Thursday, December 11, 2008

Something, anything...

This blog is, from this day, dedicated to the memory of Sabina Sehgal Saikia. Skeets had always wanted to make her read this blog. Alas Skeety was unable to do that in time. In 10 months to be precise. This someone is one of the few people who sowed the seeds of 'love for food' in Skeety.
And then, Skeety wants to thank R. Thank You R for asking 'that' question. Thanks for setting a few very important things right. Thanks for everything. Be with Skeets.
********* ********* ********* ********* ********* ********* ********* *********
For change this ain't no food post per se. But then it does revolve around food. It has to! Innit?
A very random post this. Perhaps best describes the *floating* state of mind.'
Skeets was sitting at a certain 'Subway' in a certain locality in NCR. Enjoying a fresh BIG plate of crispy iceberg lettuce topped with yum yum gherkins, yum yum jalapenos, yum yum balck olives, yum yum tomatoes, cool cool cucumbers and YUMMIEST of them all the Sweet Onion dressing :) So? That's normal. Eh? NO!!!
Skeety got stares. From EVERY single person who was present there. The only good thing today was that Skeety chewing away the salad more merrily than a cow or sheep chew on their pasture :P
Skeets acknowledged yet ignored stares. Spoke to the self in the mind. Had a nice time basically. And one day Skeets shall share with you a list of restaurants in Delhi where you do NOT get stares for being an unaccompanied girl, eating merrily in a restaurant.
Girls can have all the fun! :D

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Idli Do-sa

Heylo my dearies!
Skeets is back with one of her favourite meals of all time: Idli Do-sa...In Rajasthani/Marwadi dialect the title of this post means idli do (give) sa (a mark of respect while adressing someome). So you see Skeets was just playing up her phonetically challenged side here :)
And now back to business err..gluttony :D

While the Nuttiest Nut was on her Dill visiti, Skeets and the Nut had intense discussions about 'Where to Eat' South Indian food. Sagar Ratna was an easy option but Skeets and Nut were looking for something different. And Skeets beats her head a thousand times against the wall (somewhat like Dobby), everytime she thinks how carelessly she forgot the Oh-so Yummyilicious Naivedyam, and went to Duh-so Crappy Madras Coffee House in Connaught Place (Andhra Bhavan was full) Grrrrrr....
Anyway we learn from mistakes. Skeets learnt that due to her forgetful nature she should maintain a 'Where to Go' diary for emergencies of the gastronomical nature.
Months later, a visit to Naivedyam was another of Skeeter's lone food expeditions. On a rather warm summer afternoon, the need for some time with the self, the need to be in a rather quiet corner of the city, enjoying what Skeeter loves the most (food) all turned out just PERFECT!

Skeets entered the place at aroudn 1 pm to find the eatery almost empty. Skeets was kinda glad as now all the attention at Naivedyam was focussed on Skeeter's food. With such happy thoughts in mind she went ahead and ordered Dahi Idli (Rs.55) to start with. Skeeter got two poppadums (papad) and a glass of Hot n Tangy Rasam (all complimentary). And before the waiters could blink an eye, all this was resting in Skeeter's tummy.
Now the eyes were fixed at the kitchen door for the Dahi Idlis to appear. And they came sooner than expected. The service was prompt. As Skeeter nibbled on the soft soft idlis, the mouth experienced a burst of flavours: the mustard seeds (rai), the dahi and the cheeni (yoghurt and sugar), and o'course the best of them all, the slight burnt dry chilli flavour, adding an undertone to all the others.
Next in line was the Udupi Masala Dosai (yeah the spellings are correct) pegged @ Rs.60. And it was made to perfection.And a glass of lime water complemented the Dosai very well.

Brief note:
Food and service 5/5.
Ambience: Comfortable and easy.

Address: 1 Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi
Ph: 011-26960426

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Dilli: City of Sins

Dilli's Delight,
It seems so, but isn't light,
Let the sweet tooth dig into a sinful bite,
It will set your taste buds tickling and tune them JUST right...

Chandni Chowk beckoned Skeeter yet again. This time it was for childhood love. Skeeter fondly remembers being driven by dad to the 'kone wali' shop (Corner shop) for 'Hot and Sweet' Jalebis, when she was a child. And when she grew up she was enlightened about the name of the shop. It is aptly named 'Old and Famous Jalebiwala'. Having a tradition of making and serving Jalebis running for over 100 years, what better name could the shop possibly have?
Even more fascinating and dramatic is the location of the shop, for it is located right at the beginning of the famous Dariba Kalan or the Silver Street. The location is also known as Dariba Nukkad (Dariba corner). The entire set-up is bound to make one high and nostalgic. Best dessert and best silver-jewellery shops. They also serve samosas but Skeeter has never cared to taste them because Jalebis RULE.

Kailash Jain the owner of the shop poses with a smile for Skeeter. He has been running the shop for the past 30 years and is Skeeter's 'Jalebi Uncle'.

For those readers who aren't aware of what Jalebis are, here's Skeeter throwing some light: An Indian dessert, it is made of crisp coils of dough, deep-fried, and thereafter dipped briefly in sugar syrup for the royal taste. Best had hot during winters. Skeeter does not like this explanation, nevertheless it is here for your benefit.
History: The recipe of Jalebis is widely claimed to have originated in the Indian city of Punjab, though they are consumed in Pakistan and Bangladesh as well.

Geography: Round and round and more... (like pretzels but not really so)

Maths: To be had hot PLUS to be had with dipped in boiled milk (for relief from congestion, so day the elderly and the wise), PLUS/MINUS Can be had with/without rabdi.

Skeeter's take: Go to the Old and Famous JalebiWala's shop. Eat it there when a fresh lot is made. Don't be greedy else you may burn your tongue.


1795, Dariba Corner , Chandni Chowk , Delhi- 110006

Damages: Rs.100 per half a kilogram.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Spaghetti has a House

Skeets was eyeing Spaghetti House (like she eyes so many other places), since the few times that she went past it. And while she was on the Open Bus Tour of London and was hungry like crazy she RAN to Spaghetti House before anyone could stop her. The Little One was accompanying her :) Rare moments those.
The Little One and Skeety have varied choices. The Little One mostly plays it safe while Skeety experiments.
So, this time round, they ordered two dishes, one each to suit both tastes. There was no time for a full course meal, so only the main course and drinks (soft) were ordered.
The Little One ordered a stone-oven baked Margherita Pizza (Le Pizze Stone) and Skeets ordered Formaggi (Italian Cheese platter).

The Pizza was a simple yet flavourful treat. It made Skeets wonder yet again, that why do people prefer to top this delicacy with so many vegetables and season it with Paprikas and Oreganos of the world. Skeety's take: Keep it simple, enjoy the cheese, the crust and the flavour of the wood (that it has absorbed ) in which it has been baked. Simple sins are what her gourmet senses protest earnestly for (most of the times).

So much for the slice.
Now Formaggi.
The Formaggi was something The Little One laughed at. Gorgonzola, Bella Paese, Provolone cheese served along with biscuits/crackers. Not the Little One's cuppa T you know...

Now the Formaggi tasting notes:

Gorgonzola - The soft blue-veined cheese (texture may vary to be crumbly as well). Skeets does not like this one in its solid form, she prefers it in spaghetti and the likes...
Bella Paese/Bel Paese - A semi-soft cheese which went good with the biscuits/crackers...The word means "a beautiful country" (in Italian)
Provolone - A hard, slightly pungent had with wine.

The meal ended with a cup of Illy Coffee with Italian raw cane sugar added to it. Perfect cuppa!
Service was prompt but the staff were not very attentive.

66 Haymarket SW1Y 4RF
Tel: 020 7839 3641
(Near Cupid's bow)
Nearest tube staton: Piccadilly

Monday, June 30, 2008

Hare Krishna Hare Ram!

Ah so Skeety is back with another experience to share with friends....Oops she means quite a few of them....only that all will take some time to post. Before we move forward, this is to tell you that Skeets is taking a break from Delhi, and is in London visiting Nearly Headless Nick. So we shall have some foodie delights from London :)
One of the best gifts of the ISKCON- International Society for Krishna Consciousness to Indians (or for that matter to all vegetrians and Vegans) in London, is Govinda's restaurant.
Govinda's do freshly cooked meals and call them what is known as the 'Karma free diet' (For details click HERE). Onions, garlic and mushrooms are completely off the ingredients used in cooking. And so are eggs, meat and fish!

Skeety along with Nearly Headless Nick shared a Thali which contained Rice -cooked to perfection, Whole wheat buns, Rajma -with rai/black mustard but tasted fine, excellent yellow and green lentils/dal with a strong hint of hing, side salad with dressing, Broccoli and potatoes - variation of the famed Gobhi Aloo (funny innit?), Koftas (suspected gobhi again) and fried papad or popaddum, all this for a reasonable 6.95 Sterling Pounds. A very sweet foodie who visited the same place about 20+ years back tells Skeety that the price of the same Thali was 1 Sterling Pound, back then!!! :D

The Apple Crumble is recommended (it looked DELICIOUS). And some other items on their menu are samosas, strawberry lassi (was delicious but nowhere near the Indian lassi), pakodas, cheese burger, Lasagne, Kulfi, Gateaux et al.
Noticed: There are separate prices (read cheaper) if you choose to dine at the tables placed on the sidewalk outside the restaurant.
Also noticed: The customers are very very very very pleasantly looked after (a delight), but the staff is a bit too slow. Good and not-so-bad make it fine, Skeety guesses.
Location: 10 Soho Street, London W1D (The central line of the London Tube takes you to Oxford Circus from where you have to take the bus and get down at Soho and go asking for Soho square on foot).

Reception phone: +44(0)20 7437 3662

To have a look at the Take Away Menu click HERE.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

LOW key, HIGH notes, MYSTICAL charm...

....revelations are certainly made of these.
It has been a couple of days since Skeety last went there. Gives her a high of sorts, and rejuvenates her. She is talking yet again about her beloved OLD area of Delhi. Bazaar Sitaram. Kuch Pati Ram. The name spells nostalgia and the place casts magic. Perfect ambience to get lost, to let the thoughts flow uninterruptedly, and if an experience can balsam Skeety then the visit here would be it.
Skeety takes you down the lane of her favourite Kulfiwala. LOW key because not everyone goes there. HIGH notes because the taste is as exotic as it could get. MYSTICAL charm arises when the ambience soaks you in (or vice versa) and transfers you to another era.
Skeety is talking about Kuremal Mohanlal Kulfiwale.
Skeety goes beyond Gelato only to demolish Kulfis at Kuremal. They come in traditional cone-shaped moulds (steel or plastic these days) and have flavours to die for. Kuremal's have an endless list of flavours like aam, panna, faalsa, fruit cream, cream, rabdi, anaar, strawberry, litchi, gulukand, kesar, et al. Creamy, frozen, flavourful delights these. Slurrrp...I recommend, aam, fruit cream and panna kulfis. Each very strongly.

Dhuli Chand's (another kulfiwala in Bazaar Sitaraam) is the mail competitor of Kuremal. Dhuli Chand's, it seems, serves better aam kulfis. But overall Kuremal's is terrific. They serve sugar-free kulfis as well. Dig in!

Address: Kuremal Mohanlal Kulfiwale#1165-66Kucha Pati Ram, Sitaram BazarDelhi - 110006
Directions: Get down at Chawri Bazaar Metro Station and ask anyone there to guide you. They'd happily do it. TRUST ME!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Mulberry Tales...

Unlike the lazy bum Reeta Skeeter is now, she was found to be quite active as a child. *Sigh*
You know, the kinds who would go for a swim for four hours at a stretch... The kinds who'd absolutely loathe the afternoon siesta...
In the afternoons she would be out playing tennis against the wall or gathering Mulberries that fell from the tree if she was playing on the clay court...
*Playing Jaane Kahan gaye wo din... Ok Ok no more drama now*
Yes, that was what triggered this Childhood flashback: Mulberries.

For, I had them after long the other day.
The sweet, tangy, juicy fruit of the red Mulberry dissolves itself at the touch of the tongue, and unleashes a flavour that has a charm not worthy of words. It can only be tasted. It is known to the Hindi, Arabic speaking population as Shahtoot (Shah=King, Toot=Mulberry) or King's Mulberry and is available in Delhi in two varieties, namely White Mulberry and Red Mulberry.
The Red one is deep red and has a tinge of purple. However, I fail to understand why the White Mulberry is called so, as it starts from being pale yellow in colour and ripens to acquire a soothing green coloured skin. Red, is my favourite as it has a naughty tangy flavour. And it leaves red stains, if you drop it somwhere. The green one (or white or whatever you may call it) oozes sweetness and is a pleasure for those with a sweet tooth.
Oh yeah, there is a Mulberry Tea available too! More about it when I lay my hands on it ;)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

It ain't Greek to the superstar plate smasher *Greeksta*: Skeetah

So much for Greek Pizzas.
Skeets now hops forward to her bewitching new find: It's Greek to me.

Here is how it happened: A asked Skeets if she could have some wine. Skeety's non-muggle instincts told her that this place MUST have wine. So, there they were headed. Minutes later, they entered a cosy little restaurant which was dressed (read decorated) in such a manner that it could easily pass as some tavern besides a farm at some highway in Greece.

Comes next what? The living end of CONFUSION. The 'placing of the order' time.

Skeets is known for her habit of reading the menu only for such a little while that the person accompanying her (if any) may be provoked enough to stab her with the butter knife kept in front of them. Gee.

Dodging the knife, Skeets ordered the Mezze Platter to be shared with A and a glass each of red wine.

The Mezze Platter tasted as promising as it looked. It bore: Tirokafteri fritters (a stuff of feta and spinach mix), Spanokopita (pita bread with some dressing), Falafel (fritters made of fava beans/chickpeas), Dolmathes (sort of steamed dumplings made of rice and pine nut filling, wrapped with grape leaves). These were accompanied with small helpings of Tratziki, Hummus, Eggplant dips and a few breads. The Dolmathes did not go well with Skeety or A's tastebuds. Rest, all were classics.

Then came, the most intriguing bit. The Plate Smashing. It is a Greek tradition to smash the plates after meals. They smash plates at taverns where the females perform Hassapiko (Greek dance form) and the likes. So, Skeets asked at the restaurant if she will be given a plate to smash. They said YES. And so, Skeets unleashed her wikkid side and smashed the plate in the Smashing corner and walked away to glory after having had a smashing time. Another visit is pending. SOON.

Please note: Falafel is not Greek but a street food snack popular in many countries, especially the Middle East, and Hummus dip is again popular in the Middle East countries...
Skeets hasn't had Greek food before. So, Skeets was more than glad to incorporate some suggestions in this post, with a vision to familiarise us Delhiites with Greece and its cuisine.Fellow blogger thalassa_mikra threw some light upon Greek cuisine and traditions:Tirokafteri - is a traditional Greek Dip made from Spiced Feta Cheese...Spanakopita is spinach pie - spinach and cheese filling inside layers of filo dough...
So what was served to Skeets was more of a namesake of Greek food.
Another blogger Hellenic says: The plates are not smashed after a meal. Usually the plate smashing (and it's a tradition on it's way out in most of Greece), takes place during a solo dance performance when plates are smashed in joy at the performance. Also, plates are not smashed in the restaurants in Greece. It is no more permitted and it takes place in Bouzoukia (night clubs). Today in Greece, people enjoy the same, but only throw Flowers.

(Location: B-6/4, Commercial Complex, Safdarjung Enclave, Opposite Deer Park, New Delhi, 110029)

P.S.: Deepak (Bigger, better Delhi Foodie) swears by their breads and I stand by him and NOD in acceptance.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Oregano Santa

Yeah…Skeety has a different Santa from that of you guys. Hers, unlike yours isn’t red, but blue and red (dress wise o’course). He comes anytime of the year, month or day, whenever she calls him, unlike yours who throws a lot of weight around, appears once a year, dresses in red (ol right I know Skeety loves red), wears a fake white beard, fills up your socks (how uncool) with goodies and may sometimes not even deliver what YOU want.
Skeety’s Oregano Santa is known by the layman as Domino’s delivery boy. The one you people start bullying, even if he is just one second late than the 30-minute deadline. Duh!
Skeety is no Domino’s fan. As a matter of fact, she despises the Domino’s Pizza that most drool over. Only GREEK works for her.
Anyway, the Oregano Santa gets Skeety a pouch full of flavourful oregano sachets. He gives her a generous number of sachets on his own. But what Skeety likes about him, is the fact that he does not hesitate to let go ALL the supply of the oregano in his pouch, if Skeety asks for it. And does she love it?!
Later, Skeety safely tucks away all the sachets in a tumbler, while the family is busy downing the pizzas. These are thereafter used for making toasted bread with toppings that vary from butter, parmesan cheese n black pepper, or just about any other cheese that Skeets is fond of.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The story of My Pleasure Cavern and Fondue

A late morning cuppa, a quick brunch, a quiet evening.
In introspection. In jubilance. In gloom.
Whenever Skeety does not want to tax her brain about the place she should be headed to, the brain, on its own, pops out the answer: MARKER CAFE.
Pleasant blue walls, good service, decent food, serene ambience - I show you, today, My Beloved Pleasure Cavern.

In one of the backlanes of Khan Market, I climb up a dozen broad stairs to reach this place.
And then, the fun begins.
This winter, I was there to sample their Fondue.
Skeety knows that the Fondue being a community dish, is not meant to be had alone, but then, for want of peace, Skeety had it all by herself :P

Okay, Skeety did order the Kahwa alongwith. If that is any relief for those who go back with growling tummies after reading my posts :P

The Fondue is tastefully served in an earthern pot (with a tealight flickering beaneath to keep the cheese bubbling) with squared pieces of bread and crackers.

People at Market Cafe happily admit that they don't do an authentic Fondue, but what is their own variant of the original recipe. And Skeety says it tastes oh-so-lovely, though she is YET to taste the real thing.
The Kahwa was not as good as it ought to be. But then, they claim to have learnt it from a Kashmiri guy whose preparation is much appreciated in the Delhi party circuit.
The Hot Chocolate Mud Pie is their clame to fame and I absolutely love the Goat's cheese on baked Walnut bread with Za'tar that they do.
Coming back to the Fondue (which is the swiss national dish), there are interesting legends which do rounds as the printed word spreads across the globe through some of those wonderfully bound books on food (not recipes books, mind you).
I will share two with you:
One goes that during the harsh winters, the shepherds of the Alps, having little or no vegetation around, combined cheese, wine and milk to make the cheese sauce, and ate it with the thick bread.
Another interesting version is that during the Swiss Reformation, when food supplies fell alarmingly short in Zurich, the Catholics and the Protestants merged all cheese, wine and milk into a big pot and ate it by dunking pieces of bread into this pot of cheese sauce, and hence was born, the great FONDUE.
What are you waiting for? Dunk your way to a riot of flavours, before the foggy mornings fade away to pave way for the scorching summers. And come to me with a happy tummy and smiling face :)

Friday, February 01, 2008

If food and love were not made for each other...

...I wonder if I would bother cooking!!!
So says The Twisted Gourmet.
And since the day I've read this line, I am a fan.
It holds true to the T for Skeety.
So here goes this post for Pa, Ma, Nearly Headless Nick and Chicken Little (for whom I love to cook).
A subway-style salad that Skeety made :D

Potato rings from Tesco with sour cream and mint dip (made by Skeety again)

Friday, January 25, 2008

I ate my drink!!!

Hot chocolate at Costa is NOT passé. But, Skeeter has found a new flame, the Sao Tome Hot Chocolate at Choko la (Khan Market branch ONLY please).
Choko la (meaning let's drink chocolate together) is Delhi's very own chocolate boutique at Khan Market.
As she sits down one pleasant evening by the window seat, Skeety is attended by a lady with the most pleasant smile across her face.
Skeety takes eons to decide on her food and drink (as always). The lady patiently keeps an eye on Skeety to see when she is ready to place the order. A while later, she gives up on Skeety, comes to her rescue, asks her preferences, and recommends a Sao Tome (single origin hot chocolate made from cocoa beans of that region). Skeety surrenders, and to accompany the drink, she orders a Chocolate Mousse.
Eight minutes pass by. Enter, Sao Thome alongwith a piece of the chocolate in the unmolten state. Sao Tome is made with dark chocolate and contains 70 percent cocoa content. It is characterised by its firm body and distinct taste. Skeety enjoyed each sip so much, that she ended up eating her drink!
Having finished the drink and the mousse, Skeety speaks to the Manager who believes in making customers relish the 'real' chocolates rather than the regular Cad bar or the Fererro Rocher for that matter. Thus, he encourages all to try their Liqueur Truffles and Tanzania hot chocolate (with 73 percent cocoa content).
Skeety then moves on to meet the man behind the scenes, the chef Nikhil Baveja. After a small chat session, she asks him what would he call the specialty of the house. Ice-creams comes the reply.
According to Nikhil, they are as good as home-made ones and are freshly churned. Skeety shall wait till summers to see (read taste) it for herself.
Till then, let's Choko la!
P.S.:The staff at the Khan Market branch do a better job than the ones at Basant Lok. The Basant Lok branch is their first one and is more sought after. Choko la at Khan Market is a new-kid-on-the-block and is doing quite well. Atleast for now.
Update: Nikhil no longer works at Choko la.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Aloo Karare!

Happy New Year All!

The humble potato is Delhi's delight during the winter months. And aloo chaat, is the best form in which the potato can be consumed in this part of the world, at this time of the year.
As the temperature drops to the season's lowest, I sit down and close my eyes. I see a photo slide of the various foods that I'd love to gorge on this winter (as any other). Aloo chaat, shakarkandi, jalebis from Chandni Chowk, mom-made halwa, kaanji (the blood red spicy drink made from bleeding carrots), and what not flash before my eyes.
I happened to visit the Ham House (known to people as Hamilton House), aloo chaat wala twice in the past two weeks and thought of talking (read writing) about him here. As the name suggests, the chaat wala sits (in a corner) outside the Hamilton House, Inner Circle, Connaught Place.

I've been having the alu chaat made by him ever since I've been visiting Connaught Place.

A visit to Connaught Place is rather incomplete without a nibble at this spicy snack, priced slightly high at Rs.20 for a plate.
Vijay is the man who carries forward the legacy of his father and elder brother of selling the famed chaat. And it has been 35 years since Delhiites have had the pleasure of gorging on it.

Vijay also does a fruit chaat for you, if you want. During winters he also does the sweet potato or shakarkandi to please your tatse buds. But nothing beats the humble potato: diced, fried, spiced up (mild spicy to fiery hot) and served hot. Ahaaa! Yummm!

And yeah he faced the axe from the Supreme Court when the street food vendors and stalls were asked to be removed. Later, everything fell in place (only for old players like these) and now he sells chaat to you legally. :)