Monday, September 30, 2013

The 4 Must Have Delicacies in Lucknow

Food, food and food!! Being born and brought up in Lucknow, I know that the city has so much to offer in terms of cuisines, it is what I would call a foodies paradise (Ranging from Kebabs to biryani to Nahari Kulchas). Even after having lived in Delhi for almost 5 years, the thing I miss the most are those eateries. Although I have learnt to appreciate ‘Delhi’ food, but nothing beats the kebabs one gets at Tunday and DastarKhwan’s biryani.  So here’s a list of must have Lucknawi food.

1) Mouth-watering Galawati Kebabs

Those soft galawati kebabs melt in your mouth, and with just the right amount of spicy tinge coupled with Mughalai parantha makes you forget all other tastes in the world (including chocolate, no kidding). You would know if you have seen the long line of people clambering to get a plate. The recipe of Tunday Kabab’s is a secret and is passed on from generation to generation by family members. It is said that the kabab’s are made using a 100 different spices!! Makes me wonder how they make all the kabab’s on different days taste the same? Quite a task I must say.

2) Aromatic Biryani

Coming back to the biryani, allow me to describe it!! It is said, that half the taste of the biryani comes from the aroma. One whiff and you won’t be able to resist the temptation of getting a taste. The spice that gives it the tantalizing aroma is saffron (Saffron though has no taste). It has to be cooked to perfection so that the taste of both rice and mutton blends together. The wide variety of spices used, makes one always guess what all could possibly have been used to give it the exquisite taste.

3) Finger licking Afghani Chicken

When at Dastarkhwan, I never gave up the opportunity of having Afghani Chicken (yet another speciality of theirs). You will be left licking your fingers, long after it is all gone, leaving you craving for more (despite the huge amount of quantity served). The richness of the dish lies in the perfect blend of copious amount of cream and cashew nut paste. 

4) Chaat Corner

When in Lucknow one cannot miss the opportunity of having chaat. This delicacy is a favourite with all Lucknowites and they pride themselves on it (I know I sound a little smug). One visit to the Jain chaat corner and you will be a fan forever (the place doesn’t even have a sign board anymore). Ranging from Dahi Vada’s to pani patasha, matar and dahi tikki the place has a wide variety of chaat to offer which is starkly different from chaat one finds across India. The unique mix of curd and tamarind chutney makes it all sweet and sour at the same time. 

I would love to go back to those clustered lanes, teeming with people to have an afternoon full of delicacies that take you to the Mughal culture. This is something that I have already told ‘n’ number of people, and would love to take them all along.

-Nishtha Gurmani, Contributing author

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

6 eating habits of FOODIE Nations!!

Well folks, we all are aware of the fancy wine n dine which we once in a while splurge in… And also the informal-casual café style food spree we are on most of the time! Then being an Indian adds another gallop of mannerisms attached to one’s eating habits. So, I thought of shedding some light on the eating Habits of people,, errr… I am not asking you guys to change yours, rather just give you a sneak-peak into the dining habits of various countries, their natives, across the globe!

1) Slurping goes well in Japan
So Slurping while eating is a big No, well at least in my home. My Mom is practically not going to serve me any food, especially in front of guests, EVER! But in JAPAN, slurping is considered next to showing your appreciation towards the food and chef, i.e. if you slurrrppp while eating your noodles or soup, it means you simply love it. Also, chopsticks are very sacred to Japanese people. So next time you visit Japan, or well any Japanese restaurant, remember to never cross your chopsticks, lick your chopsticks, or stick your chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice. Chop. Chop.Chop.

2) Asking to split the bill: a NO-NO in France
From my college years to till date, alike all my friends I am always short on cash. So when we guys plan to go out, I make it a rule for all my friends to split the bill and share the expenses. After all, I am no Tata/Birla, can’t throw parties all the time like Siddharth Mallya! But in FRANCE, what so ever the occasion is, it is considered highly rude and unsophisticated if you split bills. Either you don’t pay it at all or just don’t ask anyone to contribute money.  Oh my, this had me in fits of laughter , I will go bankrupt if I had to do this way.

3) Mexicans prefer the Indian way
Now expensive places demand all the jazz of Fine Dining concept, especially if you are dining with royalty or in TAJ! A seven course meal, impeccably placed cutlery, a butler by your side and so on and on,,, Though in MEXICO, to eat with Fork and Knife is reflected as almost a snobby practice! They prefer eating with their hands. (Licking fingers after a scrumptious meal is allowed or not, I will confirm that asap, and get back to you guys, A’lrite!! 

4) Trust your Chef: Do not ask for  salt in Portugal  
Salt is the king of any meal, lesser of it make your food goes bland and more of it turns it poisonous…arghhh. So each one of are supposedly used to the sight of Salt and pepper bottles on our dining tables, kitchen platforms-always handy to make your meal Edible. Strangely, but it’s true, in PORTUGAL it is like a downright insult to the chef if you ask for additional salt and pepper. Unless it is not on available on your table, asking for salt/pepper is like offending the chef’s seasoning skill.

5) The Spoony affair in Russia
We all are addicted to comfortably enjoying our food, eating in a relaxed manner even when we are on our dining tables. RUSSIAN people in this context have a peculiar habit, they consider it polite when an individual rest their wrists to the edge of the table but not in their laps. And please remember; keep your fork in your left hand and knife in your right. 

6) Sharing food from a single plate
In India, when you share your food in one plate, it’s only at the time of your wedding, when that videographer is after your life asking you to feed each other and that from one plate! What a mess!! I mean, if you are a non-vegetarian and your husband is a veggie, what are going to do? Make partition in the plate (umm, with spoons or gravy or sauce or just simply go through the ordeal, smiling – REMEMBER, you are being covered on the video, so Smile J. But, in ETHIOPIA, individual plates are considered to be simply wasteful. Food is always shared from a single plate without the use of cutlery -- just hands. AHH, so much love and well… chaos.

Well, that is how the world dining habits work. And I have a simple tip for anyone who is travelling to any of the above mentioned companies; Carry a copy of this post, like a guide book. It will help you steer through the meal merrily, else I hope none of you wants those icy-i-will-kill-you- dagger looks from the person seated next you in any pub, restaurant, café out there! 


- Ankita Bhalla, Contributing author

Monday, September 2, 2013

Who needs dieting??? Elma’s Bakery, Cakes and Tea room review

Elma’s Bakery, Cakes and Tea room, Hauz Khas Village

If you’re in Hauz Khas Village and you’re looking for a cosy place where you could spend your evening with a friend, Elma’s Bakery is the place to be. 

A flight of wooden stairs lead you to a warm room, with English music playing in the background, cups and saucers nicely arranged in wooden cabinets, and an aroma of cakes in the air. When you look around you’ll find everything that’s nice and pretty. The whole place has a very English feel to it- pretty flowery curtains, a white piano, wooden cabinets, tea cups, vintage furniture and tall windows. Everything about this pretty little tea room seems perfect, the decor, the music and not to forget, the CAKES! 

The Warm decor

I bet your mouth will start watering when you lay your eyes on those delicious cakes. And I won’t judge you if you’d want to try out everything that’s there on display, but if you were to ask me what’s that one cake that one should never miss, it’ll be the Wild berry Cheese Cake. It melts in your mouth, and tastes perfect! A must try…. it’s definitely heavenly!

Wild Berry Cheese Cake

Another thing that your eyes will not miss is the different types of Tea on the menu card! I sure have never seen such a wide variety in Tea! Ranging from the refreshing Ginger, Lemon and Honey to Chamomile and at least twenty other kinds! Elma’s Bakery sure has a personality of its own; kinda takes you back in time. 

The Grand Hi-Tea

Aakanksha Sidhu, Contributing Author