Facebook Badge

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A piece of Tibet

Momos, there are millions of momo vendors in the city, The Bengali always had a soft corner for the Asian flavors, but today Momos are becoming a very big comfort food for all. Kolkata houses some of the really popular momo shops. Another thing that is really getting on to the generation today is Thukpa. A meal in a bowl with soup, noodles, vegetables and meats. Very lightly spiced, a Thukpa is a very healthy 'eat out' dish .

Away from all the commercial stir, with no advertising , "The Blue Poppy" and Sikkim House is a treasure chest of surprises.

The Blue Poppy
Sikkim House
Middleton Row


I am sure you think by now I am going to talk about momos. Well no i am not, i do want to talk about some other fantastic delicacies. With wast array if dishes to offer, Blue Poppy is a secret hideout for many a office goer and also for students from nearby schools and colleges. Gaining popularity wholly with their food quality and hospitable ambiance. The serve some amazing gastronomical treats from Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan . The regular Chinese food is also available for the slightly less experimental.

When you enter the place it transports you to Gangtok or Darjeeling. The smells, the decor, all is so inviting. The warmth and coziness are enhanced by the lovely hostess, Tiki . Amicable nature is her plus and she is always smiling and ready to help out with the menu.

With her recommendation I ordered Chicken Shapta, a country style spicy chicken stir fried with loads of onions and tomato. PLEASE tell them to reduce the spice levels 'coz if you can eat chilies this is not a thing for u. A favorite side order with this is the Ting momo. This is a steamed BUN, Similar to the Chinese Tai Pao, the Ting Momo is to Tibetian food what bread rolls are to continental food. fantastic to dunk in some hot soup or maybe as an accompaniment to a spicy stir fry, it adds a lot of character to the food you are having.

One must also try to have their Phaley, which is like a paratha stuffed with meat.
Needless to say that they have fantastic momos and thukpa.They also have steamed Pork Buns ( which need to be ordered in advance)

Unless you go there you will think your regular momo wendor is the best. This place will just make u forget all the momos you have ever eaten. The food here is truly fantastic.

So, Blue Poppy it is .....

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mumbai.... On the Roll

Life is a whirlwind of sorts, rite when u think u have eaten the best in a category, yet another gush of wind brings the aromas of something that just sets an all new bench mark. I have always thought that the best rolls are available are available in Kolkata. Well, last night i was just left stunned. Walking down another familiar street in the city closest to my heart, Mumbai. Yes, this is yet another roadside rendezvous in the city of dreams. But this time we are not going to see some age old techniques of cooking or some landmark.

Let me take you to the suburban shopping place LOKHANDWALA. Frequented mostly by youngsters and upcoming actors and models, you will be amazed at the variety of food that is available . One such place I went to was this shop called BREADKRAFT.

This place calls itself " no 1" roll shop. what i had here was an Egg Chicken Keema Cheese Roll. Spicy warm and simply brilliant. The wrap itself was like a cross between a luchi and a roti...
They have flavors ranging from Chicken Manchurian , Makhani, Chili Paneer, Mixed vegetable..and tonnes more...

Unless u have a bite if this warm flavor treasure you cant imagine what i am talking about. I don't know what came on to me... just sat on the foot tread and forgot what people will think and in the true Mumbaikar spirit just ate my way through the best junk food i have eaten in ages.

The roll, mind you, is thick and eating one is dinner by itself... A few steps away is Eden another local cake shop. The owner refused to let me click pictures inside his shop. So i managed to click only what i ate from there.

Lets begin with the Passion Fruit Cheese Cake with a top layer of passion fruit and the bottom layer of a very light blue berry. The best thing though was the crust. It was thin and flaky, and was made with oat cookies. With a hint of saltiness that was added by the butter in the crust, the flavors seemed to just burst open in the mouth. Just the correct texture to glide the spoon through, the only better cheese cake I have ever eaten is at The Big Chill in KHAN MARKET.

The second dessert that we tried was Fruit of the Forest . A wild berry flavored cream layered with a moist buttery sponge, topped with cream infused with basil seeds. Not many of us know that basil seeds are vastly used in desserts, In India we call it Tukmalanga or Sabja .. widely used in faalooda.. Ever wondered what those black slippery dots in a falooda were?

On that sweet note and with a hope to be carried home, i end my today's rendezvous of the mumbai road side. Good food does not need to be at a fance cake shop from a star rated hotel. It will summon you and you will reach it ...... if you are destined to ...

Till Then......Nan tara bhetuyaa

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Proof of the Pudding.....is in "Polishing" it off

Being as Indian as i am, my sweet taste buds are slightly stronger than the others. Sometimes they even start demanding dessert out of the blue, like they have taken over my brain. I feel like a two year old (if not any thing less than that) and fuss for dessert.

Its cloudy, misty, and rather laid back. The sunlight is on even close. What calls me, is my kitchen... a few slices of bread... some milk... sugar... eggs ....and nuts ....you guessed rite... Bread and Butter pudding. Smothering my senses, the bread and butter pudding comes out of my oven. I have been making this for ages and probably been doing this the very same way. The almost blistering hot and gooey mass of pure heavenly bliss transports me to childhood days. The excitement in my hear fills me with joy. Somehow even the best muille fuille may not do to me what a very humble bread pudding does.

Dessert is one course of the meal, that i feel, one should begin the meal with. With all your senses open and ready to accept the brand new flavors of the food. As I sit on by my window and take the first few bites of this rather humble elixir, life just seems happier again. A whirlwind of love just rushes through my mouth and reminds me how simplicity can sometimes be way more lovable than exotic. Food to me is as important as love.

Most people normally flavor their bread and butter puddings with vanilla extract .... i somehow feel that its splendor lies without any artificially flavored things. in my recipe i like to add a hint of either mace or nutmeg... it not only camouflages the eggy taste , but also removes the strong milky overtones. This humble goodness' recipe was given to me by a teacher...


Milk 2 cups
eggs 2 nos
bread 12 slices
butter 50g
sugar 3/4 cup
mace powder 1/2 tsp
chopped almonds 1/2 cup
raisins 1/2 cup
chocolate chips 1/2 cup

for the glaze

orange marmalade 2 tbsp
water 1/2 cup

  • apply butter on bread and cut int small pieces ...
  • whisk eggs and milk and sugar till suagr dissolves
  • add the mace powder layer the pudding with bread pieces, almond , raisins and choclolate chips
  • pour in the milk mixture and bake covered at 200 degrees celcius for 20 misn then open at 150 degrees for 10 mins
  • in a pan melt the marmalade with water to form a syrup
  • gently spoon all over the pudding once out of the oven
  • just wait for the syrup to get absorbed
  • DIG IN

CAUTION : this recipe is the true addiction .... every spoon will swoon your senses.....

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Mumbai... The Reminiscence

History of a place is never forgotten. Reminiscence of the the past is just what I describe Mumbai as. The city of dreams.

Let me take u down to the my favorite place in Mumbai... Apolo Bunder. This is the name of the area behind and around the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. It still has a charm that cannot be forgotten. Flying pigeons at the Gateway of India or maybe the street food of Bade Miya, it has the works.

My first memory of this place is of 2001 new years when i was training at the Taj. There is nothing on this Earth like her. She is the Taj ( as the slogan goes). Everyone in Mumbai knows Bade Miya. Its the mecca of street food. but there is its lesser known cousin ... Bagadadi...

This place is simple... cheap .. and out of the world. What they serve in the name of a naan is HUGE. Let me be very honest, there are no frills attached to this place. It is the love for some amazing food which calls me to this place every time i go to Mumbai.
Bagdadi has a very limited menu but what ever they serve is brilliant. a must try is the Fried Chicken. The bhuna gosht too is delectable. This is a Bohri joint and since the Bohris are a food loving community, this place stands out in its true stature.

Next, down the same road is Bade Miya. what looks like a closed trolley in the day become a Fair of sorts at night. Folding tables and chairs appear out of nowhere as the sun sets and a dull street turns into a food souq... Heady aromas or meat being grilled on live coals.... men tossing rumali rotis.. and sizzling bheja fry... Its a true delight to the eyes ... the nose and ... of course the taste buds.

Once your appetite is satiated we must take a walk around the biggest milestone for the hospitality industry in India - The Taj Mahal Hotel. It the most talked about hotel in the country and also a landmark . Stayed at by heads of state... celebrities ... It is a secret dream of every hotelier in India to be able to work in this hotel. Walking around this mecca of hospitality, one sees how much love went into its construction. The facades..the canopies, and the dome, the most magnificent artwork adorns this hotel.. and every single room.. every single corner has a story to tell.

The Taj is not only a state of the art hotel but also the jewel in the crown of Mumbai. This hotel is the face of Mumbai and holds a lot of respect in the eyes of every hotelier ever. My article today is a salute to her.. The Taj. She may be over a 100 yrs old but she is beautiful as ever. ..

This is just the beginning many a roadside rendezvous' await you in Mumbai.. The Irani cafes... the wada paw... or the Matki chi usal.... have many more stories to tell...

Till I meet u next....Nan tara bhetuyaa

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Wonder that was......

Kolkata: the city of joy.... sounds simple doesn't it....? Its the city of love... the city of romance.. literature..music .....and way much much more..

This city has a time capsule.....where in spite in being 2011.... u might just be able to co exist with 1930. A walk down to Kumhaar Tuli from shovabazaar ... might take u to the days when Kolkakata was Calcutta.... into the days of the misty past... smokey lanes and fragrant alleys...

Some old house stand right next to their swanky new generations' counterparts and call out for the doi walas who left them stranded... Thirsty wall plaster are waiting for water from the bhistis and yearning for someone to knock on that broken door whose latch too has frayed with time.Broken balconies of old houses where no Juliet has called her Romeo in many years .... and old panes that beckon light but no eyes to look beyond them... Estranged....yet , with a soul....

As the nostalia begins to sink in, you set foot in a world that opens your eyes.....A walk through time ...a walk through a place where gods and their cunterparts are mass produced - KUMHAAR TULI... If I left u on an open end, its the place where idols are created... Kolkatas own 'God Factory'....They have it all... Now preparing for the advent of durga pooja, the four day gala carnivale of sorts for this city, Kumhaar Tuli has a lot of planning to do.. as its the nerve centre if it all.

The city awaits the arrival of their daughter.. their mother .. and the deity of their dreams.. Maa Durga....who descends to this make belief father's house with her four children.. These god makers create them with their own hands, filling not only life .. for the praan pratishta but also dreams of many Bengalis who wait for this occasion year round... Aspirations... assimilations .. and connotations all fall in place in the four days of this favorite festival....

As the hay figurines get covered in clay...the deity comes to life... where the makers shine... the artisan looks at it with pride.... Walking through 'God Market'.....just leaves you stunned... just an empty space soon will transform into a hustle bustle of merriment and drama... a bundle of illumination and faith.

This is not over yet...how can the talk of kolkata.. of durga pooja be over without the single biggest weakness of every Bengali - MISTI....? The rather famous or the infamous sweet tooth of the Bengali has been talked about.. and even harped abt over ages....i'm not talking about the rosogolla or even the nolen gurer sandesh...As the old bengali sweet shop owners surrender their generations long goodwill to the new generations, there is one such sweet shop that has got the masses today talking . The world changes its tastes from the sandesh to the truffle ... Amidst all this stands out a little Treasure Chest of sandesh popularly called NAKUR....a shop that gives you sandesh ranging from dark chocolate.. black forest ... and butter scotch to strawberry and black currant...

Some of their chocolate sandesh can even put bakeries to shame...
More chocolaty than the brownie and as gooey as fudge... soft... smooth and not even slightly synthetic... he modern day chocolate sandesh does find a very important place in the quintessential benagali meal.

The place filled me up with a new joy for being associated with this city... a new pride to live here...a new bonding which got renewed..and i have yet another story to tell to many a food lovers over the world....

Every city has its secret hideouts...the beauty of the ones in kolkata are that u don't really need to hide from anyone for a hideout.. at heart everyone here is looking for a secret favorite place...and nobody really has a problem sharing their secret place with u . In kolkata a shared secret brings people closer and the secret stronger... The 'belonging nature' of this city brings together people from all over the world and tells them that all the joy of the world begins and ends in just one place ... Kolkata: the city of joy....