Thursday, May 22, 2014

BIKANERVALA - GURGAON





 I am a hardened foodie and have a weak knee for good quality Indian sweets

Unlike Haldiram and Brijwasi, food quality and menu of Bikanervala restaurants is not highly standardised. But this particular Bikanervala is just too good to believe. Much better than the Haldiram chain. Right from the food quality, to the presentation and most of all the variety. Below are reasons which make it a must visit restaurant and the best sweetshop in Delhi-NCR.

1. Huge variety of extremely tasty and hygienic food. It serves finger licking dishes you'll not find anywhere else .
a. Home-made aam panna and bel ka sharbat (just like my nani used to make).
b. Ganne ka juice made extremely hygienically and tastes better than any ganne ka juice i've had all my life.
c. Chole bhature (spicy, crunchy, tangy and tasty)
d. Chole ke saath tikki
e. Yummy jalebis (much better than haldiram)
f. All kinds of fruit kulfis
g. Very hygienic and extremely tasty chuski.
h. Puri subzi with chaach or lassi and halwa is awesome (only breakfast)
i. Alu gobhi ke tawe wale khasta paranthe (only morning and only on sundays and holidays)
j. A variety of platters ranging from eco thali, special thali, home thali, kebab platter, chinese , south indian, and roomali roti soya chop platter.
k. Garam kadhai ka doodh in winters, cold anjeer milk in summers apart from the regular badam milk.
l. All the mini platters, chat items, even salad bar are yummy and highly recommended.
m. All kind of vegetarian food available, so people have a lot to choose from
n. I'll give it a much higher rating than any haldirams.

2. They serve high quality sweets. They leave other Mithaiwalas of this world far behind in quality. I stay in Dwarka, but I prefer coming to leisure valley to buy sweets. Must try sweets are mango gilori, pan gilori, panjeeri (I eat these every time i go there). Other to die for sweets are : Pista Louj, Coconut Laddoo (orange), Dryfruit khajoor, Gulukand Gujia, Gulab Laddoo and Malai Roll. They also have a good varity Sugarless Sweets for the diabitic people.

3. Namkeen and mathri quality is very good too. Much better than any other place.Dry fruit Kachori is a must try

4. Hygiene, cleanliness & crowd are also very nice.

5. The restaurant is spread across 3 floors and also has a banquet facility for parties.

But Kindly Note this review is only for the Leisure Valley Bikanervala. Other Bikanervalas are left far behind in terms of quality and variety.

A must must visit. Infact after writing this review, I want to go there again. Going there for Dinner tonight.




















Friday, February 22, 2013

PRODUCT REVIEW : DOMINO'S VEG TACOS


Yes! Yes! I know! Tacos were launched last year by Domino's. But the only reason why product review is coming up now is because I tasted it only last week. Domino's Pizza started operations in India from 1996 and is India's largest Food Service Company having more than 500 Pizza Stores in India. I still remember going to Domino's outlet in Noida Sector-18 Market some 15 years back. 

Though I have been eating Pizza's from Domino's since last 15 years, infact I am a very loyal customer to the extent of having their Mobile Ordering Application in my Cell Phone. 

But to be honest, I have never been a great fan of their Pizzas and other products. Yes there is an exception though - I love their Veg Extravaganza Pizza in Deep Dish Crust. Apart from that, I like their Garlic Bread and that's it. 

But they are the best choice to order a pizza for home delivery as they stick to their word of delivering food within 30 minutes. They generally deliver at my place within 25 minutes. Which is impressive and also appreciated, specially when you are hungry to the core.

Domino's keep introducing new side orders and pizza crusts at regular intervals like Pastas, Cheesy Boloroni Crust, Stuffed garlic Bread, etc. 
This is a very good marketing strategy in fact. By the time you are tired of eating all their regular stuff, they come up with a new item and you are tempted to try it :).

Following the same strategy, they introduced Taco.  Taco is a Maxican folded corn or tortilla bread filled with various types of fillings. So apart from using the all purpose flour, Domino's Tacos more or less fits into the definition (though they look more like calzone than a taco). 

Ok they have the right to do it, after all they are a pizza chain and not a Mexican fast food restaurant. You can say their Taco is a fusion of a Calzone and Taco. 

When I received my order of Taco, I was literally mesmerized by  the garlicky aroma of the Tacos, even before I opened the Box of Tacos. Finally after coming back to my senses, I opened the Box, and though it didn't look anywhere near the Taco advertised in the TV commercial, still I was in love with the beauty. 

Outer Layer looked like some laccha parantha, but it could beat any laccha parantha of this world hands down when it comes to the looks. Beautiful, Just Beautiful. Shiny, oiled, crispy, golden brown outer layer, sprinkled with oregano seasoning looked just too tempting.

I knew I had made a right decision to order them. Being spell bound by this beauty, I wanted to to check what was inside it. So very delicately I opened the outer covering. The spell was broken that very instant. It had two fried vegetable patties and some cheese dip inside it.

My heart nearly stopped beating, I was starting to have my doubts as this was nowhere near to what I was expecting. Anyways I had faith in my inborn talent of judging the food by how it looked and smelled. I had the confidence that two of my senses will not play foul with the third one.

So first bite I took, and I was heart broken. :( . Sob. No I am not not saying that it was bad, but it was no way even near to what I was expecting it to be. For the first time in my life, my soul questioned my competence. 

I remembered my school days when I had a crush on a beautiful looking girl and went up to talk to her. And the moment she opened her mouth, I realized that she was not what she looked. Sob again. Though I didn't mind the taste, but my high expectations were broken.

This was the story with tacos. 

Need I say more.

Yes Yes I fell in love with your aroma, your beauty, but I am sorry darling we are not meant to be soul mates. Maybe your sister, the tempting Veg Extravaganza Deep Dish Pizza, but not you for sure. I am deeply sorry. 

I think after this heart breaking end to a budding love story, all I am left with, are my rating of the product.

Aroma : 7/5
Appearence : 5/5
Taste : 2.5/5
Value for Money : 3.5/5
Overall : A very disappointed I, me and myself. 

Have nothing more to write, so happy eating to you all. 


Thursday, February 21, 2013

DILLI KE PAKWAN

First of all, I want to apologise to all the readers of this blog. This post should have been published on 13th February 2013. But due to unforeseen circumstances, I could not complete and publish this post on time. 

You will say ok, no problem sweetheart, it’s not the end of the world. It might not be the end of the world but it definitely is the end of the event. An event which itself was a world for the food lovers. You all might not realise it, but I know you have missed something really great. So please forgive me for not updating this post on time.

This year’s Dilli Ke Pakwan event was from 8th-14th February 2013. It is a yearly event which I have attended earlier also, but was not really impressed. This time when I came to know about it, I was not really keen to go, but the ardent foodie in me took me there once again.

And I was not disappointed one bit. This year the event was great. Lots of activities to do. Unlike last year, lots of good food good this time. It was a fun experience.

Ok, so without wasting any more time, I’ll list out various food counters I tried. Also a few non vegetarian counters which I did not try.


1. Nomadic Food Counter

This was the highlight of the whole event. Infact, just because of them I visited Dilli Ke Pakwan for the second time and had planned a third trip on the last day but unfortunately could not make it.

Nomadic food counter served a Nomadic Food Platter consisting of Bajre Ki Roti, Gatte Ki Cadi, Lehsun Ki Chutney, Raita, Pyaaz and Gud.

Bajre ki Roti was prepared on clay griddle, over a charcoal and wood stove, and dipped in desi ghee. I could smell aroma of the rotis from atleast a 100 metres and I knew it was worth trying. The food was divine. Simple no frills food, but heavily induced with flavours which still tingle my taste buds, my nose, my brain, my tummy and my heart. The one roti thali was just Rs. 150, which was value for money any day. But there was more to this counter than just some high quality, exceptionally tasting food. They were also selling the clay griddle, purses made of recycled cloth by the nomadic women, some beautiful nomadic jewellery, cds of nomadic songs and nomadic musical instruments like ektara, tumba, etc. I bought a devotional cd, a funky lorry songs cd, purse for my wife and a clay griddle. I used the clay griddle, makes excellent rotis.

The counter was run by Husband – Wife Duo named Vinai Rai and Meenakshi (they call themselves Meenakshi Vinay Rai J ). They run an organisation named Chinh. Chinh supports social initiatives promoting causes of children and marginalized nomadic communities. They both were quite hospitable. I would like to thank Meenakshi too for singing the beautiful song Sun Mere Bandhu”” for us and a couple more songs.

The whole experience was just majestic. Great food, Great music and Great Hosts. What more could we expect? They told me that they don’t have a permanent outlet for the nomadic food as such but they can arrange the same for us, if we tell them in advance. Their web address is http://www.chinh.in and http://www.chinhwebchannel.in


2. Traditional Hut Kulfi

They were serving several varieties of Kulfi and garma Garam Kadhai Wala Doodh. We tried the doodh, Paan Bahaar Mata Kulfi and Kesar Pista Kulfi. All were just great. I didn’t expect it to be good but I was surprised. You will get the contact details and Menus of Traditional Hut Kulfi and all the Food Joints we tried in the pictures I clicked. All the pics are posted on my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/EatLagoon

3. Yadav Paan Bhandar


I’ve had better Paans in my life from the likes of Pandey Paan Bhandaar which serves Paans in Rashtrapati Bhavan’s Dinners (Review coming up Soon), Prince Paan Bhandaar in R.K. Puram , Bhiyann Paan Wale of Ghaziabad. But I’ll not say I didn’t enjoy Yadav’s Paan . Infact it was great, to an extent that you can drool over it. Thoroughly enjoyed it.


4. Free Candy Floss

Yes we had free Candy Floss prepared by Muchhad Bhai but was sponsored by Titu Da Dhaba which had at counter too. I didn’t try the food, But Old Style Cot Seating looked inviting. But it was the candy floss which we enjoyed. Last time I had candy floss was 5 years back, that too after paying for it. What can taste better than the yummy sweet candy floss that too served freeJ? We had many. HEHE

5. Rice Papad from Papad Wala


Now it must have been quite a few years since I had them last, but thoroughly enjoyed them.







6. Random Chaat and Food Items which we tried :

a. Kathi Kabab and Rumali Roti.  
Looked tempting but nothing great.

b. Besan Aloo Toast.  
I’ve tried far far better in the streets of Old Delhi. Thumbs Down

c. Chila  
Again Nothing to write much about.

d. Vegetable Biryani.  
So So. Nothing Great.

e. Aloo Chaat 
It was good, but nothing exceptional.

f. Matar Kulcha
Though tasty, but would not rate them highly

g. Daulat ki chaat. :)
Check out my post on daulat ki chaat baby J http://eatlagoon.blogspot.in/2012/12/daulat-ki-chaat.html

 7. Items which were in my list but could not try :

a. Tempting looking paranthas. Hate my wife and friends who didn’t allow me to try them.

b. Litti Choka . Yes, Now its also park of Dilli Ke Pakwan

c. Rajasthani Food like Dal Bati Choorma, Pyaaz Kachori, Mirchi Vada. All looked tempting.

d. Chuski. Sour Throat. L

e. Bombay Bhel Puri. Please don’t laugh J

f. Sheermaal. Wanted to try it, but it was available at the hardcore non veg counter, so avoided it.

g. Non Veg Delicacies. That’s the only part of food I don’t understand since I am a vegetarian, but the way people were enjoying it, must have been good.


Though I went there just food, but there were a lot many things to do apart from eating. Enjoyed following experiences:

1. Bioscope

It was nostalgic. Must have watched film in bioscope after at-least two decades. Loved the experience and loved the music it played.

2. Cultural Event

Loved the Sufi Music Performance on the opening night of the fest. It was a treat to my ears and senses. Loved the jugal bandi.

3. Fun time with Panditji

This was the funniest part. Showed my hand to Panditji who was a palmist by profession. Told me that I’ll have 3 sons and told my wife that she’ll have 2 sons. You cannot imagine the kind of questions my wife asked me the whole night about the third son. Hehe. Pandit Ji also told my friend Varun that he’ll marry one of his male friends. Indian astrology is getting progressive with time. :)


4. Rikshaw and Auto Fun

Have never seen so well decorated Rickshaw’s and Autos in Delhi. Made us realise it was more than just food fest. Loved the fun.


5. Pinwheel and other traditional toys

Again must have bought a pinwheel after atleast two decades. Loved the way it swirled. And loved the smile on my wife’s face.

A Special Thanks to Anjali Dixit, Varun Sharma and Jigisha Kochhar for the lovely time spent. And also to Meenakshi Vinay Rai for the beautiful songs.

Lots more to write but I know this post is becoming too lengthy. So I guess it’s time to bid adieu. With a promise that I’ll inform you all well in advance before the fest starts again next year.

Do not forget to check out my pictures of the food fest on facebook page
http://www.facebook.com/EatLagoon and
http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.600344906658637.151985.566674886692306&type=3
http://www.facebook.com/EatLagoon/photos_albums

Have a blessed life and stomach.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

BEDMI POORI... RAINY WINTER MORNING SPECIAL

 No Special Reason for this very small post. 

But than 3 very special reasons. 

Reason 1 :

Only thing that you want to eat on a very rainy winter morning is some good tasty piping hot bedmi poori, with aloo ki subzi, seetaphal (pumpkin) ki subzi, with tangy chatni and boondi ka raita. This morning is the perfect time for it. 
I tasted the divine food and i wanted to share the same with all my friends who follow this blog.
Reason 2 :

This Blog is about the very tasty, to die for food. 
And this food more than qualifies for it. I can vouch for it that you don't find kind of this food atleast in Delhi. Forget about the  taste and quality. Yes its available at a few shops of old halwais (old sweet shops) in Mathura, Agra and at a shop in Ghaziabad. I'll be reviewing that shop soon. 

Reason 3 and The Biggest Reason:

I wanted to Thank my Choti Mausi Mrs. Aparna Bhardwaj for Such Tasty a Treat. The food is prepared by my Mausi and to be honest I did not believe it for a long time that this was prepared by her and I thought she ordered the food all the way from Ghaziabad.
After all these years of me thinking who knows about food better than me, my arrogance was completely shattered by her. I can never ever think of making such tasty food myself. Loved the food, and the love it carried. :)

Mausi, You showed nothing can beat Maa Ke Haath ka Khana. Love You Mausi. 

And to all my friends, I'll be sharing the detailed recipe of the food with you all soon, and probably shoot a video of her preparing the delicacies.

Have a Great Day Friends. May you all eat something very tasty and satisfying.

Happy Eating









Monday, February 4, 2013

RECIPE : MATAR KULCHA

                                                                           
Matar Kulcha : YUMMY
Ever since I've started writing this Blog, I keep getting a lot of requests to post recipes of various dishes. Most requested ones are of Matar Kulcha, Chola Bhatura, Shahi Paneer, Aloo Kachori and Makkhan Ka Samosa.

I'll be posting all the recipes soon, but today's recipe is the loveable Matar Kulcha.

Matar After Being Soaked for 2 hours
Matar Soaked Overnight
My love for Matar Kulcha Goes back to to my early school days. I still remember when I was in 1st Standard, I got a weekly pocket money of  Rs. 5. That was a hell lot of money at that time, specially when papa bought some toffee every morning and mummy ready with something good to eat when I reached home. I always made it a point to spend all that fortune on good food even on those days. Like the Bread roll, or the Burger at the canteen, or the Orange lick lolly or Bon Bon Ice Cream. But I made sure to keep atleast 2.5-3 Rupees every week for the Matar Kulcha which was sold outside the school gate after the school got over.It costed just 50 paise for 1 Kulcha filled with Matar Chaat and made into a roll.
Fully Cooked Matar

I used to have 1 nearly everyday before boarding the school bus and I found no other dish as tasty as the road side matar kulcha at that time.

After 25 years, Matar Kulcha is no longer my soul-mate in Indian Street Food anymore, But my fling with it still continues. Perhaps my oldest lover.

Over the last 25 years Matar Kulcha has evolved. From just a very thin kulcha filled with very little matar to now thick harvest bread kulchas, sprinkled with coriander, generously buttered and heated over a griddle. Matar given a generous treatment of  butter, and garnished with ginger, beetroot, coriander. Accompanied with salad, raita, masala aloo. 

I've tried making the perfect matar kulcha several times over the years. And have came out with a near perfect recipe, thanks to a lot of support by my wife. Anything cooked romantically with your wife in chilly winters in a cozy kitchen has to come out perfectly. I can also name this recipe - the recipe of love. :)

Now coming to the recipe:

Recipe Information :
Prep Time: 1 hour
Finely Chopped Tomatoes and Onion
Serves: 6 people
 Ingredients

Green Chillies, Ginger and Coriander
For the matar chaat
1. 1 ½ cups of safed matar (chickpeas) soaked in water overnight.
2. 2 inch piece of ginger, very finely sliced (see the pic)
3. 3-4 green chillies, very finely chopped
4. 2 tomatoes finely chopped
5. 2 onions finely chopped
6. 2 tsp roasted cumin powder
7. 1 tbsp coriander powder coarsely powdered and roasted
8. ½ tsp black rock salt
9. salt to taste
10. 1 tsp garam masala
11. a pinch of asafoetida
12. few corriender leaves finely chopped
13. 1 ½  tbsp lemon juice
14. 1 tbsp tamarind paste (easier way is buy to buy tamarind paste pack from market. I used  mother’s recipe paste)
15. 25 gms Amul Butter (or any other salted butter)
Masala
For Masala Aloo
1. 2 large potatoes (boiled and peeled)
2. 1 tsp Cumin seeds
3. ¼ tsp Turmeric
4. 1/5 tsp amchoor powder
5. Salt to taste
6. Very little oil to shallow fry potatoes
For Chatpati Mirchi
1. 12 green chillies, sliced from the middle
2. 1 tsp Cumin seeds
3. 1/5 tsp amchoor powder
4. Salt to taste
5. Very little oil to shallow fry potatoes
White Butter
For Kulchas
1. Buy good Quality Kulchas from Market (I bought Harvest Kulchas)
2. White butter for grilling kulchas on the griddle)
Note: These measurements are approximate. You can adjust the ingredients as per your taste


Method :
Completely prepared Matar Chaat

Masala Mirchi
Ready for final touches
White Butter Melted for Kulchas
1. Wash, clean and soak chickpeas overnight.
2. Pressure cook chickpeas with salt and 5 cups of water of high heat and wait for 3 whistles to come. 
3. Switch off the stove, take off the pressure from the pressure cooker and open the pressure cooker.
4. Add 90% tomatoes, onion, finger and green chillies.
5. Mix nicely and keep sauteing in between. 6. Cook it for 5-6 mins.
7. Add all the dry spices.
8. Add asafoetida and imli paste.  
9. If little water is left, cook till the gravy becomes semi dry. (refer pic)
10. Sprinkle fresh coriander and lemon juice, left out tomatoes, onion, ginger and green chillies for garnishing.

Masala Aloo:

1.   Cut boiled potatoes in ¾ inch cubes.

2.   Add little oil in a non-stick pan and add the potatoes in it. Add all other ingredients.

3.   Sauté the potatoes for 10 minutes on medium heat.

4.   Your Masala Aloo are ready.

Chatpati Mirchi:

1.    Slice the green chillies into half.

2.    Add little oil in a non-stick pan and add the chillies in it. Add all other ingredients.

3.    Sauté the chillies for 5 minutes on medium heat.

4.    Your Chatpati Mirchi is ready.

Kulchas:

1.    Grill kulchas with some white butter on a non-stick pan.

2.    Serve with onion lachha salad and green chutney.



Serving Suggestion is given in the First and Last pic.



Tips :

1.      You can add a few cloves of garlic in warm water and soak them over night. Use this water to pressure cook the matar. Will give a very distinct garlicky flavour to the dish.

2.    Sauté some chopped tomatoes and onion in white butter and when the onion tomatoes become soft, grill the kulchas in them. Your Kulchas will taste yumm. I learnt it from a Matar-Kulche wala.

Do share your views, reviews and suggestions about this recipe on the blog so others may benefit from your tips and we may improve the recipe further.

Also visit my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/EatLagoon for some yummy food pics.

Happy Eating. :)


Kulchas being smeared in White Butter and cooked


Matar with Garnishing and Masala Aloo








Masala Alloo and Masala Mirchi for sides








Final Product , Ready to Eat