One of my greatest joys is flying down from Mumbai to Chennai to spot talent that hums in home kitchens and cooks and bakes up delights. At these fabulous fun and exciting “Whats Hot tasting sessions” anyone and everyone who wants to take part emails (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we invite them to bring their culinary creations and join us. And each time I get amazed and delighted with the amount of talent and the diversity. Its also such a joy to meet the dedicated and passionate home talent. It is at the very latest such session that I meet Jayashree Manohar.
THE HEALING POWER OF REIKI AND CHOCOLATE
Grandmaster in Reiki, Jayashree Manohar turned her attention to making chocolates eight years ago. Ofcourse, she continues to give Reiki (to those who need it) and does not charge for it too. Her chocolates are in multi-generational demand. Other than her clients, her parents as well her children love them. Ask for her chocolate roses ( created on sticks, like lollipops and priced at Rs 25 each) they make for great party giveaways. She also makes a Boule’D’ Amande,spice Almond chocollates,Truffle Balls,Swirled Marble Chocolates and Crunchy Peanut coins too. The creative Jayashree also makes “Model Of Taj Mahal” chocolates with imported brand of chocolate combination of Dark, milk and White chocolate. Rates differ according to the varieties of the chocolates. She offers special discounts for bulk orders. Jayashree makes chocolates for the Rotary club of Chennai. Do you believe in the healing power of chocolate? I ask her. No prizes for guessing that she responded with a big resounding “yes”
JAYASHREE MANOHAR, 482,Pantheon Road ,Egmore,Chennai-600008.Mobile No 9841974601/ 9176069367 /42146706
I admit, I am a chocoholic. But what follows is not the delirious outpouring of an addicted chocoholic. This is the result of the most recent research and it “was not supported by any cocoa or chocolate companies,” I follow not just the culinary advances but also the medical and health research that is being done on my favorite subject. Till now we are all aware of the beneficial effects of dark chocolate on blood pressure, but here comes a research which presents another beneficial aspect. This was conducted in May, at the University of Reading in England. They measured the visual awareness and motion detection skills of 30 healthy young adults two hours after they ate either dark or white chocolate. It might interest you to know that dark chocolate contains antioxidants from cacao beans called cocoa flavanols or CFs, whereas white chocolate contains only trace amounts. 30 people were divided into two groups One group ate dark chocolate (containing 720 mg CF), and the other was given white chocolate. Then they were given a series of tests two hours later, when the CFs would be producing their physiological effects. The effects on vision were measured by various complex tests. The researchers recorded the results and then, a week later, they actually repeated the same experiment with the same 30 subjects, only this time they swapped sides. The 15 white chocolate subjects now ate darkchocolate instead, and vice versa.What they found, both weeks, was an improvement in visual andcognitive performances of the subjects who ate the dark chocolate. Quite clearly, CFs increase blood flow to the eyes and brain and that this is what leads to enhanced functioning of those structures. Chocoholics are rejoicing.
Here, in rocking Versova ( Oooh! I love Versova) I am bopping around the globe in the ten day old “The Treesome Café”. While the food itinerary is not coherent, the trip is a lot of fun. As our my Versovite guests. Foodies to the core (one is a budding chef) they not only love checking out new restaurants but also live next door to this one. It’s a fun yet inspirational evening, as in these selfish and materialistic times, it is a joy to meet selfless crusaders.
Be it the lovely Natasha Sara owner of an eclectic hair studio (which combines hair fashion with spiritual wellbeing guidance for body mind spirit) Or her friend and brilliant criminal lawyer Suman Prasad. Together, for the past three years, they have taken on the welfare of an abandoned old lady in Versova. The crusading twosome is doing this through the law and government in order to help many other senior citizens in this similar plight. Having trained as a chef, Asmita Prasad gives us her culinary insights to the food here. They all live close by and are sure to be regulars at this new Versova Cafe.
Pleasant. A fairly small, boxed in airconditioned area and an alfresco one (total of 1300 sq ft) are done up in casual, relaxed style. Two bars, exposed industrial- pipes look and tree mural on the wall complete the décor.
FOOD & DRINK
Be prepared to get your tastebuds assaulted, cajoled and seduced.Many a bar-bite and very few main courses serve up desi-global innovative flavors. South Indian masala infuses the delicious Rajnikanth omelette, while the butterchicken gives a spicy charge to the bland risotto.Unerringly cooked plump garlic Barcelona prawns, thermidor sauce drenched grilled fish delight. Flavorsome Goan prawn curry, chicken cafreal and must try Kheema pav too. Innovatively plated on trays made of grey slate (the dish of yummy baby burgers is served under a bird cage. Pl see pic). Many a creative cocktail, try the chatpatta Jamun mojito.
Uncomfy seating, big, fat sofas crammed into a small indoor space. Not enough vegetarian options (I am told they are adding to the veggie menu) Indie steak (paneer and dal makhani) is a mish mash, the bhel lacks zing and the so called Maldivian fish cake Bokiba is lackluster and avoidable. Chewy Chicken
Gangnam Style ( served skewered in four fluted glasses). Stodgy Shroom cupcakes and the pizza base not crisp enough. No beef and only one pork dish. No desserts on the menu.
Open through the day, Treesome café (named after the fig tree outside) is more of a bar ( many an innovative cocktail) with many a bar bite. Although the menu has weak spots, with a few dishes not from the heart but from a marketing plan, the gifted chef Rohan DSouza’s (who has worked with Marco Pierre White) cooking is exuberant and reflects a steady, precise hand.
It’s mostly a mix of pubgrub stalwarts comfort foods, pizzas, burgers, bhel, kheema pao et al, creatively served (sometimes over the top). Beyond bits of mild nonsense and odd affectation are real merit and considerable merriment. Three cheers! Tree cheers!
THE TREESOME CAFE Jewel Shopping Centre,
Seven Bungalows, Andheri
Open noon to 1.30 am
Meal for two: Rs 2000
RATING FOOD 3.5 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3.5
YOUR REVIEWS OF TREESOME CAFÉ
Wow! Each one of you has made such insightful and relevant remarks (on instagram and twitter) that I wish I could print them all. Sorry space constraints.
Ultimate indo-italian soul food)
mariyakach ( Rajnikant masala omlette is the yummiest. Great ambiance and food)
(YummmmYummmmYummmm…. And full of tasty fluff)
(Can eat yummiest Omlette and burger anytime of the day) @mansidavda
(Tasty Cupcake Shrooms , Orange & Lemon Grass Cooler)
(Great place!! Amazing food )
The opinion was divided about the presentation (esp bird cage) many found it gimmicky, too loud, others loved it.
value your feedback. Instagram and twitter @rashmiudaysingh mail email@example.com. Waitingly yours
Vegetarian global multi-cuisine
Whoa! This is the first time, (in my two decades of food writing) that Ive seen such a massive wave of pure vegetarian eateries dedicated to serving only global multi-cuisines (no Indian cuisines at all). “Little Italy” was one of the first, several years ago. Many opened intermittently (eg Relish, Quattro) but the past few months alone have seen BurmaBurma, Picante, Spice club (to name a few) and Nariman Point’s very own Spesso (the Italian word for “often”)
I eat here twice, the second time is an improvement. The first meal is a disappointment but my guests dazzle. Well-traveled foodies all and here’s the surprise…each one has a vegetarian connect. Leon Bignell, the suave South Australian minister of Food keeps us riveted with his recounting of the large number of Indian vegetarian restaurants in Adelaide thanks to the growing population of Indian students there. Well-informed Queens counsel, Brian Hayes, charming Cathy Parker( Bignell’s aide), Travel maestro Carl Dantas and the dynamic Vinod Advani wine writer (who only cooks vegetarian food when abroad for friends) help me eat our way through the menu. We chat over our Swiss-Egyptian (you read that right) fondue pot. (please see photo)
Walk into the handsome, contemporary space and be pleasantly surprised. Open kitchen, wooden floor and a patisserie counter complete the décor.
Many a inter-country marriage takes place here…Italy’s Pizza marries Mexico (beans, salsa et al) Swiss fondue is in union with Egyptian dukka (and both dishes actually taste good) But lets start counting the cuisines served here…Mexican, Italian, Spanish, Lebanese Turkish…then Creole, French, Malaysian, American, Japanese Moroccan, Indonesian and Greek (excuse me if Ive missed some). Oh! Yes theres African, Egyptian, Swiss fondue, sizzlers and pizzas too. Presented innovatively and attractively, many a dish is tasty. Aldente penne.
Seven Layered Mexican Shots in shot glasses are a tasty mish mash of cheese, salsa, guacamole and veggies.
Go for the Spesso Platter (deep fried crispy roll, volau vont boxes quessadila s african paneer peri peri) flavoursome Malaysian curry too..
Eggless desserts in generous portions are the high point here. Be it the Hazelnut chocolate pot, the intense chocolatey Lava cake or even the “jain macarons”.
Don’t go looking for fare made to authentic recipes and be prepared for some disappointments. Sweet soggy volcano nachos, stodgy Prawn tempura, lacklustre Lebanese mezze, overfried and hard Arancini
disappoint. Oversweet Mandarin orange red velvet and Choco o loco taco. No alcohol served here.
Non vegetarians stay away.My Jain brethren looking for international flavors? This is for you. No other restaurant in the whole wide world will cookup so many cuisines (though some are flops) made to your requirements and presented innovatively. Well-made Eggless desserts too.
Well priced (Rs 1200 meal for two, 3 course Power lunch 350)
The arguments over authenticity could go on forever as desi-flavors do the garba and bhangra with international recipes and the result? Mexican pizza, Egyptian fondue. Tasty chhe!
P.S. Looking Indian vegetarian food in Nariman Point? The next door “Status” has the same owners as “Spesso”
Ground floor, Regent Chambers, Jamnalal Bajaj Road, Nariman Point
TIMINGS 11 am till dinner
FOOD 3 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3.5
Cost per meal for two; Rs 1200
YOUR REVIEWS OF SPESSO
I write from dazzling Dubai and am thrilled to receive your twitter and instagram feedback. Thanks @tanvivedak (very good food. Tall virgin margarita, desserts good. Did not expect such variety from a pure veg restaurant. Good service, nice ambiance )
@cherryred_22 ( beautiful ambience and interiors. Amazing rissotto,anglio olio and good combinations of different types of cheese in cheese fondue. All very decently priced)
@snehakhatri looks fancy, food not comparable to similar restaurants @notjustanotherfoodie (The desserts are yum)
Do keep sending me your reviews of all and any eateries you like or dislike firstname.lastname@example.org @rashmiudaysingh (twitter, instagram)
Bar (Bombay street inspired finger food)
Yeh hai Bombay Bronx meri jaan. You’ll either love it or hate it. You’ll either find it creative in it’s attention to thematic detailing or just an overload of thakke hue clichés. My guests and I love it. Surprisingly even my buddies in their sixties get hooked. I revisit on a packed Friday night, and meet an exuberant young couple, who (like TBB) symbolize the spirit of Mumbai. Miss Malini and her Mr, Nowshad Rizwanullah.They are a living example of Mumbai being the city which makes dreams come true (like it did for Big B). Having lived all over the world, Miss Malini moved to Mumbai 14 years ago, lived with six girls and a pigeon, worked as RJ, wrote scripts and then started blogging. Today, this digital princess’s new age multi media brand for the internet generation straddles many media and has a huge national and international following. They make fashion, Bollywood, travel and food accessible. Miss Malini’s dapper husband Nowshad, also moved to Mumbai, after having a global upbringing ( Harvard and Yale graduate) and now heads up the business and is the food reviewer.
They love Bombay Bronx, “True taste of mumbai masala. Happy and shiny”.
Take a look at the photo and you’ll see the exuberant couple hanging on to a local train’s over-head handle. Before that we sat in an auto rickshaw but ended up eating and drinking at the Irani café area, just next to the bar. Mumbai, in all it’s avatars, throbs in this 1800 sq ft area, Dabbawalas table, chor bazaar map on the ceiling, Eros cinema sign et al. A wall painting of a slouching Amitabh Bachchan blesses it all and sprinkles Mumbaiya magic dust as the Dj spins a mix of commercial and deep house music.
FOOD & DRINK
The colorful menu with it’s “vez’ and “non vez” sections, the “Kadak maal” booze menu offer many a Mumbaiya infused dish and drink. Newspaper cones with complimentry crunchy chakna (boiled peanuts, channa and more) set the tone for the street food that it is to follow. The spongy Gujju dhokla gets a crisp, deepfried cover and become a yummy, must try “dhoklapakoda”. Flavorsome kheema with soft pao, the Kothambir wadi is yum and tenderfirm , succulent tandoori chicken wings too. Chicken farcha burgers , Spongy baby idlis dusted with molagapodi are worth trying as is the Iced Peru and Pani Puri caiproshka. Creative presentation, ( newspapers, mini carrom board et al).
Some of the cleverly named dishes don’t live up to their name. Hard and overfried Krispee spinach, ditto for the Raju’s chicken lollipops, Oily baida roti, Bland pav bhaji sandwis. While the tangy signature cocktails pair well with the spicy fare some of them are not spiked with enough alcohol. Some of the regular alcohol is not available (eg Old Monk). Welll informed waiters (with “Boss” written on their shirts) miss out on getting our “pijja” order and when the place gets crowded it’s impossible to get “Boss s” attention.
It’s exuberant and fun, much needed in the otherwise boring Breach Candy area (except for Ghetto and now Py). Some of it’s finger food needs to be fine tuned, as do it’s signature cocktails. The brand new Bombay Bronx is well-priced, lusty, ultramodern, clichéd, rustic, fun, exuberant and a host of other adjectives that don’t normally squeeze together but find themselves in a tight, mostly happy clutch here. Tumko Jaane ko Maangta hai!
The Bombay Bronx Hubtown Skybay, Breach Candy (99677-01666). Daily 7pm-1am.
Nightout for 2: Rs 2000
RATING BUZZ 4.5 AMBIANCE 4
YOUR REVIEWS OF BOMBAY BRONX
I write from gorgeous Gulmurg and it’s great to receive your twitter and instagram feedback here: @cityslicker (food nice esp dhokla pakoda, cocktails disappoint, overall fun, buzzing vibe, will return) @jayvasantlal (total fun place, yummy food, well priced drinks, will return) @brandedbawi (love the décor, drinks with a Bambaiya twist, excellent concepts of dhokla pakoda and farcha burger) @prioskauke (peru shots to die for, also masala fish fingers. Must go back) @netfreaknash (super dhokla pakodas and Bombay duck) @swathirishi (love the twist of the paneer dhokla) @bloodynerd (I like the Boss concept, though a little light should be put on their concept foods) @antarazandc (why fry an already perfect treat of steamed dhokla and add calories?) @ankitanarsey (finger food good, stale munchies except for bhujia sev inconsistent cocktails, not enough stock of Kingfisher ultra. @darrypars (peru and vodka go well together) @dinubhai23 (have farcha burger, pani puri caiproshka, fried masala sing ) @yutidalal ( Yum peru shot, kachi kairi with vodka) @romakripalani @almondmelon @kalpitabhosale thanks for your comments too.
SAILING INTO HEALTH
What on earth is this photo of a sailing regatta doing in my Food column? The answer is simple, the young sailing champion Samaria is the inspiration and the reason behind her mother Gulnaz, baking the most unique and healthy cakes. Having tasted Gulnaz’s baking in Chennai at our “Whats hot tasting session” I realized that I had not taken the recipe for her healthy cake. So when I called Gulnaz from Mumbai, they were in the midst of a sailing regatta in Hyderabad which the talented young Samaria was taking part in. I also requested for an on location photo. Voila! Thanks to high speed internet, here it is.
FROM BANKING TO BAKING
The multi-talented Gulnaz Ali having worked for more than ten years in a successful bankers job quit to take care of her daughter and turned to her other passion, baking. “I did this to keep my daughter’s sweet tooth satisfied”. And then ofcourse, ensured that she not only used the finest and freshest of ingredients but also the healthiest. Gulnaz’s healthy cakes are in great demand, as are her regular cakes. She has studied baking and taken special fondant classes too. Ask for her scrumptious banana walnut cake. Amongst her regular cakes, it’s the orange and a Almond cake, hazelnut chocolate cake and strawberry pies…which are her signatures. The recipe for Gulnaz’s part wholewheat cake follows, as do her tips for healthy baking.
GULNAZ ALI, 2/157 Karikata Kuppam, Muthukadu, Near Mayajaal, Chennai. Ph 9840943500/ email@example.com
Gulnaz’s tips for healthy baking
*Use homemade cream cheese/ mascarpone cheese instead of store bought. This way you can keep a check on the amount of sugar in the product.
* Replace sugar with jaggery.
* Replace maida with wholewheat flour. Start with replacing 1/4 quantity in the recipe and slowly increase the amount of wholewheat flour used.
Part wholewheat banana walnut cake.
Maida – 1 cup Whole wheat flour – 1 cup Baking soda – 1/2 tsp Salt – 1/4 tsp Banana – 2, large Unsalted butter – 1/2 cup Jaggery – 1/2 cup Granulated sugar – 4 tbsp Buttermilk – 1/2 cup Vegetable oil – 4 tbsp Egg – 2 Vanilla extract – 1 tsp Chocolate chips and walnuts/ almonds – 1/2 cup Preheat oven to 180C. Grease one 8 inch pan.
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the banana, unsalted butter, jaggery, sugar, buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and fold together with a rubber spatula until completely combined. Coat the chocolate chips with maida and mix into the batter. Pour the mixture into the greased pan and bake at 180C for 30 to 35 mins or till done when checked with a skewer.
YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE
Do you want to be featured in this column? Like Gulnaz Ali today. Then read on to find out more,The hunt is on, I am looking for baking and cooking talent. Do you bake or cook out of home and so so professionally? Do you know anyone who does so? Please do get in touch with me and we will invite you, along with some others for a “Whats hot tasting session”. After tasting your creations and chatting with you and photographing you, I will then write about you. Please do email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject CHENNAI FOODLINE. You can also tweet and instagram t @rashmiudaysingh.
I write this from Gulmurg and I am delighted to hear from you on email, instagram and twitter. Thanks for keeping me plugged to the foodie network of Chennai. Love your foodie news and views…on foodstores, food services, dessert makers, caterers and more. Please do keep calling (9884065010 ) emailing (Rashmiudaysingh2015@gmail.com) tweeting, instagraming, FB (@rashmiudaysingh). Waitingly yours.
FOOD AND FITNESS
It’s the ultimate dream: to love food, enjoy it, and still remain fit and healthy. For most of us, that’s what it remains: a dream. It should be doubly difficult if you earn your daily bread through eating. There is however, a living paradox—author, columnist and food writer Rashmi Uday Singh, who manages to stay fit and svelte. She explains how Even the most intelligent and perceptive often remark to me: “You don’t look like a food critic.”
What these refined gentlemen and ladies mean is that I don’t hog mindlessly and that I don’t live up to their medieval, preconceived notion of a food critic. According to them, it’s blasphemy not to eat and drink to the exclusion of everything else. I’d only like to ask, are all wine-tasters alcoholics? And why on earth I do have to look like a stuffed samosa to live up to anyone’s idea of what a food critic should look like? Why do I have to be obese and suffering from the after-effects of too much eating and drinking, just to prove that I eat for a living? The truth of the matter is that I am passionate about food. It excites me! I cannot resist sinful desserts, ad I am a chocoholic, the darkest, most handsome love of mylife. I love restaurants and eat out all the time. However, being fit and being able to respond with all my senses to food, is equally important to me. And having scripted, directed, produced and anchored a weekly TV show, Health Today, I have been fortunate enough to find a way to devote myself to my two passions. The weekly show was telecast for one year and researched it for over two years. I had the opportunity to interview and spend time with brilliant experts in the medical field. I questioned them relentlessly, chewed on every single answer they gave and digested it. Nutritionists, heart specialists, ayurvedacharyas, oncologists, naturopaths, homeopaths …my cameras recorded every single nuance, be it the “Vatta Pacifying diet” of Deepak Chopra in Los Angeles or the “heart smart” diet of Dr. Naresh Trehan. Banglores Naturopathy Clinic supplied as many relevant answers as the Apollo Hospital in Chennai. Dr. Praful Desai of Tata Memorial explained how diet can actually prevent cancer, while nutritionists explained how food can lower stress levels. What emerged was something basic and fundamental. When some wise guy said “make your vacation”, he definitely had me in mind.
Here are some of my tried and tasted and tested tips:
It’s all about the appetite mechanism: Okay, so you know it all, but it still might help to read what follows. Because it is only when one understands appetite mechanism that one realises that bad eating habits don’t just mean calorific and junk food but also being out of harmony with the way you eat. Ever wondered why eating and emotions are linked? Our appetite is coordinated in an area called the hypothalamus and it is this area, which controls a lot of our emotions. The “feeding” centre is divided into “hunger” and “fullness” centers. The number of signals reaching these centers dictate whether you feel hungry or full. It’s important to feel pleasantly full after a meal, because you are less likely to binge in between. Basically, you need to get tuned in to the ‘satiety’ value of eating. These ‘satiety’ signals are sent back in different stages.
Chewing: Nobody ever told e why should I chew my food well and slowly. Sure, it helps in the production of saliva and digestion, but what it also does is send signals of satiety to the brain. So, the more you chew, the more time you take over eating, the greater the perception of satiety. This is because within the jaw are stretch receptors which respond when you chew.
Exciting the taste buds: Foods that turn you on are called ‘organoleptic’. And the great news is that organoleptic foods [foods which smell, look, taste and feel good in the mouth] are actually good for you. They register satisfaction quicker and they increase the production of saliva and digestive juices. If you have exciting flavours, varying temperatures and textures within a meal, your mouth has a far greater opportunity to send satiety signals.
Lifting the arm: It may sound really strange, but the more you lift you arm to eat, the greater will be the filling of fullness. That’s because you give your brain the time and the chance to register those signals.
Trust your stomach: Within the stomach wall are stretch –receptors which send signals of fullness to your brain when there is food in your stomach. When you eat sugary, refined or fatty food they pass through your stomach quickly and satiety signals are not sent back to the brain. So, you tend to eat a lot more than you actually need to. But, when you eat high-fibre food (fruits, veggies, whole grains) they stay in the stomach longer and send satiety signals to the brain. So, while I taste almost everything, it’s the high-fibre food that I concentrate on.
Food and mood: It might help to know that it’s not just alchohol which is a mood-altering substance. Our everyday food does affect our moods too. Within the brain, chemicals help transmit messages from one nerve cell to another. There are two such substances known as endorphins, which affect our moods—serotonin and norepinephrine. The body makes these particular endorphins from the food we eat and therefore, we can, to a certain extent raise the level of these substances in the brain by eating specific foods. The main source of these endorphins is sugary carbohydrate-rich food. This explains why many of us feel happier when we eat chocolates and sweets. However the problem with eating too much of these is that sugary foods are absorbed rapidly into the blood. And though this causes a serotonin rush, it is broken down rapidly and eventually leads to a drop in blood sugar and endorphin levels. So, such foods can leave you feeling even lower than before. On the other hand, natural sugars give you a steady high. Feeling low and depressed is also linked to deficiencies in vitamins and minerals and therefore, to improper eating. A huge database of research points in the direction of eating right and light. So, for the sake of your mood, it is best to stick to natural sugars and natural starches. Natural sugar are found in fruits and veggies (as opposed to refined sugars in honey, cakes etc.) and natural starches occur in wholegrains, brown rice, beans, fruits and veggies (as opposed to refined starches in white brad, pastas etc.). these natural foods keep you clear-eyed and energetic. The reason? They release energy at a slower steadier pace, do not slow down your metabolism and and so don’t end up channelising the blood supply away from your brain. In other words, they keep you feeling fresh and in a good mood. Naturally!
Helpful tips on eating the right way
Position of eating: slouching is bad idea. Sitting upright helps. It places your stomach in a position where gravity helps rather than hinders.
Relax while eating: Digestion requires the flow of blood to your stomach but when your are under stress or upset, the stress hormones in your blood make much of the blood stream go to your limbs, this hinders digestion.
Your environment is important: If you eat live and treat your meals as just a fuel-stop-over then you may actually be hindering you health. You must value meal times as enjoyable pastimes. I make it a point to picnic, to set up candlelight dinners, to have interesting company, to eat with one’s love and of course, to eat in restaurants. All these environments relax me amd make my digestive juices flow, thereby helping swiftly and effortlessly digest all that I have eaten.
Who wants to kiss and ashtray?: Smoking kills…the tastebuds. Moreover, cigarettes discolour your nails and lips and ages you skin. And anyway, who wants to kiss an ashtray?
Drinking plenty of water: I begin my day and end it with warm water. Deepak Chopra advises sipping hot water through the day if you want to lose weight and flush out toxins.
Moderation is the name of the game: Moderation may be a boring word, but it works. You can taste everything, relish it, enjoy it and do so as intensely and passionately for the rest of your life. It’s not about denial and fanaticism, it is about celebrating food and savouring it in all its delicious forms. It is about enjoying it!
There is plenty more to say, but even plenty more to learn as I eat my way through life. As I said before, I eat for a living and have a huge appetite for finding out more ways and means of eating my way to more health and fitness.
Kya naam hai! Full marks. Can you think of a better name than “Tiffin box etc” for a casual eatery that swiftly serves many an Indian regional cuisine through the day and home delivers too? I have the perfect guests to help me check it out, not only are they Sindhi, Maharashtrian and Gujrati but also well-traveled, discerning foodies.
Having just returned from Peru, they are planning their Belgrade and Iceland trip.
While Dr Raju Khubchandani has pioneered pediatric rheumatology in India, writing is his passion and I am riveted by the iconic child-care book he is co-authoring with Dr RK Anand. Shaila Khubchandani, a surgical pathologist of repute, actually finds interpreting Kidney biopsies relaxing as she does looking after their home .We eat our way through the menu, our review follows…
Doodh ka dabbas, bicycle tyres, kettles, caricatures (you get the picture?) adorn the canteen-like space. Tables and benches, open kitchen, paper mats et al.
They take the “etc” in their name very seriously and serve it all… from Awadh to Bengal to South India and even Birmingham, chaats, idli, upma etc etc. Surprisingly it’s the juicy, succulent kebabs (seekh and murg pudina tikka) that come up tops. Must trys…Robustly spiced Balti Birmingham curry, flavorsome Nalli Nihari and Lamb Koshe Mangsho. Go for the
Mustard infused rawas tikka (the most expensive dish at Rs350). However, the fish curry and the chicken makhanwala are just about okay, but the bhakri is superb.Wind up with the delightful Paan icecream and sugarfree gajjar halwa. VFM meal served in a tiffin box ( veg Rs 350, non veg Rs 420) curry, dal, three chapatis, rice and a sweet. Lunch buffet (Rs 414 for 10 dishes) too.
Uncomfy seating. It can get very noisy.Patchy dishes lacking flavor. Slushy Chettinad chicken, stodgy veg kabab.soggy chappatis served in foil. But the biggest disappointments are the lackluster saibhaji and the tasteless Sindhi curry. No alcohol.
This casual, quick service, open through the day, three month old Tiffin Box etc is somewhat light on the wallet ( Av meal for 2, Rs 1000) but can be heavy on the tummy with it’s many a curry and gravy. Its vast and ambitious menu tries to put all the complex cuisines of India into a Tiffin dabba and falters in doing so. While it does not warrant a special trip across town, Tiffin Box etc, a contemporary dhaba is perfect for a quick desi meal, snack etc for the office goers in the BKC vicinity.
Ground Floor, Naman Center, C 31, Next to Yauatcha, Block G- Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra (E). Ph 61378080
Open 8 am to midnight
RATING FOOD 3 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3.5
MEAL FOR 2: Rs 1000
YOUR REVIEWS OF TBE
Value your twitter and instagram feedback. Please keep it coming (@rashmiudaysingh) @cityslicker_me (quick service, good chicken kolhapuri , dry Dhokla quick cheapandcheerful Indian meal)
@voraviya (TBEs buffet is good!
May Allah shower you with miracles this holy month of Ramadan and always. I am writing this right after a delicious Iftar dinner, thanks to Janhavi and Shan Mohammed giving me the lead about the brand new “Royal Flavors” (Oshiwara 26320600). So I called in for home-delivery (advance notice needed) for a few of their signature dishes. It was the pounded meat and wheat Mutton haleem (Rs 245) the fragrant kache gosht ki biryani (Rs 290) and flavorsome Khubani ka meetha (Rs 110) which worked the magic for us.
Vegetarian Italian, Mexican
Shudh vegetarian goes global and upmarket in Breach candy. It also crosses the Indian borders (or does it?) to serve Mexican and Italian cuisines. I lunch with a gourmet veggie twosome: a former state level badminton champion, the multi-talented, lovely Jayshree Sanghi of India’s fourth generation automobile pioneering family is not only a Kathak dancer (trained under Padmashree Sunaina Hazarilal) but a creative cook whose dinners are legendary. Equally sporty (US champ in racquetball and squash) Navin Deo, having spent 40 years in a high profile US government job is back in India and making Impactroses which have been in huge demand. Im bowled over by his long stemmed roses (see pic)with their personalized gold embossed messages on the petals. We eat our way through the entire menu: result? the roses and the giant cookie dessert are the only highpoints of our lunch.
Happy surprise. The second floored restaurants pleasant ambiance with pale purple sofas, yellow-cushioned chairs with wooden geometrical frames, simple black-and-white caricatures, and graphics.
Along with their ala carte Mexican and Italian menu they offer daily (except weekend dinners) a “Sunday food festival” (Rs 999 for one) you can order all 28 dishes. But we are told very strictly that it cannot be shared. So we get 2 of these and plenty a la carte ones too. The Picante Pizza (even a wheat-watchers one,) al dente aglio olio and lasagna pass muster. It is the giant, freshly baked gooeycrisp cookie topped with warm chocolate sauce, and the moistwarm Molten Chocolate Cake that saves the day.
Desi palate tuned fare, with plenty of cheese and ketchup.Soggy nachos, ketchupy Habanero Cottage Cheese, ditto for the quesadillas
Burrito lacks punch, overdressed salads, a strange Arabic pizza and so on. And on. No alcohol.
Open through the day, pleasing ambiance, well-presented food, attentive service are the plus points. Sure! a restaurant is in the business of making money and has to cater to all tastes but except for a few dishes, the vegetarian Italian Mexican fare bends over backward to please the Indian palate and tips over to become a mish mash of Gujjutalian and Mexidesi. Tasty no doubt!
Picante Ristorante, 401, Akruti Skypark, Mahalaxmi, Bhulabhai Desai road.Ph 23529393
meal for 2 Rs. 1500.
Open noon to midnight
RATING FOOD 2.5 DÉCOR 3.5 SERVICE 3.5
MUMBAI TO DUBAI
Khulja simsim. Your twitter and instagram messages as well Dubai foodies guide me through Dubai. It’s food scene dazzles with world class restaurants (love La Serre, Zuma, La Petit Maison). I also eat at two brand new, must-try restaurants Yuan (Atlantis) and Katsuya (Dubai mall) with Dubai-based foodie extraordinaire and global philanthropist Dr Rajen Kilachand. He also takes me to high tea (Fortnum and Mason), along with his friend the legendary Rusi Karanjia’s granddaughter, the gorgeous Faarah Mehta. I trip out on Umai (The Oberoi) cutting edge sushi and cod, Soy (Dubai mall) VFM Chinese, many a local eatery, belly dancing too. Two “first time evers” … the Awesome Oberoi’s breakfast “Lollipop waffles” (you read that right) and the fabulous traditional “pre-iftar” dinner at Desert Palm while the spectacular sun sets over the lush green polo grounds behind us. P.S Happy to share info please email email@example.com twitter and instagram @rashmiudaysingh
It is a dream come true and it happens just before the start of the holy month of Ramadan. I am surrounded by the magic of the spectacular sunset of the Arabian desert (the time when the Ramadan fast is broken) and just then I am regaled with the divine taste of Iftar. Each and every traditional recipe is made with authentic ingredients. As the amazing flavors gallop across our taste buds we are reminded that the lush green polo fields stretching around us are where the shining flanks of pedigreed horses speed past in a spurt of color and sound. I find it difficult to believe that I am in Dubai, the gleaming, glittering city of high rises and malls. Here in Desert Palm sprawling over 150 acres, there is silence as Mother nature’s bounty overflows. The sun sets, gilding the handsome palm trees which embroider the desert sky. From the most amazing gourmet cooking classes to horse-riding classes, shishas, global cuisines, Desert Palm has it all. Right now, its pre-Iftar time and I taste and nibble on the most traditional main course of succulent, seven spiced lamb Kahrouf Mahshi infused with cinnamon cardamom. I mop it up with the traditional four Khubs with fragrant rice and the Superlative Hammour Harra fish too. We start with the traditional Mezze of creamy Hummus, Moutabel, Tabouleh and Fattoush. The crisp skinned Lamb Kebbeh and Spinach Fatayar delights, followed by the hearty and nourishing Yellow Lentil soup.
THE SWEET BOND OF IFTAR
Please take a look at the accompanying photograph and you’ll see how the Iftar dinner brings together all nationalities. Ofcourse, the family Sapti (baby Sapti included) are getting set for Ramadan, as is Ahzar. From South of England there is the dynamic General manager James Reeves, from Italy, the gifted Executive Chef David Prantera , India is represented by the talented Chef Anoop and the lovely Karishma Chopra. And wow!
what an amazing feast of Ramadan sweets there is: love the Mafourkeh of toasted bread drizzled with milkfat kashta. Equally delightful is the baked filo pastry with pista and ghee, its called Znoud, which means “lady’s forearm”. Chef Ali Hasan guides me thru this yummy buffet and the baked Omali made of velvety milk and airy puff pastry infused with rose water and blossom water is addictive. Cant get enough of the Kataif pancakes plump with creamy kashta and crunchy with nuts. After that sweet finale, I sit by the rolling Polo fields under the shimmering night sky and go hubble bubble on the tobacco-free peach flavored sheesha.
Here it is. Just in time for Iftar, Chef Panteras very special recipe…
1 KG lamb leg with bone / or boneless
200 gms plain yogurt
200 gms red onion half sliced , half chopped
1 eggs egg white , beaten with a fork untill frothy
25 gms corn flour
50 gms clarified butter
50 gms pine nuts
50 gms slivered almonds
15 gms water
freshly ground pepper
10 gms turmeric powder
10 gms all spice
10 gms cinnamon stick
400 gms basmati rice
10 gms cardomom seeds
10 gms bayleaf
50 gms ghee
3 gms dry
3 gms cinnamon powder
½ ltr lamb stock
1.Place the yogurt in a thick heavy based pot , add beaten frothy egg , corn flour , salt to the pan .Blend gently with a wooden laddle .
2 . Place the pot over a medium heat , stir with a a wooden laddle , lower the heat as the yogurt can split .
3.Lower the heat and gently let it simmer .
4.Boil the lamb in a pot with Water , bayleaf , cinnamon stick , cardamom , turmeric powder, salt to season .
5.Skim the surface for froth the while the lamb is boiling
6.Heat ghee in a frying pan and add pinenuts , almonds .fry untill golden brown , remove and keep aside .
7.Add sliced red onion to the same pan with ghee and fry gently untill transparent . add turmeric powder , all spice powder , cinnamon stick and mix and saute well .
8.Add the boiled lamb with this spice mixture with the stock .
9. When the lamb is done , remove and shredd the meat with a fork from the bone .
10. Reduce the sauce more and add yogurt sauce , blend well with wooden laddle , let the mixture boil , add the the shredded lamb and reduce the sauce more .
9.After the lamb has been cooked , keep reducing until the sauce thickens .
10.Heat the clarified butter in a pot and saute cinnamon stick , bayleaf , dry lemon ,chopped onion, minced lamb, add soaked basmati rice and add lambstock and let the rice cook ,add cinnamon powder when the rice is boiling .
11.Once the rice is cooked , serve on a large round serving platter , then garnish with fried nuts .
12.Top the platter with the shredded lamb and mansaf sauce , fried nuts .
DESSERT MAKERS (WHO WORK OUT OF HOME)
I am very khush! Have discovered amazing home baking talent. Here are some of the results of my latest #whatshottastingsession.
HERES HOW I DID IT
Anyone who bakes professionally out of home can take part. For the past 20 years, I have been regularly conducting these sessions (in Mumbai and Chennai) in order to discover and encourage home talent and to include the talented ones in The Times Food Guide.
I was flooded with Instagrams, tweets and mail requests. I invited 21 dessert makers (and 6 gourmet tasters) to the centrally located, evergreen Gaylord with Noel and Robert being ever helpful.
LOOK WHO’S BAKING
Passion powers these talented women, some have switched careers, others moonlight. From strategic global account manager, engineer, fashion stylist, product manager to CA, doctor, recruitment firm director and architect. Many are professionally trained too. From popcorn cupcakes to gluten free treats…they do it all. Please excuse my sketchy writing…to get full details you’ll have to wait for the Times Food Guide 2015
Sugarfree , gluten free and healthy desserts from Charvi Bubna’s “cheat clean” (Try her brown rice flour and honey brownies. 9820934080)
Eggless expert Shailee anklesaria’s “Sugar fairy” makes cakes et al, super oatmeal cookies (9820246367)
Egg and gelatin-free “Choco kisses” from Kairvi mehta and jayshri Mehta (9820029065)
Tara kapur’s “bombay bizarre baker” (9820006440) caters to all those with food allergies. Go for gluten free almond cake,
“Charlene and the chocolate factory” (9833258908)
Charlene Vaz specializes in truffles and chocolates with an indian twist.
Yummy Japanese chocolates by
Varsha kalani’s “okashi” 9833505747
Call “the dessert table” (9867385908) Delafruz tangri and Jalpa timbadia for super customized desserts with matching crockery and cutlery. Must try Chocolate cake with marshmallow frosting.
Shillpa Bhambri is the only exception, she’s been featured since my first book (1997), her latest fusion cupcake was a hot seller (Cakeline 9619559433
Hand painted cakes and more by Jahan bloch ‘s “chic confections” (9930704646).
Dimple sanghvi’s “the mad batter” . candy castle cupcakes , glitterati cookie tower (961911760)
Egg and gelatin free desserts in jars by Innovative Nishita Kamdar ‘s “JAR designs” ( try paan velvet 9819365658)
Internationally trained Shikha Murarka’s “MishMash” s (9819766027) sugar and fondant work ( popcorn cupcakes, a handbag cake) were delicious.
Mango yoghurt cheesecake, red velvet cookies were Shanaz Barodawalla’s signature “sweet flavours” ( 9890453087)”Knead with love” s Richa Lulla’s (9833480814)
Umehani rangwala’s “lovecrumbs” caters to all your cake needs (8108429266)Try Witty meha Agarwal’s “the big apple baking co”’s orange cream. 9833015376″My butter half” by yeshi chaudhary ‘s red velvet was yum. 9769299795
Thanks foodies extraordinaire for tasting, eating, tweeting… Urvika kanoi ( professional chef who helped coordinate this tasting session.) Vasudha kejriwal ( marketing manager) Dinesh bahrani ( Head chef at Boveda)
Kritika dayal ( at a leading magazine firm)
Ronak Rajani ( social media marketer)
Rishab verma- (LCB trained pastry chef )
WITH SHUKRAAN FROM DUBAI
A million thanks for all your Eating-out advice in Dubai (on instagram and twitter.) Will be conducting more #whatshottastingsessions as soon as I return. If interested please contact, twitter, instagram @rashmiudaysingh firstname.lastname@example.org