Monthly Archives: August 2014

Lord For Sale

Ganesha
Since when did they start selling Ganesh idols in supermarkets? Whats gotten into the minds of people these days? Its really heart-wrenching. Now the Gods come with an attached price-tag, may be even an offer, sitting in the the midst of that commotion just like any other commodity, waiting for someone to pick them up.
Am I over-reacting? I donno… Wonder what the Almighty himself is thinking…

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Persian Darbar, Andheri East

Nothing entices my taste buds as does Moghlai food. Cooked in aromatic spices and fresh herbs, the flavours linger in your mouth even after you are done eating. Persian Darbar is a perfect deal for Moghlai, North Indian, Tandoori and Chinese cuisine.
We’d been a number of times to their branch on the Linking Road, Bandra West to devour their ever-famous Dum Biryani. And each time I passed by the one in Saki Naka, Andheri (E), I always remembered just that. Finally, we couldn’t hold back our craving and made our way to the grand looking restaurant.
PD1
Ambience is mesmerising and you are treated with a royal Persian feel. The chandeliers, the seating, the lighting…doesn’t impugn the fact of it being a Persian restaurant to the core.
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So does the reception…  Craving for some privacy, they also have a private AC section upstairs.
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They have a never-ending menu comprising of not only the Moghlai and Punjabi dishes like tandoori, grilled, raans,  biryanis and sea-food but also an array of Chinese dishes.
A good wholesome meal for two can cost you Rs. 1000 – Rs. 1300/-. That makes Persian Darbar cost-effective also.

For starters we ordered the Chicken Special Mix Kebab – a platter of Murgh Hyderabadi, Murgh Jalandhari and Murgh Dahi Lasuni Kebabs. All of which were melt-in-your mouth and strikingly delicious. I wished I could grab a more of them, but the platter was to be shared between the two of us 😦
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Mutton Biryani served as main course was incredible. It was way better than the one served in their Bandra outlet and the best among all the Biryanis I’ve had anywhere else in Mumbai. Silky soft rice with yummy masala, perfectly cooked and tenderized mutton pieces are bound to vow you. This should undoubtedly make Persian Darbar the “King of Biryanis”.
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We ordered for a Coke but much to our dismay, the waiter said Persian Darbar is a Muslim Restaurant and Coke and other aerated beverages were banned in there. All these beverages are banned in all the other Muslim restaurants too. When quizzed about the reason, the guy couldn’t give an answer that would satisfy us or anyone else for that matter. Bizarre is the word!

They had their own local product instead, the Big Cola, which he said was sweeter than the others. Not chancing it, we settled for a Fresh Lime Soda.

Last but not the least was the Caramel Custard with its sweetness to perfection. Keeping the calorie-obsessed mind aside, we went for seconds 🙂
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Service, I give a 11/10. If you ever happen to visit Persian Darbar, and if you are in luck, a person somewhere in his 50s might serve you. I respect his attitude and salute his service. Don’t hesitate to loosen your purse strings while tipping.

Persian Darbar hits all my check-boxes – ambience, service, food…
Except for the Coke disaster which seemed a bit racist, rest everything here is perfect.
A must visit for every Moghlai food and Biryani lover.

Corn Cutlets

Its my favorite monsoon snack of all time and is famous in most parts of India. Corn cutlets also known as corn patties or corn fritters can be enjoyed any time of the day; as an accompaniment with meals or even with smoking hot ginger tea in he evenings. The golden yellow colour of the corn makes this snack all the more glamorous.
I’ve learned this recipe from my mother. Its a simple one-churn, no-fuss recipe. It amazes me to find so many other variations of a cutlet recipe. But being a bit of a slug, I’m happy with this one.

Corn Cutlets
Makes:
12 cutlets
Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:
Kernels of 1 sweet corn or American corn
Potatoes – 2 medium, boiled and peeled
Onion – 1 medium, roughly chopped
Green Chilies – 2, chopped
Ginger – 1 tbsp, roughly chopped
Coriander – 2 tbsp, chopped
Asafoetida – a pinch
Bread Crumbs – for coating
Salt – as per taste
Oil – for frying

Method:
1. Boil, peel and mash potatoes.
2. In a mixer or food processor, coarsely grind the corn kernels, onions, green chilli, coriander and ginger. Don’t make it too fine.
3. Add this mixture to mashed potatoes.
4. Now add salt and asafoetida and mix well.
5. Heat oil in a frying pan.
6. Make a medium sized ball from the mixture, flatten it and shape it in to a round cutlet. Make similar cutlets from the rest of the mixture.
7. Coat the cutlets in bread-crumbs.
8. Shallow fry or deep fry and serve with ketchup or mint chutney

P.S.: You can also use soaked bread instead of mashed potatoes to bind the mixture.
The bread crumbs coating can be optional.
I also serve it as a cutlet sandwich or even cutlet tacos 🙂

Lost And Found

It was 7 years back, when I’d newly joined a multinational. It was my first day. Being a new recruit, the first to join my department and without a boss, I was all lost. There was no one to induct or introduce. It was then I met Bianca. She called me for a coffee and we hit it off immediately. Though from a different department, she made me comfortable and settled me down. She knew very little about the rules and regulations and almost nothing about the company policies, but she did give me a good brief about all the employees and their dos and don’ts. This is how we gradually became friends. Thickest of friends. Our group strength later increased to 5. All of us from different departments. But there was always a special bonding between me and Bianca.

Dont know why, but I always felt protected when I was with her. She was one of a kind personality. A tigress under the skin of a teddy bear. A jackfruit, rough from the outside but soft from the inside. To me she was a female Napolean Bonaparte. But she had a different kind of warmth to her, a warmth that a mother has for her kids. She knew me in and out… a girl who trusted people blindly. She knew the world and its working. So she wanted to protect me and she did with all her might.

More the number of people, more the number of characteristics and more the understandings and the misunderstandings. So it happened. A misunderstanding creeped in between the best of us two friends. I tried my best to sort things out, but there was nothing I could do. Bianca wasn’t the person to forgive, nor forget. I couldn’t bear the distance between us. I couldn’t bear to see that anger for me in her eyes. We were in the same concern, coming face to face with each other everyday, but not talking. So I jumped my job.

Its been six years after I changed, but I couldn’t forget Bianca. How could I? She was my first and the best friend. If she din’t give up on her anger, I too wasn’t the one to give up my friendship. I had a clear conscious, I hadn’t wronged her in any way. Then why would I give up on her? So I kept messaging her, wishing her on all possible occasions… her birthdays, Christmas, Easter… I din’t miss any occasion to tell her in some way or the other that I still loved her.

Initially she didn’t respond. Then it was the start of the monologues. But I was not content with her “Thankyous” and “Same to yous”. Though they did make me smile. I was determined to get her back. Whatsapp has played a major role in my success story since last year. Now I could see her through her profile pictures.

And it was only yesterday that my tigress finally roared. She had posted her baby’s pic as her profile picture. She isn’t a baby anymore, although she was six years ago. She’s metamorphosed to a beautiful young collegian. I started talking about her little daughter who was as good-looking as her. This time there was no monologues. But an entire sentence and then sentences. I had got my friend talking… umm…chatting. We spoke….chatted for good 2 hours. These two hours did include long pauses. But I dint mind. She was chatting with me after six years. My wait was finally over. My efforts and persistence paid for.

Friendship! A ship sailing two friends or may be even more. How would the journey be sailing alone? Misunderstandings do creep in. But is it ok to let go of a relation without trying to sort things out? And when I say trying, is there a predefined or specified limit or time-period for this trial? When is it that you should let go? Or should you keep holding on like I did, not knowing what the end-result will be? Should you be expecting the other person to respond or should you not? When you really love someone, how far are you ready to go to have that person in your life?

Well, may be we don’t have a specific answer to these questions. May be it all depends from individual to individual, isn’t it? Me as a person, I don’t give up easily on my relationships.
At this moment, all I know is that I have found my long lost friend …well, almost 🙂

Slow-cooked Chicken Kheema (Mince)

Chicken kheema or chicken mince slow-cooked in aromatic spices is a great comfort food. My husband is a kheema-fanatic which is why I love cooking it for him. The thing I love the most about this recipe is that you don’t need to go shopping for any of the ingredients except for the mince. All the others are already there sitting on your kitchen shelf.
This recipe with all its stellar ingredients is undeniably a supper perfect for the Gods.

Chicken kheema
Serves:
4
Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:
1/2 kg chicken mince
1 Tbsp oil
1 bay leaf
5 green cardamom
2 tsp cumin seeds
3 cloves
3 medium sized onions, chopped
3 tomatoes, pureed
1 tbsp garlic, chopped
1 tbsp ginger, chopped
1 tbsp butter (for cooking) + 1 Tbsp butter (to garnish)
1 green chilli, finely chopped (for cooking) + 1 green chilli, split (to garnish)
1 capsicum, chopped
1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp corriander powder
Salt, to taste
Asafoetida, a pinch
3-4 tbsp milk
1-2 tsp sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Water
Coriander leaves, chopped (for garnish)

Method:
1. In a pan add oil, bay leaf, green cardamom, cumin seeds and cloves. Fry till they release the aroma.
2. Now add chopped onions. Saute till golden brown. Remove the bay leaf.
3. Add garlic, ginger, butter and saute.
4. Add  green chillies and capsicum. Saute till the capsicum is soft. (For about 3-4 minutes). De glaze with some water.
5. Now add all the powders – turmeric powder, red chilli powder, cumin powder, corriander powder, asafoetida and salt. Saute.
6. Add the mince. Saute for 3-4 minutes. Add milk and mix well.
7. Add the tomato puree, sugar and lemon juice. Cook for 10 minutes on medium flame.
8. Add 1 cup water. Cover and cook till the water evaporates and the mince is cooked.
9. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves, chopped chilli and a dollop of butter.
10. Serve hot with paratha/roti/naan/paav accompanied with sliced onion and a lime wedge.

P.S.: This recipe is great even with mutton mince.

Raw Banana – South Indian Style

I am a great fan of banana in all its varieties, specially the yellow skinned (elaichi) ones. This is one humble fruit that’s perennial and there to serve you at all times of the year. Its loaded with nutrition and pack a good energy punch.
If you think bananas are just for monkeys, think again. Reasons – Bananas combat depression, make you smarter, cure hangovers, relieve morning sickness, protect against kidney cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and blindness. They can cure the itch of a mosquito bite and put a great shine on your shoes. Topping it all, its a blessing for insomniacs like me.

Raw bananas serve as a good starter when deep fried as chips. This time I thought why not make it as a part of the main-course. Foodies with a sweet n sour tooth will enjoy this one.

RawBanana
Ingredients:

  • Raw bananas – 2
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Corriander powder – 1 tsp
  • Cumin powder – 1 tsp
  • Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Fennel seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Ginger paste – 11/2 tbsps
  • Garlic paste – 2 tbsps
  • Tamarind pulp – 1 tbsp
  • Onion – 1
  • Tomato – 1
  • Curry leaves – 10
  • Salt – as per taste
  • Oil – 5 -6 tbsps

Method:

1. Peel and cut thick round slices of raw bananas. You can also cut bananas vertically to make long slices
2. Put them in a bowl, add salt, turmeric powder, ½ tsp red chilli powder, 1 tbsp ginger paste and mix well.
3. Heat 3 tbsps oil in a non stick pan or a wok, add the bananas slices and saute
4. Chop onion and tomato.
5. Heat 2 tbsps oil in the same pan. Add fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds, curry leaves and onion and saute
6. Add remaining ginger paste, garlic paste and tomato and mix
7. Sprinkle little water, cover and cook on medium flame
8. Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, ½ tsp red chilli powder and mix. Add ½ cup water and salt and mix well
9. Add the sauteed bananas slices, tamarind paste and mix gently. Reduce heat, add a little more water, cover and cook for 1-2 minutes
10. Garnish with corriander

P.S. : Skip the tamarind paste if you want it less sour.
When served hot, its a great companion for chapatis, rotis or appams. Infact, I also loved it just like that even when it was cold.
The sweet-sour flavours of the banana are irresistible at all temperatures 🙂

 

Healthy Pasta Salad: Grilled Zucchini, Goat Cheese and Walnuts

alifemoment

healthy pasta salad

Hello friends, sorry for not posting these past days but we went on holidays which was what we needed after a whole year of hard work. It was a nice way to get away of the everyday routine. In fact, this recipe is one of my favourite this period of time when you don’t want to cook for a long time and want something fresh and healthy to eat. I love organic whole grain pasta’s health benefits and I truly believe that it goes really well with goat cheese and grilled zucchini (the zucchini I used was the one we are growing in our garden) and you will need just a few ingredients to make this recipe. It doesn’t get better than that! 🙂

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