Category Archives: Food

No More Monday Blues 2 – Green Tea

Hello, I’m back! I had some trouble logging into my wordpress account. To cut a long story short, I forgot my wordpress password and I also forgot the password to the email account on which my wordpress is registered! Then I procrastinated for a long time about fixing it and finally, I have access to my account again.

Since it’s Monday, I’d like to share something that I absolutely love – Green Tea. Well, I love any kind of tea but green tea is one of my favourites.  Last year when I went to Sri Lanka, I went absolutely crazy with the choices of tea that were available. I picked up tonnes of different flavours and types of tea. My absolute favourite place was the Mlesna store. I was like a kid in a candy store! I wish I had pictures to show you how beautiful the shop was and the varieties of tea that were available. With the amount of tea that I drink, I soon ran out of my supply of Mlesna teas but luckily I found that Spencers stocks them in their gourmet section. Although, there aren’t that many varieties, their green tea is available at most outlets and it’s really delicious.

The benefits of green tea are known to everyone so there’s no point repeating whats been posted all over the internet! But I do recommend switching to green tea if you’re anything like me and love drinking several cups of tea a day. In fact, as I type, I’m sipping on a cuppa!  🙂

Mlesna Green Tea. I like the illustration!

 

Ah! A french touch.

 

Rs 42 for 10 bags. Worth every rupee!

 

 

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Straight from the Kitchen: Oriya Chitau Pitha

Pithas are an integral part of Oriya cooking. I’m not too sure how to describe pithas! They’re normally made out of rice flour and sometimes wheat flour. Sometimes, pithas have a kind of a stuffing – sweet or spicy. Sometimes, they are fried or they are steamed. Some are served with syrup!  They are so many different kinds of pithas and I don’t even know half their names. The pitha that we often have at home is chakuli pitha, which is the Oriya version of a dosa.

Today, I’m going to share the recipe for Chitau Pitha, which my mom made for dinner last night. Trust me, I have no idea how to make this so this post is going to help me learn the recipe as well!

What you need:

  • 500 grams of  rice
  • 1 coconut grated
  • Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Baking powder

Steps:

  • Wash the rice and let it soak in water for 3 hours.
  • Grind the grated coconut and the rice together. Add water as required.
  •  Add the baking soda and a bit of salt as per taste.
  • Heat a wok on a high flame.
  •  Pour in a big serving and cover with a lid.
  •  Pour 1 tsp of water over the lid and let it steam for about a minute.
  • Take it out and it’s ready to serve!

This is what your batter should look like.

Let the pitha steam under the lid. Here, I took it off to show you what it’s supposed to look like.

Ta-da! Your pitha is ready to eat!

You can eat chitau pitha with any kind of curry that you might like. We had chitau pita with Ghanta curry, which is an Oriya dish that has a lot of vegetables. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of it but next time, I will share some Oriya curries.

Chitau pithas are really healthy and at home, we make them without oil or ghee. For a change from the usual rotis and rice, try the chitau pitha! Let me know if you’ve ever had chitau pitha or you are planning to try this recipe!

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Healthy Treats: Mango & Melon Popsicles

The temperatures are soaring and all you want to do is eat ice cream! But, five scoops of belgian dark chocolate a day = a million calories and not exactly, very healthy!

This reminds me of the time, when I was in Delhi and I was telling my mother how long it’s been since I’ve had HäagenDazs ice cream. When I came back home that summer, my parents had bought some HäagenDazs sticks for me. I was so happy that,  I immediately gobbled one down and later, when I checked the pack closely, one serving was around 1000calories! I felt so guilty yet each bite was somehow worth it (not on a daily basis though!).

Anyway, home made popsicles are a great guilt-free way to beat the heat. I decided to make some mango-melon popsicles. It’s really easy and yummy. You can choose any fruit you like. I chose mangoes because they’re in season and they taste delicious, melons because I can never get enough of them!

Mango, watermelon and muskmelon

Post- Blender

Messily poured into the holders

Freeze!

Ta-da! Your popsicle is ready!

Ingredients

I used about:

2 Mangoes, peeled and chopped

1/2 a Watermelon (400 grams), chopped and seeds removed

1/2 a Musk Melon/Cantaloupe (400grams), chopped and seeds removed

Directions

1. Chop up all the fruits and make sure you remove the seeds to avoid bitterness.

2. Blend the fruits into a puree.

3. You can add some extras like sugar, chocolate chips or whatever you might like. I kept mine natural and I didn’t even add sugar.

4. Pour into popsicle holders. If you don’t have holders, you can use paper cups and ice cream sticks, which are easily available in grocery stores.

5. Freeze for a few hours.

6. Eat and enjoy!

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Here to stay!

As usual, I’ve been procrastinating! It’s such a terrible habit and I can’t seem to get rid of it.It’s been several months since I last posted anything on this blog and suddenly, today I felt the urge to post something again. I guess it’s just the feeling of being in Delhi? Yes, I’m here again for the summer. I’ve been here for over a month now but I haven’t been doing much outside work and the occasional shopping trips.  The infamous scorching heat of Delhi  is to be blamed!

However, what I HAVE been doing a lot is eating at the State Bhawans. My workplace is located in Chanakyapuri – an area with swanky embassies, official residences and fancy cars. The eating options are either too expensive for a daily affair or cheap but very unhygienic. So my co-intern and I decided to check out some of the State Bhawan canteens around the area.

Gujarat Bhawan (Kautilya Marg)

Our undoubted favourite is Gujarat Bhawan where you can get a thali for Rs.80 and it includes, the usual rice and roti, three curries out of which one will be a paneer dish, one dry sabzi, one snack item (pakora/dhokla) and salad. The thali is unlimited so you can be sure that you won’t be able to stay awake at work after such a heavy lunch! Jokes aside, the food is really tasty, not too rich or oily and has a sense of familiarity (ghar ka khana). They used to include a dessert along with the thali but now they charge separately (Rs 15). So far, I had the chance to try basundi and aam raas. A little too sweet for my liking but nice to end a meal. The service is really efficient and you don’t need to call them. They will come to you! Sometimes, it can get a little crowded for lunch but it’s definitely worth the wait! Needless to say, they do not serve non-vegetarian food.

Orissa Niwas (4, Bordolai Marg)

Being an Oriya, I love dalma, pakkala, machha bhaja and the list goes on. I haven’t had good Oriya food for nearly six months now which was the last time I went home. So I was delighted to find the Orissa Niwas restaurant quite close to my office. You can a regular thali (Rs 60), a deluxe thali (Rs 80, not sure), non-vegetarian side options and even a pakkala thali! I haven’t tried the pakkala or the deluxe thali. I always just stick to the regular thali. For those who haven’t heard of pakkala, it’s rice which has been fermented in water and you eat both the rice and water along with some garnishes of your choice and an array of side dishes.  The regular thali comes with rice/roti, dalma, one sabzi, one vegetable curry, khatta, salad, papad and kheer. The food is authentic and true to the flavour of the Oriya cuisine. I really loved the place and would recommend it to anyone who wants to try Oriya food.

Himachal Sadan (Sardar Patel Marg)

The last bhawan for the day is Himachal Sadan. This building is located on the main road yet a little inside so it might be a little difficult to spot and unlike, the other two canteens, this place was pretty quiet.  We ordered thalis (Rs 60) which comprised tandoori style rotis, a black dal, malai kofta, raitha and salad. It was simple and didn’t have as many curried as the Gujarati thali but it was tasty and fresh. This place seemed more like a small kitchen for the guests staying at the bhawan rather than a restaurant. So don’t expect many options here.

That wraps it up for now! Next week we’re planning to hit a few more Bhawans and I’ll keep you updated. I’ll also try to take a few pictures so you can drool looking at the food! Until then, let me know if you have any recommendations or if you’ve eaten at any of these Bhawans.

🙂

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Heading to Mumbai

Hello,

It’s my last weekend in Delhi and I’m torn apart about how I should spend my last 36 hours here! I want to pay a visit to the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara, Paharganj, Indian National Museum and the Daryaganj Book Market. So many things to do, such little time. I regret all those Saturdays and Sundays where I slept in late. Oh well, I’ve got to make the most of whatever time I have. On a happier note, I’m now going to Mumbai for a month! I’m really excited about this trip as well, especially for the culinary delights and the beautiful architecture that the city has to offer. Also, let’s not forget the shopping! If you stay in Mumbai, or if you know some awesome places around the city, please do share them with me!

Anyway I’ll be updating soon. Here are some sneak peeks 🙂

One of my favourite places


Beautifully chaotic - Chandini Chowk

Restaurant Review - Watermelon, Khan Market

The famous Gali Paranthe Wali

This really needs no explanation.

Restaurant Review - The Kitchen, Khan Market

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Kolkata Getaways I : Bienvenue à Chandannagore!

A few weeks ago, my friends and I decided to just get away from the city for a day and we were confused whether we should relax by the riverside at Raiichak or do a bit of sightseeing near Cooch Behar. Since we just couldn’t pick between the two, we decided to go to Chandannagore, a former French colony on the banks of the Ganges River and just 33 kilometres from Kolkata.

How to get there

We took a local train from Howrah station and since there are trains leaving every 15-20 minutes, it wasn’t very hard to get the tickets but the station was really chaotic, as expected! So we had to ask a few people to find out about the platforms and each person had a different answer! I’ve noticed that sometimes people are willing to help you even if they don’t know a thing. Little do they know, they’re actually not helping at all! Anyway we managed to get on to the right train and we found places to sit so our journey was comfortable. It took us about 45 minutes from Howrah to the Chandannagore Station and the best part about the journey was the fact that it only cost us Rs.8! Once you’re at the station, you can take a cycle rickshaw or an auto rickshaw to the “Church.” (This should cost you around 10-15rs)

You can also hire a car or drive down there by taking Grand Trunk road or the Delhi Highway route. If you want a more leisurely journey, then you can even take a boat from Kolkata or Belur and cruise down the river.

What to see

The first place we went to see was the Sacred Heart Church of Chandannagore but when we got there around 10am, the gates were locked. The gardeners who were inside the locked compound (strange?) told us we had to speak to the Father to allow us to enter, so we went in search of the Father but in vain! We did find his P.A. who was a really annoying chap. He pretended to be really busy when he was really just hanging outside the premises of the adjoining school and told us we could only go to the church at 5 during evening mass. When we told him we were from Kolkata and we just had a few hours to spare, he said he can try to open it at 4, “specially” for us and when we asked him why couldn’t he just unlock the gates for 10 minutes, he said he doesn’t have the time to unlock the gate when he was standing right in front of it! So we asked him to give us the key and he said that we wouldn’t have the strength to open the gate! Finally, we just left it at that and went to visit the Nandadulal Temple which was, no surprises, closed! We had an hour to kill before the museum opened so we decided to take a ferry ride to the other side and back.

Then we hit the museum, which thankfully was open! Unfortunately, cameras weren’t allowed inside so I couldn’t get any photographs. The museum had an interesting array of artifacts from the Anglo-French War, maps used by explorers, furniture and my favourite exhibit – newspapers from the 19th and 20th century.

By now, we were famished! There are two restaurants here – Rasoi and Hotel Shalimar. We decided to eat at the latter because we had seen it from the rickhsaw. The restaurant was clean, reasonably priced and the food was good. They serve mostly North Indian and Chinese. We were hoping to eat some good fish but unfortunately they didn’t have any fresh fish.

It was still early afternoon and we had pretty much seen most of Chandannagore’s attractions. Apparently there’s an amusement park but we weren’t interested. The other place of interest was Patal Bari ( The Underground House) but we heard that it wasn’t open to the public. So we took a stroll down the Chandannagore Strand and sat down on a bench facing the river. This part of the town is really beautiful. It’s the best place to sit and watch the sun set over the river.

Next, we went looking for Surya Kumar Modak’s sweets shop. They are famous for creating the Jolbhara Sandesh which is a syrup filled milk based sweet. They also had a unique variety of flavoured sandeshes. We tried the Jolbhara, which was really sweet (and tasty too), because of the syrup filled inside.  Unless you have a sweet tooth, you won’t be able to eat this by yourself. We also tried the Chocolate Sandesh which was quite good as well. It tasted like chocolate ice cream.

Our last stop for the day was a 138 year old bakery near the Church called Das Bakery. They still make french bread so we decided to pick up a loaf. They also have cookies, buns and breads. The place looked as if it had not changed over the past century. The paint was peeling, the shop was dark and dingy but I loved every bit of it.

Tips

* The musuem and the Church are completely closed on Saturdays so avoid going there on a Saturday.

* Try to attend the morning or evening mass at the Church. This way you’ll get to have a look inside.

* You can even try to catch a play or a dance performance or a concert at the Rabindra Bhavan.

* Chandannagore doesn’t have many hotels so it’s better to do a day trip from Kolkata.

*Hygienic restrooms are rare in Chandannagore but the one at the Museum is really clean.

The Chandannagore Museum

Random House

Jute Mill on the other side of the River.

The Nandadulal Temple which was closed.

Half Eaten Jolbhara and Chocolate Sandesh

Chandannagore Strand

Sacred Heart Church

Sacred Heart Church from the side

The 138 year old Das Bakery

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Beat the heat at Keventers – Connaught Place

The temperatures in Delhi are soaring and the weather this afternoon was pretty bad but we still decided to do a bit of exploring. At the end of the day, we were exhausted! We dragged ourselves around Connaught Place, thinking of places to just sit and lap up the air conditioning but we found something much better – Keventers’ Milkshakes!

Keventers has been around for decades and decades. It’s one of those places that hasn’t changed much over the years, maybe other than the prices! The place is so popular that you’ll find a huge crowd outside the shop even though there are no signboards. Many old timers say that the milkshakes are not as good as they used to be and now they have more ice and less milk. I don’t know about all that and to me (not very fond of milkshakes), they were delicious! I could taste the creaminess of the milk and it wasn’t overdone with sugar. They were served in huge 400ml glass bottles which really added to the charm of the whole place.  Keventers also has some snack items like patties and stuffed kulchas but I was too full to eat anything! All in all, it was the perfect refresher for a hot day.

Also, while paying the cashier, notice how fast his hands move! They never fail to amaze me 🙂

Crowd waiting for their milkshakes.

The looooooong line.

Strawberry and Pineapple Shakes. You can even get Chocolate, Vanilla, Butterscotch, Mango umm and a lot more!

 
 
 
Keventers
17A Connaught Place,
Delhi
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Favourite Restaurants in Bangalore

I might be living in Kolkata right now but I’m a Bangalorean at heart. I’ve spent most of my life in that city and it will always be my first home so I thought I’d share some of my favourite places to eat in Bangalore.

Italian/European/Continental

1. Toscano, UB City

2. Sunny’s, Vittal Mallya Road

3. The Only Place, Museum Road

4. Pizzeria Romano, Koramangala

Indian

1. Samarkhand, Infantry Road

2. Bombay Post, Airport Road

3. Kudla, Richmond Town

4. Oye! Amritsar!, Koramangala

5. Nandini (for the meal

Pan Asian

1. Ginseng, Park Orchid

2. Mainland China, Church Street

Coffee Shops

1. Cafe Pascucci, M.G. Road

2. Matteo, Church Street

3. Infinitea, Cunningham Road

Fast Food

1. Taste of Tibet, Brigade Road

2. My neighbourhood Darshini 🙂

3. Popsies, Koramangala

 

Okay that’s all I could think of right now. I’ll keep updating with more places or maybe just delete a few if I get served bad food next time haha. Anyway, let me know if you have any favourites in Bangalore!

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