29 June 2014

Keep Calm and Eat Sushi

'I'm not making art. I'm making sushi' - Masaharu Morimoto

One of my favourite food quotes. And so apt to introduce this blogpost. Because this is not just about eating sushi but also making it. 

The food bloggers were recently invited to BusaGo at Lower Parel for a fun sushi making MasterClass where renowned chef Nikhil Chib would be teaching us. Here we could make our own sushi and eat it too! The best tasting sushi would then be put on the menu at BusaGo, Lower Parel for the entire month of July. We all reached the venue the allotted Saturday afternoon and sipped on sangria while we waited for the class to begin. They brought out the sushi making ingredients and the shutterbugs went crazy clicking pictures even before we knew what the ingredients were.

Click Click!

Sushi Making Ingredients

Special mention to Chef Chib's Rottweiler Wolfgang who roamed around the place, greeting everyone and supervising us as we made some sushi. Hands down the friendliest Rottweiler in the world.

Wolfgang Poses for Me
Chef then went through the entire process of making a sushi. Here is a quick step by step procedure.

1. Place the bamboo mat for rolling the sushi on the counter, and the seaweed paper on top of the mat. The sushi we were learning to make is called a maki and uses a seaweed called nori as the outer covering.
2. Wet your fingers and start spreading the sticky rice over the seaweed sheet such that it is all evened out.
3. On one end of the sheet add the fillings of your choice depending on what sushi you want to make. Chef told us to experiment with what types of sushi we can make since sushi is a versatile dish. 
4. Now the tricky part. Rolling the sushi with the help of the bamboo mat till you get a sushi roll.
5. Cut the sushi roll from the center into symmetrical, equal pieces (which is again super difficult to do).

From Clockwise: Chef Demonstrates the Sushi Making Procedure
We were randomly divided into teams of 3-4 and asked to go back and experiment making our own sushi. Our team named 'Japanese Dolls' comprised of Aditi (@stuffednstarved), Saloni (@masalachic) and me. We made two types of sushi, a vegetarian 'Green Geisha', and a non-vegetarian 'Hot Dog Sushi'. 

 Chef then judged the sushi of every team based on taste, presentation and technique. Our 'Green Geisha' was declared the best vegetarian sushi. Woot Woot!

Ingredients for Green Geisha: Sticky Rice, Veg Tempura, Som Tam, Jalapenos,
Asparagus, Wasabi and a secret ingredient called Love.

Saathi Haath Badhaana

Assembling the Sushi

Winning Team (From left to right) @stuffednstarved, me, and @masalachic

(From top to bottom): The Hot Dog Sushi, and Green Geisha

We finished with the hard work of cooking and moved onto the fun job of eating. Momos were being passed around, and I enjoyed the chicken ones. Vegetarian, not so much.

Tibetan Vegetarian Momos

The BusaGo Kaukswe is a coconut curry had with noodles and topped with ingredients of your choice. This is one of my favorite places in the city to get Kaukswe on a budget. The one here is not too spicy so remember to customize it as per your preference with chilli flakes. 

Kaukswe

Customize your Kaukswe

I also really like how the place is done up. Bright, cheery interiors. Colorful chairs and tables. And a blackboard displaying the menu.

Group Picture with Nikhil Chib
All in all such a fun event, learning a new skill. Remember to try our Vegetarian sushi all of July at BusaGo, Lower Parel. Or else come over and be my guinea pig while I experiment with a few sushi ideas I have of my own. Chocolate sushi anyone?

My MFL Card Arrives!

I experienced such joy when I received my MFL card recently. The joy was twofold because I now have an exclusive dining-out card which helps me get discount at bars and restaurants in the city. And secondly the card is the brainchild of some very dear friends of mine. This blogpost is for them and their baby, and the fact that I want their hard work to be known by all (or whoever reads this blog).

What is a MFL card?
The Mumbai Food Lovers (MFL) card is an exclusive card which enabled you to get discounts and deals at their partner restaurants across Mumbai and Pune. 


My MFL Card is Here! 

My Top 3 Reasons why should you get a MFL card:
1. Okay so most importantly the card is a privilege card valid in select restaurants, bars and stores across Mumbai as well as Pune. So you get to use your card in both cities which I think is pretty cool considering the number of times we travel to Pune for work/fun/NH7. 

2. The card is beyond a discount card in my opinion. It entitles you to be able to attend special events and experiences that will be hosted exclusively for MFL card holders. How awesome is that!

3. The list of partner restaurants and bars covers a number of my favorite watering holes such as The Irish House, The Big Nasty, The Little Door and more. The card offers discount on alcoholic beverages too. Which is good considering how much we tend to spend on drinking out these days. Let's do some basic math here:
Cost of the MFL card: Rs 3000/- for a years validity.
Per Month Cost of the card: Rs. 250/-
Drinking out expenses of the Average Indian youngster: Rs. 3000/- per month (Some of us are above average here)
Using the MFL card on the average monthly booze bill: Rs. 300-350/- discount.
So basically you cover up your monthly cost of the card on your booze bill. 
(And if you don't drink then you'll eat at the awesome partner restaurants, noh?)

Read up more about the MFL card on www.mflcard.in
P.S.: You also get to download this cool MFL card app so that you can get all information on the go.  

26 June 2014

The Crawl of the Phoenix

(Harry Potter inspired title for this post. Yay!)
Talk about malls and shopping in Mumbai and one name comes to mind: Phoenix! The one at Lower Parel and the younger sibling who resides at Kurla are both landmark shopping and most importantly food destinations. 

With our emphasis to explore the food options that Phoenix Marketcity, Kurla has to offer the food bloggers set out on a Food Crawl. We were looking forward to this fun evening that the guys at Phoenix Marketcity in collaboration with Food Bloggers Association of India (FBAI) had organized for us. Well I've done food crawls and bar hops before, but nothing inside a mall. So this was going to be different indeed. 

Destination I: The Irish House for drinks, cocktails, and appetizers.
I love The Irish House having been to the other outlet at Lower Parel before. It's such a fun place to chill with friends and grab a drink. We were all gathered around a large table in front of the screen playing the FIFA world cup. (Major plus points to them for being so football friendly and screening the match every evening). A special drinks menu was created just for us. Aaaah...the good life!


Guaranteed Talli Formula: The Irish House Drinks Menu made for us.

(Left to Right) Jalapeno Margarita, Irish Hangover, Cosmopolitan, Irish Trash Can

I tasted four drinks from the menu. (Yes, four drinks!) The Cosmopolitan was like any other Cosmo you've had before. Order it if you're a fan of girly drinks and/or Sex And The City. The Irish Trash Can was a combination of four spirits with a dash of peach flavor served in a beer mug with Redbull. Looking to get guaranteed drunk in a single drink? Then please order the Irish Hangover. It has Jameson, spiced rum, black rum, white rum, vodka, gin, tequila, bourbon whiskey, absinthe, triple sec and three types of whiskies with pineapple, blue curacao and lime. Phew! Is there any alcohol that isn't in there? Guaranteed hangover Ireland style with this!

My favorite drink of the night, and a favorite with a lot of the others was the Jalapeno Margarita. A classic Margarita with a spicy jalapeno twist. We got the opportunity to get behind the bar and try our skills at bartending. I chose to learn how to make the Jalapeno Margarita and called my drink the 'Jangli Billi'. Meow!


The Many Moods of Making a 'Jangli Billi'
We dove headfirst into the food after our stint behind the bar. I loved the Chicken Popcorn which makes a fun bar snack and my all time favorite 'The Irish House Nachos'. Heaps of refried beans, guacamole, cheese and sour-cream make these babies so much fun to eat!

Chicken Popcorn

The Irish House Nachos
Tweet Before You Eat
Pic Courtesy: @AyeBee_Me
After all the bartending and hogging it was time to move onto our next stop of the food crawl, but not before we did some shots!


Shots Anyone?

Fun, Foodie Family

Pic of the Night. Photobombimg @mohitsurfs
Destination II: Rainforest for some more appetizers and mains. 
This was my first visit to Rainforest, and I enjoyed the jungle vibe they had going on. An artificial gorilla greets you at the entrance and a there is a waterfall with a bridge just as you get past the door. We sat on wooden log like tables with creepers and vines all around us. Jungle B(h)ook time.

I enjoyed the Prawn Cocktail which was served in a Martini glass with some cocktail dipping sauce. 
Prawn Cocktail

The Kurkure Cheese Kababs were as the name suggests fried balls of cheese with veggies. 
Kurkure Cheese Kabab
 We were made to play a fun game where we tasted this yummy Rainforest Pasta the chef especially created for our table and were made to guess the ingredients. The person who ended up guessing the most correct ingredients as we took turns, was declared the winner. And yes, white sauce isn't an ingredient.

I Pose with some Paneer Achari Tikka

Destination III: Dunkin' Donuts for dessert
Mass hysteria gripped the city when this famous international donut chain came to Mumbai. Thank God we didn't have to stand in hour long queues to get our fill of donut and coffee.True foodies like us could've been eating the entire night, but we always make space for dessert and coffee.


Intense Discussion: Kya Order Kare?

Donut Display

Donut + Stirr'accino = Happy Me!

Say Cheese. No, Say Donuts!
Three Pitstops, Three courses, Three of Mumbai's famous food destinations, this was a guaranteed fun night at Phoenix Marketcity!


Group Picture
P.S. Do you know Phoenix Marketcity, Kurla is a 10 minute rickshaw ride from the Jagruti Nagar station on the Mumbai Metro. Easier access for me from work now. Yippee!

25 June 2014

Maroosh is now MM! Maroosh

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Maroosh. Famous for their wraps, rolls and shawarmas, in addition to their Mughlai fare, Maroosh is a popular post-partying-drinking haunt. Ideal for grabbing a roll on the move, they have established themselves as a popular Lebanese fast food chain across the city. In fact the owner of Maroosh, Ketan Kadam, decided to launch 

Maroosh because people were looking for a place to grab a quick bite after a night of partying at his famous night club.
The popularity of Maroosh over the years has recently led to them revamping the brand as MM! Maroosh. Mumbai Food Lovers were invited to the recent opening of their reinvented Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) at Bandra Reclamation.  In addition they launch a take away at Shivaji Park, Dadar and kiosks at PVR Cinemas across the city, planning to have 30 revamped MM! Maroosh outlets by the end of this year.

The menu includes Lebanese food like shawarmas, falafel, hummus with pita bread, and Lebanese salads. Indian fare such as wraps, starters and a few mains are on the menu too. The restaurant is brightly done up in cheery yellow and white. I loved the fun vibe to the entire place. Even the food is served in kitschy wrapping paper, interesting take away containers and trays. They even have yellow Vespas to home deliver your orders. I loved the new feel to the place. This new look and feel is intended keeping in mind their idea for Pan-Asian expansion.

The MM! Maroosh Prototype Restaurant
They’ve launched three new dishes to the menu, out of which, the Baked Falafel Wrap was my favourite dish of the night. Succulent falafel pieces, crunchy vegetables, and hummus that were enveloped in a wrap. Go try this new addition to the menu!

Baked Falafel Wrap
However, the Falafel Salad we tasted was not as good. It contained falafel, veggies, and hummus. I found the falafel a bit crumbly, and not as good as the ones I tasted in the wrap. The Paneer Shawarma was average. I wish the paneer pieces were a bit spicier. Overall the shawarma was slightly bland.

The Paneer Tikka Roll however compensated for this. Succulent, spicy paneer tikka pieces wrapped in a roomali roti and this was served with lovely, mint chutney on the side. I also loved the hummus platter with pita bread. Three hummus types: Garlic, Sundried Tomato, and Jalapeno were served in containers, which makes it perfect to eat on the go. All three went perfectly with the toasted Pita bread. The Sundried Tomato Hummus was exceptionally good, and we scooped off the entire dish.

The other new dish of the night was the Chicken Tikka Shawarma. I’m replacing my regular shawarma with this one. Perfect combination of two popular favourites: Chicken Tikka and Shawarma. The chicken in this was the perfect spicy, tikka flavour. 

Chicken Tikka Shawarma
The Chicken Hummus Salad was all that is contained in a shawarma, without the outer pita wrap. So if you want to do the healthier version of a shawarma, this is for you. Not that this is too healthy, but still. (On a random thought I wonder if we get whole wheat shawarmas anywhere. Anyone knows?)

Another favourite dish of mine that night was the Chicken Bhuna roll. The chicken stuffing was similar to chicken makhanwala. So this roll was basically a portable Butter Chicken- Roomali Roti. Absolutely yummy, despite the excess oil. 

Overall MM!Maroosh retains the qualities it was known for: easy, take-away, delicious, filling, Lebanese food. All of this in a revamped avatar!  Sometimes, the sequel can be better than the original, as proved in this case. Maroosh or MM!Maroosh , we know where to get our fill of shawarmas and rolls late at night!

Bandra: (Sit-Down)
Address:
mm! maroosh (Reclamation) - Shop No. 14, Ground Floor, Building No. c3 (Kosamba), ONGC Residential Complex, Bandra Reclamation, Bandra (W) - 50
Restaurant Contact Details: 9819844933

Dadar: (Take-Away)
Address:
mm! maroosh (Shivaji Park) - Plot No. 120, Shop No. 7, Shakuntal Building, Keluskar Road, Shivaji Park, Dadar (W), Mumbai - 28

PS: Sincere apologies for lack of photos in this post. Lost phone, no backup, long story! Promise to make it up with excessive photographs in the next. Cheers!

19 June 2014

Poppaddum Anyone?

I love Mumbai city for the sheer number of people from different caste, creed, and religion who inhabitate it, each rendering a different flavor to the culture of the city. This is reflected in the different food and cuisines that are available in abundance. South Indian food goes far beyond idlis and dosas, and luckily we have a few, landmark restaurants to prove that. 

Mahim and Fort areas are home to a number of hidden gems, that have been serving up traditional Malayali food since years. Especially since there are so many people from the state of Kerala that have made Mumbai their home. But when you're looking for traditional, home cooked Malayali food, your neighbors or friends house is your best bet. And even if those options are not available then a concept like 'Poppaddum' comes to the rescue.

What is Poppaddum? A concept initiated by Sneha Nair; whose profession is economic research and passion is cooking. She put her flair for cooking traditional, Malayali, home food to good use through Poppaddum. It is basically a pop-up restaurant that she hosts every Sunday at her place, and serves some delicious food that she whips up. It is a fun concept where not only do you get to try out some traditional Kerala cuisine but also get to meet some interesting, like-minded foodies.

A friend of mine came across her Sunday menu on the Small Fry Facebook page and shared it with me. We read the menu, and we were hooked. Mainly because it was supposed to be a fishetarian meal. Three of us mailed her, signed up, and waited expectedly for Sunday afternoon to arrive.


Our Sunday Menu

Sunday afternoon arrives and we trail to Bandra East, to Sneha's kitchen. We sit like a bunch of hungry school children on mats on the floor, drooling at the smells that waft through the kitchen. Finally everyone arrives! The banana leaves are placed in front of us and the fun begins.

The Meen Varthathu or fish fry in shallots masala, was crispy and deep fried to the point of no return. I was anxious when Sneha told me she was serving Bangda fish (or mackerel for the anglicised). Now Bangda is my least favorite only because of the number of bones it has. It takes far too much effort to eat through this fish. But the Bangda we were served were tiny, and fried so well that the bones were edible. We crunched our way through a number of these babies.
Meen Varthathu
The Mangzha Perka or the raw mango chutney with coconut and yogurt was hands down the winner that afternoon. We've all eaten coconut chutney, but this one was so beautifully flavored with raw mango. The 'kairi' and yogurt gave the chutney such a spicy tangy taste. I had spoonfuls of this chutney raw, and later mixed it with my rice and gobbled it down.


Mangzha Perka
The Meen Curry which is a Kerala fish curry and rice was up next. Lovely flavor of tamarind all through the curry here. Sneha's fish curry-rice is added to my list of comfort foods, it was so homely and delicious. 


Meen Curry-Rice
How could a meal at Poppaddum be complete without poppaddum? And some delicious raw mango pickle on the side.


Raw Mango Pickle

Poppaddum

After what seemed like gazillion helpings of rice and those beautiful, tiny bangdas I was done. And ready to pass out into a food coma. We took a break from all the eating to chit-chat and get to know each other a tad bit better. Then we got back to the serious work of eating....this time dessert!

My Malayali friends from college would bring payasam for us on every birthday. I've only eaten the one made of milk and vermicelli, and always thought that was the only variant. We were going to try the Cherupayar Payasam which is lentils in jaggery syrup. I'm not too much of a jaggery fan so I did not enjoy this. I found it a tad bit heavy. But I guess that was because of the amount of food we had already stuffed in. Wish I could've had some of the milk payasam. 


Cherupayar Payasam
Final Verdict: Go for the absolutely delicious, homely Kerala food. And the fun company that comes free along with it. 700 bucks for the meal may be slightly on the pricier side considering you could get a similar thali at one of the Fort restaurants for less than half the price. But are you getting to hang out with and meet some interesting people along with ghar ka khana?


Group Shot. All smiles :)

Contact:
The Poppaddum Facebook page here has all the important details you may need regarding the further Sunday lunches.

15 June 2014

Pour Some Sugar On Me

This song plays in the background while I start typing out this blog post, and there could've been no better title. Most people have a sweet tooth, I have an entire sweet jaw. I could do dessert for dinner, and still have space for dessert. So I was thrilled to bits when I heard I won a surprise dessert box from the wonderful guys at Brown Paper Bag. And also the prettiest earrings from Pipa Bella.

What is a dessert box you ask? Its a box that goes out once a month with six wonderful, sugary treats inside. Each of them are prepared by home chefs, restaurants and bakers for the subscribers. So you get to try out new desserts every month, and also order more of the ones you like. I think it's an excellent gifting option, and are priced at Rs. 900/- per box. Get more deets here. I have been wanting to order one for the longest time, but as luck would have it I won myself one. And this month's dessert box was special as it was themed around Father's Day. 


My Dessert Box + Pipa Bella Earrings + Surprise from Propshop24

They sent along a lovely surprise gift for all dads along with the box courtesy PropShop24. They have the cutest USB devices and lens cases. Check out their website. Do it now!


The Cutest Fathers Day Frame

Pretty Pipa + Bella earrings
Let's get to business now and dissect what all I got inside the box.


This Months Dessert Box
1. Chocolate Salted Caramel Dipping Sauce from Eat Sleep Bake Repeat
Loved this chocolate and caramel sauce. It's perfect to spread on cookies, cake, or with fruit. I'm going to spread it on my toast for my upcoming breakfasts, and clog my arteries. 


Chocolate Salted Caramel Dipping Sauce
2. Gooey Brownies also from Eat Sleep Bake Repeat
Yum, moist brownies were next. I'm such a brownie fan, and these were fairly good. Check out their facebook page here for more info.


Gooey Brownies
3. Cinnamon Cake from SilverSpoon Gourmet
This is a perfect dessert for people who aren't huge dessert fans. It's not too sweet, and has a lovely cinnamon-y flavour. It's one of those cakes to be had with some tea on the side. It was perfectly moist and not too crumbly inspite of me having it the next day.


Cinnamon Cake
4. Lemon Cheesecake from Barrio
I love Barrio when I last visited and wrote all about it here. The cheesecake was fairly good. I just wished it had more of the biscuit base that I so love in a cheesecake.


Lemon Cheesecake
5. Fresh Orange Cream Pastry from Fat Mans Cafe
The latest entrant on Bandras food scene, who everyone has been raving about makes an appearance in the dessert box. The pastry however, was my least favorite item in the box. A yummy cream, citrus pastry nevertheless.


Fresh Orange Cream Pastry

6. Flourless Gluten Free Chocolate Pastry from Foodhall
I saved the best for last. If flourless and gluten-free taste so good, I'm never eating flour or gluten again. This dessert comes from Foodhall which is a premium food lifestyle store situated in Palladium. I loved that the chocolate was slightly bitter, and inspite of having no flour it was soft and moist. Vanilla ice-cream on the side would've been perfect on the side.


Flourless Gluten Free Chocolate Pastry
The dessert box made it such a special Father's Day, as dad and I bonded over what we both love most. Hope you'll had a lovely day too.