You can imagine my delight at finding authentic homestyle Gujarati food in Chennai when all my life Ive been penning love letters to it.And whats more Geetha Mehta, is also well-known for rolling out and neatly packing 1,000 Roti’s & Pickles & Parathas (theplas) for students going abroad. These have a shelf life for a year, are cholesterol-free and yummy too.As though all this wasn’t enough to endear her to me, she also conducts cooking classes.
But first, heres an example of my open love letter to Gujarati food:
“Hu tane prem karu chhu.” I love you for your pristine vegetarian-ness, for your sheer balance of sweet and sour, tangy and bitter, in fact your sophistication and variety of flavors leave me kind of week-kneed. One look at that silver thali beckoning with a myriad dishes, from crunchy farsans to luscious sweets like the curd based shrikhand seduce.The melt-in-the-mouth, slim and silken rolls of besan (khandvi) the steamed, spongy wedges of besan (dhokla) and your winter special “undhio” are irresistible. Especially, the undhio with it’s broad beans, yams, eggplant and more baked in earthenware pots. And that “paunk” (fresh kernels of wheat or millet, eaten with sugar balls) is just poetry in itself. As for that famed Gujarati dahi “kadhi”, I love it most when it is sweetened, like the Surtis like it.
Using only the finest ingredients and “plenty of love” Saurashtra-born Geetha makes the most delightful of authentic Gujarati food (also South and North Indian). Its her unique pumpkin khatta dhokla that I taste at our “Whats hot tasting session”. And dry fruit shrikhand (she makes more than ten flavors, including Cadbury chocolate for kids). Looking for diet options ? Bread Rabri, variety of Shrikhand, Aam Ras and so on
Even her true blue Gujarati pickles unerringly spiced are worth trying. Call and check about her classes, tiffin dabbas and ofcourse the longlasting theplas for taking abroad.
1605, J Block, 9th Street, 15 th Main Road
Tamilnadu – 600 040
26164841 and 98400 66263
The story is that when a new Gujarati bride is being checked out, the very first and most important test that she must pass is that of making the perfect dal , with just that perfect balance of sweet and tangl. So I requested Geetha for her authentic recipe. Here it is
- Thoor dhal 1 cup
- Green Chilli 1
- Ginger 1 small piece
- Ground nut 1 spoon
- Salt to taste
- Haldi powder ¼ teaspoon
- Chilli Powder ¼ teaspoon
- Jaggery small piece
- Kokum / Tamarind to taste
- Oil 1 table spoon
- Mustard seeds ¼ teaspoon
- Methi Dhana ¼ teaspoon
- Asafoetida 1 pinch
- Curry leaves 4 – 5
- Coriander leaves 1 table spoon
- Tomato 1
Boil the dhal and separately ground nut. Then, mash nicely, mix the ground nut and keep aside. For seasoning, heat oil and put mustard seeds. Then add asafetida and cut tomatoes. Cut chilli and ginger and add all the remaining ingredients. After frying nicely, add to dhal. Add water as required and boil for 5 to 7 min. Then add coriander leaves.
The perfect snack, silken rolls of khandvi are my favorite and delightful to taste. Light. And healthy roo.
- Sour Butter milk 3 cups
- Gram dhal 1 cup
- Asafoetida 1 pinch
- Ginger chilli paste 1 teaspoon
- Salt to taste
- Haldi powder ¼ teaspoon
- Oil 1 table spoon
- Mustard seeds 1 teaspoon
- Til 1 teaspoon
- Curry leaves 10 – 15
- Coriander leaves 1 table spoon
Add all ingredients to butter milk and mix well and keep stir on slow flame till it thickens. Pour on individual plates and spread well and let it cool down. Heat oil and mustard seeds, til and curry leaves. Make the poured batter into rolls and cut to smaller pieces. Spread the seasoning on the rolls and sprinkle coriander leaves.
Which is the first place Id look for recipes and love passed down through generations? A home kitchen ofcourse. And when that home kitchen also caters professionally then the treat doubles.And each time I fly into Chennai I find that the home kitchen magic works wonders. Heres a happy story that began in Bangalore, when three gifted women cooked together. Marium Banu and her two young daughters Sabira and Rashida not only cooked to their mothers recipes but were also actively encouraged by their father to attend cooking classes and learn Moghlai and Continental cooking. Not only did Sabira learn and cook at the young age of fourteen but also rapidly picked up all her mothers cooking tips and guidelines. After marriage Sabira moved to Chennai. Along with her husband Javed,
Sabira has been catering from home for the past fifteen years. They pay personal attention to every detail…from shopping to cooking. They also customize their cooking and menus to the specific needs of their customers. She devotes most of her time to cooking and refining her skills.
At our “Whats hot” tasting session she brought along some of her signature dishes for tasting. Fragrant and rich with masala Biryanis (both mutton and chicken) their specialties are malai chicken, butter chicken, tandoori, drums of heaven, sachlik kebabs, shami kebabs, chicken croquettes, malai kebabs, kheema naan, vegetable naan and assorted desserts. While home delivery is free within 2 kms, they take orders atleast 24 hours in advance.
Sabira shares below her easy-to-make and yummy-to-taste chicken lollipop recipe,
48 Ramaswamy road, D 2. #rd floor, G R A partments, KK Sagar,
Contact Numbers: 9962023786, 9380668064, 9382209805.
SABIRA BANU’S RECIPE OF CHICKEN LOLLIPOP
Chicken – 4 Breast Pieces (Boneless) Grind in the Mixer
Add Chopped Coriander, 2 Onions, 4 Green Chillies, Salt, Red Chilli Powder (As Requried), Juice of 1 Lime.
Mix the above ingredients along with the chicken and form lollipops and insert a toothpick for easy holding. Dip in egg and bread crumbs and shallow fry.
Serve Dipped in Garlic Sauce.
Recipe for Garlic Sauce:
2 Tbsp ginger, 4 Tbsp Garlic and 4 Green Chillies ( Grind Coarsely in the mixer )
Maggi Hot and Sweet Sauce – 4 Tbsp
8 x 8 Sauce – 2 Tbsp
Ajinomoto – A pinch
Sugar – 1/4 Tsp
Salt – 1/2 Tsp
Tomato – 1 (Blanced and Cut Finely)
Juice of 1/2 Lime
Corinader – Finely Chopped
Fry the Ginger Garlic Chilly Mixture in 1Tbsp of oil till all the smell is gone. Then add the finely chopped tomato and fry again. Add the sauces kept measured one at a time. Bring to a boil and switch off.
“Ireland se aaya mere dost, dost ko salaam karo”. A couple of months ago, our very own rocking Irish House (the largest one yet) set up in Andheri. More than a year ago, the first of these Irish triplets was born in Phoenix Mills, followed by Kala Ghoda. Ive eaten and “happy houred” at all, also given a thumbs up verdict as we did in our latest Andheri checkout. Richard Koszarek is famous for his steaks, pork chops and beans, while Amrita’s mutton pickle is legendary.
The well-traveled foodie couple Amrita and Richard Koszarek not only spend a lot of time in London but Richard particularly enjoys the pubs there. They say Yes! to The Irish House.
Everything in this predictably themed, wooden-decored space is larger than life; from the expansive, high-ceilinged hall to the TV screens. Brick walls with trademark Irish house posters (take time to read them Beer Ladder, the Whisky Wall, Beer Kegsand thePost Box, Community tables…you name it.
FOOD & DRINK
Large (that word again) portions of deep fried fare (be it the blistering chilli poppers oozing cheese, or the fleshy mushrooms crunchy with pine nuts) is tasty. On recommendations from (@mihirsagar @dina_bshah @harpr iya_kohli
@abbas_974@thebombayfoodie) I try the Chicken tacosBeer Can Chicken cordon bleu and Grande nachos, pail of Popcorn et al . Chicken tenders are better in Kala Ghoda but otherwise all the rest of the fare satisfies.Well-stocked bar, with 42 types of beer from across the globe (draught beer is served in Kegs & Towers) Richard recommends the Erdinger wheat beer and Stella Artois. Try the innovative cocktails (Irish Trash Can, Irish Car Bomb)
The oven was not working the night we were there so Richard couldn’t get his Steak ‘n Kidney Pie. Too many deepfried, overdone starters. The large wedge of oversweet Irish Chocolate Torte and the Kahlua Mousse were avoidable.
Packed, bustling and vibrant…Ive checked out all three Irish Houses at different times of day and night.Each time, I found that when the high-ceilinged space is sufficiently crowded, it has a lived-in, age-softened feel.
And when most of the generously portioned dishes appealingly complement the atmosphere, it hits the sweet spot. No gourmet flashes, it’s mostly a mix of pub stalwarts comfort foods at comforting prices. Happy hours ( 5 to 8pm ) add to the happiness. Want a cheery, beery, noisy time ? (age no bar) this way please !
The Irish House, 1st floor, Fun Republic, Opp. new link Road, Andheri (West) 61046161
Open, 12 noon – 1am
RATING FOOD 3.5 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 4
Meal for 2: Rs 2000
A TASTE OF EMMYCITEMENT
I’m eating and drinking Emmycitement…er excitement. Here, in Hollywood, this glamorous land of eternal sunshine, the air is so thick with excitement over the high-voltage Emmy awards that I could slice it and pop it into my cocktail glass (which I do too). And its evident through all my eatingsbout (from the Voltaggio brother’s “Ink” Nobu’s first ever restaurant “Matsuhisa” to the king of chefs Wolfgang Puck’s “Spago). But it’s in the iconic rockstar “Sunset Marquis” where for over 50 years not only have Emmy, Grammy, Oscar winners, legends (including our very own Bachchan family) stayed but their bar manager and actor Tony Nuncio has been making waves in Hollywood with his latest creation of the cognac based cocktail “Breaking Dad”. Not only does it celebrate the Emmy winner of 2013 of the same name but also George Rosenthal’s love for cars and his son. Bacon and seasalt popcorn compliment the drink and Im excited to be in Los Angeles on the night of the Emmy awards!
P.S. Ive been overwhelmed and overjoyed by your response via instagram posts to my request to #dinewithrashmi. Im so sorry that Ive been away so long and unable to keep my promise. Will surely do so as soon as Im back.
It is here in this sundrenched glamorous city that I get my first taste of Rockstar food (literally too).
For the past 50 years, Sunset Marquis has been the secret hideaway for actors, writers, artists, filmmakers, supermodels, restaurateurs, billionaire entrepreneurs and rock stars.
Interestingly, the stories of the Sunset Marquis and the history of rock ’n’ roll are inextricably intertwined. Several bands debuted in the bar here, The Doors to Led Zeppelin. Neil Diamond ( used to perform by the pool to pay his tab) to Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, George Clooney, Jennifer Aniston and many other regulars here.
BOLLYWOOD TO HOLLYWOOD
Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek and Aishwarya Bachchan have stayed here and enjoyed not only the place but also the food. Moreover, it is the worlds only hotel which has a state of the art recording studio where many Grammy-winning songs have been recorded. Madonna has recorded here so has Elton John (to name a few). It is here that the winners of “American Idol” stay for months and even as I eat the most unique “cauliflower steak” Michael Bolton strolls past in the 3.5 acres of Mediterranean oasis tucked away on a hill just off The Sunset Strip.
Guarding these superstar’s “peace and privacy” for over 23 years is the dapper and dynamic Rod Gruendyke who is so passionate about his work that he started working as a manager of travel lodge, when he was 15 years old. Since then he has not only launched several prestigious hotels but continues to redefine hospitality. He recounts how actor Kevin Costner bumped into the Bachchans and concluded a deal without having to go to India. Interestingly Rod is also a believer in Amma, the hugging saint and has a long-standing affinity for India.
TASTY AND HEALTHY
Taking care of the beautiful people’s tastebuds and balancing it with their health and fitness needs is
the brilliant Chef Roger Eggleston. He believes in appreciating what the earth gives us, to never stop learning and using the braising technique, of searing and then cooking in a liquid. The trick is to keep the temperature
“low and slow” he points out. To intensify the flavor, he uses vegetable stock but adds apple to it. He shares his recipe…
- 4 Cauliflower steaks cut 1 inch thick. Make sure to leave some as the stem to hold it together
- Vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Sprig of thyme
- 4 cloves of garlic
Season the cauliflower with salt. Heat a heavy pan with some vegetable oil just until smoking. Add the steaks and sear them until a nice color forms. Flip them over; add just enough vegetable stock just to come up ½ way on the steaks. Add the garlic and thyme and bring up to a simmer. Place the pan in the oven and lightly braise just until tender: about 15 minutes. When done, remove from the liquid.
Garnish· Corn grilled on the cobb and then cut off· Cleaned morel mushrooms, lightly braised just as the cauliflower steaks· 1 tsp butter· Sliced chives· Baby fennel shave thin and placed in ice water· Raw purple cauliflower· Garlic blossoms
Heat the morel mushrooms up with some of their braising liquid, add the charred corn and finish with a little butter to glaze the vegetables. Season with salt and finish with the sliced chives
You can make a Truffled Yogurt by
Whisking 4 egg yolks into yoghurt. mustard, wine, canola oil,
squeezed lemon juice
- Spoon about 2 tbsp of the truffle yogurt onto the center of each plate· Place one cauliflower steak on top of the yogurt
- Spoon the vegetable mix over the cauliflower steaks· Using a micro plane, grate the purple cauliflower all over the plate· Garnish with the shaved fennel and garlic blossoms
Enjoy! keep rocking!
Pizza and pasta
Happy surprises: I am sure you love them too. I serve up one today. It’s a Value for money, cheery new pizzeria which shot into fame after it started drone delivery services. But that’s hardly why I commend Francesco, especially since I write this from the pizza capital of the world, NYC.
It’s tucked into the ever evolving urban theme park of Phoenix mills. This seriously small, wooden-floored, white-walled, brightly lit eatery with oval mirrors on the walls (which make the café look bigger) has simple, functional white wooden tables.
Fifteen varieries of pizza (we love the thin and crisp yet fold-able when you crack it, crust.). You can choose the size of pizza…
7inch (Rs 220) 10inch (Rs 13inch) and 13inch (Rs 475) and your toppings too. For me, pizza has to be in erotic union with pepperoni (thumbs up to Francesco s). The passionate young Mikhael Rajani ensures plenty of vegetarian options .
The truffle pizza delights but could do with more of my musky favorite.
Try the robustly spiced Peri Peri Pizza, ( paneer and chicken options).
Tasty ravioli stuffed with beet ( Rs 325) but too expensive for the small the portion. Aldente Spaghetti aglio olio. Broffle (brownie waffle), the tiny, tenderfirm Cheesecake and the plain looking bambolino buns stuffed with chocolate come out tops.
Francesco has stabs of ill-advised innovation, like the
the dryish Bianca Salmone with too little salmon, the ggplanty parmigiano pizza and the red velvet waffle which is just a waffle gone red. Noisy when packed (which it is most of the time). No beer (a must with a pizza) or wine.
I welcome this open through the day, cheery, small, well-priced pizzeria. It is clearly driven by the mission of feeding you well, as opposed to giving you food for thought or gourmet fare. Of playing to your tummy instead of your imagination. And with it’s comforting pizzas and pasta it executes that mission more dependably than many other pizzerias with similarly modest but noble ambitions. Mama Mia (please note my Indian accent when I say that)
Shop 9-11, Next to L’vista Furnitures, Skyzone, High Street Phoenix, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel, Open 11 am to 11.30 pm
Meal for two: Rs.1000|
RATING FOOD 3.5 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3
GOD IN NYC
Pardon the blasphemy! I’m convinced that God lives in this adrenalin-fuelled dagger-shaped New York City. How else do I explain the most divine of palate-pleasures on the street to my transcendental experiences in the greatest cathedrals of cuisine? I’ve been in NYC less than 30 hours and am already getting blown away by
dish after dish’s visual and gustatory starbursts. I write on my laptop from this sublime heaven of haute cuisine (also a shimmering
Parthenon of pleasure ) – Daniel Boulud’s Daniel, which has been crowned with 3 Michelin stars for the past 21 years and continues to reign supreme.
The ever smiling spectacularly brilliant Daniel’s creative French 15 course menu dazzles, and pairing these with wines is NYC’s best sommelier, our very own Raj Vaidya (originally from Mumbai). My dinner companion Rahul Nair, NYC based foodie and screenwriter obviously has food and films in his genes as his father Sameer Nair now heads up a leading mumbai film and TV production company.Last night’s Jean George’s champagne shrimp salad seduced at The Mark, and I had an exciting Lebanese lunch at Ilili thanks to the king of hospitality design Adam Tihany and his lovely wife Marnie.
Within the next five days I will have sniffed out NYCs cheap and cheerful and worshipped at many a haute temple. Please email Rashmiudaysingh@gmail.comtwitter instagram @rashmiudaysingh and I will share the good word with you. Amen!
I’m rejoicing! I’m getting a taste of centuries of family recipes lovingly passed down generations. Sure! There is plenty to be said about restaurants, about masterchefs, about modern and fusion cuisines too. But, give me original, authentic and traditional recipes anyday. They brim over with love, they preserve a flavor of history, tradition and culture. They are created by home makers who keep in mind economy, speed, efficiency and health. These are steadily not only getting lost over time but also diluted and corrupted.
So when I come in contract with Gold medalist in M.Sc maths, ex- Scientist in Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre Kalpana Venkatesh a brilliant cook herself who continues to be inspired by her mother in law Muthulakshmi Gopalan, I am overjoyed.
“Amma” as she is affectionately called by her family is a feisty and multi-talented native of Papanasam (Tirunelveli district). The seventy year old grand dame is extremely erudite, loves reading, is involved in family finance and family management and ofcourse her cooking is unmatched. Amma continues to have a very close and affectionate relationship with her family, especially Appa.
MUTHULAKSHMI’S MUTHUS (PEARLS)
Muthulashmi (Amma) learnt cooking from her mother Chellammal and with great precision and meticulousness has preserved each recipe. Traditional and authentic, these pure vegetarian recipes also inspire her daughter Viji.
Today, even their fourth generation of Nethra , Nikhil and Raji love these dishes.
Harmonious flavors are coaxed out of Jaggery, nutmeg, urad dhall, rice, milk, ghee and more. Some are served as parsadam, some celebrate special occasions.
On my request Amma shares some of these recipes. Here’s my second request to them…that they preserve them in a book so that the whole world can partake of Ammas recipes and love.
Pori Vilangai (Porulangai) Urundai
Moong dhal = 4 cups
Jaggery = 6 cups
Fresh coconut (cut into small pieces) = ½ cup
Cardamom powder = 1 tsp
(Optional) Dry ginger powder = ½ tsp
Take a thick bottomed pan and dry fry the moong dhal, till it is golden brown and a nice aroma starts emanating. Take care not to over brown it. Cool and grind it into a fine powder in a blender. Transfer the contents to a wide thali or plate. Add cardamom powder, dry ginger powder and mix well. Spread it out on the plate.
Take a thick bottomed vessel. Boil the jaggery in 150 ml water over medium flame, till it dissolves completely. Strain for impurities. Reboil the jaggery water along with the coconut pieces till it comes to a consistency as follows: If you put a drop of the jaggery syrup in a cup of normal water, it should stay like a globule. Switch off the stove.
Add 2 laddles of jaggery syrup to a portion of the powdered dhal mix on the plate, just enough to be able to make into small laddu balls. Mix and make small laddus. Repeat this procedure, till the jaggery syrup and dhal mix get exhausted. Speed is very important here since otherwise the jaggery syrup tends to harden. These laddus have a shelf life of about 10 days
Instead of 4 cups of moong dhall; we can use 3 cups of moong dhall and 1 cup of channa dhall.
- S: This is an important traditional Tirunelveli (Tamil Nadu) sweet dish, served during Deepavali day.
Ukkarai ( Deepavali Sweet dish)
Channa dhal (Bengal gram) = 400 grams
Jaggery = 500 grams
Ghee = 150 ml
Grated fresh coconut = ½ cup
Cardamom powder = 1 tsp
Cashews = 100 grams
Salt = ¼ tsp
Soak Channa dhal in water for one hour with ¼ tsp salt. Strain the channa dhal and grind to a thick paste in a blender without adding water. Spread the mixture in an idli plate and steam cook for 7 minutes (As similar to idli making). Remove it from the idli plate and let it cool off for about 10 minutes. Put the cooled cakes in a blender and grind to a powder. Transfer the contents into a bowl and keep it aside.
Take a pan; add ghee and fry the cashews till golden brown. Similarly fry the grated coconut in ghee till golden brown. Keep it aside.
In another thick-bottomed vessel, boil the jaggery in 100 ml water until it dissolves completely. Now strain this for impurities and re-boil the jaggery water on medium flame, till froth comes fully, along with good aroma. At this stage, add the powdered dhal mixture and mix well. Keep stirring for 5-7 minutes till bread-crumb like texture is achieved. Add the fried cashews, grated coconut & cardamom powder and mix well.
Spread in a flat bottomed dish, garnish with fried cashews. Dish is ready to be served.
1. Instead of channa dhal, a combination of Channa dhal 200 gms + Moong dhall 100 grams + Tur dhal 100 grams can be used.
2. Replace jaggery with sugar. To prepare sugar syrup, boil 500 grams of sugar in 100 ml of water and bring to 2-string consistency (when you take the syrup between thumb and index finger and release it, you can see two strings). For additional flavor, along with cardamom, a pinch of edible camphor can be added.
- S: This is an important traditional Tirunelveli (Tamil Nadu) Iyengar dish, served during Deepavali day.
Looking for unusual and personalised Diwali Cupcakes? Need eggless cupcakes, desserts et al? Low calorie, Low fat, and Sugarfree? 3D Mickey Cookies ? 3D Batman and Spiderman ? Voila! The “Sweet fairy” conjures them all. Tops the diwali specials with chocolate diyas, festoons them with rangoli and more.
I don’t know about you, but I believe in Santa Claus and elves and fairies. And for our “Whats hot tasting session” when I met “ Sweet fairy” I was delighted. “I was always obsessed by fairies since my childhood”Apeksha Agarwal explained and so when this daughter of the Kitchen Queen title winner of Jaipur took to baking “Sweet fairy” was the most natural name for her home kitchen company.This young lady learnt her first recipes from her mom and heres the good news, she bakes only eggless desserts.
“Since my closeones are vegetarians and prefer eggless, food, I ve specialised in EGGLESS baking” Apeksha clarified. And sure enough all her creations are soft and sweet and yummy… be it cupcakes, teacakes, custom made cakes, cookies, customized cookies, desserts (Apple Pie, Tiramisu, cheesecakes, Trifle puddings and eclairs), homemade breads, chocolates .
Particular about the finest ingredient and freshness she keeps introducing new desserts in their menu, Red Velvet Cupcake, “I have also started making the Green, Yellow and the Orange Velvet Cupcakes. The major change here is flavour of icing, these are frosted with Cardamom flavour cream” she explains. I have yet to try these, but enjoyed the ones I did.
“There is a common misconception in baking that eggless bakes are not as soft as those made with eggs. This is not true at all and the proof of the pudding is in the eating.” Literally and otherwise.
- “Sweet fairy” kiddy specials include designer cupcakes with any cartoon characters, 3D mickey cookies, cake pops, designer cookies (doremon, mickey, winni the pooh), designer cakes (for example doll cake for girls, car cakes, cricket cakes for boys).
Apeksha Agarwal, Sweet Fairy
Call – 9677267380
email – email@example.com
One can call, email or contact her through their Facebook page and place orders and pick their desserts.
SWEET FAIRY CHOCOLATE CAKE
1/2 can (400 gms for a full can) condensed milk
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
125 gms all-purpose flour
1 tbsp Cocoa
1 tbsp Chocolate powder
60 ml, melted butter
1 tsp Vanilla essence
- Sieve flour, cocoa, chocolate powder, baking powder and baking soda.
– Mix the condensed milk, flour, 75 ml water, vanilla essence and melted butter thoroughly
– Grease and dust a 7″ diameter pan
– Pour the cake mixture in the prepared pan.
– Bake in a hot oven at 190 C for approx 20 min (check by inserting a toothpick, when inserted it should come out clean)
Take it out on a wire rack and cool it away from the fan