3 Spices – Double Tree by Hilton, Pimpri-Chinchwad.

Located in the heart of Pune’s Industrial belt, Double Tree by Hilton is an ideal venue for a lunch meeting, corporate event, or even to stay on a business trip.
I was recently invited to their restaurant ‘3 Spices’ for the launch of their new menu.

A warm inviting ambiance with a lively vibe, this place isn’t just for mundane meetings, but also a good venue for an evening out with family and friends.
We started the tasting session with an assortment of wines from Sula Vineyards, and some delectable starters to go with it.

Keeping in mind the preferences of the guests, the newly designed menu is a mix of cuisines, to cater to all palates.

There’s a wide variety to choose from Indian, Oriental, & Continental cuisine.

A special mention has to be made about the Desserts though. Everything on the dessert counter looked so attractive, that we started our meal with a couple of desserts !

We were quite literally alternating between the sweet and savoury courses.
I particularly enjoyed the Continental cuisine and preferred to stick with that, over the Indian mains. And then some more desserts ofcourse !

The place felt a little crowded and noisy later, as the restaurant was almost packed to capacity by late evening…but then again, that’s a good sign…right?
Everything from the food, to the plating, presentation and the service was upto the mark & definitely worth another visit.

* Bloggers table was hosted by 3 Spices *

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Fast, Fresh & Simple 

​I like making quick, easy recipes for dinner most of the times, or atleast on weekdays. 

Recipes like this easy Thai inspired curry with steamed rice feature a lot on my plate. 

It’s a good way to mix protein, fibre & carbs in a meal. 

In a wok, I sauted some boneless chicken (You can use Tofu / Mushroom / Veggies instead of, or along with the chicken.) along with ginger, shallots, lemon grass, kafir lime leaves and fresh home grown basil. 

(Salt & slit red/green chilli to taste)

Added in some diced bell peppers, & topped up with thick coconut extract to make a sort of curry-sauce. 

Served with steamed rice. 

Fast, Fresh & Simple Dinners  🙂  

Wok Tossed Prawns & Rice Stick Noodles 

​Homemade meals + cozy winter afternoons = Bliss 💜

This one dish meal is my favourite. 

I always have some chicken/prawns, some flat rice noodles/rice vermicelli at home, for a quick wok tossed meal that I can prepare in minutes. 

I used some fresh plump prawns that I wok tossed in some sweet chili sauce, garlic & crushed peppercorn, in a tsp of sesame oil, over a high flame. 

Added cooked flat rice noodles to the wok, tossed till they were coated evenly with the sauce. 

Garnished with fresh spring onion. Yummmm…

Delish meal ready in minutes ! 

PS- That’s why it’s important to have basic sauces, spices & grocery at home with which you can rustle up a quick meal, so that you don’t end up eating junk food. 😛 

Khiva – Phoenix, Pune 

‘Khiva’ from Mumbai, is the latest addition to the restaurant scene at Phoenix Market City, Pune. 

Considering that this place serves rich, traditional Bukhara cuisine, the decor is quite modern, simplistic, with just a few touches like, artefacts, paintings, Middle Eastern music, that try to stick to the concept of the restaurant. 

I was invited to a Preview dinner last month, & the tasting menu we were served that evening was pre decided by the management. 

Not the best mix of dishes, honestly. I would’ve loved to sample their Signature dishes, or something unique in terms of flavour, style of preparation, & presentation. 

But frankly, how different can a Palak Paneer, a Methi Mutter Malai, or a Rasmalai be, than any other place serving it ? 

The kebabs we tried – Chandni kebab, & Murg Mozarella kebab, both had a similar marination of cream, yogurt, cheese, green chili, & were pretty average in terms of flavour, presentation, and portions.

The vegetarian starters – Makai Seekh Kabab, & Mutter aur Cheese ka Tikka, were both dry and crumbly, & not really big on flavour (and Defintely Not Worth spending close to 400 bucks on!) 

The 1st (& probably the only) impressive dish of the evening was Mutton Lahori, a smooth thin onion based gravy, with absolutely tender melt in the mouth chunks of mutton that tasted brilliant with hot Naan. 

Murg Peshawari was another simple homestyle chicken curry, which is worth a try, but is it worth the high price ? I doubt. 

The vegetarian mains, as I said, were just like any other place serving this cuisne, would prepare. There was nothing different, nothing unique, in the Palak Paneer, Dal Makhani, Methi Mutter Malai or Meloni Tarkari that we were served that evening. The presentation was also as regular & run of the mill as any other place would serve. Which is exactly why I keep wondering why they’re charging whatever they are. (check the prices on Zomato, you’ll know what I mean 😐) 

Chicken Dum Biryani served with Mirch ka salan did not disappoint. Good ratio of meat to rice. Generous sprinkling of saffron and spices, and balanced flavours. No complaints there. 

It takes a very good dessert to impress me, & compel me to go for a 2nd helping, as I’m not really a big fan of Indian desserts. 

The Anjeer Halwa, Angoori Rasmalai, & Lychee ki Tehree served that evening unfortunately failed to compel me to go even for a 2nd bite, leave alone a 2nd helping. 

With the Supreme Court highway ban on alcohol still in place, you will have to settle for a mocktail with your meal at Phoenix, as of now. 

So taking all these factors into consideration, will Khiva be able to impress guests, and have them come over a 2nd time ? 

Well… it’s barely a month since they’ve opened, maybe I’ll just wait for a few more weeks, give them some more time to settle, then try the food again… I’ll reserve my opinion till then. ☺

In the meanwhile, if you do try it out, do let me know about your experience there. 

* Bloggers table was hosted by Khiva * 

Fried Halwa (Black Pomfret)

​Lunch today, was a quick & easy fried Black Pomfret/Halwa. 

I love shallow fried fish, and when I make it, I can literally have just that, for a meal. 

No rice, no curry… just some slices of spicy, tangy, shallow fried fish with a generous squeeze of lemon, & maybe a salad on the side.

 ■  I made a thick paste using – 

Red Chilli Powder, Turmeric Powder, Cumin & Corriander Powder, Rice Flour, Kokum Extract, & Salt to taste.

■  Marinate the fish slices in this paste for an hour. 

■  In a pan, heated some oil, and shallow fried the marinated fish, 3-4  minutes on one side, flip and then cook for another couple of minutes. (Cook completely on one side, & only then turn over) 

■  Since the marinade already had a bit of rice flour for binding, I fried the fish directly. But if you want a crispier texture on the outside, you can coat the marinated fish with Semolina/Rice Flour just before frying. 

■  Serve with lemon wedges and salad on the side. 

Honey Chili Chicken 

​Dinner last night, was this easy Honey-Chilli Chicken. 

It’s the kind of dish that gives you a healthy dose of protein, plus add veggies of your choice, like brocolli, bellpepper, onion, mushrooms, or baby corn…and your 1 dish meal is ready in under 15 minutes! 

■ Cut boneless chicken into bite sized cubes. 

■ Marinate with a bit of salt, pepper, soy sauce, & ginger-garlic paste. Set aside for 15-20 mins. (You could also marinate the chicken & leave it in the fridge before you go to work. All you need to do is stir fry it later in the evening, & your meal will be ready in minutes. 

Anyway…so back to the chicken. 

■ While your boneless chicken cubes are soaking up the soy sauce, & ginger garlic flavours, dice veggies of your choice into bite sized cubes. 

■ Finely mince some ginger & garlic. Slit some green chillies lengthwise (or mince them if you like) 

■ Toss the marinated chicken In some dry cornstarch so that all pieces get covered with a thin and even dusting of cornstarch. 

■ In a wok, heat couple of tsps of Sesame oil, add minced ginger-garlic, green chillies, veggies, soy sauce, salt to taste and Honey. Toss on high heat for a minute. 

■ Add cornstarch dusted chicken to the wok and keep tossing till the sauce coats all the veggies and chicken evenly. This should take only 4-5 minutes. Do not overcook chicken and vegetables. 

■ Garnish with fresh spring onion and sesame seeds. Serve hot. 

■ If you want to serve this chicken with rice, add water and simmer for a couple of minutes till you get the desired consistency of gravy. 

Quick 1 Dish Meals 

​1 dish meals are quick, healthy and a great way of including protein, fibre and carbs, all in one dish. 

■ In a wok, heat a few tsps of Oil. (I like to use Sesame Oil, but you can use any other oil as per your choice)

 ■ Add minced Ginger & Garlic to the oil, and saute on medium heat till golden. Add Sesame seeds and stir well. 

■ Add bite sized pieces of boneless Chicken, Soy Sauce, Salt to taste, Honey, & Dried Red Chilli Flakes (Red Chili Powder/Finely chopped Green Chilli/Black Pepper works well too) 

■ Cook for a few minutes, and add little water to adjust consistency. (If you wish to have a slightly thicker gravy, add a tsp of Cornstarch to the water before adding it in.) 

■ Serve on a bed of cooked Rice Stick Noodles/Steamed Rice. Garnish with Spring Onion/Garlic Chives. (Instead of Chicken {or along with Chicken} You can also add Prawns, Broccoli, Mushroom, Bell Peppers, Tofu, Baby Corn.