Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Recipe - Egg fried rice

Ingredients - 

1. Rice - 200 gms
2. Onions - 2 big
3. Green chillies - 2 big
4. Garlic - 15 cloves
5. Ginger finely chopped - 2 tsp
5. Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
6. Salt - as per taste
7. Eggs - 2 or 3
8. Red food color - 1 pinch, if needed
9. Oil - 1 Tbsp

Method - 

1. Chop the onions in a long thin pieces.
2. Chop the chillies also in long thin pieces.
3. Chop ginger and garlic into small pieces.
4. Wash the rice and put in a pan. pour a lot of water in it and cook on medium/low flame. Keep checking if the rice is cooked. If the water level goes down, pour more water in it.
5. When the rice is ALMOST cooked, quickly take the pan off the burner and pour it out in a sieve. Make sure that all the water is thrown out. Spread the rice on a big plate so that all the steam goes out and also the rice grains don't stick to each other.
6. Heat oil in a wok. Put the garlic and ginger pieces in. Cook for 2 min.
7. Put the green chillies in and cook for 1 min.
8. Put the onions in and mix well. Cook for 5 min.
9. Put the eggs in and mix vigorously so that the egg gets cooked but at the same time the egg becomes more like scrambled egg in texture.
10. Put the red chilli powder in and then put the rice in it. Mix well.
11. Put salt and food coloring in. Mix well and let it cook for 3-4 min.
12. Serve with a Chinese dish like General Tso's chicken.
Tip -
1. You can put some vinegar/soy sauce in the rice for enhanced taste.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Recipe - General Tso's Chicken / General Tao's Chicken

General's Tso's chicken or General Tao's chicken is available in many upscale Chinese restaurants. However, it's not a Chinese dish. It was invented in America. It still tastes and is made in a way that Chinese/Schezwan dishes are made.

Ingredients -

For Marinade
1. Dark soy sauce - 2 tsp
2. Sesame oil - 2 tsp
3. Egg yolk - 1

For sauce
1. Tomato paste - 1.5 Tbsp
2. Corn starch - 1 tsp
3. White sugar - 3 tsp
4. Dark soy sauce - 2 tsp
5. Rice vinegar - 1 tsp
6. Medium dry sherry - 3-4 tsp
7. Ginger chopped - 1 tsp
8. Garlic chopped - 2 tsp

1. Chicken boneless - 500 gms
2. Onions medium - 2-3
3. Dried red chillies - 10
4. Oil - Enough for frying
5. Sesame seeds - 1 pinch

Method - 

1. Mix marinade & put chicken pieces (small) in it for 15-20 min.

2. Mix all the ingredients for the sauce well (except sherry). Keep covered.
3. Fry the chicken pieces and dry off the excess oil on kitchen paper.
4. From this oil, take about 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok. Heat it and put the dry red chilli pieces in it for 1 min.
5. Put onions in . Let them cook for about 5 min.
6. Put the fried chicken pieces in and cook for another 3 min.
7. Meanwhile, put sherry in the sauce and mix well. Put this sauce in the wok and keep mixing so that the corn starch doesn't stick to the wok.
8. Cook for 5 min.
9. Garnish with sesame seeds.
10. Serve with fried rice.

Additional tips - 

1. If you don't have say sauce, put salt to enhance the taste
2. 500 gms of normal chicken becomes about 350 gms boneless
3. To make more gravy, mix equal amount of water and sherry and put some soy sauce as well
4. Put the sherry in the sauce as late as possible. It evaporates quickly.
5. Saki can also be used instead of sherry. The taste differs a little.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Restaurant Review - Mainland China, SB Road Pune

Mainland China, Pune

Location - SB Road, Pune.

Ambiance - ****
Menu options - ****
Taste - *****
Service - ****
Price - ***

Overall - ****

There are 3 outlets of Mainland China in Pune. I have been to all of them, but this review is for the one on SB road.

The place is huge with lot of seating space, not exactly brightly lit, but then that's how most of the restaurants are nowadays I suppose. Interiors are quite good. There are many tables, but it doesn't feel too crowded. There are two sections in the restaurant, but not sure what the difference is.

The menu is of course Chinese  Many of the options there are usually available only in high end Chinese places - including the famous Peking duck. There are enough options for non-veggies and veggies both. Also, they serve complimentary Chinese tea if you want.

We ordered crispy corn and spring rolls as starters. Amazing as usual. Crispy corn especially is the best starter here. Main course was fried rice and General Tso's/Tao's favourite chicken and spicy veg dumplings. Again amazing taste. Had ordered some mocktails which were good. They have a dessert called ice cream spring rolls which were unfortunately not available. so we ordered chocolate spring rolls, which didn't disappoint at all! These are the desserts are not really Chinese  but the fusion of traditional Chinese with western food, is amazing.

The service was good despite the restaurant being full. Fresh cutlery was being provided after every course promptly and there was no delay in getting any of our food. The staff was extremely courteous.

The bill was about 3400 INR for 4 people where we ordered mocktails, two starters, four main courses and a dessert.

This is one of my favourite restaurants and I hope it will always remain so :)

Mainland China Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Review - Bademiya's, Fort, Mumbai

Bademiya's restaurant

Location - Fort, Mumbai.

Ambiance - ***
Menu options - ***
Taste - ****
Service - ****
Price - ***

Overall - ***1/2

Bademiyan's restaurant is located near Horniman circle in Fort area of South Mumbai. It is owned by the same guys who had been running the famous Bademiyan's kebab joint near Gateway of India for years.

The ambiance of the restaurant is ok. It's a two level restaurant with tables that are quite tightly packed. There's nothing different about the ambiance than any other regular restaurant.

We had lunch there on a working day. It's quite crowded at that time of the day. But the service is still quite ok. The meny options are a mix of Parsi and Indian food. All of the non-vegetarian dishes are quite good. Esp the Mutton Baida roti and Bheja fry. They also have a lot of types of kebabs which are quite good. Vegetarian dishes are limited.

The desserts are ok. Pineapple halwa is good. The bill was around 1000 INR for 3 people.

Overall it was a decent experience. A little classier interiors would probably increase the stars for me. However, I believe the restaurant does brisk business as it is anyway :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Restaurant Review - Cafe Maroo, Aundh, Pune

Cafe Maroo

Location - Aundh, Pune

Ambiance - ***1/2
Menu options - ***1/2
Taste - ****
Service - ****
Price - ***

Overall - ***1/2

Cafe Maroo is a small Korean restaurant that was earlier located next to Rahul restaurant in Aundh. Now it has moved to a different location in the same area. It's little difficult to find even as it is a very small place and located in a small lane.

The ambiance of the place is nice. It's a two level restaurant with about 5-6 tables. It's a small place. Lot of Korean artsy stuff adorns the walls and it gives a nice feel. It is owned by a Korean who has been in Pune for quite some years.

The menu options are many but they are all Korean dishes (of course). I never understand what the dish is by just reading the name so I ask them about it and order. But since I have been there many times, I have an idea about what to order. Basically there are three broad types of dishes - fried rice with different sauces (VERY different from Chinese), Stew type of dishes and chicken/beef steak kind of dishes. The different mocktails/iced tea etc that are available there are really good.

The bill for 2 people was around 800 INR. Considering that it's a specialty restaurant serving dishes that are not available at other places, that's not a bad price.

It's good place to go if you want to try out Korean food. Just be prepared to wait for a seat. Go slightly earlier than usual lunch/dinner time.

Cafe Maroo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Recipe - 5 min Chocolate cake in a microwave

Ingredients - 
1. All purpose flour (maida) - 4 Tabsp
2. Sugar - 4 Tabsp
3. Unsweetened cocoa - 2 Tabsp
4. Egg - 1
5. Milk - 3 Tabsp
6. Oil - 3 Tabsp
7. Chocolate chips - 3 Tabsp (if you want)
8. Vanilla (or other) essence - 1 drop

Method - 
1. Take a big, microwave-proof mug and put all the dry ingredients in. Mix.
2. Whisk the egg separately and then add it to the mug. Mix again.
3. Add milk and oil and mix well with a spoon to make it into a paste.
4. Add the choco chips and essence. Mix.
5. Put the cup in the microwave. At 1000 watts, cook for 3 min. at 700/720 - cook for 3.5 min. Depending on your taste, you may want to increase or decrease the timing by 15-20 seconds when you make it the second time :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Recipe - Black Chana (Chickpea) Curry

There are multiple ways of making chana. Each brings out a different taste. This is a very simple and basic way of making it.

Ingredients (Servces ~ 3)

1. Black chana (Chickpea) - 150 gms
2. Onions - 2 big
3. Tomato - 1 medium
4. Green chilli - 2
5. Cumin seeds - 2 tsp
6. Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
7. Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
8. Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
9. Garam masala - 1 1/2 tsp
10. Chole masala - 1 tsp
11. Salt - as per taste
12. oil - 4 tsp

Method - 

1. Soak the black chana in water for about 12 hours.
2. Put the chana in a pressure cooker cook them. Let the whistle on it sound about 5-6 times and then let it cook in the pressure till it cools down.
3. Finely chop onions, tomatoes and green chillies.
4. Heat oil in a pan.
5. Put mustard seeds in till they split.
6. When they start spluttering, put the cumin seeds in and then the green chillies.
7. After about 15-20 seconds, put the onions in and let them cook till they are golden brown.
8. Put the cooked black chana in it and mix well.
9. Put the tomatoes in and cover the pan to cook it further for about 3 minutes.
10. Put the red chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, Chole masala and salt. Mix it well.
11. Put some water in to make a slight gravy. Cover the pan and put the burner on sim. Let it cook till the chana is soft enough.
12. If more tangy taste is needed, some amchur(dry mango) powder can also be put.
13. Serve with chapati/roti

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review - Flag's, Bund Garden Road, Pune

Flag's restaurant

Location - Bund Garden Road, Near Inox, Pune.

Ambiance - ****
Menu options - *****
Taste - ****
Service - ****
Price - ***

Overall - ****

Flag's is located on Bund Garden road near Inox. It's been around for quite sometime and has improved immensely over the years. Remember going there earlier and finding it overrated. Things have changed since then.

The ambience is pretty good. The walls are adorned with photos of buildings/parliaments across the world and with flags from across the world. It's not too congested though there are many tables in the restaurant. There are also some semi enclosed areas for a more private dining experience. There's also an overhead projector in case you are having a party and want to project a fun powerpoint presentation or a video.

The menu is varied and includes cuisine from across the world. Mediterranean  Middle eastern, Indian, Thai, Chinese, etc. So you do get to taste some interesting dishes. They also have a set menu which gives you the option of a 4 course meal at INR 350 only.

We ordered a cocktail, a Mediterranean dish and the set menu. All the courses were pretty good bordering on excellent. I had a slight problem with my main course, but that was because I am not personally fond of black pepper - no fault of the chef. The dessert was also excellent.

Meal for 2 cost us 1000 INR but that was because we had ordered one set meal. If we had ordered individually, it would have cost much more.

Overall the experience was pretty good so was the service. Definitely worth multiple visits.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Restaurant Review - Lai Bhari Kolhapuri, Chinchwad

Lai Bhari Kolhapuri
Location - Chinchwad, Pune.

Ambiance - **
Menu options - **
Taste - ****
Service - ***
Price - ****

Overall - ***

"Lai Bhari Kolhapuri" is located on the Aditya Birla Hospital road in Chincwad. As the name suggests it is a Kolhapuri restaurant. Not a high class restaurant. There are two sections - normal section has tables and chairs while the family section has Indian seating (it's quite comfortable). Lot of photographs from of Kolhapur adorn the walls. Though it's quite a simple restaurant, it's clean (if you are not too fussy about it).

The menu is of course limited to Kolhapuri food. There are different types of Thali available and you can order a la carte as well. In all of the thalis, you get the pandhra rassa and tambda rassa as much as you want. Oh and they also serve solkadi if you want.

We ordered three different types of Thalis. All of them were fantastic. Spicy. And the quantity is definitely enough for one person.

Thali costs around 175 INR.

Overall the experience is fine. Service is good. Ambience lets it down.
Kolhapuri Chicken Thali
Lai Bhari Kolhapuri Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Recipe - Shrimp pops

Ingredients -
  1. Shrimps - 250 gms
  2. Red chilli powder - 2 tsp
  3. Salt - 1 tsp
  4. Lemon juice - 2 tsp
  5. Rice flour - for coating
  6. Oil - 1 TabSp
Method -
1. We first need to clean the shrimps properly.
2. Break the head off and throw away. Press the bottom of the tail with two fingers to slide the meat out of the shell. There will still be some shell at the center of the meat, peal it off as well.
3. Run either a small knife or your thumbnail along the spine of the shrimp so that the meat opens up a bit. You will see a black thread like thing running along the length at the center of the meat. This is the food pipe of the shrimp. Take it out. This is likely to cause food poisoning if not taken out.
4. wash the shrimps well.
5. Marinate them in the lemon juice, salt and red chilli powder for a couple of hours.
6. Heat oil in a frying pan.
7. Coat the marinated shrimps in rice flour.
8. Shallow fry the shrimps till they are golden brown.
9. Can be served with ketchup or chilli sauce

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Restaurant Review - Zamu's, DP Road, Pune

Location - DP Road, Pune.

Ambiance - ***
Menu options - ****
Taste - *****
Service - ****
Price - ****

Overall - ****

Zamu's is located on DP Road in Pune. A cozy kind of a place reminiscent of the 80s era. Nothing fancy but still very comfortable.

The dishes available are not the usual ones you would find in a menu. Some English, some Iranian, some Indian... the menu offers variety though the number of dishes is less. Beer and Wine is available. Local wine only.

we had ordered Chicken Kiev, Fish and Chips, Salli Chicken, Shepard's pie, Garlic mushrooms, Chicken lollipop. Everything was amazing. Mashed potatoes were one of the best I have eaten anywhere. Meat was perfectly cooked. Haven't tried any desserts there yet.

For all of this we paid about 1700. The service is also quite good. No undue interference or delay.

Overall it was an amazing experience. I have been there earlier, and I am sure to go there again. And this time, desserts is all I am gonna try out :)
Zamu's Place Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Restaurant Review - Polka Dots, Aundh, Pune

Location - Aundh, Pune.
Ambience - ***
Menu options - ****
Taste - ***1/2
Service - ***
Price - ***
Overall - ***

Polka dots is located near Parihar chowk at Aundh, Pune. It has been around for many years now and so has some ardent fans. The ambience is fine. It's very congested owing to the small space. Some renovation is going now, so hopefully that will make things better.

The menu is varied. Mexican, Thai, Chinese, etc. So you do get to taste some interesting dishes. The main courses that we ordered were pork and chicken based. And the taste was quite good. They have not increased the prices much in the last one year but they certainly have reduced the quantity. That was a dampner.

We order blueberry cheesecake as dessert - and it was... a disgrace. It tasted ok, but it wasn't a cheesecake.

Main courses are about 200 odd bucks. But the quantity is less.

Overall the experience is fine. Service is good. But can't give more than 3 stars due to the issues mentioned.
Polka Dots Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Restaurant review - Momo Cafe, Courtyard Marriot, Pune

Location - Hinjewadi, Pune.

Ambiance - ****
Menu options - ****
Taste - *****
Service - *****
Price - ***

Overall - ****1/2

Momo Cafe is in Courtyard Marriot located on the Hinjewadi main road in Pune. There is an open air part to the cafe that is open when it's not raining.

The ambience is pleasing. The tables are not too tightly packed in the restaurant area, though I must say there's nothing too fancy about the decor. The very open feel to the restaurant is very good.

We had gone there at lunch time so there was an option of having the lunch buffet or a ala carte. Since there were three of us, we did both. The buffet menu was quite good. Both Indian and International delicacies along with a lot of pickles and chutneys were available. There was also a live Mongolian grill. They also served some amazing chicken and fish starters on the table along with lemon iced tea that was complementary. We had ordered Nasi Goreng along with the meal and did not have to wait much for it. It was also quite good and enough in quantity for one person.

The desserts were delicious, especially lemon cheese cake. Absolutely stunning. The fruit rabdi was slightly bitter which we mentioned in the feedback, and even before we could pay the bill, the head chef was at our table and apologized for it and removed the dish from the menu right away.

The bill was around 2000 INR for 3 people. But they do have corporate discount of 20% which brought it down considerably for us. The service throughout our 2 hour stay there was impeccable. No undue interferance from anyone but someone was available to attend to us whenever we needed.

Overall it was an amazing experience. I have been there earlier, and I am sure to go there again.
MoMo Cafe - Courtyard By Marriott Pune Hinjewadi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Recipe - Banana Bread

Ingredients -
  1. All purpose flour - 250 gms
  2. Melted butter - 3 tsp
  3. Milk - 3 tsp
  4. Sugar - 2 tsp
  5. Active Dry yeast - 1 tsp
  6. Egg - 1
  7. Water - 3 tsp
  8. Ripe Banana - 1 medium, mashed

Method -
1. Warm the milk and butter and mix together along with the sugar.
2. Put the mashed banana in the flour and mix well.
3. Warm the water a little and put the dry yeast in it. It will start becoming frothy. That's when it is ready. Put it in the flour and start making it into a dough.
4. Put 3/4th of the egg into the flour and then put the milk mixture in it slowly while kneading. You may not need all of it.
5. Make sure that the dough is soft. It will be a little uneven because of the banana pieces.
6. Take a clean bowl and sprinkle some semolina or the all purpose wheat in it. Put the dough in and cover the bowl using cling film. Keep it in a warm place for 45 min to an hour. The yeast should make the dough become twice its size.
7. Then take the dough out, knead it a little more to flatten it and brush the top with the remaining egg. Again put in the bowl and seal using cling film. Keep it for proofing for another 45 min.
8. Preheat the oven to 190 Celsius.
9. Take a bread baking pan or any other baking pan and sprinkle some semolina or flour in it. Put the dough in it.
10. Bake it in the oven for about 30-35 min. Once baked, check if it's cooked by inserting a knife at the center of the bread. If it comes out clean, the bread is cooked.

Note - If you want to put any salt, put it around the edges only after the dough is made. yeast doesn't work well with salt.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Recipe - Chicken curry homestyle

Ingredients -

  1. Chicken - 500 gms
  2. Curd - 100 gms
  3. Red chilli powder - 2 tsp (or as per taste)
  4. Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
  5. Cumin powder - 1 tsp
  6. Ginger garlic paste - 2 tsp
  7. Salt - 1.5 tsp (or as per salt)
  8. Onion - 2 medium
  9. Green chilli - 2 medium
  10. Chana daal (split chikpea) - 2 tsp
  11. Khaskhas (poppy seeds) - 1 tsp
  12. Dry coconut - 4 1 inch pieces (optional)
  13. Green coriander - 1/2 cup
  14. Chicken masala - 2 tsp (or as per taste)
  15. Oil - 1 or 2 Tbsp

Method -

1. Wash the chicken pieces well.
2. Mix the curd, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, Cumin powder, Ginger garlic paste and Salt.
3. Marinate the chicken in this mix and keep it in the refridgerator for an hour.
4. Dry roast green chilli, khaskhas, chana daal, (dry coconut) and onions separately. Cut and clean the coriander.
5. Grind the roasted green chilli, khaskhas and chana daal together to make a dry mix.
6. Make a rough paste of the onion and coriander in the grinder.
7. Heat oil in a pan. Put the dry mix in the oil. Let it cook for 2 min on low flame.
8. Put the onion/coriander paste in the pan and let it cook for about 5 min.
9. Put the chicken in the pan and mix well. Let it cook for 2-3 min. Mix well again.
10. Put chicken masala in it and also pour a cup of water.
11. Cover the pan and let it cook till the chicken is tender and cooked.
12. Serve with chapati and raita

Friday, September 7, 2012

Restaurant review - Zikomo, Baner Pune

Location - Baner road, Near Orchid school, Pune.

Ambience - ***
Menu options - ****
Taste - **
Service - ***
Price - **

Overall - **1/2

We went to Zikomo because we wanted to try out a new restaurant and on searching on google, we found this. It had a huge menu which gave us the chance to try out a new dish.

The restaurant was easy to find. It is a multi level restaurant. First level is the bar. As you climb up to the next level for the restaurant, there are three lounge areas which can seat about 8 people each. You can have a good relaxing time there with friends, though it is not that private a place.
Zikomo menu
The service was good. They serve only mineral water. the drinks menu is also limited, though you would get all the usual cocktails and mocktails and some of the usual hard drinks as well. The local wine menu is pretty much a one wine menu and there are no imported wines. They did have JD on the list but didn't have it in stock so had to go with Ballantine which, for any JD lover, is not a good thing.

The food menu is quite good. Lot of options. We didn't go for the Indian menu went for international section instead. Ordered Hungarian Goulash and Fish & Chips after crusty wheat chicken soup. The food came pretty quickly, which was good. The taste wasn't all that great. They serve only Basa fish which, according to me, is not the best tasting fish. The presentation was good, but the taste of Goulash wasn't good. Too much of tomato and black pepper. The lamb was also quite chewy.

All of the dishes are slightly overly priced. Given the taste, definitely not worth the money. But I am still willing to give it one more chance. Just one, and try out Indian food to see how they make it.

Zikomo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Recipe - Amboli

Ingredients (makes about 8)
  1. Rice - 150 gms
  2. Udad daal - 50 gms
  3. Salt - 1 or 2 tsp
1. It's a 24 hour process. So plan ahead.
2. Wash rice and udad daal and then mix and put in a bowl.
3. Put enough water in it to soak it - water level about 1 cm above the mix.
4. Keep it like this for 12 hours.This will soften the rice and daal.
5. Put it in a grinder and grind it to get a medium thick batter. If it is too thick, put some water in it.
6. Put the salt, mix it well and then keep it overnight to ferment. About 12 hours.
7. Once it has fermented, heat a flat pan or tawa. Use a thick tawa.
8. Take the batter in a small flat based bowl or vati. Pour it at the center of the tawa and then using the base of the vati, start spreading it outwards using a circular motion.
9. Flip it over once the bottom side is cooked.Should take about 1 minute to cook depending on the hotness of the tava.
10. Serve with a chutney (tomato chutney or coconut chutney)