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: Hungree Belly really fills you up! [4/5]

HSR Layout in Bengaluru has become one of the most happening places when it comes to happening things. And when it comes to food, there is no exception. However, just because the place is happening does not mean the food is happening as well! That is where Hungree Belly stands out, with some great and experimental food. Visit this place if you are in for a culinary mini adventure, or just want some quality Tandoori Chicken! Read on for the longer version of the review.

Hungree Belly Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

At first sight, Hungree Belly might not look like a place where you have a good dining experience. It may even come off as tacky! But please do not be fooled by the informal looks or turned off by the prices. Sit down, order some food and owner Prateek Chandok – a chartered accountant-turned-restaurateur – may just walk by and suggest some great orders. Heck, he might even get the kitchen to rustle up something special for you!

Getting there is not a problem if you are a regular in the Koramangala area. A bunch of us went there, and this is what we experienced.

Starters

Chandok, who was at the venue on this day we visited, was more than happy to recommend us some starters. He began with some desi jalapeno poppers aka some mirchi bhaji and some fried prawn dumplings, as seen here:

Finger food!!

Suffice to say, they were delicious! Mildly spiced though they were, these were good finger food. But there was more to come.

Here you see, clockwise from top left: Chicken 65 [Hungree Belly-style], Chukandari Paneer Tikka, Hariyali Tikki and Tiranga Paneer, aka bread pakoda with a paneer filling.

Palate-tickling affair!

Chandok stayed true to the name of his eatery and its spirit, that people need a little more than a single dish when they are hungry, and hence the noodles with the first dish.

The paneer tikka was surprisingly delicious, in that the flavours had permeated the otherwise dense cheese. The grilling had also made it slightly smoky and charred, which was also great! And the bread pakoda was nothing like the old-oil-soaked cholesterol-inducing stuff sold by the roadside.

And then, some more finger food. Here we have, again clockwise from top left, some Classic Chilli Fish, some Hungree Belly Cheese Nachos, some Elvis Presley-style breakfast – which is a huge calorific intake given that it is PB&J sandwiches and fries, something Elvis apparently had to replenish his strength after a night of rocking – and some Pav Bhaji.

To be honest, the Pav Bhaji was a bit underwhelming, in that the bhaji was nowhere near the hearty goop of veggies that are found in many roadside stalls dotting Mumbai. Even the nachos, served with Rajma for some reason, were not a big draw, in that they were heavy and oily.

But the Chilli Fish seemed to make up for that, given that it was beautifully flavoured and succulent enough to disintegrate when pressed between the tongue and the roof of the mouth! Even the Elvis breakfast was good, but recommended only if you want a lot of empty carbs!

Now, Tandoori Chicken is a dish few people can get wrong. Get it just right, and you have repeat customers. Hungree Belly goes a step further and gets it really delicious, and my mouth is watering even as I write this!

Soft, succulent, smoky… this is one dish that is a must-try here!

Main course

Before I treat you to the main course, here’s an apology because I was too busy eating to click the breads, which made this Hungree Belly Dal – a take on Dal Makhni – and the Methi Matar Makai Malai [M4 for short] taste absolutely delicious!

Veggie delights!

Now I am no vegetarian, but that M4 made one out of me, at least for some time. The dal was no slouch either.

And then they brought out the meat! Here we have the Hungree Belly Mutton Railway Curry and Chicken Dahiwala. The mutton is the bigger draw here.

Money on the meat!

And what great food exploration is complete without some Chicken Biryani?

Another apology here, because I could not stay back for the desserts, which I was told were every bit as delectable as promised!

Final thoughts on Hungree Belly

Here’s wishing Chandok and his team all the best, with years and years of filling the “Hungree Belly” of people!

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Recipe: Chicken nugget curry – a quick chicken curry perfect for hostel-cooking

Chicken nuggets are the kind of comfort food that many have fallen back upon at times of need. They provide a level of emotional support that stands apart from almost all others comfort food. But what if you need to build a whole meal around it? Here’s chicken nugget curry recipe for two, which is just that!

Here are the ingredients:

  • Chicken nugget: 300-400 g [pre-cooked is preferable]
  • Onions: 250-300 g [paste]
  • Tomato: 150-200 g [paste]
  • Ginger-garlic paste: 30-50 g
  • Coriander powder: 5-10 g
  • Cumin powder: 5-10 g
  • Red chilli powder: 5-10 g
  • Turmeric powder: 10-15 g
  • Salt: To taste
  • Fresh coriander/cilantro: 10-15 g [diced]

And here’s the recipe, assuming that the chicken nuggets are ready. I used ready-to-fry nuggets, and shallow-fried them first so they have a crispy exterior and a well-cooked interior.

I then used the leftover oil from the chicken-nugget-frying session to do the rest of the cooking, starting with the onion. This is the first step:

After the onion starts to become a little brown and is reduced 10-15 percent, add the tomato and ginger-garlic pastes. Then mix them well.

As the mixture reduces a bit more, add all the spices and seasoning, and then start stirring. The crunch of the onion must go, as must the acidity of the tomato. The resulting mixture should be smooth and brownish.

After the mixture attains the desired texture and colour, add the chicken nuggets and stir around, so that they are entirely covered by the spicy mix.

Then, add some water and keep stirring so that there is a handsome gravy. Bring the mixture to boil and keep stirring. The mixture should not stick to the bottom, and the spice mix should by now start giving out the oil it had absorbed.

Now, cover and let it cook for 5-10 minutes. Give the occasional stir so that the curry does not stick to the bottom. Add the coriander/cilantro only midway, and you should be good to go.

The end product should look like this:

This is actually the recipe promised at the end of this post. Preetha, if you miss home-cooked Indian food, whip this up at home and it should be good to go with rice, chapati, partha/parotta or other kinds of bread. Tell me the result if you try it!

And that goes for all those people out there who live way from home and miss home-cooked food. It also goes for all those of you who are looking to cut your teeth at cooking Indian food.

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Restaurant review: Attic on Lavelle Road [Rating: 3 / 5]

It’s been a long time since Yum Central put up a post, and those of you good folks who follow us may have been disappointed for quite some time. But we are making an effort to get back on track, starting with this food review, and we definitely will.

Attic Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

First, a little bit about what we have been up to. Pooja and Dodo have turned a house into a home, while Arkadev has moved on from Deccan Herald to the India edition of International Business Times. The times are hectic, but we soldier on, cheered by one another, and often by Dodo’s playful antics. Like chasing after, playing with and chewing up insects that dare to cross his path.

Want more glimpses of what he does? Visit him HERE!

So what changed after several months of silence to bring us back to the blog? For starters, it was the time. For seconds, it was a long time coming, because both of us — Pooja and Arkadev — had been planning posts, but never getting around to writing them. Something or the other came in the way.

That was why we finally sat down and decided, this food review was what we would re-start writing with. Now, Pooja was unavailable for this one, so it was Arkadev all the way at Attic on Lavelle Road, which you can see here:

Food review at Attic

So this was the place on the second floor where we sat. This looks a bit drab here, but once the lighting came on, the ambiance was quite nice. Not too conducive for quite conversations, though, because the music was loud. The Food Bloggers Association of Bangalore (FBAB) team sat at one of the corners, reserved for us for the food review. It was the 37th meet-up of the group, and the first time I was attending one.

The menu was diverse in taste, but somewhat constricted in ingredients. Nevertheless, chicken! We weren’t complaining. Here’s the full menu:

  • Greek salad
  • Chicken strips starter
  • Tetrazini pasta
  • Chicken mix grill sizzler
  • Juicy chicken pizza

Let the review commence!

There were a few other things as well, like this pitcher of beer that was refilled for us. It complemented the pasta really well, but we will come to that later. Just the presentation of the beer was a lovely sight! See for yourself:

Food review, starting with the beer.

That’s Rohini, one of the earliest arrivals at this sundowner. At the peak, there were close to a dozen FBAB members at the venue, having a taste here, taking a sip there, and overall enjoying a gala time, which began as soon as the starters came out. The first of them was what I best understood was pepper chicken:

Food review of pepper chicken

The taste was up to the mark, but nothing beyond that. The chicken felt a little dry, but the spices managed to make up for that somewhat. The food review, once it commenced, never let up in excitement.

Next up was some other chicken pieces, what I understood were chicken wings. Now, you can rarely go wrong with these:

Food review of chicken wings

And they didn’t disappoint. Just right amount of spice made it a great accompaniment to the cold, crisp, bitter lager beer on an evening that was turning out to be better and better with every dish.

Then came the chicken strips starter. I was busy talking to the folks I was meeting for the first time, so by the time I came around to it, some of it had been already polished off. Hence, this looks a bit sparse:

Food review of chicken mix grill

The veggies in this one were crunchy, which was a good foil for the softer chicken. However, the spicing seemed to be uneven, because there was one very hot bit that immediately made my right eye tear up. Thankfully, it also managed to clear my nose.

Along with these came the Greek Salad:

Food review of Greek salad

Fresh greens, crunchy veggies and the cold texture complemented the other spicy foods really well. I would have had more of this had not some of the elements of this dish seemed a little too soggy for them to be palate-pleasing.

Getting busy…

Then came the thin-crust pizza, and was lapped up in a manner of minutes. The others got the photos, but I guess I was too busy biting into this succulence for the food review to snap a pic. Like many other things, you can rarely go wrong with a pizza, and this was no exception.

Soon, it was the turn of the tangy Tetrazini pasta. Like they say in Hindi, pehle darshandhaari, fir gunvichaari. Rough translation: First judge by presentation, then quality. Behold:

Food review of Tetrazini pasta

This looks appetising, but looks can be deceiving. The tangy sauce is missing the burst of flavour, instead having a rather smooth taste, which somehow mutes the tang. Even the pasta seems a bit overcooked, having long lost its firmness. It was tearing along the lines on its sides, and wasn’t too easy to either serve or eat with a single fork.

And last in the food review came the sizzler. Now something about sizzlers has me nostalgic. Probably my dad introducing me to the dish as something Pran was eating in “Amar Akbar Anthony” in THIS scene. Now, I couldn’t make out whether that was a sizzler, but this definitely was. However, I think I forgot to click that one as well!

Nevertheless, it was juicy, succulent, and flavourful, although not in a very strong or overpowering manner.

Overall, it was definitely an entertaining experience, with the credit going equally to the company and the food.

Got something to say about this review? Please feel free to leave a comment in the blog section. Or, contact us through the website!

Menwhile, bon appetit!

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Restaurant Review: Freedom Cafe, an activist’s push for financial freedom [4/5]

Manohar Elavarthi has been an activist for more than 25 years. He has fought for the rights of sexual minorities, workers in the unorganised sector and women. But he is an activist with a difference. He wants his activism to continue, no matter what hurdle comes his way.

The biggest such hurdle is money. And things are especially tough financially since the Central government has started tightening funding norms of NGOs. But Mr Elavarthi here is a man with a plan. He has just combined two of passions, and the result is Freedom Cafe, on MSREC Road, the Mathikere side of M S Ramaiah Institute of Technology in Bengaluru.

Elavarthi plans to run this snug little place true to it’s name, as a place where freedom is valued, and fights for freedom are initiated. He also plans to use the earnings from this eatery to fuel the fights he takes on on behalf of people who need him the most.

Freedom Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Freedom Cafe happens to be the first restaurant Yum Central is reviewing, and to be honest, it’s an honour! The only regret is that this review is a result of the experiences of Arkadev alone, as Pooja, who was under the weather, chose to skip it. So here goes!

I arrived at the place a little in advance, and to be honest, was hit by the very organic vibe it gave out. Mr Elavarthi would arrive soon, and I was to first do a story on him for out newspaper before reviewing the restaurant.

I must say, what almost instantly caught my attention was a bit of polish to the whole place. The power sockets next to most seats added only to Freedom Cafe’s inviting nature. I would learn later that Mr Elavarthi offers free Wi-Fi, too! Now although many eateries and hangout joints do that not many let you charge your device, though…

By now, I had ordered a plate of French fries. Shelling out Rs 40 a plate, I was told to opt for the Sour Cream and Onion variety by the manager there, Deepak by name. He and the food didn’t disappoint. But we will come to that in a few minutes, which was how long the food took to arrive. Meanwhile, I busied myself studying the adornments on the wall.

Mr Elavarthi had arrived by now, and we got talking. The food had arrived in the meantime, but something else Mr Elavarthi had said and showed had more of my attention for the moment. He said he wanted the eatery to be be a place where people converge to discuss, debate and work for society. To that end, he had ensured that if his patrons need more space, the bigger tables – one side bolted to the wall – can be folded to the wall to create more space. Like so:

Then, as I interviewed him for the newspaper article (to be found here), I dug into the French fries, and was pleasantly surprised! These were crispy even when they had turned a little cold, and every inch of every fry was evenly covered with the sour cream and onion flavour! So no burst of flavour in one bite and nothing in the next. And they were accompanied by four different dips, including California honey mustard, mint mayonnaise and Peri Peri!

Next came the biryani, Luknow-i (or is it Lukhnavi) style. Beautifully spiced, slightly on the sweeter side and with a side of raita, this one was filling, and had flavour in every bite.

Meanwhile, Mr Elavarthi was talking about the thought process that went into the look and feel of Freedom Cafe. The entire seating and dining arrangement is made of refurbished wood, and the food is served in easily biodegradable and eco-friendly utensils.

Also, he supports the Right to Water, and so does not sell bottled water. All the water served at Freedom Cafe comes from a special machine that treats it, and is absolutely healthy!

As talk turns to Mr Elavarthi’s love for food, and how it started, out come the savouries – veggie and paneer sticks with the four dips.

By Mr Elvarthi’s own confession, the veggie bits are the best. One bite, and I knew why. But it took a few more bites to absolutely cement that opinion. That crunchy crust is absolutely chock-full of flavour, from spices to bits of vegetables, with some cheese right at the centre! In my opinion, it was really good finger food, fit to wow vegetarian guests at cocktail parties.

The paneer was great, too! And with a full, solid slice of it in the stick, it was really good value for money! Especially considering the fact that paneer is costlier than chicken these days…

And while we finish these up, the chicken strip arrives.

It was crispy, tasty, beautifully seasoned and spiced. And it could give many a multi-national food chain some serious competition.

By this time, I was beginning to feel full, so we prepared to part ways. Mr Elavarthi decided that it should be on a sweet note, and out came a Mizo rice cake with a little ice cream!

It had the consistency of a sweet dish made of jaggery/molasses, and so I was expecting a really stiff sugar hit. Instead, I was once again pleasantly surprised by the quietly sweet taste of this dish from North-East India, made with sticky rice. And that was the culmination of that culinary tour.

For Yum Central, this was a good place to eat, and even better, hang out at. We give it 4 stars out of 5! But only because we expect it to grow much bigger. And pray that it happens, too!

Those willing to give this place a try can look it up on Facebook or Zomato, or even land up directly at:

Freedom Cafe,
Ground Floor, Sree Complex,
No. 4/3, MSREC Road, Mathikere,
(Near Ramaiah College Gate 11/ NIAS Main Gate, New BEL Road)
Bengaluru – 560054.

Here’s a quick look at their menu:

Got something to tell us? Like pointing out a mistake or giving us some interesting bit of trivia? Right this way!

Coming soon: A little recipe for a friend studying abroad, and the hundreds and thousands of others like her. [The recipe did come, but not as soon as we would have wanted it.]

PS: Anybody got any tips on how to take good photos with a point-and-click camera?

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Kosha Mangsho: An especially spicy Bengali preparation of chicken

Sreya and Sandipan Chatterjee have become regular guests at our home now. And they bring with them bagfuls of joy, fun and fruendship. They drop in, sometimes unnanounced, and the smile on our faces widen each time.

 

The last time they came, whcih was a couple of weeks ago — this is where we apologise to followers of our blog for no new posts for more than two weeks — they brought with them a little part of Kolkata. It was something every Bengali cherishes. It was their version of Kosha Mangsho. And they took over the kitchen to treat us to it.

 

Do you smell what Sandipan (Bunty) is cooking?

 

So while I was not there — I got a little of the leftover, and it was still delicious, despite the reheating and all — Pooja waxed eloquent about this dish.

 

Here’s what they used:

  • Chicken: 800 g
  • Onions: 200 in paste form, 250 g chopped
  • Tomato: 200 g
  • Salt: to taste
  • Ginger: 20 pods in paste form, 30 g chopped
  • Garlic: 2 in paste form, 3 chopped
  • Red chilli powder (optional): 30-40 g
  • Turmeric: 20-30 g
  • Green chilli: 2-3, slit dorsally
  • Sugar (yes, you read that right): 20-30 g
  • Mustard oil: 300-350 ml (yes, it will be oily)
  • Water: 40-50 ml

The resulting dish should look something like this:

So, this is entirely Pooja’s account, and it starts with the marination, which took a full 30 minutes. And the first step was making a paste out of all that onion, ginger and garlic mentioned earlier.

The fresh chicken, just cleaned, is about to get a good lathering. And that ginger-garlic-onion paste is just the beginning!

Then, in go the turmeric and red chilli powder. And I am salivating as I type. This was made two weeks ago, and I still can’t forget the taste!

Now, add some of that mustard oil, mix everything well so every bit of the chicken’s surface area is lathered in the homogeneous marinade. Then set it aside for half an hour.

Meanwhile, ensure that your onions, garlic…

…and tomatoes are chopped and kept aside.

And this is where the husband-wife jugalbandi (collaboration, if you will) started showing. Pooja says as soon as the cooking began, Sreya and Sandipan displayed a kind of innate understanding that was truly amazing!

With the marination almost done, in goes the rest of the oil, and it’s quite a lot, into a pan for heating.

Pooja, at this point, is a silent spectator, flitting in and out of the busy couple’s way as she tries to pictorially document the recipe. She also scrunches her nose as the split green chillies hit the now-boiling oil, which already has just had the sugar put in it. The sugar will bring the beautiful brown colour this recipe boasts of.

Then, in go the chopped onions, which will be fried to a golden brown, with the sugar already working its magic.

Then, it’s the turn of the tomatoes. And more stirring ensues for a more homogeneous colour and so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.

This time-consuming stirring is called “kosha” in Bengali. I am not familiar with the etymology. If you are, please feel free to tell us, and we will feature your statement here! Meanwhile, in with the well-marinated chicken.

As the stirring continues, the chicken cooks in not only the marinade, but the juices the onions and tomatoes had earlier released.

Sreya and Sandipan have kept on cooking the chicken for 20 minutes when the veggies reduce, the oils are released and the chicken has taken the beautiful brown hue that we so desire.

The pan is now covered and left to simmer on a small temperature, to kosha-fy the chicken a little more. And Pooja says the aroma at this point was making her homesick.

After around 5-10 minutes, a little water is added to the pan and its contents given a few more decisive stirs before Sreya and Sandipan pronounce the dish ready! And boy does it look good!

Like I said, Pooja and the Chatterjees simply gobbled this up in the early morning of India’s Independence Day, while I got to the leftovers later in the day. And it was every bit worth it! Interesting thing is, paired extremely well with both rice and bread!

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Coriander Chicken, with friends at home

Nothing can be experienced to the fullest unless you have friends and loved ones to experience it with. That’s why when our friends Sreya and Sandipan drop in from time to time, often surprising us, the Cheshire-Cat smile makes its appearance on Pooja’s face, and the drinking and eating lasts well into the next day.

And every time this beautiful couple comes a-visiting, they bring with them something or the other that’s uniquely their own, and regale us with it. This Saturday, Sreya brought with her a recipe whose end-product made us nostalgic for quintessential roadside dhabas and their lip-smacking cuisine. And this one, too, has no turmeric, much like the wine chicken Pooja had cooked earlier! Pretty unusual for Indian food, right? Here’s what it ultimately looked like.

As for the the taste, it was a little piece of heaven, with tastes of the earth and the most welcoming hearth combined! The spices were strong, the chicken was succulent, and the evening was coloured savoury by the cooking and the company.

Got your creative culinary juices flowing? Here’s how we did it. First, the ingredients:

  • Chicken: 500 g
  • Onion: Paste of 200 g
  • Tomato: Paste of 100-150 g
  • Green chilli: 3
  • Ginger-garlic paste: 100 g
  • Coriander: 100 g
  • Coriander powder: 15-20 g
  • Bay-leaf: 1
  • Curd: 250-300 ml (can be more)
  • Dried chilli powder (optional): 15-30 g
  • Cashew (optional): 100 g
  • Lemon juice: 15-20 ml (can be more)
  • Cinnamon stick: 1 piece
  • Garlic pods: 4
  • Cooking oil: 50 ml
  • Ghee (clarified butter): 50 ml
  • Sugar: As per taste
  • Salt: As per taste

The recipe:

Pooja starts by cleaning the chicken with hot water, thereby killing off a lot of micro-organisms that would have otherwise made our bodies their home.

Then, in goes the curd, cold and creamy, but not too fatty.

Add to that the lemon juice, coriander powder, chilli powder, ginger-garlic paste and salt.

Mix the entire thing up, and let the chicken soak in the marinade.

Now for another bit to the marinade. Take the fresh coriander leaves and the garlic pods, …

… put them in the mixer, and pour most of the resulting paste into the marinating chicken. Keep a little of the paste aside. You will need it later.

Mix that thing well, and marinate the chicken for at least 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare to cook. Set your oven to medium heat, put on the pan, heat the oil and the ghee, and put in the bay-leaf and the cinnamon stick, all broken up.

By now, we hope you have made your onion paste…

…and tomato paste.

Now that the oil is starting to release the spices flavour, pour in the onion paste and keep stirring. Don’t let the paste stick to the bottom.

Then, just when the onion starts becoming a beautiful golden-yellow, put in the tomato paste and commence more stirring.

Then, when the entire thing has achieved a homogeneous colour, put in the rest of the coriander paste and stir some more till the mixture achieves a beautiful greenish tinge.

Now, pour in the marinated chicken. Let more stirring commence.

The stirring should be continuous for the chicken to cook well, and the spices to work its magic.

After some time, when the chicken is cooked well — a fact easily verified by testing its softness: just poke it with a knife and you will know — and the gravy is starting to congeal, pour in some water. Let the water mix with the gravy, so you have a good curry with the chicken.

And voila! The coriander chicken is ready. Thank you, Sreya!

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