Posted on

Bangalore food tour- ghee roast, dosa, dairy milk sandwich and much more!

Along with Dr. Hema, an avid food blogger we go through the beautiful streets of Bangalore as we explore their cuisine and culture.

We first head to Siddappa hotel which is attached to a temple. We try the idli chutney sagu, a dish which consists of soft fluffy idlis served with vegetable sagu, ghee and coconut chutney and Chitrana also known as lemon rice. The hotel is known for the authenticity of the food it serves, especially Chitrana. In times, when there’s a huge influx of crowd in to the place the famous siddappa dosa evolves into a half masala dosa which is equally loved by people across the city.

Next we move on to one of Bangalore’s famous breakfast places, Vidyarthi Bhavan. We begin with chow chow bhaath, a sweet savory consisting of khara bhaath and kesari bhaath. It is served with coconut chutney and vegetable sagu. We also try the crisp masala dosa which has been a part of the legacy for 75 years. The recipe hasn’t hanged till date and is a favourite amongst the localities’.

Our next stop is, Brahmin’s coffee bar where we try the cult favourite idli vada served with crispy vadas and coconut chutney and their strong filter coffee. They serve Bengaluru’s best filter coffee. Thus, it’s a must go!  We then head to Puliyogare point and try their Puliyogare, a dish which consists of rice infused with tamarind chutney or gojju and served with sweet Pongal or as we like to call it, the humble khichdi.

Next we visit Meghna foods where we try the Meghna special 555, a dish which is flavoursome and spicy, filled with cashew taste and prominent pepper flavour. The speciality of this place is the Meghna special chicken biryani. We head towards, MTR (Mavalli tiffin room) where we are served with a main thali which consists of coconut and pudina chutney. This unique chutney has been originated here with the base as coconut and pudina adding the extra flavour to it. The next in the thali was beans palya, these are shallow fried beans with tadka and served with grated coconut and vegetable sagu, the sagu is a dish that has vegetables cut in small pieces and coconut which is served as a curry. The thali also has, kosambari, a dish made up of urad dal with fresh cucumber and green chillis. We also have the masala vada made up of two types of dal, crunchy puri and masala dosa. Last but not the least, the thali ends with a desert called as rava payasam.  We also tried the bisi bele bhaath which consists of chopped vegetables boiled with bele or dal in Kannada. This is served with Mussur bhajji, a south Indian version of the north Indian raita. All of this is topped with fruit salad served with ice cream. Our sweet tooth isn’t put to rest as we also try Chandrahara! A special desert only available in MTR, nowhere else.

We head to Hari super sandwich, one of the most college hubs well known for its sandwiches. We try the chocolate sandwich, a favourite among college students with loads of oozing chocolate from the sandwich! The next is their Hari special sandwich with mushroom, grated cheese and mayonnaise filling inside. The most selling item is the American sweet corn sandwich served with sweet corn cheese and their patent chutney. Lastly, we head to Maiyas for a cup of frothy freshly brewed coffee.

Places visited:

Siddappa hotel

Ashwath Nagar, 7th Block, Sampangi Rama Nagara, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560027

 

Vidyarthi Bhavan

32, Gandhi Bazaar Main Rd, Gandhi Bazaar, Basavanagudi, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560004

 

Brahmin’s coffee bar

Near Shankar Mutt, Ranga Rao Rd, Shankarapura, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560004

 

Meghna foods

Above Sony Centre, Opposite Park Plaza, Outer Ring Road, Marathahalli 080-41738999
Bengaluru
8880609609, 08041738999

 

MTR (Mavalli tiffin room)

Samvit, Next to Art of Living Ashram, Kanakapura Rd, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560082

 

Hari super sandwich

177/A-44, 22nd Cross, 3rd Block, Jayanagar, Bangalore

 

Maiyas

459, 30, 30th Cross Rd, IV Block, Jayanagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560004

 

Posted on

Mysore food tour part 2

As we further explore the culture and the cuisine of the city, Mysore we begin with the local markets. Firstly, we visit the Devraj market. Built by Chamraj Vodeyar, it is apparently believed to be the first planned market of India. A beautiful, vibrant and a colourful market, it happens to be 120 years old. Filled with shopkeepers selling variety of vegetables and fruits, you are bound to explore the intricacies of the Mangalorean culture.

We briefly stopped at the Raja Coffee works to understand the different mix of coffee and then headed towards Gayatri tiffin room to try green dosa and their amazing filter coffee. Green dosa, is certainly one of its kind and healthy too. The green dosa is stuffed with coriander, spinach and fenugreek leaves and it is served with bhonda sambhar and coconut chutney. We then ended our meal with a glass of strong filter coffee.

Keerthana introduced us to a sweet delight known as dil khush for the evening snacks served at VB bakery. A puff pastry stuffed with a lot of sugar and everything sweet! Basically, it’s stuffed with sugar, coconut and cherry. Certainly, quite a catch for kids. We also, tried the badam milk which was being sold right beside the bakery. Mysore is incomplete without its Mysore dosa found at Dosa point. A crispy dosa topped with red chutney and stuffed with delicious aloo masala.

Last stop of the day was the food street at lalit mahal palace road. It is known for its tasty chaat and 99 whooping varieties of dosa! A unique blend of western with the Indian culture, it is a must try!

A great day filled with food exploration and exploring various blends and fusion of food and dishes! Mangalore is a must visit if you’re a foodie!

 

Places visited:

Devraj market

Sayyaji Rao Rd, Devaraja Mohalla, Shivarampet, Mysuru- 570001

Raja Coffee works

Bhavathi, Bunder, Mangaluru, Karnataka 575001

 

Gayatri tiffin room

Chamundipuram Main Road | Narayan Shasthri Road, Mysuru (Mysore) 570004, India (Formerly Gayatri Tiffanis)

 

VB Bakery

No.20, Sajjan Rao Circle, V V Puram, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560004

 

Dosa point

Thokkattu, Thokottu, Karnataka 575020

 

Food Street

Near Mangalore One, Bawtagudda, Light House Hill Rd, Mangaluru, Karn

Posted on

Mangalore food tour part 2

Mangalore as a city and Mangalorean cuisine has grown up to accommodate various cultures and ethnicity ranging from Muslims, Mangalorean Catholics and Saraswat Brahmins to name a few. Being a coastal city, it is easy to recognize that the staple diet here happens to be fish. Moreover, almost like all coastal cuisines it is spicy and rice based.

With, Karishma we explored the Hotel Maharaja which is situated on bunts hostel road in Mangalore, Karnataka. The restaurant is well- known for its ghee roast! We tasted some flavoursome Mangalorean delicacies To begin with, we tried shell fish (marvai) sukka. Sukka means dry in their local language and it is a sea fish prepared in Mangalorean style. This was followed by Neer dosa or what is also known as water dosa along with chicken curry. Neer dosa is prepared using the same usual batter that is used to prepare the basic dosas, except that a lot of water is added to the batter. Hence, the dosas are much thinner in their texture. With different dishes being brought to us we also tried the chicken ghee roast. It is a spicy dish cooked heavily in ghee with red chilli paste. Later, we tried the kori roti. An absolute favourite of the Mangalorean’s, these are crisp dry wafers made from boiled brown rice served alongside chicken curry. Kori means chicken in tulu. Kori rotis are also, readily available at grocery stores so if you want to take them back to your home, it won’t be much of a task! One ingredient that is taken into account while preparing almost major Mangalorean dishes is curry leaves. They are heavily used in almost all preparations.

Next, we head to one of Mangalore’s the most popular go-to spots is Giri Manja’s. This little eatery is tucked away in the car street. Highly recommended by the locals, it is a must try out here! Well-known for their sea-food we try their fish thali which consists of boiled rice served with kokam saar, fish curry and veg curry. The thali is served with bonda juice also known as tender coconut juice. Along with this, we tried the prawn fry locally known as yetti fry and squid fry which is known as bondas fry. We were then served with, anjal fry. A seer fish fried in Manjas style. This, happens to be their special dish, which is certainly a must-try! The flavours are tangy and the fish is marinated for the longest time thus, bound to capture your taste pallets.

 

At hotel Karthik, we try the Mangalore snacks. Here we ordered the very-famous Kalladka tea also known as KT, a three layer tea with the bottom layer consisting of condensed milk, foam and then served with decoction. This was served with banana podi locally known as parndh podi. These are banana fritters. The bananas used to cook these are known as Etha pazham banana. Then comes the Mangalore buns, sweet, soft and fluffy puris from Udupi, a well-known region in Mangalore. Not to forget, the goli bajje, a famous evening snack. These are soft and spongy fritters made with all-purpose flour, spices and herbs.

We were later introduced to, a local mobile shop known as Halli Mane rotties situated in Gandhinagar. The food joint offers three types of rotis made up of ragi, jowar and rice. These are really good for health and gluten-free! The rotis are served with a mixed vegetable curry and punarpalli juice also called as Kokam juice. The juice is sweet and good for digestion.

Right opposite to Kaddri park, is a lane which has quaint little food joints for everyone to try. We head to Dinky dine where we tried the grape juice. It is juice joint really famous in Mangalore. The day came to an end on a sweet note as we headed towards the ice-cream parlour. Here we tried the Marzi pan ice-cream, a sweet pan-flavoured ice-cream and gudbud, a multi-layer ice-cream consisting of three flavours, butterscotch, strawberry and vanilla served with cherries and fruits.

Places visited:

Maharaja Restaurant

1st Floor, Trade Centre, Near Jyothi Circle, Bunts Hostel Road, Balmatta, Mangalore

 

Giri Manja’s

Kalikamba Temple Cross Road, Mangaluru, Karnataka 575001

 

Hotel Karthik

Kulur Ferry Rd, Urwa Store, Kottara, Mangaluru, Karnataka 575006

 

Halli Mane

Pentland Pet Rd, Gandhinagar, Mangaluru, Karnataka 575003

 

Dinky Dine

Opp. Kadri Park, Mangaluru, Karnataka 5

Posted on

Mysore food tour part 1

Namaskara! Today we are headed to the cultural capital of Karnataka which is Mysore. Mysore, officially known as Mysuru is the second largest city in the state of Karnataka. According to hindu mythology, Mysore was ruled by the demon Mahishasura, known as a buffalo-headed monster. It is apparently said, that the demon used to terrorise the local population and in response to their prayers to save them from the demon, goddess Parvati took birth as chamundeshwari and killed the demon on the top of the Chamundi hill. Thus, the city got its name as Mysore.
Our food journey started with Keerthana accompanying us.

Along with Keerthana, we headed to the famous Mylary Agrahara and tried their Mylari dosa. It is really soft in its texture served with coconut chutney and onion sagu. The softness of the dosa filled us to the brim and we then headed towards Amruth Veg. Here we tried a combination of three different dosas also known as the Amruth special dosa. These were Ragi masala dosa, pudi masala dosa and plain dosa served with vegetable sagu, chutney and loads of butter! The meal was followed by a yummy frothy and strong filter coffee. Keerthana, later introduced us to Mallige idli, these are soft, spongy aromatic idlis got its name due its texture and resemblance to jasmine flowers.
Our next destination was Hanumanthu hotel, a pretty old establishment. Well, 1932! You can imagine how old it must be! We came here to try their famous mutton pulao which is cooked from bullet rice and mutton fat.
Further, to try the rural food of Karnataka, we went to Uncle Loobo’s- Sugi mane. We had an amazing experience learning how to cook Ragi Mudde. Moreover, you get to have a totally authentic experience as the food is served on banana leaves. We had the amazing keema sambhar which was served with minced meatballs and had to be consumed with little bites of Raggi Mudde. Having Raggi Mudde, only makes us realize how we are slowly coming back to our roots as we try to cure various lifestyle diseases, like diabetes. Ragi or finger millet is a staple rural food of Karnataka which is consumed frequently.

To try some classic home-based Karnataka dishes we visited, Anima Madhva Bhavan. Here we tried their, well-known heritage platter which is served without any onion and garlic. The platter consists of paddu, these are steamed rice balls and they are deep-fried served with coconut chutney. The next item is, nucchinunde these are dumplings made up of lentils. This was followed by gojjuvalakki, a popular breakfast dish prepared using beaten rice with rasam powder and tamarind. The meal ended with ghodi payasa, which is cooked broken wheat kheer.

We then headed towards, Guru Sweet mart for Karnataka’s one of the most loved sweets Mysore Pak, which is made up of gram flour, ghee, cardamom, turmeric and sugar. This was originally invented in the royal kitchen of Mysore by Kakasura madappa. The sweet dish later went on to win the hearts of many!

A great day spent exploring food and traditions ranging from the best Malhari dosa to the creamiest Mysore pak which simply melts in your mouth! Go try and we’d love to know your experiences with the city of culture, Mysore.

Places Visited:

Mylary Agrahara

Agrahara Fort, Karnataka, 67/4, Sayyaji Rao Rd, Agrahara, KR Mohalla, Fort Mohalla, Mysuru, Karnataka 570004

 

Amruth Veg

42, Dr. BR Ambedkar Road, Chamarajapura, Chamaraja Mohalla, Mysuru, Karnataka 570024

 

Hanumanthu Hotel

1720, Akbar road, Mandi Mohalla, Mysuru, Karnataka 570001

 

Uncle Loobo’s- Sugi mane

Near Speech & Hearing Circle, Bogadi main Road, Bogadi, Mysuru, Karnataka 570007

 

Anima Madhva Bhavan

12th Cross Road, Gokulam 2nd Stage, Vani Vilas Mohalla, Mysuru, Karnataka 570002

 

Guru Sweet mart

Shop No: 1, Devaraja Market Building, Near K.R. Circle, Sayyaji Rao Rd, Devaraja Mohalla, Mysuru, Karnataka 570001

Posted on

Mangalore Food Tour part 1

 

Namaskara! Today along with Karishma we explore the local delicacies of Mangalore. The second major city of Karnataka, Mangalore is also known as the gateway of Karnataka. Not only that, it happens to be the largest coastal city in the Malnad regions of Karnataka besides being an educational, commercial and an industrial hub in the west coast of India. Also, an important port city it is one of the most multi-cultural and non-metro cities of our country.

Our journey on exploring the amazing delicacies begins with the famous and one of the oldest restaurants in the city, the New Tajmahal Café. Brought to us, were some classic dishes like Rice Pundi which are soft rice dumplings served with chutney and bele thove (moong dal), Kottige also known as gunda in their local language is idli batter served in steamed jackfruit leaves and biscuit roti. Biscuit roti is a famous Mangalorean snack prepared using all purpose flour, semolina, grated coconut and spices. A pocket friendly café, it is known for its Mangalorean dishes. Not to forget, the well-known sweet dish Sanjeera, looks almost like the Kachori served in North-India except that it’s sweet and stuffed with sugar and coconut. Also, when in Mangalore things always end up with the yummiest filter coffee!

Our second stop is the Ayodhya Hotel which is well known for its seasonal dishes they serve. A true highlight of our food tour, this no-frills restaurant accommodates one of the best local and authentic Mangalorean cuisines. We begin with our authentic Mangalorean breakfast with turmeric leaf gatti. These are steamed rice dumplings stuffed with coconut, jaggery and cardamom mixture.Further followed with is, Patrode, a Mangalore style spicy steamed rolls prepared with colocasia leaves and rice. We also tried the Kadpeere podi, a fried dish made up of seasonal vegetables which tastes and looks similar to bitter gourd. Thus, a bit bitter in taste. Another dish which is available only during the rainy season is the tojank biji (sena tora, thakara leaves). These are made of seasonal leafy vegetables. These are really healthy and rich in fibre! We next move on to another well-known dish which is the Moode, these are particularly cylindrical shaped idlis steamed in screw pine leaves. Not to forget, it should be accompanied by the healthy cucumber idli. Also known as, kadamb or Taushe idli they are made using cucumber. We end our meal here, with Raggi mani which happens to be a traditional dessert using finger millets, jaggery and coconut milk and Nai appa, another sweet dish made up of rice jaggery and coconut. Not to forget, try the famous Kalthappam, a pan cake using rice, jaggery, and coconut and cardamom powder. However, the true Mangalorean breakfast only gets completed when you fill yourself up with Payasam also known as rice pudding.

Well, we aren’t yet done! But, the variety of dishes that the city presents to you is incomparable and amazing. It soothes your food pallet and makes you only want more. No wonder why it’s truly a food-lover’s heaven!

 

Places visited:
 The New Tajmahal Café : Hotel Panchmahal building, KS Rao Road, Kodailbail, Mangaluru, Karnataka 575003

The Ayodhya Hotel: Kodailbail, Mangaluru, Karnataka 575003

 

Posted on

Vaishnav Chaat Bhandar : *heart eyes*

While wandering around the streets of Kamal Nagar ask any person to point the direction for the best chaat place around and every one will surely mention one place that is ‘Vaishnav Chaat Bhandar’. This incredibly famous chaat bhandar is the go-to for every person in Kamla Nagar who develop cravings for some sweet and tangy chaat. According to this place’s humble owner this place is around six decades old and has a very constant trend of satisfying their customers throughout.

As soon as you enter the lane which carries this amazing wonder you will see a swarm of people mushrooming around this joint  from quite a distance. Even the name board of this place screams how old this place must be as the alphabets are carved on a sandstone rather than using modern day techniques. As we believe that with every change in region in India , the flavours of the chaat has twists and turns of its own. As you proceed into this place you will see the barbecue  grills with seekhs of very delightful marinated paneer and soya chaap which tells you that this place is much more than just chaats and golgappas .

Their vast menu includes pav bhaji ,paneer tikka and various types of soya chaap. The owner of the shop recommended us to try their famous ‘Bhalla Papdi‘. It was basically a dish in which bhalla and few papdis are soaked in dahi which is then topped with chickpeas and potatoes along with some boondi, to add some more flavour to it , tamarind chutney and more dahi is added, then to give a final touch different combination of spices is sprinkled on to it. One particular thing that can be observed is that the chaats here are prepares in a Old-Delhi-style as it is topped with kachalu which is a trend that Old-Delhi chaat vendors follow a lot. This dish was delicious as it kicked the taste buds at all right places with perfect temperature of dahi. All the combination of the chutneys and spices worked perfectly for us. Next in we dug into to the classic pav bhaji , it was served with loads of butter on the bhaji and as well as on the buns too, it was served along with some onions and lemon slice. The flavour of the pav bhaji was amazing with bhaji being slight different in good way from the usual ones.

Even though there is no such concept as ‘ seating arrangements’ at this place , but the flavours and varieties of the tidbits that this place offers are worth a try.

Name : Vaishnav Chaat Bhandar

Address: 66-67/E, Near Chota Gol Chakkar, Kamla Nagar

Contact info : +91 9810195762

 

Posted on

Vinod Kumar Momos: Moh Moh ke flavours.

Momo vendors in Delhi are boundlessly populated at every crooks and nooks of the city. Let it be any type , whether it be steamed , fried , tandoori or gravy the people of this city never leave a chance when their taste buds call for this yummy snack. Moreover we being true foodies can never ever resist such simple yet so flavorful dish. However the traces of momos go back to a long time ago originated in Nepal, it still has a big trace on the hearts of every Delhi people.

So, we can find a small momo vendor called the ‘Vinod Kumar Momos’ near the bada gol chakkar i.e. the Spark mall at our very own Kamla Nagar giving out hot and steamy momos straight out of the steamer which results out in a two minute struggle to initially even hold the plate. After seeing such a sight we can do nothing to hold us back but  order a steaming plate of momos which is served in three different types which varies in nothing but the stuffing of these fluffy balls of flavor, the three different types of variants are veg ( a mixture of cabbage etc. ) , paneer (cottage cheese) and chicken.

All the three variants are served with spicy red chutney on the side and the momos themselves are topped with creamy mayonnaise  and sprinkled with various spices such as oregano and chilli flakes. The side served chutney hads a very fiery flavor which compliments the tangy taste of mayonnaise. As you take your first bite of this delicacy dipped in perfect amount of chutney  your taste buds experience the perfect mix of flavours that is the subtle flavour momo along with a gulp of tanginess of mayonnaise  along with hot flavour of the red chutney .

After hogging all the different momo variants you will definitely drop by this place frequently as it is located in a very convenient location so that you have no excuse to miss this particular food joint out. The prices too were very attractive with a good quantity with lots and lots of flavour which comes out of a very hygenic stall, this stall should be on your must try list for sure.

 

Name : Vinod Kumar Momos

Find it here : Near bada gol chakkar , Kamla Nagar.

Contact it through: 9643371308

 

Posted on

YUZU Sake Bar and Retaurant

‘Drink Sake Stay Soba’ says the neon red sign board as we hurriedly enter YUZU restaurant after having spent a significant portion of our evening in Delhi’s infamous traffic. YUZU is a new Japanese and Pan Asian establishment in the thriving Epicuria Mall at Nehru Place. It is a dimly lit joint brightened up by the aforementioned neon signs and pretty faux cherry blossoms which liberally drape the walls and ceiling. We made a beeline for a table next to the window.

Inspired by the words on the wall, we started rifling through the endless range of sake options and found refuge in Sake cocktails alongside a Steamed Spinach Salad and the ‘Stay Soba’ Sizzling Chicken. The #SakeBar would definitely be worth exploring further.

YUZU has introduced a new menu called – ‘Hey Sexy Fish’ complete with its own neon signage on the wall, so we decided to head towards the sexier options. We were introduced to the Pink Lady Sushi. Staying true to its name, it was decidedly pink comprising of shrimp tempura, minced crab meat and avocado. The portion sizes were large and it came with two varieties of wasabi – the normal kind and the extra strong kind. A minuscule speck of the extra strong version can instantly bring you to tears, so consume at your own risk.

We followed up our sushi with Chicken Gyoza and a Quinoa Basil Chicken Bowl. I have never been healthy enough in the past to replace rice with quinoa in a Pan Asian dish (or any dish) and probably won’t in the future as well, but it is worth a try. We were suggested an ice cream for dessert but we were far too full and cold by then to continue. We will be back to discover new favourites and tick off more Sakes’ from the list.

 

Location: Epicuria Mall, Nehru Place

Price for Two: Rs. 1600

Posted on

Jodhpur Food Tour

Jodhpur Food Tour

Also known as the blue city and the sun city, Jodhpur is the foodie city of Rajasthan.

In the sweltering heat of June, when the average temperature is above 42 degree Celsius, we visited Jodhpur to explore the local food. We had no contact in the city but with the firm determination and passion for food exploration, we asked a few locals about the places to eat and we must say, all the recommended places were amazing.

The Jodhpur food journey started with a famous thali restaurant in Jodhpur- Gypsy restaurant in Sardarpura. I believe thali really captures the essence of ‘Indianness’. With so much of variety in one plate, it changes from one place to another. At Gyspy, the standard thali was a mix of dishes from Rajasthan and Gujarat. There were approximately 35 dishes that were served one by one. The servers talk to each other in sign language. What is unique to jodhpuri thali is mirchi vada chaat, ker sangri, gwar phali, and gatte ki sabzi. Priced at INR 400, this was the best vegetarian thali, I have had in a long time.

After having our fill at Gypsy, it was time for a cup of strong tea. We stopped at Bhati tea stall, the best tea shop in Jodhpur.

In the evening, we headed out to try mirchi vada at Surya Namkeen near Jalori Gate circle. This is one dish that defines the street food of Jodhpur. A big size green chilli is wrapped with spicy mixture of mashed potatoes, then drenched in the batter of chickpea flour, and finally, deep fried in oil. The locals enjoy it with a slice of white bread as it balances the spiciness of the chilli.

Next, we went on a full-on street food tour near Ghantaghar. We started with Arora’s famous dahi gunja. A man with a big moustache, Mr Arora, worked as a school van driver for many years but his passion to cook made him start this shop near Ghantaghar. Dahi Gunja is simply a dahi vada that is stuffed with ginger, and cashews. The chaat is topped with sev, and fried palak patta. It had all the flavours which a perfect chaat should have- sweet, spicy, and tangy.
Just next to Arora chaat bhandar is Shahi Samosa shop. Not my favourite but the locals highly recommended it. It was simply aloo samosa with a small piece of cashew in it. The addition of cashew makes it royal that’s why they are known as shahi samosas.

At the entrance of Ghantaghar is another shop named Mishrilal, famous for its Lassi. The shop was established in 1927 by Late Shri Mishrilal ji Arora at sardar market, Girdikot. It started with a small set up of selling namkeen kachori and kofta. Later from 1960, Radheyshyam Arora and his son Rajendra Arora began making a special lassi and named it ‘Makhaniya lassi’.

I had tried lassi at many places in India but this was quite a unique in flavour. Prepared with highly compressed curd and ingredients like cardamom, kewda and sugar, it tasted more like shrikhand.

Next morning, Dr Navneet, our friend in Jodhpur took us on a food tour in the Old city. Old city is the place where you get the real deal. The first stop was Narayan Mishthan Bhandar near Rakhi house for kachori. I must say this was the best kachori I’ve ever had. Normally, the kachoris are a bit doughy in texture with no filling at all and most of the shops add spicy thick potato curry to enhance the taste. At Narayan’s it was deep fried in ghee. Fried to perfection, it was literally melt -in- mouth or should we say real khasta kachori. It doesn’t require any chutney to eat. All the sweets at Narayan are made in ghee. We also tried fresh malpuas. Those were delicious too!

Meandering the lanes of Jodhpur, out next stop was Chaturbhuj Rameshchandra for Gulab jamun. The shop is in Kandoi bazar. This lane has many shops selling the khoya or mawa for making sweets. And the names of all shops are Chaturbhuj, with all of them selling the same stuff. However, Dr Navneet took us to the right spot for the soft and sweet Gulab jamun. We also tried two other sweets there – mishri goonga (milk solids stuffed with sugar crystals) and mawa chakki (similar to Kalakand in texture).

Kanji vada is another dish popular in Marwar region of Rajasthan. Vadas made up of moong dal are immersed or soaked in mustard water locally known as ‘rai ka paani’ or ‘kanji’. Before being relished, the mixture is fermented for a day. Kanji is the perfect refreshing drink that aids digestion and protects you from the heat. Brijwasi chaat bhandar is the shop to savour kanji bade in Jodhpur.

It was time for sweets after spicy and tangy kanji vadas. We started with Rabri ke laddu. The name itself sounds mouthwatering! Instead of water, thick condensed milk is used to prepare the batter of chickpea flour. Once the boondi is fried, it is soaked in sugar syrup. The result is the thick and sticky texture of laddu. They are given a round shape but it can not be held in the hand. It is so soft that it unfurls. A super delicious delicacy available at Mohanji sweets, Aada Bazar, Inside Jalori Gate.

The staple food or the comfort food of Rajasthan is Daal baati. We had always tried it in thali restaurants but this was the first time I tried it at a specialised restaurant known for daal baati and churma laddu. More common in the countryside of Rajasthan, baati is simply a dumpling made up of whole wheat flour, baked in coal. They are served with mixed lentils, spicy garlic red chilli chutney and green chilli pickles. We tried Dal baati at Bhawani Daal Baati shop near Nasrani Cinema hall, Chopasni road. We also visited the kitchen where baatis are made. Hygienically prepared, the baatis are baked in an electrical oven. It was interesting to see the electrical baati crusher. Instead of using the hands to crush the baati, they are put inside a crusher and you get finely ground baati to be easily mixed with dal and chutney. The churma laddu, again made up of whole wheat flour with sugar, ghee and nuts was to die for.

The highlight of Jodhpur food tour was Malai ki roti, qabuli, gulabjamun ki sabzi. In the evening, we again went to the Old city to a place where one can taste malai ki roti. Malai ki roti is similar to papuri/malai poori in Puri, Odisha or malai gilori of ram ashray in lucknow. But what makes it special? The speciality is that the texture is completely different from other places. Cow milk is used for this preparation. The milk is constantly boiled until you get a thick layer of cream on the top, that’s why, the locals call it roti. Once the roti is prepared they are soaked in sugar syrup and sprinkled with saffron water, cardamom, almonds and pistachios. I must confess, I am a big fan of traditional Indian milk-based sweets ranging from Mathura’s khurchan to malai gilori in Lucknow. With just simple ingredients, we have so much of variety of sweets. India is truly a land of sweets.

Another dish that intrigued me was gulab jamun ki sabzi. At first instance, I couldn’t believe that one can make sabzi out of sweet gulabjamun. Later, I came to know that the gulab jamuns are not soaked in sugar syrup they are simply cooked in curry paste. Most of the sweet shops in Jodhpur sell gulab jamun without adding them to the sugar syrup. If you deconstruct the gulab jamun, it is just khoya that is deep fried. If added in the curry, it gives a bit of malai kofta texture. It was delicious. The sandwich was again made with thick gulabjamun sabzi. In two slices of bread, a generous helping of sabzi is stuffed and then cut into two halves. The last dish we tried here was Jodhpuri kabuli pulav- a rich rice preparation with mix vegetables and dry fruits. The best food cart to savour all of this opposite Kunj Bihari Temple, Katla Bazar.

Finally, it was time for some non-vegetarian food and we visited 2 places recommended by Dr Navneet. Although, the most famous Rajasthani non-veg delicacy is lal maas and junglee maas, we gave it a miss in jodhpur instead tried the street dishes. We tried chicken silly at Al Baik – a deep fried chicken in the batter of corn flour and eggs. And Kashmiri chicken at Jammu and Kashmir hotel near railway reservation counter in Jodhpur. No way related to Kashmiri cuisine, I wonder why named it Kashmiri chicken. It was chicken cooked in mutton keema gravy topped with double fried egg. Spicy but truly delicious, I moped the thick keema gravy with fresh and crispy tandoori rotis.
Jodhpur also has a lively street food culture. Near shastri circle, every evening food carts sell street food from all over India at one place – from paani puri to vada pav, you get them all. I tried the girlfriend chaat- a super spicy cup filled with tamarind sauce, amchur powder and spices. Not my kind of chaat, but a popular amongst the locals. After exploring few of the food stalls, we ended our food journey at Marwar kulfi cart.

Truly a place that steals every foodie’s heart!

Posted on

Agra ka Parantha and Tandoori Chai

As much as the breakfast food trail across Agra filled me up, it also left me wanting to not miss out on the other unexplored gems. Tahir obliged and took me to the next stop on our gastronomical journey; Ram Babu Paranthe Waale, in Sikandra on NH-2. This place has been serving its flavours, both old and new, drenched in Ghee for the past 87 years. From old favourites such as potato and mix-veg paranthas, to crowd pullers like maggi and chocolate, and bizarre ones like pomegranate and apples, their menu has several varieties of stuffing for you pick from and surprise your taste-buds.

 

Ram Babu Parantha
Ram Babu Parantha

We decided to get out hands on a classic mix-veg parantha, penne pasta parantha, and the Maggi parantha. Be prepared to throw your diets in the backseat while visiting this place, since each of these paranthas is fried in a thick pan, drenched in around a hundred grams of ghee and served with aaloo-matar sabzi (potato and green pea curry), some kadhi, pumpkin dish, some tamarind chutney, and pickle.

We first tried the Maggi parantha, which is especially popular among the young customers. The stuffing had green-peas, chopped carrots, and some extra masalas to amp up the heat. It was spicy and got us excited to move on to our mix-veg parantha. This was stuffed with green-peas, carrots, onions, and potatoes. The preparation was so crisp that we could hear it crackle as we dug into it.

Last came our penne pasta stuffed parantha. The pasta was tossed in desi masalas and topped with some cream. The fried pie-like result was then generously coated with grated cheese making it taste like nothing short of a pizza with a north-Indian twist.

This 87-year-old restaurant displays a perfect picture of the long way that the Indian food-culture, has come with 32 kinds of paranthas in its menu. They plan to add 36 more varieties and keep the menu ever-evolving.

Our adventures continued as we reached a neat and unconventionally fancy, lit up Chai Tapri serving Tandoori Chai. The chai is served in Kulhad, a clay utensil, often used to serve drinks in. The Kulhads are heated up over coals in a tandoor. Fresh milk-tea is then poured in these glistening-red clay-mugs, making the Chai boil and bubble up; and taking in the distinct, earthen smell and aroma of the mud. The chai, perhaps a bit-sweet to please the taste of the locals, has a nice flavour of cardamom and ginger.

Agra sent my way a wave of unexpected innovation while still keeping the essence of the original, making me wonder what more the city has to offer.