Skip to main content


Showing posts from February, 2016

The Magic of MTR

MTR is now a well known brand around the country, known for their ready to cook and ready to eat packaged food and spices. But before it became MTR the brand, it was Mavalli Tiffin Room in Bangalore's Lalbagh. The first time I entered the rather shabby looking place, I was directed to the 'family room' on the first floor. And that's where I head each time now.

You enter a waiting room on the first floor landing, obviously because the place draws hordes of people at dinner time. I beat the crowds by going there for tiffin or snacks between 3-5 pm. Even at that time, the place is busy but there is usually no waiting.

There are no menus at MTR. There is a white board at the entrance that shows all that's available. Then you go into the dining hall which has pretty basic plastic chairs. They are all tables for four, so if it's only one or two of you, you are expected to share tables once it gets busy.

My top thing to order at MTR is a dosa. You can order a masala …

Gluten Free Cookies

Gluten free eating first started as a solution for those suffering from intolerance and allergies to gluten. But the last few years, it's become more mainstream with the 'health brigade' adopting it as their latest trend. I've personally stayed away from any gluten free baking so far, largely because I've no health reason to and I love plain flour based dishes way too much. But when a blogger friend asked if I would like to try baking with a new raw banana flour, it seemed like an intriguing flavour to try.

Noticing how dark coloured the flour was, I knew anything vanilla based was out for this experiment. So I decided to bake my favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe, substituting the entire plain flour with recommended quantity of raw banana flour. I also added some coconut to up the flavour quotient, and out came the cookie that looked just like the original.

And how was the flavour? Quite nice actually, although it does taste different from your regular cookie…

Cookbooks and Curries

A few months back, Rushina - who runs an awesome cooking studio and is a cookbook author herself - launched a cook book club. It's basically a book club for foodies. Every month, there is an event where Rushina invites a cookbook author, we chat and we cook some and then we eat all the awesome food from the author's book that Rushina's team made.

Because the authors are obviously super knowledgable about whatever cuisine they wrote their book on, I always come back with nuggets of information and new techniques. Last month, we had India's favourite foodie, Kunal Vijaykar, come and chat about his book 'Made in India'. As Kunal made a chicken curry and a delicious fish dish, we got talking about the coconut based curries, which Kunal claims are the only real curries, as opposed to the tomato based gravies of North India.

Now I am a huge fan of our traditional onion and tomato based dishes but Kunal's cooking had me intrigued. His chicken curry had garlic and…

Valentine's at Romano's

No matter whether you find themed menus cute or overly cheesy, you can't help but notice the creativity at Romano's. I first noticed the new Italian restaurant at JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar when social media posts appeared on their all black menu. A few weeks later, they came up with a new one called 'Paint me Love', just in time for Valentine's Day and which is how I found myself headed to try out this restaurant last evening.

Just for this week, Chef Roberto has put together an all red and pink menu. You kick off with rose centrepieces and sparkling pink wine. The appetiser, a watermelon and feta salad with baby spinach and sweet apple 'mustard' is a great start. It leads to a dish that speaks of the chef's Italian heritage - a roasted tomato soup that comes with an excellent toasted bread and homemade burrata. The white asparagus course is also well executed and the meal ends with a strawberry mousse sitting on top of crunchy oats. Chef Roberto mentio…

Beet, Many Ways

I find it really exciting to try and use different textures of one ingredient in a dish. Plus, we are just a day away from valentine's and everyone seems to looking for a bit of red in their life, so how about creating something fun and exciting out of beetroot. Let me talk you through the elements on this plate. I brushed beet hummus down the plate. On one side of the hummus border is a dab of yogurt with cooked beetroot slices. The other side has thin slivers of pickled beetroot interspersed with some more hung yogurt. And towards the edge you see beet leaves, filled with cottage cheese, rolled up and lightly sautéed in olive oil.

You could obviously do away with all the dramatics and put the two dips (hummus and yogurt) in bowl to serve with beet crudites. But have some fun instead, and plate this as first course of your valentine's meal. Follow it up with a simple pasta or risotto and end with something that's simply spectacularly red, like these strawberries in crea…

Wheat Berry Bhel

India has this whole culture of chaat that is hard to explain to anyone outside. After all, chaat's not a meal in itself. It's not even a tea time dish or an appetizer. It just is a category of food by itself - eaten by the roadside, or at local restaurants, eaten when mood or opportunity strikes rather than at lunch or dinner. Chaat varies considerably across the country. In most of North India, crispy fried stuff is laced with spicy tamarind chutney and loads of yogurt. Fried potatoes count as chaat in Delhi, doused with tangy spices. But in Bombay, it changes its form again. There are still fried flour puris and papdis, but everything gets a generous sprinkle of fried gramflour vermicelli called sev and yogurt only makes an appearance in some specific varieties, not everything.

One chaat that is native to Mumbai is the bhelpuri. It starts with puffed rice (the same as rice krispies) and then gets loaded with fried sev, potatoes, onions, tomatoes and all sorts of chutneys a…

Pancakes, S'mores, Birthdays

Eight years ago on this day, I baked my first cookie, a chocolate spiral shortbread. I placed the plate of cookies on my sofa, clicked a shaky picture with my point and shoot Nikon and wrote about it on this newfangled thing called blogspot. Bombay Foodie was born.

To celebrate eight years of this delicious journey, I wanted to create a dish that I could not have made this time in 2008. Not only was this dish beyond my technical capabilities at the time, it was something I could not even have imagined. Naturally, I made s'mores pancakes.

The pancake recipe comes from the 'Genius Recipes' section of Food52. The genius part of the recipe is that egg whites are stirred in at the end, making a batter that gives the fluffiest pancakes. On top of my tiny pancake, I added a touch of molecular gastronomy with chocolate soil. As the chocolate started to melt on the warm pancake, I added the final flourish - a coconut marshmallow. At this point, you bring out the torch and toast th…

A Bowl of Kulith

Every January, Mumbai hosts an exhibition called 'Mahalaxmi Saras' that brings together aritsans from around the country. The biggest draw at this exhibition are the farmers, producers and women from self help groups from remote parts of Mahrashtra. They come bearing homegrown cashews and kokum and lovingly made papads, chunteys and syrups. There is also a food court where stalls sell curries rarely seen outside rural homes, accompanied by wafer thin rice crepes or bhakris (the traditional millet flatbreads) made fresh over clay griddles. Between the packaged food sellers and the food court, Mahalaxmi Saras is a journey through rural Maharashtra. Every year, I come back surprised with how varied the local cuisine is and how much I am still to learn.

I made three trips this year and came back with bags full of purchases each time. The sellers are all super enthusiastic which means that when I stopped to pick up cashews being sold directly by this farm owner from Ratnagiri, he …