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Saturday, 8 July 2017

Mughal Sarai... Praise-worthy!


I had never heard of Mughal Sarai and was quite curious as to what it would be like. As I entered the building, I stepped into the lift that zoomed up to the rooftop level. A passageway opened out to a beautiful terrace. 



I took in the ambiance and walked towards the air-conditioned section of the restaurant which happened to be just as lovely. The vibe of the place was positive and vibrant, and I was ever so glad that I had accepted the invite for the tasting at Mughal Sarai; extended to me via Team #FoodProwl.




We were offered mocktails to quench our thirst and we chose Fresh Lime Sodas, Khus Sherbet and Blue Lagoon mocktails. While I found the Blue Lagoon a tad too sweet, the Khus Sherbet was cool and very refreshing! The lime sodas, too, were perfectly balanced in flavour.


We began our meal with shorbas (soup) and appetizers. We tried two shorbas; the Chicken Yakhnee and Gosht Paya Ka Shorba. At the first sip of the Chicken Yakhnee we went, ‘wowww!’, the soup was hot, hearty and lip-smackingly good. We then turned our attention to the Gosht Paya Ka Shorba. If the Chicken Yakhnee was ‘wowww’ then this soup had us saying, ‘Oh my God! This beats the Chicken Yakhnee.' The paya shorba was simply superb! Each and every one at the table loved it!


Before I voice my opinion about the food, I need to mention that the idea of writing the name of the restaurant on some of the platters actually marred the look of the dish instead of enhancing it. The platter would look way classier without the ‘Mughal Sarai’ scrawl. (Please take this suggestion in a positive way because my intention is not to demean the person who thought of it)


For appetizers we were served; Karari Roti, Dahi Ke Kebab, Paneer Shahjani, Murg Ki Raseed and Keftey Kebab. The Karari Roti was the best I have ever had. Paper thin, crisp, brushed with ghee and sprinkled with spices; this one was perfect in every sense of the word! 


The Dahi Ke Kebabs and the Murg Ki Raseed were also delish. The Paneer Shahjani was a dish of sautéed mushrooms sandwiched between soft slices of paneer and was nicely done! What stole my heart, though, was their signature dish, Keftey Kebab. These were mutton mince kebabs! Beautifully seasoned and cooked to a perfect succulent texture; these babies were stellar! A must try!


For the main course we tried Nalli Nihari, Murg Makhani, Paneer Lababdar and Dal Bukhara. The Murg Makhani was creamy and rich, just as it should be. However, the vegetarian Paneer Lababdar and Dal Bukhara gave the Murg Makhani a run for its money. The paneer was soft and that decadent lababdar gravy was luscious; together, they played a 'dhinchak' tune on my palate. 


The Dal Bukhara was velvety, buttery and finger-lickin’ good! I couldn’t have asked for a better one. My carnivorous mind was a bit dubious about these vegetarian dishes but after tasting them, I believed they were tied with the Murg Makhani at the finishing line. 


The Nalli Nihari was mutton braised in sensational gravy to fall-off-the-bone-soft-melt-in-the-mouth texture. The gravy, without a doubt, was exactly how Nihari gravy should be. It had that light sticky texture which clearly indicated that the mutton had been slow cooked for hours; all the flavours from that mutton and those shanks had slowly infused into the gravy, giving it that superb robustness. Sigh!


The mains were served with various naan and parathas. I only ate half a piece of the Peshawari Naan as I was quite stuffed. The naan was yummy even when had by itself. It was buttered and sprinkled with finely chopped almonds. There were absolutely no complaints around the table in regard to the other flat breads (naan/parathas) so I’m guessing they were all just as good as the one I ate.


I truly did believe I was stuffed (snickering greedily) until the servers brought out a bowl of Kachhe Gosht Ki Biryani. It was lightly spiced and fragrant. The meat was well marinated and juicy and this came across as soon as I had the first morsel. Yes, I could not resist the biryani and did eat it. (Sheepish grin)


While we sat content and satiated they brought in desserts: Firni and Kulfi-Rabdi. The firni was different in texture and that is precisely why I loved it. I’m not fond the thick, pasty firni and this one was kept to a light semi-set consistency. For me, this consistency was perfect! The malai kulfi was served with a heavenly rabdi and a sprinkling of chopped almonds and pistachios. What a fantastic end to a marvelous meal.

 

Having tried their food all I can say is, their food is excellent; don’t miss out on the deliciousness that they so generously serve. I’m definitely going back for more!

~~~~~~

I have been saying this to restaurateurs and chefs for years but from now on, I plan to add a paragraph to all my ‘tasting event’ reviews. It will seem a tad repetitive but I’m going to write it, anyway, because I very strongly believe in it. As a person who loves good food (my bane and boon, sigh!), as a food blogger and a restaurant critic, what I love the most, and what I want to see, is a restaurant do well. I believe every passionate restaurateur deserves to succeed in their food ventures. Hence the paragraph!

“Please don’t cook excellent food merely for bloggers and restaurant critics. Every time guests sit at a table, order food and pay money to eat at your establishment, serve them the same fabulous quality of food as you would to bloggers and food critics. Give each guest the same attention you give to bloggers and critics. Rest assured, those guests will come back and they’re sure to recommend and bring more people with them. The day each restaurateur understands this simple concept and follows it, their revenue and ratings are sure to soar.” 

Address: C-1, 3rd Floor, The Brahma, Kondhwa Road, Kondhwa, Pune
Tel: +91 9130084817 / +91 9130084819 / 020 30163579

Some more photographs:



























Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The Quintessential Parsee Akoori


The quintessential Parsee Akoori is a tad similar to Anda Bhurji, the one made all over India, except that Anda Bhurji is usually overcooked with the egg scrambled to a hard consistency while Akoori is creamy and soft in consistency. Yes, there are Bawajis in our clan who overcook eggs for Akoori, but for true Akoori lovers (me included) that is sacrilege. Eggs are never meant to be overcooked! We also add a wee bit of cream to the spice mix before adding the eggs to ensure the dish has a rich creamy texture.

Ingredients:

6 eggs
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 large onions, finely chopped
2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
3-4 green chilies, finely chopped
1½ teaspoon red chili powder (add more if you like it spicier)
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon Parsee Sambhar Masala
¾ teaspoon coriander-cumin powder
1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
Salt, to taste
3 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons cream
A few sprigs coriander leaves, finely chopped

Method:

  1. Heat oil and butter in a kadai/wok. Add cumin seeds and allow to splutter.
  2. Add onions, green chilies and fry till soft and translucent.
  3. Add ginger-garlic paste, sauté for a few seconds.
  4. Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, Parsee sambhar masala, coriander-cumin powder, salt and sauté the spices properly for a minute.
  5. Add the tomatoes; cook till tomatoes get mushy and flecks of oil separate.
  6. Add the cream and let it simmer for 30-40 seconds. Check for seasoning. (allow a wee bit of extra salt because you will be adding eggs)
  7. Add eggs and scramble on very low flame to a soft, creamy consistency.
  8. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with crusty brun bread or on buttered toast. 
Chef’s Note: 

  1. When garlic greens are available, add a small bunch (a small bunch has about 8-9 garlic greens), finely chopped, when sautéing the spices. It gives an amazing flavor to the Akoori. We Bawas always look forward to the months when green garlic (Lilla Lasan) becomes available in the markets because it’s then time for Lilla Lasan ni Akoori.
  2. The beauty of scrambling eggs, be it for plain scrambled eggs or be it for Akoori, is to always scramble on very low flame. It takes patience to do that but the final texture is well worth the time spent.
  3. To avoid overcooking the eggs always scramble eggs on low heat for a bit. Then, take the vessel of the hob and allow the eggs to cook in its residual heat, scrambling all the while. If the eggs aren’t yet cooked to soft and creamy texture, put the eggs back on low heat for a few more minutes. This back and forth, on and off the heat technique, is what prevents the eggs from getting overcooked. Eggs always continue cooking in residual heat so use the ‘on the stove-off the stove’ technique. This will ensure you never serve overcooked eggs.
  4. Variations: Just as each Bawa family incorporate their own twist to the Dhanshak recipe, so is the case with Akoori. Some families add potatoes to Akoori, while some cook devoid of all powdered spices and only use green chilies, a bit of ginger-garlic paste and a pinch of turmeric. There is yet another version where in it is made with finely chopped boiled eggs and lastly we have Bharuchi Akoori made for special occasions like Lagan (wedding) and Navjote (Parsee thread ceremony), wherein dry fruits are added.
  5. Lastly, please don’t ever compare, or confuse, this creamy-dreamy egg delight with the overcooked version, namely: Bhurji. That would be sacrilege! Well to a Bawa/Bawi (as in yours truly), it would! :P :D
  6. You may share the direct blog-link of the recipe/s but do NOT publish my recipes and my photographs on any blog-site or website without my explicit consent or attempt to pass off my recipe/s as your own. You will be held accountable for plagiarism. 

Friday, 16 June 2017

Daawat-E-Khaas… A walk down Mohammad Ali Road (In Pune)


Eighty-Eight, Hyatt Pune is hosting #DaawatEKhaas, a ‘Mohammad Ali Road Food Festival’ and Team #FoodProwl was invited for a tasting. As we walked into the restaurant, we felt we had been transported to Mohammad Ali. The plush tables had been covered with red plastic table covers; the food was served in steel vessels and thalis; typical of stalls at Mohammad Ali road. The mood was as festive as it gets to be at Ramadan, during Iftaari. Rows of live counters and typical roadside decorations adorned the entire room. We reached the venue nearly an hour late because of incessant rain and maddening traffic. Consequently, we were famished and waiting to dig into all the delicacies.

To begin with we were served Ice Gola, Aloo Tikki Ragda and Chana Chor Garam. I gave the Chana Chor Garam and the Ice Golas a miss but as ravenous as I was, I dug into the bowl of Aloo Tikki Ragda with gusto. The combination of tikki and yummy ragda, with a smattering of finely chopped onions, was delicious!


The kebabs served were Tangdi Kebab, Mutton Seekh Kebab, Soya Bean Chaap and Paneer Tiranga. The Paneer Tiranga was nothing special but the other three kebabs were mind-blowing-ly awesome!! They were moreish and succulent. Even the vegetarian soya chaap were so perfect in flavour that this hard-core carnivore could find absolutely nothing to complain about.


We simply could not keep away from the live ‘Tawa’ counters. They served us tawa fried Gurda Kaleji and Soya Mutter Keema; both the dishes were delish! 


They had a variety of mains on offer; Nalli Nihari, Murgh Korma, Haleem, Kali Dal and Paneer Khurchan to name a few. 


With so many dishes to taste, I opted for the ones that appealed the most. The Nalli Nihari was spot on as was that richly piquant Murgh Korma. I simply could not stop dunking pieces of paratha and rumali roti in it. Sigh! The Bohri Mohalla Murgh Pulao was another winner. The rice was fragrant; the chicken was well cooked. 


The star of the evening, though, was the Mutton Haleem. Cooked to perfect texture and taste; not many places in the city make such a fabulous haleem.  This was one dish that we went back to for a second helping. (Greedy grin)


Photo courtesy: Foodmirer
While we waited in gleeful anticipation, knowing it was time for desserts, typical Ramadan goodies made their way to our table: Noorani Malpua, Suleman Usman ka Phirni and Mawa Jalebi.


I gave a miss to the phirni as I’m not much of a phirni fan but judging from what the others at the table said, it was a tad pasty. 


The Mawa Jalebi was good but I loved the malpua! The malpua wasn’t as egg-y or greasy as the ones we find at Ramadan stalls and shops. Also, it wasn’t very sweet and was smothered in a gorgeously silken rabdi. Together, the malpua and the rabdi danced in perfect harmony on my palate.



The festival commenced on from June 14, 2017 and shall be on until June 26, 2017. Priced at Rupees 1300 + taxes, the #DaawatEKhaas, Mohammad Ali Road Food Festival is a part of the regular DINNER buffet at Eighty-Eight. They plan to change/rotate the festival menu every day but favourites like pulao and haleem will be a constant part of the menu until the festival ends. I loved the atmospheric buzz at the food festival. Do check out the festival; I have a feeling you will return home in a satiated, happy puppy mode. I know I did! :-)

Address: Eighty-Eight, Hyatt Pune,  Adjacent to Aga Khan Palace, 88 Nagar Road, Kalyani Nagar, Pune.
Tel: 020 41411234

Some more photographs... but as I mentioned in the write up, I reached nearly an hour late hence having taken due permission these photographs are courtesy: FOODMIRER - FoodProwl - A G RAMGADIA Foodie in Me Thank you guys!