Category Archives: Fish

Goa again

I’ve ignored this space for months. The past few months have been eventful – we’ve had our share of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

A few friends (R, M, and A) came together to form ‘Keetabi Keedas’, a book club that started on a very ambitious note. The plan was to read the Harvard Five Feet Shelf. It did not take us long to abandon the project, but we’ve continued to read together. We’ve created a whatsapp group and meet online once in a while to discuss everything under the sun, and sometimes the book. Our selections have been wide and varied. We’ve read the Reluctant Fundamentalist, Heart of Darkness, On the Road, I know why the caged bird sings, etc and are now wondering whether to read How to flirt with a naked werewolf!! While I was in Goa this weekend, A shared a quote she felt was ‘lovely’ – “We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others, that in the end we become disguised to ourselves.” R felt it was “very nice” while I found it sad. A responded by saying that she didn’t it was sad as much as true and that “we all wear mask everyday and at some point start thinking of ourselves only with that mask or label”. I felt it was true and yet sad and expressed the thought that we all need to have at least one person in front of whom we don’t need to wear a mask or one who can see through it. It was absolutely weird when within minutes of sending this Mahesh shared an observation about me that someone shared with him. My veil had been pierced. I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. I smiled and then proceeded to cry 🙂 Super weird!

This was my third trip to Goa. The first trip had some funny moments. The highlight of my third trip was hanging out with M who also happened to be holidaying in Goa. She was in South Goa while I was in North Goa. We met at Mapusa (pronounced maapsa) Market and explored the Friday market. We focused largely on the food. M did pick up some bangles too.

We came across these super tiny pineapples. The sweet limes on the right give you an indication of how small they are.

Baby pineapples

Baby pineapples

We were befriended by Anita, a lady from Gujarat, who spoke to us in English and insisted that we come to her shop. We told her that we wanted to explore food joints and would go to her shop after that. We walked into Luizinha’s where I picked up Goan sausages, fish curry masala, sorportel paste, and rechado paste. We were surprised to find Anita waiting for us outside Luizinha’s. We decided to check out her stall. She had a collection of pashmina shawls and cushion covers. We weren’t interested in either and she was quite upset about it.

Sausages Galore

Sausages Galore

While M was looking at seeds for her mom, I got distracted by these murrukus being sold by two men from Rajasthan. I tasted one and found it very unusual – it starts out sweet and then ends up being salty and spicy. We packed some for home.

Rajasthani Murruku

Rajasthani Murruku

It started to rain while we were in the market, but that didn’t deter us in any way. We sampled some local sweets prepared by a lady for Ganesh Chaturthi. We tried the coconut based barfi and guava jelly and packed some. We then headed to the hugely popular Simonia Bakery. Our requests for a sample of bebinca and baath cake were brutally turned down. We had no option but to buy them 😛 we bought 500gms of bebinca and asked them to cut a slice for us to taste. One bite and we were in heaven. It was the best bebinca I’d ever eaten. We packed some more.

DSCN1718

Mapusa Market

Mapusa Market

M and I headed to Brittos (considered to be a ‘tourist trap’ by some) for lunch. We ordered Sausage Chilli Fry, Calamari Rechado, and Goan Fish Curry. The Calamari was outstanding – it was perfectly cooked and the masala was yum. The curry was also very nice. This was a lot of food for the two of us, but we managed to polish a fair amount. We ended the mail with a yum slice of a Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake. We camped at Brittos for over 2 hours and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Chilli Sausage Fry, Calamari Rechado, and Goan Fish Curry at Brittos

Chilli Sausage Fry, Calamari Rechado, and Goan Fish Curry at Brittos

Here’s a picture of all the things I bought from Mapusa market.

Goodies from Goa

Goodies from Goa

The next afternoon, Mahesh and I headed to O’coqueiro for lunch. On reaching there we realised that Charles Sobhraj had been arrested while eating at the restaurant. Wonder what he was eating and who paid for the meal.

Look who got arrested here!

Look who got arrested here!

We ordered stuffed crab, clam cutlets, pork sorpotel and bread. The crabs were tiny but stuffed with crab meat. It was delicious.
DSCN1724

Stuffed Crab

Stuffed Crab

We couldn’t taste the clams at all and the cutlet was a letdown.

Clam Cutlets

Clam Cutlets

We enjoyed the sorpotel which had liver and meat in a curry.

Pork Sorpotel

Pork Sorpotel

And then I made the mistake of ordering a cucumber cake. I felt we should end with a traditional dessert, something we hadn’t eaten before. There was a look of surprise on the server’s face when I asked for it. We were served a huge slice of the cake. It tasted like a sweet cucumber raita. We couldn’t go past a few bites, though I tried telling myself that it was growing on me 🙂

Cucumber Cake

Cucumber Cake

8 Comments

Filed under Fish, Restaurants, Travel and Food

Chettinad Calling

We were in Chennai on the weekend to attend a wedding. We remembered our own wedding which included Bengali and Tamil ceremonies and felt happy. We also met four of our friends who had attended our wedding. The best moments from the wedding included a photo session where I was constantly being instructed to not show my teeth. I was laughing my head off at the ludicrous poses that the photographer was asking me to give. All our friends stood around us laughing while I was asked to feel Mahesh’s heartbeat, hug a chair, and look shy. Those pics are embarrassingly entertaining. While the professional photographer was composing his pictures, a friend clicked a pic of me standing on pillows to gain height!

Gaining height!

Gaining height!

We were staying in T Nagar and wanted to eat Chettinad style food. Zomato came to my aid and I zeroed in on Amma in T.Nagar. The place has a lot of history. It is apparently owned by MGR’s personal cook and as per the auto guy who dropped my friend to the restaurant, been the venue of many important political meetings in the past. By the way, autos now run by meter in Chennai now. This is is big development in the State.

We ordered two mutton biryanis, one meal, nethili fry, crab lollypop, turkey 65, fish curry, and Amma Special Chicken.

We were served a complimentary chicken soup which was average.

Complimentary Chicken Soup

Complimentary Chicken Soup

Our starters were crab lollypop, nethilli fry, and turkey 65.

Mutton Biryani, Turkey 65, nethili fry, and thali

Mutton Biryani, Turkey 65, nethili fry, fish curry and thali

The turkey tasted just like chicken. The nethilli fry was crunchy and yum and the crab lollypop was yum. I first thought it was maida with very little crab. To my delight it was all crab with a very thin coating of maida.

DSCN1565

The thali came with sambhar, rasam, dal, a vegetable, and curd. Chicken curry was served on the side.

Thali dishes

Thali dishes

DSCN1563

What really stood out was the nethili fry, fish curry, and the crab. Another interesting thing was that there were three chicken curries on the table which were all very distinct in taste. I preferred the fish over the meat though. Our meal cost about Rs 1500.

The following day, we lunched at Mudaliars Arcot Kitchen in Mylapore. This is basically a joint that operates out of a home and serves home style food.

DSCN1566

We went with their recommendation and ordered the Picchi Potta Chicken (shredded chicken with spices), Sankara Fish Curry, Fish Fry, Arcot Special Chicken, and 2 plates of rice.

The picchi potta chicken was outstanding and went very well with rasam and rice. The fish curry tasted exactly like the one Amma makes. Mahesh wiped it clean.

DSCN1567

The fish fry was average and there was nothing special about Arcot Chicken. It was Chinmil (Chinese + Tamil?) dish and we struggled to finish it.

Arcot Special Chicken

Arcot Special Chicken

DSCN1569

Our meal cost us Rs 595 and was more than worth it.

We also caught a glimpse of Amma while entering the Marina beach. There were cops on the road and traffic had been halted. We knew it had to be her. We waited barely for a minute and there she was – in the front seat of her SUV with her hands folded.

At the beach, we chomped on my second favourite beach snack – steamed peanuts. We also saw a mobile van by the State Fisheries Department serving seafood. Very very tempting. But, we decided to leave it for next time.

DSCN1571

Our last stop in Chennai was Buhari Hotel in T Nagar. It has been around since 1951 and claims to have invented the legendary Chicken 65. Their menu also features a “Chicken 90” and “Chicken 2010”. We were still recovering from our lunch at Mudaliars. I ordered a Mutton Pepper Soup and Mahesh ordered for an appam, idiappams, and paya.

Mutton pepper soup

Mutton pepper soup

Paya, idiappams, and appam

Paya, idiappams, and appam

The paya was outstanding – the trotters were soft and the curry hit all the right notes. It was sour and spicy and went well with the idiappams. All this along with a bottle of water cost us Rs 350!

4 Comments

Filed under Chicken, Fish, Mutton, Travel and Food

Caperberry

I haven’t felt inspired enough to update the blog in a long time. That doesn’t mean I haven’t done my fair share of eating or cooking. I’ve tried three types of Ambur Biryani, eaten goat head (not brain) fry, made mini chocolate croissants, and some more. The microwave at home stopped working three weeks ago. All my baking (yes, I bake in a micro with conve(i)ction) has come to a halt. I am itching to bake something. Is it time for a new micro?

Meanwhile, here’s my experience at Caperberry which is touted as one among Bangalore’s best restaurants.

We had the three course fixed menu at Caperberry as part of Times Gourmet Week over a month ago. The meal kicked off with a tangy beetroot gazpacho, freshly baked bread, and creamy basil pesto.

Beetroot Gazpacho, fresh bread, and creamy pesto
 

The pesto was addictive. We then had the poached chicken sou vide salad with orange and the duet of parsley crumbed calamari rings and paprika and cumin grilled chicken.

Poached chicken salad

The salad was light, crunchy, and full of flavour. The citrus of the orange segments worked wonders. The calamari rings were spectacular – it was almost like biting into butter. The cumin grilled chicken paled in view of the other two dishes. It was decent but not as yummy as the calamari.
Calamari Rings on the left and grilled chicken on the right

For mains, we had Picada Grilled Halibut and the Chicken Risotto.

Risotto

I was quite let down with the Risotto. The chicken stock that must have been used to make the risotto completely overpowered the dish. I wish some parsley had been added to mask the overwhlemingly chickeny flavour of the fish.

Halibut

The fish on the other hand was chunky almost meaty and went really well with the mixed beans. It was beautifully plates as well.

For dessert we had mango mousse, coconut jelly, toasted coconut, candied rose petal and churros. The mousse was gelatinous and the candied rose petals were not fragrant at all. This was quite a dissapointing dessert.

Mango mousse
The churros and the warm chocolate on the other hand were very nice.

Churros
The meal ended with a yummy little tiny raspberry tart. While on the whole I enjoyed the meal this was nowhere close to my experience at Indian Accent or Olive in New Delhi.
Petit Four : Raspberry Tart
Priced at Rs 750 per head plus taxes, this meal was definitely value for money.

Leave a comment

Filed under Chicken, Fish, Restaurants

Fish Pie

Have you ever been consumed by guilt for having been mean or rude to someone you love, more so because that person did not feel hurt? I was recently rude to my father and then overcome with a lot of sadness for the way in which I had spoken to him. I called to check with my mother as to whether he was upset and was astonished to hear that he was smiling over my childishness and was not upset at all. Should I have felt better on hearing this? I did not. I was amazed at his reaction and felt worse for my behaviour! A huge lesson 🙂

This fish pie is something that my father really liked. I’ve been inspired by Jamie Oliver’s Fish Pie recipe which is a lot healthier than most others. I’ve adapted it based on the ingredients I get here and of course as per my taste. So here goes:

Ingredients

1 kg fish fillets (Bhetki or Aar)

3 medium size boiled potatoes, grated

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp thyme

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons chopped sundried tomatoes

5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 stalks of celery, grated

1 tablespoon of chopped celery leaves

1 carrot, grated

1 tsp chopped parsley

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp chilli flakes

Zest of one lemon

Juice of one lemon

Cheddar cheese, grated

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

1. Put 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pan and immediately add the oregano, thyme, and garlic. Toss for a minute or two and then add the sun-dried tomatoes. Toss for another minute.

2. Add the fish fillets, salt, smoked paprika, and pepper. Cook for 6-7 minutes or however long it takes for the fish to cook. Once it cools, flake the fish by hand and set it aside.

3. Add the grated celery, carrot, lemon zest, lemon juice, parsely leaves, celery leaves, and chilli flakes to the fish and place this in a baking dish. You could add some cheddar at this point into the fish. I did not and it tasted fine.

Fish layer

Fish layer

4. Grate the potatoes while they are hot, whisk with with some butter or olive oil and season with salt and pepper and some dried herbs (optional). Add the layer of potatoes over the fish.

DSCN0662

5. Grate cheddar on top as much as you like.

6. Place in a oven preheated at 200C for about 25-30 minutes. You could leave it for a bit longer for a crunchy crust.

Fish Pie

Fish Pie

DSCN0675

1 Comment

Filed under Fish

Dilli ke Pakwaan Festival, 2013

The Dilli ke Pakwaan Festival is on at Baba Kharak Singh Marg in CP.  We headed there this afternoon with a single point agenda – to eat Daulat ki Chaat, a delicacy that I had read about and not managed have to on my last trip to Old Delhi.  Of course, I was rather open and eager to eat dozens of other things! The idea of the festival is very attractive. It saves one multiple trips of congested Old Delhi and other parts and brings the best of chaats, kebabs, and curries, all on one stretch. It is definitely worth a trip. 

Daulat ki Chaat

Daulat ki Chaat

DSCN0697A little research is necessary to make the most of this festival. We learnt it the hard way. There were plenty of stalls selling chaats, chillas, and tikkis and we made our way to one which looked reasonable populated. We ordered a plate of papri chaat (Rs 50) and moong dal chilla (Rs 50). Both, were largely inedible because of the green chutney that was slathered over them – it was spicy and bitter. This was by far one of the worst things that I’ve ever eaten. The bitter taste lingered even after I returned home.Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the stall. What would work here is to ask people around if they like what they are eating and accordingly decide about the chaats. We ended up eating not as much as we would have liked to, but clicked loads of pictures. The highlights for me were the daulat ki chaat, which indeed leaves up to the description of “God’s own street food”, jalebi, and the bajra roti thali.
So, here goes:Inedible Chaat

Moong dal chilla, daulat ki chaat, and papdi chaat

Moong dal chilla, daulat ki chaat, and papdi chaat

Sweet Clouds – Daulat ki Chaat

Daulat ki Chaat

Daulat ki Chaat

The jalebis being whipped up in one of the counters were huge and cost Rs 50 per piece.  It resembled a murruku and was really yummy.

Yummy Jalebis

Yummy Jalebis

  

Jalebiiiii

Jalebiiiii

Chicken shawarma @ Mahir Qureshi Biryani  – On a friend’s recommendation, we decided to order one shawarma roll. I asked the guy making it what masalas had gone into it. He looked me and said “Is ke liye machine chahiye hota hain”, to suggest that I could not make this at home. I persisted with my query to only receive a broad smile and no response. One bite into the roll and it was clear that these was chicken tikka chopped into smithereens. Easily avoidable!

Chicken Shawarma/Tikka Roll

Chicken Shawarma/Tikka Roll

The Bajra Roti Thali takes at least 20 minutes to be put together and I was informed by the lady running the stall “is not for people who have no patience”. I saw her turn people away without a qualm who said they couldn’t wait that long by simply saying that “our food is not for you”. Honest and attractive 🙂  

Nomadic Thali

Nomadic Thali

The Chulha

The Chulha

The meal was definitely worth the wait. The bajra roti is made on a clay tawa, cooked over wood fire, and then served with lahsoon chutney, onions, jaggery, gate ki sabji, and raita.

Bajra Roti Thali

Bajra Roti Thali

Roti being cooked

Pictures that follow now are of food that I did not eat. My friend had the Chicken Biryani @ Mahir Qureshi and said that it was okay and nothing spectacular.

Chicken Biryani

Chicken Biryani

Chicken bathed in oil

Sheermal priced at Rs 100 a piece!

Sheermal priced at Rs 100 a piece!

Moong Dal Chilla stuffed with alu and paneer

Moong Dal Chilla stuffed with alu and paneer

Tikkis

Tikkis

Paan

Paan

Rajasthani fare

Kulfis

Kulfis

Fried Chicken & Fish @Naseem Chicken & Fish Corner

Fried Chicken & Fish @Naseem Chicken & Fish Corner

Kachoris

Kachoris

American sandwich!!

American sandwich!!

Frenches, anyone?

Frenches, anyone?

2 Comments

Filed under Chicken, Desserts, Fish, Travel and Food

Amma Mess, Madurai

I know I haven’t blogged in ages. Hope to be more regular now. The past few weeks have been interesting. I have simultaneously experienced extreme bliss and sadness. I could not imagine that meeting my niece for the very first time could bring with it inexplicable peace, joy, and happiness.  At the same time a spate of bad news from close friends and family had dampened my spirits. But, taking inspiration from the positive message in Life of Pi, I’ve decided to blog.

This post captures our annual visit to the village for Pongal 2013 as well as a spectacular meal at Amma Mess in Madurai. I think Amma Mess in Madurai can be compared to Karim’s in Delhi in terms of fame and hype.

Kamal Hassan, Rajnikanth, and Mallya at Amma Mess

Kamal Hassan, Rajnikanth, and Mallya at Amma Mess

Last Saturday, we walked in for dinner at around 7.30 pm or so. The decor is quite plain. We were profiled as soon as we sat down as a Mineral water bottle was placed on our table before we even asked for it. The servers figured that we were not locals and were interested in sampling the menu. I asked them if they had mutton kola and they responded by immediately serving us two kolas each. These were fabulous. The sweetness of the coconut and the heat of the spices lent it a very distinct flavour. I was quite excited by the addition of coconut to the mutton mince. On my request, Akka made this on the day after pongal. The recipe follows below.

Mutton Kolas

Mutton Kolas

We scanned through the menu and were intrigued by the mention of rabbit, pigeon, and emu on it. 

Menu

Menu

In the specials, bone marrow omlette caught our attention and we ordered for it.

Specials at Amma Mess

Specials at Amma Mess

The omlette had a meaty flavour to it and we quite liked it.

Bone Marrow Omlette

Bone Marrow Omlette

It was also interesting to note that the only vegetarian stuff they had are actually meant to be accompaniments with the meat – idlis, dosas, and idiappams, for instance, are served with chicken curry or fish curry.

I ate rabbit for the very first time. It appeared and tasted like a very tender chicken.

Rabbit 65

Rabbit 65

The chicken dosa was served with chicken curry and was decent.

Chicken Dosa

Chicken Dosa

We tried the Veechu Parota next. This was like a Mughlai Paratha and was served with chicken curry.

Veechu Parotha

Veechu Parotha

Even though we were quite stuffed, we decided to try a fish dish. Mahesh ordered Ayrai Fish Curry with Idiappams. The fish curry was really tangy and spicy and went well with the idiappams.

Fish curry with idiappams

Fish curry with idiappams

Akka’s  Mutton Kola

250gms boneless mutton/mutton mince

4-5 green chillies

1/4 coconut

2 tablespoons ginger-garlic fees

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

12-15 sambhar onions

1 sprig of pudina leaves

2-3, cardamom pods

2-3, cloves

1 inch cinnamon

2-3 tablespoons ground channa dal

pinch of turmeric

salt to taste

Ingredients for the Mutton Kola

Ingredients for the Mutton Kola

Method

1. Grind the boneless mutton in case you are not using mince. Then add all the above ingredients except the ground channa dal and grind into a semi-fine paste. if you are using mince then you can proceed to grind it with the spices.

2. Add the ground channa dal, one spoon at a time in order to bind the mixture. Shape into round balls and then deep fry them.

Mutton Kolas

Mutton Kolas

The coconut flavour in Akka’s Kolas were not as pronounced as the ones in Amma Mess. I think a tsp of coconut oil and some more coconut may enhance the flavour of the kolas. The menu on the day after Pongal was meat all the way. Along with the Kolas, we had mutton biryani that Mahesh made, chicken curry, and mutton dalcha.

Chicken Curry

Chicken Curry

Mutton Dalcha

Mutton Biryani

Mutton Biryani

I am already looking forward to Pongal 2014!

2 Comments

Filed under Chicken, Egg, Fish, Mutton, Travel and Food

Barefoot in Goa

This week, I visited Goa for the first time ever. Although this was a work trip, it ended up being very memorable. On our first night there, we ate at O Goa, a restaurant in Hotel Fidalgo. We sat outdoors, while three young singers tried to entertain us. Little of what they said was understood by us. They asked for requests from the audience, especially if someone was celebrating birthdays and anniversaries. Incidentally, it was my fourth wedding anniversary on that day. My colleague suggested I request a song and record them playing it and send it to Mahesh. I laughed at the idea & then decided to at least request a song. I asked them to sing Love is All Around Me. They never did. As my colleague pointed out, they were not accompanied by live musicians and had to download the track before they could sing.

O Goa had a good number of goan dishes for us to try. We ordered the Solkadi, a drink made with Kokum and coconut milk, which aids digestion. We had king fish xacuti, prawn balchao, and pao. It was a yummy meal.

Prawn Balchao with Pav and Solkadi

 

Kingfish Xacuti

Next day, after our meeting got over, my colleague and I decided to head to the Miramar Beach. Now, the previous night I dreamt that I lost my shoes on the beach and wondered whether I would be allowed to enter a restaurant in Goa without them.  While walking on the sand, I clung to my shoes with dear life. We stood in the water, gazed into the sea, yapped, and soaked it all in. The beach was quite empty. After sometime, we made our way back and realized that my colleague had left her shoes on the beach!! She went back to hunt for them. I couldn’t believe this was happening for real. While waiting for her, I checked with locals on the beach. The closest shoe shops were in the Panaji market which was a good 2-3kms away. I had also identified the location of the restaurant I wanted to eat at – Mum’s Kitchen. My colleague returned barefoot, but her enthusiasm was intact. She even insisted that we eat first and then go to buy shoes. Thankfully, there was an auto nearby and we hopped in asking the guy to take us to panaji market and to bring us back here for dinner.  I told her about my dream. She simply could not believe it.

My colleague bought her shoes from a place aptly called Grab a Shoe! We headed back to Miramar to eat at Mum’s Kitchen. Unfortunately, they were hosting a private party and said that it would not be possible to serve us. We stepped out and checked out places near about. Something possessed me and I decided to go back and ask them to recommend a good place for goan food. I was told that there was no good goan restaurant in the area and the closest was a place called Mandovi which was 10 minutes walking distance from where we were. Then began, Part 2 of our barefooted adventure!

We walked for close to 20 minutes with no sign of Mandovi. The next thing we knew, my shoe broke! We laughed and laughed. My dream did come true!! With no auto in sight, I had to drag myself back to a shoe shop in Panaji market. We wondered what the reaction of the people at Grab a Shoe would be. They may have thought we were tipsy. We entered the market through a separate entrance and I bought a shoe from a different place. We were super hungry and tired by this time. The previous day, our hotel guys had recommended a place called Ritz Classic for dinner. I recalled that this place was rated No.1 on tripadvisor. I suggested that we head there for dinner. We hailed an auto and headed to Ritz Classic. We joked that after having walked so much we deserved a dinner in a place like RITZ CLASSIC. We imagined it would be a fancy place. As the auto stopped and we looked up, we burst into laughter. It was not even close to what we had conjured up in our head. It was a simple place with no fancy décor or anything. My colleague heaved a sigh of relief. She had been wondering how we would justify a fat bill to office. All her worries disappeared after one look at the place.

Ritz Classic was quite full when we went in. It was clear. This place was about the food and nothing else. We ordered lime sodas, a seafood soup, prawn cafreal, mutton vindaloo, and pao. The vindaloo was way too spicy for me. The cafreal was spicy too, but quite yummy. The soup was good too and actually had lots of seafood in it.

Seafood Soup

 

Prawn Cafreal

 

Mutton Vindaloo

 
 
 

4 Comments

Filed under Fish, Travel and Food