Watch Restaurant review: Oye Amritsar has banging starters! [3.5/5]

An eatery decides to associate itself with a particular kind of cuisine only when it looks to excel at it. Oye Amritsar at Indiranagar is more than halfway there, and serves up starters that whip up quite an appetite. However, it falters a bit on the main course. That is the succinct review of the place. For a more detailed review, and a video of the place, continue reading this blog!

Oye Amritsar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Oye Amritsar has four outlets in Bengaluru – formerly Bangalore – the first of which has been functional for 10-odd years now. The one where I and a few friends visited was in Indiranagar. Walked in, and were welcomed with a Spicy Redcurrant drink that had me all…

Ambiance

While the rustic feel of a Punjabi Dhaba is not exactly present here, there is a hint of it if you sit on the raised platform seen on the right of this pic:

The seating arrangement at Oye Amritsar.

It gives you the feel of sitting on a charpai and having your food from a low table – something that is quite common in roadside dhabas.

And what adds to the ambiance are these staples of Punjabi food:

Starters

With the thirst quenched and the tastebuds stimulated simultaneously by the welcome drink, we moved on the starters. Here are, clockwise from top: Malai Broccoli, Sanewal Mushroom Tikki and Punjabi Paneer Tikka.

The broccoli is on the smoother side, but the other two are robustly spiced, making for some good and hearty eating!

Next up, the non-veg starters. Clockwise from left, these are Mogewale Di Tikki, Pindwla Bhatti Murg and Tawa Mutton Chop.

The tikki and the murg almost transported me to the yellow mustard fields of Punjab! The mutton chop – from the rib section of the goat or lamb – was slightly on the milder side, with almost a Chinese taste to it. They required to be eaten with the hand, and were a treat for what little meat they had.

Main course

The starters had us full and satisfied, so we took a bit of time before moving on to the main course, served with roti, butter naan, kulcha and Methi Corn Matar Pulao. I was too busy sampling the food to take photos of them, so please pardon me for that.

What we ate were mostly the staples of a Punjabi dhaba, starting with Butter Chicken [left] and Bhatinda Mutton Curry.

In both cases, that Punjabi/Mughlai x-factor was missing in the food. These were nicely flavoured, and the meat came off the bones easily, so there was nothing to complain there. But the punch of spice one expects from Mughlai cuisine from a Punjabi kitchen was lacking here.

Next up, Kadhai Paneer [left] and Dal Makhani.

Now, these are two dishes you simply cannot afford to get wrong. Oye Amritsar does not do that, but it does not get it perfect either! Some improvement here should elevate its offerings to a much higher level!

Dessert

One of the final offerings was Jalebi with Rabri. Neither was overpoweringly sweet, and made for as much a treat for the tongue as the eyes. See for yourself!

Oh, and we also tried out some Lassi shots – which I once again forgot to click because I was too busy swigging the thick white liquid from shot glasses.

Final thoughts about Oye Amritsar

I am a non-vegetarian, and found the starters quite to my satisfaction. It is only the main course that needs improvement, and only in certain quarters. Once that is done, Oye Amritsar can pose a threat to most other eateries serving Punjabi cuisine in Bengaluru.

See our video review here:

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Butter Chicken recipe: Yum Central style! [VIDEO]

Butter Chicken

Some of the first visuals when you think of Indian cuisine are of succulent chicken swimming around in beautiful gravy, waiting to be scooped up by that smoky tandoori roti before it makes its flavourful journey from your mouth to your stomach.

And possibly the most iconic of these dishes is butter chicken – the heart-stoppingly rich murg makhani or chicken butter masala or watchamacallit. It tastes as good despite the pantheon of names it has!

Here is Yum Central’s own take on this North Indian offering, complete with the recipe and – for the first time – even a video of the cooking process!

Butter Chicken

The ingredients

Here is what we will use for the dish:

  • Chicken 600 gm [With bones and skin]

  • Spice powders [coriander, cumin, garam masala, red chilli/paprika]: 10-15 gm each

  • Tomato: 200 gm [pureed]

  • Onion: 100 gm [Roughly chopped]

  • Butter: 60 gm

  • Salt: To taste

  • Sugar: For colour

  • Papaya: Enough to soften the chicken overnight

  • Curd: 100 ml

  • Vinegar: A few drops

  • Ginger-garlic paste: 20-30 gm

And SURPRISE! We are not using turmeric OR cream in this recipe!

Let’s begin…

Marination and preparation

The chicken we had was initially quite tough, so we decided to soften it with some papaya.

Chicken being softened with papaya

Make a marinade for the chicken with the curd, half the spice powders, salt, vinegar and ginger-garlic paste. Let it rest in the fridge overnight.

Marinated chicken

However, if you are in a hurry, simply let the marinade rest for an hour or two. Pardon the blue tint: It seems we were having some problems here.

Now, roughly chop up the onions.

Onions
Onions

Then puree your tomatoes.

Tomato
Tomatoes

Melt the butter in a cooking pot.

Then, lightly fry your chicken till they turn golden-yellow. The chicken should not be well-fried, otherwise the spices from the base will not go in it.

Butter and chicken, but not yet butter chicken…

If you have curd from the marinade left over, keep it aside. It will come in handy later.

And with that, we are ready to cook!

The cooking

Set the chicken aside, and fry the onions in your leftover butter. They will turn a beautiful golden-brown. But don’t let them burn.

In a few minutes, add the rest of the spices and the ginger-garlic paste. Add salt to taste and sugar for colour. Then mix it up well.

Now add the tomato puree and continue to stir the mixture at high heat till it reduces to a beautiful brown, dry base. It should start to smell slightly burnt after some time.

Now, add the fried chicken to this mix and stir it around so it covers all the surface area of the chicken. The pieces should let out some water by now, and the juices it had excreted when set aside should also be used in the cooking.

Remember that leftover marinade curd that you had set aside? Bung that into the pot and stir till the chicken is covered in the base.

Now add water, stir and let it sit on a low flame till it reduces some more.

Then, add some more water, stir, and let the Butter Chicken sit covered at a low flame for a few minutes, as the butter begins to separate from the spices and make small pools of itself.

And finally, ENJOY!

Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken video!

By the way, did we mention that we are starting off with videos as well?

Watch the video recipe of Butter Chicken here:

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Restaurant Review: Malabar Bay is a food destination if you can’t visit Kerala! [4/5]

Come in. Sit down. Order your food, and be transported to Kerala! That is what Malabar Bay in BTM Layout aspires to be. And speaking as someone who has always wanted to go to God’s Own Country but never managed, I was more than happy to share a table with friends and partake in food that would tingle my palate. That’s the shorter version of the review. For the longer version, read on…

Malabar Bay Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Now, when you think of Kerala, the lush backwaters along the Malabar coast come to mind. Malabar Bay may not have an ambience like that – it is located in Bengaluru and nowhere near any significant water body – and yet its interiors are a reminder of the roots of a culture that has branched out all over the world.

A typical Kerala thaali

What’s on offer

When it comes to Keralian cuisine, it is a spicy mixture of ingredients that are primarily sourced from the sea, but poultry and mutton are also not unheard of. Of course, there is another kind of meat that’s popular in Kerala, but let’s not complicate matters here. Malabar Bay didn’t, and summed up the sentiment behind its offerings in a single banana leaf, as shown above.

The seafood offerings are quite interesting, actually. I mean, how often do you get crabs as the primary flavour in a soup?

Crab soup
Crab soup

Also on offer, by way of salad, were raw mangos spiced delectably – the kind that sends a shiver down your teeth with their sour taste and make you salivate.

Raw mango salad
Mango salad

Starters and main course

Now, I will admit freely here that I was too busy throughout the entire meal to note down what was what. However, I do remember some of them, but the language barrier stops be from understanding what the rest are. Nevertheless, I will try my best to tell you what was what, and how good it was.

You may also take it upon yourself to draw your own conclusions from the photos I am providing.

First up is one of the starters, a type of fritters and the third is a type of faltbread that looked like a slightly heaver and thicker version of the North Indian poori. The gujiya-looking fritters were actually savoury, and could have done with some sort of chutney.

Now, the three things in the photo came at different times, but ended up together here as a testament to the variety on offer at Malabar Bay. Clockwise from left are some appam and a duck curry, a variety of biryani served with some side dishes, and a drink that was a refreshing treat for us amid the enjoyable assault of spices on our tongues.

Here are some of the other dishes we were served. On top right is a prawn dish that was especially nice, albeit a little bitter.

Somewhere in between where these three dishes. Notice the use of glazed clay pots and banana leaf in plating of dishes. These alone were enough to transport me to a land I want to visit even more now.

And finally these two: The “confused chicken” on the left and volcano prawn on the right. Both delightful, but in very different ways!

Desserts

Now, you would not generally associate Kerala with desserts, but people down there do have a sweet tooth, and some great desserts to quell those cravings.

Here is a version of Shahi Tukda that was a pleasant surprise for me. The custard-like cream was fresh, and yet it had not made the bread beneath it soggy! The sweet and smooth cream with the crunchy bread can be revisited multiple times!

But that was not all! Here we have [clockwise from top left] the Banana Toffee Ice Cream, the Firnee, the Kairalee Jamun and a fourth dish that I cannot seem to identify now.

Final thoughts on Malabar Bay

If you want a proper taste of Kerala, Malabar Bay is the place. Of course, some of the dishes seemed to have been a little over-spiced, to the extent that they seemed bitter to my tongue. However, the “confused chicken” is a safe bet if you like Punjabi and Tandoori dishes, and the volcano prawn is a must-have, even though it is just for the looks of it.

Some of the other dishes I recommend is the general seafood fare Malabar Bay offers. In case you have had enough of the chicken, this is the way to go! And even if you are opting for the chicken, you are getting some authentic fare.

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Restaurant Review: Millets all the way at Kaulige Foods! [4.5/5]

Health is wealth, they say. And if you have to part with a meagre portion of your wealth to retain your health, we end up saying Amen! Barring comfort food and deep-fried goodies, of course. But what if instead of picking just some healthy foods, we make the entire meal healthy? Kaulige Foods does just that, with the option to continue eating healthy present in-house. And, in short, that is exactly why it earns a place of pilgrimage for healthy eaters. For the longer review, read on!

Kaulige Millet Corner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

What is Kaulige Foods?

So what is special about Kaulige Foods? More importantly, what is Kaulige foods? It’s an organisation started by a few people to champion the cause of millets in a country that is facing the ever-increasingly spectre of water scarcity, and also wants to eat healthier. Here is a quick insight, in their own words, as to what they do and how they do it.

Kaulige Millet Corner
What is Kaulige Foods?

So what are millets? They are a group of high-fibre crops that can be grown in water-scarce regions, and do not do need to many nutrients in the soil. Because they are high-fibre, they are easier on the stomach, but also need to be supplemented with some water consumption. Here are seven of the eight varieties of millets Kaulige Foods deals in.

Different kinds of millets

Now, these people aren’t all talk. They are interested in a chin-wag of a different variety, and put their money where their mouth is. So after some of us gathered there, they let us try our hand at cooking some South Indian staples. The base, of course, was fermented millet flour instead of the rice one.

Suffice to say, foodies are more often than not kitchen-enthusiasts, and not too wary of making the odd dish. This was the case with our group, where some of us were allowed to test our hands with cooking with millets. Suffice to say, even the testiest of us found the result tasty and quite to our liking!

The effort and the result

Besides the dosa, an uthapam was also made and consumed before I had a chance to photograph it. As did the first batch of paddu. So I decided to take matters into my own hands – a tad more literally – and made a second batch of paddu. Any comments on my skills here?

Paddu, by yours truly.

The meal

And finally, we come to the meal Kaulige Foods serves every day from noon to 3 pm, where most of the primary and secondary ingredients are either millets or derived from the crop. What you see here – clockwise from top – are a millet bisibele bhaath [nice and spicy, with nary a complaint over rice being not a part of it], curd-millets [a la curd rice, and again nothing to complain about here], a salad of some fresh veggies, cauliflower manchurian [with the coating made from millet-flour] and some sweet millet dish.

The millets thaali!

Final words on Kaulige Foods

These people not only serve their millet meals regularly, but also sell different varieties of millets. Want to switch to a healthier diet? Just approach them and ask nicely, and they will flood you with more recipes involving millets than you thought possible! For that innovative thought and a great idea, coupled with what we can only say is the beginning of a great execution, they score a 90% on the report card. The rest depends on how they go forward.

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Deja Vu Resto Bar review [****/5]: A slightly pricey but very entertaining eatery

Another one that I, Arkadev, somehow did not get around to writing. This was a visit to Deja Vu on September 10, 2016. Yes, I know. No, I’m not exactly lazy: I seem to be perennially tired. But that’s not the point of this post. Here’s having some deja vu – having the strong sensation that an event or experience currently being experienced has already been experienced in the past – about Deja Vu. This is the place:

Deja Vu Resto Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

As earlier, this one was also through invitation, extended by the management of the restaurant to a few members of Food Bloggers’ Association of Bangalore. The address of the restaurant: 5th Floor, Gopalan Innovation Mall, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore. Or Bengaluru, if you go by the correct name.

What strikes you first about Deja Vu is its theme and ambience. The interior is one or the other combination of black-and-white, but not exactly drab. And the walls are speckled with posters of films, bands or performances that are a throwback to a bygone era that is fondly remembered now.

Now, before we dig in, a quick word about how much this place will set you back. A buffet for two will easily cost Rs 1,000, and the charge for alcohol is extra. But then this is not a restaurant you go to every day, so the special-occasion visit it is. And Deja Vu seems quite suited for those excursions.

For our group of bloggers, the restaurant management had graciously laid out a limited platter that accommodated both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. The option is available for corporate or private lunches as well. Also, Happy Hours!

Soon after we are seated, the sauces / chutneys / dips come out. You can tell a lot about a restaurant by how they serve these things. In this case, we had mostly good things to say.

And then out came the starters. The ones below are one veg [sweet potato] and one non-veg [chicken].

To be honest, just the starters of Deja Vu were so yummy and varied that I, personally, wanted to opt for little else. I mean, look at them! Would you have wanted to even take your eyes off these dishes?

And then came some of the drinks. While the more adventurous among us opted for one served in a coconut – a fancy one at that – I, on the suggestion of a fellow-blogger, tried Bira beer for the first time, and was blown away! Some red wine also made its way to the table.

Deja Vu offered up some really interesting starters that day, so when it came to the main course, I managed to pick up a little bit of my favourite dishes on offer, and had a taste. Again, hardly disappointed!

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Butter chicken: The original finger-licking good!

Few things can spell Indian food better to the world than “Butter Chicken”. True, that this is a quintessential Punjabi dish today, but its various interpretations have left people all over the world licking their chops first and their fingers later.

Mind you, India has a whole gamut of food, cooking styles, cuisines and culinary identities. So if someone tells you some food item is “authentic Indian”, it is quite likely that he or she is speaking from his knowledge of authenticity. And even likelier that he or she has seen that specific food item may have been made in exactly that particular style all his or her life.

Therefore, calling this butter chicken with parotta:

…the most authentic would be a travesty to butter chicken dishes all over the world! This is just another small culinary journey Pooja and Arkadev – that’s us – took to bring some more spice into life, both literally and figuratively. It was our interpretation of the dish.

So why share it with the world? Tell me honestly, wouldn’t you like something like this to brighten your day or week? Why not make it for your special one? Or if you are single, why not make this when you invite someone over? Not feeling like inviting someone over? Make this nevertheless, and share it with your friends in the virtual world, much like how we are doing!

Pooja had been planning this for the visit of two of our friends, but she decided to make this over the weekend. The marinade masala – whose recipe can be unearthed via a simple Google search – was store-bought and in powder form. So, Pooja started by using half the powder to marinate the chicken for half an hour. A dash of lemon juice and some curd also went into it.

Meanwhile, the other half of the powder was mixed evenly in some warm water, and put aside. This would be used to make the gravy.

After the chicken has marinated well, Pooja begins the actual cooking. The oil begins to boil.

Then in goes the chicken, and some frying ensues. Kindly note that I had already began salivating from this point. The wafting aroma was so delicious, it could have just converted some vegans for life!

Now, before you vegans get your pitchforks out, please take a look at Jain cuisine. That’s Indian too, and really nice!

Meanwhile, with the chicken somewhat fried – basically, not entirely raw – Pooja poured in the masala mix that had been set aside. This would make for some good, spicy gravy.

After the gravy dried a bit, in went some freshly boiled milk. The ideal ingredient here would have been some fresh cream – even the low-fat variety. But we were just too wary of the real heart-stopping ingredient – again, both literally and figuratively – that was to come later.

As the gravy thickened, in went four big dollops of butter. And I will be honest here: It took me so much self-restraint to not just dive in for a taste that had I been an ascetic, that self-restraint would have been a giant leap towards moksha.

After the butter melted and melded in, mixed with the gravy and the chicken, the pan was left covered on low heat to cook.

The final product, after 10-odd minutes, should look something like this.

Wanna share some food with us? Or give us some food for thought? Or want to know the exact recipe? Leave a comment or send us an email! We promise to get back to you really soon!

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No mincing words on this keema: It’s awesome!

A normal Bengali household thrives on fish. So much so that it is rarely considered non-vegetarian any more! As a result, it’s fish for lunch, fish for dinner, and in any other form possible throughout the day, including in savouries like fish fries and fish cutlets.

However, neither Pooja nor I are big fans of fish. Even our cat Dodo has to be fed his fish, and would rather eat processed kitty food all day!

Continue reading “No mincing words on this keema: It’s awesome!”

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