Tuesday, April 22, 2008

China Garden, again

One of Bombay's newest hotspots, C.G. 83, is Nelson Wang's resurrection of his own famed China Garden of yesteryears, the hub of celebrities who loved their Chinese. Unfortuntely Chin Garden faced the wrath of illegal constructions. In its new avtaar, C.G. 83, located at Om Chambers on Kemp's Corner, is the new "in" place for Chinese.

At our quaint table for two, we get off to a bad start with an Ivy Zinfandel which tasted more like Vinegar. Once we were reassured with two glasses of Sula Chenin Blanc, we asked for a starter of Red Pepper Chicken. The delicately moist chicken was fiery and well marinated, but our head waiter was not amused. He admonished the steward attending to us: "Why have you got them full portions?"

To our surprise, the "half plate" concept was not limited only to oily biriyanis. C.G. 83 have recognized the importance of not inflicting singles or couples with the arduous task of getting through entire portions of meals. Being a single or even two diners means that your ability to sample different dishes goes down drastically, and any attempt to order a vast array often leads to a very big doggy bag accompanying you out of the restaurant. Yahoo!

Enthused, we ordered a "half portion" of ginger fried squid (thick slices of squid batter fried and lightly spiced) and some prawn wafers (which were very different than the white puffs with pink rims that you usually find in restaurants and/or big bazaar). The Kimchi on the table (we had eaten two plates in just-got-outta-office hunger) and the Chicken had stuffed us up (it was so good that we really didn't mind) and so we moved straight to a dessert of honey fried noodles with vanilla ice cream, which was perfect in every way, especially the size (the full portion is absolutely huge).

Reasonably priced by Mumbai (and Malabar Hill) standards and especially for the outstanding food, C.G. 83 is a must visit on the Mumbai foodie itinerary. Reservations are recommended.

PS: Sorry for the lack of photographs. My N72 has met an untimely end at the hands of opportunistic pickpocketers. :(

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Delhiwallah shares a secret

Visit the Delhiwallah to read about a city secret - where do you find good ground coffee in Delhi?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Product Watch: Parampara Starter 2

The food watch blog hasn't gotten on the product placement bandwagon yet, but I felt the need to endorse a product that has changed my views on 'instant' food. Parampara has introduced a line of instant starters - just add a few basic ingredients and chicken/paneer, and you're all set. I decided to give it a try:

The packets of masala are readily available at most supermarkets and cost about Rs. 30. There's Chutney Chicken and Chicken Achari, I decided to take the spicier option.
You need 500gm boneless chicken according to the packet, we took about 250 gms boneless Godrej Real Good Chicken, cut into small pieces. Tip: Take 'mixed boneless' over the breast boneless - its much more flavourful.
Add the packet masala, which looks like a dry paste, to the chicken. It's best done with an hour of time for marination. Remember that the masala has all the required spices and salt so be a little circumspect in adding ingredients.
It may be instant, but you need a few helping hands - one being 100gm of fresh curd. Make sure it isn't very sour.

Now that the masala and curd have been added, use your hands and knead the chicken and its masalas to make a good marinade. Remember to break up the lumps of Masala.

Use lemon juice or about a tsp vinegar for some tang. As a improvisation, I threw a tablespoon of my mom's mango pickle in the mixie and added it to the paste.

The mix should look like this and be allowed to marinade before you start cooking, for best results.
Heat up a Kadai and add a tablespoon of butter. The mix contains oil so you just need the butter for the flavour. For the health conscious, a buuter substitute or plain vegetable oil works fine.
When the butter begins to sizzle (don't let it burn) add the chicken mix and give it a good stir. Make sure it doesn't stick to the Kadai surface. Take a little water to clean up the residual masala in the bowl and pour that along with the chicken.
After that, turn the heat to medium and let the chicken simmer. You'll soon see the fat leaving the sides of the pan (the oil will be seen floating to the top and bubbling along the sides of the pot), which is the cue to cover the chicken, turn the heat to very low and let it cook. Boneless chicken takes about 10-12 minutes to cook thoroughly. The cooked paste and chicken will take this colour, turn the heat up, stir around the chicken until the gravy comes to the consistency that you need. Dry the water off completely for a starter, else leaving a slight gravy like in the pic will serve as a great main course.
The verdict : great, easy recipie and makes a great change from ordering in, without the headache of obtaining complicated ingredients and complex procedures. A must try for the budding cook.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Wok and Roll

As far as VFM Food experiences go, All Stir Fry at the Gordon House Hotel, Colaba, takes the wok. Literally.

For under 400 rupees, you can eat to your heart's content at Colaba - and if the food's bad, you only have yourself to blame. Simple concept - choose your veggies, your meats, your sauces, your seasonings and let the Chefs work their magic. An arresting array of exotic oriental veggies awaits you
Along with some fresh beef, chicken, squid, and apologies to the purists - but even pork salami and sausages!

Never to miss an opportunity, I load my bowl with prawns and get going

Topped with some fresh veggies:

My bowl is ready to be wok-ed!

The Chefs listen patiently while you explain to them your choice of sauce, ranging from mild, spicy to extra spicy. You can ask for a dash of lemon juice, extra garlic, chili oil and crushed peanut for a special touch. And you can watch eagerly as your raw material gets transformed into an absolute delight.

And voila! I opted for a mix of Korean BBQ sauce and some peanut and fresh corriander. Its unlimited helpings, and so a friendly piece of advice is to take small helpings, dabble with the range of sauces and avoid the noodles/rice to keep more room for experimentation (and the carbs off!).

Besides the VFM factor, the location and the thrill of the whole process, ASF also has separate utensils and bowls for its vegetarian patrons, a highly recommended a la carte menu for the lazy ones, great drinks and cheekily worded fortune cookies to end your meal.

Puneites - there's a branch at E Square too! Rejoice!