Posted in bangalore, biryani, coorg, coorg hills, dum biryani, hills, india, indian, indian cuisine, karnataka, kaveri, kushalnagar, madikeri, mutton biryani, mysore, mysore palace, namdroling monastery, resort, south indian, south indian cuisine, thallakaveri, travel, travel diaries, traveller, travelogue, Uncategorized, western ghats

TRAVELOGUE COORG

We live in the vicinity of the Himalayas and it seems to be our first choice for a weekend getaway or even a long vacation. But when we are not yearning for an adventurous journey or a challenging trek, the hills of South India seem to be our next option.
Kodaikanal and Ooty have been on our bucket list for a long time now but we wanted a place away from the hustle bustle of the city life and touristy crowd. And that is where Coorg came in. No internet connection for two days with minimum network coverage can definitely leave anyone mad, but not when you are surrounded by three big hills, coffee plantation, colonial wood cottages, a small pond and an excellent hospitality.
Coorg is an enchanting travel destination located in the Western Ghats. When you head from Bangalore to the hilly slopes, the winding terrain bewitches you and it is difficult to take your eyes from the alluring scenic beauty.
Where to start: It takes around 6 hours from Bangalore to Coorg by a car through NH 2575 and en route you can enjoy the beauty of the famous Ramgarh hills where the legendary Sholay was filmed.
Pit stops: Kamat Upachar and Nakshatra
We had a light breakfast at Kamat located at Mudhugere, Bangalore Mysore Highway. The authentic South Indian Upma is to die for – a novelty for us North Indians.
A heavy lunch awaited us at Nakshatra located at the Bypass road, Hunsur on the Bangalore Mysore Road or NH 275. The chicken dum biryani was exceptional and it was the Mysore version of the biryani and was served with a spicy hot saalan or rasam. The vegetable curry was good though extra hot with the flavours of gun powder and garam masala igniting a lava on my palate. Washrooms are clean and ambience is good.


Just two hours from Coorg, we took a halt at Kushalnagar, which is home to several Tibetan settlements as well as the abode of Namdroling Monastery. A splendid Tibetan temple with a golden pagoda occupies the crest here. At around 4pm, you can hear the booming Buddhist chants when the monks gather in the main temple for their evening prayers. The chants sooth your clamorous soul and bring the eluding peace.
You can buy prayer flags, Tibetan handicrafts and paraphernalia from the shop at the starting of the monastery.

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The uphill drive starts after Kushalnagar with very narrow paths. The roads become narrower as we proceed with the forests and the sideway plants/trees growing thicker and denser. The roads are not dangerous compared to the Himalayas, but they are deserted with no sign of a living being for miles. So it is better to avoid driving or even visiting the resort after 6pm.
The roads are not jittery and you will not feel even an impulse to vomit. But if you are a newbie, better to carry Avomin.
We had booked a resort, Leisure Vacations Three Hills, which is located in the valley and three giant hills surround it. It had three separate cottages and there were rooms in the main villa as well, but we had booked a cottage for ourselves and each morning we were greeted with a raw, enchanting natural beauty. There is a little pond nearby and one can spot the ducks gracefully swimming in it.


We visited Talakaveri the next day which is the place where the river Kaveri originates. A temple is situated here and because of the extreme height at which it is located you will be greeted by clouds which will be floating away in front of your eyes. Now if that doesn’t leave you flabbergasted, what will!

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It is advisable to wear knee length or longer clothes to this place as you will not allowed to enter the temple. Additionally, they will rent out the traditional “lungi” or the wrap around garment at a meagre price of 10 bucks.


There are about hundreds of steps located near the temple and after climbing them, you can witness the whole picturesque and vividly green valley from the top. Though it would have been better if the temple authorities allow the tourists to wear footwear while climbing the stone steps, especially when the ground on the top is not levelled properly and has huge stones and boulders lying carelessly.
Our stay at the resort was pretty luxurious and relaxing. The steward assigned to us – Mr. Shiva took excellent care of the our requirements and was there to guide us about the place. We wished for authentic Coorg cuisine to be served to us and he, along with the cook presented the most explosive dishes to us. They were pretty new to us, extremely flavourful and way too spicy.

 

 

The dining area was in the main villa and the feasts were prepared on demand. We came to know about a local favourite here – Karimpettu – a rice and sooji steamed ball taken with spicy vegetable curry. Another favourite was the bread omelette they served us in the breakfast – fluffy yet thin omelettes wrapped around raw breads.

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After a stay of two nights, we headed back to Bangalore and what better than Mysore for an afternoon stop over?
Note: Do not forget to buy home made chocolates, organic honey, spices and cosmetics from the local shops while driving from Coorg to Madikeri. You won’t regret any bit of it.
Our next stop over was at Desi Platter, Mysore were we got to gorge upon the exploding Mysore mutton dum biryani and a vegetarian meal before heading on to the famed Mysore Palace.


The famed Mysore Palace, which is the official residence of the royal family of Mysore was next on our itinerary. Towering over you, the behemoth palace casts a spell on you with its beautifully crafted walls which light up in the evening.

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It was built by the 24th Raja of Mysore and is exquisitely designed. The glittery yet pastel shades of the ramparts and the ceilings can give those French balustrades a run for their money. The graceful and gigantic pillared halls echo with the voices of the tourists without losing their mysterious sheen.

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The marriage hall or the Kalyan Mandapa is a unique octagonal shaped hall with symmetry raging in every mosaic and motif. We were awed by the glass panels situated towards the top of the hall and we are pretty sure you will be too.

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Posted in biryani, dum biryani, hyderabadi biryani, india, indian, indian cuisine, mughlai, mughlai cuisine, south indian, south indian cuisine, Uncategorized

Delhi Rasoi, East of Kailash, New Delhi

Since I have been on a spate of exploring the delivery outlets of Delhi NCR, I have experienced the preparations of a handful of them and needless to say, there are few of them which leave an everlasting impression on me.
Delhi Rasoi is one such outlet which scored a 5 on 5 when it came to providing an enriching culinary experience while sitting in the comfort of your home. The order arrived well in time and here are the delicacies that I relished on:
Chicken Tikka: Such mellowness and tenderness coupled with the precise penetration of spices to the core and the crunchy smokiness adorning its exterior – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Paneer Lababdar: Even a hard core non vegetarian like me fell in love with this. A thick buttery gravy with the bursting flavours of cardamom and tomatoes – each morsel tastes like divinity. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani: So finally after a long time, had a food gasmic biryani – the enchanting waft of long grained Basmati rice and spices topped with caramelised onions with chicken pieces drenched in the herbs to the core. The chicken is so well prepared that the flesh falls off easily from the bones – optimum moistness. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Delhi Rasoi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in biryani, butter chicken, mughlai, mughlai cuisine, mutton, mutton biryani, tangri kebab, Uncategorized

Handi X-press, M.G. Road, New Delhi

It seems that the mushrooming of delivery outlets is going to continue for long, specially the Mughlai based cuisine ones. Handi Xpress counts itself in this section with the addition of barbeque dishes and the Chinese ones.

Service and delivery: On time and well packed.

Moving on to the food, here are the items I savoured:

Afghani Tangri Kebab: An adorable twist to our decadent Tangri Kebab – the rich cream hugging the leg pieces and lending its silkiness to the succulent chicken. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Butter chicken: Too tangy – tasted like tomato soup though the gravy was smooth and creamy.

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Mutton Dum Biryani: Average rice grade, zero penetration of spices to the insides of the mutton and no flavour except the typical hotness of our gem garam masala – not recommended at all.

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Handi X-Press Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in andhra, biryani, chettinad, chettinad biryani, chicken, chocolate, dark chocolate brownie, delhi, dessert, dum biryani, Salad, soup, south indian, south indian cuisine, Uncategorized

Nariyal Café, Adchini

If you are bored with the food that you have on every outing with your family/friends, Nariyal Café is your saviour. The restaurant serves some delectable Andhra, Kerala, Goan, Thai and Continental food. So the next time you are craving for something different, give this place a try and you would not be disappointed.

Flavoured Nariyal Paan – This is what anyone will desire in this sweltering summer. I had strawberry flavoured one and it was really nice. The sweetness of strawberry is delightful and surprises you as well. Best part -they even carve your name on the coconut shell.  RECOMMENDED

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Malay Laksa in Coconut Shell – So given the fact that I am not a huge fan of soups and I found this utterly amazing should count for something. The soup is made from coconut milk and vegetable stalk and is served with peanuts, cucumber, mint leaves and radish. The crunchiness of peanuts in the soup delights you and the spiciness of red chilli hits you at the right moment making the experience extraordinary. The soup is perfect for those who love their food a bit spicy and the soup still remains delectable even after getting cold. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

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Forgotten Grains Curry Leaves Salad – The reason behind the naming is that people forget the grains that are used in this salad. It is a healthy salad consisting of jowar, barley, pomegranate, onions and tomatoes in apple cider dressing but was really bland.

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Chicken Gongura- A perfect starter for all the chicken lovers where the chicken is cooked in Gongura leaves and Andhra spices. It wasn’t too spicy and had juilens of ginger providing  flavours from time to time. The chicken was extremely juicy and had black pepper on it as well. If you are bored with all the chicken starters out there, do try this one, its lip-smacking. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Chettinad Dum Biryani- The biryani is served with chettinad salan and Andhra raita. The raita was good but the salan was quite bitter. I had this kind of biryani for the first time and absolutely loved it. The chicken was juicy and was cooked to perfection. The spices had penetrated the inside of the chicken pieces taking it on a whole new level. (something which doesn’t happen with the biryanis I have always tried). Even though the chicken was perfect, the biryani was a little dry. RECOMMENDED

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Murugan Chocolate Bomb – The BEST dessert I have ever had!! It consists of a chocolate dome structure sitting in the middle of the plate surrounded by crushed brownie pieces and dry fruits. Then they pour hot chocolate over the dome and voila, the outer chocolate covering melts revealing coconut icecream inside. The amalgamation of the hot chocolate with the cool icecream and the soft brownie pieces with the crunchiness of dry fruits is just divine. Hats off to the chef!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Posted in biryani, dum biryani, hyderabadi biryani, Uncategorized

Behrouz Biryani, Green Park, New Delhi

According to their site, Behrouz is an ancient city in Persia, which was well noted for its earthy biryanis. The story shown on the site was pretty interesting about the conquest of Cyrus the great on the lands of Behrouz and how he came to to experience this flavourful biryani. However, being a history lover myself, I was not naïve enough to believe in the story which was definitely a lovely read.

But I am highly impressed by the ingenuity of their aromatic Hyderabadi biryani. Adorned at the top with finely sliced almonds and coriander, possessing highly tender chicken pieces and drenched in spices, this biryani is one of a kind. The dish reeks classiness in every morsel. And the saalan and the raita served are not the usual ones you get at a typical Mughlai/Hyderabadi joint. The saalan is thick, has the wonderful flavours of rai seeds and fried curry leaves and is spicy to the core. The raita is innovative as well – pudina/minty flavour – who could have thought of that? HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Behrouz Biryani Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in biryani, chicken, kebab, mughlai, mughlai cuisine, mutton, seekh kebab, Uncategorized

Majeed’s, Dwarka, New Delhi

The one thing I appreciate about Majeed’s is their humbleness while providing class apart Mughlai dishes. Their deliveries are always on time with the personnel informing the customers about their delivery time.

Mutton Kakori Kebab: The softest and finest mutton mince sprayed with aromatic spices and screw pine essence formed into delectable kebabs.

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Chicken seekh kebab: Chewy and hot chicken seekh with a slightly tangy flavour.

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Mutton dum biryani: I somehow did not like their biryani this time. The rice was not biryani grade – not long grained and was over cooked. The mutton was succulent though.

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Majeed's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in arsalan, biryani, dessert, kolkata, kolkata biryani, lucknawi biryani, park street, phirni, sweet, Uncategorized

Arsalan, Park Circus area, Kolkata

In a world of Lucknawi and the Hyderabadi, Kolkata biryani has a place of its own but sadly it has not been able to carve the same niche like the former two. India is the melting pot of cultures and biryani is a dish associated with so many states and regions. But we are aware about just the two of them.

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So if you are visiting Kolkata, you have to try the delectable biryani offered by Arsalan. The taste is so different and out of the world. And the copious quantities of the biryani accompanied with the sweet Bengali hospitality will leave you over satisfied. So here are the two dishes which I relished on my recent visit to Kolkata:

Mutton biryani: After the Lucknawi biryani from Dastarkhwan, this has to be the best regional biryani I have tasted. Contrary to the popular notion of biryani being heavily loaded with spices, this one was plain white colour with mutton pieces subtly drenched in spices. The rice was long grained basmati, aromatic, moist and blossoming. The mutton pieces were ohh-so-succulent and chewy in taste. The prominent hotness of green and black cardamom was pronounced but not too many spices were used here. The addition of boiled potatoes provided a sweet hint in an otherwise hot dish. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Phirni: How did the Bengalis come up with such a condensed version of phirni? Because the phirni here is not our milk and rice pudding. The khoya – concentrated milk is condensed more with green cardomam and presented in a semi-frozen form in an earthen ware. The light sweetness, the heavenly creaminess and the subtle smoothness make this dessert a masterpiece. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Arsalan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato