Restaurant Review: Teppan, Citibank Restaurant Week India

RWI Teppan

Teppan is one of the few specialty Japanese restaurants in Bangalore, serving a variety of dishes from the Land of the Rising Sun. The restaurant is fairly easy to locate since it is on the second floor of a building on Ulsoor Road that includes 3 other busy restaurants.  There’s really not too much in the way of decor here that one could remark upon, they’ve mostly kept it simple and clean..but as we entered the restaurant we were drawn to the communal seating around the Teppanyaki grills. These are large flat top iron griddle-type grills on which all kinds of food can be cooked, not just large cuts of meat. With the promise of dinner fresh and hot off the grill, we settled down to await our meal.

We were at Teppan that night to review the menu for Citibank Restaurant Week India, a popular 10-day event that provides an opportunity for diners to check out some of the best restaurants in their city. Most menus feature a three course set meal at a fairly reasonable heft from the wallet. You can book your table at the participating restaurants in Bangalore here for lunch or dinner, and the menus being served at each restaurant are also helpfully listed on the website so that diners can make an informed selection based on what’s on offer.

The Restaurant Week India menu at Teppan features a salad, appetizer, soup, main course, rice or noodles and dessert. Vegetarians, who might be a trifle wary about dining out at a Japanese specialty restaurant, need not fret since there is a separate vegetarian menu with ample choices. Most of the courses also have options that one can select from, for example you could opt for either a tuna or chicken salad in the non-veg menu.

RWI Teppan

We started the meal with our bowls of colourful, crunchy salads. The Fresh Tuna Salad was a real winner here, with thin slices of tuna teamed with crisp iceberg and a flavourful ponzu dressing. If you’d rather go the conventional creamy dressing route, the other option is Kurisupi tori salad – a chicken salad with a mayo-based dressing – here thin shreds of chicken had been batter-fried, resulting in it becoming a slightly hard and chewy.

The vegetarian salads were along similar lines in terms of the flavours, with the Miso-mayo dressing based Yaki Yasai Salad and the Tofu salad with sesame dressing.

RWI Teppan

We enjoyed watching the precise and skillful creation of the maki by the chefs at the open work counter. The seasoned rice, nori or seaweed sheets, fillings, tempura crunch, wasabi, sauces and toppings all layered just so, rolled tight with the help of the bamboo mat and then cut into exactly equal portions..a treat to the eyes.

RWI Teppan

For the appetizer we’d recommend going with one of the maki. Both the vegetarian and regular maki were good and were accompanied by the traditional sides of soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi paste. The deep-fried starter options are Tori Karaage, a spiced batter-fried chicken or the Vegetable Tempura, both these didn’t really stand out for us flavour-wise though they were adequately crunchy.

RWI Teppan

Once the house star – Teppanyaki Chef June fired up his grill we lost all interest in the menu and just sat back and watched his lightning fast moves with the knives. Chef kept up an engaging banter all through the meal and the sounds and smells of the hot food had us salivating though we’d already munched our way through the appetizers.

The main course came right off the grill and it was delicious – the vegetables stayed crisp, and the tofu, meat and fish were perfectly cooked and succulent. Chef expertly mixed sauces, chopped and tossed proteins, veggies and noodles, adding generous pats of butter and moving things around on the flat top to ensure that they didn’t overcook. All this went on amidst the rhythmic clanking and acrobatics with knives and metal spatulas, with some fire, smoke and theatrical sizzles thrown in for good measure.

Soy sauce, mirin, cooking sake, hoisin sauce..we quite lost track of what was going into which dish but once the glazed and saucy concoctions were transferred to our plates we couldn’t wait to dig in. Chef also garnished our dishes with generous quantities of crunchy fried garlic, all the while expounding on its healthful properties :)

Also served at this time was Miso shiru – miso soup with tofu and scallions. This had too strong a salty, soy taste for us to appreciate but there was plenty of other good stuff around and we focused our attention there.

RWI Teppan

The fried rice was the performance of the night. Chef spun, balanced, juggled and tossed eggs and knives. He fished an egg out of his hat, cracked it and drizzled a cupid-style heart, complete with arrows, signing off his creation on the grill in his snazzy style. The rice was as much fun as fried rice should be – every bite full of bits and bobs of scrambled eggs, vegetables, chicken and of course, truckloads of the above mentioned deep-fried garlic!

RWI Teppan

For the dessert course there is a beautifully arranged buffet and one can pick three items from the creamy concoctions on offer that day. None of these however, have any affiliation with Japanese cuisine and hail from the standard mousse-cake-brownie family.

Overall my companion and I agreed that it was a nice meal and an enjoyable evening. If you choose to visit Teppan for Citibank Restaurant Week India or even otherwise, we’d recommend that you arrive early and grab a seat at the table around the grill to enjoy the lively and interactive Teppanyaki experience. Also, if you are a newbie to Japanese food, the set menu is an easy way to sample a variety of dishes and flavours, and see what you enjoy.

Note -

  • Meal – Lunch or Dinner
  • Valid till – 28th September 2014
  • Meal cost – Rs. 900 plus taxes (Comes to about Rs. 1200) per person
  • Signature main course dishes are Rs. 200 extra per person
  • Drinks – not included but you may order a la carte
  • Reservations – Required. Reserve at Citibank Restaurant Week India
  • Address – Teppan, 2nd floor, 1/3 Ulsoor Road, Bangalore
  • Phone – 080 32569029
  • Parking – Valet
 

 

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Making Merry with Millets

Millet Kheer

Growing up in India has always felt like one big fat celebration, as if the serious aspects of life were far removed from it. There seemed to be a season for a festival and yet no reason at all for a feast. Food, dessert in particular, was always at the very core of everything: dessert to help the new neighbors settle in and draw old ones closer, dessert to share happiness and lessen the impact of woes, dessert for distant relatives and school teachers, dessert for the Gods and Demigods, dessert for domestic helpers and well, mostly all cooked by domestic Godesses. There were endless rivers of ghee, cream and milk utilized to the last drop, bowlfuls of dry fruits employed at will, handfuls of grains – sometimes pounded, sometimes whole, and bottomless cups of sugar, to be sure.

The instances when health consciousness and medicinal properties of ingredients were factored into the equation were few and far between. But here is a recipe that’s an ode to our mothers and grandmothers, who commanded the kitchen and made dessert such an integral part of our lives. Made with the wonder grain millet (rich in antioxidants, good for cholesterol & diabetes) and jaggery in place of sugar, it’s a somewhat healthy dessert, if there’s such a thing.

Millet Kheer

Foxtail Millet Kheer with Jaggery

Serves 6

  • 1 litre milk, preferably whole milk
  • A pinch of saffron
  • 2 tbsp cashew halves
  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • ¼ cup foxtail millet
  • 2 tsp ghee
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 cup powdered jaggery
  1. Pour the milk into a heavy bottomed pan and bring to a simmer. Cook the milk on low heat, stirring frequently, allowing it to reduce to half its quantity.
  2. Take 2 teaspoons of the hot milk in a small bowl and soak the saffron in it.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small pressure cooker set on medium heat add 1 teaspoon of ghee and then the cashew halves. Let the cashews turn golden brown and then add the raisins. Swirl them around and then remove to a dish and set aside.
  4. In the same cooker pour another teaspoon of ghee and add the millets. Roast the millets, stirring frequently for about 2 minutes. Add ¾ cup of water and then close the lid and bring the cooker to full pressure. Now turn down the heat and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the pressure release on its own.
  5. Meanwhile put the jaggery and one-fourth cup of water in a pan and let it melt into a syrup. Strain and set the syrup aside to cool.
  6. Once the milk has reduced stir in the cooked millets. Simmer for about 5 minutes and then add the cardamom powder.
  7. Pour the cooled jaggery syrup into the milk and stir it well. Simmer for just a few seconds and then add the fried cashews and raisins, and the saffron.
  8. Serve hot or chilled.

Millet Kheer

Note: You can also use regular sugar instead of jaggery. Add the sugar and them simmer the kheer for 5 minutes before adding the cashews.

Millet Kheer

 

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Look, Ma, There’s Rat..a..touille On My Pizza!

Ratatouille Pizza

Pizzas spell comfort from the word go – stringy, bubbled-over cheese, crackling yet cushiony crusts, and the deeply satisfying medley of sauce and vegetables (or meat, if that’s your thing). They’re what you indulge in when you’re feeling low for no rhyme or reason, enduring heartache, or just facing weekend woes after slaving all week long and have nowhere to turn save for the feed-us-something-delicious-we’re-famished look on the faces of your child and spouse. Also, you are fully aware that the stuff out of your neighborhood Pizza Hut or Papa John’s box just won’t do. And keeping in mind that the pizza you serve them (and yourself) has not only to favor taste, but also factor in nutrition, you get kneading, pounding, and while the dough rises quietly in a warm corner, you hash up a batch of that tantalizing Provençal stew, Ratatouille, to top it with, not to mention the chock-full of cheese. The result is something magical: a peerless lattice of tastes, flavors and textures that rises above and beyond just satiating hunger pangs.

Ratatouille Pizza

 

For the Semolina Pizza bread -

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour/maida
  • 1 cup semolina/fine suji 
  • 1 ½ teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 1 cup to 1 ¼ cups lukewarm water
  1. If mixing by hand – stir together the ingredients (with 1 cup water) in a large bowl, then let the dough rest, covered, for about 15-20 minutes; this will give the flour a chance to absorb the water, which will make kneading easier. Knead well by hand or using a food processor to get a smooth and soft dough, adding more water if required.
  2. Clean out the bowl and oil it lightly. Shape the dough into a ball and roll it around in the bowl to cover lightly with oil. Cover with a kitchen napkin.
  3. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place, for about 45 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough in 4 parts. Cover and set aside.
  5. Working with one piece of dough at a time, pick it up and let gravity gently stretch it lightly. Move your hands around the edge of the dough to stretch it out into a 6 to 8 inch circle or oval. Set aside and cover with a light cloth. Repeat with the remaining dough to make 4 pizzas in all.
  6. Let the pizza rest while you heat your oven to 200°C.
  7. Baking: After about 30 minutes, transfer the pizzas to a baking tray and place in the oven.
  8. Bake for 6 minutes. Remove the breads from the oven. Brush lightly or drizzle with olive oil if desired.

Ratatouille Pizza Topping

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into medium dice
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into medium dice
  • 2-3 baby eggplant, cut into medium dice
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into medium dice
  • Salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • 3 tsp Herbs de Provence or 1 tsp each dried basil, thyme and oregano
  • 1 tsp crushed red chillies
  • 5 tomatoes, blanched, peeled and chopped with their juices
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet placed on medium heat and add the onions. Cook for a few minutes until softened.
  2. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the peppers and eggplant, toss frequently for 2 minutes on high heat. Now add the zucchini and toss well.
  4. Lower the heat and season the vegetables with salt, pepper and the herbs.
  5. Add the tomatoes with all the juices. Bring the sauce to a boil, then cover and simmer for 6-7 minutes or until thickened.
  6. Cool and use as the pizza sauce.

Ratatouille Pizza

  • 4 pizza breads (recipe above)
  • 1 recipe Ratatouille topping (as above)
  • 200gms mozzarella cheese, grated
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • Olives or fresh basil leaves for topping
  1. Top the pizza breads generously with the ratatouille sauce. Sprinkle the cheeses, return to the oven and bake for an additional 6-8 minutes, or until the crust turns slightly golden and the cheese melts.
  2. Garnish with sliced olives or fresh basil and serve hot.

Ratatouille Pizza

Posted in Bakes And Cakes, Bread Binder, Funnibles, Globe Food-Trottin', Snack Attack | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Speed Date with Tamarind Chutney

Date and Tamarind Sweet Chutney Chutneys, the magnificent creations of Indian kitchens that run across many melodies, from high-pitched spiciness to tingle-toned sourness and everything in between, are the darling elements of our parties, trusty condiments that are employed perennially, to woo our guests. Could they get anymore sublime? Does making them have to call for all the elbow grease an already overworked mistress of the kitchen can afford? We don’t think so. We like to take a slightly less painstaking, and more fleet-footed approach. And we’d like to call on all the persevering party hosts to kick back with a glass of wine while this sweet chutney practically makes itself in a couple of blinks. And no, we don’t believe in cutting down on the flavor quotient, so just a dollop of this snappy chutney can be the star of any party platter.

Quick Date and Tamarind Sweet Chutney
Quick-fix Date and Tamarind Chutney

(Makes 1 cup)

  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • 1 cup jaggery powder
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp tamarind concentrate
  • ¼ cup date syrup (We used Lion’s brand)
  • Salt or rock salt (kala namak) to taste
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp powdered sonf (fennel seeds)
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin powder 
  1. Soak the raisins in a little water and set aside.
  2. Stir the jaggery and water together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the jaggery melts.
  3. Mix in the tamarind concentrate and date syrup. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the salt and spices. Drain the raisins and add them to the chutney. Simmer for another minute or so. Taste and check for the balance of flavours and adjust the seasoning as needed.
  5. Cool completely and it is ready for use. Leftovers can be refrigerated in a closed container for a month.

Date and Tamarind Sweet Chutney This chutney is great drizzled over dahi vadas or as a dip for samosas and pakodas. And of course you can use it in all your favourite chaats.

Date and Tamarind Sweet Chutney

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The Mystery of the Impossible Pie

Impossible Pie

Whether you’re looking to use up that carton of golden-yolked omega 3 eggs before their date with the trashcan or finish up uninspiring leftovers in the fridge at the end of the week, there are umpteen egg-based preparations that you can whip up. Omelettes, frittatas, quiches, strata, casseroles..the ideas for this culinary genre just keep on coming, like the proverbial bottomless pit.

However, what we encountered not only sounded exciting, it also made us question, and ponder, which almost always leads to good things – the Impossible Pie. Now, what is impossible about this pie, you might ask, and fortunately, it is not a pie that’s impossible to make (phew!). Rather, it is an impossibly easy pie to make. If you’re not convinced, take this – the pie is made from a single batter that magically separates into a top, bottom and filling layer while baking. Now doesn’t that sound really impressive?

There’s so much more about the Impossible Pie that is enticing. No fussing with pastry dough, rolling pins, dainty crimping or blind baking involved. The baker is even relieved of the heartache that a doughy, soggy bottom, burnt edges or worse, a soupy middle might bring. Just put all the ingredients together, pour the batter into the pan and bake. The trouble though, comes from expecting too much, but more on that later.

Our search revealed that while most Impossible Pies started with Bisquick (a pre-packaged baking mix), the flavours varied from sweet to savoury, and we chose the latter, naturally. We experimented, and tried one with the trusty trio of onions, peppers and sweet corn. Spinach and garlic went into one pie and broccoli with three kinds of cheese into the next one.

Tupperware containers with last night’s vegetables, surplus steamed corn, chicken mince, those last bits of cheese, our leftovers now had a place to go to but not everything was falling into place. The pies were all delicious, but could we really call them pies? The promised bottom crusts weren’t what you might call ‘crusty,’ though we could surely claim fluffy middles and cheesy tops. Couldn’t we just settle for a frittata instead of this mad hankering for something that might be, well, impossible?

After a few trials, we finally hit upon a recipe that works pretty well for us. The pie (yes we’re calling it that) does not have a crisp bottom, but to be honest, that’s a tall order with only one tablespoon of butter in the batter. The overall texture is like that of a crust-less quiche. But when something is this easy to put together, gets greeted with shouts of delight and helps clean out the fridge, well, you’re not getting too many grumbles out of us.

Impossible Pie

Garlicky Spinach Impossible Pie (Serves 2-3)

  • 2 tbsp oil, divided
  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 1 large onion
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
  • 1 small bunch spinach, lightly steamed and squeezed to remove all the liquid
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ tsp salt or to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • ½ cup grated Cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup crumbled paneer
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 350ºF.
  2. Grease the bottom and sides of a 6-7″ pie or baking dish with a tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle the breadcrumbs all over. Set aside.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the onion. Cook on low heat until soft. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the spinach. Use a fork to fluff the spinach and separate the strands if they are clumped together. Season with salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg. Set aside to cool.
  4. Meanwhile, in a blender or mixie place the flour, baking powder and butter. Run the blender for a few seconds to mix the butter in. Then add the eggs, milk, salt and pepper, and blend until smooth.
  5. Transfer the cooled spinach mixture to the prepared pie dish and spread it out. Sprinkle the cheese and paneer evenly all over. Pour the egg mixture all over the spinach.
  6. Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until puffy, lightly brown and set. Cool for about 10 minutes before slicing to ensure neater slices.

Impossible Pie
This pie tastes bests when served fresh and warm. It is not really something that you’d want to make ahead of time. Since it takes just a few minutes to put together, you could even prep the filling ingredients the previous night and bake the pie the next morning for breakfast, brunch or snack time.

Impossible Pie
We’ve found that this recipe is quite versatile and works well with many leftover veggies or meats. When you’re in a rush you could raid the fridge for anything that is fairly dry and spread it out on the pie dish. Then add the cheese and pour the egg mixture all over.

Here’s another Impossible pie that we made with corn, onions, potatoes, peppers and basil..

Impossible Pie

If you have leftovers refrigerate the slices in a covered container. To re-heat – microwave for about 30 seconds. Then place the slices on a preheated frying pan or tava and crisp up the top and bottom.

And, to wind-up the pie saga comes this beauty – the Three-cheese Broccoli Impossible Pie.

Impossible Pie

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A Chocolate and Mango Tango

Mango Brownies

Mango lovers will vouch for its lusciousness, lingering nectar-like after taste, and above all, its versatility. The grand fruit lends itself, and graciously so, to all manner of flavors and fares. It could be dunked in a sweet and spicy chutney base, or juiced up and slurried into mocktails. What you could also do with it, if you’re left, by the end of the season like us, with a truckload of the king of fruits, is pair it with chocolate and whisk up a batch of gooey, gorgeous brownies. It’s the kind of recipe that, just like the fruit, is malleable and lets you tinker and tussle until you have the perfect tango of tastes. Not that we endorse any other fruit in it, just yet. We’re still relishing the last crumbs of this mangoey, chocolicious dessert..

Mango brownies Mango-nut Brownies (Makes 16)

  • Dry Ingredients – 
    • ½ cup (65gm) all purpose flour / maida
    • 3 tbsp (20gm) cocoa
    • ¼ tsp baking powder
    • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup (113gm) butter, melted
  • 1 cup (200gm) sugar, ground fine
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp mango essence
  • 1 cup fresh mango puree
  • ½ cup walnuts, roasted and chopped (reserve 1 tbsp for garnish)
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips (reserve 1 tbsp for garnish)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 350ºF.
  2. Grease an 8″ or 9″ square pan, line with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients together and set aside.
  4. Melt the butter in a large mixing bowl and stir in the sugar. Set aside to cool
  5. Once the butter is cool whisk in the eggs, vanilla, mango essence and mango puree.
  6. Mix in the dry ingredients.
  7. Finally stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips.
  8. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 min. Cool the brownies in the pan. Make the mango-sugar glaze (recipe follows).
  9. Cut the brownies into 16 squares but do not remove them from the pan. Drizzle with the mango sugar glaze and sprinkle the reserved walnuts and chips on top. Then place the brownies on a serving plate or storage box.
  10. If you are not using the glaze you can also put a teaspoon of icing sugar in a sieve and dust the brownies with it.

Mango Brownies

Mango-sugar glaze

  • 1 tbsp fresh mango puree
  • ½ cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp cold milk / mango nectar or as required 
  1. Stir together the mango puree and icing sugar. Add milk/mango nectar one teaspoon at a time until you get a flowing glaze. Pour the glaze over the brownies.

Mango BrowniesStore the brownies in the refrigerator in a covered container for 2-3 days. Or, freeze the unglazed brownies, well wrapped, for a couple of weeks. Thaw at room temperature for a few minutes before serving.   

Mango Brownies

Posted in Bakes And Cakes, Funnibles, Picnic Basket, Sweet Treats | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Crunch! Munch! Roasted Makhana

Roasted Phool MakhanaLotus seeds or phool makhana have umpteen health benefits and with minimal effort, can be turned into a delightful snack option to use as a filler between meals, after a rough exercise session, after school or work, or while simply acquiring couch potato status to binge watch a favorite TV drama series. They are brimming with antioxidants and fiber, and can be nibbled on guilt-free, as they’re low in calories and fat. Oh, and they’re simply delicious, as they graduate from being pillowy little buttons to crunchy puffballs.

Roasted Phool Makhana

Roasted Phool Makhana (Lotus seeds)

  • 2 teaspoons ghee
  • 2 cups phool makhana
  • Fine sea salt to taste
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  1. Heat the ghee in a kadhai or heavy bottomed pan placed on low heat. Add the phool makhana. Roast on a low flame for about 10 minutes, tossing frequently.
  2. Sprinkle the salt and pepper all over. Switch off the heat and allow the makhana to cool completely in the pan before transferring to an airtight container. They stay well in a tightly closed container for about a week.

Roasted Phool Makhana

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Velvet ‘n Cream, Chocolate Pudding Supreme

Chocolate Pudding

There’s only one thing to turn to as a mood enhancer when us Tadka girls get together after a long gap, having each succumbed to the despair of illnesses alternating with inertia – chocolate. We’d say dessert, but it wouldn’t possibly have the same bearing unless it comprised cocoa. And so one sunny afternoon we huddled together to gorge on a delicious, spicy, homely meal that hit most of the right spots, as we caught up on this, that and the other. We then settled cozily into our alcoves on opposite sides of couches, thumbs twiddling in anticipation for the clock to tick at least a minute or two before we could barge into the kitchen and dive face-down into the lavish depths of rich chocolate pudding waiting for us in the refrigerator. There wasn’t much to be said once we did – just experienced, the way you would a Broadway musical – with all your senses open and in the moment. Figuratively speaking, of course, because coming to think of it: you wouldn’t want to eat this in public.

Chocolate Pudding

Intense Chocolate Pudding

(Serves 5-6)

  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2½ tbsp cornflour/ cornstarch 
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup cream
  • 120gm good quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon instant coffee 
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. In a medium, heavy bottom saucepan, stir together the sugar, cocoa, cornflour and salt.
  2. Place on a low flame and slowly whisk in the milk and cream. Stirring continuously cook for about 10 minutes or until the pudding thickens and starts to bubble on the sides.
  3. Stir in the dark chocolate and coffee. Once the chocolate melts into the pudding take the pan off the heat.
  4. Stir in the vanilla.
  5. Pour the pudding into a jug and then into individual ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours.
  6. Dust with cocoa powder and pile on dollops of whipped cream, if desired. A few chocolate shavings on top would be a lovely finishing touch.

Chocolate Pudding

Adapted from here – Alice Medrich’s Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate Pudding

 

 

 

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Here’s to Healthy Snackin’ – Zucchini Chillas

Zucchini Chilla

We’re back on the school routine wagon, with umpteen mails urging parents to stick to healthy snack and lunch options flooding our inboxes, from the kindly coordinators. A seemly plot, if you ask us, when our own preferences are taken into consideration, what with the mounting piles of organic fruits, especially mangoes, and crisp green vegetables in our weekly takings. We never miss an opportunity to slink typically boring vegetables into everyday meals, and here we did just that by tossing in some grated zucchini with that yesteryear classic from Mom’s recipe repertoire – besan chilla. The outcome was delicious, and it showed in the smiles of contentment on our super hungry school goers’ faces. These are great as a breakfast option too and they’ll keep your little champs filled and fulfilled, even if it’s only until the time that the much awaited lunch bell dings!

Zucchini Chilla

Zucchini Chilla (Chickpea flour crepes)

(Makes 6)

  • 1.5 cups grated zucchini (One medium zucchini)
  • 1 cup chickpea flour/besan, sifted
  • 2 tbsp brown rice flour
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp chaat masala
  • Pinch of turmeric
  • 1 green chilli, de-seeded and minced, optional
  • Handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • ¼ tsp lemon zest
  • ¼ cup of water, or as needed
  1.  Mix together all the ingredients except the water in a large mixing bowl. Set aside for 15 minutes. The zucchini will start to release its water and make the flour wet.
  2. Add enough water to make a pancake batter type consistency. Mix well.
  3. Preheat a nonstick tava or griddle, grease lightly. Pour in a ladle of batter in the centre and use the ladle to spread the batter into a 6″ circle. Cook on medium heat until the chilla browns on the bottom and then flip and cook the other side.
  4. Serve hot, with tomato ketchup, chutney or raita.

Zucchini Chilla

 

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Restaurant Review: Mango Festival at Grand Mercure

It has often been said that the towering piles of mangoes in all their green-gold hued glory are the only thing that make summers bearable in India. Celebrating the mango season with an over-the-top meal featuring the raw and ripe fruits in every dish seemed just the thing to do at a time when the heat had invaded even the usual pleasant climes of Bengaluru. The Grand Mercure, nestled in a quiet side street of Koramangala showcases the king of fruits in a mango festival every summer and this year we decided to head over and see what the fuss was all about.

Grand Mercure Mango2

The meal started with a light appetizer – a vegetarian Mango Caprese salad (above bottom-right). This was beautifully plated and looked really pretty. We enjoyed the pairing of juicy slices of mango with halved cherry tomatoes and the more intensely flavoured slivers of sundried tomatoes, mild mozzarella, crisp lettuce and micro greens. The non-vegetarian version (above top right) had shrimp and raw mangoes, with a soy chilli dressing. Both the salads were fairly lightly dressed and it would be good to call for some extra dressing on the side so that the flavours come through.

The other item on the appetizer menu is the Mango poppadams, in a choice of Falafel or Chicken (above left). The falafel version wins this one hands down. The bite-sized crispy falafels, with a light mango salad and creamy tzatziki dressing went well together and looked cute in the little dish made of papad. The chicken version could have used a little more seasoning..it lacked a little something to make it pop. Eat these quickly since the papad bowl starts to get soggy with the salad inside!

Grand Mercure Mango1

The mango-based cocktails that we had were a tad disappointing. They lacked the zing and freshness that one might expect from a fresh mango drink, and also perhaps, a garnish or two to up the glamour quotient. We sipped on the cocktail on the left in the picture above; this had mango and apricot juices, with a lot of pulp messing with the consistency of the drink. The Aam panna (Non alcoholic, but the version we tried had vodka in it) had a nice punch to it and was assertively spiced.

Grand Mercure Mango3

The vegetarian entrees were definitely the highlight of the mango menu. The balsamic grilled vegetables (above left) were tender-crisp and nicely glazed. They came perched on a scoop of Parmesan Mango Polenta that was really creamy and flavourful. The ravioli (above top right) had spinach, ricotta and raw mango inside and was served with a mango sauce..again this dish was enjoyed by everyone.

We’re always happy to see a good Thai curry (above bottom right) and this one was done really well, with succulent chunks of sour raw mango providing a nice twist to the regular curry. This was served with a wonderfully fragrant jasmine rice.

Grand Mercure Mango4For the non-vegetarian entrees there was a choice of fish, chicken and tenderloin. The Chicken breast stuffed with raw mangoes and mushrooms (above left) was delicious. The Grilled Fish with raw mango piccada (above top right) had a lot of elements on the plate but somehow lacked oomph and the sprouts that it was topped with struck a slightly discordant note in the dish. 

Grand Mercure Mango The eagerly awaited mango dessert course had some hits and misses. The Mango Panacotta with the Basil Raspberry Coulis (above left) was not set too well but the cubes of fruit with the custardy creaminess of the pannacotta were pleasant enough. The Passion fruit and Mango Tart had a hint of rosemary and came topped with thick slices of fresh mango..a little doughy-ness in the bottom crust needs to be addressed here. We did find the Thai inspired Kaffir lime leaf crepe stuffed with fresh mangoes and drizzled with a mango sauce a little heavy on the kaffir lime but folks who enjoy the intense flavour might like this dish.

It was definitely a novelty and a pleasure to savour the flavours of the season’s best mangoes highlighted in each and every dish. Mango lovers will enjoy this menu and the chef’s efforts to present the King of fruits in new and delicious avatars.

 
Promotion Period: Available everyday from 2nd May 2014 – 17th May 2014, 7pm to 11pm
 
Phone: 91-80-4512 1212
 
Accepts Cards: Yes
 
Parking: Valet
 
Address: 12th Main Restaurant,
Grand Mercure Bangalore,
12th Main, 3rd Block, Koramangala,
Bangalore- 560034 
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