Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Yum Yum Cha

I had no doubts that Varun Tuli would have created a superb product when he walked me through his plans for Yum Yum Cha - how superb it would be turned out to be a delicious surprise . He took 750 feet of space , fitted in his kitchens and service bays and yet managed to comfortably seat 40 people in this cheerfully done up , light and airy restaurant.

We ordered ' fun bottles ' which are real super tasting drinks with many a twists - do order those , they come in a few flavors , I went with Black Magic .The meal started with a Seafood Salad - it's fresh , light and has crab , scallops , tuna and orange roe - you get to experience some amazing flavors and textures here .

Now for the real thing ! We started with dim sum - Crystal Duck is a must order . It's like a reconstructed Peking duck roll , all packed into a dim sum along with cherries and hoisin , very cleverly put together . Prawn dim sum served on a yellow curry base and spicy prawn were very superb too.

Sushi was excellent - we went with Rainbow platter- which is salmon , tuna , crab and avocado and Dynamite which was a delicious salmon , spicy mayo and prawn tempura .

Then came Takoyaki - Japans popular ball shaped street food . The one we ordered was stuffed with octopus which was treated with some Tuli magic , so when you bit into it , your palate tangoed to delicious creamy flavors . I loved this.

Spicy basil rice which is the most popular dish at the restaurant  didn't do much for me . What was the perfect end to lunch was Thai lemon steamed fish - light , tangy and flavorful . We managed to squeeze in Mochi ice cream - a creative dessert where in a sticky rice ball you have some interesting flavored ice creams - we went with green tea and the other was  coconut jaggery .

Yum Yum Cha lives upto Varun's formidable reputation . He has taken cafe food to new levels , played with Chinese and Japanese dishes and flavors to brilliant ends , all possible with the support of his beautiful ( much ) better half Prathna Tuli , who was all over the place ,personally seeing to each detail , inspecting what came out of the kitchen and made each diner feel special . Do head to Yum Yum Cha and give yourself a super treat .
Guys , you have a winner on your hands !

Sikandalous Cuisine

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Baked Chicken Curry

400 Grams Boneless Chicken.
Make Paste :
1/2 Cup Grated Coconut.
8 Sambar Onions.
4 Green Chilies.
1 Teaspoon Ginger Paste.
1 Teaspoon Garlic Paste.
2 Tablespoon White Vinegar.
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil.

1 Tablespoon Ghee.
2-3 Whole Star Anise.
10-15 Curry Leaves

Make Powder:
1 Teaspoon Lightly Roasted Coriander Seeds.
1.5 Teaspoons Lightly Roasted Fennel Seeds.
Marinate chicken in the above paste and powder for 1 hour adding 10 whole curry leaves to the marination.
Take a banana leaf , lightly oil it with preferably coconut oil , place the leaf in a heavy bottom oven proof dish , spread the chicken and loosely cover with another leaf portion and then tightly seal the dish and bake at 180C for 30 minutes.Now transfer the chicken and the juices to a wok .

Heat ghee ,add star anise , as it becomes aromatic in 30 seconds add curry leaves and pour the tempering over the chicken.
Place a lid on the wok and cook chicken another 10 minutes over low heat to infuse the flavors. Bliss !

Sikandalous Cuisine

Artusi - Traditional home-made Italian cuisine, no twists no drama , just good honest food .The restaurant showcases the cuisine of Emilia Romagna region famous for their pastas ,  no wonder then that at Artusi 12 varieties of pasta are freshly hand made daily to give you that feel of a proud Italian Mama's kitchen !

This was my first visit to Artusi thanks to Sourish Bhattacharyya who organized the evening on behalf of Carmen Heinrich, who is here with a sample of wines from Rosoretto (Barolo, Barbera D'Alba and Roero Arneis). The wine was perfectly paired with the delectable spread that Oscar Balcon laid out for us.

Passatelli in Brodo - which is a poor man's dish/soup in Emilia-Romagna Reigon - dumplings made from bread, eggs and cheese in an wholesome meat broth set the tone for the evening - pure delectable flavors .

The next course was Tortellini filled with meat in a traditional Ragu Bolognese . The Bolognese was superb in flavor , the tortellini a bit undercooked for me - yup I know all about Al Dente ! The vegetarian Tortellini filled with potatoes and pumpkin in a Gorgonzola sauce was stunning .I would order that again happily.

Grilled Pork Chops were perfectly done and flavored , I loved them to bits and didn't need the sauce they came with.I would rate these as one of the best I have eaten.

Do head to Artusi - they have a huge menu , a well stocked bar and the wine list looked very impressive - Subhash Arora looked impressed which tells it all !

This was Sourish's  first event as an independent promoter of food and wine - brilliantly put together and I do hope to be a part of many more such superb evenings  Congratulations Sourish for a very successful beginning.

Sikandalous Cuisine

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Alu Phata Phat !

Adapted from my Alu Bonda recipe , these alus are no brainer and take minutes to make , specially if you too keep boiled potatoes in the fridge at all times - If not , it's not a bad idea to keep 2-3 boiled potatoes . You can whip up any dish in minutes .

1 Kg Potatoes Boiled.
1 Large Onion ,  Chopped.
6-8 Green Chillies , Minced.
2 Tablespoons Minced Ginger.
4 Tablespoons Chopped Dhania Leaves.
2 Tablespoons Chopped Curry Putta Leaves.
1 Teaspoon Jeera.
1 Teaspoon Rai Seeds.
1/2 Teaspoon Haldi Powder.
Juice of 1-2 lemon.
1/4 Teaspoon Hing.

Boil peel and cool the potatoes .Crumble with your fingers ,don't make them pasty .
Heat 3 Tablespoons oil , when hot add jeera , rai , splutter , then add all ingredients but for dhania leaves and potatoes.
Cook 2-3 minutes till onions get limp but not colored, then toss in the potato crumble and dhania leaves , add lemon juice , mix well ,remove from heat .

Sikandalous Cuisine

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Chow Chow Kootu

This Kootu recipe is from The Bangla Table by Sumeet Nair. It's delicately flavored , creamy and delicious . Am sure it will work well with Ghia too.

500 Grams Chow Chow / Chayote
1/2 Cup ( 65 Grams ) Hulled Moong Dal.
1/2 Onion ( 50 Grams Chopped ).
4 Green chilies - Make a slit
1/2 Cup Thick Coconut Milk.
For Tempering:
1/2 Cup Oil.
2 Dried Chilies ( Preferably Goodu Milagai ).
1 3/4 Teaspoon Urad Dal.
1 Teaspoon Jeera Seeds.
1 Teaspoon Ghee.
12 Curry Leaves.
1.Boil dal in 3 cups water - till creamy and done.Set aside.
2.While dal is boiling peel and de seed Chow Chow and chop into small size pieces - 1/3d inch .
3.In one cup of water boil onions , green chilies and chow chow for 3 minutes , add salt and then cook another 2 minutes.Cook covered.
4. Add dal into the chow chow pan and cook together another 7-10 minutes.
5 Heat oil , when hot but not smoking slide in all the tempering ingredients , splutter and 30 seconds later add to the simmering dal Kootu.
6.Add coconut milk to kootu , simmer 2-3 minutes till its like a thick stew. Rest and adjust flavors

Sikandalous Cuisine

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Reconstructed & Inverted Alu Bonda Pao !

Reconstructed and inverted this Alu Bonda Pao is inspired by Chef Himanshu Saini who took a sikandalous cuisine master class , and is a wiz kid with innovation . Here is my take on what he had once plated and I loved.

I used a ready made dinner roll / pao , the smallest size , made a slit and nicely stuffed it with a spicy tomato chutney.

Next made a ' cup ' with the alu masala ( recipe below ) 

and engulfed the roll in it , patting into a nice smooth ball .

Dip the bonda in besan batter ( recipe below ) and deep fry over medium heat in plenty of oil - don't over handle the bonda while frying .

When done remove from the oil , allow oil to drain out - cut into two pieces and you have a bonda stuffed with pao and chutney ready to be bitten into !

1 Kg Potatoes Boiled.
1 Large Onion , Chopped.
6-8 Green Chillies , Minced.
2 Tablespoons Minced Ginger.
4 Tablespoons Chopped Dhania Leaves.
2 Tablespoons Chopped Curry Putta Leaves.
1 Teaspoon Jeera.
1 Teaspoon Rai Seeds.
1/2 Teaspoon Haldi Powder.
Juice of 1-2 lemon.
1/4 Teaspoon Hing.
1 Cup Chickpea Flour
2 Tablespoons Rice Flour ( Optional , a good option as you get a nice and crisp bonda ! )
1/2 Teaspoon Ajwain Seeds.
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder.
Red Chili Powder.
1 Teaspoon Garlic Paste.
Make the batter by mixing all the batter ingredients and slowly adding water . Ensure there are no lumps. Make a semi thick but flowing consistency pakora batter . Set aside for flavors to develop while you get the potatoes boiling .
Boil peel and cool the potatoes .Crumble with your fingers ,don't make them pasty .
Heat 3 Tablespoons oil , when hot add jeera , rai , splutter , then add all ingredients but for dhania leaves and potatoes.Cook 2-3 minutes till onions get limp but not colored, then toss in the potato crumble and dhania leaves , add lemon juice , mix well ,remove from heat .
Sikandalous Cuisine

Amrut Fusion - A fine Malt Whisky form India

Not too long ago the world scoffed at the thought of Japan producing whiskey till Nikka , Suntory Yamazaki etc happened and gave the Scots a run for their money . Then Amrut hit the shelves of Harrods and firmly placed India on the Malt map- Jim Murray’s rated Amrut Fusion the Third Finest Whiskey in the World for 2010 giving it a rating of 82 / 100  . Amrut Fusion is distilled from  barley from Scotland and Punjab, making this a true fusion , which is also how it gets it's name .
Ironically many of us haven't heard of it or tasted it as it is available only in Karnataka and now selectively in  Mumbai . How unfair is that ! Why this discrimination ? Perhaps some whiskey connoisseurs could throw some light on the reason behind this .

Sikandalous Cuisine

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Chettinad Mutton Fry - Uppu Kari

Chettinad Mutton Fry - Uppu Kari
This recipe is from Sumeet Nair's brilliant cookbook - The Bangala Table.The mutton came out delicious .  Do try this out , its superb.
500 Grams Boneless Mutton ( I used 750 on the bone ).
1/2 Cup Oil.
20 Dried Chilies - Mild Goondu Milagai recommended , seeded and broken.
30 Grams Large Garlic - Sliced thin and long.
1 1/2 " Cinnamon .
110 Grams Shallots - Peeled and left whole.
50 Grams Onion Chopped.
1/2 Teaspoon Haldi.
150 Grams Tomatoes - Sliced .
1. Heat oil , add red chilies to release fragrance.
2. Add cinnamon and garlic to the wok , don't allow garlic to burn.
3. Add shallots , chopped onions and haldi . At this stage the wok should be very hot. Stir one minute.
4. Add tomatoes , cook 3 minutes , add mutton and salt and cook for 4 minutes .
5. Add 1 cup hot water , bring to a boil , reduce heat to simmer and cook the mutton 30-45 minutes till tender .Add more water if needed.OR give a pressure - after one whistle cook under simmer for 15 minutes under pressure.
6. Bhuno until most water has finished and mutton has darkened and is glazed with a nice dark sauce .
Bliss on a platter !

Sikandalous Cuisine

Harish Lunch Home - A Mangalorean Cuisine Dream

As We walked up these dingy stair , I silently  wondered just where my foodie buddy Sandeep S was taking me for lunch . He had promised me the ultimate sea food experience and now I seriously doubted his sanity . However all that sorted itself out the moment we walked into the ' family room ' area where the manager seated us and after a passionate discussion with Sandeep , sent a server carrying a tray full of the catch of the day . Sandeep poked and prodded various fish ( I did come with the ultimate foodie !)  , selected what he approved of and then got down to ordering.
A chilled Sol Kadi got my taste buds going , then came Clam Sukha in a fiery red chili preparation which was followed by Surmai Rawa Fry - excellent stuff.I ate fish eggs for the first time - Dhaboli Kababs which were good but could have done with less masala .Rawas in a mild Arab Masala was divine - fresh and delicately flavored which was the perfect balance for Fish Pulmunchi - a medley of various fish / clams etc in a yummy Mangalorean Masala .The meal ended Kori Roti - A Mangalorean speciality where Kori ( Chicken ) is served on a rice roti preparation and the latter melts in your mouth with the kori curry - superb stuff.
Harish Lunch Home is a must visit - As it's a Mangalorean restaurant the food tends to be spicy however they have a fine balance with some delicately flavored dishes .The restaurant is nicely divided into different rooms , it's clean , very clean and the service is excellent  I am happy my last meal in Mumbai was this special .

Sikandalous Cuisine

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Sadichha - Delicious Malwani & Gomantak Food

My trip to Mumbai started off on a disastrous note with an awful dinner at Masala Bay , Taj Lands End where I am staying . However lunch today at Sadichhi , Bandra more than compensated for it and introduced me to some delicious Malwani & Konkani food at totally affordable prices.This tiny restaurant offers a huge menu representing the cuisines from the regions.

We didn't go for the thali options - which sounded tempting - Chicken Thali , Prawn Thali , Fish Thali etc etc .. but went for a selection from the a la carte menu.King Fish and Lady Fish were both excellently fried , fresh and delicious. Kohlapu Chicken proved to be a winner - spicy and full of deliciousness . Sukha mutton was okay . All this we ate with rice rotis - Alayle pita Roti (?) . Therewas also an excellent curd based curry likethe South Indian More Curry with bondi in it - superb stuff.This is a must do restaurant - inexpensive and delicious food with super service.

Soul Fry - Bandra , Mumbai

Soul Fry - Food for the soul -that is how I would describe this eatery where emphasis is on good fresh food , though they could perhaps take a bit of care to spruce up the place . Unfortunately we were only two of us so didn't get to taste a whole variety of dishes as I would have liked to - but what we ate was superb.
Squid - soft and delicious in a green masala set the tone for the evening . This was followed by fish and some amazing prawn curry . Soul Fry I highly recommend and somewhere I would head back to happily . Service is good , and an meal for two cost us 800/-

Sikandalous Cuisine

Saturday, 11 October 2014

KurKure Alu

These come out delicious - go with the concept and adjust flavors to suit you . Quantities are in Approximates only.
200 Grams Small Round Whole Potatoes - Don't peel , just cut in two and deep fry . Set aside .
1 Teaspoon Whole Dhania - Lightly roast and pound once or twice to crush.
1 Teaspoon Jeera .
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Paste.
Chili Flakes - To taste.
1/3d Teaspoon Kasoori Methi.
1 Tablespoon Mustard Oil.
1 Teaspoon Amchoor ( To taste )

Heat some mustard oil , add jeera , splutter 30 seconds then add all masala ingredients , lightly bhuno  - maximum 1-2 minutes , now add in the alus .. increase heat to high and cook another minute just to coat alus with masala .Take off heat , mix in amchoor and you have some delicious alus waiting to be eaten !

Sikandalous Cuisine

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Chow Chow Ki Subzi

I cane across these overgrown pear like vegetables and couldn't but help buy them to discover a new dish . Visually I figured these belonged to the ghia family - squash to be precise and knew vaguely how I would cook these hard vegetables.. The end result was delicious.

500 Grams Chow Chow / Squash / squash chayote / Lankoo
1/2 Teaspoon Jeera
1 Onion - Chopped.
1 Tomato - Pureed.
1" Ginger Minced.
1/2 Teaspoon Red Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon Dhania Powder.
1/2 Teaspoon Haldi.
Minced Green Chilies.
1/2 Teaspoon Jeera Powder ( lightly roasted )
1 Teaspoon Sauf Powder
Peel Chow Chow and cut through . Discard the seed and the tough inner parts. Chop as seen in the pic - 1/2 " pieces.
Heat regular oil , add jeera , when it gets darkish addonions , ginger , tomatoes and all masalas except for Sauf & Jeera Powder , cook over low till oil separates - splash water if need be.Now add Chow Chow and bhuno / fry in the masala for 5-6 minutes till it begins to soften. Now add 1/2 cup hot water and cook covered till done - 10-12 minutes. Retain a bite in it , don't over cook.
Take off heat , add in sauf & Jeera powder and allow to stand covered 10 minutes for flavors to marry. Taste , adjust and bring on the hot rotis - this is delicious !
Sikandalous Cuisine

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Suji ka Halwa / Semolina Halwa

A delicious halwa I grew up eating , never realized how much effort goes into making it . There are shortcuts which I am sure produce delicious results , however experience has taught me that with some recipes there are no shortcuts - here too , a slow and long ' bhuno ' of suji / semolina in ghee is the answer.
2 Measuring Cups Suji / Semolina.
1.5 Measured Cups Ghee + for later .
Nuts / Raisins - lightly fry in ghee and set aside.
Make Chasni / Sugar Syrup:
By boiling 3.5 Cups Sugar , in 8 Measured Cups Water along with the seeds of 10- 12 Green Cardamon , boil to dissolve sugar only , then leave covered to infuse cardamon flavors in the chasni.
Heat a large wok , and dry roast suji / semolina for about 10 minutes to warm up - don't allow it to color.
Heat ghee in a wok , then add suji / semolina and slowly bhuno over medium low heat for about 25-30 minutes.There is no escaping this process or hurrying it . As suji / semolina heats up it becomes darker and aromatic - however watch out , at this stage it burns easily.
When you have the desired color add the nuts / raisins and then add sugar syrup / chasni .Do watch out , it will splutter like crazy and can burn .
Now slowly cook and cook the halwa - maybe 20 minutes more , add ghee and water - that can only make it better .
You have just made a delicious Suji ka Halwa , I ate this with pooris when I broke my fast this afternoon .

Sikandalous Cuisine

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Ghia Ka Halwa

Light and delicious , I first ate this in a ' thaali ' lunch and got hooked onto it . Adapt quantities to get the desired sweetness - yes , add other dry fruit too if you like. I avoided coconut here to keep the flavors gentle.
4 Measuring Cups Peeled & Grated Ghia / Lauki - I don't remove seeds.
500 Mls Milk.
1/2 Teaspoon Green Cardamon Seeds.
5-8 Tablespoons Sugar.
2 Tablespoons Ghee.
1/2 Teaspoon Green Cardamon Powder.
In a wok add milk , ghia and cardamon seeds and bring to a boil , reduce heat and cook for about 25-30 minutes. I simmer on medium heat , stirring it occasionally .When ghia has softened and you have the desired consistency add nuts and cook on for another 10 minutes  or so till you get a halwa like consistency  , you may have to increase the heat to make the milk evaporate , stir often to prevent it from sticking. Now add ghee , sugar and cardamon powder , raise heat to max and bhuno another 5 minutes . Cool the halwa then taste for sweetness and adjust as needed . I serve this lukewarm . Lauki at it's best !

Sikandalous Cuisine