Cheflife, Diet, Dinner, Food Blog, Food Blogger, Healthy Meals, Home Cooking, Lunch, Party Snacks / Appetizers, Quick Meals

Rawa Fried Prawns *warning – Highly Addictive ! * 


* Rawa Fried Prawns * –

These crisp golden fried prawns are so easy to make, & highly addictive ! 

They make an excellent bar snack or even as a side dish with a fish curry- rice meal. 

If you want to serve these at a party, you can marinate the parwns in advance & then just fry them up before serving. 

You will need – 

■ 1/2 Kg Prawns (shelled & deveined) 

■ Red chilli powder, Turmeric Powder, & Salt – to taste 

■ Ginger-Garlic Paste – 1/2 tsp

■ Tamarind Pulp/Kokum Extract/Lemon Juice – 1/2 tsp 

■ Semolina (Rawa) & Rice flour – as required.

■ Oil – to shallow fry. 
● Shell, Devein & wash the prawns thoroughly. Drain excess water. 

● In a mixing bowl, make a paste using Red Chilli Powder, Turmeric, Salt, Ginger-Garlic Paste, & Kokum extract. 

● Add the cleaned prawns to the mixing bowl & rub the spice paste into the prawns taking care that each prawn is coated well with the spice mix. Set aside to marinate for 30 mins. 

● In a bowl or plate mix some rice flour & semolina (1 part rice flour : 3 parts semolina) You can add a pinch of Salt, chilli powder & turmeric to this mixture if you wish. Coat the marinated prawns with this semolina mixture & dust off excess. 

● In a non stick pan, heat couple of tablespoons of oil & shallow fry the prawns till golden brown. Do not keep flip or stir them frequently. Cook on one side for 2 mins & then flip once to cook on the other side for another minute or 2. 

Overcooking will make them tough & chewy. 

~ Taste best with a generous squeeze of lemon, some salad on the side & chilled beer ofcourse ! 😉🍻

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Cheflife, Diet, Dinner, Food Blog, Food Blogger, Healthy Meals, Home Cooking, Lifestyle, Lunch, Motivation, Party Snacks / Appetizers, Quick Meals

When all else fails, CHEESE.

​When all else fails, Cheese ! 


It’s been raining non stop, & the weather’s so nice & cool. Perfect for a day long Baking session. I made grand plans for the day! 

First up, kneading the bread dough, as it would take the longest to ferment. That done, I left the sourdough to ferment. Then got on with marinating some chicken, which I later planned to bake along with thin slices of potato, onion, cream & cheese. Marination done, I turned to the fermented dough, shaped & scored  a lovely french baguette, & put it in the oven to bake. 

Within 20 minutes the aroma of freshly baked bread was wafting through the kitchen. So now it was the Chicken that had to go in, to bake. Layers of thinly sliced potatoes, onion, chicken, herbs, cream & cheese were all set to bake & turn into a magical dish, which would later be devoured while listening to the pitter patter, sitting by the french window. 

I poured myself a glass of wine, & settled for a bit, waiting for the chicken to be ready in another 20 mins….

And then….BAM ! 😑 *power cut * 

How could I be SO naive & optimistic about this ‘Baking on a Rainy Day Plan’ ?! 

This is #pune ! Even 10 mins of rain, results into hours of powercut ! Hmmph… 

But I wasn’t gonna let my plans be ruined, just bcoz this brilliant ‘Smart City’ decided to cut off power suply! 😏 

So out came the next best thing – the Cheese Board ! 

Now how can you go wrong with a Cheese Board & Wine ?! 

* That’s why I always say – Stock up your groceries smartly * 

I had all the essentials of a Cheese platter ready, & all it took was a little assembling. 

So within minutes we had – Olives, Parmesan, Gruyere Crisps, Mild Cheddar, some Fruit Preserves, Spanish Chorizo, & the lovely fresh warm baguette ready, for a candlelight evening by the window, listening to the pitter patter of the rain, sipping wine & having an awesome evening. 

Well played ‘Smart City’….But I’m smarter than you 😏😎😂

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Iberico Salchichon (Sausage) – Delightful memories of Spain. 

Are you a fan of Cured Meats ? 

I surely am !  I absolutely love the intense flavour of cured meats like Chorizo and Jamon ( -salt cured Ham- pronounced as ‘Hah-mon’)

Just a tiny bit goes a long way in jazzing up your meal instantly. 

For those who are new to the technique and art of Curing meats, here’s a little info about the process of curing – 

To put it very simply, ‘Curing’ is a technique of flavouring & preserving foods, such as meats, fish, vegetables & fruits. 

The aim of curing is to draw out moisture from the food by adding Salt, Sugar, Seasoning and such other natural preservatives, to increase the shelf life of the food, and store it year round, for consumption when certain fish/fresh produce or not available or in season. 

Dehydration is the earliest form of food curing, which also includes processes like spicing, pickling, cooking, or smoking. 

Curing decreases / completely draws out the water content from foods, thus making it inhospitable for the growth of microbes that cause food spoilage. 

On my recent visit to Spain, I got a chance to sample various types of cured meats, be it in their original form as a quick nibble between meals, or in Sandwiches, Rice dishes, as a flavour enhancer in Salads, and very prominently as Tapas and on Cheese platters, served with Drinks. 

There are literally thousands of types of cured meats, all over the world. 

Some are made using a single meat such as Pork, some with a combination of 2-3 different meats (eg- pork, beef, deer, wild boar etc) or even offal. 

Some sausages also use a combination of spices like Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Pepper, Coriander etc, if the meat is to ‘Gamey’.

The one that I particularly liked, & bought in huge quantities to take back home, was the ‘Iberico Salchichon’. 

(Iberian/) Iberico Salchichon/Sausages are made from the famed Black Hoofed Iberico (Iberian) Pigs, native to Spain.

 They roam free, and feed on leaves and acorns. Extremely flavourful (& needless to say, quite expensive !) these are quite the delicacy in Spain. 

The pork is dark red and marbled with delicate fat, creating an intense flavour and melt in the mouth texture. 

Unlike Spanish Chorizo, which is infused with a lot of garlic, smoked paprika & other spices, (which btw, is also Truly delicious! ) this Salchichon uses only Salt & Pepper (sometimes Oregano) for curing. With a simple curing solution of Salt & Pepper, these sausages are filled in natural casing (read- beef/pig intestines) & are hung to cure in the cool mountain air for several weeks/months. 

Sliced thinly, this delicious treat can be served with a crisp white wine, some cheese & crusty sourdough bread. 

Makes for a perfect gift for someone who loves cured meats & wines, & even to bring back home, and stash it for the days when you want to sit back and enjoy these, while reminiscing about your beautiful Spanish vacation. 😊

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The Sassy Spoon, Pune.

​The year has started off with a bang, with some big names coming to Pune.

The much talked about Sassy Spoon from Mumbai is now at Koregaon Park, lane 7, where Jimmy Hu and Brooklyn Shuffle once used to be.

This casual, chic resto bar is tastefully done up, with each section offering a different decor and ambiance.

The air conditioned section with its high ceiling , dim lights and muted tones, a winding staircase leading up to a huge book wall is charming, and impressed me much more than the al fresco section, which is a bright, cheery place with a fresh colour palette. (but honestly felt more like sitting in a Doll House) Yeah… I’m not really a fan of Baby Pinks and Pastels and Doll House kinda colours and decor.

That section is infact their Patisserie called ‘the sassy teaspoon’.
The Bar menu comprises of some promising drinks like Berry Chilli, The Very Berry Khatta, Jack and Ginger, to name a few.
The one drink I had, and thoroughly enjoyed was the ‘Morning Brew’. Espresso, and Whisky spiked with Vanilla and Orange Liquer. This is one drink, I’d go again for.
The food menu is a mix of different cuisines, a bit of Asian, Indian, Mediterranean.
Of all the dishes I tried that evening, my favourites were –

Cajun Spiced Prawns, sitting in a puddle of spiced garlicky oil and a crusty bagguete to mop it all up, is quite nice.
Tenderloin Jerky, Pork Ribs with bbq sauce, are decent on flavour and texture, but not really the best I’ve had.
Savoury Pumpkin Tart with Goat Cheese was quite a pleasant surprise. Buttery tart shell with a lovely smooth velvelty pumpkin filling and a salty goat cheese topping to cut through the sweetness of the pumpkin.
Twice Baked Ementhal Souffle served on a bed of tangy Green Apple salad, and candied walnuts is definitely worth a try.
Now for the the major let down that evening –
Chicken Burger with Wasabi Mayo. (Read – tasteless crumb fried chicken patty, with a dry bun, absolutely No wasabi flavour….rather, no other flavour at all !

McDonald’s would manage a better burger (and those who know me, know well, how much I dislike it)
Another one in the list of let downs, is the Pulled Pork Poi. Underseasond, dry, tasteless and very disapointing indeed.
Desserts from their Patisserie, ‘The Sassy Teaspoon’ looked good on the display counter, but failed to impress on the flavour aspect.

None of the desserts we sampled that evening – Red Velvet Cupcake, Sassy Stacks, Sticky Tofee pudding or the Macarons made me go ‘Wow’ !
The only one I really really liked was a tangy, refreshing Raspberry Sorbet, of which I would gladly have seconds.
In my honest opinion Sassy Spoon seemed like a mix bag… and maybe I had higher expectations.
* the bloggers table was hosted by Sassy Spoon *

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Party Platters 


Nothing brings people together like good food ! 

I always follow the golden rule –

*Keep things Simple* 

Party Platters are my favourite. I always create  generous platters of nibbles, ahead of time – A stressed host is never fun ! 

These platters are easy to assemble. Easy to serve. Require little cooking time. And there’s always something for everyone. 

You can have a mix of different cheeses, crackers, olives, fresh/dry fruits, chorizo, cold cuts, vegetable crudites, variety of dips, finger sandwiches, sliders…the options are endless! 

Except for frying up some chicken nuggets, making some dips and sandwiches, all other snacks are pretty much just assembly/arrangement work, that takes a few minutes. 

Simple Cucumber Sandwiches, Chicken and Cole Slaw Sandwiches, are great for warm summer evenings. Ham sandwiches, cut in bite sized pieces, or mini pulled pork sliders are a great snack with your drinks. 

 Have an assortment of cheeses, some soft enough to spread on crackers, some hard, some mild and some sharp. 

Plenty of Fruits like Strawberries,  Grapes, Pears or Apple, to cut through the saltiness and richness of the Cheese. 

Cold Cuts are always a good idea. Some spicy Chorizo works well too, and Olives ofcourse. 

Add few munchies like assorted Nuts , Chips, and Vegetable Crudites with a variety of Dips. You could either make these dips, if you have the time, or you could even serve a couple of good store bought dips. 

The main aim is to have a variety of food, so that there’s something interesting for every guest. 

Just a little planning, a proper shopping list, and 1 trip to the grocery store is all it takes to make a perfect, stress free party platter which you can enjoy with your friends, without spending hours in the kitchen ! 

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Farm to Table Sunday Brunch at Hyatt Regency, Pune.

​Sundays are meant to be enjoyed lazying around, catching up with friends and family, and ofcourse enjoying a laid back brunch.

That’s exactly what I did last Sunday at the Farm to Table Sunday Brunch at Hyatt Regency.
This brunch offers you an assortment of cuisines that use fresh, organic seasonal produce, seafood, meats, all procured from local farmers markets and suppliers.
The freshest and most tempting fruits, & veggies welcome you, as you walk into the The Cafe for brunch.

The spread is large indeed, with something to please every palate.
They serve everything from Salads, Chaat , to Lebanese (read Hummus, pita , fattoush, tabouleh, babaganoush) to Japanese (read Sushi – Ok ….the vegetarian ones with Tomato, Bell Pepper and Okra wasn’t impressive at all….but the standard ones like Crab, Prawn, and Tuna more than make up for it.)
There’s a Salad and Pasta station where you can get your dishes customised as per your choice.
The Grill counter offers an array of Chicken, Shellfish and other Seafood, Beef (buff) etc)
For mains, you can choose from a plethora of dishes, whether it’s a spicy, rustic Chicken Rassa, Thecha, Zhunka and Bhakri you’re craving, or a perfectly cooked Dum Biryani or Murgh Makhni.
The vegetarians have a choice of the freshest seasonal produce cooked right in front of them, be it Indian Curries, Thai delicacies or Salads.
The enticing aroma of Thai curry and steamed fish wafting from a corner of the restaurant is sure to lead you there, and try out the delicious Curry and Rice. You can choose from the variety of seafood, chicken or vegetables and get your curry made as per your preference.
If you’re more a ‘wine and cheese’ kinda person, then you’re in luck. The restaurant offers a huge selection of Cheeses and Cold Cuts to enjoy with your favourite wines.
I’m sure no matter how much you eat, there’s always a little corner in the tummy reserved for Dessert !

Those with a sweet tooth will have a tough time choosing from the countless options on offer.

Everything looks so good, and tastes equally good, that you wish you spent all day there !

End your meal with a lovely cup of cappuccino (if that’s even possible, after eating so much !)
I really wish they extend their brunch hours though.

Atleast 12:00 – 16:00….(instead of 12:30 – 15:30)
*Review conducted on Invite*

‘Farm To Table Sunday Brunch’ will be on till February end

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Christmas Cake Mixing & Sunday Brunch at Baan Tao, Hyatt Pune. 

It’s that time of the year ! Festivities,  fun, frolic and food with friends and family. 

Christmas is coming … and what better way to celebrate, than over a relaxed Sunday Brunch and traditional cake mixing ! 

Every year, a month or 2 before Christmas, large quantities of dry fruits,  nuts, spices are soaked in equally large quantities of alcohol, and left to mix together till the fruits are plump, juicy and ofcourse boozy ! 

This boozy mixture of alcohol infused almonds, walnuts, prunes, raisins, figs, apricots and spices is then baked into the most rich and delicious cakes before Christmas. 

Hyatt Pune, recently celebrated this tradition with their guests at the their Pan Asian restaurant,  ‘Baan Tao’, which serves an amazing Sunday Brunch.

The alfresco seating at Baan Tao, with its soothing ambiance,  waterfalls, and a serene setting is the best place to enjoy a relaxed Sunday brunch. 

With a huge spread of soups, salads, grills, sushi, dimsums, and an equally large spread of sinful desserts, no wonder this restaurant is always bustling on weekends. 

Baan Tao offers 3 packages for their Sunday Brunch.

* Food + Non Alcoholic Beverages – 1199/- (plus taxes)

* Food + Beer, Wine, Cocktails – 1699/- 

* Food + Sparkling Wine – 2299/- 

My favourite was the refreshing Kiwi Mojito and Apple Martini,  which I enjoyed with a delicious spread of Sushi, Dimsums and Grilled Butter Garlic Prawns. 

The desserts included crepes, whisky opera, icecream, cakes and other delectable goodies.

(Sunday Brunch 12:00 – 3:00 pm)

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