RSS Feed

Category Archives: Uncategorized

Eating Out – The Grill, Poolside BBQ at Taj Vivanta

Posted on

Last week, I found myself wading painfully for a full 95 minutes through mind numbing traffic, all the way through the IT hub of Hyderabad till Begumpet for dinner. I confess that several times during the drive I wondered why I was even making the trip and considered turning back. I realised that even if I turned back, I would be stuck in the same awful traffic trying to reach home and that it was a case of a lesser evil to continue onto Taj Vivanta where I was invited to meet their new (not really, he has been here for 3 months already) Executive Chef Jaffer Ali who comes to the city after a stint with the iconic The Rain tree at Vivanta by Taj -Connemara, Chennai.

By the time I was seated and given a drink, I forgot about my traffic woes and decided not to dwell on them anymore. The Grill is the pool side Alfresco restaurant of the property. Situated right in the heart of the city, opposite the iconic Hyderabad Public School at Begumpet and yet the setting will transport you to serenity, without the muffled sounds of traffic below.

vivanta-pool

The weather was pleasant, last bit of the Hyderabad waning winters, the singer was doing his best, some songs better than the others and there was the promise of some really good food.

The Sizzling BBQ nights is a mindfully curated menu. The selection of pre plated starters is a combination of Indian and International recipes. Some of which are the Executive chef Jaffer’s own innovations.

img_20170125_220122

 

The meal started with Hyderabadi gosht marag, a uniquely Indian soup made from mutton, spices and yogurt. The weather is still pleasant to start your revering meal with a hot soup and this one hit all the right spots.

IMG_20170125_220211.jpg

I tried the Tangdi Bhrawan Kebab, the chef’s special which was chicken drumsticks stuffed with spiced chicken mince, the spices not over powering but a distinct flavour of mace. It was so filling that I couldn’t finish the whole portion. Zaffrani Machi Shammi, a fish based interpretation of the classic Hyderabadi Shammi kebab was a little too dry for my liking.

There was also cajun spiced BBQ chicken winglets which were nice and juicy, delightful for chicken wing lovers and the mild and succulent Tali huwi Mahi Mahi. Filets of delicately marinated fish, pan grilled. I skipped the peri peri shrimp skewers which everyone loved due to a food allergy.

The grills come accompanied with an assortment of mint, peanut chutneys and pickled onions. My pick was the delicious garlic butter.

IMG_20170125_220206.jpg

The vegetarian options included sigdi paneer,Cajun spiced vegetable skewers and a few others but by far my favourite was the melt in the mouth galouti kebab made out of elephant foot yam or suran (in hindi). It was very flavourful and the texture was superb. I had seconds of this one.

While declaring I had no place for the main course which was yet to come, I knew I was just too curious to not stuff myself.

IMG_20170125_221400.jpg

The menu offers both Indian and continental main course options. Each of which was interesting, I picked the dum ka murg served with garlic naan. I cannot tell you how delighted I was with this dish. Honestly this eclipsed the BBQ sizzler as well. While dum ka murg is a very commonly appearing Hyderabadi dish, I have rarely come across a really well made one outside of a home kitchen. It is either spiced too much or too rich. This rendition was perfect in my humble opinion. The layers of flavour from the golden friend onions, cashew paste that is used to thicken the gravy and a delicate use of the spices, just to enhance the dish and not overpower it. This is a must try.

IMG_20170125_213431.jpg

My fellow diners chose the spaghetti puttanesca which was also very good. Fresh flavours from the tomato and other vegetables. This is a good option if you are vegetarian.

There is the ubiquitous Hyderabadi chicken biryani and a garbanzo bean version for non meat eaters.

IMG_20170125_221648.jpg

The dessert platter was a mixed bag. The innovative Palak halwa to me tasted like chyawanprash, heavy on the ghee and the difficult to mask spinach flavour. I liked the stewed apricots which is a nod to the khubaani ka meetha but the pick for me was the sublime rose icecream. It was delightfully fragrant and mild, just the right dose of sweet to  seal the meal together.

The menu for both the sizzler appetisers course and main course changes every day for 4 days before being repeated. Attractively priced at Rs. 999 for the vegetarian and Rs. 1199 for the non vegetarian variants, this is an excellent price point if you are celebrating the weekend or want a quiet romantic dinner without the bother of having to make a la carte decisions about dinner. Make the best of the balmy Hyderabad evenings and head over to sample the fare.

Where: The Grill, Taj Vivanta, Begumpet

Date: Every evening, from 7:30 PM onwards

Price: Rs. 999 onwards

For reservations and more information: 040 – 6725 2626

{Eating Out} Rivaayat – Reviving traditional Indian cuisine, Kanak, Trident

Posted on

Happy New Year my dearest readers! I hope the year has begun well for you and that the rest if it will bring to us all the love of friends and family, good food and warmth in our hearts, especially in these uncertain times.

I have no personal goals for this year, like the one before because I find them pointless. So no, I am not going to be losing weight, or eating in moderation or earning more. I want to live in the moment and savour it, a little more consciously than I already do.

img_20170119_220548

Kanak, the award winning Indian restaurant nestled at Trident Hyderabad, under the stewardship of the delightful Manik Magotra is bringing their much appreciated Food Festival Rivaayat back to the city for the third time. The festival showcases celebrated recipes from the regions of Awadh, Punjab, New Delhi and Hyderabad.

IMG_20170119_194333.jpg

I was invited to sample a few of the offerings at a preview and I must say that Kanak continues to keep its position as one of my favoured Indian dining places.

Chef Praful who is at the helm of the kitchen this time talked about how some old favourites from the previous few outings have been retained and a few new ones added. The emphasis was on allowing a couple of star ingredients to shine without overpowering it with heavy duty masalas which is what most people associate Indian cooking with these days.

IMG_20170119_201623.jpg

The carefully curated menu has a bit of everything. We started with an array of appetizers. Aloo Kachalu a light salad like dish made from boiled and tempered potato and colocasia, sprinkled with steamed black eyed peas, roasted nuts and a spicy chutney. The chutney brought together all the flavours and did not over power everything else. Even someone who is not very fond of the usually slimy colocasia will enjoy this light appetiser.

IMG_20170119_195806.jpg

Khumb ki galavat a vegetarian rendition of the famous galauti kebab, was true to its name, melt in the mouth. It was hard to tell that this was a vegetarian rendition as the flavours and texture was EXACTLY like the meat version. This was the standout appetiser of the evening.

For the non vegetarian options, we were served Khatti kairi ka Rampuri jhinga, prawns marinated in yogurt and raw mango and then cooked in a tandoor. I have a severe food allergy to prawns so I did not taste this, but my fellow diners enjoyed this very much, saying the flavours were so sublte that it was sublime.

IMG_20170119_200309.jpg

Lagan ki Boti, lamb kebabs braised with nuts and caramelised onions was a dish where technique stood out. It was hard to miss the subtle spices, marinating the meat for a long time, slow cooked to a state where it simply gave under the pressure of the fork, I could also taste the desi ghee in this dish which added such a depth of flavour to the lamb along with the sweetness from the slow caramelised onion. This is a dish that combines the best of traditional Indian cooking, ample marination and slow cooking. A stand out dish for meat lovers.

IMG_20170119_211439.jpg

The main course that followed had Mahi Kaliya I have mentioned earlier that brought up on a strongly spiced and tamarind infused Andhra style fish curry, I welcome the lightly spiced Kaliya where the fish stands out. The fish used was Bekti and the light stew of ground onions, with just a spot of tamarind to give it a slight tang was refreshing.

Puran Singh ke dhabe wali chicken curry while is a mouthful to say, this simple home style chicken curry with a runny gravy is perfect to mop up with fresh naans or a light pulav. If you are missing homestyle chicken this is the dish to order. I am always delighted when the chicken used is tender and succulent as opposed to the rather tough cuts of meat one usually encounters these days.

For a person who has never met a Sarson ka saag I have liked, I was happy to be proven wrong with this. The pureed mustard greens, tempered with simple spices in ghee and eaten with Makki ki roti which is a flatbread made with coarsely ground corn meal was fresh and rustic. This winter speciality from Punjab is much celebrated on the interwebs and each time I heard its praises, I wondered what the big deal was because I had always tasted poorly made versions. This version I must admit made me take back all my words. Comforting and flavourful, don’t miss this dish if you are a lover of your greens.

Baingan ka bharta, smoked brinjals, cooked down to a mash, in a gravy of onion, garlic and tomatoes again is a dish that is popular, but not everyone gets right. This one was so well made that the smoky flavour was subtle enough to remind one of how it was prepared, but not loud enough to dominate.

We also had home style Lucknowi dal, channa dal made very simply with a mild tempering, Punjabi matar pulao, a rice dish that is generous, flavoured with caramelised onion and fresh peas, it lends itself to the star curries and doesnt draw attention to itself. I also had a sheermal from the assorted breads on offer, simply to try something other than a regular naan or tandoori roti.

IMG_20170119_214452.jpg

The meal ended on a sweet note with Gulab phirnee, a rice pudding flavoured with fresh rose petals which was not too sweet and hence such a nice change from the usually sugar loaded Indian desserts. The Dry fruit halwa was studded with blanched dried nuts, figs and a whole host of other dried fruit, poppy seeds, etc. and I did a double take when I read in the description that it contained bottle gourd, because I could taste none of it. Again not overpoweringly sweet and hence I was able to guiltlessly demolish two entire pieces of this rich halwa.

The underlying theme of the meal was subltety. No overpowering masalas, no power games with cooking techniques. Just back to basics and giving in completely to old world slow cooking.

Rivaayat has been well received in its previous outings and will am sure be enjoyed this time as well. The festival is on until the 25th of January and is open only for dinner, menu offers A la carte options.

The promotional is on till the 25th of January 2017. Do not miss this!

Rivaayat, at Kanak, Trident, Hyderabad

Recommendations: Khumbh ki gahlavat, Lagabn kiosk bout, Mahi kaliya, Sarson ka saag, dry fruit halwa

Timing: 7.30 pm to midnight.
Location: Hitech City, Hyderabad
Credit Card Accepted: Yes
Valet Parking: Available
Telephone: 91 40 6623 2323

Pear and Ginger Cake

img_20161215_091334

A few years ago, a blogger friend Finla posted a picture of a beautiful pear cake. I asked for the recipe and meant to make it soon. It has taken me almost 2 years. Every time I would buy pears, I’d imagine that beautiful cake, then life would take over and they would languish in the fruit bowl, or perish in the fridge and no cake would be made.

Last week, I had a day to myself and the choice was between making gulab jamoon from a packet mix I got for free with something else or baking a cake. I was on a roll that day, I had to make a cake for my driver’s daughter and decided it was the right muhurtham to make the  pear cake.

The batter is pretty straight forward and comes together quite easily with standard baking ingredients. It was similar to the strawberry cake that took the blogging and instagramming world by storm a couple of years ago. It was one of the most beautiful batters I have made. One can make out that it is going to be a lovely cake just by looking at the batter after a few years of baking.

Finla’s recipe calls for fresh ginger, I didn’t have any so I used dried ginger. Fresh would have tasted way better, but this cake would have never gotten baked if I had waited to go get some! Her recipe was in weight measures, but I always use cups, so everything has been converted for cup measures.

The hint of citrus from the orange juice and the ginger gives this cake beautiful undertones. The combination of a buttery batter, pear, orange and ginger is a really good one. In her recipe, Finla topped it with a chocolate ganache, I skipped that because I loved the cake on its own, plus I am not the world’s biggest chocolate fan! Try this cake for when you want a light snack for tea time, or to pack into your child’s lunch box. Am sure you will love it!

img_20161215_091629

Pear and Ginger cake

2 tsp fresh ginger grated (I used powdered dried ginger)

2 ripe pears

2/3 cup soft butter + extra for the pan

1 tablespoon lemon zest (I used orange zest)

1/4 cup Orange juice (I added this the original recipe did not have this)

2/3 cup Sugar (can use light brown, I used white)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla essence/ extract

1/2 cup milk

1 cup flour + extra for dusting the pan

1.5 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoon Almond meal (I did not add this)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and butter and line a baking pan with baking paper. I used a 7×7 inch square pan.

Peel and slice the pears, sprinkle with a few teaspoons of the lemon/orange juice and set aside.

Whisk the butter and sugar till pale, fluffy and doubled in volume. Don’t skip this step because it ensures that your cake rises well and is fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well in between. Add the vanilla, orange / lemon zest and ginger, whisk well.

Mix the orange juice with the milk and set aside. In a bowl, sift the flour with the baking powder and salt, mix in the almond meal if using. Add the flour mix and milk alternatively into the butter and eggs mixture and gently fold using a spatula. Make sure not to over-mix the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, arrange the pear slices on top and bake for 40-45 minutes at 180 C till done or a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Cool completely, dust with icing sugar or chocolate sauce and serve.

This cake stays fresh at room temperature for 2 days. Because of the fresh pears, it is best to refrigerate it if keeping for any longer.
Gently reheat in the microwave for 30 seconds before serving.

{Eating Out} Coast to Coast – Amara, Trident

After a really long hiatus from all things blogging and specifically all things food review, I found myself seated at Amara, at Trident Hyderabad. This is one of my favourite hotels, I have dined here multiple times at all of their restaurants. Trident has always been experimental about bringing new food experiences to the city and has done so admirably.

img_20161124_194436

Chef Manik welcomed me at the entrance and we chatted a bit, him telling me he hadn’t seen me in ‘forever’ and I telling him of my woes with Sage. The restaurant was buzzing, it being Thanksgiving day and I was pleasantly surprised to know that the festival was celebrating food from the world over. I must say that I didn’t expect that, I expected the food from the Indian coast, this was taking it to another level altogether. While the promotion widely showcases the Indian coastline, there are dishes from the Japan and Phuket in the far east to the Marseilles coast, Palermo in Italy), Sicily, the West Coast of America and the celebrated food from the Caribbean Islands.

At buffets (the promotion is on for their regular dinner buffet at Amara till the 30th of Nov. 2016) I usually skip the stock dishes and check out what is new. Buffets are easy to get lost at, the spread is huge and usually not as enticing as ordering A la carte.

Interspersed with the familiar, were some kick ass specialties from the coasts of the world in all the courses.

img_20161124_222439

Starting with the huge display of sea produce at the sea food bar, there were oysters and humongous crabs. I skipped the soup section altogether and headed for the appetizers and salad.

Among the appetizers, I enjoyed the Hawaiian Salmon Tartare, it was served up in cute little glasses, fresh flavours and very light. Kerala fried fish was the next dish that stood out. They also had sea food ceviche and a shrimp cocktail which my fellow dinner guests loved but I did not try since I am allergic to shrimp. They also had a non coastal spread, the koshumbari from the salads and beetroot chaap, salt and pepper vegetables stood out. There is a live chaat counter and a grilling station. I tried some grill fish which was so fresh and bursting with flavour.

img_20161124_222633

For the main course, they had a diverse array of dishes. The Gulf coast seafood stew was my absolute favourite. The light stew with the assorted sea food was delicious, allowing the flavours of the ingredients to shine through without overpowering spices or seasoning. Those familiar with Indian style of preparing seafood will know that we usually douse it in masala, so this was very palette pleasing, I went back for seconds.

The Phuket Massaman curry with chicken was the other dish I truly enjoyed, subtle Thai flavours in a creamy coconut gravy. There was also the Islanders Goat curry, which was flavourful but the meat a little chewy and a couple of other dishes I didn’t try. I also confess that this buffet may not be suited to vegetarians (there is plenty of regular food on the buffet tho) because of the seafood galore! From the Indian dishes I really enjoyed the Bengali Doi Mach and Goan Lamb Xacuti. All of these paired well with plain steamed rice, there was also an assortment of both Indian and other breads.

For the vegetarians there was Pad thai and a Sicilian port caponate which looked good.

There is also a live pasta counter if you are so inclined, like I mentioned, the array is huge, tipped in favour of the seafood lover tho.

img_20161124_200745

The dessert assortment, which is my first love at a buffet was huge.

They had an extremely well made Creme brulee, pastries and a lot of Indian sweets, including my favourite kaddu ka kheer, the lemony passion fruit mousse and banana foster which was outstanding!

The promotional is on till the 30th of Nov 2016. Do not miss this!

Coast to Coast at Amara, Trident, Hyderabad

Recommendations: Hawaiian Salmon Tartare Salad, Goan Xacuti, Gulf coast seafood stew and Phuket massaman curry (main course), Banana foster and passion fruit mousse (dessert)

Timing: 7.30 pm to midnight.
Location: Hitech City, Hyderabad
Credit Card Accepted: Yes
Valet Parking: Available
Telephone: 91 40 6623 2323

 

Coffee Choco Chip Muffins

img_20160817_131646

I maintain that I am not fully awake and ready to function each morning unless I have my cup of coffee. I am also a tiny bit particular that the milk should be freshly boiled and the decoction freshly brewed. I didn’t realise how important this was to me until a few years ago, on a trip to Bangalore, I stayed with my cousin. She offered to make my coffee. What followed is a tale I cannot forget. I watched her take milk from the fridge, heat it, add decoction that was sitting on the counter top, it wasn’t strong enough, so in went some instant coffee, mixed in some sugar and handed it to me. I tried my best to drink it. Telling myself it was just coffee. I failed and the coffee met the kitchen sink after a few laboured sips. She now laughs and asks me to make my own coffee when I visit!

It is my daily ritual, my start of the day and is kind of sacred. I set the filter with two scoops of coffee powder, add the hot water, soak Sage’s food and go for a walk with him. By the time we come back 20-30 minutes later, he is ready for his first meal of the day and I look forward to my coffee and morning peace.

Some days the coffee doesn’t turn out right. For no fathomable reason. I am decidedly irritated for the first hour on such days. I call them the ‘curse of coffee’ or ‘Kaapi shraabam’ days. You don’t want to meet me early in the morning on such days!

img_20160817_131640

I recently introduced a 6 day baking course at my studio. I get several requests for longer than my current one day basic class and decided to try it out. We tackle a different kind of bake in more detail than my one day class. One day is cookies, one day cupcakes and so on. Since a lot of my students come back for classes, I try not to repeat the items being taught. They appreciate the variety and I don’t get bored.

In last month’s class we made these beautiful Coffee Choco Chip Muffins. I am not big on chocolate, I have said it numerous times. Yet anything well made with chocolate is always welcome. This blog itself has a tonne of chocolate recipes. This one is a sure keeper. Best for when you have guests over for chai/ coffee or to add to a picnic / travel bag. These are easy to make and are very moist. I like to keep them for a day before eating them so that the flavours are nicely infused.
Try them and do let me know how you liked these muffins.


 Coffee Chocolate chip muffins (Makes 8)    

1.5 cups  Maida / All purpose flour  

1/2 cup  Choco chips  

1 teaspoon  baking powder  

1/2 teaspoon  baking soda  1/2 teaspoon  salt  

1/4 cup  vegetable oil  

1 medium  egg or ¼ cup yogurt  

1/2 cup  milk  

2/3 cup  sugar  

1 teaspoon  vanilla essence

1 tablespoon Instant coffee powder (reduce if you prefer it milder)

  • Sift the flour with the baking powder, soda and salt. Add the choco chips and set  aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees  Celsius
  • Whisk together the milk, egg or yogurt, vanilla, oil and sugar till the sugar has completely  dissolves.  
  • Add the flour in two parts, mix gently till the batter is formed. It will be a thick  batter.
  • Spoon into the muffin liners, fill ⅔ of the liner only.  
  • Bake for 25­-27 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Cool for 10 minutes before serving. Can store upto 7 days if refrigerated, cool  completely before storing.   
  • Instead of choco chips, use any chopped chocolate, or nuts

 

Eating Out ~ High on Highway, Spice Junxion, Taj Deccan

Posted on

Highway food has always been something I looked forward to on road trips even as a child.

There is something quite adventurous in finding a spot on a rustic Charpai (rope woven cot) and ordering basic (the menu’s in my childhood consisted of 8-10 items only) but lip smacking fare.

Highway dhabas catered mostly to truck drivers on the go and therefore the food needed to be robust, fresh and quick. Today there are a lot of ‘permanent’ Dhaba style restaurants across the country which serve up dhaba food. This is a testament to how popular this genre of food is.

High on Highway ~ Food festival at Spice Junxion, Taj Deccan

High on Highway ~ Food festival at Spice Junxion, Taj Deccan

The Spice Junxion at the Taj Deccan is hosting a 10 day food festival that is showcasing this food. They’ve chosen dishes served up in eateries along the National Highway 1 which according to Wikipedia, runs between Punjab, starting from the town of Attari, through Haryana and ends at Delhi. This is a part of the Grand Trunk Road which extended from Bengal to Kabul. Read more about it here.

I was invited for the preview of this festival and the food is available off a special A la Carte menu.

This is the first time I was dining at this restaurant of the Taj and the ambience was delightful with dhaba-esque souvenirs, brass and copper crockery and lots of flowers dotting the place.

Executive chef Rishi Manucha explained that a considerable amount of research had gone into capturing the authentic flavours of the dishes being presented. I think this was important because north Indian food and particularly Punjabi food has become common place at restaurants. I was curious to see what twist they would present.

For starters, the vegetarian fare included Chatpati Dahi Arbi – yogurt marinated colacasia, deep fried. There was also Bhuni Shakarkandi – Sweet potato, chargrilled and served with a mango chutney. I loved this, one because I like sweet potatoes, two the flavours were subtle.

The non vegetarian starters had the ever popular Tandoori Chicken – I loved that they used really tender chicken and the extra cumin in the marinade really gave it a nice heft.

Ambarasari Machi – batter fried fish which was succulent on the outside and had a very lightly crisp and spicy exterior was my favourite. This could be because I am partial to fish!

We were served three kinds of drinks. The Shikanji (lemon juice), Aam panna (raw mango juice flavoured with cumin and black salt) and my absolute favourite Sweet lassi with a generous dollop of cream. I wished I had a bucket full of this, but exercised restraint!

For the main course, we had Gosht aur Shalgam ki Tari, a nice home style mutton and turnip dish. This had a gravy which was not loaded with cream and other stuff, just nice clean flavours, melt in the mouth meat that was cooked to perfection. Paired well with the crunchy Khamiri Roti.

The Penda, which is a chicken korma cooked with potato and garam masala was also good. I was beginning to love that the dishes were mostly home style. What a dichotomy it is, to crave home style food in a commercial restaurant! And yet, more and more people are seeking this out.

There was a Pudiney ki tari wali macchli which had all the right flavours, but the fish pieces sort of didn’t hold their shape in the gravy. I usually like my fish curries in the south indian style with lots of tang, so I enjoyed the flavour of mint for a change.  Although the fish was supposed to be barbecued, the flavours didn’t come through at all.

IMG_20160414_140913[1]

Aloo Methi ka saag on the left and Amchoor wale Kareley in the middle, above that is rajma masala

Aloo methi ka saag was a clear favourite even with my fellow diner, it was a wet gravy dish (again homestyle) instead of the usual dry aloo methi one is familiar with.The sharpness of the fenugreek leaves a nice contrast with the bland creamy potato.

Amchoorwaley Kareley – bittergourd stuffed with green pea and dried mango powder, I spotted a few raisins in it too. While the stuffing was very good, I felt the bittergourd itself was rather tough and uncooked. It either needed more cooking or using very tender gourds would be good. I’m impressed that the chef chose this dish because bitter gourd is automatically one of those most hated vegetables!

The Rajma masala was everything it should be. Cooked to soft creamy perfection, not too many spices and yet, deep flavours coming through. I’ve eaten a lot of rajma masala to be tired of it, but this was very comforting and spot on, even though a tad too familiar. There was another lentil preparation – Maash ki dal (red lentils) which looked good, but I didn’t taste it.

We were served a pillow soft Aloo Kulcha which was terrific. I had second servings of this.

There is a choice of Pudina (mint) rice and Jeera (cumin) rice to go with the main course.

There was a refreshingly different raita made with aubergine, baigan ka raita, which had me going for second helpings.

IMG_20160414_145741[1]

The desserts served were Malai Ghevar (I didn’t like this, never have been a fan of ghevar, so don’t take my word), Gajrella (carrot kheer) which was nice, because it wasn’t sickeningly sweet unlike how its cousin the gajar ka halwa is made. And the piece de resistance – Pan ka mitha – Rose flavoured icecream, sandwiched in a betel (pan) leaf with a nice dollop of rose petal preserve (gulkand) which is used to sweeten pan. The whole thing was frozen and totally hit all the right spots for me. I am a big big fan of gulkand, known to eat it out of the bottle like jam, so for me, pan flavoured anything is a must have. A lot of restaurants now do pan flavoured ice cream or kulfi. The pan ‘masala’ including fresh betel leaves are ground and added to an ice cream mix. But this was brilliant because it hits the palate at different times, just as you are savouring the icecream, you get a hit from the gulkand! As you can see, for me this was the show stopper of the whole meal.

The festival is on till 26th April and is available for both lunch and dinner.

Check it out if you would like a deviation from the highly commercial dhaba food, and want to sample some really well made north Indian fare.

The options are served A la Carte. Prices for the Starters are Rs. 345 – 450 (excluding taxes). Main course dishes are priced between Rs. 445 – Rs. 595 (excluding taxes)

Recommended Dishes: Bhuni Shakarkandi, Ambarasari Macchi, Tandoori Chicken, Gosht aur shalgam ki tari, Rajma masala, Aloo methi ka saag, baingan ka raita, sweet lassi and Pan ka Mitha

Hours: Lunch and Dinner

Location: The Spice Junxion, Taj Deccan, Banjara Hills

Valet Parking: Available

Telephone :66663939

Multi Millet Thepla with Methi and Palak

Posted on

methi thepla

That’s a mouthful, to say and to eat. I posted a picture of this on my instagram feed and I had a lot of friends asking for the recipe. To my mind, that was odd, because this was more of a ‘throw everything you have in the fridge together’ type of preparation. I’ve had this long standing habit of making a roti / flatbread mixed with fresh vegetables (grated carrot or bottlegourd) or leafy vegetables such as spinach or even pureed leftover dal and curries. Its an effective way to get some flavour into a plain roti and cleans up your fridge, what’s not to love?

I have been using a multi millet mix for rotis off and on and used the same to make these theplas. Millets grow in abundance in the Telangana region, of which Hyderabad is the capital city. The area is land locked, dry and arid and millets which do not need much water, are suitable for these semi drought conditions. Millets are also extensively eaten in Maharashtra and Karnataka. All this changed over the last few decades with everyone shifting both cultivation and consumption to rice. However, the last few years have brought a surge in the interest and consumption of millets, much to the delight of farmers. This is due to the fact that millets are gluten free and low in glycemic index, making it suitable for those on a gluten free diet or people who need slow release foods, like diabetics. Millets are very ‘filling’ that’s what a lay person would call a low GI food. It makes one feel less hungry and delays the next meal. Farmers would make a gruel from millets such as ragi and consume it early in the morning before they head out to the fields. This would keep them full till their next meal.

Due to the nature of the grain, millet rotis tend to become dry and are best eaten hot, smeared with a little butter or ghee. It is also a little difficult to roll out as a roti, again because it doesn’t contain gluten, the roti breaks and tears and doesn’t hold shape. The traditional way to combat this, is to knead the dough with warm water, and pat out the rotis instead of rolling them. It is a treat to watch ladies do this, ofcourse this is a dying skill.

To make my life easy, I simply add a little bit of wheat flour to act as a binder and help roll out the rotis. Wheat also ensures the theplas remain soft for a few hours after making them. Millet flours are coarse, they also have a strong nutty taste which takes a little getting used to. Adding spices, grated or pureed vegetables or even a dab of ghee or butter, makes it easier to eat. It is definitely an acquired taste. So start with small quantities.

There is a pseudo grain amongst millets, looks and tastes like cooked broken rice, this is my favourite, because it can be cooked and eaten in place of rice. Do check out Foxtail millet. I have a few recipes for it on this blog such as patties and pulav. Jowar/ pearl millet can effectively be used in many non Indian dishes too, I have a recipe for a tabbouleh salad that uses jowar instead of Bulgar wheat!

For a recipe that I didn’t think was blogging worthy, that’s a lot of story!

I make my own multi grain flour mix but you can also use a premix. I add equal quantities of Ragi, Jowar, Bajra to a container and mix it. The wheat flour is added when I knead the dough and in as much quantity as desired. For this thepla, I used equal quantities of ragi, jowar, bajra and wheat flours.

 

1/2 cup each of ragi, jowar, bajra and wheat flours (2 cups flour in all)

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

1 teaspoon red chilli powder (adjust according to taste)

1-1.5 cups finely chopped spinach and fenugreek leaves

1/2 – 3/4 cup warm water to knead the dough

3-4 teaspoons of oil / ghee

Mix together all of the ingredients except the water, add water slowly and knead into a slightly stiff dough. Let it rest for 10 minutes.

Heat a tava / griddle on medium high heat, divide the dough into 8 portions and make balls out of them.

Using a little dry wheat flour and a rolling pin, roll out the dough balls into thin discs, about 5 inches in diameter. Repeat with all of the dough balls.

When the griddle is hot, cook the theplas on the first side for 20 seconds, flip over when small bubbles/ brown spots form. Cook the other side for 30-45 seconds, press down gently with a clean kitchen towel, to ensure all the edges are cooked, drizzle some oil/ ghee and repeat the pressing down on the other side. This is to ensure that the edges get a few crispy bits.

Take it off the flame and keep it in layers of a kitchen towel or serve immediately. Repeat with all the dough. Serve them hot with lots of white butter (:D), yogurt and pickle on the side.

If you liked this recipe, or tried it out, do let me know how it turned out. You can also write about how you use millets in your kitchen, or what your favourite recipe for thepla is.

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: