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 bacon, butter chicken, cheese, dal makhani, delhi, fettucine, fusion, fusion food, indian, indian cuisine, italian, italian cuisine, mac n cheese, macaroni, mushroom, mushroom sauce, naan, Pasta, risotto, Salad, spring roll, Uncategorized, white sauce pasta

The Chatter House, Khan Market, New Delhi

Food innovation is the current trend in the food industry and restaurants experimenting with fusion food are sure to attract customers time and again. Because combination dishes invite a loyal fan following and I am one of those people who love to explore new cuisines, even the blend of two or more.
The Chatter House has earned a fine reputation for experimenting with dishes and boy, they have succeeded in changing our palette preferences. Who could say no their Blue Cheese Naan or Port Wine with chocolate syrup?

For our Rock n Roll fans, this is the perfect place with the framed posters of The Beatles, Def Leppard, The Eagles and what not with a rivalling playlist is sure to seduce you.
Butter Chicken Spring Roll: Fusion food at its best! Who could have thought of combining the staple curry of Delhiites with the famed Oriental snack item? The spring roll has a light and flaky exterior with tender chicken pieces inside. The chicken is slightly drizzled with the smooth and creamy butter chicken gravy which is served separately and you have to dip your spring roll in the curry to enjoy this mouth watering decadence. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Garden in a bowl: Fresh vegetables – black olives, carrots, broccoli and cherry tomatoes along with roasted almonds served in a tangy and creamy yoghurt and eggplant based dressing and garnished with smoked olive dust – healthy as well as light. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Blue cheese Naan: This dish has been the most talked about snack item since the inception of this place. The chewy naan is redolent with the pungent flavour of blue cheese and chopped pineapple are adorned on its top so as to cut the sharpness of the cheese. Served with our very own Dal makhni which is ohh-so-creamy and we have a winner here. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Bacon Wrap Mac n Cheese: Why in the name of heaven did I binge on it? Because I can not stop craving it. The melt-in-the-mouth macaroni drenched in creamy and cheesy sauce and wrapped in a bacon strip which is smoked to perfection – bacon is crispy but not chewy and the mac n cheese is not too cheesy. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Mushroom Risotto: Subtlety defines this – smooth and not so creamy texture of the mushroom sauce with a topping of cherry tomatoes. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Fettucine Fungi De Basco: Their fettucine is prepared in house and when combined in the creamy white wine based sauce with the addition of mushroom ragout – we could not keep our hands off! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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The Chatter House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in achaari paneer tikka, afghani chicken, chicken, chicken kebab, chicken malai tikka, chicken pizza, chicken tangri, chicken tikka, delhi, gurgaon, indian, indian cuisine, kebab, leg piece, mughlai, mughlai cuisine, north indian, paneer, paneer lababdar, paneer tikka, tangri kebab, Uncategorized

Majnu Ka Tilla, Sushant Lok, Gurgaon

There are very few places specialising in Mughlai cuisine which are able to dish out a decent meal, forget about bringing their innovation to the table. The usual tikkas and kebabs sometimes get boring and creative energy in culinary arts is the rule of the day. Majnu ka Tilla has excelled on both the frontiers.

Without much ado, I would straightaway move forward to the loebly spread that was sent to me a few days back:

Chicken Tangri Kebab: Why in the name of God did I taste this? I have always been drawn towards the salivating Tangri Kebabs and these stuffed ones in thick sticky gravy just set a new bar for my taste buds. The stuffing of finely minced chicken with a juicy exterior of the leg piece drenched in yoghurt based gravy and the occasional green chillies will leave you yearning for more. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Achaari Paneer Tikka: Tangy and spicy – wohoooo! The smoked cottage cheese pieces and the red, yellow and green bell peppers were smoked to perfection in the tangy and peppery batter. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Majnu Special Afghani Chicken: The reason these guys call some of their dishes as special is because they use gravy in these appetizers. The tikka was perfectly smoked, succulent and drenched in a lovely gravy of yoghurt, green chillies and coriander flavoured with chaat masala . HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Chicken Tikka: Again gravy based with tender boneless chicken pieces spreading the warmth in your mouth as well as stomach. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Paneer Lababdar: Vegetarians, you have to binge on this one. Thick and sliky gravy with the occasional bite of cumin seeds and a prominent flavour of the onion tomato mixture goes so well with every Indian bread that you can think of. And the paneer – top notch! They also use a secret ingredient in their preparation which I am of course forbidden to reveal. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Majnu Ka Tilla Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in chicken, chicken kebab, indian, indian cuisine, multigrain chicken, seekh kebab, south indian, south indian cuisine, spring roll, Uncategorized

Unplugged Courtyard

Unplugged Courtyard recently launched their Monsoon menu and things couldn’t get any better!! The restaurant is a perfect place to dine out and has an impressive ambience.
Here are the dishes that I tried-
Chennai Express Cutlet – This one is made with rice and has a south indian flavour to it. Crunchy to the core.

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Multi grain coated deep fried chicken fillet- As the whole world is getting obsessed with multigrains so why not coat chicken in it? An ingenious idea which is executed perfectly. It is crunchy as well as tangy.

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Mexican Spring Roll – For all the people who can’t get enough of Spring Rolls, this one is divine. The sweet chilli sauce with which it is served takes it on a whole new level. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Banana Chicken – This one is grilled to perfection and is oh so juicy and tender at the same time. The flavours are bang on. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Kurkure Seekh kebab – The deep fried crunchy outer covering which encloses a soft chewy kebab is a different take on the traditional seekh kebab. It is spicy as well which makes it a winner for me. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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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 chicken, indian, indian cuisine, mughlai, mughlai cuisine, paneer tikka, Uncategorized

F’muse, Golf Course Road, Gurgaon

Food to amuse or F’muse, located at the bustling Golf Course Road, Gurgaon is yet another entrant to the rising crew of delivery outlets in Gurgaon. The food is definitely amusing to your taste buds and here are a few items that I recently savoured:

Paneer tikka: Prominent tanginess of pickle like taste with exploding flavours and dollops of spices, this one is a must try. But slight saltiness and absence of smokiness on the paneer make it a tad incomplete. RECOMMENDED.

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Garlic chicken: Good but dry.

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Mataki chicken: I am short of words to describe this one. It is their speciality and after hogging on it, you will know why. Succulent chicken pieces drenched in a thick, oil soaked gravy of the finest juliennes of onions, garlic and chopped tomatoes with very unusual flavours – extraordinary is a very small word for this one. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Paneer Lababdar: A smooth gravy but slightly tangy and heavy on spices with well cooked paneer cubes. RECOMMENDED.

F'Muse - Food To Amuse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in dal makhani, gurgaon, indian, indian cuisine, noodles, Pasta, sweet, Uncategorized, white sauce pasta

Being Chef, Sector 14, Gurgaon

So what happens when a few friends who never had any cooking experience, decide to cook a decent meal after celebrating Friday to it umpteenth? Disaster.  And what happens when an idea is born in these mechanical engineers to devise a way to make the life easy for office goers who do not have time to cook? Being Chef.

Being Chef was the first start up in India to come up with ready to eat cooking kits with 5 minute recipes. Their process is well researched, designed and patented.

I recently savoured an opportunity to taste their delicacies and try my hands on their cooking kit:

Penne pasta in white sauce cooking kit: I have laid my hands on such cooking kits before, but this one is extremely lucid and precise – one of the many reasons that it is patented. Every ingredient is measured precisely and packed with single letters written on the top. The recipe card clearly mentions the exact time a step will take for an ingredient to get cooked – the ingredients are mentioned by their corresponding letter names.

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Since they follow a 5 minute recipe procedure, the pasta was boiled, the vegetables blanched and the sauce was already prepared and packed. The quantity served for the price is well worth the money you pay. Totally impressed!

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The pasta turned out to be deliciously drool worthy since I followed the steps to the T. The balance of the flavours, the creaminess of the sauce and the extra cheese gratings on the top made my day. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Vegetarian Deluxe Meal: Now that is one platter! You know are having a great dinner when the soft lachha paranthas are gobbled up with a smooth creamy dal makhani, a sweet paneer lababdar, a healthy bowl of mixed vegetables, simple steamed rice, a mellow gulab jamun and a well prepared mint raita.  However the mixed vegetables were quite tangy and the rice was slightly undercooked.  RECOMMENDED.

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Veg Hakka Noodles: I am very stringent when it comes to the simple yet delicious Hakka noodles and these guys passed my test. The noodles strings could have been thinner but were otherwise pretty appetizing. The finely cut jullienes of carrots, cabbage and bell peppers complimented the noodles and the subtle tanginess of vinegar was the icing on the cake. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Being Chef Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato