New beginnings!

Food comes as a range of emotions to me – it is comforting, motivating, engaging and self-assuring. After quitting my promising career in life sciences, I think it’s been the most rewarding experience for me – to make food my career. I’m currently completing my internship at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai and starting my own blog is just about the most exciting decision I’ve made so far. I’ve grown up not only eating but also watching and learning from the two very inspiring chefs at home – my mother and grandmother. As I grew up, I noticed their cooking catching up with our teen years by evolving from traditional Indian home food to multiple-cuisine experiments. Watching them manage the kitchen, maintain the balance between health consciousness and taste appeal – I was more determined to take cooking, a step further into my life choices. Dal chawal chronicles is going to be less about reinforcing the food literature that already exists. I will write about my experience at different places I have been to and even provide a better insight, newer ideas, simplify proceses and my kitchen mishaps during experimental cooking.Moreover, I would like to contribute my research to cooking enthusiasts from around the world and hope to hear from all of you to grow my own concepts and even create new ones.  Continue reading “New beginnings!”

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Mumbai Bistro – the cafe!

After a hectic day roaming around in Dadar for Diwali shopping we randomly discovered this cafe, that would hulk smash our hunger pangs.

Mumbai Bistro – the cafe is located on the main road just five minutes away from the Portuguese church. The famous Siddhivinayak temple is also at a walkable distance from the cafe.

As soon as we entered the cafe, the first thing that impressed us was the interiors.

  • The cafe is two-storied though very small.Processed with VSCO with  preset
  • You will see the walls painted with things that define Mumbai. From Sachin to the much-talked Dabbawala and vada pav, they have successfully recreated the vibe of Mumbai with their graffitis.
  • Board a local train from Churchgate and get down at Borivali (the staircase are labeled with different stations from the western railway).
  • The tables are named after famous parks/hang out places and they have comfortable, high-chairs and colorful metal chairs.Processed with VSCO with  preset
  • The yellow bulbs created a soothing environment and their playlist was also up to date 😀

They have developed counter service by that I mean you have to place the order on the counter and the food will be served at your table once ready. They even have some board games to pass time while your food gets ready but honestly, there is no delay in orders which makes one happy. Special acknowledgment to Francis who was very friendly and helpful. Since the place is just three months old, they don’t have a proper menu yet. This one was just a takeaway kinda menu without any details about the food.

We took our chances and ordered the messy chicken burger. The burger was delicious! With chunks of juicy chicken, an egg-fry, cheese and sauces, it was just perfect.

We also ordered the Quatro fromage i.e. a four cheese pizza. The pizza looked good but, I was quite disappointed with the taste. Probably, the processed cheese highly overpowered the flavor of other three kinds of cheese(I guess it was cheddar, mozzarella, and cottage cheese). Couldn’t really figure out!Processed with VSCO with  preset The Mumbai bistro fries which had the finishing touch with truffle oil was also not exciting. Truffle oil, in general, lacks the flavors and aroma of fresh truffles and this oil actually ruined the dish for us.Processed with VSCO with  preset

We also ordered for Passion city Mumbai, the mocktail consisted of apple, passion fruit, and grenadine. Going by the name, we expected a passion fruit flavored drink but, the grenadine syrup was strong enough to turn it into a sweet pomegranate juice sort of beverage. Processed with VSCO with  preset

Lastly, since we were still hungry we ordered the penne pesto pasta but, we were served with spaghetti with pesto. The server looked a bit hesitant when we asked for penne and since we do not really like wasting food we ate what we got served. The flavor of pesto was spot on and the quantity was also good for two people!Processed with VSCO with  preset

Overall my experience was a little above average. The price is decent and not too heavy as compared to other top-notch cafes in the area. Though it’s named Mumbai Bistro, I couldn’t find myself completely jibing to it. A good place to hang out with your friends but if food is your focus of attention, then it’s nothing extraordinary.

Don’t forget to give your feedback in an old-schooled way. Sticky notes on the wooden boards attached to the table.Processed with VSCO with  preset

If you have made this city your home, no place is good enough. Hence, when a cafe opens up and calls itself Mumbai Bistro, you definitely want to check out how much of the Mumbai vibe does the place make you feel. Go leave your footprints and also let me know about your experience.

MUMBAI 77

With the budding cafe culture, Ghatkopar has some or the other place opening every month. But, this one place had caught my attention since the time it was under construction.
MUMBAI 77 which replaced the ice-cream parlor Cream Chills is located on M.G.Road and opened just a month back.
Big glass doors with soothing colors and some Bollywood love medleys playing around this cute cafe is really small.

With 6 tables inside and around 4 outside, it might just entertain around 25-35 people. You will easily overhear other peoples conversation because the tables are really close to each other. IMG_20171010_223247IMG_20171010_223323Two of the tables even have swing seating arrangements with the conventional chairs.

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The menu is interesting with some new dishes. I thought they might have a theme and expected typically Mumbaiya food, to my surprise it had Italian, Mexican, Chinese food.
We had gone for dinner on a weekday and started with Manchow soup.IMG_20171010_212952 Nothing like hot soup when it’s pouring outside, isn’t it? But, it just made us sad. They had already added the fried noodles which had turned soggy by the time the soup arrived on our table. I even called for some extra fried noodles which were again soft.
For starters, we called for Schezwan paneer. The paneer was soft nicely tossed with bell peppers and onion. The portion size was good but, it did have a sour taste in between probably because of 2-3 stale capsicum pieces.IMG_20171010_213608 For the main course, we called for cheese fondue which was really good. Hotpot of cheese sauce paired up with corn chips, assorted vegetables sautéed with herbs and soft herbed croutons. IMG_20171010_215903After finishing this we were still hungry, confused between pasta or pizza we ended up ordering a lighter dish which was nothing but cheese chilly toast. They serve CCT differently, it was two toasted slices of bread drizzled with cheese sauce, chilly flakes, and disappointment. Honestly, we expected the classic baked CCT.


The prices are a bit on the expensive side and include GST. I wouldn’t mind paying 477 for Joey’s pizza but, surely think before ordering here. Nothing that really calls me back to this place! A lot of scope for improvement. IMG_20171010_223132
P.S. They even served us Veg Kurkure mistakenly instead of the paneer. It looked good, no clue how it tastedIMG_20171010_212337

 

Did we really have Jalsa at JALSA?

JALSA in Gujarati literally means enjoyment/fun.
Restaurant Jalsa – By Nanumal Bhojraaj is located at a proximate distance from Ghatkopar East station. It is a fine dining family restaurant serving a wide range of cuisines including North Indian, Italian, Chinese and fancy mocktails to go along. They have limited and unlimited thalis too.

The place is well lit with comfortable sofa and chair seating arrangement. I have been to this place twice until now and both the times we ordered for Indian food. The only problem I had was with their service. The management seemed confused all the time, had to call the waiter again and again to refill the water, the plates were unclean, the food served was spilling all around the serving bowls, we had to move along to the server so he doesn’t spill food over us. They can surely improve this in every possible way.
This place is always crowded and if only you go for an early dinner then you would be lucky to have a peaceful meal or else, it just gets noisy and disappointing (You cannot really blame the restaurant for this though).
They serve a welcome drink which I personally didn’t like at all. Coming to the food, we ordered the cream of tomato soup which was too sweet for my palate. You can adjust that by adding pepper according to your preference though. We always preferred eating the main course directly and not order any appetizer though a fried masala papad works to munch on while you are waiting for your food. For the main course, we ordered the veg kofta in bhuna masala, the gravy was delicious and the koftas had a strong achaari flavor which worked well in lifting the taste overall. We also ordered for paneer butter masala which was perfect. Soft pieces of paneer in a rich, creamy and aromatic gravy made of butter, onions & tomatoes. IMG_20170920_201548IMG_20170920_201104IMG_20170920_203933

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Like really? You could have taken the efforts to wipe the edges at least!

We have also tried their paneer tikka masala, the taste was good but we found the quantity insufficient for even two people.The dal tadka is normal, nothing great, nothing bad. For bread, we ordered butter chapati, butter tandoori roti and butter naan, everything was decent.IMG-20160906-WA0017
They also have some Navratri discount going on till the 29th September of this month (that just balances your 18% GST.. haha).
Overall, I would only return to this place on a weekday for early dinner if I have enough of patience to bear with their average service or else you can surely visit another restaurant.

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Discovery of a Hidden Gem in Chembur!

Chembur is full of fine dine restaurants and lounges , it lacks those typical quaint cafes but , we recently discovered a hidden gem. East End Deli, next to the Grand Central hotel near Chembur Railway station is the newest addition to my go to places.

We didn’t really go here for breakfast but dinner and guess what ? It was an amazing experience. It doesn’t have an ambience of any sort , just some tables laid around with garden umbrellas and dim lights with no AC and pedestal fans. The service is prompt and the staff is really humble.

I heard they are known for their egg items and sandwiches.  Being an Italian food lover we ended up ordering  the margherita pizza. It was just delicious! Freshly baked  thin crust with concassed tomato sauce and bocconcini cheese slices with mozzarella and fresh basil leaves. We then ordered for pesto pasta. The quantity was amazing, pasta cooked to perfection , creamy and with lots of veggies (chopped zucchini, bell peppers, broccoli florets etc) . They can work upon the texture of garlic bread served along with the pasta. We also ordered for the legume burger and it was okay-ish. The burger was huge, but  the patty was over- spiced and the bun was over-loaded with the chipotle mayo because of which it couldn’t hold up and became really soggy. Another friend of mine ordered for the chicken hot dog which looked appetizing and she said it was spot- on. Both the burger and hot dog were served along with hot crispy fries.

Their zomato menu doesn’t have pizza but, they have both veg and non-veg pizzas. The prices are reasonable. Simple food with not so jazzy presentation and also satisfies your hunger. Do try out this highly underrated place, you won’t regret it!

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Chicken hot dog
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Margherita pizza
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Penne in pesto sauce

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Legume burger

Deal Or No deal !

If there’s one thing that can ruin a fun night out, it’s the bill at the end of the party. But, we just found out a solution! Agent Jack’s recently opened their new outlet in Andheri on Veera desai road. The place is massive covering an entire floor. They have sofa, normal chair and high tables. There is a huge bar in the center giving it an American pub feel.

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Bargaining comes naturally to Indians. After all, who doesn’t love a good deal? It’s almost like a purchase doesn’t feel right if you didn’t have to fight for the price to be lowered and got a few bucks knocked off. And daaru pe bargaining is like W.O.W and this unusual combination comes together at AGENT JACKS. The pub is lined with giant projector where you can see the agent’s conversations with the ‘trainees’ . The bar has free wifi, so that customers can download the app that allows you to see the price range on your phone and then you can place your bid. If Agent accepts , you get your sasti daaru and if not then a hearty laugh. You can then place an order from your phone; the waiter comes only to confirm it. The music is good and the place has a good vibe.


The food menu’s a vast spread of Indian and International offerings, we ordered the nachos which were decent – topped with cheese sauce, salsa and sour cream. The cheese chilli toast was a simple slice of bread with grated cheese , very average!
We also ordered for masala fries and chakna tiffin which pairs well with the drinks. The chakna tiffin consisted of papad, masala peanuts, chana jorr garam, chakli with chutney and schezwan sauce. Aur kya chahiye tumhe ?
The chicken tikka was juicy and tender. As we got our mains we realized that the menu is priced reasonably and the chef does a good job in presentation. The pizza was good, thin crust generously loaded with cheese and the respective topping. Pesto pasta was just the way I like it. Pasta cooked al dente with a creamy sauce.

The service is prompt, the staff is friendly and the place has a great vibe that allows you to let loose , de-stress after a hardworking day or week. We thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience.
And guess what ? They even have a loyalty program. The more you visit the place, the deals just get better.

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Potato? Sweet potato!! 

Sweet potato tikki! 

Sweet potatoes pack a powerful nutritional punch. They have got over 400% of your daily needs for vitamin A, as well as loads of fiber and potassium. They have got more grams of natural sugars than regular potato but more overall nutrients with fewer calories.
Ingredients

3 sweet potato (boiled and mashed)

1/2 cup peas (boiled and mashed)

1 tbsp green chili-ginger paste

fresh coriander, chopped

1 tbsp chaat masala

salt to taste

1 tbsp roasted cumin powder

1 tspn dry mango powder

1 tbsp lime juice

1 tbsp garam masala

2 tbsp corn flour

1 cup breadcrumbs

To prepare Sweet Potato tikki 

Take a bowl and mix mashed peas and sweet potato. Add chili-ginger paste and fresh coriander, mix well.

Add all the dry ingredients, chaat masala, salt, roasted cumin powder, dry mango powder, garam masala.

Add lime juice and mix everything well.

Mix corn flour and water in a small bowl and make slurry out of it.

Shape the mixture into medium size patties. Dip the patty in corn flour mixture and roll into the breadcrumbs, making sure that the bread crumbs cover the cutlet well.

Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry them on both sides on low heat until golden brown.

Serve tikki with coriander or tamarind chutney or ketchup. 

Happy cooking! Happy eating ☺





Healthy binge! 

Winter is that season when the markets are flooded with all sorts of vegetables, tubers and leafy greens which are full of natural goodness. If you are wondering how to go about cooking these seasonal veggies, we have put together a lip smacking snack here for you.  For Tuver kachori, you will need                                                

Ingredients

For the kachori

3 cups refined flour

Note  : You can even use whole wheat flour if you don’t mind compromising with the taste.

 3 tbsp semolina

1 tbsp ghee 

salt – to taste

hot water – to knead the dough
For the filling

2 cups Green Tuver(only the pods)

2 tspn cumin seeds

2 tbsp Olive oil

2 tbsp green chili-ginger paste

2 tspn sugar

salt and lemon juice – to taste
Method 

For the kachori: 

Mix the salt, semolina, flour and ghee together.

Mix well using hot water into a firm dough

Cover with a wet cloth and leave aside for 10-15 mins.

Take the tuver seeds and crush them using little water in a blender to form a coarse mixture. 

Now take a saucepan, add oil to it, then add the cumin. When seeds splutter, add the tuvar to this. Season with green chili-ginger paste, salt, lemon juice, sugar.

Remove from flame once the mixture is well-cooked and keep aside.

Now divide the dough into small portions, and roll into a small circle. put a large spoonful of the filling into the center, then fold the dough over the filling to form a ball and seal the edges with a peak at the top and flatten it using the palm.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then place the kachoris on a large oven tray. Brush some oil on top of them. Now bake them for 10-15 mins, then turn them over so the other areas can receive heat as well, and bake again for 10 mins, or till the surface becomes light brown in color.

You can savor these kachoris with coriander or tamarind chutney or ketchup.  
Of course, the fried version is much tastier than the baked one, but if health is more important to you than tasty, you know what to choose!

 

A hand at mixology!

On 16th December, Maersk had organized a beach themed family day for all the employees and I had gone to conduct a mocktail workshop. If you aren’t familiar with what a mocktail is, it’s an alcohol-free cocktail. Whether you don’t drink or are not of legal age, I’m here today to teach you how to make drinks that are every bit as delicious and interesting, but booze free .
You have to be bold with flavors if you want to try something different and make it special.
Mocktails are basically a mixture of fruit juices, fruit crush, fresh herbs with sparkling water,etc. You can even make syrups at home. It’s super simple. Combine 1 part sweetener (choose from sugar, brown sugar, honey,etc.), 1 part water, and some fresh fruit, herbs, or spices to add flavor. Simmer over medium heat until the mixture is completely liquid. Strain out any herbs or spices and use it to flavor anything you like (mocktails, lemonade,etc). Making your own syrups is so easy and tasty!
With new year around the clock get your party started experimenting these mocktails at your home kitchen now!
Pepsi Mojito
Traditionally, a mojito is a cocktail that consists of five ingredients: white rum, sugar, lime juice, soda water, and mint.
But here we are replacing rum with Pepsi.
Ingredients:
• 2 Lime juice
• 1 tsp Sugar
• 8-10 Mint leaves
• 60 ml Pepsi
• 30 ml sprite
• 30 ml club soda
• Crushed ice

Method:
1.Muddle mint leaves and sugar.
2.Fill a jar or glass with crushed ice, then add 30ml Pepsi and lime juice.
3.Stir, then add a splash of club soda, sprite and rest of the Pepsi.
4.Garnish with mint.

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Yellow sky
Ingredients :
• 30gm pineapple
• 30ml pineapple juice
• 30ml apple juice
• Crushed ice

Method:
1.Chill the juices
2. Finely chop the pineapple
3. Put the pineapple and mix both the juices together.
4. Pour it in a glass and decorate with a slice of pineapple.
Garnish with flavor! Add flavored salts or sugars to your rim.You can even use citrus slices or other fresh ingredients to add flavor and fragrance to your drink.

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Rim jhim
Ingredients:
• 15ml orange squash
• 2tsp lemon juice
• 100 ml coca cola/Pepsi
• 30ml club soda
• A pinch of salt
• Crushed ice

Method:
1.Put crushed ice in a glass
2. Pour orange squash. Add 1tsp lemon juice.
3.Pour the cola very gently from the sides of the glass so that it forms layers.
4.Add a tsp of lemon juice and salt and add soda gently through the sides of the glass.
5.Serve chilled.

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Strawberry sling
If strawberries are in season, this drink has to be on the table! Juicy fresh strawberries are combined with orange juice and garnished with a strawberry fan.

Ingredients:
• 10ml strawberry crush
• 5ml lemon juice
• 25ml orange juice
• 30 ml club soda
• Crushed ice

Method:
1.Put crushed ice in a glass.
2.Add strawberry crush, lemon juice, orange juice and mix it.
3. Top it up with club soda
4.Serve immediately with a strawberry fan on the rim of each glass.

 

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If you get creative, there is a way to mix literally ANY flavor into a mocktail!
Happy Mocktail making!

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Who knew mixing fruit juices would be so much fun!

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It’s cupcake o’ clock !

​”Janvi…ab mujhe kuch meetha khana hai!!” 

“Boston cupcakery chalein?” and that is how our sweet jaw landed up here after having a banter over some food at Raasta that day. The Boston Cupcakery –  best of Belgium and Boston they say is situated at three locations in Mumbai (Thane,Bandra and Andheri) . Being a social media addict I had already heard and seen a lot of their drool worthy desserts everywhere so, the little kid inside me was excited to pounce upon them the moment we stepped inside this place. The place is small and has like two tables laid inside which were already filled and we being a group of five just choose sitting outside. While going through the menu I realized apart from desserts, they even serve savoury croissants,puffs,pies, salads,eggs etc etc. They have a wide range of cupcakes on their menu from simple chocolate ganache to hopscotch,nutella,M&M etc. and it gets really difficult to opt for just one. So, we made a list inside our mind and hopped in to order but to our disappointment they didn’t have some of which we wanted and asked us to order from the ones available on the display. I really wanted to try the M&M cupcake *sob*  but, as usual we ended up eating a red velvet cupcake which was strongly flavored with cinnamon which we didn’t like. The chocolate one was moist, soft and literally melt in the mouth. 

You can simply pair your cupcake with an icecream by adding an extra 150₹ but again, they didn’t have chocolate icecream so I had to choose between the butterscotch or strawberry so, I made a goey cupcake with butterscotch ice cream combo. They didn’t warm the cupcake so the texture was dry and not so enjoyable. 

 Then we ordered for the Boston cheesecake which was divine and we happily cleared it off our plate within few seconds. 

Last but not the least we ordered for the nutella well cake *does the happy dance* If heaven was a dessert, it surely would be this nutella well. The only way to savour is by looking at it, smile, dig the spoon, break the well, watch the hot nutella flow, have a bit and lick the nutella *attain foodgasms* DAMN! This dessert was devilishly good. 

Overall, we had a bitter sweet experience and I would visit this place for that little foodgasm I attained and even try their cupcake shakes next time.

Birthday shenanigans! 

​Being my birthday and the last day of my internship, my friends just randomly decided to take me to Francesco’s Pizzeria (Yes! That place which tested pizza delivery using a drone). 

 For people going to this place for the 1st time a little heads up.. the place is a little difficult to find! It took us 25 mins to find this place in Kemp’s corner vicinity! Being in a lane under a residential building, there is no noticeable sign on the main road! And every diners worst dream NO PARKING 🙈 !!! We had to park at Amarsons 😪. We were hungry and angry (new word for today – hangry). As soon as you enter this place what catches your eyes is the rustic look along with the pizza boards and broken brick walls with small yellow windows and door with curtains. 

Coming to the food we started with Patatine fritte i.e french fries while our pizza came. The fries were served along with a creamy dip.It lacked the crispy texture and seasoning but, the dip somehow made it palatable. 

Fries y u no crispy?

By that time our first pizza had arrived which was the notorious nachos pizza and it was exactly like we expected.A Mexican pizza loaded with beans,salsa,jalapeno,nachos and drizzled with sour cream. 

Then we ordered for a half n half Peri Peri chicken and BBQ chicken pizza. My friends liked the spicy Peri Peri chicken drizzled with coriander and lime mayonnaise whereas I loved the sweet BBQ chicken (Probably because I am a gujju with a sweet jaw they say).

I am a sucker for BBQ chicken!

The pizza crust was thin and fine, they can be more generous while adding cheese. We even ordered for fettuccine and porcini mushroom. The pasta was cooked to perfection and that creamy mushroom sauce was orgasmic.We literally licked it off our plates! P.S. The garlic bread served along with it was not upto the mark.Probably, the bread was stale so it had become too hard and we didn’t quite like the plating of the dish too. 

Parsley on the lip of a plate? Nah.

Though this was the best dish we had that night and probably the only reason I would visit this place again. 

Through thick and thin, in crust we trust.

Buon appetito! 


I guess they believe in minimalism.

Look at that God damn crust!!

Porcini and parmesaaaannn 😍

Squad 💟