Saturday, 31 January 2015

North Kerala Duck Curry

Adapted from a North Kerala varatharachadu curry recipe Sandeep S shared with me , I took all his help and guidance on the phone , used his recipe as a base and adapted it beautifully to make the first ever duck made at home !
2 Kg Duck - Leave 20% pieces with skin if you are going to bake it , or else clean the skin off totally.
40 grams shallots (you can use normal onions too)

3 big tomatoes cut in to big pieces
10 cloves of garlic crushed
1 inch piece ginger -bruised and chopped
2 sprigs curry leaves
4-6 green chillies depending on how hot it is
For the Spice Paste
50 Grams Coriander Seeds
12 Dried Red Chillies (vary it between 8-12 depending on how hot it is)
3 Tablespoon Black Peppercorns
1" Cinnamon
5 Cloves
5 Green Cardamom
Roast all the above on medium heat until the coriander seeds become dark golden brown and take it out in a bowl to rest and cool.
4 Tablespoon Freshly Grated Coconut
5 Cloves Garlic
5 Shallots
2 Sprigs Curry Leaves
1 Teaspoon Cumin
Roast all the above on medium heat until the coconut become dark golden brown and take it out in a bowl to rest and cool.Add both wet and dry spices which are roasted (above) in a blender and grind it to a smooth paste. Add water sparingly while grinding to get the consistency.
Add 5 tablespoon oil in a thick bottomed pan and sauté the shallots until its soft and transparent. Add ginger, garlic, curry leaves and green chillies and sauté for another 5 minutes until its cooked. Add the ground spices and sauté it on low heat until the oil splits from the ground spices. Add tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are soft and cooked. Increase the heat to max, and add the duck and keep stirring evenly coated with the ground spices and the surface is light brown.
At this stage I transferred it all into a heavy lidded dutch oven added 1 cup water and baked the duck for 3 hours at 150C. If you arent baking it but cooking it normally then add 500 ml of boiling water(Add more water depending onhe consistency), salt to taste and simmer it until the duck is almost cooked.
For garnish, take a heavy bottomed pan, add 2 tablespoon of clarified butter (Ghee) in a thick bottomed pan and sauté it until the onion becomes golden brown. Then add 2 sprigs of curry leaves sauté until the curry leaves are crispy and add it to the duck, which is simmering. Mix well and take it out of the heat and let it rest for about 20-25 mins before serving
Sikandalous Cuisine

Thursday, 29 January 2015

The Great Kabab Factory- Radisson Blu Plaza , Mahipalpur , New Delhi

The Great Kabab Factory- Radisson Blu Plaza , Mahipalpur , New Delhi

I took the advice of my DGC friends and made the right choice by heading to The Great Kabab Factory for a decadent afternoon of delicious kababs and sparkling wine - endless quantities of both I must confess to . As it was a last minute plan we went without a reservation , so had to wait as it seems everyone stole my idea and headed there for kababs to the Radisson . It was well worth the wait .

The restaurant has a very happy feel to it - overlooks the pool , lot's of color and light and space , I hate eating in dark and dingy places. Sunday Brunch has a generous selection for both vegetarians and non vegetarians like me.We started off on a delicious note with melt in the mouth Galouti Kababs which would have pleased the toothless nawabs for sure ! These were followed by equally tasty ajwain infused Prawns , fresh and cooked perfectly.Two types of chicken , I enjoyed the Peshawari Murg Tikkas a lot . Hydrabadi Macchi was a bit disappointing though.

Daals were good and Paneer was excellent - super soft and flavorsome.Murgh Biryani was okay - .Dahi Ki Pasliya - excellent and how ! Nariyal Gosht again was superb. Excellent Sheermal and Bakarkhani along with beautifully made crisp jalebis with rabri and some more all went to make this a delectable meal .
I have to compliment the service - well informed , efficient and very hospitable . This was a perfect Sunday lunch , something I will happily repeat . Thank you Biswajit Chatterjee and team Great Kabab Factory for superb afternoon - the entire meal - food , service everything was perfect.

Guppy - Winter Menu

I had promised myself I would eat in different places and not head to my comfort zone till a friend mentioned a very special dinner she ate at Guppy - their winter specials , so yours truly needed no further excuse to head back to Guppy by ai for probably my 95th meal there. I wont go into the Pork belly or Tofu and Artichokes , superb Sushis or their wonderful regular dishes - What I am sharing are a couple of winter specials we ate too.
Chicken Suimono , an earthy clear chicken soup with root vegetables , chicken dumplings and anoki mushrooms inspired by the ' Dobin Mushi ' style where soup is cooked and served in a traditional Dobin teapot and steaming broth is poured onto the vegetables bringing out their flavors as it's being served , an explosion of wholesome honest flavors .
We then shared a Nasu Dengaku - aubergine pulp cooked in special miso , stuffed back in the shell and baked with garlic panco - I don't think anyone of us liked this much .Grilled Market Fish in a spicy doubanjiang sause -  fermented soya and other spice - very flavorful and delicious . This was served on a bed of vegetables and a winner all the way.
The big show stopper was Mushroom Takikome Rice - If I may take liberties and describe it as the Japanese risotto , slow cooked mushroom , kelp dashi and vegetables - a treat to the palate and a must absolutely order
The winter menu and I just tasted a part of it is a must experience . I am happy I got this introduction to some new cooking techniques of this brilliant cuisine and also got to experience a whole load of new flavors superbly showcased by Chef Vikram Khatri and his team.
Sikandalous Cuisine

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Fish In A Banana Leaf

This fish has no recipe as such - my base is always mustard paste , after that I give a twist if the mood sets in .Comes out light and full of flavors.You can make it oilfree , or drizzle raw mustard oil just before serving which is what I do . Here is the essence of the recipe - all approximates.
300 Grams Fish - Use on the bone preferably , and cut in steaks or bonless chunks.
Mustard Paste.
1 Tablespoon Black Mustard Seeds.
1 Teaspoon Yellow Mustard Seeds.
4-6 Cloves Garlic.
2-3 Green Chilies.
1/2 Teaspoon Sugar.
Grind the above to a paste , and apply on fish . Set aside.

Meanwhile take a banana leaf , cut to suitable size , press the rib with a knife to flatten / make pliable.Gently move the leaf over fire for 10 seconds.Cool leaf apply oil , place fish in the center , make a parcel as shown in the pic and bake at 180 C for about 20 minutes . You can also steam the fish for 30 minutes or so.When ready to eat , open the parcel , drizzle mustard oil and eat directly by placing the leaf on your plate.
I play with this recipe - infuse curry leaves as I did here by adding them to the marinade along with whole green chilies . You may add hung curd - 1 tablespoon , or may like some mint / coriander / coconut in the paste .

Sikandalous Cuisine

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Indigo - New Delhi

My afternoon at Indigo wasn't about food alone - for me it was  more about getting to know the man Rahul Akerkar and what lead to these legendary restaurants. Sourish and I spent a sunny afternoon at Indigo with Rahul , enthralled by the stories of Rahul's life . He did it all - Played sitar for his guests - yes he is an accomplished sitar player , washed dishes at Jethro’s Restaurant where he eventually began to cook too and a few years later ended up opening India's most celebrated standalone fine dining restaurant , Indigo in Mumbai in 1999.

Rahul understands ingredients and how to give your palate the most unexpected experiences by bringing a combination of flavors onto your plate without compromising the integrity of the dish or the ingredients used - So when you order the Potato crusted Rawas and find it nesting on a brilliant Carrot and Ginger puree brought together cleverly with a slightly sour Kairy Curry , you will understand what I am saying . He also didn't hesitate to call his executive chef and discuss the Saffron & Crab Meat Ravioli which we were served but not fully to his taste and discussed how the Bell Pepper Sauce needed toning down to bring out the flavors of crab - For him the honesty of the dish is paramount .
At Indigo Grilled Chicken Caesars Salad comes with fresh Anchovies as it always should but seldom if ever served in restaurants in India.When you go there , do also order the most incredible Beer and Cheddar Souffle and the Salmon three ways - Brulee , Confit and Tartare - fantastic trio of flavors and techniques.
Vegetarians have a huge selection to choose from , my favorites were Bruleed Roman Artichokes , spicy greens and whipped Feta and a superb salad of Heart of Palm- delicious .
I can quite honestly say that this has probably been the best meal I have eaten in a long time - Indigo is the vision and expression of a very talented man !

Monday, 19 January 2015

Dhania Infused Coconut Chicken

500 Grams Boneless Chicken - I would have preferred using on the bone but had none at home.
4 Tablespoons Grated Coconut - lightly brown on a pan with a gentle bhuno , cool and grind to paste.
1.5 Cups Coconut Milk.
2 Star Anise - Optional
Dried Red Chilies - Optional

Make powder:
1 Tablespoon Black Pepper Corns.
4 Red Chilies.
1/2 Tablespoon Fennel Seeds.
1 Teaspoon Jeera.
1 Teaspoon Coriander seeds.
Lightly roast the above , cool and powder.
1 Onion Chopped.
2 Tomatoes - Puree
1 Teaspoon Ginger Grated.
1 Teaspoon Garlic Grated.
1.5 Tablespoons Ghee
Curry Leaves.
1 Tablespoon Lightly Roasted  Coriander Seeds and crushed once.

Heat Oil , when hot add star anise , this will infuse the oil with it's sweet flavors .After 30 seconds add onions and cook till medium brown, Then add tomatoes and cook till oil seperates.At this stage add ginger garlic and the masala powder and salt - cook 4-5 minutes ,and add the chicken . Bhuno well sprinkling water if needed - then cook covered till done.
When chicken is done , mix in the coconut paste and milk  , and cook 1-2 minutes on sim to infuse flavors while you make the tarka.
Heat ghee - when hot , add curry leaves and crushed coriander seeds - don't blacken them , just cook 30-45 seconds till aromatic - Pour over the chicken , mix in and take off heat . Seal the dish tightly for 15-20 minutes or till you are ready to eat .Aromatic and delicious !

Sikandalous Cuisine

Sunday, 18 January 2015

La Bodega Master Class

18 members of sikandalous cuisine met for a master class which was taken by Chef Raúl Martínez Ramírez in Delhi's only authentic Mexican cuisine restaurant - La Bodega , Khan Market.

Comfortably seated on the roof top section of the restaurant , soaking in Delhi's winter sun as chef and his assistants taught us various Mexican dishes , walking us through easy salsas , tortillas , a hearty and delicious Black Beam Soup , exquisite Mushroom & Shrimp Tostada , a brilliant Roast Chicken in Mushroom Sauce , an aromatic and flavorsome Red Snapper wit Red " Mexican Style " rice and Churros that were light and divine . 

We took a break somewhere inbetween , bonded over Mojitos and finally sat down to an amazing meal , eating what was demonstrated to us.
I am happy not just to have organized such a successful master class for our members , but to have introduced most of them to this gem of a restaurant which showcases Mexican cuisine as it should be known - Thank you Smriti , you organized the most perfect afternoon and were the ultimate charming and graceful hostess .

Take a bow Raul , super well done , you are an amazing talent !

Eggs in a birdie nest

For some reason the kids at home call this ' Eggs in a nest ' wala breakfast and this is their Sunday special , more so I think because they get to eat their much loved Maggie Noodles too ! Essentially no brainer - make noodles as per instructions , add your stuff - I add bits of ham sometimes or just some herbs and often nothing , and when almost done gently break in an egg or two , cover the pan and let it cook another 10 minutes over very low heat till desired doneness.
Noodles get slightly crisp at the bottom and I guess the whole thing does look like a nest ! What I guarantee you is that it's super delicious !
Have a sikandalous Sunday !

Sikandalous Cuisine
Today  members of Delhi Gourmet Club met at Tian - Asian Cuisine Studio , for a delectable experience specially curated for your club.Tian is all about Vikramjit Roy - his vision , his passion and ingenuity which are showcased beautifully in each dish in this very elegant restaurant.
Vegetable garden salad with Tuna Scallops and an ingenious ' Olive Oil ' Soil had me wowed as did the Duck Carpaccio .Scallops encased in onion skin served with Truffle and Asparagus were amazing and a perfect example of Chef's creativity. I opted for Chilean Pork Spare Ribs and balanced the meal with grilled artichoke heart risotto . On my table Avijiit and Piu opted for Braised lamb shanks and Lamb Chops which had them sold on coming back to this amazing restaurant
I cannot praise the service enough nor find the right words of appreciation for this immensely talented and wonderful chef - Thank you Vikramjit you had us all floored . The meal was perfect , brilliant service , warm hospitality ... bubbly through the afternoon and some fabulous singing all made this one event that wont be forgotten in a hurry .A big thank you to Team Tian for a memorable and delectable afternoon.

Sikandalous Cuisine

Friday, 16 January 2015

Kylin turned 10 yesterday and I was thrilled to have been there celebrating this big day with Saurab and his team .Not many restaurants get to achieve this milestone . I have eaten many a meals at Kylin , we have held one of our most successful DGC events there on the rooftop , and last night once again Saurabh wowed us all with excellent food  and warm hospitality . No wonder than that this brilliant restaurant has survived and seen many a big daddy restaurants exit while Kylin continues to grow from strength to strength !Thank you Manita , Sohan and team Kylin for a magical evening .
Well done Saurabh - and here is to a lot more success which you have deservedly earned.

Sikandalous Cuisine

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Sakkarai Pongal / Sweet Pongal

Inspired by one of my favorite chefs - Sanjay Thumma of Vah Re Vah fame this is my take on sweet Pongal.
1 Cup Rice.
1/2 Cup Moong Dal.
3 Cups Water.
1 Cup Milk.
Jaggery to Taste.
6 Tablespoons Ghee.
Assorted Nuts / Seeds.
4 Tablespoon Shopped Coconut.
1 Teaspoon Cardamon Powder - Optional
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper Crushed - Optional.
1/3 d Teaspoon Saffron - Roasted , crushed - Optional.

Wash rice and dal and bring to boil in 3 cups water.When it reaches boiling point cover , cook on sim till 90% done. You want rice mushy as in curd rice.
Now add milk , and cook till rice is totally done and a bit overcooked .
Heat Ghee , add dry fruit , when aromatic mix into the cooking pongal .Add jaggery -  you add jaggery when rice is cooked as it wont cook much after jaggery is added.Cook another few minutes to blend flavors , taste and adjust . Lastly sprinkle in cardamon powder , black pepper powder and saffron . Wish you a happy Makara Sakaranti, Pongal & Magh Bihu !
The changes I made - I roasted the daal and washed and then used it - I like that flavor .I also added a whole lot more ghee and dry fruits .
You may need to add more water while cooking - that all will vary depending upon the rice used.

Sikandalous Cuisine

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Shiv Sagar - A review

Mumbai's famed Shiv Sagar opened up finally a few months ago in Delhi on Janpath . I was expecting it to be more of a ' street food ' kind of place so was pleasantly surprised at the extensive menu which does bring many famed street foods from Mumbai and Delhi on to the table in a clean and comfortable setting , along with other favorite dishes from all over India.
The restaurant is huge , on two levels , spacious and comfortable with lots of natural lighting which works well for me .
I went with my family so we got to order and taste a lot . Pao Bhaji and Vada Pao naturally were a must order and were superb . Bhel I felt could have done with more of a kick , or maybe I like my chaat over spiced.Bedmi Aloo was excellent as were paneer tikkas , another surprise was Veg Tawa Pulao .On our servers insistence we ordered Chili idlis - Idlis cut and tossed in a Schezwan batter and fried - SUPERB ! And yes the famed Mumbai Sandwich a must order too. We ended our meal with Paan Kulfi - I was kind of vary about ordering that as I expected some synthetic flavors , but it had the real stuff in it and was a winner with my sisters and mom .
All in all a very happy experience , the menu will take a couple of visits to explore , which I am happy to do over the next few months as  is the kind of food that is close to my heart . Super well done Varun Puri !

Sikandalous Cuisine

Friday, 9 January 2015

Cafe Lota - A review

Cafe Lota

Never mind the name - I was quite keen to visit Cafe Lota after hearing good things about the place , finally we made it there yesterday on a bleak grey wintery afternoon and found the place buzzing , packed to the gills - thoughtfully warmed up with sigris - all in all a cozy and comfortable atmosphere.

The menu - it's well thought out - you can do small plates or regular meals and sample their take on various regional cuisines or simply snack on some interesting dishes. We started with Palak Pattey ki Chaat and Sabudana Popcorn - both were delicious.Then came a strange take on Chicken 65 , which it wasn't , but was tasty enough. For some reason I ordered a Bihari Baingan ka Chokha - totally forgettable ! What was very nice was Kerala Mutton Fry on a Raggi Appam and an excellent Bhapa Doi kind of Cheese Cake - delicious actually it was.

Reasonably priced , service is wonderful - the food above average , the experience - a very happy one . Do check it out , the place has a lovely vibe to it and they do some superb coffee too .

Methi Pyaaz Ki Subzi

This recipe is a favorite at home this season when it was accidentally ' discovered ' while trying to figure out newer ways of eating methi other than with potatoes and paneer - the end result is DELICIOUS !
10 Sambar Onions - Peel and leave whole.
3 Cup Chopped Methi - Salted for 10 minutes and washed to remove bitterness though I personally skip this step.
1 Teaspoon Garlic Paste.
1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Crushed Black Pepper.
1 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds.
Curry Putta.
Whole Red / Green Chilies.
Heat oil , splutter mustard seeds , add crushed black pepper , curry leaves, whole chilies and garlic paste. Cook 30 seconds then add onions , cook for 2-3 minutes not longer- You want them to not even get soft at this stage.Remove onions from oil , add the methi and salt - cook methi 10-12 minutes till 75% done , now add the onions back gently stir and cook till methi is done- Onions must remain whole but soft.
This combination is delicious - mustard seeds and methi go together beautifully and whole onions add that sweet touch to each bite .

Sikandalous Cuisine

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Hot & Sour Coconut Milk Soup

This is my twist on the spicy Sour & Hot Soup . While Galanga and Lemon Grass play an important role here , if you don't have either still go ahead and make yourself a nice sour and hot soup along these lines - You can go with Green Curry / Red Curry Paste / Tom Yum Paste - they have all the flavors you could ask for to make a delicious broth.
The stock:
200 Grams Chicken Bones .
4" lemon Grass - Use the inner layers of the white portion , chop tiny.
2" Galanga - Cut in discs.
5-7 Kaffir Lime Leaves.
2 Teaspoons Chili paste .
1. Teaspoon Fish sauce ( Optional - Good option !).
Make a stock base by simmering the above in about 2 liters of water for 30 minutes.Simmer covered.
While the stock is on the boil prepare your other ingredients:
Slice Some Spring Onions
10 Large Mushrooms Slice Thickly
Slice some Thai Red Birds Eye Chilies
Green Coriander on the stem
10 Cleaned Prawns
Boiled Noodles.
1-2 Cups Coconut Milk.

In a wok heat some oil - I used chili oil , saute 2 tablespoons red curry paste along with prawns and all the prepared vegetables , saute 2 minutes, add noodles , add coconut milk , bring to a gentle boil and pour boiling hot stock over this , cook 2-3 minutes .Allow the soup to sit covered for a couple of minutes for flavors to develop , adjust to taste with a some Lemon Juice /Tamarind Juice additional spice if needed.
In case you don't have / wish to use a curry paste it's fine - the stock is so flavorsome on it's own too , so go without the curry paste if need be . OR add the chili paste mentioned below. Substitute prawns with chicken , altering cooking time , or simply keep the soup vegetarian .This is a delicious hot and spicy soup , the oil you see is from the Tom Yum paste.
The chili paste I made by taking:
8 Thai Red Birds Eye Chilies.
6-8 Cloves Garlic.
1 Teaspoon Sugar.
1 Tablespoon White Vinegar.
1 Tablespoon Oil.
Simply blitz , add salt and more chili powder if so desired.
Sikandalous Cuisine

Sunday, 4 January 2015


This lovely recipe was shared by Roma Patil a few months ago , and I was lucky enough to sample this when she made it for me when I visited her a few weeks ago .
1 Tablespoon Ghee.
1 Teaspoon Oil.
1 Cup Milk.
4. Plain Red Chili Powder.
5. Salt Heeng -  According to taste.
6. Pinch of Haldi and Sugar.
7. Few Mustard seeds, Jeera, Curry Patta, chopped Coriander for tempering.
8. Around a fistful of Besan.
1. Heat Oil, and Ghee in a Kadhai. Add Mustard seeds, Jeera. When they splutter, add Curry Patta, some chopped Coriander. Add a pinch of Haldi, and Heeng.
2. Add Milk. Then add Chillie powder, Sugar. When it starts boiling, sprinkle Besan with one had and stir continuously with the other. Add till the mixture gains a porridge like consistency. (It tightens as the mixture cools down).
3. Add Salt, some more chopped Coriander, and close lid. Let cook for a few minutes, till it's well cooked and no lumps remain.
5. Tip in serving bowl, garnish with some Coriander, and dribble some sudh Ghee, and serve hot with Rice roti.(known as Dashmi)
1. Mix Rice flour with warm Milk. Knead with the base of your palms to make a very soft and smooth dough.
2. Apply Oil to palms and roll out the roti but pressing it between your palms.( complicated).
3. Roast both sides on cast Iron griddle, and a little on fire towards the end.
4. Serve with hot Jhunka, Shenga chutney, and Ghee.

Sikandalous Cuisine

Friday, 2 January 2015

Tomato & Pineapple Rasam

1 Cup Toor Dal.
2 Tomatoes - Chopped.
3 Tomatoes Pureed.
150 Grams Pineapple Chopped.
50 Grams Pineapple Pureed.
Tamarind to Taste.
1 Teaspoon Kashmiri Chili Powder.
A Pinch of Hing.
2 Teaspoon Black Mustard Seeds
1 Teaspoon Toor Dal

Pound Together Coarsely :
2 Teaspoons Jeera.
1 Teaspoon Black Peppercorns.
1 Teaspoon Fennel Seeds
A few Dried Red Chilies.
8-10 Curry Leaves

Soak daal for 20 minutes , add chopped tomatoes  , tomato puree and give one whistle and shut.Leave under pressure till it cools ,lightly mash it all up with tamarind paste - you can keep adjusting the sourness later.Add 4 cups boiling hot water , 50 grams of pineapple puree and salt . Set aside.
Heat oil add mustard seeds and uncooked daals , curry leaves . 1 minute later add ground masala ,cook 30 seconds and add the tomato tamarind daal mixture along with the chopped pineapples. Simmer covered on low heat for 5-6 minutes . Take off heat.Allow the rasam to sit covered for 10 minutes for the flavors of pineapple to marry and blend in .Taste , adjust and enjoy !
Sikandalous Cuisine

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Bacon Dressed Grilled Chicken

1 Whole Chicken With Skin - Approximately 900 Grams
Seasoning :
50 Grams Soft Butter.
3-5 Sprigs Rosemary.
Juice of One Lemon.
1 Teaspoon Garlic Paste.
Salt & Freshly Pounded Black Peppercorns.
6-8 Rashers of Bacon.

Mix the seasoning ingredients , apply on the skin of the chicken , under the skin where possible and inside the cavity , also stuff the cavity with one lemon cut into two and de seeded along with a green chili or two and some herbs.Truss the chicken.

Chop 2 carrots and slice 2 onions , add 8-10 cloves whole garlic and some celery along with one tablespoon olive oil. Mix all of this and put in the bottom of a casserole and place the chicken on top of the veggies , breast side up . Take 6-8 rashers of bacon and cover the breast side with the bacon as shown in the pic.

Tightly seal the casserole ( I used a le Creuset dish with  a heavy lid ) and bake 45 minutes. Open once , baste the chicken with its juices and cook another 30 minutes sealed.By now the chicken will be beautifully roasted.You can if you desire open the lip in the last 10 minutes to get the skin slightly crackling.Rest the bird for 20 minutes and sit down to a delicious meal .
Bacon here takes this roast to delicious levels infusing it's delicious aroma and flavors into the chicken and base vegetables .
Roasted Potatoes
8 Medium Sized Potatoes - Wash but dont peel.Take about 3 tablespoons oil , add garlic paste , salt and pepper along with some herbs. I used fresh basil.Mix well , add potatoes to this mixture and bake in an oven sealed with silver foil till done. Potatoes cooked this way taste amazing .

Sikandalous Cuisine