I don’t remember how it all started, but I am truly, deeply in love, with the street food of Chandni Chowk. Purani Delli is famous for its traffic, wholesale markets and is a shopping destination for brides to be and their families, but something that it is loved is for its food, specially street food.
Now be it a nukkad chat wala, or that old small shop of gol gappa wala, we don’t mind getting into hours of traffic to satisfy our taste buds. And one universally acknowledged truth is that these street food vendors can beat any chef. This is because while chef’s are busy making their authentic Chinese or Japanese dishes, these vendors serve you something that your taste buds appreciate. From momos with super spicy tomato garlic chutney to the bhalla papdi, everything is DESI. And no matter what, every Desi man would settle for street food…
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Today if I tell you that I’m going to select a PERFECT DRINK for you using the stars, you might roll your eyes, or call me a lunatic. Well, believe it or not your Zodiac Sign has much to say about your boozing desires and apathies. Remember how you always like beer while your best friend is a wine person – seems random? Well, ask your stars!!
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Common fruits can make your run-of-the-mill teas an expedition through the tunnels of deliciousness!! I have enlisted a few fruits that we find everyday and everywhere, they are always a part of our grocery list, and their nutritional value is unparalleled. They are colorful, they are sweet, they are tangy – a bundle of joy; just add them to your basic tea recipes and get engulfed in their varied flavors each day!!
Instead of water, use hot & diluted apple juice (fresh or canned) to steep the tea. If you feel lazy, you can always add freshly chopped apple in your steaming-hot tea and let it infuse. Put some honey for a flare of sweetness. There is more to the cliché, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” than meets the eye. Rich in antioxidants, Vitamin C, Vitamin B Complex, dietary fiber and a plethora of minerals apples…
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I often get asked photography questions: what camera I use, how to take good photos without a professional camera, etc. Everything in this post comes after a few years of taking photos and making lots of mistakes, but learning from most all of them (Sometimes you repeat the same mistake).
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Growing up, my grandmother made the absolute best pound cake. No matter where I went or who made the cake, it never even came close to how good my grandmother’s was. Because I was scared of her pound cake standard, I always stayed away from making it. Eventually I got the courage to try making it myself. After trying numerous recipes, I finally found one that came extremely close to hers. After tweaking it with extra almond and vanilla, I finally had the pound cake that reminded me of home.
I continued to play with the recipe and created wondering flavor combinations. One of my favorites is this lemon pound cake with cranberries. A lot of cranberry loaf recipes use fresh cranberries in their batter. Because I couldn’t find any at the time I just rehydrated some sweetened dried cranberries. It worked perfectly.
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How much Biryani is too much biriyani? One, two or three portions? I hope this question must have haunted you too like me. Well, till I went for the Times Biryani trail with none other than the one and only Marryam Reshii (I would like to call her the food queen of Delhi!), the well-known food critic behind the Times Food Guide, I never had an answer for this question.
I got the answer on a hot and humid September afternoon at Delhi when I along with around 25 other die-hard biriyani fans started an adventure of tasting the most famous biriyanis in Delhi.
We started in right earnest, all of us eager and raring to go like a bunch of school kids on a school picnic. From 12 noon to 7 pm in the gap of 7 hours we had tasted 6 biriyani’s crisscrossing Delhi in an a/c bus. At the end, we were feeling that maybe a few more biriyani’s would have been great.
We first went to Daryaganj, walked through narrow lanes and to the residence of Shibli Anis, who along with family was there to welcome us with a chilled glass of Khus Sharbat. Shibli runs the royal cuisine of the walled city called ‘Delhi 6’. We were served fluffy and non-spicy Delhi Mutton Biryani and Raita, which were melt in the mouth and tasty.
From there, we went to ‘The Smoky Chettinad’ at Mayur Vihar, Phase-1. This is a cosy small open kitchen delivery only setup run by a couple who cook Chettinad Cuisine using traditional spices. On arrival we were served traditional Butter Milk as welcome drink, later accompanied by Chettinad Mutton Biryani and Raita. The mutton biriyani had boiled eggs in them, which made it extra tasty and different and the biriyani was typical spicy chettinadu variety.
We then rushed to Oh! Calcutta in Nehru Place, which celebrates the spirit of Bengal and makes you revisit the lost culinary delights served only in Old Kolkata. On arrival we were served Lemonade made from Gondhoraj (special lime you find in Kolkata), accompanied by Murgh Biryani and for the first time to the delight of our vegetarian friends, Veg Biryani also. The speciality of Kolkata biriyani is that they add potato along with pieces of chicken.
Our penultimate destination was a surprise for everyone. Tucked away in Adhichini, Aurbindo Marg the Parsi Bhonu named ‘Rustoms’. The interior of the restaurant had been done up in the traditional style of Parsi homes. The ambience is very homely, especially with the presence of the bubbly and vivacious Kainaaz, who manages the shows very professionally.
The main course platter was a spread of Mutton Pulao served along with Masala Dal, Salli and Dahi Kachumbar. This was the best fare among all the restaurants we visited and I will recommend all foodies to visit Rustoms at least once and enjoy ‘real Parsi Bhonu’!
Our final destination was ‘Mahabelly’ in Saket, behind DLF Mall, in Restaurant block. This is a new restaurant serving traditional Kerala dishes. They served us Chicken Biryani and Prawn Biryani. Everybody loved and gorged on the prawn biriyani which is a class apart.
I don’t know if any gastronome had said it earlier, even though I don’t care, but after this trail, I’m famously putting my first quote on Biryani and dedicate it to all die-hard biriyani fans:
“There is nothing like an overdose of biriyani. The more the variety of biriyani the merrier.”