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Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie.. Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... I Am crazy about music,books,friends and my doggie... :)

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Lets millet..

If you’re into healthy eating, chances are you have heard of millets like Thinai, saamai, ragi and others.. But then the one word that many seem to be chanting these days is "quinoa". Well, for those who are clueless what we are talking about, it is "Millets".. 

They are coarse grains and a repository of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. They include jowar (sorghum), ragi (finger millet), foxtail millet, kodo millet, saamai (little millet), bajra (pearl millet), proso millet and barnyard millet. While the practice of consuming millets as part of the daily diet is not new to India, it had gone missing for a few decades and has now made a re-entry. So much so that every other person you meet is talking about how they have stopped eating rice and shifted to millets. For some it is about healthy, but there are a few who are doing this just to stay in "trend" .. 

Few days ago, I got a call inviting me to an event at Prems Grama Bhojanam, Adyar where Sri Krishna Byre Gowda- Minister of Agriculture, Karnataka would be coming .. He was here in his endeavour to promote millets and for the upcoming Organic & millet trade fair [Jan, in Bangalore]

The meeting with the Minister and few others from the group was very interesting and insightful. I learnt about how millets have always ruled over rice in some parts of Karnataka and how they are so different from rice, in every aspect. 

1. Require lesser water for cultivation
2. Don't require any/little pesticides and so is good for the environment as well
3. They grow in any climatic condition [worked in times of drought ]

The restaurant where the meet was happening - Prems Grama Bhojanam is one I have been to few times earlier and love their food. Infact I know of quite a few who went on my reference and enjoyed their menu.  The menu is mainly millets and offbeat items like Neer dosai which we dont get too much here in Chennai. One other dish that stands out from here is their Black rice puttu.. It is divine!! you need to try it to believe me... 

The Minister also told us that many farmers would rather not cultivate anything during drought season rather than switching to millets. He said it would involve changing mindsets of not only the people but also the farmers. 

When questioned about the high price of millets, his response was again to do with the yield being low and in only in some pockets. 

Just like everything else, it requires effort from people to be open to trying new ingredients, understand their value+health benefits and start making the shift. [While millets take longer to cook than rice, they hold off hunger longer because they are low in GI. ]

Different kinds of millets..

[Image courtesy-]

Minister Sri Krishna Byre Gowda

 Mr Krishnamoorthy of Prems Grama Bhojanam

The food served at Prems Grama Bhojanam that day was phenomenal, as always. Started with Mudakathan keerai vadai and a cup of Mushroom+banana stem soup. They were both sinful and we went for a 2nd helping of the soup. 

Following this came the thali 
Sambar rice, rasam rice, curd rice, lemon rice, [except there was no rice, they were all made with different kinds of millets- saamai, thinai, guthirai vaali and one other] moong daal halwa [with palm jaggery], kara kozhambu with ragi & red rice balls. And along this was Beetroot kari. 

The next time you are looking for something different to try, do head over to Prems Grama Bhojanam.. It is a small non descript place, tucked away behind a bunch of stores, but well worth a visit~~  Do meet Mr Krishnamoorthy if he is there, he is such a treasure chest of information..

Prems Grama Bhojanam
#19/90, Sardar Patel Road, 
Beside GRT store/Jalpaan, 
Gandhi Nagar, Adyar, Chennai - 600020

Interesting articles

Monday, October 2, 2017

Celebrations galore at Flying Elephant, Park Hyatt, Chennai

Bring on the Anniversary Celebrations... 
Bring on the party for the "Alcohol is back" news.. Yayy!! 

At Flying Elephant, they do it in style, with a difference.. They have gone all out and introduced a new menu, almost 75% of the dishes in the old one have been replaced with some amazing new dishes, many of which would be like a live station, except right at your table...

Chef Balaji and Chef Teku have come together and whipped up some interesting dishes on this new menu.. Here is a sneak peek to what lies in store,

Singapore Slow- A crispy crunchy salad that the chef put together at our table had all the flavours I love... 

Tandoori Tarbooza [Watermelon] - Oh this was all sorts of wow.. You would not know its watermelon till you bite into it. Even then the head is trying to wrap itself around this dish. The outside masala is a lot like the one used for Paneer tikka/chicken tikka but the inside is sweet and juicy... It is brought to the table sizzling on a small tandoor and served with the traditional green chutney. We were more than wowed by this, the biggest surprise being there was no water leaking from the fruit, even though it sat on the grill a good few minutes.. Chef Balaji has quite a few tricks up his sleeve is what we gathered based on the discussion we had on this dish :)

Tofu in a sauce- I loved this- it had tofu bok choy, broccoli and few other veggies, with a sauce that was simple yet yumm

Mushroom Risotto.. While the non veg got Ossobucco [lamb on saffron risotto]this was mine.. All mine. The mushrooms were beautiful, the risotto still had a bite to it and it was one bowl that I could happily dig into anytime of the day

 Ginger flower- Not a dish, but chef showed this to tell us about the ingredient and how it added flavour to a few of the dishes. It was beautiful, we did have a tough time trying to place the aroma/taste, but soon I kinda figured it was like a torn betel leaf..

 The new decor is quite neat.. There are black boards with stylish typography on them across the restaurant, the new pizza place looks swanky and the lights,well I loved them..

 Black forest- with a twist.. It had berry compote, sorbet and crunchy crumble beneath it while the black forest was light airy and delicious . I personally loved the tart of the berry with the richness of the chocolate, perfect combination!

Soft baked brownie served with peanut ice cream. Well, if you are allergic to peanuts, stay away.. more the merrier for the others.. The brownie was fudgy, gooey and hot while the ice cream was singing with peanut flavours.. 

To experience more from the new menu, head over to Flying Elephant, order a pint or a glass of wine and enjoy the evening!! 

Park Hyatt
#39, Velachery Main Rd, 

Velachery, Chennai - 600032
Phone:044 7177 1234

Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit :-)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Southern Thai Food Festival , Benjarong, Till 1st October

Benjarong is one of the few restaurants that I love, and keep going back to and never get tired of. Infact, I found the food there to be closest in terms of taste to what I had in Bangkok. And so, whenever they have a festival, I make it a point to head over and give the menu a trial.. There are friends who I have introduced to the place who also fell in love with the food and service~ 

This time around I was headed there for their Southern Thai Food Festival. The minute I saw the menu cover, my mood kinda fell, cos it seemed to reflect more of seafood.. But then when I began flipping through the pages, smile creeped back onto my face. There were veg options in every category.. Yayy!!

Here is a photo journey of the dishes I got to taste... Psst, there is an egg dish there, since I love egg, chose the stuffed omelette :D

The evening opened with a delicious lychee based drink... 

 The Starters and Mains

 Spinach deep fried and coated with sticky sweet chilli sauce... 

 Lotus stem stir fry with fresh pepper corns..

 Stuffed Omelette - this one had mushrooms and few other vegetables.. I quite loved it.. 

The traditional Raw Mango salad 

Thai rice.. This was not part of the menu but the chef whipped up a portion for me to try..

 Pad See ew- Pad thai noodles sautéed with broccoli and bean sprouts in brown sauce..

 Tofu stir frie in fresh pepper - this was the highlight for me amidst all the dishes. Loved how the tofu was melting in the mouth and the peppercorns added just the right hit of spice... Apparently it is quite a popular dish in Thailand, one of the few dry dishes. 

I tried not one or two but three of them... 
First up was Sakoo Piak Maprow - Little pearls of sago served with tender coconut milk and  pieces of cantaloupes.

Khanom Kluay - which I loved- which is steamed banana cupcake in banana leaf it has been cooked in served with vanilla ice cream.

Kluay Buat Chee - Elaki[tiny variety] banana cooked in palm sugar syrup and topped with sweetened coconut cream  - Did not enjoy this too much.. it was sweet plus I dont like this particular kind of banana...

This festival is on only till the 1st Oct. So if you have been curious about this restaurant or haven't been in ages, then time to book a table and make a visit!! 

Benjarong,146 TTK Road, Chennai. 
For reservations for the Festival call 044 24322640.

Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit :-)

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Celebrating World Tourism Day at Madras Pavillion, ITC Grand Chola- 27th Sep

'You have to taste a culture to understand it ~ Deborah Cater." When you bring together two of my favourite elements, it is bound to be filled with excitement.  What two aspects am I talking about - Travel & food.. 

ITC Grand Chola is celebrating World Tourism day with a host of activities such as Art walk, talks and of course through food as well. The bottomline being Responsible Luxury meets Sustainable Tourism right here! 

At Madras Pavilion, as part of the buffet you will find a few new Live stations that will tingle your taste buds leaving you happy and confused and ecstatic as well..  I got a sneak preview of the same...  Here is what you can expect - 

Thakkali Rasam Ramen - Yes, you read it right. It was delicious flavour packed rasam served on top of Semiya with nori strips, blanched cherry tomatoes, spring onion, fried garlic.. What a twist right?! The flavours blended well and the spice in the rasam had the perfect kick..  

    Idli Arrabbiata - Talk about going berserk in the name of fusion right? But know what, this fusion worked well. Idli was soaked right with the sauce and it had shaved parmesan on top and rocket leaves as well. For someone who isnt a big fan of idli, I was in love.. On the side we have the milagai podi blended with some cheese powder.. 

 Raw Mango Som Tam with chickpea sundal in vietnamese rice wrap - My head took some time to wrap itself around this dish. Cos what I saw was a vietnamese veg wrap, but then there was mustard seeds on the plate.. With a bit of apprehension I popped one in my mouth and wowwie, I was in love. It was fabulous. inspired by the sundal at Marina beach, there was sundal inside this, and it substituted the peanut that you find normally in Thai/Vietnamese food.. 

 Nacho Parota - Served in a beautiful cast iron pan, it arrived in style and looked at me as if to say "Cmon, give me a shot wont you?"... I picked up a crisp parota and lopped it with potato masala, onions/tomato salsa, dipping into the sauce at the bottom and that is how the party started in my mouth. The pan was wiped clean in minutes, and I saw others had done the same thing.

Mushroom pepper momos- While I love mushrooms and momos, this one was a bit of let down. Did not excite me as much as the other dishes did.. It is served with a delicious tangy sauce that had soya sauce, coriander and chilli hit 

 Filter Kaapi Tiramisu -Served in a Kaapi vattai tumbler [ tradiitonal south indian cutlery for coffee], this was deliciious in every spoonful. Filter Kaapi flovour - good [this was in the place of Kahlua], cream- good, sponge cake/lady finger biscuits- good, what more can I say!! :D 

Well, if you too wanna enjoy these dishes, head over to Madras Pavilion on 27th Sep [Wed] and celebrate World Tourism Day in style!! #WTD2017 #responsibleluxury #ITCHotels 

ITC Grand Chola 
#63, Mount Road, 
Guindy, Chennai
Ph- 044 2220 0000

Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit :-)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Oktoberfest at 365 AS, Hyatt Regency

Bring on the party.... that seemed to be the theme of the 6th Oktoberfest at The Arena in 365 AS at Hyatt Regency..  The atmosphere was buzzing, food was aplenty and beer kept flowing.... From the minute the festival was opened by the German Consulate general, beer flowed free across the tables. 

I spotted guys dressed in traditional Bavarian outfits- Trachten shirts paired with suspenders and troubers [ even though traditionally guys wear leather shorts] .. I did miss seeing the girls in their traditional  Dirndl dress and staff carrying tonnes of beer mugs in their hands.. These guys carried pitchers and poured beer into glasses that were empty/half empty.. :-) But they did a good job of keeping our glasses full at all times... lolz. 

There was german music, some dancing, and amazing food as well. I felt the veg spread was lot more this year and loved the salads and breads, not to mention the various kinds of mustard sauces on each table. Well, am not gonna go on.. Go have fun and let the beer do the talking... 

It offers the chance for locals to experience what it is like in Germany and to just chill, unwind after a long day! 

This festival is on till 7th October ... 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Independence Day 1947 Menu, Taj

On August 14, 1947, the entire country waited for the stroke of the midnight hour.. It was sweet moment as it meant India was now free... And at that very moment, the elite across the city of Mumbai had come together at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel's grand ballroom for the celebratory Indo-French feast. The hotel is renowned for its architecture and grandeur. Infact, what is even more fascinating is its role in the country's freedom struggle. Established away back n 1903 by Jamshetji Tata, the Taj Mahal Palace has an illustrious history that interestingly predates the construction of the Gateway of India. 

Another piece of history I came upon is that Sarojini Naidu stayed for long periods of time at the Taj was not charged given her role in the freedom struggle. And it was right here at the Taj that Viceroy Lord Louis Mountbatten bid India adieu while standing on the front steps making his farewell speech. 

[Photo: Taj Mahal archives]]

As the country gears up to celebrate 70 years of Independence, Taj has dug deep into their archives pulling out all stops to recreate the dishes served on the very day at the Taj Mahal Palace to the elite audience. Yes, they have made minor changes, given that times have changed and food scene along with it. But it is such an honour to enjoy the food that was said to have been whipped up by the finest French chef along with their Goan- Bengali counterparts... The portion sizes are fairly large, considering people back then had quite a healthy appetite.. :-) 

What is served at the meal... 

Veloute d'Amandes - Cream of almond soup 

Kebab platter- Paneer, Broccoli and hará bar a palak kebab

 Vegetable Fricassee with herb pilau

 Vacherin de Peches liberation

The menu will be served between August 12 - 15 across Taj properties -Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai; Taj Palace, New Delhi; Taj Coromandel, Chennai; Taj Bengal, Kolkata; Taj West End, Bangalore; Taj Krishna, Hyderabad, Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad and St. James Court, A Taj hotel, London.
Meal for one will be priced at INR 1947 plus taxes

The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit  :)