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”

I said this when I came back from Pondicherry and Chennai. I am saying the same after Bangalore. The Delhi food scene needs to crash and burn before anything comes out it. In Pondicherry, the lanes around promenade have restaurants that are known for something – creole food, French food in an old villa, drinks with a view of the sea etc etc. In Bangalore, I ate 4 meals a day for 4 days in order to just cover as many places as I can….Continue Reading “What’s killing Delhi food scene?”

moradabadi biryani nizamuddin

Moradabadi biryani. As someone on twitter said when I posted one of these photos – there are more people selling moradabadi biryani in Delhi than there are people in Moradabad. Now, that is a little exaggerated, but just a little. Suddenly, there are so many of them in Delhi that it seems less like a trend and more like a conspiracy. Anyway, the distinct markers of a Moradabadi biryani are shah jeera, yellow chilli and lemon. I always had some confusion about saunf but that…Continue Reading “Moradabadi Biryani, Nizamuddin”

When I peel garlic, I wonder what the hell was the plant thinking all through the evolution? That it will fly and build a colony on Jupiter? For god’s sake, the pods are shrink wrapped, tied at both ends and then they hug each other like it’s a tribal dance inside a clean film and then there is extra packaging on top so that they can last ten cataclysmic events. It is the Hilsa of condiments. I can still understand some human misbehaved with a…Continue Reading “Peeling garlic, thinking Hilsa, evolution and tribal dances”

Industry experts and watchers wield a massive amount of influence when it comes to determining outsider’s view of the sector. That’s why, while we need those who support and promote nascent sectors, we also need dispassionate journalists who can evaluate facts, write with a global perspective; and state things as they are so everyone is wiser. Against this background, you will notice a massive void in Indian wine writing. Though I have never been much interested reading about wines and must confess that have not…Continue Reading “About wines”

dwarka market spice

Okay, I think I am getting into the food walk space. Only one walk – Dwarka haat one. Yesterday, I wrote about the cupcakes and then we got these spices. Then, you get everything else from the east and south that you get nowhere else, not even in CR Park. Banana stem, banana blossom, gondhoraj lemon, moringa flowers, some ten types of grasses that I had never seen before (calling them grass, will be saag once we eat them), unknown tubers, pumpkin flowers and leaves,…Continue Reading “Weekly haat in Dwarka Sector 23”

banana flowers

Coconut is called the tree of life because every part of it is used. What should we call Banana tree, whose every part is eaten? Apart from the stem and the flower and fruit, the leaf is used in cooking. A friend from Nagaland once told me that they let the banana trees rot and eat the fatty worms that grow inside. I can’t think of a part that’s my favorite, I love them all, depending on the recipe. One part that i have not…Continue Reading “Eating the banana tree”

murugan idli shop chennai

People wake up differently. Some struggle to down a toast and tea, some are hungry enough to eat the world. I wanted to eat the universe. Staying in T.Nagar, Chennai, in a small hotel opposite Grand by GRT, there were a lot of options to choose from. So, we got down, chose the green coconut over the yellow one and marched ahead towards Murugan Idli shop that a friend had recommended. I remain puzzled about the yellow one till date, some say it is from…Continue Reading “Murugan Idli Shop, T. Nagar, Chennai”

chaat on mahabalipuram beach

Every part of India has its own chaat. Apart from South India. I had never heard of one, never seen a photo, never seen a chaatwala on the streets, one in Nagpur but he was from UP. So, effectively, no chaats in South India. Until, one evening in Mahabalipuram. On a pitch dark beach when it was difficult to see one’s own hand, we saw a saw a circle of white light in the distance. The light was from a cart that had hanging raw…Continue Reading “Chaat on the beach, Mahabalipuram”

ghee unites india

Divided by cultures, united by ghee. When I was young, I was given bowls of ghee to fatten up. Lanky kids are bad brand ambassadors of motherly love and generosity. The early training led to turning me into a ruthless ghee raider by the time I was an adolescent. And, I am from the east. The punjabis love their ghee and makkhan. Kashmir uses ghee as a cooking medium. States in the south have a whole range of ghee dishes, from ghee roasts to dosas…Continue Reading “The crux of Indian culture is ghee”

moonrakers mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram. It’s a big name. Its other name mamallapuram is as big, just one character less. You can walk through the whole town in less time than it would take to say the name ten times. The legends about the town are so massive that your expectations in terms of scale become a little biased. Anyway the naam bade aur darshan chote town is small but not disappointing. There is enough to see and keep busy for a whole day. The few hotels in the…Continue Reading “Moonrakers, Mahabalipuram”

coconut sprout chennai

Have you ever tasted these? These are coconut sprouts. I don’t know how to grow these. I have seen coconuts fresh of the trees which have these and then there were a few that were plucked and stores and grew sprouts. I am from the coastal belt but have no idea how to cultivate this. Leaving the coconut on the tree until it matures may be the way. The point being if you don’t see it on a cart like I did, I don’t know…Continue Reading “Tasted a coconut sprout?”

There have been a few cheese posts lately. I could write this as a comment but this is not about cheese. This is about cheese and wine and anything that is seen as high brow. I usually stay away from all such posts as my experience with both cheese and wine is like less than 2 years old. Never had too much money or inclination for either and both were paraded as such high trends that people like me stayed out because of reverse-disdain. But…Continue Reading “About wine, cheese and food snobs”

The guy who gives me a haircut spends 45 excruciating minutes on how to hide the whites and the bald. The salon, yes I go to a salon, has never slid a line in the bill or winked at me for a tip. But since morning most restaurateurs have come out saying how if you don’t pay service charge, you are robbing poor dish washers and service staff of their due. Imagine the owner of a for-profit enterprise saying his staff needs public charity to…Continue Reading “Service charge is in restaurants is a giant scam”