All of us know there is a massive hole in Odia food writing. I am not talking about recipes, I am speaking of writings that deliberate on cuisines, compare cooking methods and practices in different parts of Odisha as well as giving a historical context to what we eat. And, then there is the issue of exploring lesser known regions. The recipes currently floating are majorly coastal Odisha. Rarely something is seen from the north, west or south or regional variations in cooking. I have…Continue Reading “Appeal to Odia food writers and bloggers”

khoi

There are three kids in the family. The younger is all nonsense, mischievous, gets into all sorts of trouble. Nothing is out of bounds for her, she can do anything she wills to. She is also incredible fun, full of zest, laughs like a wild kid and every one loves her. The middle kid is more serious, a workhorse of sorts, does all the heavy lifting for the family and chips in when the younger one just can’t do it. he is reliable, dependable and…Continue Reading “The rice siblings”

masala papad

Have you ever spent a moment to think about the guy who created masala papad? His friends who created butter chicken and vada pav and jain shikanji have become legends. This poor dude who gave India the starter it never had is a nameless one. How unfair!

goan sausage pulao ambot tik thane

For the bombay trip, we decided to try out the iconic places and the places that not many talk about. That’s how we covered Britannia, Bade Miyan and Leopold but we also got to try Mi Hi Koli, Metkut and this final one – Ambot tik in Castle Mill, Thane. A small place, not even an AC, a place where most others ate a thali but they had an impressive Goan menu. Let’s go dish by dish: The Goan sausage pulao was awesome, it smelt…Continue Reading “Ambot Tik, Castle Mill, Thane West, Mumbai”

tadgola in mumbai

Long long ago, in a village far far away, we had taal trees. A help would be sent to cut down a bunch. The only rule was that it had to be after lunch, never in the mornings, never after sunset. Lunch never tasted worse. The help would cut the fruits off the cluster, pile them and start chopping their heads off. We would sit in a circle and the palm hearts would be passed around. Most of the fruits had 3 hearts, some would…Continue Reading “Taal aka Tadgola in Mumbai”

aamras puri

The things you make fun of are born as your child. That’s an old Hawaiian saying even if I just made it up. I always scoffed at the idea of puri and aamras. So, after walking out of Britannia, full to the brim and 90% humidity killing all appetite, we see this interesting vegetarian place. We stand at the door, pressing our bellies to see if there is some space and just oogling at the tables and people who were eating. We stood long enough…Continue Reading “National Hindu Restaurant, Fort, Mumbai”

koli bread basket

Later in the day when Mahesh Lunch Home turned out to be very average, this little place turned out to be a beautiful memory. Found on Zomato through searches of koli cuisine, this place is a must try. On the table behind us was seated this healthy girl with a young dude as videographer. Must be one of those vloggers – we ate our food while listening to review of the food. Anyway, let’s talk about the food. First, the bread basket was some 120…Continue Reading “Mi Hi Koli, Panch Pakhadi, Thane, Mumbai”

summer foods

Some folks are picky eaters. And, summers are the worst times for them. There are less vegetables, as the common refrain goes. But is that wholly true? We are a tropical country after all. Summers can’t be that good. Though, these days, we get most vegetables round the year, most are seasonal. Only idiots eat cauliflowers in summer. Anyway, summers are a bounty if you are not a difficult person. Let’s count – jackfruit, gourds (ash, bitter, snake, bottle, pointed), squash, pumpkin, cucumber, papaya, okra…Continue Reading “Summer food”

pakhala

Odias were a prosperous people. You know, Kalinga, Utkala, shipping prowess, java, sumatra and all that. They also invented head transplant before Ganesha’s doctors did and aeroplanes before Ravana did. Then, some jealous race planted this dude insidious character among Odias. The character created something called Pakhala. Within a generation, Odias stopped all shipping bullshit. Within five, they stopped going out of Odisha. By twentieth century, Odias were used to sleeping 12 hours a day, rarely stepping out of the house and generally being lazy…Continue Reading “The story of pakhala and Odia decline”

misti doi

Misti doi. Say that in your head, now move slowly move to the tip of your tongue. Say it silently on your lips. Now, say it loudly. Mubarak ho, aap baangaaali ban giya ho. This is the conversion ritual that bongs use to convert others. The moment you say misti the way they say it, that sensuous halt on the S, like a skid mark on the road, sssss, coming to a sudden stop, you are half a bong. Doi. There is no h. They…Continue Reading “Misti doi and Bengali conversion ritual”

kulath dal

We called it Kolatha in Odia. As I came to know only recently, it is also known in North India, Kulath, it is called. I was surprised, I thought this dal was eaten only in Odisha, rather only in my village, in our sai, there is no equivalent term in English, may be clan. Anyway, the point being it is a very unglamorous dal. Moong was used in puja and on special days, arhar was, even then, a prized dal. Chana was the hardworking common…Continue Reading “Kulath Dal”

jasmine pulao forktales

We do these pop ups under the name Forktales. The latest one was on 5000 years of Indian food history and tracking each influence via a food item. This post is based on the latest event.  The mughals had flower pulaos. Nothing can do more damage to their image than this one sentence with 29 characters with spaces. I eat flowers too. Pumpkin flowers, deep fried in rice batter. Love it. You can’t see the flower and what you eat is so delicious that you…Continue Reading “Eating flowers”

defence bakery

I was never much of a bakery guy. Bhubaneswar had only one reasonable one – the cake shop. So, like 67% of life was spent without any exposure to baked breads. Bread meant sliced bread, white, paunroti in Odia. Never knew the paun much like the pav can mean feet and the name came from the fact the dough was kneaded by feet. I don’t know the authenticity of this scandal, the foodies debate on. Anyway, coming to bakeries, most of my years in delhi…Continue Reading “Defence Bakery, Defence Colony”

salad

Salad. No other food is as classist as salad. When I was young it was saalaad, when I moved to Delhi, it became salaaad and now it is a very crisp accent saaladd. Salad for a long time meant onion, tomato and cucumber in summers and carrots were added in winters. You could arrange that in rows or grate or pile as you wished but that was it. That was all there was to salad. I felt like a chef the day I added pepper…Continue Reading “Salad. Saalaad. Salaaad. Saaladd.”

lingaraj lassi bhubaneswar

My first Punjabi lassi was in Delhi in 2001. It was that shop under the tree in Ber Sarai. We had just landed in Delhi a couple of days before, I was to join Dschool and a friend had to join IIMC. We were looking for a place for him. Anyway, the lassi. It came for 15 bucks, a tall steel glass, all white with froth at top. He kept it on the counter. I waited. I had paid 15 in advance, he was not…Continue Reading “Lingaraj Lassi, Bhubaneswar”

jom jom malay

Okay, I don’t think I have been so wowed by a place lately, the last I can remember was Guppy. There were three of us, three hardcore, best of the world, eaten pluto out of planethood foodies. And, all three agreed on the same. Jom Jom Malay in Ansal Plaza is how those serious about food should go about their job. In the city of Priyank Sukhijas, there is someone who is sincere. The place is small, there is no fuss, staff is courteous and…Continue Reading “Jom Jom Malay – Malaysian food in Delhi”

bel

There is only finite love in one’s life. How do I know? Whatever I hated as a child, I love now. I love banana flowers and stem, I love arbi, parval, radish, neem ka saag. And, I love bel. I used to hate the smell of it, I would go wander around in the village streets if I saw that grandpa is making the kids drink bel. The only time I remember drinking it is when it was mixed with all fruits and bhaang. That…Continue Reading “Bel and finite love”

hotel maurya pinetop

On top of Nandi Hills, there is this government run restaurant. It has mixed reviews at best. It is really cheap and has brilliant views and most said it’s only the view that is good. But either my taste buds are bad or those guys are snooty. Let’s settle for them being snooty. The place is right at the top of the hill, in front of Nehru Nilaya. The food was cheap. It seems breakfast is served only on weekends and govt holidays, the menu…Continue Reading “Food at Hotel Maurya Pinetop, Nandi Hills”

benne dosa mtr 1924

I had a list of some 15 must eats in Bangalore. A curated list as the cultured would say. A list that I had begged, bullied and whatsapped at odd hours to compile. But then, it was good to wander off the list at times, in fact, we did that a lot. This place, MTR 1924, on St Mark’s Street, had mixed reviews. Not a place to sit and chat. We chatted with a friend for close to three hours. Decent food, not as good…Continue Reading “MTR 1924, St. Marks Road, Bangalore”

rasgula chaat vv puram

V V Puram. Most of the blogs and magazines had this listed as a must visit place. It’s a must visit for sure, not sure if it can be listed as must-eat. Anyway, the locals calls it the Khau Gali, everyone online calls it food street. That makes it quite hard to find. Also autowallahs everywhere are the same, I learnt it the hard way that it’s so much better stick to Ola. And, Ola in Bangalore is awesome, the drivers are super polite, don’t…Continue Reading “VV Puram khau gali, Bangalore”