Archive for the ‘ice cream’ Category

GULAB JAMUN

July 6, 2007

THE ART OF EATING A GULAB JAMUN

by

VIKRAM KARVE

The art of eating comprises three cardinal steps :

First you learn or come to know about good food – you hear from someone, read somewhere, or come across while browsing the net or from TV or the media or even from a menu card .

Next you go there and observe people eating and relishing the delectable cuisine you have heard so much about – see the way they are eating and enjoying themselves. The expression of divine pleasure on their faces. This tempts you to taste and savor the cuisine yourself.

And then you actually order the food you have been yearning for, delicately put a piece in your mouth, and actually experience the pleasures of eating the delicacy, firsthand.

One evening I suddenly feel an urge, a craving, a desperate sort of yearning, for my favourite sweet – The “Gulab Jamun”.

I believe that if you want to be happy you must fulfill such feasible and viable desires at once, here and now, so I put on my walking shoes, cross the Oval – the Rajabai Tower Clock is striking Six – turn right at the Mumbai University gate, and then left, and walk towards Kalaghoda, turn right towards Colaba Causeway which is a foodies’ delight and soon reach my destination – Kailas Parbat – at the southern end of Colaba Causeway.

I have heard from my friends that Kailas Parbat is the best place in Mumbai for Gulab Jamuns. I have enjoyed delectable Gulab Jamuns at many places – at Pachkuin Road in Delhi, Pehelwan at the end of Lanka in Banaras, and even in a place called Dumka in the back of the beyond – but now amongst the people eating Gulab Jamun at Kailas Parbat, I see a veteran, a connoisseur, relishing it with such satisfaction that I go to the counter and order a Gulab Jamun myself.

Just one hot mouth-watering Gulab Jamun in a liberal amount of thick syrup. It’s nice and hot – Gulab Jamuns must be eaten hot – and very soft and juicy. I spoon a small luscious piece and place it delicately on my tongue and close my eyes to enhance the quality of the gustatory experience – whenever you want to enjoy good food just close your eyes, concentrate on your tongue and notice the feeling.

I just leave the succulent Gulab Jamun piece on my tongue for a while to let the hot sweet viscous syrup permeate deep into my taste-buds, and the moment I gently roll my tongue, the Gulab Jamun disintegrates, dissolves and melts in my mouth releasing its delicious cardamom tinged flavor and soothing rose fragrance within me. I eat slowly, deliberately, eyes closed, savoring every moment, relishing the divine taste, prolonging the heavenly experience – it’s epicurean delight of the highest order.

As I walk back home in state of supreme bliss, the lingering taste of the delicious Gulab Jamun remains within me for a long long time.

Even now as I write this, I can almost sense the delicious taste and enchanting fragrance of the heavenly Gulab Jamun. And my mouth begins to water!

But alas, I’m in Pune right now! Dear Reader – Would you be so good as to tell me where I can savour a delicious Gulab Jamun in the city of Pune.

VIKRAM KARVE

vikramkarve@sify.com

https://vwkarve.wordpress.com

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com
 

TV AND THE TRENCHERMAN

June 27, 2007

TV and the Trencherman

 

By

 

Vikram Karve

 

 

 

 

I try to masquerade as a connoisseur of good food, a gourmet, but in actual fact I am somewhat of a trencherman – a down to earth foodie with a hearty appetite who loves eating simple authentic earthy food. That’s why I prefer to prowl the streets and peep into kitchens in perpetual search of the real wholesome tasty stuff rather than wine and dine in high-falutin restaurants serving gourmet cuisine.

 

Right now, it’s raining cats and dogs, and confined indoors in this back of beyond outskirt of Pune, I’ve just finished watching “Zaika India” – a foodie programme hosted by Vinod Dua on NDTV India. The very sight of the Delhi’s delicious street food – seekh and boti kababs, nihari, biryani, stew and korma at Karim’s, phirnee and habshi mithai, prince paan and a glimpse of Moti Mahal not only brought back mouthwatering memories but also gave me immense vicarious epicurean delight. Last week Vinod Dua foodwalked the streets of Mumbai, starting with the sampling of kababs, nihari, meats and sweets like the incomparable aflatoon and heavy duty malpua near Minara Masjid on Mohammed Ali Road and ending up with the inimitable green chilli ice cream at Bachellor’s opposite Chowpatty.

 

I really enjoy watching Zaika India and am looking forward to more with great expectations. I only wish Vinod Dua slows down a bit and delves more deeply into the food.

 

As of now, my favourite foodie TV programme is “The Foodie” on Times Now TV. For a year or so now, Kunal Vijayakar has kept us enthralled by his gastronomic adventures all over India, even exploring into the inferiors and the mofussil areas in search of our glorious culinary heritage. He shows us the food being cooked, which enhances the enjoyment and learning experience, but it is the expressions of genuine passion on his face, as he devours the freshly cooked delights, that leave the foodies hungering for more. His episodes on Lucknow, Udipi, Kolkata, Amritsar, Punjab, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kurseong, Darjeeling, and the recent one on Pondicherry,were truly mouthwateringly memorable.  The ‘Tea’ dishes of Kurseong, Kababs of Lucknow, Prawn Palmyra (tadgola?) of Pondicherry, and Butter Chicken and Fish Amritsari of Amritsar were unforgettable. I wonder when his gastronomic adventures are going to take him to Bihar, East UP, Varanasi, Kolhapur, Vidharbha, Orissa, Coastal Andhra and many other such places yet to be explored by The Foodie.

 

I enjoyed the Kerala and Mumbai episodes of the recently started “Secret Kitchen” by Bikramjit on CNN IBN and wait in eager anticipation for what’s going to come up in this interesting out of the ordinary programme.

 

“A Matter of Taste” by Vir Sanghvi, on Travel and Living, has got the royal touch. Fine dining in royal style though he did hit the streets of Delhi researching ‘Indian-Chinese’ cuisine.

 

I loved “Good Food” on NDTV by the vivacious and lively Seema Chandra who gave us a peep into high society and celebrity kitchens. She too seems to be an ardent foodie and her face lights up as she relishes food. As a Foodie hostess she rightly displays more interest in the eating, rather than the cooking, of the delicious dishes. I couldn’t catch up with this programme of late – have they taken it off or have the timings changed?

 

And of course I watch all the lip smacking food shows like Planet Food, Floyd’s India, Bordain, Taste of India by Padmalakshmi, Madhur Jaffrey’s show et al on Travel and Living and BBC, and Mejwani and Khavaiyya on the Marathi channels. And of course I never miss the pioneering “Khana Khazana” by Sanjeev Kapoor.

 

I love watching foodie programmes on TV.

 

The greatest love is the love of food [even if it is eaten vicariously!]

 

 

 

 

VIKRAM KARVE

 

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com

 

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

 

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vikramkarve@hotmail.com

 

 

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Eating Out in Churchgate Mumbai

May 29, 2007

Kheema Pav, Bun Maska and Chai at Churchgate

by
VIKRAM KARVE

When I used to live in Empress Court, opposite the Oval, near Churchgate, I would rise at dawn, as the clock on Rajabai Tower struck Six, and go for a long brisk walk all the way to Chowpatty, and on my return, I would head for Stadium restaurant for a refreshing and stimulating cup of tea to energize me and perk me up for the day ahead. On Sundays and holidays, when we went for our super long walks down Marine Drive, up Walkeshwar, Teen Batti, down Malabar Hill, Napean sea Road, a round of Priyadarshini Park, Kemps Corner, Hughes Road, Babulnath, and back, there were three places where we used to breakfast to satiate our ravenous appetites – if my walking partner was a vegetarian we used to head to Vinay in Girgaum for a Misal Pav; and if non vegetarian, it was either Kyani at Dhobi Talao or Stadium at Churchgate for a Kheema Pav.

Stadium serves wholesome tasty Kheema dishes throughout the day, an ideal “snack’ if you are feeling famished. I like their “pudding” and patties too; their Chicken Biryani is worth a try, and so are the “Chinese” dishes, and, if you are in a hurry, why not have a quick spicy egg bhurji with fresh soft pav? Look at the blackboard on the wall for the day’s special – these dishes are real good, whether it’s fried fish, dal gosht, or, if it’s your lucky day, chicken or mutton dhansak.

Stadium Cafe, located next to Churchgate Railway Station, is a clean, well-lighted place to pass time, waiting for someone, or browsing a book, or just doing nothing, staring out onto the busy street, while enjoying a cup of invigorating tea with a bun maska. I like Stadium. It is a clean well-lighted place. It is easy on your wallet, and serves good wholesome food in relaxed ambiance.

VIKRAM KARVE

vikramkarve@sify.com
vikramkarve@hotmail.com

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com

http://vikramkarve.livejournal.com

http://www.ryze.com/go/karve
 

SAMOVAR – Lazy Lunch in Mumbai

May 29, 2007

A Relaxed Lunch in Arty Ambiance


By


Vikram Karve

When I was a small boy I traveled all over the country by train, and I remember many trains like The Calcutta Mail via Nagpur, The Frontier Mail, The Grand Trunk Express, and even the Deccan Queen, had Restaurant or Dining Cars where one could sit comfortably and enjoy leisurely meals comprising the choicest “railway cuisine” whilst viewing the scenery passing by through the large open windows. Each train had its own special a la carte dishes apart from the thalis. One can’t enjoy this luxury anymore as the railways have replaced Dining Cars with Pantry Cars and they serve lackluster standard meals packed in foil, paper and plastic containers.

On a warm Mumbai afternoon I feel nostalgic and remember the good old railway dining car lunches, and I am in a mood for a relaxed lunch in arty ambiance, so I convince my friend and we head for Samovar at the Jehangir Art Gallery at Kala Ghoda near the Museum. Samovar restaurant is situated next to the art gallery in a long rectangular veranda and resembles a Railway Restaurant Car of yesteryear. We relax on the cane chairs and enjoy the view of the adjoining Museum lawns.

There is a menu card, but the specialties of the day are scribbled on blackboards on both ends of the no-frills eatery. We order the specialties of the day – a Mutton Chilly Fry Lunch and Hyderabadi Kheema with Lachi Paratha. The tender boneless Mutton Chilly Fry well cooked in a thick dark brown sauce has a nice spicy peppery taste and blends well with the garlic bread and fresh salad. The fiery orange-red chilli-sour Hyderabadi Kheema is lip-smackingly zesty, the paratha super-soft and fluffy, and the combination is delicious.

Next we have the wholesome stuffed parathas [Gobi (Cauliflower) and Kheema] accompanied by their appetizing chutneys followed by Kheema and Kabab Rolls. To cool off, we end with the huge soothing Dahi Wadas. I’m tempted to order a biryani or a prawn pulao, but we’re nicely satiated and overeating will spoil everything – maybe we’ll try the rice dishes next time.

Samovar has a unique charm and friendly ambience you won’t find anywhere else. It serves excellent value-for-money food and is an ideal place for a cosy tete-a-tete with a friend over a leisurely lunch on a lazy afternoon.

VIKRAM KARVE



vikramkarve@sify.com

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com

Potato Ice Cream

May 25, 2007

 

 

 

 

A HUMOROUS RECIPE FROM A DELIGHTFUL COOKBOOK 

[POTATO ICE CREAM] 

By 

VIKRAM KARVE 

  

Boil a litre of milk on a gentle fire till it thickens and becomes half of the original quantity. 

Boil a kilo of potatoes and after peeling them, mash them nicely and add a little water and pass the pulp through a sieve to make it even. Add this even pulp to the thickened milk and cook it for a few minutes. Add a little pista and chironji chopped fine, and then add 300 grams of sugar (a bit more if you like your ice cream sweeter). 

Cool it. Add a few drops of fine essence of your choice. Put it into a freezer and allow it to set.  

Then, dear fellow foodie, please make it, eat it and let me know how it tastes, for I don’t have the courage (and stomach) to try out  this exotic recipe and sample this wacky potato ice cream myself!  

This recipe is from a cute little book I discovered in my bookcase called POTATO DISHES compiled by the Pusa Institute Ladies’ Association and published by Popular Prakashan Mumbai in 1965 priced for a “princely” sum of Rs. 2.00 ( yes, you read right, the book costs, or costed, Rupees Two only!). [I wonder how this delightful cookbook entered my bookcase – probably my mother may have bought it back then!]  

Whenever I feel low, I leaf through my book shelves and pick out a cookbook. I browse through the appetizing recipes, and in my mind’s eye I “eat” and relish the yummy lip-smacking cuisine, my mouth waters, my troubles seem to go away, my spirits are lifted and I feel good. [Earlier, when I was in Mumbai, I used to rush out and actually eat the dish, or something similar in lieu, which further raised my spirits to a new high; but now that I am languishing in the back of beyond, I just savor the scrumptious food in my imagination which is probably good for my weight!]. It’s true – just the thought of good food can elevate you to a happy plane of living.  

This 80 page book has a collection of 120 recipes arranged in 8 sections, all featuring the ubiquitous potato as the main ingredient, which were compiled during a cookery exhibition of potato dishes organized by the Pusa Institute Ladies’ Association in New Delhi.  

Whatever potato delicacies you could imagine like the curries, koftas, dums, sukhas, rasedars, samosas, bondas, kachories, puris, parathas, snacks, pakoras, chips, chaats, cutlets, rolls and other run of the mill stuff is there. It’s the exotic, out of the ordinary, at times seemingly outlandish, dishes that make interesting reading.   

Let’s have a look at section 7 – the Cakes section. [The recipe for Potato Ice-Cream, described above, features in this section – I didn’t know Ice Cream was a cake!]. The Potato Chocolate Cake, Potato Soufflé and Potato Doughnut sound interesting.  

In section 8, they’ve incorporated and integrated potatoes into all the known Indian sweets – Rosogullas, Chum Chums, Gulab Jamuns, Jalebis, Kheers, Halwas, Pedas and Burfis. I wonder how they will taste and am tempted to try a few.  

I tried a recipe called Alpama, a nice spicy and healthy savory, comprising cashewnuts, dals, suji, and of course the ubiquitous potato, served piping hot – it was delicious and invigorating!   

And while you try out the Potato Ice Cream, I’ll try something substantial like Potato Paneer or the Nargis Potato Kabab.  

Till Next Time – Happy Eating!  

 

VIKRAM KARVE 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com 

vikramkarve@sify.com 

vikramkarve@hotmail.com 

  

http://foodiekarve.sulekha.com

  

  

  

Khubani Ka Meetha in Pune

May 21, 2007

 

 

 

QUBANI KA MEETHA IN PUNE 

By 

VIKRAM KARVE 

 

What’s the perfect ending to a rich and spicy Mughlai meal? A cool soothing Falooda, perhaps! And after fiery Kolhapuri fare? A chilled Mastani, maybe, to quench the fires within! And do you know what the ideal finale to a Hyderabadi Biryani repast is? It is a unique refreshing apricot-based sweet-dish dessert called Qubani Ka Meetha, or Khubani Ka Meetha, spell it whichever way you like. And you get it only in
Hyderabad. That’s what I thought, till yesterday afternoon, when famished after a tiring bout of shopping on Main Street, I entered my all time favorite eatery, George Restaurant on East Street, and spotted on the “Today’s Special” menu board, written as the last item – Qubani Ka Meetha.
 

Now first a bit about George “The House of Quality Food, since 1936” – as the logo says. When I was small boy, in the 1960’s and 1970’s, once in a while, my father used bring for a meal to East Street in Pune Camp, to Kamling for Chinese, or Latif or Kwality for Mughlai, and after our meal we always had a meetha paan at George Paanwala at the entrance to George Restaurant. I used to peer inside to see the animated expressions of the hungry hoi-polloi patrons vigorously devouring their food, and yearn to taste the fare, but it was only in the late 1970’s that I became a regular patron and began to savor the mouthwatering cuisine served at George. Since then, there has been a remarkable metamorphosis in the ambiance and variety of cuisine and George has transformed into a decent affordable family restaurant.  

Having decided to end my meal with the legendary Hyderabadi dessert Qubani Ka Meetha, I ordered a Mutton Biryani to pave the way. Well, the Biryani at George is first-rate, but not as superb as those I have tasted in Hyderabad, or even as good as that served by Olympia or Shalimar in Mumbai, or Dorabjee, Blue Nile, or Good Luck in Pune. It certainly passed the spread-test with flying colours, and tasted wholesome, maybe, a wee bit bland. Now-a-days, I’d rather savor the inimitable tender succulent Rotisserie Chicken, a Mix-Grill, a Roast, or a Mughlai Gravy dish with Naan, at George, but right now I focus on mindfully relishing the Biryani in front of me, enjoying every morsel. 

The Qubani Ka Meetha, or Khubani Ka Meetha, is served. I lovingly caress the bowl – it’s nicely chilled. They’ve put a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top. I wish they’d served it with chilled freshly whipped cream [malai] as they do in
Hyderabad. I push aside the ice cream, dig deep, scoop some of the darkish brown dessert on my tongue, and close my eyes as the luscious tang, sublime flavor and invigorating aroma of the apricots permeates within me. [Qubani, or Khubani, means Apricots or Jardaloo]. Something tickles my taste buds – it’s a pistachio nut – delectable as it disintegrates and releases its characteristic taste and the contrasting flavors mingle on my tongue. I blend in a bit of vanilla ice cream, and slowly and deliberately, relish every bit of the ambrosial Qubani Ka Meetha as it glides on my tongue. Today I’m not going to have a Paan, for I’ve had an ideal end to a delicious meal.
 

Dear fellow Foodies, please do let us know if you know any places in your town where one can relish this splendid legendary Hyderabadi dessert – Qubani Ka Meetha. 

 

 

VIKRAM KARVE 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com 

vikramkarve@sify.com 

MARZ-O-RIN

May 3, 2007

 

 

 

MARZ-O-RIN 

[The yummy place in Pune on

Main Street

] 

By 

VIKRAM KARVE 

 

 

In our younger days we used to frequent three value-for-money eateries on Main Street [MG Road] in Pune – Greenfields for a nourishing fulfilling satiating continental Breakfast, Mona Food for finger licking zesty Chana Bhatura, Marz-o-rin for delicious Rolls, Sandwiches and Cold Coffee, and Naaz for delectable non-veg samosas and stimulating Irani tea. Greenfields has disappeared leaving no trace, Naaz has transformed into a Barista, Mona Food is no longer the simple, unpretentious, no-nonsense value-for-money eatery it once was, but luckily, Marz-o-rin still retains its friendly character. 

The signature “dish” of Marz-o-rin is the Chicken Roll – it is matchless – I have tasted Chicken Rolls all over the place but there is nothing like the lip smacking one served by Marz-o-rin. Generous boneless pieces of delicious chicken, the lip smacking mayonnaise, and the soft mellifluous roll – yummy treat – I love it. If you’re vegetarian, try the slightly tangy tomato and green chutney vegetable sandwiches. And wash it down with a cold coffee.  

Well that’s what we “old fogies” always did in the “good old days” and still do whenever we visit Marz-o-rin. Now there are many more delightful options, and comfortable seating upstairs and friendly atmosphere in the balcony where you can sit and observe the goings on below while enjoying your snack. I like the hot bakes, especially the Bean Bake Chicken or Cheese, Macaroni, and Spaghetti with the zesty sauces. And, of course, there are all kinds of excellent Burgers, Rolls and Sandwiches, including whole wheat versions for the “health-conscious” foodies. [“Health-conscious Foodie” – now that’s a nice oxymoron, isn’t it?]. 

The chillers are exciting too – Kool-Blue or Green Apple on a hot and sultry afternoon. And there a variety of juices, shakes, and ice creams to choose from. You can try what you want, everything is appetizing and tasty, but remember, in Marz-o-rin you must relish the Chicken Rolls, vegetable sandwiches and Cold Coffee – for old times’ sake. And don’t forget to take a yummy parcel for the folks at home! 

 

 

VIKRAM KARVE 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com 

https://vwkarve.wordpress.com 

vikramkarve@sify.com 

Green Chilli Ice Cream

May 1, 2007

The Art of Eating Green Chilli Ice CreamByVikram Karve 

 

 

It’s been a long time since I’ve relished a bowl of “green chilli ice cream” but the zestful taste still lingers on my tongue. Never before had I enjoyed eating ice cream so much. It was indeed a unique and passionate eating experience. Let me tell you about it. 

I love ice cream. A friend of mine told me that there is a place opposite the Chowpatty Sea Face in Mumbai
India that serves “green chilli” ice cream. I didn’t believe him. I have savored myriad flavours of ice cream but “green chilli ice cream” seemed a bit far fetched. On questioning, my friend confessed that he had only heard about it, not eaten it himself.
 

The very concept of green chilli ice cream whetted my curiosity so much that at sunset I was standing in front of Bachelorr’s (that’s the spelling on the menu card) Ice Cream and Juice Stall, my appetite fully stimulated by a long brisk walk. 

It was there on the menu card – Green Chilli Ice Cream. I ordered it and walked with the bowl to a lonely bench nearby to enjoy the eating experience in glorious solitude. 

The ice cream looks a creamy pink (not chilli green as I had expected it to be). I close my eyes and smell the ice cream – a nice sweet milky fragrance, a bit fruity; certainly no trace of the piquant penetrating sting of chillies. With a tremor of trepidation I spoon a bit of the green chilli ice cream on my tongue. 

My taste buds are smothered by a sweet mellifluous sensation as the cold creamy ice cream starts melting on my tongue. I am disappointed, feel conned – it seems it was just hype. This is run of the mill stuff. Or is it? Wait a moment. As the ice cream melts away I suddenly feel a sharp piercing fiery taste that sizzles my tongue, stings through my nose and penetrates my brain. My tongue is on fire and, like instant firefighting, I instinctively spoon a blob of ice cream onto my tongue. The cool ice cream quenches my burning tongue with its almost ambrosial taste but the moment it melts away I am zipped like a rocket with the sharp punch of the green chillies. 

So that was the art of eating green chilli ice cream. Hot and cold. Scorch and quench. Sting and soothe. Contrasting sensations. Like alternating current. Sharp tangy kicks burning through the cool syrupy sweetness till your system is fully perked up. And a trace of the biting tangy flavour of the green chilli remains within me for a long long time as I walk away. 

Green chilli ice cream doesn’t satiate – it excites, stimulates, gives you a “kick”, zests you up. It’s a truly passionate delight. The next time you are in Mumbai, head for Chowpatty, and relish a bowl of green chilli ice cream. And let me know if you liked it. 

 

 

VIKRAM KARVE 

vikramkarve@sify.com 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com 

 

Pune Food Guide

April 25, 2007

Book Review – TIMES PUNE FOOD GUIDE 2007 

[Reviewed by Foodie Vikram Karve] 

 

I believe that if you want to write about food you must actually eat it. Being a passionate Foodie is probably more important than being a competent journalist. First hand gastronomic experience is sine qua non for a food guide or restaurant review. That’s why, when I read in the Pune Times supplement of today’s Times of India that, in the compilation of Times Food Guide 2007, in order to give a perfect picture of the Pune’s culinary scene, they had sent out food inspectors who visited restaurants incognito to sample and rate the food, I rushed out to the nearest Crossword bookstore in Aundh and bought the book. 

With its eye-catching red cover, attractive get up, convenient size [a food guide must fit in your pocket and be easy to carry around during your foodwalks], and reasonable price, my first impression was quite favourable. It’s comprehensive, alphabetically compiled, well collated, aptly indexed, easy on the eye and pleasing to read, with helpful maps at the end. All in all, a delightfully compact food guide with superb production quality befitting the prestigious Times of India group who have published this pioneering Pune food guide.  

It was only when I tried to find my favourite eateries that I was shocked by the glaring omissions. How could the incognito food inspectors have missed out all time Puneri favourites like Janaseva Dughda Mandir the ultimate Puneri Snacks place on Laxmi Road, Purepur Kolhapur, Durga and Nagpur of Sadashiv Peth,  Ramnath and Bedekar Misal, Badshahi Boarding, Sweet Home, Ganu Shinde Ice Cream, Sujata and Gujar Mastani House, Olympia Kathi Rolls, Radio Restaurant, East End Chinese, Kalpana Bhel, Spicer Bakery famous for its inimitable delectable lip smacking Lamingtons, Ambika and New Ambika Amrututulya Teashops serving ambrosial tea, et al? And, please tell me, have Khyber, Eddie’s Kitchen, Kabir’s, Poona Goan, Santosh Bhavan, and Latif closed down? Does Café Sunrise still exist? By the way, my all time favourite Marz-O-Rin on

Main Street

is certainly not a roadside joint as categorized in the index. It’s a decent respectable family place. And Manmeet too, the chaat place on

FC Road

, is a decent eatery with proper seating. What about Radhakrishna caterers? And Shreyas’s  cozy new branch on

Satara Road

opposite Panchami which also does not find a mention? And the excellent restaurants in hotels like Raviraj, for example? And back of the beyond places like Thomson in Navi Sangvi for Kerala cuisine, Mahableshwar in Baner for Butter Chicken, Sadanand on the Katraj byepass for Dabba Gosht, and Babumoshai on

Aundh Road

for Lavang Lata and Bengali Sweets. 

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to be critical and it is certainly not my intention to belittle the great effort that has gone into the making of this pioneering food guide to Pune, but then one has very high expectations from a publication from the highly esteemed Times of India group. 

I’m glad I bought the Times Food Guide Pune 2007. It is a superb user-friendly guide covering a wide range of cuisines, and featuring many new places, especially in the upcoming suburbs of Pune.  If this food guide is targeted at the newly arrived IT professionals, the high-falutin crowd of “restless achievers”, the rich hip and happening students flocking to Pune, visiting tourists, and the cosmopolitan elite living in posh suburbs like Kalyaninagar, Kondhwa, Aundh etc,  it is certainly an excellent and informative compilation. But is it fair to ignore the fast dwindling diehard Punekar and the unique Puneri cuisine? 

I’ve tasted better Chinese food in Kolkata, Mughlai Cuisine in Delhi, Irani, Continental and Multicuisine Mumbai, Biryani in Hyderabad and Lucknow, Chaat and Chola Bhatura in the north, Vindaloo and Fish Curry in Goa, and Dosas and Chettinad cuisine in the south, but where else but in Pune will you get the inimitable heritage Puneri Cuisine? A little more focus on traditional Puneri and Maharashtrian cuisine would certainly have made this Pune Food Guide more comprehensive and complete. 

I wish that, for their next edition, the editors choose true blue Punekars with culinary knowledge, sensitive taste buds and cast iron stomachs as the incognito foodie inspectors who will dare to delve deep into the heart of the city, the nooks and crevices of the peths, and the underbelly of camp, and discover for us the best eateries serving the signature food of Pune and Maharashtra. For starters, I suggest they take a foodwalk on

Laxmi Road

starting from Alaka Chowk to Camp, delving into gallis and by-lanes and exploring the peths on either side. And then fan out all over Pune on a gastronomic trail. A section on Club-Food served at the many excellent clubs and institutes would be most welcome. 

There is no greater love than the love of eating. Food reviews must be written with passion and candour, be exciting, and create in the reader strong gastronomic emotions. Most of the food reviews in this guide appear perfunctory and generic in nature. They don’t create in the reader the zest for eating! I feel that a good food review must mention the signature dish of the place, recommend specific cuisine, and describe the eating experience in its entirety, make one’s mouth water and trigger a zealous desire for eating, or otherwise. Take the review on Café Good Luck, for example. Surely Good Luck is not a mere run of the mill Irani Bun Maska – Chai – Mutton Masala place. How about letting readers know about the unique Mutton Cutlet Curry, matchless Biryanis, spicy yummy Tawa Goshts, and other specialties of the place. Have the writers actually savored the SPDP at Vaishali? Or relished the Shepherd’s Pie, Roast Chicken Supreme and Blueberry Pudding at Polka Dots? And remember, if it’s Bhavnagri, or
Karachi, it’s the irresistible Sev Barfi!
 

One must tell the readers what to eat, the specialties of the place, and describe the restaurant, it’s background, and the eating experience a little bit more passionately, and enthusiastically, like has been so nicely done in the write-up on Arthur’s Theme Restaurant – it made my mouth water and I feel like rushing there right now – I’m sure the incognito food inspectors had a delightful meal at Arthur’s! Also the reviews on the bars and pubs are much more spirited – no prizes for guessing why!  

As one peruses the guide one realizes that Pune is fast becoming a culinary melting pot of cuisine from all over the world. The writers need to be congratulated and commended for their excellent compilation of so many new exciting eateries, especially in the newly developing neighborhoods. There is so much new information. I was quite sad when my favourite non-veg eatery Aasra in Shukrawar Peth closed down. Now I learn from this guide that its namesake an Aasra Lunch Home exists in Chinchwad. I wonder whether it serves the same stimulating fiery nose watering Maharashtrian Mutton Rassa? Well I’m going to find out pretty soon! And I’m going to try out all the value-for-money College Canteens too – this is indeed a novel and innovative listing I have not seen in any other food guide.  

This wonderful food guide is going to be my constant companion as I set forth on my gastronomic exploration of my beloved city of
Pune. I strongly recommend that every food-loving Punekar get a copy of this handy and informative food guide too. Happy Eating!    
 

 

DETAILS OF THE BOOK REVIEWED 

Title:  TIMES FOOD GUIDE PUNE 2007Published by
Ravi Dhariwal for Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd.
New Delhi
ISBN: 81-89906-09-7Pages: 232Price: Rs. 100/-Easily available at all book stores. 

 

 

Reviewed by: 

VIKRAM KARVE 

vikramkarve@sify.com 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com 

 

 

 

 

Potato Ice Cream

March 19, 2007

POTATO ICE CREAM 

Boil a litre of milk on a gentle fire till it thickens and becomes half of the original quantity.Boil a kilo of potatoes and after peeling them, mash them nicely and add a little water and pass the pulp through a sieve to make it even. Add this even pulp to the thickened milk and cook it for a few minutes. Add a little pista and chironji chopped fine, and then add 300 grams of sugar (a bit more if you like your ice cream sweeter).Cool it. Add a few drops of fine essence of your choice. Put it into a freezer and allow it to set. 

Then, dear fellow foodie, please make it, eat it and let me know how it tastes, for I don’t have the courage (and stomach) to try out  this exotic recipe and sample this wacky potato ice cream myself! 

This recipe is from a cute little book I discovered in my bookcase called POTATO DISHES compiled by the Pusa Institute Ladies’ Association and published by Popular Prakashan Mumbai in 1965 priced for a “princely” sum of Rs. 2.00 ( yes, you read right, the book costs, or costed, Rupees Two only!). [I wonder how this delightful cookbook entered my bookcase – probably my mother may have bought it back then!] 

Whenever I feel low, I leaf through my book shelves and pick out a cookbook. I browse through the appetizing recipes, and in my mind’s eye I “eat” and relish the yummy lip-smacking cuisine, my mouth waters, my troubles seem to go away, my spirits are lifted and I feel good. [Earlier, when I was in Mumbai, I used to rush out and actually eat the dish, or something similar in lieu, which further raised my spirits to a new high; but now that I am languishing in the back of beyond, I just savor the scrumptious food in my imagination which is probably good for my weight!]. It’s true – just the thought of good food can elevate you to a happy plane of living. 

 

This 80 page book has a collection of 120 recipes arranged in 8 sections, all featuring the ubiquitous potato as the main ingredient, which were compiled during a cookery exhibition of potato dishes organized by the Pusa Institute Ladies’ Association in New Delhi. 

Whatever potato delicacies you could imagine like the curries, koftas, dums, sukhas, rasedars, samosas, bondas, kachories, puris, parathas, snacks, pakoras, chips, chaats, cutlets, rolls and other run of the mill stuff is there. It’s the exotic, out of the ordinary, at times seemingly outlandish, dishes that make interesting reading.  

Let’s have a look at section 7 – the Cakes section. [The recipe for Potato Ice-Cream, described above, features in this section – I didn’t know Ice Cream was a cake!]. The Potato Chocolate Cake, Potato Soufflé and Potato Doughnut sound interesting. 

In section 8, they’ve incorporated and integrated potatoes into all the known Indian sweets – Rosogullas, Chum Chums, Gulab Jamuns, Jalebis, Kheers, Halwas, Pedas and Burfis. I wonder how they will taste and am tempted to try a few. 

I tried a recipe called Alpama, a nice spicy and healthy savory, comprising cashewnuts, dals, suji, and of course the ubiquitous potato, served piping hot – it was delicious and invigorating!  

And while you try out the Potato Ice Cream, I’ll try something substantial like Potato Paneer or the Nargis Potato Kabab. 

Till Next Time – Happy Eating! 

VIKRAM KARVE

 vikramkarve@sify.com 

http://foodiekarve.sulekha.com