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Friday, February 14, 2020

#FBAIKitchen arrives At The Bar Bank

Last night was a special day.. 

I was with my foodie friends, perched on a high wooden stool, sipping on an icy cold drinks and munching on freshly churned out #sindhi snacks like masala Koki, and Sanna Pakoras. There was vibrant music in the back ground, some of my friends would shake a hip or arms in happiness, Fresh sea air filled the space mingled with sweet aroma of food. 

I was at the launch of #FBAIkitchen..a food truck, parked at The Bar Bank at Juhu. 

I never knew this place existed (although I have passed this area at Juhu many times). This is a vibrant open space where food trucks of different cuisines (doling out detectable cuisine) are parked side by side (in a big circle) with a large sitting area in the centre. In the patio are set of wooden furniture where you can chill with friends. The place offer free u can sit for hours. It has a kind of carnival atmosphere with catchy music in the background.  I really liked this place, more so that it now has #FBAIKitchen that cares for homechefs. 

Concept child of Saloni and Sameer Malkani, #FBAIKitchen will help homechefs and homecooks to have an experience of running the restaurant from food truck before they can start on their own. This is a good platform for them to showcase their innovation and creation to the world, who initially had their moments of fame only during one day pop ups or at private workshops, and that too, only for limited group of people, But here they are actually meeting the floating audience who come to try something new everyday.

This month has started with sweet and petite homechef Jyoti Vishnani, who will showcase her #sindhi cuisine. There were sanna pakoras, Kheema patties, sindhi curry and many other specialities.

I was happy that #FBAIKItchen has given exposure to #SindhiCuisine, to start with, with none other than our bubbly and young Jyoti Vishnani, a Sindhi Chef from Ulhasnagar, who earlier had the privilege of working with Chef Sanjeev Kapoors Signature by Sanjeev in Doha. More recently she had a pop-up, she had curated for Punjab Grill in Mumbai. She was also the contestant in Masterchef season 4 plus she had an opportunity to share her recipes on Tata Sky Cooking, a project by Chef Vikas Khanna. It was really nice meeting her.

Great time ahead for different Homechefs , line up from different regional cultural cuisine, who will showcase their own cuisine on monthly rotation basis. This holds good opportunity for them to experience the running of restaurant before they can venture on their own. #FBAIKitchen is also good for people who will get different cuisine every month and have more reasons to visit BarBank month after month

Watch out for more updates as the chef changes each month…….

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The Albanian Cuisine at #WildAsparagusTable – Episode Six

I was not drunk, (I never am) but I swayed at every step, to and fro… the floor seemed to move like a swing, from left to right and back to the left..I looked for a secure seat to sit down...there were beautiful soft, white couches everywhere, (very comfortable) lined neatly against the rim of the boat. Fresh sea air filled with fishy smell, heavy  traffic moved at the distant sea link, cutting across the blue sky that kissed the ocean across the horizon. I was to spend the evening at floating restaurant  @AB Celestial Floatel celebrating Albanian Cuisine at #WildAsparagusTable with my foodie friends and home chefs.

The sea, the sun downer (
I love sunsets) and the floating restaurant...What a combo!..Bless them, our Captains (Ananya Banerjee and Salloni Malkani) for choosing such an ambience for our Albanian-themed potluck..This month of Jan 2020, thirty of us decided to meet at ABCeletianFloatel a floating restaurant, pretending that we are on the shores of Albania, each one cooked with their researched culinary creation and shared their stories as if they had just returned from their Europe trip……

pic courtsey..Samir

Naturally,  before the potluck, we do lot of homework. research on food culture and to know the place..its like a virtual holiday we take to understand what are the interesting facts about that place. Did you know that the national airport of Albania is named after Mother Teresa. The full name of the the airport is Tirana International Nene Tereza? Or that the dishes are prepared from fresh ingredients found locally and seasonally. Grilling is common as its baking, so the flavours are pure and rich and the interesting fact about Albanains is that there are no McDonald's chains in the country.

Now you know……say Thank you ..

Food of Albania has been influenced by all of its neighbouring countries, but from what I’ve seen of their recipes, I think Greece has made the most influence.  Including their lunch, which is a large salad of tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and olives.  Hmm…

So sorry, you were not invited, (or could not come because of other commitments) but those who were there, went into foodorgasms, devouring each dish with relish and a selfie….my mouth was flooded with nutritious taste…loved every dish…every dish cooked with love and passion

My friends cooked….

1. Ananya - Speca Me Glize ( Stuffed Pepper & Rice casserole ) NV
2. Saloni - Cheese and pepper salad
3. Pushpa - Qofte Dë Fërguara NV
4. Avni -
5. Dhvani –Buffalo Feta Cheese, green Olive tapanade, with salad leaves and pita bread
6. Aruna - Albanian Salad With Feta cheese With Bread
7. Anahita - Albanian Wheat Pudding
8. Moumita - Griddled Boneless chicken & Corn On The Cob Salad NV
& Basbousa Eggless Semolina Cake with Nuts
9. Shilpa - 3 Milk Cake Trilace & Low Cal Ice Cream
10. Rummy - Gjelle Me Mish E àPatate With Bread & Gjize NV
11. Muskan - Byrek Me Mish (Meat Pie) NV
12. Hemali -
13. Samir -Fresh Strawberry and dark chocolate ice cream
14. Anjali - Perime Ne Zgare (Grilled Vegetables)
15. Indrani - Flijia (Dessert)
16. Shital - Qifqi With Ajvar Sauce & Tahini Helva
17. Shivani - Shendetlie (Walnut Cake)
18. Sunita -
19. Nupur - Qumeshtor (Milk Pie)
20. Marcellus Baptista
21. Faizia -Tave Kosi
22. Simmi - Pispili (Spinach Cornbread)
23. Meeta - Tulumbe
24. Bimba - Leek & Rice Bake
25. Gauri -Shendetlie
26. Priya Pathian
27. Ritu - Kunafa (dessert) eggless
28. Aarthi Basrur : Baklava
29. Roopa - Khuduar Stuffed Vegetable With Mutton Mince
30. Sunita-Tave me presh ska Mish.

I decided to make Qofte dë Fërguara (don’t ask me to pronounce, I have an Indian Accent)

In Albania, qofte can look very different from restaurant to restaurant. Sometimes they are grilled, others are fried and sometimes they come baked with tomato sauce. Even the shape varies, more rounded at times or more cylinderical others. I decided to make Vegetarian version on the bed of loaf of bread topped with aioli and mint leaves.

Qofte was made from the mixture of
4 cloves of Garlic,
5 boiled potatoes,
200 gms Vegetarian BBQ meat, (got from Thailand),
1 green capsicum, 
100 gms feta cheese,
small bunch of mint leaves,
1 vegetarian cube,
2 green chilies and
mixed herbs.

Aioli was made by blending 5 tbsp mayonaise with 2 cloves garlic, olive oil and 100 gms feta cheese.

Small patties are made from the mixture, dipped in pool of beaten egg and then coated with bread crumbs and roasted on hot plate with unsalted butter.

I know it tasted good, because my friends said so…..

Also those friends who were sipping the fruit punch made with orange juice and Scottish leader

And those who ate those coffee flavoured ice creams, delicious and low calorie. Do find it at #thebrooklyncreamry
@brooklyncreamry …Thank you so much

We have such vibrant group of foodie friends, that in-between the laughter and the food, there were selfies and amazing camera clicks, the hours went ticking off, with nature playing a mischievous game, with red hot glowing ball, glaring over the bridge, under the bridge, and finally falling into the sea, leaving behind an orange glow in the sky that later disappeared into a dark sky. a quarter moon and a star. appeared, hinting that it is time for us to go home.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

The Sri Lankan Cuisine at #WildAsparagusTable – Episode Four

The romance with #WildAsparagusTable continues

Sometimes I feel I am sailing in a cruise called #WildAsparagusTable, stopping at one city to try the cuisine of that place. Our captains, our guides…Ananya Banerjee and Saloni Malkani…steer the ship towards one destination every month, and we learn not just about food, but culture, dress style and sometimes pick up few language skills too. We have covered France, Mexico, Germany and this month it was SriLanka.

We are inspired and encouraged to swim into unknown waters, experimenting cuisines that we have never tried before. One month we spent sailing through net, googling-reading different food blogs, admiring food pictures, watching videos and hoping that we are able to match the ethnic taste of the natives.

During this month I learnt that #SriLankancuisine is the mixture of many cuisines (Indian, Indonesian, Singaporean, Asian) with different curries, flatbreads, rice. The ingredients popularly used are coconut (in different forms) tamarind, curry leaves, caramelised onions, chilies and spices.

What I didn’t know was that it has such a big variety of curries and desserts….my foodie friends surprised me when I finally saw the menu. Yes it’s a potluck. Each member prepares one speciality of the place, it may be tried and tasted, or just an experiment with new ingredients to explore new cuisine.

Eyes opened wide when the menu is made

And the eyes opened wider when The food is cooked…..we stand drooling, wondering what to start with, how much to eat. Everybody takes great effort to make a dish, so it will not be fair if we are too full to skip any dish. The trick is to skip dinner and breakfast and concentrate on only one lunch, savour each dish slowly, enjoy the fragrance, the textures, and the flavours of each dish.Take your own sweet time….

Our hostess, Rummy (Inderpreet Nagpal) had taken utmost care in setting the long dinning table with beautiful serving dishes and cutlery, a big spread of jasmine flowers surrounded the rows of burning lamps, Great selection of books lined neatly over the shelf, drinks were served from revolving turn table at the bar and the centre table  in the living room displayed assortments of Vegetarian thali, Non-vegetarian thali and great variety of desserts. The beauty was that every dish was cooked with love and interest and every dish tasted awesome.

To add to the zest of the feast, some were dressed in typical Sinhalese sarees. Common ice-breaker was “So, what did you cook?” Discussion was mainly around, (what else?) Food and recipes….

Throughout the afternoon there was uproar of happy laughter, as different jokes did their rounds in-between mouthful of tasty bites.

Ananya cooked the traditional dish Lamparis.

The Lamprais, an influence of the Dutch Burgher community. It's rice that's been cooked in meat stock, stuffed with curry, meatballs and brinjal. This is wrapped in a banana leaf packet that's then steamed.”-She said. It was  Delicious!

During my research, I discovered that Wambatu mojo is the favourite dish prepared in every Sri Lankan home. It’s a kind of Brinjal pickle, it had interesting recipes and I decided to experiment on this dish

It was a simple recipe.

1. Half kg of brinjals are cut into thick strip, salt and turmeric is added to it and is kept for some time and then deep fried in small batches till dark brown.

2. Half kg of shallots, slit and deep fried

3. 100gms of green chillies, slit and deep fried.

4. 50gms curry leaves washed and deep fried

5. Pound together into a smooth paste
1tbsp mustard seeds
4 cloves of garlic
1inch ginger
1tbsp sugar
1tsp red chilli powder
salt to taste

6. Add vinegar
combine and it should be sweet sour and hot.

7. Mix in with deep fried brinjals, shallots, green chillies and curry leaves.

8. Keep it for few hours to mature.

Enjoyed meeting all the home chefs and came home with the tastiest SriLankan pickle made specially for all by our most gracious hostess. 

Thank you so much!!

A special thank you to our afternoon refreshment courtesy 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The German Cuisine On #WildAsparagusTable- Version Three

What do Germans eat? 

That was the first question that popped on my mind when this month theme #GermanPotluck was announced. I have never been to Germany and from the little that I knew I thought that the German eat only breads, cakes, sausages, potatoes and drink lots of beer.. But over the month of discussions with my foodie friends, foodbloggers and homechefs- and some virtual research on the net, I began to understand that the Germans appreciate food that is healthy, well prepared and served with care. Its cuisine is influenced by its neighboring cities like France and Italy and it is a culinary delight waiting to be explored.

My foodie friends are also very adventurous. They were willing to research the food culture and try out new dishes.The dishes that were prepared were outstanding and such large variety food is difficult to find even in an authentic German restaurant.

Don’t believe me???

This was the variety of dishes prepared at our #WildAsperagusTable that was held at #Gymkhana91 last Saturday lunch.

Name:Shital Kakad
Insta: ShitalKakad
Dish: KartoffelWaffleln, German Potato Waffles (Eggfree)

Name:Aruna Shetty
Dish: German Sourdough bread

Name: Mahrukh Noshir Mogrelia
Dish: Sauerbraten (Mutton Roast)

Name: Pratiba
Dish: Cheese platter

Name:Salloni Malkani
Dish: Baked cauliflower

Name: Anjali Bhargava
Dish: Paprika sahane Hähnchen ( Paprika Cream Chicken )

Name: Renuka Nadkarni
Insta: just.a.pinchofsalt
Dish: Kartoffelsalat / German potato salad

 Name: Moumita
Insta: moumita0904
Dish: Pan fried sweet potato with eggs & chicken sausage)                          

Name: Aarthi Basrur
Insta: aarthi.b.gastronomic_flight
Dish: Krautwickel / Kohlrouladen (German Cabbage Roll) veg

Name: Binal Valand
Insta: binal_valand
Dish: käse spätzle (contains egg)

Name: Indrani Sen
Dish: schupfnudel (potato gnocchi) maultaschen(flour dumplings stuffed with minced lamp and spinach)

Name: Shilpa Seth Bhambri
Dishes: Gurkensalat - German Cucumber Salad and
Herrencreme-Sweetened mousse

Name:  Ananya Banerjee
Insta: chefananyabanerjee
Dishes: Konigsberger Klopse(German Meatballs) and Butterkuchen

Name: Bimba Nayak
Dish: German Cookies

Name: Shivani Vakil Savant
Insta: @TheOddHourKitchen
Dish: Marmorkuchen (marble cake)

Name:Ketaki Likhite
Insta: @whiskandvanilla
Dish: Apple Cake (versunkener apfelkuchen)

Name:Manisha Talim
Insta: @sugarsnapmumbai
Dish: Linsen Eintopf ...German Lentil Soup with Chicken Broth and Pork Sausages

The first word I learnt was Eintoph (meat and vegetable stew). Dr Manisha Talim takes me down to ‘The forgotten Nazi history of ‘One pot meal where “Cooking in ‘one pot’ (ein Topf) was supposed to symbolize the Nazi creation of ‘one people’ (ein Volk), the crafting of a delicious casserole by combining diverse ingredients analogous to the uniting of the various native German peoples into a single and self-sustaining whole.” 

I was confused for days debating on what should I learn first?...The pronunciation (the long and difficult words) or the recipes.

And then I stumbled upon #GermanPizza called #flammkeuchen pronounced as or flame bread. This has the thin crispy crust with cheese as base (unlike tomato salsa that is used in Italian pizza). I used unsalted crackers (instead of pizza base) and coated with the mixture of hung curd and cream cheese . For topping i used caramalized onion ( took so much time to cook the onions to perfection..had added salt and vinegar too ro give a bit of flavor) added grilled  vegetarian meat and covered with grated gruyere cheese.. baked it for 10 minutes.

Although I reached the venue an hour later.(crazy traffic light and insensitive traffic policeman ).but the pizza remained fresh and was enjoyed even though it was cold.

Our thirst quencher: #BluePine Artesian Water had sent bottles of their alkaline water. Love their glass bottles.
We had several pints of Fuller's London Pride, #londonspride an original ale , smooth , rich and wonderfully balanced. I didn’t have any at the venue but took a bottle of beer for my nephew to taste.

“London Pride is an interesting beer. It has a nice blend of a little bitter yet light and smooth. So its extremely well balanced almost like it was crafted carefully to tickle your flavor like a wine yet the large gulps quite enjoyable.” Says my nephew Rajeev, whom I ask the feedback for tasting this beer.

London Pride is known for its balance of malt and hops, giving rise to a well-rounded flavour. Crystal malts combine with spring-harvested Pale Ale varieties Concerto and Propino, to give Pride its inimitable depth and balance.

A big thanks to Saloni Sameer Malkani and Ananya Banerjee  for creating such a plaform of #WildAsperagusTable where we get an opportunity to explore the cuisine and culture from different parts of the world without a travel ticket or Visa and still learn to understand the different ways of cooking the same common ingredients in diverse ways.

You can read the French Chapter of #WildAsperagusTable HERE

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