Archive for the ‘mastani’ Category

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 

 

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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 

 

 

 

 

Mastani

March 19, 2007

 

 

MASTANIByVIKRAM KARVE 

 

 

What is a perfect end to a rich and heavy Mughlai Meal? A kulfi? Well, I prefer a cool refreshing falooda. Like the ice cold Shahi Gulab Falooda I always have at Shalimar in Bhendi Bazar after devouring my favorite tandoori raan masala and other spicy rich non-veg delights. 

And what is a perfect end to a spicy Kolhapuri Meal? It’s a Mastani – no doubt about it – a cool, refreshing, lip-smaking Mastani to quench your fires and perk you up with it’s blissful sweet cool revitalizing effect. 

Mastani is to Pune what Falooda is to Mumbai. You get Mastani at many places in Pune. The first time I tasted Mastani when I was a small boy was at Kawre Cold drink House near Ganpati Chowk off Laxmi Road, but now I feel that their Mastani isn’t as good as before, and Punekar’s have their favorites like Sujata in Sadashiv Peth, which is close to the “Kolhapuri” food district of Pune near Peru Gate, but I like the Mastani at Gujar Mastani House near City Pride on Satara Road. 

At Gujar, I order a “Bajirao Mastani”. If you look at the menu, you will get confused, as there feature all types of fancy Mastanis fortified with dry fruits and all sorts of rich high-calorie embellishments, which will in fact will make you feel heavy and slothful, rather than quench, stimulate, revitalize and perk you up. So remember the golden rule, the “signature” no-frills authentic item will always be at the top of the menu, least expensive in that class – so go ahead and order it. 

The contents of the tall glass comprise an attractively appetizing looking and fragrant layered creamy milky liquid of increasing density topped with ice-cream, with a straw thrust vertically through.  The glass is so full, that in order not to spill the stuff, you first sip through the straw a bit of the deliciously sweet pineapple syrup at the bottom, which feels heavenly as it mingles with, permeates, and overcomes, the spicy “Kolhapuri” aftertaste on your tongue. [And if you are just plain parched, dehydrated and thirsty, the first sweet sip itself is deliciously thirst-quenching]. 

Then you have small dollops of vanilla and pineapple ice-creams that adorn the crown. After that you can savor the Mastani as you please, but I like to stir the contents into a creamy mélange and spoon the delicious concoction onto my tongue, roll it in my mouth and savor every drop, rather than hastily suck the liquid via the straw straight into my throat down the hatch. The “Bajirao Mastani” at Gujar is pineapple flavored and the small juicy pieces of pineapple at the end leave you with a tangy feeling. 

 

I don’t know if you get “Mastani” in Mumbai, or elsewhere. But next time you visit Pune, do enjoy a Mastani. Eat a “Kolhapuri” meal to your heart’s content and end off with a Mastani, or just have one if you are feeling parched on a hot summer day as a thirst-quencher. And tell me, didn’t you feel refreshed and perked up? 

 

VIKRAM KARVE 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com 

vikramkarve@hotmail.com 

vikramkarve@sify.com