May 24, 2010

Thrilling Dinner & A Yummy Ride

1.40 am. Standing on the pitch dark Ahmedabad highway and searching for any ANY vehicle like an Autoriskhaw / Taxi / Bus / Truck / Roadroller / Crane (because helpless people don’t get options) to drop we three adventuresome friends at least 1 km away from our very own concrete jungle. No doubt it was thrilling and it had to be, coz all three of us wanted to have dinner nowhere else but at a place like Pritam’s. And the usual Indian mantra ‘Jo hoga, dekha jayega’ is what helps us excuse questions like how are we gonna return back past midnight without a private vehicle.

Lucky we were that there passed a horse cart, a ghoda gaadi who agreed to drop us towards Borivili. It was definitely unforgettable riding in the open through the speedy highway between the jungles at 2 am. But it has been these scorching days in the city that coerces us towards the Ahmedabad highway almost every weekend. Better climate, quieter location, no hustling honks and no crowded parking lots. And above all- great food, these are reasons enough you can find us these days at restaurants outside Mumbai.

Driving down towards Mira Bhayander to Virar, there are these amazing “Dhabas”- all in a row starting from Dara’s, Pali Village, Delhi Darbar, Kinara Dhaba, Pritam’s Dhaba and so on. Well, till now Pritam’s has been our favorite of all for the obvious reason- “FOOD”.

In fact, it was our 31st night when we all wanted to just stay away from the noisy dance parties, and find our own space. We chose Pritam’s Dhaba for its great food, roomy tables and dim light ambience. Sloshed after boozing like a half dozen drinks, we cleared the check at Pritam’s at 4 in the morning just to go out, sit in the car and doze off for around three hours, as however drunk we are, we still are aware that drinking and driving isn’t really a good combo.

Apr 19, 2010

Easy Recipes for House Parties

Mom & Dad were out. So friends had to be in. It was time to experiment my cooking skills and what better critics could I get than my dear fussy friends.

It took more than a week’s time to nail down a menu that wouldn’t be much of a burden on me and will be easy to receive appreciation. Well here are the easiest recipes I have tried and tested at all such times and are a surefire hit especially as appetizers with young crowd and a couple of drinks.

Easy Pasta-
•Boil any form of pasta
•Assort chopped capsicum / carrot / onions / corns (only onions also taste very good)
•Add any of these or a combination of available sauces- Salad dressing / Mayonnaise / Tomato ketchup / Schezuan sauce / Chilly flakes / Oregano / Olives / Pasta Sauce
•Mix it all and chill it before you serve.

Easy Garlic Bread-
•Chop enough number of garlic cloves and saute it in oil.
•Mix it with some mayonnaise, salt, oregano & chilly flakes.
•Apply the blend on plain sliced bread and layer it with mozzarella cheese. (Garlic bread would be an add-on)
•Grill it till cheese melts & serve hot

Easy Chips & Dips
•Tie up yoghurt in a cloth for 4-5 hours
•Drain the water out & mix it with finely chopped spring onions, green chilies and salt.
•Serve it cold with flavored or plain Potato chips

Easy Frankie / Rolls
•Saute some chopped onions and tomatoes.
•In heated oil, roast some Chana Dal flour (besan) and add some diced Paneer or potatoes
•Mix the blend with different sauces and spices readily available at home and the tomato onion mix.
•Make huge and very thin chapattis from the regular dough
•Apply a bit of green chutney & tamarind chutney if available on the chapatti
•Put a spoonful of paneer / potatoe mixture, spread a few chopped raw onions and sprinkle chaat masala and grated cheese
•Wrap up the chapatti and heat it on tawa from both sides.
•Cut the wraps in 4-5 pieces to serve it along drinks

Easy Dahi Chaat
•Prepare a few fried bread crumbs
•Spread them in a bowl and layer them with boiled potatoes, green chutney, tamarind chutney, sweet yoghurt & chaat masala on the top.
•Chill it before you serve

Easy Corn Mix
•Saute some chopped onions and garlic well in a pan
•Add some boiled corns to it
•Mix a spoon of honey in the preparation and serve it hot

Easy Sprout Salad
•Steam some sprouted moong dal
•Give it a tadka of jeera, spices and salt
•Add some soaked peanuts and chopped tomatoes in the mixture and serve it.

Many more easy recipes coming soon!!!

Feb 1, 2010

Seven Stars for Five Spice- The Chinese Restaurant

Compare it to Mainland China, you can finally find some authentic Indian CHinese food in a classy style, and that too at very reasonable rates.

I've visited its 3 outlets out of the 4 in Mumbai-
Saki Naka
& Oshiwara.
The Fort one is still to explore, but my experience with the restaurant confides in the its fourth outlet too.

The menu has a few things that one must definitely try and I'm sure even the Chinese woks would bow to a few things. The must-try's are-

Malaysian Flat Noodles
Fried Wantons
Thai Pot Rice/Noodles
Teriyaki Potatoes
Mongolian Chicken
Paneer Soya Chilli Dry

My rating would be something like-
Food- 4.5 / 5
Ambiance- 4.5 / 5
Service- 3.5 / 5
Hygiene- 4 / 5
Affordability- 3.5 / 5

Overall, a place I'd definitely prefer if I wanna have some real good Chinese food.

Nov 27, 2009

My Favorite Unrestaurant- Pop Tates

I somehow feel I shouldn't promote my favorite food junctions here, because I dont want them to get all thronged on weekends. But the scrumptious bites of every single thing I relished at Pop Tates cant stop my fingers from appreciating them here (after all I don't wanna be a Namak Haram).

Many reasons why the chain became a smasher in such less time. It's ambiance, it's whole appeal including the menu is so younker- first chain of its kind that focuses on people from 20's to 30's- usually the earning unmarried lot. A complete package of chilled out friendly environment, informal decor, dimmed lights, buzzing but dulcet crowd (specially cos nobody hears your bitches how much ever loud you speak), the perfect place for boozing hard while everybody around is busy on their own tables, just the right menu to go well with your drinks and a check that isn't too hard on your wallet.

There are 7 unrestaurants of the Pop Tates chain in Mumbai, and I've been to 5 of them. So you see how much I trust the name, also how much of a boozer I am... lol.

Must-Haves at Pop Tate's

For the Green Dot Followers-
Veg Croquettes
My Thai
All Pizzas & Sizzlers

For the Red Dot Enthusiasts-
Blasted Chicken
Lebanese Chicken Wings
Chicken Aglio Olio Pasta
All Pizzas & Sizzlers

Sep 14, 2009

Water bombs here & Water bombs there -------- Fried Water Bombs Everywhere

Ever had Bataashe or GupChup in North India or Puchkas whenever you visited Bengal or the Gol Gappas when you'd been to Delhi the last time? Well it's all one and the same- the tangy Pani Puri of Gujarat & Maharashtra, with a slight difference of tartness and spices here and there.

In a Pani Puri, there's a blend of boondi, moong, ragda and potatoe mash, whereas when you move towards the north, there's more of hot stuffing of chickpeas and potatoes again. Being a Mumbaikar, authentic pani puri means 'Pani Puri' to me and not any other variations you find all over India. And I'm sure its the same case with other Mumbaikars, a major reason being a palate built for ice cold Pani which is hard to find in Puchkas or Gol Gappas. (No offense north Indians... Nothing equals your Aloo Tikki Chaat till today.)
This street snack might be a matter of sanitariness for the ones who don't know how to explore the real fun of life. And living in a city like Mumbai, i feel my immunity glands have become unconquerable enough with all the roadside dust, hawker's sweat and the dirt of his nails that I've gulped all my life with extreme delight. But it still continues to remain the most demanded street chaat by my tummy till today.

Be it a pani puri wala bhaiya round the corner of the street or a glove geared stall wala at a wedding party, it is a fun watching people of different ages swig down these huge fried water bombs and the different expressions that come on their faces- "Ummm lovely", "Wooof spicy" or "Ummm how tangy".

The Best Pani Puri Spots in Mumbai (from what my palates know)-
  1. Elco Market Food Corner(Rs. 40 per plate, but there's no comparison)
  2. Kailash Parbat (counters at different malls)
  3. Gurukripa & Jhulelal (Mulund)
  4. Karachi Sweets (Bandra)
  5. Tip Top (a chain of stores)
Suggest what's your favorite!!!

Aug 19, 2009

Craving for an Authentic Wada Pav !!!

Mumbai's answer to America's burger, the quickest on-the-go food, the cheapest snack, the most easily available thing to eat in Mumbai and most importantly a bite that no mumbaikar would want to miss. Wada Pav today is no more a 'hawker at the corner of the street' issue. It has got into this huge chain of hygiene business the most hit chains being Jumbo, KunjVihar and Goli.

I remember Kunj Vihar's first shop in Thane, where they sold these huge- almost double the size of Wada Pavs with Lasun chutney, for a mere Rs.5/-. In the past 5-6 years it became a totally different idea with coupons, packed chutney sachets, glove-geared salesmen and what not. But now I miss the authentic Lasun and Batata flavor in these glamorized Wada Pavs. :(

Today when my North-bound relatives come and ask, "Arre ek badhiya Wada Pav khilaao", I am left over in a dilemma of finding a place that has been giving a good Wada Pav consistently. Because in the end I just hate to hear, "Itna accha nahi tha ye, pichhli baar zyada accha khilaya tha na".

Recently I explored two new Wada Pav varieties which I need to give a special mention about.
  1. Batata Wada between bread slices- yes it is actually served like that and it tastes really good.
  2. Masala Wada Pav- It is almost fried in a lasun/tomatoe/onion masala and you will never opt for a second for a few days after you eat it, as it fluxes in a stream of butter. But we all know that taste and calories always go hand in hand. So neva mind!!!
For the best Wada Pav in Mumbai, I have always heard a lot about Ashok Wada Pav from prabahadevi, Prashant Corner in Dadar, a few from Vile Parle, but my search for a Wada Pav which I can label 'Aamchi Mumbaicha Beshht Wada Pav' still continues.

Aug 13, 2009

Sszzzzz... Sssszzzzz.....Sizzlers

The hissing sound is the real essence of this sizzling dish which makes it interesting enough. I have no idea of who formulated this recipe, well actually there's no big of a recipe in a sizzler. I mean who couldn't manage to boil a few veggies, roast some piece of chicken or paneer, pile up a few french fries, add some flavored rice with herbs & sauces and there it is-


Well, I'm wrong. It just sounds easy. And not many restaurants who serve sizzlers are able to cook it with that much of epicurism and tastefulness. So hey all such simulated restaurateurs, just stop misleading poor sizzler-lovers by even claiming in your menucard that you are a master of this art.

I remember the first time I'd eaten a sizzler, when my college-going brother had all those updates on what restaurant is the 'in thing' these days. He took us to 'The Grill', Thane, a nice elegant place with colorful cartoons of a live party all over the wall. The menu showed tremendous variety of sizzlers in Veg and Non veg. And undoubtedly everything was just sooo good, atleast the ones which we have tried there (actually we've tried everything in the veg). The fun element is that everybody on the next tables get to know that 'OK, they're dinner has arrived' with the loud sizzling sound the dinner makes while it enters.

I recently came to know that this amazing place has shut down, and i have no clue where these guys have opened up now. But now the Sizzler King throne is being taken away by 'Kobe' and 'Yokos', the latter one liked by most of them. Try out the 'Paneer Shasleek' and 'Veg Satellite' which is the best choice for vegetarians, and the non-vegetarians are free to go and discover their own favorites. All I can suggest for them is- Have an Ice Tea along. ;)