Tag Archives: breads

Shaan-e-Awadh @Jeon

A seemingly complex cuisine like the Awadhi, when simplified, in terms of flavours, can only be an achievement, attributed to a great chef. Chef Chandan Singh at Jeon, Hotel Sea Princess Juhu Mumbai, has manged to do just that. Without a doubt, the Awadhi Food Festival which begins here tomorrow is bound to find favour with foodies of all age groups.

This aromatic rich cuisine, replete with dry fruits, nuts and spices is famed for certain dishes. Nalli Nihari, Biryani, Taftan, Dal Makhani are a must, in a menu offering this cuisine. And Chef Chandan Singh along with fellow chef Amit and Executive Chef Jersen Fernandes has put together a menu, which showcases the best of Awadh.

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The gajar and annanas ka shorba aka carrot and pineapple shorba that we started with, swept me off my feet. The amalgamation of two diversely flavoured ingredients, was done to perfection. One could actually taste the sweetish fresh pineapple as well as the carrot, both immersed in subtle spices.One of the best shorbas I have ever had. It actually left me craving for more. For once, the Murg dhaniya shorba, which was also delicious, seemed plain.

The galouti kebab, the hero of Lucknawi cuisine was as expected, melt-in-the-mouth. The aroma and flavours of spices were pronounced, but not overpowering. The chicken seekh struck me as extraordinary, in terms of the flavours and texture. The seekh was firm and soft, not mushy or chewy as it often tends to be at some restaurants. The meat, laced with herbs and spices, was an interesting bit of innovation.

In the mains, the fish tikki – rawas fillet in a tangy and well-spiced tomato based gravy, got my instant vote. The use of authentic Awadhi spices was a testimony of the chef’s mastery over his craft. No compromise here.

What can I say about the dal bukhara? For a minute, I thought I was at the ITC hotels. Chef Chandan Singh has clearly figured out the secret behind this coveted dish and has done full justice to it.

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The Nalli Nihari was mildly flavoured, but the spices and richness of mutton, teased the palate just a wee bit. The accompanying, sweetish taftan was the perfect pair. Everything else paled in comparison.

The murg biryani was again a treat and perked up my taste buds as I tasted the first spoonful. Well-marinated, the chicken pieces were moist and succulent and meshed seamlessly with the flavoured rice, cooked in dum style. The aroma filled my nostrils as the purdah was removed and the biryani served.

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The shahi tukra was every bit royal. A perfect finale to a great meal. The creamy and rich rabdi wrapped around the deep fried bread laced with nuts and dry fruits was delectable and decadent. The phirni in comparison was a tad bland and disappointing, although the texture was just right.

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The meal overall, was overwhelming and had actually surpassed my expectations. Being used to some Awadhi meals with dishes doused with kewra and rose water and rich and greasy meat dishes, this one was a welcome change. Simple, authentic flavours, true to its Nawabi origins. Yet, nothing in the meal made one feel heavy or caused discomfort.

I left Jeon with a happy smile, almost having made a trip to Awadh.

The Awadhi food festival is on from Nov 5 till November 15 and is a treat, food lovers should not miss.

Rating: 4/5

 

 

 

 

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An evening of bread making

I love bread and can have it any time of the day or night. And more so today, when the variety is endless. Multigrain, foccacia, ciabatta, baguette, panini. Although the market is flooded with delicious breads, I love to experiment and make my own at home too. So, when an opportunity to attend a workshop on bread-making from Chef Sunil, the Senior Pastry Chef of the Mars Group, presented itself I jumped at the chance. It was at Eat Around The Corner in Bandra. One of my favourite restaurants anyway.

 A few eats and drinks later, we marched to the Kitchen, hair caps et al. Multigrain bread was what Chef Sunil started with. An absolutely delightful experience. He made everything look so simple and gave us some insights which were hitherto unknown to me. Effortlessly he folded the bread, after the dough was prepared. The multigrain mix that he used was packed with nutrients.

The Fruit and Nut cake was tackled next. Chef Sunil made it seem like child’s play. But it was really basic and gave everyone around, the confidence to try it at home. The ingredients just needed to be mixed well in sequence and hey presto, the batter was ready.

Chef emphasized that the fruits should be mixed well in the dry flour initially else, when the cake rises, the fruits will settle down. That, I thought was a valuable tip.

 

The French baguette came last. In this, no sugar had to be added, but the rest of the ingredients were same as the first multi grain loaf, minus the multigrain mix of course.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, informative and interactive. I emerged from their kitchen, more confident and well-equipped to make better breads.

Breads & More

Am I old fashioned or are the tastes of the Mumbaikars changing rapidly? I miss the easily available bun maska, hot pav from my local bakery. The mava cakes have been replaced by fancy cup cakes.

 No visit to Andheri station was complete without a Bun maska and chai at the Irani bakery at the corner, outside the station. Alas! But it is gone. This was a hot-spot for many Mumbaikars, until some months ago. But times have changed. Widely travelled, the customer has developed a discerning palate too. Bakeries in the city have thus given themselves a facelift. 

This change can be attributed to the evolving demographics and lifestyle. The affluence in urban cities like Mumbai have opened doors of opportunities for the bakery sector.  The present day consumer looks for new products, better appeal, taste and convenience. Andheri West has a plethora of bakeries. Bakers & More is perpetually packed with  a demand for fancy breads, exotic cakes. Sheila’s cakes and bites is no different. People clamour for whole wheat breads and garlic loaves.

 The gap is narrowing and with a lot of international companies coming intoIndia, customers know what they want and are aware of the real taste. The customer today is well-informed and is both quality as well as health-conscious. So naturally, shops have to cater to the changing needs of customers. They don’t mind paying a price for the real thing.

 Varieties of breads ranging from whole wheat to multi grain, as per international trends, cakes, stores have it all. I too have become adventurous and experimented. Foccacia and Ciabatta breads are my personal favourites. I also enjoy the breads from Café Moshe’s. They are so fresh and of great quality. Godrej Nature’s Basket closer home, at Lokhandwala too offers a great variety of breads.

Emil Carvalho of American Express Bakery, once told me, “We too have evolved and  have had to change with the times. We have moved to self-service, as customers prefer that. That is the trend abroad and clearly the Indian customer wants that. People demand what they have tried abroad and we have to provide that. ”

 Tirandaz Irani of Mumbai’s oldest Irani Bakery, Yazdani, too agrees. However, he is emphatic about the fact that no one makes bun-maska or khari biscuits like they do and if you want the real experience of an old-fashioned Irani bakery, you can “still come to us.”

 I know what he means, because I still miss the soft milk bread available at Kalimpong Home Products on Middleton Row in Calcutta, which I grew up on as a child. That is why I still love our village in Goa. Every morning the bread man comes honking and sells some delicious fresh breads like kankon, pavs, poi. No, he refuses to reinvent himself.