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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Boryeong Festival At Oriental Wok in The Club

On the other side of the world, at Daecheon Beach area, in South Korea, to be exact, Mud is taken from the Boryeong mud flats and used as ‘mud experience’ People splash mud on each other and roll into mud till they are soaked from head to toe. The mud is considered rich in minerals and used to manufacture cosmetics. The first Mud Festival was staged in 1996 and by 2007, the festival has attracted 2.2 million visitors in Boryeyong.

Of course, such festivities cannot be replicated in Mumbai, because neither do we have such kind of mud at our beaches nor that enthusiasms. But Oriental Wok at The Club decided to celebrate this festival by offering the traditional Korean food at their restaurant and I was invited to be the part of their celebrations.

Oriental Wok, being located inside a private club, may not be accessible to many non-members, but the food that I was served was exceptionally good. Each dish was meticulously prepared and was such a delight.

I went with two of my friends and we were seated in the warm corner surrounded by bamboo dividers, supple strips of cane and polished wood. The beautiful ambience transports you to oriental world miles away. The table was laden with sauces and kimchi. I normally judge a restaurant with the soup, the sauces and kimchi they serve. If their stock is good, then their food will not disappoint.

There is a special Korean menu prepared during this festival at the restaurant. Korean cuisine is largely based on rice, vegetables and meats.  Traditional Korean meals are noted for the off side dishes (Banchan) that accompany steam cooked short-grain rice.

Gui are grilled dishes, which most commonly have meat or fish as their primary ingredients, but may in some cases also compose grilled vegetables or other vegetable ingredients. At traditional restaurants, meats are cooked at the centre of the table over burner, surrounded by various side dishes. The cooked meat is then cut into small pieces and served with thinly sliced garlic, lettuce leaves and rice.

But there is no such central burners at the dining table at this restaurant, all food is prepared in their kitchen and served at the tables.

Both my friends are vegetarians, they enjoyed the vegetarian meals, whereas Me, wanted to taste their non-vegetarian cuisine, although every vegetarian dish that arrived, my friends insisted that I taste (so happy were they with the food)

The chicken was roasted to perfection, so were the tofu, paneer and egg plants. They were served with fish chips and baked bread.

For the main course, we were served

Yanggogo Bulgogi (stir fried lamb with garlic, chilies, leeks and soya sauce) for me and Yen gen potato jorim (Stir fried lotus root and potatoes in Korean sweet and sour sauce)  for my vegetarian friends. The meat was very tender infused with spices, such a delight. The sweet and sour sauce was too sweet for our palate so the chef insisted that we try his other dish in green sauce, cooked specially for us. The chef personally came to our table to offer his speciality. Very impressive!

 In Korean cuisine, commonly used ingredients include sesame oil, fermented bean paste, soya sauce, salt, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, fermented red chili paste and lettuce.

This was served with rice. When he bought the rice to the table in a beautiful bowl with stir fried vegetables arranged artistically over stewed rice, I was zapped. At our tables, he mixed the veggies with the rice and served into our plates.

How much can one eat?? We were over stuffed but no meal is complete without dessert.

Tapioca pudding (Sago pearls, coconut milk palm sugar toasted sesame) was instant hit. Loved the sweetish coconut flavor over sago pudding and the crunchiness of sago seeds.

This was a wonderful meal and brownie point for very helpful staff who wanted to please. They were proud to serve us their traditional Korean meals and made sure that we go back with happy memories.

Boryeong festival at The Club Mumbai is being celebrated from 17th July to 31th July. Believe me when I say that you will not be disappointed. There is a great celebrations during the weekends that includes traditional Music too.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Fable, Italian restaurant at Juhu

My friends and me, we meet regularly, either for pot lunch or in a restaurant. A big discussion follows on selecting a venue when eating out, we normally look for place where we can chill over long conversations and enjoy good food.

Fables seemed a perfect choice this time since we were in mood for Italian cuisine.

The d├ęcor was very inviting with open fireplace for roasting Pizzas, designer tables, a wishing well and beautiful artistic windows and lamps.

Themed around books/stories/tales, (as the name fables suggests) this place is dainty and elegant. The place was full during lunch hour, specially the enclosed AC area, We chose a table at far corner where we could do gup-shup in peace.

Menu card was interesting with stories and graphics between pages. So while we decide on the choice of dishes, going through those graphics was a pure delight

We ordered Lychee-lemon grass coolers, first two and then two more because they were very refreshing.

Pizza, unfortunately was very disappointing. The crust was okay (grilled under open fire) but the topping had no taste at all, no herbs, less salt and it was soggy

But the winner was the salad that had perfect blend of sweet and sourness. It was quinoa and barley salad with mixed lettuce, onions, cherry tomatoes in chilli maple dressing.

It would have been better, had we ordered just french fries, the chilie and cheese on the fries did no justice at all.....

Service is good. I asked waiter to bring me the most attractive dessert and he brought me this cheesecake with raspberry sauce. Loved it.

The restaurant is reasonably priced but service tax(15%) and service charges(20%) spikes the bill up to 35%.

Calling home service seems to be a better option. We save on the service charges

But dining in a restaurant has its own charm. The stories flow fluently  and there is no hassle of running to the kitchen every two minutes and missing the conversation in bits and pieces.

Would I go back to this restaurant again? I am not sure…

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Rich’s Gourmet Guide 2016

Entering a roomful of designer cakes was the biggest surprise for me. I have never seen such a big selection of beautiful cakes, neither at a party nor at any patisseries. It seemed like fairy tale word!!

Chef, chefs at everywhere, some carving out attractive figures from candy clays, some demonstrating the techniques of glaze truffles to coat the cakes, some designing chocolate ribbons and some creating innovative candy flowers. Then there were also chefs preparing smoothies/fruit mocktails and some baking savories/soups.

RICH”S GOURMET GUIDE 2016 organised by Rich's Graviss was the first of its kind held in Mumbai at Hilton Hotel. This endeavor was undertaken to bring the international food trends to its food service and bakery customers in India. Their large variety of products like Niagara Farms, Whip toppings, Truffle base, Cremagic, Nugel-Neutral, Chocolate compound kept the home-bakers mesmerised.

There was an interesting talk by celebrity Chef Varun Inamdar Master Indian Chocolatier. He showcased live demonstration of global trends in foods and his first volume of Barcode- Artisanal chocolates with flavours across 5 states of India, his message being ‘work with honesty and interest’.

I attended the live demo of  Beverage session and Cake session.

In demo of beverage session, the chef used the product Niagara Farm to prepare pineapple  Smoothie, freak shake, bubble tea and cold coffee.

Chef prepared smoothie by blending yogurt, honey, mint leaves, pineapple pieces, whipped cream, ice and chilled water.

In another pretty glass jar, he placed strawberry jelly, then poured jasmine ice tea. Prepared a foam by mixing equal ratio of cream, milk and water and covered the tea with this foam.

The freak shake was an interesting drink. He got a jar and applied the chocolate on the rim of the jar, then blended brownies, castor sugar, Olio biscuits, Niagara farm milk, cream and poured it into the jar. Covered it with brownie cake and cream…very freaky indeed!!

In another session of Cake designing, Chef demonstrated the new trends of making cakes by using chocolate biscuits and Indian sweets like rosgolla to give a completely new taste. He gave a live demo of making truffle for coating cakes to give a shiny look. He made glaze by mixing 1kg of Cromagic with 200gms of Nuegel and 1.5 kg of dark compound. He boiled Niagara farm and poured it over chocolate compound, using spatula to mix. The mixture has to set it in fridge and then double boil and poured over  the cake to give a shiny chocolate look. The cake can then be decorated with chocolate chips and candy ribbons.

I had a lovely time listening to home baker’s stories.  Many of the women were full time home bakers and were so very interested in learning the new techniques. 

The main objective of the event was to make our bakery and food service customers aware of global trends and also global cuisines which could be made using Rich’s products. The purpose is to inform and upgrade the quality of offerings of both bakery and food service operators to general public. I believe with Rich’s Gourmet Guide 2016, we have been able to achieve that.” Said Pankaj Chaturvedi, CEO & Executive Director at Rich Gravis Products Pvt. Ltd

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Turkish Delight - Baklava

It was my nephew’s birthday and I wanted to make some sweet dish for him. His family like cakes and it is always bought from store. I decided to make Turkish delight- Baklava.

Now, I have never made Baklava, it would be first time for me too.  Back in those days, for a new dish, we had to join the cooking class to learn it from experts. But thank goodness, there is U-tube – our guru.

I saw more than 10 videos of different ways that people made this dish, around the world. It was so easy.

So what is Baklava?

Baklava is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo/phyllo dough filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey.

I decided to make from scratch.

Made the Phyllo dough by mixing flour with salt, lemon juice, olive oil and water. At first it will be sticky but working on it for about 10 minutes will give a smooth dough. Keep it in fridge for some time.

Make small balls, I made about twenty.

Roll them to 2-inch diameter and stack them

Take a stack of three layers, with enough flour between them and roll them to 6-inch diameter

Separate one end and roll it over

Roll out the one layer

Unroll the layer in the greased baking dish.

brush the pure ghee over the layer. You can also use olive oil or unsalted butter instead of pure ghee

Repeat this process for ten layers, separating each layer, and laying them in baking dish and brushing each layer with oil

Crush walnuts and pistachio and spread evenly over the layers.

Cover the dry fruit layer with ten more layers of rolled dough, separating each layer with a film of ghee

Cut through to make smaller slabs

Ready to go to oven after evenly spreading a film of ghee

Bake it for 20 minutes

Normally people make syrup but nowadays syrup bottles are readily available and come in different flavours. I used mint flavoured syrup.

Pour the syrup generously over the baked babes.

Sprinkle the rest of walnut and pistachio mixture and serve.

 It is perfect gift to give somebody and my nephew loved it.
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