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Feast on sadhya

Nothing says Vishu like the sight of a green banana leaf filled with the delicacies of a wholesome sadhya. To enjoy the experience this year, order in for a curated festival special lunch by Nei Native Lifestyle and Backwaters Chechie that promises the real deal.  With a traditional menu that entails dishes such as inji puli, olan, kootu curry and ada pradhaman to the lesser-known mezhukkupuratti and madhura vettila, this sadhya will include nearly 28 dishes. The curation is also made from organic ingredients to suit the traditional flavours. Prepared by chef Shobha Pillai, the Alleppey-styled sadhya is prepared on the morning of the festivities, and only available for lunch over two days of April 13 and 14. The chef points out that the sadhya is a blend of traditional, nutritional and nostalgic flavours. With orders piling up, you would do well to hurry.  On April 13 and 14 (only lunch orders) Call 9820506506Cost Rs 2,250 (for two)

10 April,2024 07:54 AM IST | Mumbai | The Guide Team
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Beat the Mumbai heat with our curated list of summer specials

Sunny sips Toast to the sunny skies with a glass of summery ale that’s infused with tropical vibes. The ale is brewed in-house, using season-appropriate Alphonso mangoes and pineapple, to offer you a taste of summer in every sip.At Woodside Inn (outlets at Bandra; Colaba and Andheri West).Call 7968158311Cost Rs 425 onwards Brewing sunshine Ditch your regular pour-overs for this cuppa with a tangy twist — sweetened with pineapple juice, tempered with a pinch of salt and some lime juice for a zesty punch, this cold brew embodies freshness in every sip.At Journal, 396-3, North Avenue, Indrajit Society, Potohar Nagar, Santacruz West.Call 9004699654Cost Rs 380 Nuts over coconuts Tender coconut flesh and crisp water chestnuts come together in a creamy coconut milk-based sauce to transport us to an island getaway. The hint of aji amarillo adds just the right kick, with the savoury corn chips lending a textural contrast.At Tango Tamari, Hotel Kings International, 5, Juhu Tara Road, Juhu.Call 9820026746Cost Rs 595 onwards Lychee love If you’re not a fan of the all-pervasive mangoes but still wish to enjoy the best of summer’s produce, dig into a refreshing lychee sorbet. The delicate sweetness of lychees perfectly offsets the searing heat, without being too cloying or overwhelming.At Gold by Ice cream Works, ground floor, Supreme Headquarters 14, near Link Square Mall, Bandra West.Call 9833690000Cost Rs 350 Mega aam affair Give your taste buds an all-vegetarian protein boost with this delectable mango-rajgira tart. The crunchy amaranth crust packs in a nutritional punch with lysine (an amino acid), antioxidants, as well as heart and digestion-friendly fibre. The tart is topped with vanilla-infused mascarpone, tangy citrus accents, and succulent Alphonso mango slices to make for a wholly local and delectable mouthful.At Aamchee, Soni Building, Dadi Sheth Wadi, Malabar Hill. Call 96550491782Cost Rs 250 Tropical mouthful It’s hard to say no to a refreshing salad in the searing summer heat. This combination of Belgium endive, arugula, avocado, lotus stem and macadamia nuts hit all the right notes, as does the tangy plum and passion fruit dressing.At Hakkasan, 2nd Floor, Krystal Building, Waterfield Road, Bandra West.Call 8355877777Cost Rs 1,050 onwards

10 April,2024 07:48 AM IST | Mumbai | Anindita Paul
A nostalgic Easter Sunday lunch for these Mumbai chefs would include the traditional pot roast chicken, mutton curry, sorpotel or suckling pig, followed by marzipan sweets or cashew and jaggery eggs, or dodol. representation pic

Relish easter delights: Check out our ultimate feast guide in Mumbai

Good roast dayChef Rohan Dsouza, founder, Coconut Boy A traditional pot roast I was born and brought up in Goa, where Easter is a big celebration. Even in terms of the cuisine, the food was diverse. As kids, growing up, we would look forward to the Easter eggs and the chocolates. The day would start with a happy breakfast of sausages, eggs and some chicken. Then, lunch was a happy affair with fish, pork, chicken and sorpotel. It was more red meat. After all, Easter is about the family coming together. A good roast tenderloin was always part of the Easter lunch menu. A homemade roast chicken is tradition. Also, somehow, the pot roast made at home is tastier than anything made in a commercial space. This was an inspiration that I definitely introduced into my module. A roast chicken with a few mild spices, onions, garlic, and a bit of toddy vinegar to add to the aromatics lift up this festive menu. Fun for the familyDiana Fernandes, home chef Easter is different from Christmas. Christmas is more celebratory while Easter has a slow build-up, where people pray, fast and reflect before the Sunday arrives. So, when Sunday does arrive, it comes with sweets. Our Easter meal was special. From lunch to dinner, there were always guests over. Normally, there would be roast chicken and fugiyas, an East Indian specialty, mutton curry and some vegetables to balance the meal. There were also the traditional Easter eggs. Back then, there was no chocolate. Cashew and almonds were ground, cooked and shaped into eggs. Sometimes, the eggs would be misshapen, but it would do. Everyone would lend a hand. It was fun for the entire family. Suits, sweets and meatChef Gresham Fernandes,  culinary director, Bandra Born Dodol. Pics Courtesy/Wikimedia Commons Easter eggs were the main draw. Back in the day, the eggs were not the marzipan ones. They had hard candy that you had to break apart. The festival was about clothes as well. You would get clothes three times a year — on Easter, on Christmas and on your birthday. During the 40 days of abstaining, you’d go buy shoes, clothes and ingredients for sweets. So, there was a slow build-up. Cashews and sugar would come in; I remember coconut being grated at home in the run-up to Easter Sunday. Shepherd’s pie We lived in a joint family. In the week leading to Easter, the family would go to church together. We would wear suits for Easter mass; no T-shirt and jeans back then. With food, it was simple. Right now, you can eat meat every day. Back then, even chicken was for a Sunday. I grew up on vegetables and fish. There would be a dried fish pickle or curry or eggs; it was simple. Easter would be for roast chicken, pork or a suckling pig. I was too young to be in the kitchen, but we would get odd jobs like grinding cashews or peeling onions. There was often sweet dodol made of jaggery and coconut. Someone had to keep stirring the pot to prevent it from getting burnt. That would inevitably be the kids’ task. Green mutton curry recipe by Diana Fernandes Ingredients>> 1 kg mutton, parboiled>> 4 to 5 large onions, sliced>> 3 tomatoes, sliced>> 2 bay leaves>> 8 green chillies>> 12 to 15 cloves garlic>> 1 inch ginger>> Small bunch coriander leaves>> 12 peppercorns>> 2 tsp cumin seeds>> 1 inch cinnamon>> 6 to 7 cloves>> 4 cardamoms>> 1 tsp turmeric>> Salt as per taste MethodGrind garlic, ginger, green chillies, coriander leaves, turmeric, cumin seeds, peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves and cardamoms for the masala. Heat oil in a pan. Add two bay leaves and sliced onions, and fry till golden. Add sliced tomatoes and cook for five to seven minutes. Add the ground masala, salt and fry well. Add par boiled mutton and cook together. When the mutton is done, add lime juice.  Optional: If required, potatoes can be added, after frying the ground masala. Order your Easter feast here >> Sabrina’s KitchenFrom shepherd’s pie to basa with sweet potato and fishcakes, there is a wide variety for the occasion.Call 9920538085Cost Rs 450 onwards >> The Cake JeanieTake your pick from rum balls, to marzipan Easter eggs to make it a sweet Sunday.Call 9819491102Cost Rs 90 onwards >> The Goan Poie’sTry a typical Goan Easter menu, from sorpotel to pork vindaloo or a chorizo maas.Call 9167164009Cost Rs 1,000 onwards It’s eggs-citing Sign up for a happy Easter Egg hunt to relive festivities the good, old-fashioned way.On Today; 9 am to 1 pmAt Organic Farmer’s Market, D’Monte Park, Bandra West.

30 March,2024 09:20 AM IST | Mumbai | Shriram Iyengar
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Drink to your health

What do you eat when it’s too hot to cook? Well, home chefs in the city have been making the most of the rising temperatures to encourage their families to drink their calories instead — in the form of refreshing summer drinks. “I enjoy drawing inspiration from traditional summer drinks, which are designed to keep the body cool and are packed with nutritional gains, this time of the year. Although smoothies and green juices are all the rage on the Internet, I prefer those recipes that can be easily rustled up using common pantry ingredients. And, my family loves them too, as these drinks have become a part of our summer family tradition,” says culinary expert and consultant chef Reetu Uday Kugaji. Reetu Uday Kugaji Keep it simple When looking for inspiration for your summer flavours, you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel, Kugaji explains. “Add your own touch to staples such as lassi, to which I add a pinch of green cardamom powder, or chaas to which I add mint and cucumber for added freshness. For convenience, I prepare certain syrups and concentrates well in advance and store them — these include a sugar-free kokum syrup, and a tamarind and jaggery solution that can be used in imli ka amlana or panakam. Squeezing out the juice of a few lemons and freezing it in ice trays ensures quick and easy nimbu paani,” she adds, sharing three simple beverage recipes that will keep you cool and collected, all summer long. Gajar ki kanji Kanji is a fermented tangy and refreshing beverage from north India. It is rich in probiotics, which help with gut health. Ingredients. 2 carrots . 1 beetroot (peeled) . 2 tsp salt . 1 tsp black salt. 1 tsp black pepper powder . 1/2 tsp asafoetida . 4 tsp yellow mustard seeds, coarsely ground . 1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder, preferably Reshampatti chilli powder . 1 1/2 litre boiled water  MethodPeel and wash the carrots. Remove the head and tail and discard. Cut the carrots and beetroot into batons. Add the carrots to an airtight sterilised and dry jar. Add salt, rock salt, black pepper powder, asafoetida, coarsely ground yellow mustard seeds, and red chilli powder. Mix well with a clean and dry spoon. Pour in the lukewarm water and seal the mouth of the jar tightly, with a food-grade, unbleached muslin cloth. Place the jar in the sunlight for three to five days. Shake the jar every day to ensure that the ingredients are well-combined and mixed properly. The kanji is ready to be consumed after this period. Refrigerate the kanji for at least two hours prior to serving it. Serve all the kanji within three days. Landa baguli dohi sharbat  This is a popular summer drink from Odisha. Ingredients. 1 tsp landa baguli seeds (sabza or sweet basil seeds soaked in water for at least one hour) . 1 cup fresh yogurt . 1/4 cup sugar (add as per taste) . Water as required . 1 tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice (optional) MethodWhisk the yogurt and sugar together in a large, dry glass bowl until the sugar has completely dissolved into the yogurt. Add the soaked sweet basil seeds. Add water, mix and pour into individual glasses. Add freshly-squeezed lemon juice for added zing. Serve. Panakam ‘Panakam’ is a Sanskrit word that means a sweet drink. This simple summer beverage is known as Panakam in Telugu, Panaka in Kannada and Panagam in Tamil. Ingredients. 3/4 cup roughly chopped jaggery . 4 cups chilled water . 1/2 tsp pounded black peppercorn . 1/2 tsp Green cardamom powder . 4 tsp Fresh ginger juice . 1 squeezed lemon . A pinch of edible camphor (optional) . 1 sprig tulsi (holy basil)  MethodAdd the jaggery and water to a large glass bowl and mix well. Cover and set aside for 20 minutes, until the jaggery has completely dissolved. Strain through an unbleached muslin cloth, to remove impurities. Add salt, black pepper and green cardamom powder. Add the ginger and lemon juice. Stir and mix well. Add a pinch of edible camphor, if desired, and strain again. Garnish with the holy basil leaves. Serve chilled.

28 March,2024 09:36 AM IST | Mumbai | Anindita Paul
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Ramzan 2024: Mumbai chefs pick their favourite dish to enjoy during this time

While the festival of Eid is still a month away, the faithful in Mumbai await the sunset to spread out a wide variety of sweet treats for foodies to choose from. We reach out to a few Mumbai restaurateurs and chefs to know their favourites. Phirni at Mohammed Ali Road. Pics Courtesy/Wikimedia Commons Decadent and deliciousMunaf Kapadia, founder, The Bohri Kitchen Malai khaja One of my favourites during the festival has to be the malai khaja. It is a pillow pastry stuffed with malai and coated with sugar syrup. You get it in multiple places, especially at the Bohri Mohalla. As I have grown older though, it has become difficult to eat an entire malai khaja as it’s quite decadent. Jalebi in rabri Apart from that, another favourite is jalebi with rabri. Typically, a lot of these desserts came down from the ustads in Uttar Pradesh. The key with the dish [jalebi with rabri] is to eat it fresh. Even in that, there are variants like the dark brown jalebi, thinner or thicker. My favourite is the thin brown jalebi with the rabri. The last one is the phirni. Not just any, but the kesar matka phirni. What distinguishes a good phirni from the average one is the flavour of the clay pot. My mom makes it best as she uses rava as an alternative to make it healthy. It is perfect when you eat it the day after since it takes on the flavour of the clay. Going aflatoonPrashant Issar, founder, Ishaara Aflatoon The good thing about Ramzan is that you want to try different things at different places every night. I visit Mohammed Ali Road once every year during the month of Ramzan. I love phirni and khubani ka meetha. But my favourite is the aflatoon. I have it even when it is not Ramzan. It comes in so many different qualities. I never made it; always ate it. The amazing thing is that its price varies from Rs 10 to Rs 300. It is loaded with desi ghee and dry fruits. The magic is that anyone who eats it is easily spotted since their hand is coated in ghee. My pick would be a visit to Zam Zam in Byculla or Suleman Usman Mithaiwala for a taste of it. The festival is about piety, but is also very festive. I think it has the perfect balance. Nostalgic hitsUrvika Kanoi, founder, Cafe Duco Halwa puri My favourite is the halwa puri on kiosks along the bylanes of Mohammed Ali Road. Once the month ends, you will not find them again. In fact, I can tell you which one exactly. My favourite cart is a green one behind the Shabbir Tawakkal Sweets. The halwa puri is a nostalgic treat, and is specially made for Ramzan. The phirni or sevaiyya might be made again for a festive occasion. Also, to crack the balance of sweetness for the halwa puri is difficult. The simpler a dish is, the more nuances there are to it. Get your own taste  >> Ammeez KitchenFrom rabdi malai to malpua and mohabbat ka sharbat, there is a treasure trove of delicacies for the month.TILL April 11CALL 9820009857LOG ON TO Pic Courtesy/Instagram >> ARB KitchenWhile they focus on the special Iftar box, this Dockyard Road home kitchen does have the twin delights of gajar and (above) dudhi halwa.CALL 9833758444LOG ON TO @arb_kitchenCOST Rs 500/kg >> Sabrina’s KitchenFor the festive month, food curator Sabrina Suri is whipping up desserts from custards to shahi tukda and (below) rabdi.CALL 9920538085LOG ON TO @the_sabrinas_kitchenCOST Rs 100 onwards Rabri >> Jaffer Bhai’s Delhi DarbarThe iconic hotspot also offers a delightful section on desserts from dudhi halwa, phirni, gulab jamun and caramel custard. Take your pick.CALL 18001235656LOG ON TO >> BayrouteSample a touch of Middle Eastern magic with baklava or a pistachio mafroukeh from this special menu.TILL April 13AT Bayroute, Hiranandani Business Park, Powai; North Avenue Maker Maxity, BKC.Log on to @bayroutedining

20 March,2024 09:14 AM IST | Mumbai | Shriram Iyengar
Bun maska

Omelette Pav to Prawns Koliwada: Try these classic dishes in Mumbai

Mumbai's restaurants and eateries serve up an inclusive, well-represented platter that rightfully defines it as a multicultural hot pot. In this diverse food scene, you’ll come across many iconic dishes that remain unchanged and uncontested. We revisited a few standout dishes that have been etched on menus for decades because Mumbaikars keep coming back for more. Salaam, bun maska! Omelette pav from Cafe de la Paix Farokh Shokri of Kyani & Co at Dhobi Talao reveals that the iconic eatery, which opened in 1904, sold only bakery products; the mawa cake (Rs 25 per piece), being the oldest. They served a tiny menu that included omelette and half-fry with pav. “When I took over in 1995, I decided to add Parsi dishes like salli boti (Rs 170), mutton keema pav (Rs 150), and dhansak dal (Rs 250), which I taught the staff, and they carried it down. However, when our main cook goes on a holiday, there is a change,” he reveals. “Do customers spot the difference?” we ask. “No, but we do,” he admits. At Girgaum’s 88-year-old Café de la Paix, owner Gustad Dinshaw Irani mans the kitchen as well as the café with one helper. “We source buns from a relative’s bakery. Previously, this area was a junction for Tram number 4 and later, it was a spare parts market. Large quantities of tea in samovars went from our café during the diamond bazaar era,” he recalls. Along with the regular serving of masala omelette pav (Rs 140), packed with chillies and onions, Irani has recently added new variations. At Kyani & Co, Dhobi Talao; Café de la Paix, Girgaon. Call 8928616793; 23824384 Continental turf Grilled fish lemon butter sauce  When cannelloni (Rs 635) first featured on Gallop’s launch menu in 1986, pasta sheets were not easily available. Owner Yajush Malik shares an interesting hack: they used to make a crepe for the filling of white asparagus in brine, chopped carrots, cauliflower, French beans and lots of spinach. “This was slathered in a white béchamel sauce, layered with tomato sauce and baked with cheese. The recipe still stands,” he smiles. Another dish that stands out is the grilled fish in lemon butter sauce (Rs 895). The rawas is seasoned with salt and pepper, rubbed with lemon and mustard marinade and lightly grilled. “The sauce is made with butter cream, parsley and lemon. We had a patron who wanted his son to try it but he didn’t like fish. She told him it was chicken, and he ate it. Now, he’s a grown up, and orders the grilled fish regularly,” he shares. At Gallop’s, inside Mahalaxmi Racecourse, via Gate 1, Keshavrao Khadye Marg, Royal Western India Turf Club, Mahalakshmi. Call 69600111 Bhindi nostalgia Fried bhindi. Pic/Anurag Ahire This crispy snack was served for free as a bar bite, especially the theatre loving junta that spilled over from Prithvi for a drink. Soon, it emerged as a popular favourite on the menu of On Toes pub and restaurant in Juhu. “We opened in 1986; the fried bhindi (on the house) was introduced on the menu by 1989. Till date, even if people are not drinking, they order it while they wait for their order. We finely slice fresh ladyfingers and deep fry it. It is dusted with red chilli masala,” shares owner Damodar Bindal. At On Toes, 7, Mithilla, VM Road, JVPD Scheme. Call 9619860907 Punjabi all the way Paneer butter masala; (right) Prawn koliwada Mini Punjab opened as a small kiosk in 1982 when founder Karnail Singh came to Bombay from Amritsar. “They only served prawn koliwada (Rs 410), and rawas koliwada (Rs 490). It is a simple desi home-style recipe of besan, ajwain, a house-blended masala and no garam masala,” says third-generation owner Parvinder Singh. Over the years, the space expanded, and more dishes were added. Paneer butter masala (R340), being one of them. “It’s made with in-house paneer, cashew gravy with butter, tomato paste and a tadka of mustard oil,” he says. At Mini Punjab, junction of 16th and 33rd Road, TPS Road, Bandra West.Call 9833563225 Halwa, and some more Papad churi, Dal fry, Moong dal halwa, Kutchi beer Bhagat Tarachand was founded in 1895. In 1951, it opened in Bombay’s Zaveri Bazaar. Today, there are several branches run by various family members. Bhisham Chawla, who runs seven branches including Zaveri Bazaar, Masjid Bunder, Malad and even one outpost in Indore, under the name of K Bhagat Tarachand, says, “The moong dal halwa (Rs 180) and dal fry (Rs 160) are two dishes that customers order without seeing the menu. The specialty of our dal is that we do a tadka of caramelised onions,” says Chawla. Two sides that we love are the papad churi (crushed papad with masala) (Rs 120) and the chaas (Rs 50 per glass and Rs 150 per bottle), fondly nicknamed as Kutchi beer, literally served in recycled beer bottles. The perfect digestive. At K Bhagat Tarachand, outlets include Malad, Masjid Bunder, Andheri, Borivali.Call 8657991976; 8928255526  Southern calling Pics/Anurag Ahire A few years ago, owner Amarjeet Shetty tried to give the humble badam halwa (Rs 95), and upma (Rs 50), on his menu since 1939 a lift by making it richer. “We added more ghee and dry fruits but our customers caught the change and asked us to return to the original recipe. We have people coming to eat just that,” says Shetty. The rava dosa (Rs 70), too, is special. “The USP is that it will stay crispy till your very last bite,” says Shetty. At Ramashraya, ground floor, Jamnadas Mansion, Laxmi Narayan Lane, outside Matunga Railway Station (Central), Matunga East.Call 224102623 Kheer cravings Crystal ki kheer Crystal has been serving North Indian ghar ka khana since it opened in 1951. Crystal ki kheer (Rs 100) has been the most sold item on the menu. “My nani, Rita Khanna made litres of her special kheer at her residence and sent it to the eatery every day,” owner Sanket Mehra tells us. “The eatery opposite Chowpatty started with the idea to cater to students and professionals living far from home,” Khanna tells us. At Crystal, Lily Cottage, Near Wilson College, Chowpatty Seaface, Gamdevi.Call 23691482 Authentically Oriental Aromatic shredded duck; Peking duck;  A server carves the Peking duck. Pics/Sameer Markande Since the restaurant launched in 2003, two dishes have earned loyal customers at Royal China — the Peking duck (half for Rs 3,400; full for Rs 5,500) and the crispy Aromatic shredded duck (half for Rs 1,750; full for Rs 3,200). Owner Neville Vazifdar explains the process, “We stuff the duck, we source from Thailand, with our secret recipe spiced with aromatic ingredients like star anise. There is a process of airing the duck that I learnt during a visit to China. This ensures the skin gets a crispy coat when barbequed while keeping the meat moist and tender. The ducks are then roasted over a coal fire to retain the flavours. The entire process takes two days. When a customer orders it, the chef bathes it in hot oil in a wok to make the outer skin crispier,” he shares. A similar process is followed for the aromatic shredded duck but it is fried instead of roasted, and shredded before serving. Both are served with pancakes and condiments. “The Peking duck is carved at the table where a skilled server separates the skin from the meat. The extra meat from the full duck is served as a fried rice or soup as per request,” he adds. At Royal China, outlets in Fort and Bandra. Call 9082940105

16 March,2024 07:22 AM IST | Mumbai | Phorum Pandya
Gordon Ramsay in his kitchen.  Pic Courtesy/Instagram

Gordon, spare the butter chicken! Here's how you can get the classic dish right

There are some things that are sacred in every culinary tradition. Chef Gordon Ramsay might just have stepped too far with the desi ones this time. The Michelin-starred celebrity chef is known for his style and diversity, but his latest creation split opinion between the West and the East. For his latest ‘curry in a hurry’ segment on his social media, Ramsay whipped up a quick-fire butter chicken recipe that took less than 15 minutes to make. While the time was not the major issue, his decision to forgo the use of cashew, and opt for tomato sauce in the marinade led to a furore on social media. ‘Everything was almost fine until he said ‘tomato sauce,’ wrote one commenter in disdain. Since it was first created in Delhi’s Daryaganj neighbourhood in post-Partition India, the dish has grown into an icon of Indian cuisine. For Jaibhir Kohli, fourth-generation owner of the city’s iconic Punjabi destination, Pritam da Dhaba, butter chicken traces back to six decades of evolution. The dish, he explains, started out as an entrée with tandoori chicken served in a gravy of curd and butter before its current form. “The advent of the curry culture led to this much-loved item transforming into the main course with an addition of the makhani gravy — creamy, aromatic, and gently spiced. The dish, therefore, was rechristened as murgh makhani,” he remarks.   While Kohli admitted that he hasn’t seen Ramsay’s take on the iconic dish, he remarks, “There is no secret recipe, or special masalas and certainly no secret ingredients to good butter chicken. It’s all in the way we treat the produce,” he reminds us. Easy on spice A common complaint across the board of Ramsay’s social media forum was his generous use of garam masala and spices. Kohli points out, “Your taste buds won’t thank you for overpowering the dish with too much salt or spice. The key to a juicy, flavourful butter chicken is finesse. Be gentle with the seasoning.”  Butter chicken at Pritam High on quality The other key element is high quality ingredients. “Take your time and use high-quality ingredients — from cashews to spices — when making butter chicken. Avoid any unnecessary additions that might mask the traditional taste,” Kohli remarks.  Jaibhir Kohli  Take your time While Ramsay’s recipe demanded speed, for the restaurateur at Pritam, slow-cooking is key to the dish. “Do not skip the marinating process,” he says, adding, “That infuses flavour and keeps the chicken tender. No one wants rubbery, dry chicken.” In conclusion, Kohli says some dishes are best done the old way. “The butter chicken has been worked on for years, and perfected by chefs to induce that delicate smoked flavour from the tandoor to the gravy. It pays homage to our roots.” Make it right Butter chicken at Ishaara INGREDIENTS£ 150 gm chicken tikka, boneless £ 40 gm butter£ 20 gm ghee £ 20 gm cream £ 5 gm deggi chilli£ 2 gm kasuri methi £ 200 gm tomato gravy £ 20 gm cashew nut paste £ 15 gm red chilli paste £ 10 gm ginger garlic paste £ 3 gm jeera powder £ Salt to taste METHODIn a pan heat ghee and oil. Add ginger garlic paste and red chilli paste. Sauté for three minutes. Once it has browned, add cashew nut paste and simmer. Add tomato gravy and shredded chicken, along with jeera powder, salt to taste and cook it to perfection. In the end, add kasuri methi, cream and butter.   — Chef Sanjay Singh, head chef, Ishaara The better butter chicken Shalimar RestaurantAT Vazir Building, Shalimar Corner, Mohammed Ali Road, Bhendi Bazar. CALL 223456632 COST Rs 380 Jaffer Bhai’s Delhi DarbarAT Patthe Bapu Rao Marg, Grant Road East.CALL 223875697COST Rs 274 (half); Rs 430 (full) Pal’s Fish CornerAT 8, Kailash Shopping Centre, Pali Hill, Bandra West.CALL 226004318 COST Rs 340 Kareem’sAT Gloria Building, Bandstand, Bandra West.CALL 9619176543COST Rs 370 Goila Butter ChickenAT Shop 1, Lalani Residency, Ghodbunder Road, Thane West.CALL 8588887718COST Rs 370 onwards Masala Library by Jiggs KalraAT Ground floor, G Block, BKC.CALL 66424142 Mini PunjabAT Shop No 2-8, Linking Road, Malad West.CALL 9152914444COST Rs 380 Golden PunjabAT Shop 30, Plot 77, Mahavir Centre, Sector 17, Vashi.CALL 8108129222COST Rs 360

04 March,2024 09:10 AM IST | Mumbai | Shriram Iyengar
Malaika Arora Khan. File Pic

Decoding Malaika Arora's three-ingredient breakfast combo

We love to see what our celebrities eat, and take inspiration from their healthy regimes. Actor Malaika Arora diligently shares tips and glimpses of her lifestyle on social media. When we spotted her recent three-ingredient breakfast combo of avocado, egg and multigrain sandwich, we invited two of our favourite home chefs to give it a shot. Did they pass the test… well, almost! Toasted goodness Home chef Reshma Mane, founder of Every Aroma and Vannu Tinnuka, believes that the koshimbir toast was born right out of a typical family dilemma every morning — What should we prepare for breakfast? “As a kid, every morning I would watch my mom whip up a dish. One day, a leftover koshimbir and the kitchen staple, bread, came to good use. The water from the koshimbir will moisten the sandwich quickly, so toast it immediately.  Koshimbir toast Pics courtesy/Reshma Mane INGREDIENTS>> 2 onions, chopped>> 2 tomatoes, chopped>> 2 bread slices>> Fresh coriander>> Salt (to taste) METHODMix the chopped ingredients together, and let the mix rest for a while. Heat a tawa, take a slice of bread, spread a spoonful of the koshimbir-mixed sandwich with another bread slice. Place it on a hot tawa and toast it (you can use oil/butter/nothing at all to toast). Lightly press the sandwich so that it doesn’t open while flipping. Allow it to get golden/dark brown as you prefer it. Once done, savour with ketchup/chutney or just like that. Muffin marvelous YouTuber Sahil Makhija, who runs Headbanger’s Kitchen, calls this idea a quick grab-and-go breakfast. “It’s a good amount of protein and healthy fats with virtually no carbs. “Inspired by the egg cups or egg muffins popular at most international coffee chains, I developed the ham and cheese egg muffin or egg cup recipe. It’s Keto-friendly and gluten-free,” says Makhija. The only tip he gives is to make sure you don’t over-salt the dish. “I grew up eating ham-and-cheese omelettes, and while those are great and fun to make, they do require some basic skip and prep time. This you can honestly just make in a single dish. You can pop it in the microwave for 60 seconds or bake it for a superior texture, but it’s great either way,” he signs off.  Ham and cheese egg muffin INGREDIENTS>> 2 eggs>> 30 gm ham>> 30 gm cheddar cheese>> 5 gm butter>> Salt and pepper METHODGrease a ramekin with butter. Preheat your oven to 200C if you are not using a microwave. Beat two eggs in a bowl with salt and pepper; add chopped ham and grated cheese to the bowl, and mix well. Pour the mix into a ramekin and microwave for 90 seconds or cook in the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes till the cheese has browned and the eggs are cooked. Alternatively, make a big batch by 4x-ing the recipe, and use a muffin tin to make it, and store in the fridge for seven to eight days. Egg-citing dosai Mane first ate a dosai (dosa) at the Amma Mess in Madurai. “I got it back to the city because Mumbai needed a little change to the regular dosa. This is a quick version without meat and regular toppings, but perfect for a breakfast dish,” she says.  Dosa with egg and podi spread INGREDIENTS>> 300 gm dosa batter>> 2 eggs, beaten with little salt>> Podi powder (to sprinkle)>> Salt and oil METHODAdd a little water to the dosa batter, not too thick, or too thin, is what we are looking at. Add salt as needed. Take a dosa pan/non-stick tawa and eat well. Pour one ladle of dosa batter and spread it on the pan. The dosa needs to be thick, like pancake-thick. Keep the flame on low at all times. Pour a little beaten egg on top of the dosa and spread lightly.  Sprinkle a good amount of podi powder on top.  Cover the dosa with a lid and let it all cook. Once done, eat it with chutney or plain if you prefer it that way.

02 March,2024 08:32 AM IST | Mumbai | Phorum Pandya
Late chef Imtiaz Qureshi with his son, (right) Ishtiyaque; (Right) A dated photograph of Qureshi preparing a seekh kebab

Why chef Imtiaz Qureshi was the pioneer of Lakhnawi cuisine

On a busy day in the Dum Pukht kitchen at ITC Sonar, Kolkata, chef Mukhtar Qureshi was slouching over while preparing the galouti kebab. Suddenly, a heavy slap landed on his back. His ‘dur ke fufaji’, the late chef Imtiaz Qureshi, under whom Mukhtar was apprenticing in 2003, had dropped by.  “He took me aside and said, ‘Khana banana hai to shaan se banao. Jhuk kar nahi. Dil se khilana hai toh ankh aur seena dono milne chaiye.’ His lecturing was also lengthy, just like his dum pukht cooking,” Mukhtar smiles. Qureshi as a wrestler Earlier this month, on February 16, chef Imtiaz Qureshi, Padma Shri-awardee (2016), passed away at 93. He dedicated 40 years of his life to rediscovering, reinventing and refining Awadhi and Lakhnawi cuisine. Born into a family of butchers in Lucknow, at the young age of nine, Imtiaz was sent to apprentice under his relative ustad Haji Ishaq in Hussainganj. “My father had two passions — pehelwani aur pakana [wrestling and cooking]. He would tell me how he had to lift 100-kg flour bags, prep the tandoor, and even remove it off the ground at the end of the day. He would do all the mis en place in the hope to get to learn and make sheermal and rotis in the tandoor and kebabs in the grill.”  Later, he began working as a chef at Hotel Krishna in Hazratganj in Lucknow, and was much-loved for his catering. Following this, he joined Lucknow’s first five-star hotel, Clarks in 1973. “In 1976, the then ITC chairman, late Ajit Haksar had a vision to introduce Indian cuisine concepts in the hotels. He entrusted the task to retired employee Mr. Sabarwal to bring Imtiaz Qureshi on board ITC hotels. However, it was the armed forces personnel who frequented Mohammed Baug club in Lucknow who eventually convinced Imtiaz to move to Mughal Sheraton Agra where he opened Navratna. In a year, he moved to Delhi to launch ITC Maurya, where he was in charge of the Indian cuisine at the coffee shop, and restaurants Mayur, Dum Pukht and Bukhara,” recalls Ishtiyaque, Imtiaz’s eldest son who began working with his father since he was 13. Imtiaz Qureshi during a visit to Mumbai. File pics; (Right) Chefs Manjit Gill (left) with Qureshi at a food festival in Venezuela in the 1980s. Gill recalls they were only two people: “I was manning the tandoor outside, and he was handling the curries, biryani, and dal inside.” Making of the legacy Food historian Pushpesh Pant calls him the first celebrity chef of India. “No one respected Indian cuisine or heritage chefs until Imtiaz Qureshi. People were obsessed with attending catering college and Le Cordon Bleu, and making Continental food at five-stars — food that the white man ate. Here was a man who didn’t speak English, had never been to catering school but had great skills. He had a personality to match — a big man, grey hair, a crowbar moustache and loud laughter. He was confident as well as generous,” reminisces Pant. Pant believes that the first step to creating a legacy was to restore the self-respect of the Indian diner as well as the cooks. “People had not experienced Awadhi cuisine as fine dine, as the offerings were limited to street-style chaat such as seekh and galouti kebabs. Imtiaz made kormas and kaliyans, and vegetables that were slow-cooked in traditional copper pots. He highlighted Lucknow’s vegetarian fare including tamatar ka shorba, parwar ka dolma, achari baigan, baigan ki lonje. His shahi tukda was to die for,” elaborates Pant. In Delhi, where Punjabi eateries like Moti Mahal, Gulatis and Kake da Dhaba dominated, Imtiaz held his own. “He regarded himself to be the custodian of Lakhnawi recipes, and had the grace to admit he was not a royal cook. He made a good point that butchery goes hand in hand with great cookery: without a good butcher, no bawarchi can work his magic. He has to work with the right cut of meat, how long it will take to cook and how much salt it will require,” reveals Pant.The second contribution was roping in relatives to join him in the kitchen and training chefs under him. This opened the window for Indian chefs to travel overseas and work in Indian restaurants instead of continental kitchens.” Pant is hopeful that his legacy will be kept alive by the likes of chefs such as Ranveer Brar, Kunal Kapur, Sadaf Hussain and Nishant Chaubey. Dum pukht dossier One of the chefs who worked closely with Qureshi was chef (Dr) Manjit Singh Gill. “I collaborated for 40 years until his retirement in 2016. I learnt a lot from his skills, and coordinated to create new concepts, themes, and bespoke caterings in banquets — he reported to me due to hierarchy, but I looked up to him as my master. Until he arrived on the scene, there was limited variety of Indian fare in five-stars beyond a few kebab variations, handful of curries, and dal makhani. He created the version of biryani that continues to be served across today’s restaurants. He had a unique approach to the cuisine,” shares Gill, president of the Indian Federation of Culinary Associations and former corporate chef at ITC Hotels. Gill and Qureshi combined their strengths. “While working on dum pukht, the challenge was to convert a bulk preparation for an à la carte restaurant so that guests could order in portions. Today, every restaurant is following this trend,” suggests Gill. Chef Mukhtar, who created his own expressions of Awadhi and Lakhnawi cuisine at Neel at Tote on the Turf and Ummrao at JW Marriott Sahar, points out that diners were unaware of the royal food of the nawabs. “Unki soch alag thi. He set out to make cuisine that both kids and adults could savour. Awadhi khana zameen se juda hua hai; usme mehnat aur dimag donon ki zaroorat hai.” About the famous dal bukhara, Ishtiyaque reveals that it was left on the tandoor bukhari (which is how it gets its name) overnight in a copper pot, “The cooking was inspired by the process used to make moong gosht, mas kaliya and khichda.” He leaves us with warm moments from the last years with the great chef: “Abba loved a well-made biryani, kakori kebab, salad and paya. Whenever he came home, it was a daawat.” Chef Imtiaz Qureshi, the gamechanger Dum pukht biryani; (right) Ishijyot Surri At Mulk, our culinary tradition is based on Qureshi’s technique and inspired by some of his iconic recipes. Our dum pukht biryani is carefully arranged in layers with juicy meat or vegetables and finally cooked together under one sealed pot. We follow the slow cooking technique as it represents the authentic revival of time-honoured traditions that demonstrate the unmatched artistic finesse as well as the intricate nature of Indian food cultures. Ishijyot Surri, executive chef, Mulk, Andheri  When my father opened Khyber in 1958, he served North West Frontier cuisine tweaked to suit Gujarati palates. It was slightly sweeter and low on spice. There was a classic way to prepare such fare until chef Qureshi arrived on the scene, and introduced slow cooking in a five-star kitchen,” recalls Bahl, confessing his restaurant doesn’t follow this style. “We have a happy problem; if we change our menu, our regulars will complain. Our classic dishes include paneer korma, nalli nihari and raan, which have remained consistent since its inception. Dum cooking is extremely tedious and time-consuming. It has to be done at leisure, in a five-star kind of environment. In our environment, it’s a challenge to execute it,” he signs off. Sudheer Bahl, owner of Khyber, Fort

24 February,2024 08:03 AM IST | Mumbai | Phorum Pandya
Last of You cocktail

Mumbai mixologists share their favourite rum-based cocktails

Flavour and complexity Rum is different from other spirits because of its texture and flavours that range from fruity to rich to complex. It stands as a bartender’s faithful companion — accessible, flavourful and as a base spirit for cocktails. It is also one of my preferred spirits when it comes to making cocktails. I enjoy experimenting with twists on classic rum cocktails from daiquiris to dark and stormy concoctions. Painkiller cocktail Favourite rum cocktail: The Painkiller originates from the Soggy Dollar Bar in the British Virgin Islands in the 1970s. It has dark rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, cream of coconut, and a hint of nutmeg over crushed ice. Renzil Barrow, head mixologist, PCO Bombay, Lower Parel A varied spirit Rum is definitely on the rise again worldwide, and that includes in the Indian market too. Guests are enjoying discovering this fun spirit, and how well it works in different styles of cocktails. It is multi-faceted (white, dark, spiced and sweet). Favourite rum cocktail: With the right rum, it’s difficult to have just one rum sour; one of my favourites if I’m in the mood for something tangy. There are many other memorable classics I love such as the holiday spirit pina coladas or the powerful mai tais. Louness Ducos, beverage manager, Cirqa, Lower Parel An island favourite Rum is part of the culture across most Caribbean islands. Rum is a smooth blend and goes along with most tropical juices. I choose to bring out the true flavour of rum using raspberries and making it a tropical drink that suits our Boho theme. Favourite rum cocktail: One of my favourites is the classical piña colada with a twist of fresh strawberry blend in it. The drink consists of pineapple juice, fresh coconut milk, blended with strawberries and would use a mix of white and dark rum in it.Alex Fernandes, GM Operations, Koa, Juhu West An easy-to-use base Rum offers different styles and flavours, ranging from light to dark spiced, allowing multiple ranges of cocktails, each with its unique charm and appeal. It also mixes well with a wide range of ingredients including fruit juices, syrups, herbs and spices. This versatility allows you to experiment and get innovative with cocktails. Favourite rum-based cocktail: It is delicia tropical, a refreshing and vibrant drink with the crispness of rum, and the characteristic sweetness and freshness of fresh coconut water, coconut meat and pineapple juice. It pays homage to the old love affair of rum, pineapple and coconut. Quick-fix recipe: Delicia tropical>> 45 ml white rum>> 25 ml coconut water>> 1 bar spoon coconut meat>> 45 ml pineapple juice>> 10 ml fresh creamServed together, topped up with fresh cream. Vaibhav Chaware, head mixologist, Poco Loco tapas and bar, Khar West The industry’s choice Rum has always been the best mixing spirit for the bar industry creating some of the legendary cocktails from mojito to piña colada to the daiquiri. As a Goan restaurant, we tend to incorporate rum in our cocktails, and often as a star ingredient. Quick-fix recipe: Beach please!>> Coffee rested dark rum>> Charred pineapple juice>> Curry leaf cordial>> Passion fruit>> LimeServed in a glass, garnished with charred pineapple cube and maraschino cherry. Akash Singh, mixologist, Coconut Boy, Bandra West Easy to use Rum has a lighter taste, hence is usually used in cocktails rather than being drunk neat. Over-proofed rums are the most popular in on the Caribbean Islands market with a higher alcohol content than the typical 37 to 40 per cent alcohol by volume (ABV). Favourite rum cocktail: My favourite rum-based cocktail is the mai tai. It is an eternal classic.Rohit Uthla, head mixologist, Therapy Cocktail and Bar, Khar Quick-fix recipe: Classic Cuba Libre>> 60 ml white rum>> 1 lime wedge squeezed>> Top up with coke MethodA quick and effective rum-based cocktail is the Cuba Libre which is rum and coke with lots of ice. Squeeze a lime into the mix, and you are ready. It is quick, and tastes amazing.

20 February,2024 07:10 AM IST | Mumbai | Shriram Iyengar
Cynthia’s rose cookies

Maska memories in Mahim

Food: WholesomePackage: Spillage-freeService: Attentiveverdict: 3/4 One evening, en route to SoBo, we checked out Maska Bakery. Designed as a cloud kitchen, they also welcome patrons to drop by. On that day, they were busy with a photo shoot, and so we excused ourselves after soaking in the wafting aroma of baked goodies. Last week, we placed a hearty order, and relied on a delivery app to reach us in Vile Parle. Our wish list arrived in excellent shape minus any spillage or shifting of food items. There was sufficient buzz on social media about this new space that was dubbed as founder and baker Heena Punwani’s city’s iconic eateries and Irani cafés. The bakes take inspiration from the iconic Parsi and Irani outposts. The blue-and-white packaging is an ode to Art Deco elements; every order is padded with instructions, making it easy to follow and preserve the item. We got three generations of citizens to try the fare with us. Bread jam The Jewish celebratory sweet bread, is braided and dressed in good ol’ pudina chutney, and is presented as Kejriwal chutney babka (Chhota loaf; R381). It reminded us of school days and packed chutney-sandwich lunches. The bread is moist and light at the same time. A perfect afternoon snack with a cup of chai, the small-size loaf is enough for sharing and will keep you sated for several evenings should you choose to eat it solo. Assorted eclairs (Rs 530 for three) come as a trio. Before we discuss the flavours, it is imperative to take a moment to appreciate the éclair base, which is like a buttery crisp biscuit. After our review, when we reached Punwani, she told us that she experimented with with the temperatures to craft the perfect bite. We try three flavours: chocolate hazelnut praline, classic vanilla bean and strawberry & cream eclairs. The first one is textured indulgence with a filling of praline cream and coated with a dark chocolate glaze sprinkled with thin Feuilletine (crumbled crêpe crisps) and caramelised nuts. We break the chocolate monotony with the hefty strawberry and cream éclair overdressed in tart strawberry compote, mascarpone cream and sprinkled with pistachio. The classic chocolate also has the creamy vanilla diplomat custard cream filling in no-nonsense chocolate coat and garnished with chocolate pearls. Assorted eclairs Bread jam (Rs 254) is our favourite pick, igniting a back-to-school nostalgia. In the ’90s, jam-butter-bread combo was every child’s sweet indulgence. In Punwani’s kitchen, it turns into a buttery brioche topped with seasonal strawberry compote, brown butter almond frangipane and toasted almonds. The city-based baker takes a page from her own favourite French dessert Bostock (brioche and almond frangipane baked together) to add a twist to give the humble jam bread snack a lift.  Kejriwal babka From the solo indulgences, we’ve picked the almond toffee cake (Rs 402). We are reminded of a joke: As an adult we tend to forget that we can buy a cake, hop into our car, and nobody can stop us. This mini, three-layered chocolate cakelet slathered with a hazelnut ganache and chunky hazelnut toffee is for such days when there is a desire to eat an entire cake just because. The prettiest of the lot is Cynthia’s Rose cookies (box of six for Rs 381) are the flavour dynamite that come in small packages.  They are a baker’s version of Keralite rice achappams.  It pairs well for a chai-time treat. Maska Bakery At Unit 4 and 5, Nav Vivek Industrial Estate, Mogul Lane, Mahim West. Time 11 am to 9 pm; Mondays closed Call 8591162752 Log on to From the baker Heena Punwani, who is an engineer-turned-baker, recalls her growing up days of visiting different bakeries and food spots across the city with her father. “Especially Yazdani, where I would savour the apple pie while my dad enjoyed his bun maska. The eclairs are a combination of my memories of the old-fashioned classics at Gaylord Bakery, and the elegant ones I encountered in Paris. The Kejriwal babka is so you can eat a Kejriwal at home with a sunny-side over it, but as is, it is the comfort of the classic chutney sandwich. I chose the name Maska because it tells you that this bakery cannot be anywhere but in Bombay.” 4/4 Exceptional, 3/4 Excellent, 2/4 very Good, 1/4 Good, 0.4/4 Average.  Maska Bakery didn’t know it was us. The Guide reviews anonymously and pays for meals

19 February,2024 07:06 AM IST | Mumbai | Phorum Pandya
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