert, we had the apple pie, and the carrot cake, both of which were average.

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Waffles with cheese, egg, and bacon. There is bacon under the egg and cheese. Really. I don’t lie about bacon. Also, coffee.

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Carrot cake for dessert.

So the next day, for breakfast, we had amazing paranthas and pakodas, and average coffee. Again, we were ravenous, so no photos, but the food was amazing. The paranthas were steaming hot, and the mixture of potatoes, cottage cheese, and other vegetables (I think) was dotted with little green chillis. Being the sucker for chillis that I am, this was a clear winner for me. But really, the food was really good. The others agreed with me. The pakodas were slightly doughy, though, so that was slightly disappointing, but hey, one can’t have everything in life.

We then had Maggi (instant noodles), because as every Indian can relate, Pahadi Maggi FTW. For the others, Pahadi Maggi is the Maggi served in the hillier areas, towards the northern part of India. Nobody knows why we’re so fascinated with this particular Maggi, but everyone knows that it tastes amazing. And amazing it was, complete with onions and carrots and capsicums, and perfectly spiced. So far, Shimla food hadn’t disappointed me.

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Maggi!

And then began our search for jalebi (fried batter dipped in a sugary sweet syrup) and doodh, because it is apparently a specality here. Now, we had no idea what this tasted, or even looked like, so we were walking in blind on this one. Turns out it’s just crushed jalebis served in a tall glass of sweetened milk. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t really good either. I mean, I love jalebis, but this was just… different. Not that I have a problem with different, but you know, I wouldn’t go out of my way to look for this again.

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Jalebi-doodh. Doodh means milk in Hindi, and the orange pieces are the jalebis. Jalebis are amazing, but that’s a story for another day.

We didn’t really want too much dinner after this, but we opted to get some stuff packed from this place called Hide Out Cafe. I think this place gave a new meaning to the term ‘pleasantly surprised’, because we went there sans expectations, and the food there was brilliant, to say the least. I had the chicken panini sandwich, and it was really good. I think I need to take a moment to applaud the people of Shimla on their mayonnaise. The others had the family sized veg pizza, which was also pretty good!

We ended up having breakfast the next day (well, some of us) there as well. I had the Mediterranean omlette, and a flat white. And both were delicious. The omlette was an eggalgamation of cheese, onions, peppers, tomatoes, and olives if I remember right. It came with a side of hash browns and toast. Even the toast here was good man! Another friend had the pancakes with chocolate, whipped cream, maple syrup, and berry compote. Again, it was really good, except for the berry compote, which tasted like chemicals.

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My Mediterranean omlette.

We were only there for about 3 days, so we didn’t really have a chance to try out other places like Honey Hut, but what we did try, we liked.

For future travellers, however, I’m linking a Huffington Post article here, to help you find ten other amazing places to eat at.

‘Til next time!

 

The Day of the Nidhi

About a week ago, my friend Nidhi cooked for us (Deepak and me). Now, I’m not much of a cook myself; I prefer doing the eating, to be honest. But Nidhi was a brilliant cook. With a little help from Deepak and me of course. Also, Deepak made bajjis (kind of like fritters). I think this post needs to be more visual than verbal, so here are the photos.

 

So for starters, we had pakoras, which are kind of onion fritters; chopped onions, coriander, and green chillis fried in besan (gram flour).

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The pakoras frying.

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This is the first batch, which we, er, consumed as they came off the stove.

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The pakoras and bajjis finally done. Bajjis are similar to pakoras, except they’re made of thinly sliced potatoes instead of onions.

We had a vegetable biriyani (of sorts) with raita for the main course. Everyone knows what biriyani is. If you don’t, well, shame! Anyway, it’s a rice dish generally made with fragrant basmati rice mixed with spices and meat, but because my friends are vegetarian, Nidhi used potatoes, peas, carrots, and beans instead. Raita is a salad made of raw, finely chopped vegetables (she used tomatoes and onions), and green chillies mixed in yogurt.

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Nidhi sautes onions in ghee for the biriyani.

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The onions, tomatoes, and spices which form the base for the biriyani.

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The end product.

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This is what our plates looked like. Didn’t last very long like this though. 😛

And finally, for dessert, she made fruit trifle, which is basically a layered dessert consisting of any, or all combinations of cake, custard, fruit, jelly, and whipped cream.

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The first layer of cake, followed by fruit.

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Nidhi layers custard onto the trifle.

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The pièce de résistance.

Okay, so if you thought this looked good (I hope you did), it tasted a lot better. So yeah, This was the day Nidhi cooked for us. It was pretty great; both the food and the company.

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This was the company, by the way. From left: Nidhi, Deepak, and me. (I had a horrible hair day that day, so I look like crap. -_- )

See you next time! 😀

Ghost of Chicken Past

First off, I apologise for the long, long break I took. College sometimes does that to me; what with all the projects and tests and exams and moot courts. But I digress…

Here I am to talk about Murgh Musallam, a delicious, succulent chicken dish, stuffed with eggs, and marinated with spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and chillis, served on a bed of fragrant, spiced rice. A picture speaks more than a thousand words you say? Well, here it is:

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Tender, succulent, juicy pieces of chicken expertly marinated in spices, and wonderfully cooked to perfection in a rich, spicy gravy. So buttery. So juicy. So tasty! And the rice, oh, the rice! Well steamed and spicy, accompanied by slivers of ginger and dotted with coriander. Absolutely delightful. Might I mention how heavy this is? I mean, it is almost a whole chicken, loaded with butter and spices. And then there’s rice with it. But it is, after all a rare indulgence, this piece of heaven. And the heaviness and lethargy that comes after is totally worth it!

So people, people! Listen up. If you’re ever in Patiala, Punjab, you have to absolutely try the amazing Murgh Musallam at Garden Resort. It’s totally worth it! *wipes drool off of the computer*

I know this is a short post, but I promise to post more regularly from now on! 😀

 

 

I think Julie Powell’s Awesome

Sometime in August 2002, almost 13,500 kilometres away, on the other side of the world, a woman named Julie Powell started a blog. She called it the Julie/Julia Project. Now, I was but a child when she started this blog, and I didn’t come to know of it until about ten years later, when I saw the movie Julie and Julia. Yes, I was three years too late to the movie. But it had Meryl Streep in it, so what could go wrong? So anyway, I thought the movie was pretty awesome; I mean the acting was pretty great, the story was simple, yet pretty damn good, but let’s be honest, it was all about the food. Oh, the food, from that amazing chocolate cream pie in the beginning of the movie, to that oh-so-wonderful duck towards the end (I was a vegetarian when I saw this, and I still wanted to eat that)! I think the food just had me hoping, wishing, praying that I was somewhere in that movie set, eating something, anything.

Well, yeah the food had me all happy and jumpy, but that’s not the point of this article. The point of this article is the blog itself. Yes, I’m talking about the famous Julie/Julia project, a blog, that by the time I got to it had disappeared from the chasms of this deep, dark hole we call the internet, a blog that I desperately hunted for, but in vain. I remember thinking to myself, “they said the internet is forever!” After a while, as with most things, I got too tired of looking, and stopped. And then again, about a year or so, something came over me, and I looked. Again. And guess what, I found the damn thing. True it was just the archives, but I felt like kinda like Jim Hawkins (buccaneers and buried gold, anyone?).  But then as I read my way through August, and September, and October, and reached November 29th, I found out I had no December to look forward to! Damn archives! :-/ But I did read her other blog too, and sure, while it didn’t talk all that much about food, it was a fun read!

Anyway, this post is about the original blog. The Julie/Julia Project. And this blog, being one among the first few blogs I’d read kept me hooked. Julie Powell wasn’t one of those uber Michelin starred chefs who used fancy words and chef jargon. She was a normal person, who cooked food like a normal person, and she wrote about that. She never sugar-coated anything she did. She wrote it like it is. If she failed at something, she mentioned it, as she did if anything was a super success. Sure, she swore a lot. Sure, she used the f-word. But this just made the blog human. She had her fair share of meltdowns. She lost her way in the middle, but she found her way back. Just like a normal person would do. It wasn’t just reading a blog, it was a glimpse into her life, and her food. So yeah, I wanted to start a food blog as soon as I read hers. But I got lazy, and then about nine months after I’d read her blog, I began mine. Sure, there isn’t as much about cooking here, as there is about eating, but she definitely inspired me to do something about my love for food.

So until next time, bon appetit! 😛

It’s the Little Things…

It’s in the little things. Like how my mother puts tomatoes in the daal just because I like tomatoes in daal. Like how my grandmother never fails to make poori saagu each time I go home to Bangalore. Like how my father once spent all morning, literally 3 hours cooking bisi bele bath, and it was absolutely divine. Like how my friends sometimes surprise me with food I like, again when I go home. Like how my friend Tanya’s mother always comes up with new things to feed us each time we go to her house. Like how my brother suddenly decided he wanted to make pizza. Like how my mother made dessert to feed hundreds of people, and we put up a food stall, and it was a roaring success. Like how Deepak always has a new story about pizza each time I meet him. Like how Malavika is still in awe of how much I eat. Like how Nitya and Varsha and I get ecstatic each time we realise we can have one of those scrumptious plantain leaf meals together. Like how Tejasvini and I are always the foodie-est of the lot. Like how Nidhi and I met during my lunch breaks. Like how Anirudh is so picky about his food.

It’s the little things. Like Aarnima making utthappams, and then coming to my room to make me taste it. Like how Aditi and Manisha absolutely love Subway. Like how much Nishil misses Subway. Like the many, many hours Dikshita, Drishtana and I have spent cooking. Like the day Jyoti brought home-cooked food, and we polished it off at 3 o’clock, early morning. Like how Navneet and I always go for dosa, every semester. Like how Samraat and I just keep eating, and eating, even after everyone else is done. Like how Malpani, Jai, Mrinal and Jyoti fought over the idlis I’d got back from home, sometime during my first year. Like how Roy loves taunting me whenever I crave good food. 😛

Like how every friend I have knows that the way to my heart is through food.

It’s always the little things, because food is never just about food. Food isn’t about Michelin-starred restaurants. Food isn’t about fancy recipes and exorbitant ingredients. Food is about love. And that’s the most important thing I’ve learnt. When it comes to food, at least.

‘Til next time! 🙂

I Miss Maggi

I  miss midnight Maggi while studying. I miss the weird masaledaar Maggi the canteen in my college makes. I miss the cheese Maggi at the dhaba. Most of all I miss the steaming hot plate of Maggi that my mother used to put in front of me. I miss Maggi.

It’s been some 4 months since Maggi was banned in India, and spewed a whole slew of hilarious Maggi memes. It was funny for a while, but man, the void in my heart! I mean. That little twelve rupee packet of pure indulgence. That little packet of instant noodle joy that made headlines after the devastating tsunami. It was India’s ultimate comfort food; uniting people across regions, and languages. It was the lifeline of every student living away from home, in hostels (like me). Because, you know, budget. Also time. They broke our hearts when they raised the rate to twelve rupees a packet from ten, sparking *economic debates* across the country. Who knew it would get worse?

True, the ban has been lifted. True, Maggi has begun to hit the markets. But last night, when I wanted that little bite of delicious instant noodles in my mouth, I got none. And you know, what I felt sad. Truly. Like a part of me was missing. Deep, you say? I’m overreacting, you say? Well, maybe I am, but the truth is the truth! That little bite of Maggi always did make my day.

Remember that you’re missed Maggi. And that you’ll always be in my heart.

My Samosa Obsession

My “dinner” today was three plates of samosa chaat at a local dhaba. And I am not ashamed of myself. I was hungry, and I’m not too fond of what we get for dinner today. Also the samosa plates are really cheap, like Rs. 20 a plate or something. And let me tell you, three plates do kinda fill you up. I mean, I ate at about 7-7.30, and I didn’t actually feel hungry till about 12.30 (which is when I decided that I should probably write this 😛 ).

Now I took no photo of the plates (maybe next time 😛 ), but let me paint you a word picture. But before that, you do know what a samosa is right? If you don’t, let me tell you, you are missing out on so much. Anyway, for the ignorant (don’t hate me), a samosa is basically a pastry filled with spicy potatoes, and other masalas I’m not really sure of; I’ve never really cooked one in my life, and also the masala differs based on where you eat. Now what happens in the samosa chaat, you ask? The local dhaba crushes this samosa, pours a spicy chutney on it, followed by a sweet one, then chole (which is basically spicy chick peas), and curd, garnished with a dash of onions, and a sprig of coriander. Sounds like too much? It’s really not. And it tastes really, really good. Like the perfect combination of flavours. And then people like me, eat it for dinner.

Oh, and one more thing. Why do I call this post “My Samosa ‘Obsession'”, you ask? Well, this is not the only samosa I eat. There is a small canteen in my college that makes samosas. And we eat said samosas almost every single day. But of course, that’s another article.

Till next time!

Eating on a Budget

Now, I am a college student, and that means that I live on a budget. And that means that I sometimes have to live (read eat) on a budget. Whether I like it or not. This generally means one of two things – either eat at a chain like Subway, or McDonald’s, or a the local friendly dhaba. The thing about this though, is that it gets boring. Really boring, really fast. So when a friend came up with the idea of “fine dining”, we all jumped at it. We hadn’t eaten anything that tasted remotely like food for a while, and we were all hungry. And I mean like just-finished-a-seven-day-cleanse ravenous, not merely eh-skipped-breakfast-today hungry. Not that I would ever go on a seven day cleanse; I mean, that would quite literally kill me. So anyway, with a little money in our pockets (read Rs. 200), off we went to Moti Mahal Deluxe, one of the biggest, and most expensive restaurants in the quaint town of Patiala, where I study. And let me tell you this, we ate. Like lions after the kill. And we left without burning a hole in our pockets. In fact, we even had some money left over to pack some extra food for dinner!

The key, you see, is to order only one course. Forget about appetizers, and say no to desserts, and you’re good to go. Trust me, it’s easier than it seems. In fact, because I like bad puns, I’d say it was a piece of cake :P. We ordered Paneer Tikka Masala, and our choice of bread (I ordered the green chilli paratha, while my friends ordered naans, and garlic naans). Green chilli paratha was quite a discovery, and I’m surprised I hadn’t tried it before. And it was all delicious. Needless to say, we left there content, and sleepy. I do enjoy my three course meals, but a single course meal is not half bad! I’m definitely going to be doing this again!

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Cheers! 🙂

P.S. Excuse the terrible photo. It’s never good when a naturally bad photographer (me) is starving. 😛

21 Things About Me

Hey everyone!

So I celebrated my 21st birthday yesterday, on the 26th, and I thought why not tell you people a little more about the foodie behind the food. So here are 21 random things about me.

1. I love Freddie Mercury. He has the vocal chords of a God, and if I were given a chance to meet someone in Heaven it would be him.

2. I am hugely obsessed with books. I love reading, it helps me relax, though I don’t do it as often anymore.

3. I am kind of a geek. I like comics, and Star Wars, and a fair few video games

4. I think Roger Federer is the greatest tennis player ever.

5. I love football. I ensure I watch all matches of the World Cup. I also support Manchester United (a lot of people aren’t going to read beyond this :P)

6. I am really good at remembering the names of capitals of countries. Like seriously.

7. I love chocolate (of course I do :P)

8. I absolutely love The Beatles. Let it Be is one of the most glorious songs on this planet.

9. I am like the world’s worst Grammar Nazi (I hope for my sake that there aren’t any grammatical errors in this one :P)

10. The Graduate, a movie that was released 27 years before my birth, is my absolute favourite movie of all times.

11. If I was given one question that I could know the answer to,  it would most definitely be “WHO IS HECK IS JACK THE RIPPER???” Like seriously. Who is he?

12. I hate it when people travel halfway across the world to another country and eat their own food in that country. Seriously, new cuisines, new experiences, people.

13. If I had to eat one food all day, everyday, it would be dosas. Dosas forever.

14. I love graphic, and band t-shirts (I know it’s kiddish. So sue me).

15. I love reading about haunted places. Or watching them on History channel (and then not sleeping at night :P)

16. I love Game of Thrones. Like every other person on the planet. Seriously, where is Gendry?

17. I am lazier than I would like to admit 😛

18. I do not like romance novels. Though, Sophie Kinsella is a guilty pleasure.

19. I really, really want to see the Pyramids of Egypt. Like in depth. All of its treasures.

20. I get colds more often than I should (I have one right now).

21. And finally, I have a really loud laugh. It’s also quite scary, actually (Apparently :P).

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading random things about a random person.

P.S. I was supposed to upload this yesterday, but I was just a 21 year old celebrating her birthday 😛

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‘Til next time

Cheers everyone! 🙂

Horlicks: My Malt of Choice

I love milk. And milk products. No really, I do. Like a lot. But plain milk can get boring sometimes (at least it used to), so I have this horrible track record with the milk powders that are generally used to ‘improve’ the taste of milk. Okay, they do improve the taste of milk, but my point was that milk doesn’t taste so bad by itself. Anyway, enough rambling about milk. So Horlicks. It’s the milk powder of Gods. I mean, it is perfect. And I’m not talking about the fancy Junior Horlicks, and Women’s Horlicks and all that new stuff. Nay, I talk about the good old stuff. That off-white coloured sweet goodness that came in its trademark blue bottle. To be honest, I think I consumed more of that straight off the jar, than with milk. Yes that. That glorious, powdered, sweet, sticky Horlicks. The Horlicks that was so much a part of my childhood. The Horlicks that got all lumpy, and brown (and more delicious) when added to milk. The Horlicks that made me go weak in the knees whenever I was around it. Oh, that Horlicks. And then I grew up, and my relationship with Horlicks ended quite abruptly, because you know, who has time for that these days. But I never stopped thinking about it. About my glory days.

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And then we went to Mysore. And ordered Horlicks along with breakfast, instead of the customary steaming hot filter coffee. And good God, I got back together with Horlicks. It welcomed me with open arms. After all, it understood how much I’d missed it. And as I drank that amazing, sweet, hot milk again after years, I felt at peace. Like I’d come back home. To where I belonged. With Horlicks. Safe in its warm, sweet embrace.

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Till next time!

Cheers! 🙂

Garlic Bread and Vada Pav

Okay, so clearly I’m obsessed with vadas :P. So anyway, we made mom cook again. Garlic bread and Vada Pav. That garlic bread though! Modelled on the famous garlic bread exotica of Pizza Hut, full with olives and paprika and cheese. That amazing crumbly, melty cheese. And my mouth is watering. But this seems like a good place to make my point. Is there anything better than milk products? No, seriously think about it. Every food you love, you love because of milk products. Ice cream? Check. Pizza? Check. Paneer Butter masala? Double check! And I’m rambling. 😛 Anyway, I would like to get back to my original point. That garlic bread though!

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And then came the vada pav. Sweet, yeasty bread with an aloo patty of sorts in between. Yeah, yeah, it sounds like a veggie burger. But it’s not. It’s much, much more. It’s a soft spongy bun complemented by spicy, potato-filled vadas. It’s the perfect mixture of sweet, salt and spice. And it comes with this sweet, sticky chutney-like sauce. Peanutty and tangy. One of the most amazing combinations of tastes and textures. Perfection, indeed. Oh, and you want a double whopper? It comes full with a roasted green chilli. So yummy and spicy, it made my eyes water, but I just wanted more. 😛 Why eat out when you can have perfection at home?

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P.S. Kudos to mom for making these dishes. She hates garlic, and both these were smack full of it! 😛

Baby Corn and Custard (with a Little Bit of Vada!)

Home-cooked food is the best! Whether it’s simple rice and rasam, or a fancy dinner like mom made the day before. So mom cooked baby corn manchurian, dahi vada (vada soaked in curd, or yogurt; I’ve explained vadas in a previous post), and fruit custard. Now my mother is the ultimate champion of fruit custard. In fact, I surprised many relatives (and myself) by not having mentioned it before. Anyway, suffice to say, it was all amazing! *insert heart eyes emoticon here*

The manchurian was crisp, while it still retained that sweet, distinct flavour that you can only get with fresh baby corn. It was fried with just the right amount of soy sauce, to give it that hint of salt, and well, let me tell you it tasted better than anything made by any restaurant. Ever. Dahi vada is one of my absolute favourite dishes in the world. I mean, I could eat it all day, every day. And mom rocked these too. Like the champion she is. Crisp, delicious vadas, soaked in thick, creamy curd, and flavoured perfectly. The vadas had soaked up just the right amount of curd, and oh, I was in vada heaven. And of course, the fruit custard was the pièce de résistance. Thick, rich custard filled with all kinds of delicious fruits – mangoes, pomegranate, and musambi (lime). Now, that’s what my dreams are made up of! 😛

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Kudos to you home-cooked food, for having been healthy, and delicious since the beginning of time!

I love Banana Cake or: How I went to a Tea Joint, didn’t Drink Tea, and Ate Cake Instead

I love banana cake. Well, at least this particular banana cake. So today, after lunch, because I was in the area, I went to Chai Point. Chai Point is a chain of eateries that sells chai, or tea (obviously :P), and small eats to go with the chai. These tiny restaurants pack quite a hefty menu – what with offering sandwiches, vada pav, and samosas, and a wide variety of teas, from the traditional masala tea to some really fancy stuff like Chai Mojito and Ginger Caramel Chai Latte. Now, for any chai lover, this may sound really appealing, but I’m a coffee person, so that part of the menu didn’t really appeal to me, nay. My sole purpose of going to Chai Point was to eat their other-worldly banana cake.

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Now I found this banana cake almost by accident. During one of my previous internships, one of my co-interns had suggested going to Chai Point after lunch as she wanted to drink tea. And we went along. While the rest of them were deciding what new flavour of tea they would try, my eyes fell on this banana cake. And I’ve never looked back since! Okay, so I have always been a fan of banana in desserts, like amazing banana chocolate chip muffin which mom makes, and so forth. And so I tried it, and oh, what a banana cake it was! Love at first sight (or bite :P) indeed! Soft, spongy cake infused with tea leaves that so perfectly complement the sweetness of the banana, but not so much as to overpower it. Dotted with sesame seeds on top, this freckled treat stole my heart. And I’ve never really gotten it back. Oh, and you know the best part? It only costs 36 rupees.

Chipotle Chocolate Doughnuts!

So Krispy Kreme is giving away 15 Original Glazed doughnuts for free, if you buy 9 of their special ones. And I did not know about this until my brother, mother, and grandfather bought home 24 doughnuts as I got back from work. Needless to say, I was ecstatic. Because I absolutely love doughnuts. And there were new flavours like Chipotle Chocolate (which I haven’t tried yet), and the good old ones like Mango & Cookie Crunch, and the Chocolate Dream Cake. And of course, there was the classic Original Glazed, and the Glazed Cinnamon, which I absolutely adore. So for dinner, I filled my stomach on doughnuts today. And it was amazing! Yay! 🙂

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So, anyway, based on this experience, I want to talk a little bit about what I think is the perfect doughnut. I mean, I’m no expert, but here goes. So one of the first doughnuts that I ever had was from this little place close to home. It was pretty good, it has just the right amount of sweetness, and the sugar did not overpower the taste of the bread. The texture, of the doughnut, however, was too hard to my liking; neither did it break easily in my hand, nor did it melt in my mouth. And then I tried more doughnuts – some too sweet, some to hard, some too soft, some absolutely flavourless, and of course, some absolutely perfect ones as well. So, anyway, I came to the conclusion that the following were the characteristics of my perfect doughnut – the doughnut should not be too sweet, in fact I prefer those with a hint of spice, or citrus rather than ones dusted with sugar or glaze. The texture of the doughnut should be spongy, and yeasty; so soft, that it should break in my hands. And, of course, it should be hot; straight out of the oven. That, my friends, is my perfect doughnut – a cinnamon glazed hot soft doughnut. That is God speaking to me. In the language of food.

I Love Bitter Gourd!

Okay, so this may sound weird. In fact, I know that it does. But I love bitter gourd. Karela as it is called in Hindi. Hagalakai as we Kannadigas call it. Well, consider this proof that I completely and wholly appreciate food with all my heart. I was a biology student in school, and I like showing off my research skills. And my research revealed that the bitter gourd is considered the most bitter amongst all fruits and vegetables. And I still love it. Why this insanity, you ask? Let me tell you, o wise one; let me explain it, so you will understand this strange love. Oh, and before you ask, it is not for health reasons.

Ye who questions my love for bitter gourd, let me ask you this; have you ever tried bitter gourd chips? No? Well, you should. They are amazing. Crisp, crunchy, and not bitter. You can eat them whole, or with a plate of delicious, hot rasam and rice. Heavenly either way. What takes the cake for me (yay for food references), is the bitter gourd curry, or gojju as we call it in Karnataka. This dish is one of diced bitter gourds in a thick, sweet, savoury, sour, and sticky gravy. Most of the bitterness is removed from the gourd, and what is left is beautifully complemented by the other wonderful flavours. Now, both my mother and grandmother are absolute champions at whipping up hagalakai gojju, and it tastes amazing. Merely thinking about it makes my mouth water. Don’t believe me? Try it. I’m no wonder at recipes, but if you know someone, or know someone who knows someone who can make this, ask them to make it for you. And eat it with hot chapathis. And then, I shall ask you how it was.

Comment and tell me which “odd” vegetable you like the most, and why!

Also, you can let me know about any other bitter gourd recipes that you’ve had, and loved.

‘Til next time! 🙂

The Second Best Masala Dosa?

I think I found the second best masala dosa in the world. Here. In Bangalore. What is the best masala dosa, you ask? Well, the ones mom makes, of course! 🙂 So I’ve known this place a while. Like any true blue Bangalorean would. I’ve eaten here a fair few times, I can say. With pride, of course. Like any true blue Bangalorean would. So why, you ask, am I just talking about this dosa heaven? Well, dear friend, let me tell you. There is the time and place for everything. Even for talking about to-die-for dosas. Of course, the perfect time to eat these dosas, is anytime you feel like. Huffington Post agrees with me. The ‘Viator Blog’ of the Post marked the masala dosa 4th on their list of ’10 foods to try before you die’. Don’t believe me? Here’s the link. Check it out for yourself! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/viator/10-foods-around-the-world_b_1576005.html

So for those who don’t know what dosas, are, they’re like crepes, but savoury. Made with a fermented dough that has been prepared from a batter made of rice. Masala dosas are the godfathers of dosas. Not only are they crisp, fermented rice crepes, so brittle and crunchy, they break off in your hands; they are also filled with a spiced potato filling, and served with chutney (or chutneys). They are smeared with rich butter, and served hot. They look like this. And taste even better, if you can imagine it.


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So I want to talk to you about a particular masala dosa. The one that I had at Central Tiffin Room, known to the world as the famous CTR. The best thing about the CTR dosa is the size. It’s so small, one can easily enough eat a good three or four of them in a single sitting. The dosa itself is so crisp, it crumbles in your hands, as you clumsily try to break off a piece, so you can get one in your mouth. It comes completely smeared in butter, and the smell! Oh, that smell is enough to make your mouth water like that of a hungry wolf stalking sheep. Then there’s the spiced potato, the ‘palya’ as we call it. It comes dotted with little black seeds of mustard, and just the right amount of curry leaves, and coriander. The amount of spice in it is perfect, and it so well complements the dosa! This is what perfection is, good people. It comes complemented with two chutneys, one mint, and the other coriander and coconut. I devour my dosa. And I feel at peace. Like I have eaten a piece of paradise itself. And so ends my love affair with the second best dosa in the world.

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Photography by the lovely Malavika Mallik, who has her own blog at https://museandmurals.wordpress.com/.

Cheers! 🙂

Chocolate Death

So what is Death by Chocolate? I wonder everyday. The blanket definition given to any decadent chocolate dessert, that has more chocolate than the eye can possibly handle, is ‘death by chocolate’. It can be anything from a layered chocolate cake, to a chocolate trifle. It can also be a giant bowl of ice cream, brownie chunks, chocolate sauce and nuts. Like the one that I had.

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As a Bangalorean, I truly swear by the food culture of my city. I make it a point to try gorge on certain specialised dishes in those certain specialised restaurants that make them. So for Death by Chocolate, it was Corner House. A small tiny ice cream joint sandwiched (or should I say ice-cream sandwiched) between a well known restaurant and an even better known cafe, Corner House did not disappoint. Known all over the city for its sumptuous ice-cream based desserts, and especially for its Death by Chocolate, Corner House was my best, and only option. I ordered this heart attack on a plate, and after a relatively short wait, it arrived. My chocolate light at the end of the tunnel of hunger. So completely and utterly covered by brown chocolate, and sandy peanuts, it was virtually impossible for me to see the white of the soft, silky vanilla ice cream below it. But as I dug into it, I could see, and feel the multiple layers of chocolate brownies, ice cream, nuts, cherries, chocolate sauce, honey, and fresh cream. There was chocolate, and more chocolate. Like a never ending pit of heavenly chocolate, dug by God himself, beckoning me to dig deeper, and deeper. And dig I did. Till the very end. Till I found chocolate heaven. And let me tell you, it was completely worth it. Every single bite of it.

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Mom bought Maddur Vadas!

So mom bought Maddur Vadas. You know, like regular vadas, but better. Crispier, and more masale-daar. What? You don’t know? Let me explain. So you know what regular vadas are, right? Well, anyway, let me make this easier for you. Vadas, are, in simple words, savoury, fried doughnuts; which actually are a lot older than doughnuts, though :P. They are an extremely popular snack in India, especially South India (I hail from the South Indian state of Karnataka). So we eat a lot of vadas. And everyone, Indian or not, loves them. What? Don’t tell me you don’t! I know you do. If you haven’t eaten it yet, you definitely look forward to eating it, I’m sure. So anyway, my point is that vadas are perfect. As perfect as one can get with food, anyway.

And then someone had this genius idea of making Maddur vadas. Crispier, more fritter-like, made with semolina, rice flour, and dotted with crisp, golden brown onions, fried to perfection. Flavoured with curry leaves, and grated coconut. And then fried to a crisp perfection. Heaven on a plate, indeed. Except it’s generally not served on plates. Street food, you see.

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So anyway, these delicious vadas, my mom bought them. And they were scrumptious. And I ate them. And I was happy.

That is all. 😛

Cheers!!

To You, Filter Coffee

Coffee. Coffee is one word that means many things to many people. But as a South Indian, coffee just means one thing to me. Filter Coffee. What is so different about this coffee, you ask? Well, let me tell you. Filter coffee is the God of coffees. Filter coffee, is probably what heaven tastes like. Filter coffee is what all coffee dreams should be made up of.

The smell of freshly made filter coffee is a smell like no other. That distinctive coffee smell, all earthy and bitter. Ah, what heaven! And the taste! The taste of filter coffee, is so exquisite, so transcendent, that no existing words can be used to describe it. Taken black, or with milk; with sugar, or without, filter coffee never fails to impress. And it doesn’t even need to try that hard.

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So what if it tastes good, you say? Have you tried filter coffee during an all-nighter? Well, I have. And I can vouch for it. Strong. Bitter. With that caffeine kick so often associated with it. As a law student, there have been many, many instances, and filter coffee has been my one true friend through it. Filter coffee has stuck with me through thick and thin. Filter coffee has helped me finish my projects, and study for my exams. Filter coffee has helped me through long hours of internships.

Don’t believe me? Next time you come here, to Bangalore, you can check it out for yourself.

Here’s to you filter coffee. Here’s to you.

The World’s Best Cook!

Food is, and always has been my one true love. The smell of a cake baking in the oven, the sound of a dosa sizzling away on a tawa, the sight of freshly prepared carrot halwa, all orange and nutty – these are the smells, sounds, and sights, that I associate with my mother. That I associate with home. These are also the very same sensory perceptions, for lack of a better word, that beckoned me, away from my books, from those oh-so-boring textbooks, and towards the light. My mother is one of those people, truly with magic in her hands. She can whip up fantastic pizzas with the same flair as she can make hot, crisp, buttery, and delicious dosas. She can make cakes and biscuits in the same quick, efficient and systematic manner (the manner you always associate with mothers) as she makes puliyogare (tamarind rice) for lunch. She can cook basundi (a not-so-distant cousin of rasmalai), and fruit trifle to feed a hundred people. She can cook all that, and more.

One of my fondest memories, one that I associate with my school days, was coming back home to something delicious. What, after all, is better than coming home from a tiring day at school, than to be greeted by piping hot samosas and cutlets, soothing lemonade, and freshly made gulab jamoon? What could be better than being given piping hot cups of coffee, and tea, while you slog for exams? And of course, what could be better than coming home to piping hot rasam, and steaming hot rice, after having spent six months in a hostel?

Oh, and did I mention, along with being the world’s best cook, and having raised two kids, she also has a PhD. And a full time job.

This one’s for you mom! Thank you for introducing me to the wonderful world of food!

Cheers!

About

Hello wonderful people!

I am a 21 year old law student obsessed with food. In between my studies, moots, and internships, and the hectic world that is law school, I have begun chronicling my thought process as I devour my way through India. These are my thoughts, musings, and well, just about everything else. About food, of course! 😛

I also have another blog, called The Big Read Project at https://thebigreadprojectblog.wordpress.com. It’s pretty interesting if you like books! 😛

Cheers! 🙂

Anuradha

Howdy wonderful people!

This is my very first attempt at blogging. I love food, and I love telling people about the food I’ve eaten. This, I hope will be a way for me to tell the world about it, and pen my train of thought as I devour dishes across the wonderful country of India, that I come from.

Happy reading! 🙂