Tag Archives: ingredients

Your Late Night Saviour: Pot de Fusion

Mumbai used to be a city that never slept or at least, was pulsating all night, when I first came to live here 24 years ago. Sadly, a lot has changed since then. One was never worried about getting food at any hour in Mumbai. Restaurants were open or at least some hole in the wall eatery would serve a keema pav or omelette pav at any unearthly hour. Over the years those too have dwindled.

Thus, when I cam across PDF or Pot de Fusion, a food delivery kitchen which delivers food at your doorstep, albeit right now only in the Western Suburbs, from 7 pm to 4 am, I was ecstatic. It’s not only about party goers returning home late and craving some food but even people who work in shifts or even those returning from a journey perhaps.

I called for their food one night. Try karna to banta hai. So what if I was not returning late from anywhere ūüôā

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My  Chicken Wings in BBQ Sauce, Chicken Peri Peri, Pasta Salad and Gooey Chocolate dessert arrived, neatly packed in containers in a blue cardboard box, duly branded. There was no spilling or mess. Every food item was in perfect condition. Full marks to the packaging.

Pot de Fusion - Chicken in BBQ Sauce

The chicken wings were interesting. The BBQ sauce actually. The chicken wings were swathed in the sauce and had luscious flavours. Chicken Peri Peri too was a delight for the taste buds. Fiery, but the spices were overpowering in this case. The somewhat bland Pasta salad came to my rescue and for once I was glad. The raw onions in the salad did not augur well for me though. And it was a bit too dry. Was quite basic and could have been boosted a bit in terms of presentation and flavours.

The chicken piece in the peri peri struck me as somewhat inadequate. Should have been a little more robust and generous, I thought.

The gooey chocolate, got my vote instantly. Fresh and moist, it melt in my mouth completely and was not cloyingly sweet, as sometimes chocolate desserts are.

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The ingredients used are of a good quality and undoubtedly fresh. The concept is of course a winner all the way if it continues to be executed to perfection. Who would not want a proper meal at one’s doorstep even late at night rather than rummage the fridge for something or make a Maggi? Mumbaikars are going to welcome this abundantly.

The menu too is exhaustive and offers plenty of options, both, Vegetarian and Non Vegetarian, global and Indian. Butter Chicken, Red Snapper Fish Meuniere,  Jammu De Rajma or Crab Masala. You can have it all at Pot de fusion.

It is indeed comforting to know that something like PDF now exists. For once, I am glad I live in the Western suburbs!

To order:

Phone – 9820285558/9820895559
Website – www.potdefusion.com
App – Pot de Fusion on Android

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Let’s Get Cheesy…….

Cheese is something I have an incredible weakness for. It is a versatile ingredient, eaten and relished standalone, as well as used widely in cooking. My fridge is always well-stocked with several varieties. After all it comes handy as cheese makes an excellent ingredient to add both flair and flavour to the menu.

I relish it in dips or fondues. Perks up my taste buds instantly. Every type of cheese, fresh, semi-soft, washed rind, blue, semi-firm, or hard, has its special characteristics and properties. And yes, each variety of cheese has a unique, taste, texture and nutritional profile.

Cheese Burger Pizza

Some of the cheese dishes from my list of favourites are Swiss Fondue, Tiramisu made with mascarpone cheese and even a pizza generously topped with cheese. Or a crust filled with cheese. Pastas, pizzas and salads are incomplete without cheese.  Who can resist a well-made cheese toast for breakfast or a cheesy omelette for that matter? Another way to relish cheese is with crackers, nuts, fruits, bread.

A somewhat underutilized version is cream cheese. Can work wonders in desserts especially the New York cheese cake, which lends a great texture and richness to the dish.  The texture appeals to me a great deal.

Most varieties of cheese can be enjoyed cooked or uncooked. It depends on personal preferences. Few cheeses taste divine once heated, whereas some lose their distinct taste with application of heat. For example the pizza mozzarella is enjoyed in a better way if served warm.

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Gouda, Cheddar, Colby, Gruyere, Parmesan, are the hard varieties. European cheeses like Cheddar, Ricola, Emmental, Gruyere, Mozzarella are equally popular in India now and easily available at gourmet stores too. That is heartening to see though I wish these were a bit more affordable.

I need no reason or occasion to savour cheese. I love it anyway, anytime. I still love my Kraft cheese even though my palate has now accepted many more newer varieties.

Around the World With Ten Pizzas

Endowed with an adventurous palate, I embarked upon a gastronomic journey last night at California Pizza Kitchen at Infiniti Mall Malad, Mumbai. After all it was an exciting Pizza Trail with pizzas from across the world!

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Sipping our Malta & Pom and Melon Duo, in virgin avatars, we were sufficiently rejuvenated and got a respite from the humidity outside. The menu looked interesting. A variety of Pizzas from all over the globe, highlighting the varied flavours of each country. Our drinks were well-made, with liberal amount of fresh fruit pieces, fresh juice et al, creatively served in jars. Value for money, all the way!

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To begin with, we settled for the Lebanese Grill chicken. The succulent pieces of chicken were flawless in texture and flavour and grilled to perfection. The marinade too was distinct, as were the herbs. Yet, it was a tad bland for my palate. The Charmula fried fish gave me no scope for disappointment. Crisply fried, the fillet was melt in the mouth and the accompanying lime cream sauce added the right amount of zest.

The Cheeseburger pizza was strongly recommended by the chef. We complied. And it was a great choice. Laden with the goodness of cheese, it was like having a burger in a Pizza form. Delectable. The chicken cubes, generously layered, added to the experience.

Cheese Burger Pizza

As a Vegetarian option, we opted for the Thai curry pizza. While the characteristic Thai flavours were pronounced, something seemed missing in this one and it failed to tease my taste buds. Perhaps it was a bit too dry? I loved the presentation though.

Of course there were a host of exciting options on the menu that Pizza lovers can choose from. Verdure from Italy or Peri Peri from South Africa, in vegetarian and non vegetarian versions.

The Banoffee Bombe was an absolute treat and exploded in my mouth, quite literally. A rather large serving and filled with chocolate and coffee mousse, banana and dulce de leche cream. The marriage of flavours couldn’t be more heavenly. The mousse was creamy, soft and just the way it should be. The banana flavours were not overpowering and enhanced the taste of this otherwise, sinful dessert.

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The prompt and courteous staff at CPK is always a delight to have around. This is my favourite outlet.

The ingredients used struck me as fresh, of the finest quality and the variety, mind-boggling. An enjoyable bit of globe-trotting, I indulged in.

Rating: 3.5/5

Eclectic Singapore Street Food

Street food clearly seems to be the flavour of the season. And it’s not Indian street food that I am talking about. First it was delectable street food at JW Marriott Sahar and recently I savoured lip-smacking Singapore Street food at JW Marriott Juhu at the Lotus Cafe.

Chef Thanabalan Chandrasekaran had been flown in for the festival to lend that authentic touch to the food that JW Marriott is so particular about. So there were exciting Singaporean dishes to  look forward to.

Good food is a way of life in Singapore and there is so much to choose from – classic dishes, street food and modern interpretation of traditional cuisine.

Singapore Chilli Crab

Elaborating on his thought behind the menu, Chef Thanabalan Chandrasekaran, Sous Chef, Singapore Marriott says ‚ÄúSingaporean food is a blend of Malaysian, Chinese and Indian flavours owing to the country’s multicultural heritage. Knowing how passionate Indians are about food, I wanted to recreate this experience in Mumbai, giving the guests a taste of local fare with a modern touch.”

Showcasing local and authentic delicacies was Chef Thana’s aim and he did just that. The spread was aromatic and colourful.

We began with the satays-chicken, fish and prawns. The peanut sauce infused with kaffir lime, struck me as unique and flavourful.  I liked the fact that Chef was innovating the dishes, without tampering with their authentic flavours.

The satays were grilled to perfection and simply melt in the mouth.

What can I say about the bowl of Laksa? It was comforting. Soul food actually. Each ingredient could be distinctly tasted in my sea food laksa. The flavours were delicate and yet, spicy and palate tingling. The aromas filled my nostrils even before I tasted the first spoonful. One of the best I have ever tasted in India.

Laksa Lehmak

The famed chili crab was another treat. The sauce was spicy and teased my taste buds and the crab meat within the shell was soft and succulent.

Other signature dishes included Rojak Petis Singapura, Gado-Gado Molek, Mutton Rendang, Singapura Chilli Crab,  Soya Braised Duck & Stir Fried Pork Loin. The spread seemed a wee bit limited to me, if some one were to avoid red meat and duck.

It was fun to watch the chefs at work at the live stations, adeptly grilling the satays or preparing the laksa.

The quality of the ingredients was evident. Fresh and wholesome, Chef Thana had brought along several ingredients so as not to compromise on the taste and flavour of the dishes. Of course he visited the local markets and created dishes with local stuff too.

No meal is complete without the legendary Singapore Sling which was being served complimentary to every guest.

An enjoyable meal rounded off with a sago pudding, left me satiated. For me, the Laksa won hands down.

Fans of Singapore food must rush and try this street food as it is on till Aug 31 only.

A Fruity Extravaganza: Cafe Mangii Summer Menu

What is summer without the king of fruits- Mangoes? One enjoys them in every form, as a fruit, in milk shakes, smoothies, ice cream and aam ras. And we never tire of them. And when you know that it has even been incorporated in the Summer Menu of one of your favourite Restaurants, you are just plain ecstatic.

Cafe Mangii, the Italian chain of Restaurants offers great food always. Throughout the year. Have been a huge fan of this place since years.

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I decided to check out the new menu. The service as always, was impeccable. Suhas the Khar outlet Manager, at his politest best and the staff attentive and alert.

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Seated on a  table overlooking the window, I took a look at the new menu. A bright, sunny mango stared at me, and bought a smile to my lips. Yes, it was the menu in the shape of a sweet and smiling mango, with shades et al. Kids would love it am sure.

Soups, salads, appetizers, mains and desserts, were all fruity. Yes a lot of summer fruits had been used in the menu. Plenty of mangoes too of course. But the menu was refreshing. Literally. Watermelon Gazpacho Shots, Watermelon Pizza (which is actually a salad), Pina colada chicken, Apricot glazed hen. Whew! Innovation at its best, I thought. It struck me though that there was no pizza on his menu.

Our Chilled Melon and fresh Alphonso with pistachio soup arrived. I loved the idea of crushed pistachio on the rim of the glass. Thought it was out of the ordinary. The soup was rejuvenating. Subtle flavours. The melon was more pronounced, but one could enjoy the mango too. Perked us up and we were ready for our salad and appetizer. Perhaps the rim should have had rock salt instead? I wondered.

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Mango & Calamari with cilantro aioli arrived. Great presentation again. Colourful and appetizing. The use of ripe and raw mango to give the sweet and tangy flavour was laudable. The calamari was steamed to perfection. Light and flavoursome salad. Our palates were teased sufficiently.

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The Crispy Chicken with Asparagus & Tomatoes was a pleasant surprise too. Light for an appetizer and the grilled chicken pieces melt in our mouth. The bacon bit were well fried and complimented the dish.

I could not help thinking how effectively and skilfully the chef had integrated fruits in each section to make the dishes light and flavourful.

We settled for Raviolo in Orange Paprika Butter sauce for our mains. Stuffed with Pine Nut, leeks & Fontina, Orange Paprika Butter Sauce, the sweetish taste made this dish unique, but we preferred the Salmon al Cartoccio. It was an absolute palate pleaser. Salmon fillet marinated in ginger soy and brown sugar served with roast almonds and snow peas, has subtle, but distinct flavours. The freshness of the salmon made it so delicious. It offered a medley of flavours to the palate. My vote goes to this one for sure.

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Satiated with such a perfect meal, dessert was plain greed. We succumbed. Mangoes with fresh cream we thought might be lighter than strawberry ravioli which was being recommended. Alas! we had erred. The presentation was wow. So much so that one felt guilty to dig  spoon into it. The mangoes were completely snowed under the cream, which was insipid. In fact the taste of the fruit was masked completely. Not sweet enough. A tad disappointing.

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I hurriedly ordered a Cappuccino to salvage my taste buds and that helped.

I walked out of Cafe Mangii pleased as punch after an enjoyable Sunday lunch. An eclectic summer menu. For once I was not complaining about the heat !

Bold flavours+Fresh ingredients = Palate tickling Sichuan food at Glass House

The term Sichuan or Szechuan immediately conjures images of spicy and fiery food in my mind. After all, food from this province of China is characterized by distinct flavours, unique taste and yes, hot, dishes. It is in fact one of the most popular schools of Chinese cooking.

Glasshouse, the all-day dining restaurant at Hyatt Regency Mumbai is hosting a Szechuan Food Festival from May 18 Р30, 2015. With visiting Chef Steven Zhang from Hyatt Regency Chongqing, promising a wide range of China’s most popular dishes, cooked with authentic flavours to delight all palates, I decided to give it a try.

Chef Steven Zhang

With summer at its peak in Mumbai, the prospect of cold salads like Long beans, spicy garlic sauce, Poached chicken, numbing sauce (Chicken, spring onion, cucumber, numbing pepper, chicken sauce, oyster oil, chicken, Wok-fried mushroom, sounded inviting. These were palate-teasers alright, as these ignited our appetites. Each salad was distinct and different from the other. The cooking style was rustic and home-style and that appealed to me immensely. Chef Steven, was a master of his craft for sure.

The three fish and mushroom soup was comforting. Mildly spiced, one could taste the different flavours with ease. Subtle and delicate, not overwhelming at all.

As we walked past the vast buffet spread to decide what we were going to savour, the appearance of each dish struck me as spicy with an abundance of chilies and peppers. But then, that is typical of Sichuan food I thought. Pepper powder boiled in oil, an extensive use of chilies is common in this cuisine. Hu jiao, or the sichuan pepper, a dried peppercorn, from the citrus family is abundantly used and that’s what renders the food fiery.

Braised fish (Fish, green and red pepper, oyster sauce, salt, ginger, spring onion, chicken powder, soy bean paste ‚ÄúLijinji‚ÄĚ) was a delight. Again, braising, being a popular cooking method in Sichuan food. It tickled our taste buds and the succulent, basa simply melt in our mouth. The spice element, lived up to its reputation, but was manageable and we enjoyed it actually.

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Who can resist Wok-fried potato chips? Not me for sure, so I gave in. Potato, dry red pepper, numbing pepper, ginger, garlic, salt, spring onion, sesame oil, in an irresistible combination. The Wok-fried shredded pork, sweet and sour chili sauce surprisingly was not overtly spicy, but a tad oily though. But then again, Sichuan food is generous in its use of oil. A fact chefs are candid about.

The presence of many flavorings and seasonings in Sichuan dishes, make them unique and Chef Steven had deftly made use of this creating, lip-smacking fare. The vegetarian dishes were equally appetizing. An absolute surprise in fact.

Soy sauce, cooking vinegar, chiili sauce, are some of the oft-used ingredients which give a boost to the dishes in this cuisine. I was enjoying my meal with these unusual dishes and simple steamed rice. It actually accentuated the flavours of those dishes.

The menu, I observed, has been carefully crafted to cater to everyone‚Äôs palates. Make sure you are experimental and ready to indulge in Chef Steven’s signature dishes. Open for lunch and dinner, this Sichuan food promotion is on till the end of the month.

With bold flavours and exotic fresh ingredients, my palate was definitely rejuvenated at Glass House.

Rating : 3.5/5

Delicate Dumplings and Robust Chinese Breads: Mamagoto

My favourite Pan Asian cuisine restaurant, Mamagoto has a whole new menu with Dumplings & Chinese Breads. A lethal combination really, considering I love both.

Hearty comfort food with varied ingredients, textures and flavours, is yet again the hallmark of this new carefully crafted menu. There is a lot of variety and some of the offerings are unusual and relatively unknown. The vegetarian options too are plenty.

Jungle Shrimp Dumpling

Jungle dumpling, with a green coloured covering made of potato starch et al, arrived on our table. Soft and spongy, the dumpling melt in our mouth. The shrimps were soft and made for a great filling. Our taste buds really came alive. There is a vegetarian version of this too.

One can never go wrong with a Gyoza  or pot stickers as they are popularly known. The Old school gyoza proved us right. The chicken dumpling was light and had a flavoursome filling. Served with momo sauce, the right amount of zing was imparted to this dumpling. I specially love their thin covering and marvel how chefs keep it intact despite the generous filling.

My palate was sufficiently tingled with these two dumplings and I was looking forward to the rest, as Chef informed me there were 8-9 varieties to follow.

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To break the monotony, Chef sent us the Cheesy Veggie Bun. Steamed to perfection, this one reminded me of the ones I had eaten in the Chinese Market in Calcutta for breakfast quite often. The filling was a treat- stir fried pak choi, pine nuts, spices and cheese. The creamy cheese complimented the crunchy pine nuts. Pak choi added a unique flavour to it, making it an innovative fun bun. But yes, wholesome too.

The traditional Peking dumpling was something I was waiting for. Simple, with no fuss, this one was a delight. The chicken filling was tasty, but unpretentious. Dipping it in vinegar, soy and red chilies gave it a bit of a boost, although it was wholesome and delicious on its own too.

Chinese Chicken puffs were heavy in texture. Literally too. Minced chicken wok tossed in a 5 spice aroma and baked into a puff. Although well made, I think I preferred the good ol’ lighter dumplings. What struck me was how each dumpling was distinctly different from the other in appearance, flavour and texture. Full marks to the chef.

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The Tokyo Metro Mantou aka Chinese bread with aubergine for veggies and chicken for the carnivores, deserves a special mention. I have had nothing quite like this one ever before. Innovation at its best. The crumb crusted aubergines were a class apart. The typical slimy texture of aubergine had been so well masked and yet, the flavours were intact. Of course the chicken version was naturally better, although less innovative, I must admit.

I loved the way the menu was an amalgamation of classics and yet, the chef had added his own contemporary twist to these. Indeed laudable.

Each item on the menu was more unique than the previous one. There was a storm in my taste buds, as I relished a medley of flavours and textures.

The Grand Finale to the meal I was told, was the the seasonal Mango Coconut Sago Pudding.But alas! I was a bit disappointed. The sago was too tough, a bit undone. Should have been soaked a bit more perhaps? That took away the flavour and taste of the dessert. The mangoes on top too were not overtly sweet and so the dessert proved to be a bit of a dampner.

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But we were not complaining as our taste buds had been treated well with the dumplings and Chinese breads. I wanted that memory to linger longer in my taste buds.

Affordably priced, given the exotic fresh ingredients, used, this menu too is value for money. If these lil “pick me ups” or dim sums are what you enjoy, this new menu is just what you may be looking for.

Rating: 3.5/5