Wednesday, June 30, 2010

This is not a food post.. Maine Pyar Kiya dissected

My Younger sister Ms. Cultured Purl's rant about a Bollywood film- Maine Pyar Kiya that we loved to watch as kids. If you grew up in the 90's you would know exactly why she is now traumatized by this blockbuster starring Salman Khan.

"You know- this movie Maine Pyer Kiya when dissected down is quite obnoxious - firstly, the kabootar (pigeon) is better trained than any dog I know. Secondly, I can't remember the last time it was cool to actually wear a cap labeled 'boy' 'girl'. Thirdly, Manohar Bhaiya and his chamakchalo (girlfriend) are quite unnecessary and very annoying- not to mention Bhagyashree- jee auntijee. ... Finally, that scene on the terrace, where they are celebrating her birthday with that song, in the end when he gives her the shiny golden thing to try on and she shows up in that golden sheet covering herself- and then reveals herself so dramatically- I was traumatized by that scene. I couldn't figure out firstly what she was revealing. I figured she must have been naked underneath- but that confused me even further coz why did she show up naked when he gave her a dress to try on? And finally if she was actually wearing that dress then why couldn't we see what she looked like in it!!!???
I'm telling you-Khoon Bhari Maang is better- there is crocodile, plastic surgery, dance showdown between Rekha and Sonu Walia, there is a ghungha (dumb) and an aaya (nanny) that take care of 2 traumatized stereotypical kids (one girl one boy), a wafadar (faithful) dog and horse- all on the scene of a farm house! It just cannot get better! Oh yah and an evil mama (uncle) as well! Those are hard to come by nowadays!!!!
Oh and sorry back to Maine Pyer Kiya- when Prem leaves the house to prove he can earn his own money and support Miss Bhagyashree - why does he become a construction worker in the gav (village)? I mean he is apparently America return with at least a bachelor's degree- hello??? WTF? Can't he get a proper job? He could even become a personal trainer if he wanted to flex those muscles.... Major flaws in the story I'm telling you...."

I particularly like these posters. The styling, the typography, the colors are very Bollywood Kitsch. These posters were probably hand painted on to billboards, a craft that was practiced till recently, where the hand-painting technique of making movie billboard posters has been replaced with large digital prints on huge sheets of vinyl.
The two films for me represent the transition from the angry young man (in this case woman) revenge drama of the 80's to a softer romantic love story of the 90's.

Ok Coming soon: back to food talk- my week with wine.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Manashi & Michael's Mouthwatering Momos!

Curry Spice never says no to an invitation in your kitchen to eat what you cook well. So when Manashi Nath Crasto, the delightful Assamese coworker told me about her homemade Momos- I was on!
Manashi lives with her husband Michael and his family in Bandra. They live in the Goan part of Bandra in a traditional Goanese house with a lovely Mangalorean tiled roof.
It was very kind of Manashi and Michael to have me over and cook Momos. So it turns out that at some point Michael actually ran a Momo catering business from home and so I got to taste their expert momos. Of course folding a momo required a lot of practice and it seemed like everyone was out of practice except for Michael's mom. Quickly my young hosts caught on and we were on our way to making momos. There is no hard and fast rule about the shape so we went ahead and had some fun with it.
Momos are actually really simple but time intensive (mostly the prep). So what are momos? Simply put- steamed Tibetian dumplings eaten along the entire Himalayas.
You probably need an hour to prep and really just 20 minutes to cook momos. They are a delicious, healthy snack and so much fun to eat in a group.
All I can say is that I love Momos.

For the wrapper:
2 cups Flour (white) makes around 20 momos
1 cup Water
1 tsp oil

For the Vegetarian filling:
2-3 Onions Minced (the more the onion the better the brothiness of the momos)
2-3 Green chilies minced
4-5 cloves of large garlic minced
2 inches of ginger root minced
Half a cabbage minced
1 Carrot grated.

For the Non- Veg Momos:
1 chicken breast diced
2-3 onions minced
2-3 Green chilies minced
4-5 cloves of large garlic minced

2 inches of ginger root minced

For the seasoning of the momos filling:
1 tsp blk pepper
1 tsp white pepper
2-3 generous dashes of soysauce
1 pinch of ajinomoto
1 tsp oil

1. Mix the wrapper ingredients to make a firm dough.
2. Break into 3/4 inch diameter balls
3. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside.

Prep the filling. Everything should be finely minced.

For the Chicken filling:

Rolling the dough to create small circular wrappers for the momos

Now we are ready to stuff and fold the momos. We experimented with many ways of wrapping the momos. Particularly we tries the half moon shapes and the bundle shapes and kept them separate for the vegetarian and the non- vegetarian momos.
The bundle shape for the veg momos

Prepping the momo's steamer. The steamer is multilevel aluminum container. The first layer is filled with water and the momos are placed in the next layer. Slightly rub oil on the base so that the momos don't stick to the second and third layer. The perforated surface allows the steam from the boiling water to rise and steam cook the momos. The chicken momos should be cooked longer till the chicken is all cooked and the skin is translucent. It takes around 20 - 25 minutes. The vegetarian momos take around 15-20 minutes.

The chicken momos should be cooked longer till the chicken is all cooked and the skin is translucent. It takes around 20 - 25 minutes. The vegetarian momos take around 15-20 minutes.

We ate these babies so fast that I forgot to take a final shot of the momos. These should be eaten hot and can be served with hot sauce, schezwan sauce , soy sauce, siriacha, aachar, fish sauce.
Add some chicken or vegeatable broth and eat it like dumpling soup with minced scallions in the broth.

Each bite the momos break in the mouth and the onions flavour the filling with a sweet and salty brothiness.
So here is a shot of the momos I found online.

P.S. The Mangalorian roof tiles that I fell in love with. Each tile was from a different mill and were made around mid 19th century. How cool

Thanks once again Manashi and Michael and Michael's mom and dad to spend time to show me how you make Momos. It is such a simple, healthy & tasty snack. I could totally binge on Momos!

Momo Sauce on FoodistaMomo Sauce

Friday, June 18, 2010

Britannia- The Quintessential Lunch Place!

I love food reviews. Following up on someone's suggestion on where and what to eat there. Infact many of the blogs I follow, I love to read what people have to say about their meal served at restaurants around town. Lately two of my favs have been Finely Chopped (for his honest, comic and absolute love for food)  and Lulu Loves Bombay (a food trip around Mumbai and the globe!).
I read a review about Britannia a few years back in the newspaper when I was down from Chicago on my winter break. I always thought Britannia was a biscuit brand and had clearly never heard of this legendary, quintessential, office crowd flocking lunch spot. The review was very well written and the description of the delicious berry pulao that leaves tangy bursts of flavor in your mouth with each spicy bite had me salivating. So dad and I ventured to try some food there. And what a meal. From the typical Irani interiors of a 100 year old cafe, peeling paint, old school chandeliers and red checkered tablecloths to a delectable list of Irani and Parsi cuisine- berry pulao, salli chicken, mutton cutlets, dhanshak, fried bombil (yum yum yum). Did I say YUM? Sounds charming right. Most charming was the owner Mr. Boman Rashid Kohinoor Irani and his son who run the place. They make it a point to greet everyone who walks in through the door and despite being extremely busy, they have the time to  share some stories with their customers.  (Apparently the berries in the pulao are imported from Iran. Also Mr. Irani senior is as old as Britannia itself - 88 years old)
I ofcourse fell in love with Britannia ever since and have returned to it year after year to take delightful mouthful's of Berry Pulao.
Two saturday's ago as I was on my Shantaram assignment for a paper at work, dad, mum and I decided to grab lunch at Britannia. Mum had never been there and was excited to try out the place. Below is a photo series of our lunch. Again the most delightful moment was chatting with Mr. Kohinoor Irani who makes the rounds- from table to table, checking on each person and making sure we are enjoying our meal. In case something is amiss he calls out to the waiter and makes sure that the problem is fixed. He advises to come a bit early so that you can get your own favorite dishes as those happen to be other's favorites as well and tend to run out (great logic).

All I can say is Britannia never disappoints! A treasure in the city's old Fort Area. A must visit by every foodie in town as well as visitors coming to town. Old world charm mixed with true hospitality and delicious food makes it one of the best, affordable meals in the city.
The delightful Mr. Boman Rashid Kohinoor Irani personally serving his guests. The peeling paint, the hanging fans, the red checkered tablecloth, Britannia was in full swing and still serving on Saturday at 2pm.

We ordered Salli chicken (mouthfuls of succulent boneless pieces of chicken contrasted by crisp Salli chips. Mutton berry pulao- oh the berries the perfect tantalizing play in the mouth. The surprise element for me was the vegetarian Dhanshak. For a place popular for its non- veg food, the vegetarian Dhanshak was delicious. It was a perfect blend of flavours and after a point I gave up on the non- vegetarian fare to eat spoonfuls of the dhanshak. Served with rice, Britannia's dhanshak makes it to my top ten list of comfort food.
PS: The caramel custard is to die for. Also, see if Mr. Irani will spare some raspberry soda with your meal as well.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mum's Sunday Lunch- Homemade Tandoori Roti

This is the reason why year after year we look forward to coming home. This is why no one questions the love & emotions that well up for Ma ke Haath ka Khana. My sis and I have lived away from home for the past 8 years. And every now and then we would call each other and discuss how mom made kadi or her aloo ki sabji (potato vegatable) or her dal (lentils)  or the countless dishes we grew up on. We would call each other excited if we remotely managed to mimck her flavours in our eclecticly thrown together meals (pita replaced chappatis, pasta sauce for a quick curry base, frozen vegetables for a quick stir fry). It took time and consideration, a couple of phone calls to mom to get the recipe right.

With Jai gone to his gaon (village) for the summer, dad and I have had the pleasure of eating her meals made from scratch. And as my sis - Ms. Cultured Purl said it on her blog "I mean not only can my mom cook, teach physics, math and hindi literature, drive like a rockstar, stitch and knit things impeccably well - she can also do it in a way that's encouraging and nurturing."
So here is the meal mom put together on Sunday afternoon. I was fascinated by her home made Tandoori roti and tried to photograph her making them step by step.

The Lunch menu:
Urad ki dal with amazing onion tadka
Chawli ki Sabji
Katahal ki sabji (jackfruit)
Tandoori Roti
The rest of the spread
P.S. You are invited to try this divine food!