Shrewsbury – My Favourite Biscuit

February 11, 2010

MY FAVOURITE MIDNIGHT TREAT

By

VIKRAM KARVE

From my Foodie Archives

Mouthwatering Pune Memories

Shrewsbury Biscuit

It’s almost midnight and I’m sitting in glorious solitude on my favourite sofa in the living room watching a film on TV.

Wife and kids are fast asleep inside; only my pet dog Sherry lies curled up fast asleep on her “bed” near the door.

I tiptoe to the kitchen, pull out a tin from its secret hiding place, open it, take out my favourite midnight snack, and walk back to my sofa.

I have in front of me a Shrewsbury Biscuit from Kayani Bakery.

I look at the Shrewsbury Biscuit.

Embossed is the emblem of Kayani Bakery with the words Shrewsbury Kayani Bakery written all around.
I smell the crisp appetizing biscuit.

Yes, I discern that unique aroma – the first test of a genuine Shrewsbury.

I take a bite.

Crunchy, crisp, scrumptious – words cannot describe the tempting taste, delectable lively flavor and delightful sensation as the Shrewsbury Biscuit dissolves in my mouth.

A Shrewsbury Biscuit entices you, perks you up and leaves a superb ambrosial aftertaste, which tantalizingly lingers on your tongue for a long long time.

That is why you should never have tea, coffee, or anything else with Shrewsbury Biscuits. It will spoil the heavenly experience.

I’ve seen people hurriedly washing down a Shrewsbury Biscuit with tea, even dipping the revered biscuit in their tea – that’s sacrilege…!

Sit quietly in solitude, focus your attention, stimulate your tastebuds, and mindfully savor the Shrewsbury.

Absorb all its distinctive characteristics – the taste, the flavour, the fragrance – in their entirety, till you experience sheer bliss.

Relishing a Shrewsbury is similar to enjoying a good wine – you lovingly admire it, caress it, air it a bit, imbibe its fruity aroma, lovingly nurture it in your mouth, then thoroughly relish it, and, finally, rejoice in the glorious aftertaste, and you will feel stimulated to a higher plane of inner joy.

As compared to Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Lucknow, and many other places, Pune is way behind as a Foodie destination. But there are some inimitable delights for which Pune is famous, which are unique to Pune and you don’t get anywhere else.

Like Kayani Bakery’s Shrewsbury Biscuit – it’s superb, unique, matchless, delicious – I don’t think you get anything like it anywhere else in India, or, maybe, in the world…!

There are many imitators, claiming to be Shrewsbury, but genuine Kayani’s is truly supreme. No doubt about it.

If you’re dying for an authentic Shrewsbury Biscuit, you’ll have to come to Pune and head for Kayani Bakery on East Street…!

Dear fellow Foodie. The next time you’re in Pune, after you treat yourself to Shrewsbury from Kayani on East Street, try their inimitable Cheese papri, chocolate walnut cake, wine biscuits and other baked delights too.

And whilst you are in Pune, don’t forget Chitale’s Amba Barfi and Bakarwadi, Laxminarayan Chiwda, Budhani’s Wafers, Bhavnagri’s Shev Barfi, Dorabjee’s Biryani, Good Luck’s Mutton Cutlet Curry, Vaishali’s SPDP, Kayani’s Chocolate Walnut Cake, Marzorin’s Rolls and Sandwiches, Spicer’s Lamington, Hindustan Bakery’s Patties, Pasteur Bakery’s Macaroons, Shreyas and Durvankur Maharashtrian Thali, Sujata and Kawre’s Mastani, and genuine authentic Bhel (not the imitation pseudo bhel they concoct at Chowpatty!). Ironic, isn’t it? The way Bhel is associated with Chowpatty…!

But then, you get the best “Puneri” Misal in Mumbai, don’t you…? To find out where, read my blog, or my book Appetite for a Stroll…

Dear Reader and Fellow Foodie: For more such appetizing dishes do read APPETITE FOR A STROLL, a treatise on The Art of Eating, Easy to Cook Recipes and Foodie Adventures in Pune and Mumbai.
Click the links below to know more about this delicious book:
http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Food-for-soul/358363/#

http://books.sulekha.com/book/appetite-for-a-stroll/default.htm

http://www.indiaplaza.in/finalpage.aspx?storename=books&sku=9788190690096&ct=2

http://www.flipkart.com/appetite-stroll-vikram-karve/8190690094-gw23f9mr2o

Happy Eating

VIKRAM KARVE

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009

Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve

vikramkarve@sify.com

http://books.sulekha.com/book/appetite-for-a-stroll/default.htm

AFLATOON – A Nourishing Winter Dessert

December 27, 2009

AFLATOON – A Nourishing Winter Dessert

A Rare Baked Delight

By

VIKRAM KARVE

Here is a recipe for Aflatoon – a rich fortified sweet ideal for winter. Aflatoon is a rare baked delight.

Cooking is more a qualitative art, rather than a quantitative science.

The other day, a friend of ours dropped home a packet of scrumptious Dharwadi Pedhas.

My dear wife [who does not believe in the dictum: “There is no greater love than the love of eating”] promptly put them in the fridge and forgot about it.

Now what greater inanity can be there than consigning fresh soft flavorsome mellifluous Pedhas to harden up in some remote cold corner of the fridge?

So when I first discovered the packet of cold hard Pedhas lying hidden deep inside my fridge during one of my surreptitious midnight raids, when my better half was fast asleep, I was first miffed, then improvising, decided to soften them up in my microwave oven.

I put a piece of warm softened-up Pedha in my mouth – Lo and Behold! – The Dharwadi Pedha had metamorphosed into a Lal Peda.

Yes, it tasted like genuine Banarasi Lal Peda with its unique wholesome “crispy roasted milky taste”. Now that’s serendipity. I’ve searched for Lal Peda all over but nothing could match the authentic Lal Peda I used to enjoy near Sankat Mochan in Varanasi.

I love sweets – especially Indian Sweets – Pedhas, Barfis, Rosogulla, Gulab Jamun, Kala Jamun, Cham Cham, Sandesh, Jilebi, Imrati, Son Papdi, Mysore Pak, Petha, Mahim Halwa, Malpua, Karanji, Anarse, Chirote, Lavang Lata, Ladoos – you name it, I love it – and one of favorites is a superb wholesome treat called “Aflatoon”.

Now the only place I’ve had Aflatoon is on Mohammed Ali Road in Mumbai, at Suleman Mithaiwala near Minara Masjid, and I think also at Zam Zam a little distance down the road.

Aflatoon not only satisfies your sweet-tooth; it provides rich nourishment and is blissfully satiating too.

I’m in Pune now.

Like my search for Lal Peda, my search for Aflatoon also remained elusive, so I decided to improvise and hope for the best.

Now remember, My Dear Reader, I’m no great cook, nor am I a high-falutin connoisseur, nor a culinary expert; I’m just a simple down-to-earth trencherman, an avid foodie, so I asked around, searched around, explored, extrapolated, reverse-engineered, and here is what I improvised, a purely ingenious adventurous concocted experimental recipe.

[Try it at your own risk!].

First, with a fork, I thoroughly beat three fresh eggs till fluffy, added one cup [vati or katori] of sugar (add more if you like it sweeter) and then vigorously whisked away till all the sugar dissolved and the mixture was nice and fluffy.

I had already switched on my oven – yes, Aflatoon is a baked delight – one of the rare Indian sweets which are baked in an oven.

I rubbed pure ghee on the palms of my hands and kneaded half a kilo of fresh Khoya [khava, mawa made from buffalo milk] till it was slippery smooth.

Then I blended in and coalesced the Khoya into the feathery egg-sugar emulsion and whipped strongly with my hands till my wrists pained, and my biceps and triceps strained, and the khoya had fully dissolved and merged into the mélange and the fusion was complete, the rich blend velvety smooth.

Now in a plate, I mixed together one cup of rawa, half cup of maida, and a pinch of baking powder, and gently folded this mixture, spoon by spoon, into the egg-sugar-khoya amalgamation and robustly swirled and pasted the batter with my hands, till my hands got tired again and my muscles ached.

Here, there is no exact proportion of how much rawa- maida mixture is to be added to the batter; my hands tell me when to stop – later I can always add a bit as and when required to get the right baking consistency.

Now the interesting part – I lovingly blended in three katories or vaties [yes, three full cups – one cup per egg] of pure ghee and churned with my hands for a long time till the ghee fully dissolved into the delectable mixture, indiscernible.

Now here is the difference in sequence of ingredients – while baking a cake you start of with creaming the butter, than blend in the sugar, then eggs, then maida; here you start off with beating the eggs, then the sugar, the khoya, the rawa-maida flour, and now comes the pure ghee (clarified butter).

Hey, remember to lick your fingers from time to time and taste the delightful mélange at each stage and plus-minus the proportions accordingly.

Also, your fingers will tell you when the consistency is perfect.

That is why I never use mixers, blenders, juicers, measuring cups and all those hi-fi gadgets when preparing dough and batter for baked delights, or cooking dishes – I always rely on my own tongue to tell me the precise taste, use my hands to cream, blend, the concoction to the right consistency, improvise the ingredients and proportions accordingly – if you want to cook creatively, there is nothing to beat your own sensory perception, isn’t it?

And yes, don’t forget to use your nose too – food must be fragrant, appetizingly aromatic, besides looking deliciously mouthwatering and tempting to feel and touch!

Now I mixed in the spices – powdered jaiphal, dalchini, elaichi, lavang – and, while gently stirring with my hand, slowly poured in yummy thick creamy buffalo milk, about half a cup, till the consistency of the smooth paste becomes soft and silky, and ready for baking.

Remember to always have the rawa-maida flour ready in stand-by mode to even up the batter, if required.

Then I mix in kismis, manuka, crushed pasted khajur, squeezing my fingers.

Oh, just a minute, I thoroughly mix in a few drops of vanilla essence to make even the slightest trace of the smell of eggs go away.

Finally I embellish with crushed dry fruit like badam, pista, kaju etc.

I now pour in the rich creamy dough into pure-ghee greased baking trays and bake it in my conventional pre-heated oven at medium heat till the characteristic mouthwatering aroma wafts through the kitchen and the Aflatoons looked appetizingly brown.

With all the khoya, creamy milk and rich ingredients it sometimes takes almost an hour or so to be done. Time doesn’t matter, when cooking, as in eating, I like to be unhurried – the slower the cooking the tastier the food. I always like to keep the heat moderate and my senses, especially olfactory, alert.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

I was dying to sample the result of my culinary experiment, so I didn’t even wait till it cooled – Oh yes, it tasted wholesome, sumptuous, appetizing, good.

Just imagine if you fortify milk-cake with eggs, enrich it, spice it up, and roast it well – that’s the nearest I can describe how aflatoon tastes.

I wonder if aflatoon can be made by roasting it on a tawa instead of baking it!

I relished my homemade “aflatoon” – but then nothing can beat the original aflatoon for which I’ll have to head to Mumbai.

Till then, I’ll keep savoring these – I’m sure with all the pure ghee imbibed in them these aflatoons will last for days – provided I keep them hidden away from craving children and other insatiable trenchermen like me!

Dear Reader, and fellow Foodie – why don’t you too improvise, be creative, experiment, use your own ingredients and proportions, conjure up your very own aflatoon, savor it, try it out on your family and friends, and tell us all about it.

And if you happen to live in Mumbai, why take all this trouble – just go ahead and relish the original.

Happy Baking!

Dear Reader and Fellow Foodie: For more such appetizing dishes do read APPETITE FOR A STROLL, a treatise on The Art of Eating, Easy to Cook Recipes and Foodie Adventures in Pune and Mumbai.

Click the links below to know more about this delicious book:
http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Food-for-soul/358363/#

http://books.sulekha.com/book/appetite-for-a-stroll/default.htm

http://www.indiaplaza.in/finalpage.aspx?storename=books&sku=9788190690096&ct=2

http://www.flipkart.com/appetite-stroll-vikram-karve/8190690094-gw23f9mr2o

Happy Eating

VIKRAM KARVE

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009

Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve

Appetite for a Stroll

vikramkarve@sify.com


http://books.sulekha.com/book/appetite-for-a-stroll/default.htm

A CLEAN WELL LIGHTED PLACE – MOMO Cafe Courtyard by Marriott Hinjewadi Pune

August 10, 2009

A CLEAN WELL-LIGHTED PLACE

“A Clean, Well-Lighted Place!”

That’s the first thought that instantly comes to my mind the moment I enter Courtyard’s MoMo Café on Saturday afternoon.

A Clean, Well-Lighted Place is the title of my favourite Ernest Hemingway Short Story – the phrase depicts the café where the story is set.

Well that’s what MoMo Café is – a Clean Airy Well Lighted Spacious Friendly café with wonderful feel-good ambience and superb food, tasteful décor and pleasant aesthetics which make you feel fresh, cheerful, comfortable and relaxed. Yes, the bright vibes of the place certainly lift my spirits and make me feel good the moment I enter the lobby of Courtyard.

We walk in the spacious “courtyard”, past MoMo 2 Go, the “to go” grab and go deli, stocked with tempting baked delights, for those in a hurry.

Well, I am not in a hurry, so I leisurely stroll past the spic-and-span counter adorned with tempting goodies and the appetizing buffet spread. There are pickles, in traditional jars, a mix and match and toss your own salad counter, and soups and broths. Everything is so visually pleasing that I can sense the appetite being built up inside me.

It is heartening to see the immaculate open display kitchen – it always feels reassuring to see your food being cooked in front of you with impeccable standards of hygiene and quality.

I look around. MoMo Café is a happy place and the seating is comfortable, ample, user-friendly and well-designed.

It is a leisurely Saturday afternoon cosmopolitan crowd comprising a delightful assortment – joyful families, young IT executives, couples, singles, friends, business guests, eager foodies, relaxed tourists and cosy friends spending a leisurely afternoon over a chilled beer, a tasty bite and snug conversation. There is plenty of space, there is plenty of light, freshness in the air, and everyone, the kids and the adults, seems to be having a pleasant time, enjoying the food and the friendly atmosphere.

A discerning yet innovative menu features an imaginative choice of select dishes from a variety of cuisines, from the Orient and the Occident, ranging from starters, soups, salads, sandwiches, pizzas and pastas to Kebabs and an astute selection of traditional Indian dishes, sumptuous main course delicacies, and exclusive desserts to round off your meal. Despite the impressive array of multi-cuisine, it is a short and sweet uncluttered concise well thought-out menu – a sure sign of a restaurant that takes its food seriously.

We are wondering what to order, when Subhash, the Executive Chef, joins us, so we leave it to him to do the honours. He asks to select anything we fancy from the impressive array of dishes laid out for the lunch buffet and then we’ll try his recommendations from the a-la-carte menu.

I pick up some Seafood Broth – it’s non-spicy with a combination of seafood and lots of vegetables and nourishing, just like a basic Seafood Broth ought to be. The buffet seems to be very popular perhaps because the spread is so elaborate and I wonder what to sample. I start off with some bhuna gosht – it is excellent – succulent flavoursome pieces of mutton in luxuriant gravy. The scrumptious Mustard Fried Fish and Stroganoff tempt me to try out the whole buffet lunch but Subhash has already ordered a pizza from their wood fired pizza oven – I’ll only say this: The thin crust pizza is probably the best pizza I have ever tasted – it’s light, the crust melts in the mouth and allows the tongue to fully relish the taste of sauce, cheese and delectable toppings.

“Let’s have a Momo,” I say, harking back to mouth-watering memories of my Shillong days when I first relished the yummy wholesome Momo. At first I thought that maybe MoMo Café was a Momo place but Vyshnavi and Subhash educate me – the name MoMo Café exemplifies the concept of Modern Living and Modern Eating. But surely, isn’t it apt that MoMo Café has Momos on its menu – maybe next time!

Subhash orders Nasi Goreng for me and Conchiglie Pasta for my darling vegetarian wife. There is an interesting choice of wines, spirits and cocktails, but we prefer freshly squeezed orange juice as an accompaniment.

We are indeed fortunate to have an opportunity to interact with Subhash who is a veritable human encyclopaedia on wining and dining and all things culinary. The enlightening “foodie” conversation is sheer delight and Subhash’s  sincere love of food, passion for cooking and impressive repertoire of culinary knowledge enhance the eating experience and make our meal even more appetizing and intellectually stimulating.

The Nasi Goreng, Spicy Prawn Fried Rice with soft fried egg and Chicken Satay, is lip-smacking and fulfilling. I have a bite of the vegetarian Conchiglie Pasta too, savouring its inimitable taste of spinach in basil flavoured sauce, as Subhash explains the intricacies – the foam and the way this delicate dish is made.

For dessert, we have Tiramisu, the pièce de résistance of the meal. MoMo Café’s inimitable signature Tiramisu is marvellous – a fitting climax to a splendid meal. Subhash tells us it is a non-alcoholic Tiramisu, to cater to children and local preferences, but let me tell you that it is the best Tiramisu I have ever had and the delightful symbiosis of delectable tastes lingers within me for a long long time.

I will cherish mouth-watering memories of this lovely Saturday afternoon forever. I am sure MoMo Café is going to be a hit, a boon to the foodies of Pune, due to its unique location, superb food, vibrant ambience, impeccable standards of hygiene and quality, and the warm and friendly service.

I am certainly going to eat at MoMo Café again. And this time I am going to check out the Indian Cuisine. I’ll start with melt-in-the-mouth dissolve-on-your-tongue Galawat Kebab, savour a Nalli Nihari – let’s see how it compares with the authentic versions of this luscious fortifying breakfast dish I’ve relished in the heart of Delhi and Mumbai. Then I’ll try some Dum Biryani and end with a soothing Kulfi Falooda.

A true Foodie eats twice, first in his mind’s eye, and then with his taste buds. So whenever a Foodie ventures out to a new place he builds up some expectations – MoMo Café certainly exceeded my expectations in all aspects and we thoroughly enjoyed the overall dining experience.

VIKRAM KARVE

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009

Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

Dear Reader, if you enjoyed reading this, and want to relish more such delicious foodie adventures, do read APPETITE FOR A STROLL


http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve

vikramkarve@sify.com

http://www.indiaplaza.in/finalpage.aspx?storename=books&sku=9788190690096&ct=2

http://www.flipkart.com/appetite-stroll-vikram-karve/8190690094-gw23f9mr2o

http://books.sulekha.com/book/appetite-for-a-stroll/default.htm

APPETITE FOR A STROLL – A Hearty Meal from the Heart of India – MOUTHWATERING KOLHAPURI MEMORIES

April 11, 2009

A Hearty Meal from the Heart of India

 

It is really hot in Pune and this afternoon I had a real “hot” Kolhapuri meal which brought back mouthwatering memories of a similar “hot” meal I had relished two years ago.

Here is a excerpt from my Sulekha Blogprint Series Foodie book APPETITE FOR A STROLL

http://books.sulekha.com/book/appetite-for-a-stroll/default.htm

Purepur Kolhapur

Mouthwatering Memories of a Hearty Kolhapuri Meal

by

Vikram Karve

It’s a hot Sunday afternoon in Pune. I am voraciously hungry and am pining for a fulfilling meal. And what can be better than a wholesome authentic Kolhapuri meal to blissfully satiate my pangs of hunger?

So I proceed to my favourite Kolhapuri restaurant called “Purepur Kolhapur” near Peru Gate, the food district, in the heart of Pune City. It’s a Spartan no-nonsense eatery; the only thing conspicuous is the ‘Kolhapur zero-milestone’ outside the entrance which makes it easy to locate.

I saw a similar zero-milestone somewhere in Kothrud the other day and wonder whether a branch of “Purepur Kolhapur” is coming up there too!

There are just three main items on the menu – Mutton Taat (Thali), Chicken Taat, (which cost Rs. 75/- each), and Purepur Special Taat for a princely Rs. 120/- (I am told that the ‘Purepur Special’ contains everything the place has to offer!).

There is a flurry of activity and a large stainless steel taat is placed in front of me almost instantly.

The Purepur Special Thali comprises the following:

· A large bowl of thick chicken curry with four generous pieces of chicken.
· A plate of appetizingly crisp dark brown pieces of fried mutton liberally garnished with almost burnt deep fried onion strips.
· A Kheema Vati (Katori)
· A vati of Tambda Rassa ( Red Gravy)
· A vati of Pandhara Rassa (White Gravy)
· Kuchumber salad made of onions, ginger, coriander, green chillies and curds
· Lemon pieces
· A fresh piping hot chapatti (You can have bhakri if you want, but today I’m in a mood for a crisp hot crunchy chapatti splattered with pure ghee)
· A bowl of jeera rice garnished with crisp brown fried onion strips and cashew nuts.

I sip the pandhara rassa – it’s invigorating.

Next I spoon into my eager mouth a generous portion of mutton fry. It’s not melt-in-the-mouth stuff  (I think it is the inimitable Bolai mutton).

I chew slowly and savor the sweetish taste of the fried onions blended with the lively spiciness of the crisply fried mutton.

I dip a piece of the piping hot chapatti into the tambda rassa allowing it to soak in, place it on my tongue and chew it to a pulp until it practically swallows itself savouring the flavour till the very end. Exquisite!

Now using my right thumb and two fingers, I lovingly pick up a small piece of chicken from the gravy; delicately place it on my tongue and roll it against my palate.

I close my eyes, look inside, and focus on the succulent boneless chicken release it’s zesty juices and disintegrate. Yes, unlike the crispy fried mutton which need a vigorous chew to truly relish its deliciousness, the chicken is soft and tender, almost melt-in-the-mouth.

I sample the Kheema Vati – it’s totally different from the Kheema I’ve tasted at Irani and Mughlai eateries. The Kheema has an unusual taste I can’t exactly describe – a bit sweet and sour– a counterbalancing contrast, perhaps.

Now that I’ve sampled everything in it’s pristine form, I squeeze a bit of lemon on the mutton and chicken and embellish it with kuchumber to give it the right tang, and from time to time I sip the wholesome pandhara rassa.

I thoroughly enjoy the confluence of contrasting tastes. In conclusion I mix everything with the rice and rejoice the riot of zesty flavours.

At the end, as I always do after all hearty spicy meals, I pick up a wedge of lemon and squeeze a bit of lemon juice into my glass of water and sip it down.

Believe me, it improves the aftertaste and lightens the post-meal heaviness sometimes caused by spicy Indian cuisine.

It’s an exciting, invigorating meal which perks me up and the sheer epicurean pleasure I experience makes up for the crowded, hassled ambience and indifferent service. Purepur Kolhapur is worth a visit for the quality and authenticity of its food.

For most of us “Kolhapuri” food has become synonymous with the “chilli-hot” self-styled, purported, ostensible Kolhapuri fare served in both high falutin and run-of-the-mill restaurants whose menus often feature dishes called “Chicken Kolhapuri” or “Vegetable Kolhapuri” which masquerade as Kolhapuri cuisine.

Kolhapuri cuisine is “spicy”, not “chilli-hot”, not “rich” and “fatty” – nothing exotic about it.

A Kolhapuri meal, unique in its simplicity, comprises a variety of lip-smacking, earthy, flavorsome, nourishing dishes and is so complete that it creates within you a inimitable hearty wholesome sense of fulfillment, and is a welcome change from the ubiquitous fatty and greasy-rich Makhanwalla, Masala, Kadhai, Handi, Naan, Biryani, the popular Punjabi and Mughlai fare you eat day in and day out. There is a world of a difference between pseudo- Kolhapuri and authentic-Kolhapuri food.

I do not know where you get genuine Kolhapuri cuisine in Mumbai, Delhi or any of the Metros.

When we visit Kolhapur, we eat at Opal.
I walked all over South Mumbai, experimented, tasted, sampled, but there was no joy. No Kolhapuri Taat anywhere, and even a la carte, nowhere was Mutton or Chicken Kolhapuri the signature dish – it appeared they had put it on the menu just for the sake of it, maybe to gratify the dulled taste buds on the alcohol soaked tongues of inebriated patrons who probably were in no state to appreciate the finer aspects of relishing good food. When queried, the waiters invariably said that Kolhapuri was synonymous with fiery chilli-hot food.

I was disappointed to find not even a single authentic Kolhapuri restaurant listed in various Good Food Guides to Mumbai. If you, dear fellow Foodie, know of an authentic Kolhapuri restaurant in your town or city, will you be so good as to let us all know?

Happy Eating!

VIKRAM KARVE

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

If you want to learn of such yummy places in Mumbai and Pune and read about some really mouthwatering foodie adventures and lip-smacking recipes why don’t you get a copy of my Foodie Adventures Book  APPETITE FOR A STROLL?

Just click the links below to know morecre:

http://www.indiaplaza.in/finalpage.aspx?storename=books&sku=9788190690096&ct=2

http://www.flipkart.com/appetite-stroll-vikram-karve/8190690094-gw23f9mr2o

http://books.sulekha.com/book/appetite-for-a-stroll/default.htm

Remember – There is no love greater than the love of food.

Happy Eating

Vikram Karve

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/

http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve

vikramkarve@sify.com

Blue Nile – The Best Biryani in Pune

December 30, 2008

BLUE NILE BIRYANI

 

By

 

VIKRAM KARVE

 

 

 

 

My darling “foodie” sister suddenly lands up in the evening from Mumbai and commands, “Let’s go to Blue Nile!”

 

“You sure?” I ask, a bit incredulous.

 

“Yes,” she says peremptorily, “I’m in a mood for a nostalgic Biryani!”

 

And soon we are sitting in Blue Nile – a quaint, old-world, down-to-earth, high turnover, no-frills, old-world “heritage” eatery of Pune located near the GPO opposite the Nucleus Mall. This is no fancy restaurant for stylish gourmet dining in air-conditioned comfort, soothing tranquility and refined classy ambiance. Blue Nile is certainly not the ideal place for a discreet tête-à-tête meal or a romantic candle-light dinner. The moment you enter your nostrils may experience wafts of “aromatic pleasures” of the overpowering “mughlai fragrance” emanating from the open kitchen in front of you – so be prepared for a quick, hot, sweaty, hustle and bustle meal amidst din and hullabaloo.

 

There is no bar – that’s good – for they focus on the food, and the tipsy types come in only late at night. And you’ll always find an assorted crowd, students, office-goers, travelers, a sprinkling of families, foodies, young and old – and you will notice almost all of them gorging into a plate of Blue Nile Biryani. There are two halls and they have put the molded chairs and tables in the corridor too, maybe for the late night crowd, where we found onions being peeled. It’s quite a large place with a canteen-like atmosphere – a place for quick businesslike eating – not a place to hang out.

 

We order – a Mutton Biryani for me and, surprisingly, my sister orders a Chicken Biryani. I look at her in disbelief – “I’m off red meat,” she says.

 

Sad. Real sad! A pity. Chicken is ubiquitously boring – it’s put on the menu for those masquerading as non-vegetarians and those who don’t know what to eat.

 

And tell me, Dear Reader, tell me, doesn’t the word “Biryani” imply Goat Mutton? Can there be such a thing as Chicken Biryani, Fish Biryani or, just imagine, Veg Biryani?

 

Think about it. Just think about it. And while you think I’ll eat!

 

The food arrives in a jiffy – dumped matter-of-factly on the table with a few onion rings.

 

I feast my eyes hungrily at the tempting dish of Mutton Biryani in front of me, my mouth waters, I dig in, pick out a piece of mutton, pop it on my tongue, close my mouth and my eyes, focus my senses inwards, press the soft, tender, succulent well-cooked meat between my tongue and palate, gently roll it all over, imbibing the heavenly flavours as the mutton releases its delicious juices, then a delicate squeeze, a gentle bite, allowing the scrumptious meat to dissolve, savour the delicious taste and appetizing aroma, as the medley of flavours permeate deep within me.

 

On first impressions, how do you judge a Biryani? There are four tests.

 

First I try the “spread test”. I pick a little Biryani in my fingers and sprinkle it on the side dish. The grains of rice must not stick together but remain separate. The pieces of meat too must be succulent, clear and dry, not greasy.

 

The Blue Nile Biryani passes the “spread test” – not ten out of ten, maybe eight out of ten.

 

Then I lift the plate and smell the pieces of meat. The Biryani must be pleasantly aromatic [the sweetish fragrance and appetizing aroma of marinated spices] – not sharp or piquant. Again, it’s eight on ten. The Biryani has passed the “aroma test” with flying colours!

 

I taste the mutton – it’s excellent, succulent, superb – a perfect ten on ten! I roll some rice on my tongue – a wee bit too spicy, the slight hint of greasy aftertaste – maybe eight on ten. Overall nine on ten in the “taste test”!

 

A Perfect Biryani? Let me see! The fourth and final test! The “Potato Test”.

 

I search for the potato. The potatoes must taste as well as the meat – that is a hallmark of a good Biryani. I search for the potato. The potatoes must taste as well as the meat – that is a hallmark of a good Biryani. I dig deep, search – there is no potato. Just imagine – a Biryani without a potato! Can there be a perfect Biryani without a potato which tastes as delicious as the mutton?

 

My sister forces me to taste the Chicken Biryani. I wish I hadn’t – the chicken is quite tasteless with a sour tinge; certainly not well marinated, maybe they use a common stock of pre-boiled chicken for all the dishes.

 

Dear fellow Foodie – that’s my assessment of the famous Blue Nile Biryani – a fine deliciously tasty wholesome Mutton Biryani, maybe not “perfect” connoisseur cuisine, but certainly a trencherman’s delight.

 

And the Chicken “Biryani”? Well it’s quite run-of-the-mill. Nothing special at all.

 

You will find all the usual fare to fill up the menu card at Blue Nile. Like every restaurant Blue Nile has its own version of the ubiquitous “Chinese” Chopsueys and Hakka Noodles and a few “Standard” vegetarian dishes, besides tea, soft drinks, jelly, caramel custard, shakes and ice cream.

 

Dear Reader, please don’t experiment. Remember the “signature dish” of Blue Nile is Biryani, so when you go to Blue Nile make sure your relish their inimitable Mutton Biryani. At a hundred and twenty bucks, it’s reasonably priced, certainly value for money.

 

Blue Nile is simple, no nonsense, unpretentious, high turnover eatery focusing on food with a down-to-earth, commonplace, earthy atmosphere – a place for the gluttonous trencherman, certainly not for the refined epicure. If you are one of those high-falutin, snooty gourmets finicky about suave ambiance, classy dining, elegant décor et al, try the Blue Nile Take Away – their “parcel” service is so fast that you’ll have your food parcel in your hand almost the moment you place your order.

 

Dear Punekars – can someone please tell me where I can relish a “perfect biryani” in Pune. 

 

By the way, can someone please tell me the difference between a Biryani and a Pulao?  Of course, I know the answer – just trying to cross-check!

 

Happy Eating!

 

 

VIKRAM KARVE

 

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2008

Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

 

APPETITE FOR A STROLL Foodie Adventures, Simple Recipes, Musings on The Art of Eating and Vikram Karve’s Authentic Guide to Value For Money Food in Mumbai and Pune

November 30, 2008

APPETITE FOR A STROLL 

[Foodie Adventures, Simple Recipes, Musings on The Art of Eating and Vikram Karve’s Authentic Guide to Value For Money Food in Mumbai and Pune]


By


VIKRAM KARVE

 

I have recently written a Foodie Adventures Book – Appetite for a Stroll.

Please click the link and read the review of Appetite for a Stroll titled Food for Soul in the Indian Express [Pune] Sunday 7th September 2008 

http://www.indianexpress.com/story/358363.html

expressonline book review

http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Food-for-soul/358363/#

 

If you want to get a copy of the book just click the links below:

 

http://www.indiaplaza.in/finalpage.aspx?storename=books&sku=9788190690096&ct=2

 

http://books.sulekha.com/book/appetite-for-a-stroll/default.htm

 

 

I am sure you will enjoy reading the book, the delicious food at all the value for money eateries and cooking the recipes.


Happy Reading and Happy Eating

VIKRAM KARVE

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com

 

The Art of Tea Making – Amrut Tulya Pune Style

October 7, 2008

THE ART OF TEA MAKING     AMRUT TULYA  PUNE STYLE

 

By

 

VIKRAM KARVE

 

 

 

When I was a small boy in the nineteen sixties Pune was a “Tea Town”. Everyone drank tea and all over the town there were chiefly two types of tea for the laidback discerning gourmet Punekar to relish – AMRUT TULYA CHAHA at the ubiquitous Amrut-tulya Tea Shops in every nook and corner of Pune, and the peerless IRANI CHAI served by the numerous Irani Restaurants all over Pune City and Camp like Café Naaz, Lucky, Good Luck, Volga etc.

 

Amrut means Nectar, and Tulya means Comparable, so “Amrut Tulya” means “Comparable to Nectar” and indeed, true to its name, Amrut-Tulya Tea is comparable to nectar –  sweet, ambrosial, like the elixir of life! Amrut Tulya Chaha is not brewed in the traditional Tea service style – the tea is “cooked” in front of you.

 

Come, my dear Tea Lover, let me tell you how to make Amrut Tulya Chaha – The Art of Tea – Pune Style.

 

 

Assemble the following Ingredients for Two cups of Amrut Tulya Tea “Special Chaha”

 

Assam CTC Tea or, if you live in Pune, get the famous CTC+OP “Family Mixture” Tea Powder from your favourite “Tea Depot” in the heart of Pune City.

[By the way, the acronyms are: CTC – Crush, Tear, Curl; OP – Orange Pekoe; BOP – Broken Orange Pekoe].

 

Full Cream Buffalo Milk [I like Chitale’s]

 

Fresh Water

 

Sugar

 

Fresh Ginger Crushed [Better still you can crush the juicy fresh ginger with the chimta directly in the water-milk concoction to let the ginger juices flow out and blend in smoothly]

 

Cardamom – peel, crush and powder the pods

 

 

[NB – Amrut Tulya Tea is not your traditional Masala Chai so please don’t add any Tea Masalas or spices like clove, cinnamon, black peppercorns or herbs like gavati chaha (lemon grass?), tulsi leaves etc. and neither is it the “khada chamach” or “cutting” Chai so please don’t boil away to glory – remember, you must achieve Amrut Tulya Chaha of just the right consistency!]

 

 

 

In a brass vessel [or stainless steel, if you can’t get a brass vessel] mix one cup of water and one cup of milk. Add four teaspoons of sugar. Put on the stove. Medium heat.

 

Squeeze in a bit of crushed ginger and add a pinch of cardamom powder and the peel.

 

Lightly stir, let it warm, and bring to a boil.

 

Smartly add two teaspoons of tea powder and keep stirring gently to ensure the boiling concoction does not spill over. Keep boiling till the tea attains beautiful bright golden-orange colour – the moment you see a reddish tinge, give the heavenly brew a loving last stir, twirl the vessel, and sieve the Amrut Tulya Tea Special Chaha directly into the cups.

 

Sip the delicious tea slowly and mindfully, roll it on your tongue, let it emulsify in your palate, close your eyes, absorb, discern the flavour, the rich taste, relish every sip lovingly.

 

Tell me, isn’t Amrut Tulya Chaha lip-smacking tasty and soul-refreshing? Blissful ambrosia, an experience of nectar, isn’t it?

 

Now you know why they call it Amrut Tulya – comparable to Nectar!

 

 

VIKRAM KARVE

 

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2008

Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

 

vikramkarve@sify.com

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com

 

http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve

 

 

HOW TO MAKE TEA

October 6, 2008

HOW TO MAKE TEA

 

By

 

VIKRAM KARVE

 

 

I love tea.

 

You too love tea but don’t know how to make a good cup?

 

Let me tell you how to make tea.

 

Get some good Assam CTC Tea [CTC is an acronym for Crush, Tear and Curl]. CTC teas have a granular appearance and the fact of the matter is that if you are really interested in a Stimulating, Refreshing and Invigorating cup of traditional Indian Tea, Orthodox Leaf Teas [the OPs, the BOPs, et al] just don’t fit the bill – you need CTC tea to brew your strong, bright and full-bodied cup of milky Chai which looks deliciously appetizing – a lively reddish orange colour, not the dull muddy brown colour you get when you add milk to tea made from leaf teas the orthodox “teapot” way.

 

Take two cups of fresh water [one for you and one for me!] in a stainless steel vessel. Add four teaspoons of sugar. Put on the stove, cover with a lid and boil. Once the water starts boiling, remove the lid and boil for one and a half minutes – yes, exactly one and a half minutes!

 

Now briskly add two teaspoons of CTC Tea leaves, one teaspoon for each cup – the boiling water will suddenly erupt, and surge up, like a volcano, so smartly switch off the flame before it spills over and quickly cover tightly with the lid. Brew for five minutes till the liquor is full-bodied and the infusion is complete.

 

Have ready some freshly boiled full cream buffalo milk – yes, fresh creamy buffalo milk is a must – in Pune, I prefer Chitale’s. First pour in some hot milk in the cup, and through a strainer, pour in the rich tea brew and till you get beautiful reddish orange colour. Remember – always pour tea into milk, never milk into tea. This is the secret of the appetizingly attractive bright lively carroty red colour as it facilitates the perfect blending of the strong rich full-bodied intense tea liquor tea brew with the creamy white milk without producing any bitterness.

 

Now, go ahead, relish every sip, and enjoy your cup of ambrosial divine rejuvenating tea.

 

And do tell us how you liked it.

 

 

 

VIKRAM KARVE

 

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2008

Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

 

vikramkarve@sify.com

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com

 

http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve

 

Bhagat Tarachand Pune – Delicious Vegetarian Cuisine

January 14, 2008

A HEARTY MEAL IN THE HEART OF PUNE

 

By

 

VIKRAM KARVE

    

My wife is a pure vegetarian. So when we eat out together we prefer a pure vegetarian restaurant. And when you are really famished there’s nothing better to satiate your hunger than a sumptuous wholesome vegetarian thali. When we were in Mumbai our favourite Value for Money Vegetarian Thali guaranteed to satisfy the most voracious appetite and discerning taste buds was the Thali served by Bhagat Tarachand near Zaveri Bazar. Both taste-wise and price-wise, Bhagat Tarachand is unmatched – it’s the best value for money vegetarian food in Mumbai. So this afternoon, finding ourselves famished and thirsty on Laxmi Road in Pune we decided to have a hearty meal at Bhagat Tarachand’s Pune restaurant in the heart of the city.

  

The first thing you notice in the contrast in ambiance – unlike the hustle-bustle, hurly burly, hurried eating in a hot, humid, crowded atmosphere you are overwhelmed with in Mumbai, here, in Pune, the mood is set for serene, tranquil, relaxed, leisurely dining. Also, there is no “beer bottle” of chilled chaas (buttermilk) to quench your thirst and soothe your parched throat, and there is a stylish menu card, not the Mumbai-style wall-menu. I read the menu – quite expensive – now in this aspect Pune’s Bhagat Tarachand is different – certainly not frugal Value for Money dining! But then Pune is an expensive place, especially for food.

  

There isn’t must choice as far as Thalis are concerned – there is only one type of Thali on the menu and it’s called the Deluxe Lunch Thali [there is no ordinary thali for an “ordinary” foodie like me!]. The Thali costs a steep 120 rupees and we order it.

   

The food is plentiful and very tasty. There is melt in the mouth delicious Paneer Bhurji, flavoursome aloo methi sukha, a tangy samosa, nutritious dal fry, three special ghee-rich rotis, rice, papad, and rabdi. We leisurely savour the substantial meal in relaxed ambience. The food is as good as the one served in their Mumbai restaurants – what disappoints is the Chaas – they serve only a tiny glass of chaas and when I asked for a refill the waiter rudely told me it would cost me an extra eighteen bucks – now that’s not fair as it is the accompaniment of the lip-smacking chaas that truly enhances the enjoyment and eating experience of this type of cuisine. Also the chaas here lacked the soothing zing of the “beer bottle” chilled chaas they serve in Mumbai. And as for the service – I suggest they send their staff down to the Mumbai restaurants to imbibe some of the down-to-earth businesslike warmth.

   

If Bhagat Tarachand wants to carve a niche for itself in Pune [like Shreyas or Mayur for vegetarian thalis] it better focus on its specialities and uniqueness of cuisine – what’s the point of having things like Bread-Butter-Jam, Sandwiches, Pav-Bhaji and Chole Bhatura on the menu when there are so many good established places for these in Pune? Remember, it’s those matchless varieties of rotis, unique taste of vegetable and paneer dishes, the inimitable lip-smacking soothing chaas and most importantly the tasty wholesome Thalis which are going to attract foodies and save this restaurant from becoming one of those run of the mill eateries one sees proliferating all over Pune. And please make the food more affordable, especially the thalis and have some variety too – a common man’s thali should not be more than fifty rupees.

  

If you happen to be in the heart of Pune City, do have a hearty meal at Bhagat Tarachand, and tell us if you liked it. We’re sure going to visit the place again – and this time we are going to focus on the variety of rotis, the rich paneer and mouth-watering vegetable gravies.

   

And if you want to read about my delightful experience at Mumbai’s Bhagat Tarachand just click on the links below:

  

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2007/12/food-travels-in-mumbai-a-veg-foodie-day.htm

 

  

http://foodiekarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/10/the-best-value-for-money-vegetarian-food-in-mumbai.htm

 

  

Happy Eating!

  

VIKRAM KARVE

 

vikramkarve@hotmail.com

 

vikramkarve@sify.com

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com

  

http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve

  

http://www.ryze.com/go/karve

   

Bhagat Tarachand Pune

December 19, 2007

A HEARTY MEAL IN THE HEART OF PUNE

  

By

  

VIKRAM KARVE

     My wife is a pure vegetarian. So when we eat out together we prefer a pure vegetarian restaurant. And when you are really famished there’s nothing better to satiate your hunger than a sumptuous wholesome vegetarian thali. When we were in Mumbai our favourite Value for Money Vegetarian Thali guaranteed to satisfy the most voracious appetite and discerning taste buds was the Thali served by Bhagat Tarachand near Zaveri Bazar. Both taste-wise and price-wise, Bhagat Tarachand is unmatched – it’s the best value for money vegetarian food in Mumbai. So this afternoon, finding ourselves famished and thirsty on Laxmi Road in Pune we decided to have a hearty meal at Bhagat Tarachand’s Pune restaurant in the heart of the city.    The first thing you notice is the contrast in ambiance – unlike the hustle-bustle, hurly burly, hurried eating in a hot, humid, crowded atmosphere you are overwhelmed with in Mumbai, here, in Pune, the mood is set for serene, tranquil, relaxed, leisurely dining. Also, there is no “beer bottle” of chilled chaas (buttermilk) to quench your thirst and soothe your parched throat, and there is a stylish menu card, not the Mumbai-style wall-menu. I read the menu – quite expensive – now in this aspect Pune’s Bhagat Tarachand is different – certainly not frugal Value for Money dining! But then Pune is an expensive place, especially for food.    There isn’t must choice as far as Thalis are concerned – there is only one type of Thali on the menu and it’s called the Deluxe Lunch Thali [there is no ordinary thali for an “ordinary” foodie like me!]. The Thali costs a steep 120 rupees and we order it.     The food is plentiful and very tasty. There is melt in the mouth delicious Paneer Bhurji, flavoursome aloo methi sukha, a tangy samosa, nutritious dal fry, three special ghee-rich rotis, rice, papad, and rabdi. We leisurely savour the substantial meal in relaxed ambience. The food is as good as the one served in their Mumbai restaurants – what disappoints is the Chaas – they serve only a tiny glass of chaas and when I asked for a refill the waiter rudely told me it would cost me an extra eighteen bucks – now that’s not fair as it is the accompaniment of the lip-smacking chaas that truly enhances the enjoyment and eating experience of this type of cuisine. Also the chaas here lacked the soothing zing of the “beer bottle” chilled chaas they serve in Mumbai. And as for the service – I suggest they send their staff down to the Mumbai restaurants to imbibe some of the down-to-earth businesslike warmth.    If Bhagat Tarachand wants to carve a niche for itself in Pune [like Shreyas or Mayur for vegetarian thalis] it better focus on its specialities and uniqueness of cuisine – what’s the point of having things like Bread-Butter-Jam, Sandwiches, Pav-Bhaji and Chole Bhatura on the menu when there are so many good established places for these in Pune? Remember, it’s those matchless varieties of rotis, unique taste of vegetable and paneer dishes, the inimitable lip-smacking soothing chaas and most importantly the tasty wholesome Thalis which are going to attract foodies and save this restaurant from becoming one of those run of the mill eateries one sees proliferating all over Pune. And please make the food more affordable, especially the thalis and have some variety too – a common man’s thali should not be more than fifty rupees.    If you happen to be in the heart of Pune City, do have a hearty meal at Bhagat Tarachand, and tell us if you liked it. We’re sure going to visit the place again – and this time we are going to focus on the variety of rotis, the rich paneer and mouth-watering vegetable gravies.     

And if you want to read about my delightful experience at Mumbai’s Bhagat Tarachand just click on the links below:

   

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2007/12/food-travels-in-mumbai-a-veg-foodie-day.htm

 

  

http://foodiekarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/10/the-best-value-for-money-vegetarian-food-in-mumbai.htm

   

Happy Eating!

   

VIKRAM KARVE

  

vikramkarve@hotmail.com

  vikramkarve@sify.com   

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com

  http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve   http://www.ryze.com/go/karve      

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