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 * 

Ajwain (Carom seed) Puris 

Ajwain (carom seed) Puris – 

A very simple unleavened Indian flatbread. There are many variations of this flatbread, depending on the region where they are made.

 This is a simple recipe which requires just a few ingredients & can be made in under half an hour. 

■ In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour, 2 Tablespoons of Semolina, 1/2 Tsp Ajwain (Carom Seeds), 1/4 Tsp Turmeric powder, 1-2 Garlic flakes -minced /grated (optional) , Salt & Chilli powder to Taste.

■ Knead all the above ingredients into a stiff dough, using water as required (little at a time) Set aside for 15-20 mins. 

■ In a wok, heat oil. Roll out small (lemon sized) dough balls into flat Puris. (As shown in the pic) Deep fry the puris in hot oil, on medium heat, till they get a golden hue, & are fully puffed up. 

I serve these hot fluffy crisp Puris with a Mint-Coriander-Green Chilli Chutney, and some plain yogurt for Breakfast.

You  can also serve as a hearty meal along with Palak Paneer, Chickpea or Potato Curry. 

Healthy, No Cook Breakfast Ideas. Banana-Peanut Butter-Granola. 

Imagine the saltiness of generously slathered creamy peanut butter against the sweetness of banana and the crunchy texture of homemade granola packed with Almonds, Walnuts & Cranberries !

That was my breakfast today 😍 

You don’t need to slave in the kitchen for hours, neither skip breakfast bcoz you don’t have time to cook.

I just slit a banana lengthwise,  slathered some creamy peanut butter on it, & genrously sprinkled my favourite homemade granola packed full of the goodness of Oats, Almonds, Walnuts, & Cranberries. 

There you have it, a complete breakfast full of all the essential nutrients to start your day, ready in under 5 minutes, without any cooking at all ! 

Can anything be easier than that ? 

 Just use a little imagination ! Experiment a little. 

Stock up your groceries smartly. 😎

Easy Cherry Galette 


Its stone fruit season ! Looking at all those fresh plump juicy peaches, apricots, plums & cherries in the market, makes my mind work overtime, thinking of all the delicious things I can make with these fruits. 

So you’ll be seeing a lot of Jams, pies, tarts & galettes on my blog now. 

Honestly, nothing is simpler than a galette though. 

Served with a scoop of icecream or whipped cream, this handcrafted pie/galette makes for a comforting dessert on a gloomy rainy day. 

Here’s my Cherry Galette recipe for you – 

■ With your fingertips, rub together 100 gms of Flour with 50 gms of chilled butter (i prefer salted – @amulindia butter ), a pinch of Baking powder and 1 teaspoon of icing sugar. 

■ Rub this mixture lightly with just the fingertips, till it starts looking like coarse breadcrumbs. 

■ Add a couple of teaspoons of chilled water/milk to the mixture, & start bringing it together in a ball shape. Do Not knead the flour mixture like a bread dough. Just press it lightly between your palms, to bring it together in a dough ball. 

■ Wrap this pastry dough in a cling film & refrigerate for 15-20 mins. 

■ Take about half cup of fresh cherries (you can also use Peaches/Apricots cut into bite size pcs) Mix in few teaspoons of Demerrara (brown) Sugar, & a drop of Vanilla essence. 

■ Roll out the chilled pastry dough between sheets of Plastic, (roughly the diameter of a Quarter plate.) & roll about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. 

■ Place the rolled dough onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Pile the fruit mixture in the middle, leaving a sufficient border (atleast an inch) along the circle. 

■ Fold the border onto the fruit filling, so that the fruit does not slide off while baking. 

■ Bake the Cherry Galette in a preheated oven at 160° C for 20-25 mins, until the fruits are caramelized &  the pastry is golden-brown. 

■ Serve warm with a dollop of icecream or whipped cream. 

Waffling Around, Aundh. Pune 


The other day I went out for a late night snack/dessert. 

Didn’t want the regular icecreams & shakes, so decided to try ‘Wafflin Around’ at Aundh (opp Croma)

A nice cute little place, which was later invaded by a group of people who had a competition with their unruly kids, over who could be the loudest & most obnoxious of the lot. (Not the restaurant’s fault at all, but all that ruckus, along with the music in the restaurant, kinda ruined my idea of having a nice dessert, on a quiet rainy night before going home & sleeping peacefully) 

Anyway, coming back to the Waffles. This place serves waffle sandwiches, basically half waffle stuffed with filling of your choice, & folded over like a sandwich. 

I tried the Strawberry-Cream waffle which my friend ordered. A mixture of whipped cream & strawberry crush topped with coloured confetti sprinkles. A bit too sweet for my liking. 

My ‘Salted Caramel’ waffle turned out better, with the balance of cream & salted caramel, which didn’t have a tooth ache inducing sweetness. 

However the actual Waffle, needs a bit of change. It was crisp on the outside, as it should be, but sadly it wasn’t at all light n airy inside. The waffle felt too dense and under done inside. 

Will I give it another try ? Yes. 

They have just 2 savoury options, but I’d like to try the Cheese filled waffle sometime. 

Evening Strolls & Window Shopping around Sacre Coeur, Paris – Travel Diaries. 

​Evening strolls around #sacrecoeur were more like ‘window shopping strolls’. 

These quaint shops dotted along the cobbled streets leading up to Sacre Coeur offer a huge variety of delicate hand crafted home decor articles, knick knacks like mugs, coasters, planters and other souvenirs. You can buy some beautiful pottery articles, aprons, wall decor pieces to take back home, or simply spend a couple of hours admiring them and just window shopping.

I spent an entire evening just walking up n down the street, enjoying the weather & stopping by the little street cafes for a crepe or coffee, in between strolls. 

And then, as it starts getting dark, there’s a special ‘sight’ in store for you. Stay tuned to the next pic, for more on that 😉 

Travel Diaries – Paris day 1

​I just realized, I literally have thousands of pics from my travel diaries, which I haven’t even posted on Instagram (yeah…I know, my Insta posts are just FOOD !🙈😁) 

Anyway, so now when I’m not eating, reviewing, cooking, tasting, consulting or training, I’ll be sharing some random travel pics & experiences as well. 

Places I’ve visited, fun things around the world (FOOD pics will always outnumber though 😉) 

So….This, happened to be the very 1st pic I clicked, as soon as I woke up on a beautiful cold morning, in Paris. 

It was around 06:00 am, I opened my eyes & saw dewdrops on the window. The baby pink sheer curtains, the tall phycus plant which almost touched the ceiling. The view outside the bedroom window….everything was surreal. I thought I was dreaming 🙈

So I grabbed my phone from the bedside & clicked a picture, just to make sure later. 😂

My dream vacation had just begun…