Dinner, Food Blogger, Lifestyle, Lunch, Party Snacks / Appetizers, Restaurant Review, Restaurant Reviews, Reviews, Travel

Baali to Baan Tao – Indonesian Food Festival at Hyatt, Pune.

Get a feel of your favourite holiday destination, Bali, sitting right here in Pune ! 

Been Tao -Hyatt, Pune is hosting an Indonesian Food Festival till 5th December, where you can tuck into delicacies like Sari Segara, Lawar Kacang Panjang , Soto Ayam, Ikan Bakar, Bubur Injin to name a few. 

This a la carte menu is curated by Chef Nyoman, from Grand Hyatt Bali, who explained the nuances of each preparation as we sampled each dish in the menu at the preview of this festival. The attention to detail can be seen in the fact that Chef Nyoman brought with him, some of the essential herbs and spices that would be unavailable in India, to ensure that the dishes are as authentic as possible. 

Out of all the dishes we sampled that evening, here are few of my favourites – 

Gado Gado – A salad made with steamed vegetables, tofu, bean curd, egg,  peanut sauce. 

Lawar Kacang Panjang – Long bean salad made with minced chicken , grated coconut, & Balinese bumbu spice.

Chef also gave us a quick demo of how this salad is made. Simple ingredients with subtle flavours. Very light and refreshing. 

Next up were the Prawn, Fish, Lamb & Chicken Satay, out of which the Prawn and Fish Satay were my favourite. The lemonlemongrass stalk used as a skewer for the satay infused a great aroma into the meat as it cooked. 

Lamb satay turned out rather tough and chewy, maybe because of the way it was cut into chunks. So that was bit of a disappointment. But the fish & prawn more than made up for it. 

Sari Segara – This was easily the best dish for me, from that evening. Sari Segara means ‘everything from the Sea’.

This was a seafood soup which consisted of prawns, clams, mussels, squid & fish. The seafood was cooked in a broth flavoured with lemongrass, lemon leaves, fried shallot, potato & beans. Very subtle flavour of the aromatics which let the original seafood flavour shine through. 

Nasi Goreng – A popular fried rice dish , is served with lamb satay & chicken on the side & topped with fried egg. Except for the lamb satay which was rather tough & chewy, everything else on the plate was quite well cooked & balanced in flavour.  

Balinese Lamb Curry – This curry which is best had with steamed rice, has chunks of perfectly cooked tender lamb, braised in coconut milk, fresh turmeric, galangal, & lemon leaf. Quite a hearty dish. 

Bubur Injin – The only dessert on the menu , but definitely a good one if you like a warm rice porridge sorta end to the meal. This one is a Black Sticky Rice Pudding with Coconut Milk. Moderately sweet, with a nice creamy texture of the coconut milk, & black rice which has a nice al dente texture to it. This is one of those slightly warm comforting desserts you’d want to have on a winter evening. 

This festival is open for Lunch as well as Dinner till 5th December 2017 at Baan Tao, Hyatt Pune. 

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Dinner, Food Blog, Food Blogger, Lunch, Restaurant Review, Restaurant Reviews, Reviews, Travel

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 * 

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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. 😎

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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. 

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Junk Food can be made Healthier in just a few simple steps – My version of MAGGI 

​I know this might sound stupid… but honestly… I DO NOT LIKE MAGGI (Or ANY other 2 minute noodles) 😑

But sometimes you need something quick, & easy to make after a long tiring day… or you’re back home late, & there’s not much of an option really. 

 MY version of #maggi is what I make then…. lots of crunchy vegetables, & crispy noodles, spread over regular (instant) cooked noodles. 

This method is not really the quickest, but it’s definitely tastier & much healthier than the regular instant version. 

So here’s what I do – 

● Chop vegetables into small bite sized pieces. You can use any/as many vegetables as you like from this list – Cauliflower, Broccoli, Carrot, French Beans, Peas, Cabbage, Spring Onion. (Spring onion should be added at the end of cooking/as a garnish to retain freshness & crunch) 

● Heat a pan and add some oil (couple of teaspoons) 

● Add some crushed MAGGI noodles and stir fry on low heat till golden & crisp. (Always add noodles 1st, let them crisp up, before adding vegetbles) 

● Add chopped vegetables, salt to taste, and Tastemaker /any other spice mix of your choice and stir well. 

● Stir fry the vegetables on medium heat for a few minutes, taking care to retain their crunchy texture. 

● Simultaneously in another utensil, cook the instant noodles as you normally do (boil water, add tastemaker, add noodles & let cook) 

● Add the stir fried crunchy noodles- veggie mix onto the boiled noodles and serve immediately. 

I like the taste & crunchy texture of the stir fried noodles & vegetables along with the softness of the regular cooked noodles…it’s a nice balance of flavours & textures. 

Plus it’s a good way of eating veggies. Makes you feel less guilty about eating junk food (as if I care too much about that 😂😂….No I just like my version much more than the regular boring packet noodles.)

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Quick & Easy Paneer- Capsicum Curry 

​The fastest & simplest way to make a Paneer-Capsicum-Onion dish, that tastes fabulous with steamed rice/laccha parathas/hot phulka. 

I used my favourite ‘Feel Good’ brand of #paneer that I bought from Dorabjee’s 

Here’s what you need to do – 

■ In a pan take a spoonful of Ghee, and add Kalonji (nigella seeds/onion seeds) to it. 

■ Once the seeds start to sizzle a bit, add diced onion, and capsicum, pinch of turmeric, salt, ‘Kitchen King’ masala & red chilli powder to taste, and toss on high flame for just a minute (the vegetables should remain crunchy) 

■ Add a little whisked yogurt, and stir in till combined well. Lower the heat at this point. 

■ Add cubes of Paneer, and stir gently till combined. Do not overcook Paneer, as it becomes chewy. Add water/milk/cream, as per your choice, to adjust the consistency. 
Serve the dish with fresh steamed rice/paratha/phulka. 

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Kerala Food Festival at JW Marriott, Pune

God’s own country, Kerala, known for it’s delicious cuisine is certainly a food lover’s paradise.
Now you can enjoy all these lipsmacking delicacies from Kerala, sitting right here in your own city, Pune.

JW Marriott invites patrons to try out authentic Kerala cuisine that includes Puttu, Kadala Curry, Malabar Parota, Mutton Pepper Fry, Veg Stew, Chicken Stew, Appam, Kozhikkodan Chicken Biryani, Iddyappam, Thoran and much more.

The lovely aroma of spices specially brought from Kerala for this festival, gives all these dishes their unique flavour and leaves your tastebuds tingling and wanting more.

My favourite on the menu is Appam with Chicken Stew, and the crisp, flaky Malabar Parota with Mutton Pepper Fry.

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Wash down these spicy delicacies with their variety of soothing drinks like the Coconut Water Iced Tea and many other drinks on offer.

Kerala Food Festival dates are :
14th – 28th May 2016. 
07:00 pm onwards.
At – Spice Kitchen and Shakahari

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