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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Cheflife, Dinner, Food Blog, Food Blogger, Home Cooking, Lunch, Reviews

That Susegad Sunday Lunch. Goan Thali Experience -Authenticook, Pune.ย 

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My phone has been buzzing non stop since Sunday afternoon, after I posted #instastories of this goan  lunch…Everyone’s asking the same question ! ๐Ÿ˜ So let me tell you more about this epic Goan thali we had 2 days ago. This meal was hosted by home cook Soniya (Instagram – @sonan23) at her residence at Wanowrie, Pune. 

For those of you who already know about @authenticook , you can book this particular meal online & check other upcoming events as well…and for those who don’t , I suggest you check the #authenticook page for more details, & thank me for it ! ๐Ÿ˜

So, back to this stellar seafood Thali. Lunch started with a glass of lovely chilled Solkadi; Which was then followed by this massive meal comprising of tival, friedfish, chickenxacuti , crabcurry, neerdosa, prawnssukka, prawncurry, clamsukkha, kismoor, rice & serradura.. Phew ! ๐Ÿ˜… I think the picture says it all, but if I must describe it, I can only think of 1 word right now, BRILLIANT ! 

Low on oil & spice but so full of flavour, each dish had its own unique texture & flavour & it was evident that a lot of effort & careful planning had gone into preparing this meal. 

I’ve had a LOT of goan food, as I’ve lived in Goa for quite some time, & this meal is as authentic as it can get. Highly highly recommended ! 

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Croque Monsieur et Croque Madameย 


* Croque Monsieur et Croque Madame *๐Ÿ—ผ 

During summer last year, I became slightly addicted to French comfort food, the Croque Monsieur. ๐Ÿ’–

When prepared right, this delicious French sandwich can give even the best of American grilled cheese sandwiches a run for their money. 

The story behind the Croque Monsieur (which literally means crispy/crunchy mister ๐Ÿ˜‰) is that, some French labourers accidentally left their lunch boxes filled with Ham & Gruyere Sandwiches near a hot radiator, & by lunchtime, those sandwiches turned into gooey, grilled ham & gruyere sandwiches…which then became a very popular snack among the labourers. 

I’m not sure, if this story is true, but by the 1900s the Croque Monsieur was a standard on every French cafe menu, & the rest, as they say, is history. 

So what’s a ‘Croque Madame’ then ? 

Its basically a Croque Monsieur with an egg on top ! (a fried egg, most of the times)

And just in case all that Ham, Gruyere, & Egg isn’t decadent enough for you, we have additions/substitutes like Bechamel Sauce, or Blue Cheese, Smoked Salmon instead of Ham, thinly sliced Tomatoes/fried Potatoes etc. 

And a definite must have with this snack, is a glass of white wine ! 

So now you know why I got ‘slightly addicted’ to this French comfort food, while I was in Paris, right…? ๐Ÿ˜œ

 (PS- My favourite out of the 2, is ….ahem …the Crispy Mister/Monsieur ๐Ÿ˜‰…..and None of the sandwiches available here in town, can even dream of coming close to the ‘Real’ French ones….Seriously.)

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Fried Halwa (Black Pomfret)

โ€‹Lunch today, was a quick & easy fried Black Pomfret/Halwa. 

I love shallow fried fish, and when I make it at home, I can literally have just that, as 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.

 โ–   Make a thick paste using – 

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

โ–   Marinate the fish slices in this paste for an hour. 

โ–   In a pan, heat some oil, and shallow fry 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) 

โ–   Since the marinade already has 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 dry Semolina/Rice Flour just before frying. 

โ–   Serve with lemon wedges and salad on the side. 

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Chickpea, Spring Onion & Cheese Saladย 

โ€‹Some days you eat salad & go to the gym. Some days you eat cupcakes & refuse to move an inch. It’s called Balance ๐Ÿ˜ 

I made this green chickpea salad (soaked green chickpeas overnight, drained out water & let them sprout for a day. You can eat them raw or boil them for couple of minutes if you like) tossed in fresh spring onion from my kitchengarden, some grated cheese (you can use #paneer  *cottage cheese* /Feta as well) A generous splash of lemon juice, a sprinkle of Salt & Pepper. Quite good actually. 

Ok …but tomorrow is going to be cupcake day ! ๐Ÿ˜‚

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Bharli Vangi (Stuffed Eggplant/Aubergine in a spicy thick gravyย 

โ€‹Couldn’t resist the temptation of making Bharli Vangi, after seeing those stunning pics posted by a blogger friend @priyanka_coffeebreak the other day.

I used a mortar & pestle to make a coarse fresh hand pounded masala using – toasted dry coconut, garlic, groundnuts, sesame seeds, red chilli powder, turmeric, ‘goda masala’ & salt. Stuffed this dry spice mix into the slit aubergines. Sauted the aubergines with a tsp of oil, and then added water to the pan. Some tamarind pulp and jaggery to balance the flavour and then simmered on medium heat with a lid on, till the ubergines were cooked through, and the gravy thickened &  released oil on the edges. 

Tastes fabulous with fresh steamed rice/ hot jowar bhakri ๐Ÿ˜ (Indian millet flatbread) 

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

โ€‹I know this might sound stupid… but honestly… I DO NOT LIKE MAGGI (Or ANY other 2 minute noodles) ๐Ÿ˜‘

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 – 

โ— 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) 

โ— Heat a pan and add some oil (couple of teaspoons) 

โ— 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) 

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

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

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

โ— 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 ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚….No I just like my version much more than the regular boring packet noodles.)

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