Friday, 18 December 2009

Common Cold & Ginger Chai (Tea)

Common cold is so annoying. One sneezes, goes around with a runny nose, headache, fatigue and yet, one cannot be called technically ill. A day off from office requires a graver reason than “just” common cold!
And to think that science has still not been able to discover a cure for it. Hmph! Like my Dad says “Zukaam ho gaya hai? Dawa loge to 7 din mein theek ho jaayega, nahi to ek hafte mein”. (You have caught a cold? If you take medication, you will be fit in 7 days, else it will take a week).

So as you would have got the hint, I have “caught” a cold. And am not sure what medication to take. But what I did have in the morning, before leaving for work, was “Adrak wali Chai”Ginger Chai (Tea). And trust me, it is really soothing.

Ginger is such a multi faceted tuber. Apart from enhancing the flavor of recipes, it has a high medicinal value as well. Wikipedia tells me that it is used in the treatment of diarrhea and nausea. And in several countries, including India, ginger is used for providing relief in common cold and sore throat.
So, what I am sharing today is a simple and age old recipe. Nothing creative, no experimentation whatsoever. But a sure way to keep warm in the cold weather.

Ingredients (For 1 cup):
Water: ¾ cup
Milk: ¼ cup
Ginger: ½ inch piece
Tea leaves: ¾ - 1 tsp or 1 tea bag
Sugar: To taste

- Wash the ginger piece and grate it with the peel on
- In a pan, add the water and grated ginger. Bring to a boil.
- When the water starts boiling, add the tea leaves / tea bag.
- Let it simmer for around half a minute so that color of the leaves seeps in
- Add the milk and bring the concoction to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer for another 30 – 45 seconds
- Remove the tea bag / strain and pour it in a cup. Add sugar to taste.
- Serve hot and consume while still warm.

Note: Ginger may not be suited for people suffering from ulcers.

This tea makes its way to Weekend Herb Blogging # 214, the event started by Kalyn and now nurtured by Haalo of Cook (Almost) Anything Atleast Once. This week's edition is being hosted by Haalo herself.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Review: Chilly Q at The Yellow Chilli Restaurant, Pune

Let me clarify at the outset. I am a Sanjeev Kapoor fan. Have been since I started watching “Khana Khazana” more than a decade and half ago. I vividly remember how our entire family would be seated in front of the television every Sunday noon to watch his show.
But the viewings were discontinued once I moved out for higher studies and access to television was not much. Even now, Sundays are spent mostly in household chores / reading books / crafting / cooking, with hardly any time or inclination for switching on the TV. But I have still managed to keep in touch with his recipes thru his
My husband made a dinner reservation at the celebrity chef's restaurant - The Yellow Chili to celebrate our second wedding anniversary. It was such a pleasant surprise that hubby dear automatically earned numerous brownie points which shall not be easily forgotten. We were also accompanied by dear friend & brother S.
Coming back to the review, let me share the experiences we had and my unbiased views on the same. I forgot to take pics of the food – realized it only when we were ending the meal with Churan and Supari!

The Place
The restaurant is located inside the compound of Sanskruti Lifestyle in Koregaon Park. The main restaurant is quite hidden from the main road, and we were able to reach there because of the chance sighting of the notice board which reads “The Yellow Chilli” and is displayed unobtrusively at the end of the compound wall.
We parked our car in the lane, and walked for around 3 - 4 minutes to enter the compound and reach the restaurant gate. It was then that we realized that the restaurant also has a parking.

Ambience and Options
The restaurant has two seating arrangements – an outside seating which is for the barbeque buffet “Chilly Q”. The inside seating is reserved for a la carte.
The outside space was cozy and is still not cramped. It had the barbeque / tandoor at one end. The place was quite empty even though we arrived there at around 9 pm, and I am assuming it was because we had gone on a Wednesday. There were only 2 other tables which were occupied.
The concept of “Chilly Q” is that the servings are served at the table. One doesnot need to move to the counter to fill in the plates. The servings are not too large, and if you like something, you can order it again, and again, till you are full.

Look at the spread and the balance between vegetarian and non vegetarian options:

And yes, the price is correct. All this was available for just Rs 399 (plus taxes). It was quite a deal.

We began with the Masala Chaas which was served as a welcome drink. We also ordered mocktails, which on a later thought, could have been skipped – not because of the taste, but because there was too much to eat. I ordered a Mango Colada – the mango version of the pineapple drink (A tall glass priced at Rs 100).
Another interesting drink which was served was the Masala Shikanjavi (Spicy lemonade). It reminded me of the roadside lemonade which is sold during summers on the streets of North India.
We skipped the soup and went straight for the starters. They came in batches of 3, and my hubby ordered a refill of the chicken kebabs. My pick would be the Lasooni Mushrooms and the
Aloo Peas Roll.
By the time the starters were over, I was already quite full and opted for a small portion of the chicken curry. I did not have the Dal Makhani which my hubby later said was one the best he had tasted in Pune. We both decided not to opt for rice / biryani, and ended the luxurious dinner with Rice Kheer, served warm.

Supari and Churan to end the meal
The service was excellent. I am not sure if it was because there weren’t too many customers, but we felt welcomed and well fed. I never saw any of the waiters without a smile on their face.
The waiters insisted that we try each and every dish, even if it was a single bite. They looked quite disappointed when we refused the Biryani, or when I refused their special Dal Makhani. Once when they had erroneously announced the Papdi Chaat as Aloo Chaat, they apologized profusely.

Value for Money
Yes, very much so, though I am not sure whether the same rates are applicable during weekends or they vary from one city to another. Also, the rates may be different for the a la carte.

What could have been better?
Food: The Tandoori Aloo were a tad too spicy for my taste. Also, S expressed that he has had better Seekh kebabs and Mutton curry. The chaat could have been served independently – the papdi / puri became a bit soggy till the time we realized they were there – so immersed we were in hogging the kebabs.
Ergonomics: The tables were closed from all sides – like a cube (though not the exact shape) – and my legs were tired after a while.
Aesthetics: The menu was written on a white board with marker pens, and it made me feel that I was looking at the office cafeteria menu!

Another visit?
Yeah, sure. This time round, I may opt for the well lit seating arrangement inside the restaurant and have a go at what the menu has in store.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Weekend Brunch: Healthy Vegetable Wraps

This was an impromptu preparation for a Saturday brunch. Quick, healthy and tasty, and not to forget, quite filling.

I used whole wheat parathas, prepared with minimal oil. I made them in advance, and lightly heated them in a microwave before serving.
For the filling, I used whatever veggies I had at hand. You can add more variety based on your choice.


For the filling:
Cabbage, finely shredded (I used half of a small sized cabbage)
Capsicum: 1 medium, cut in thin strips
Carrot: 1 medium, sliced in 1 inch strips
Onion: 1 medium, sliced
Salt, pepper: to taste
Mixed Italian herbs: 1/2 tsp (approx)
Oil (Olive or Vegetable): 1 - 2 tbsp

For the wraps / rolls:
Tortillas / whole wheat parathas: 4 - 6

- Heat oil in a pan. Add onions and saute on high heat for a minute
- Add the cabbage and carrots. Reduce the heat to medium and stir fry for around 3 - 5 minutes. Do not cook the veggies completely or else they will lose the crunchiness
- Add the capsicum and saute for another 2 minutes
- Add the salt, pepper and Italian herbs. Mix well

To Serve:
- Take a paratha / tortilla. Heat it slightly in a microwave / tawa / pan
- Place the filling in the center (or slightly away from it)
- Roll it and secure it with a toothpick
- Enjoy it with your favourite chutney / ketchup

Note: I also used the leftover filling to prepare grilled sandwich. It tasted great too. Too bad that I could not take any pictures.