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TGI Fridays, Connaught Place

We decided to have a boys lunch out, so the father, brother and me planned to meet up at TGI Fridays, Connought Place.

First off, the music wasn’t at loud as I thought it would be, which is good. The artifacts style of decor I learnt, it on its way out – sad.

Anyhow, lets come to the food. The chicken wings were served with a large portion of sour cream with vegetables, a few sticks of celery [which could be better] and a little dipping bowl of a vinegary dip. The Nachos with cheese, sour cream, chicken and guacamole came in a huge mountain format. It was nice, but nothing to write home about. Out of all we ate, this was something I’ll probably never order again. Demolished two pitchers of beer. Ordered a rack of ribs and lemon chicken. The ribs were served pre-cut with onion rings [baaaad] and a salad of sorts [baaaad], but in themselves they were wonderfully flavoured and tender. The lemon chicken was a single breast sliced in two, served with a portion of green beans with angel hair pasta.

All in all, a nice experience. The service isn’t top quality though. If the staff could resist the temptation to head to the entry counter and begin yakking, they could probably notice beckoning glances and gestures a lot quicker.

Rating: 2.5/5 | Meal for two: 2000

Sid

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Reviews

Nirulas No More

[Rating:2/5] We decided to pop over to Nirulas in Sector 2 NOIDA on Friday evening. We have gradually been getting more and more disillusioned with the quality of *every* thing at Nirulas lately, but for ‘old times sake’ always give it another chance every once in 6 months or so. While the quality of service has improved perceptibly, the quality of the food and the quality of the people [human resources] remains at dismally low levels.

The mutton mahaburger [which is unique to Nirulas] was sloppily put together, had chopped onions hastily stuffed into it instead of sliced onions, no slices of tomato as is usual, the bun was falling apart and it tasted like moist saw dust.

The non vegetarian deluxe thali comprised a dal makhani, kadi, butter chicken, dahi bhalla, some salad and a lacchha parantha. Nothing could be eaten! The dal and the chicken were inedible as the gravy wasn’t cooked through and tasted of raw spices, the kadi was bland and didn’t taste anything like I’ve eaten before. I didn’t bother to taste the Dahi Bhalla as by then I had signalled the chap who clears the plates to please please take this away. Did I mention the Parantha? It was rock hard, piping hot with traces of oil on it. Visually, it looked great. Try to eat it and you’ll gag. Here’s what these idiots do. They make the parantha and keep it in a hot location, where it waits till someone orders it. Then they brush it with some oil and serve it to the customer. The problem with my parantha was that it had been made quite some time earlier, and had hardened and dried out waiting for a customer. Since the people they hire are of the lowest possible grade, they really didn’t care and went ahead and served it anyway.

The corn pizza was watery. Whats watery you ask? Watery is when you put frozen corn right from the freezer into the pizza and then top it with cheese. So when it comes out and you bite into it there’s a good amount of water on the surface of the pizza below the cheese.

Anyway, at least the wife was happy with her lime ice cream soda and the daughter delighted with two scoops of chocolate chip ice cream.

Rating: 1/5 | Meal for two: 300

Sid

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Naheeds Recipes

Naheed is a friend who is very fond of cooking. In fact, he’s done what most of us (who like cooking) keep putting off for another day – He’s written a book – The Secrets of Indian Muslim Cooking.

While the book is being compiled into e-book format and should be available for download shortly, I’m going to post one of his recipes every few days. If you’re vegetarian, don’t hold your breath, since most if not all the recipes are non vegetarian.

-sid

Categories
Recipes

Bihari Kebab

The first in a series of recipes from Naheeds Book – The Secrets of Indian Muslim Cooking.

You’ll need:

  • 1 Kg Pasanda meat
  • 1 tsp. raw papaya paste or meat tenderiser
  • 200 gms yoghurt
  • 1/2 Kg sliced onions
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1tbsp poppy seed paste
  • 1-2 tsp. freshly ground pepper powder
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • salt to taste

Preparation
Fry 2/3 of the onions till golden brown and spread it out on kitchen paper. Mix together papaya paste, yoghurt, browned onions, raw onions, ginger paste, poppy seed paste, pepper powder, salt and blend well.

Mix the meat slices in this and leave for 4-6 hours. When ready, taste the mixture and adjust the amount of salt/pepper. Add the mustard oil. Skewer the fillets of meat in folds, packing it tightly. When done, grill over slow charcoal fire constantly turning it over for even cooking. Sprinkle melted ghee occasionally. The meat will turn to a dark shade of brown and some portions will get slightly burnt. For some, that’s where the flavor is.

-sid

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Recipes

Pasanda Kebab

Recipe #2 from Naheeds Book.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg pasanda mutton
  • salt to taste
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 2 tbsp ginger paste
  • 2 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp whole coriander
  • 125g onion, sliced
  • 100g yoghurt
  • ½ cup oil
  • 3 green chilies, sliced
  • A few mint leaves

Preparation
Wash the pasanda and pat dry. Add ginger paste and salt, mix well and leave it for an hour. Meanwhile, dry roast the whole coriander and grind it to a fine powder. Mix together the marinated meat, red chili powder, garam masala powder, garlic paste and the ground roasted coriander. Heat oil in a wide pan and when hot, add the onions. Fry till the onions become soft and then add the meat mixture. Mix well and cook covered on low heat till the meat is tender, the water has dried up and the oil starts showing on the sides of the pan.

To serve top with onion rings, chopped mint leaves and green chilies.

-sid

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Recipes

Haleem

Recipe #3 from Naheeds Book

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ kg Meat
  • ½ kg Oats
  • ¾ kg Onion
  • ¼ kg Tomatoes
  • ¼ kg Masoor dal
  • ¼ kg Chana dal
  • ½ kg Ghee
  • 6 tbsp Garlic paste
  • 6 tbsp Ginger paste
  • 2 tbsp Coriander powder
  • Salt to Taste
  • 2 tsp Red chili powder
  • ½ tsp Turmeric powder
  • 50 gms Green chilies
  • 100 gms Ginger
  • 6 whole Lemons
  • Coriander & mint leaves for garnishing

Preparation
Boil the dals together. Boil the oats separately. Chop the herbs, green chilies and julienne the ginger. Cook the meat along with ½ cup ghee, half of the onions, tomatoes, turmeric and coriander powders, chili powder, salt, and the ginger and garlic pastes. The meat should be cooked till extremely tender, actually it should start falling off the bones. Mix the meat mixture thoroughly so that the meat pieces break up into fine shreds. Mix the dals and the oats thoroughly as well. Mix the dal, oats and the meat together and cook for another half an hour. Add a generous tablespoonful of garam masala, mix well and take it off the heat. Fry the remaining onions in ghee till golden brown. Arrange the chopped herbs, chopped green chilies, garam masala and julienned ginger in a plate. Serve haleem in individual plates, topped with herbs, green chilies, garam masala, ginger and a generous squeeze of lemon.

– Sid

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Recipes

The Treacherous Tambrahm!

The Treacherous Tambrahm; makes for an interesting change from a routine breakfast.  ‘Perfectly done toast, spread with mayo or butter, covered with a thin, plain omelette, topped with a selection of vegetables cooked in a south Indian format, liberally splashed with chili powder chutney, served with a tall chilled glass of coconut water‘.

Ingredients

  • Coconut Water
  • Toast
  • Mayo or butter
  • 2 Eggs beaten with milk and a little salt (make the omelette! No recipes for that here.)
  • Selection of Vegetables
    • Carrots (sliced thin)
    • French beans (thinly chopped)
  • Curry Leaves
  • Black mustard seeds
  • Salt
  • Chili powder
  • Whole dried red chili
  • Chili chutney powder
  • Urad dal
  • Oil

The quantities aren’t mentioned as they depend on the number of portions being made. They’re very simple ingredients however and you should be able to work it out to your liking. 

Method

1.Heat some oil till it is hot enough to make the mustard seeds crackle.
2.Next, add the salt, chili, whole dried red chili and finally the curry leaves.
3.Swirl it around a bit, then add the urad dal and then the vegetables. Lower the flame, cover the pan and leave it. 
4.In the meanwhile, make the omelette, the toast and the chutney (by mixing some oil and the powder).
5.You could also (carefully) hack open the green coconuts (if you have any) to extract the coconut water.
6.When the vegetables are done (cooked but a bit crunchy), take them off the flame.
7.Cut the omelette into four quarters.
8.Spread each toast with anything you like (mayo, butter, dairy free… whatever), cover it with the omelette quarter, top with the vegetables, sprinkle with the chutney and serve with a glass of chilled coconut water.

Remember to keep a patiently pained expression on your face whilst eating the stuff with a sterling silver fork and knife.

There, you have it!

Optional
Make it even more treacherous by adding a slice of ham under the omelette or a finely sliced rasher of bacon in the vegetables. Also, you could roll and serve as a snack.

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Reviews

Pasto – Italian Kitchen [Closed]

Pasto is a reinvention of Masala Magic – a very drastic and total transmogrification actually.

Looking for a bite after treating myself to a new phone (Nokia E62) we decided to finally try Pasto. On all earlier occasions I have avoided the place thinking it would probably serve different renditions of the cliched and ubiquitous ‘pasta with cheese’. Whatever I may have thought, nothing, I repeat, nothing could have prepared me for the experience that lay ahead.

The decor has been changed since Masala Magic. It is still minimalistic and nothing too fancy, but looks good at the same time. Still around 30 covers in the area I was seated. Chilli flakes, mixed herbs and a combo container of olive oil and balsamic vinegar at every table.

The owner was here again (I like the way he can be found at his restaurant – unlike most others) and guided us through the menu. He was also nice enough to treat my daughter to a bowl of penne in a cheese sauce. The menu was a single page, with 4 separate sections (or was it 3). I *love* small menus since in my experience they turn out to be backed by good food and this was no exception.

Anyway, here’s what we ate – Chicken Stuffed with Ham, Tuna in a creamy sauce and Herb encrusted Grilled Chicken. Each dish had a distinct taste and and was quite good. The chicken was actually slices of breast stuffed rolled with ham, sautéed or grilled, with some mixed vegetables (quite nicely cut I must say) and topped with a delicate sauce. It was served with a mini helping of spaghetti and two slices of crisp bread with garlic butter. Beautiful to look at and even better to eat. I didn’t get to eat the wife’s tuna, which she devoured, all the while complaining that the portion was too large. My mother in law though couldn’t manage to finish the large portion of herb encrusted chicken. I couldn’t make out the composition of the crust… well actually, I was too busy making sounds of appreciation and chewing the chicken slathered with generous portions of the accompanying sauce of sun dried tomatoes. My daughter too gave up and handed her pasta to me, which I proceed to consume with the same gusto. Here too, the cheese sauce was very delicately flavored (basil?) and an absolute delight.

Did I mention the bread basket with home baked, warm bread and herb butter served whilst our order was being processed?

Pasto certainly doesn’t figure in the economical range of restaurants anymore (unlike Masala Magic) and my eyebrows did go up a tad when I saw the prices, but after the meal I happy signed the card voucher and also added a little something for the excellent service. It is so nice to hear words like ‘balsamic vinegar’ coming from a person waiting on you in a restaurant rather than the grunts and monosyllabic replies to simple questions.

Meal for two: INR 700 – 1000
Rating: 9/10

Categories
Recipes

Jalapeno Cheese Snacker

This is a quick way to put together a nice and different snack. You’ll need:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Different types of bread (garlic, french, pita…)
  • Pickled Jalapenos with a generous portion of the pickling fluid
  • Salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • Worcestershire Sauce (Lea & Perrins)
  • Cheeses (cheddar, brie, stilton, wensleydale, anything you like…)
  1. Cut the bread in different ways or just keep it whole to be torn off in chunks.
  2. For the dip, mix the olive oil, jalapenos, jalapeno fluid, salt, pepper and worcestershire sauce.
  3. Place the dip, breads and the cheeses on a board.
  4. Serve.

To eat: Tear off a hunk of bread and slice off a sliver of cheese. Dip the bread in the olive oil mixture, eat whole with the cheese and a slice of jalapeno.

As ordinary as it sounds… you’ll be surprised how quickly it disappears.

-sid