Sunday, October 29, 2017

'Tasty, inexpensive lunch in Chandigarh'- by K.J.S.Chatrath

Having gone to Sector 17 Market Chandigarh on some work, I got delayed and decided to have my lunch there. Eating out for me does not mean going to 'The Taj' as I refuse to pay Rs. 300 per chapatti. Why should I pay for the so called ambience, which means fancy dim lights, carpets which are unsuited for Indian climate, and liveries of the waiters? And yes, the waiters wishing you in English!

I saw the board  'Bhappe De Hatti' and went inside. In fact I did not go inside as the cashier was sitting in  the verandah taking money and issuing coupons. I was charged Rs.60 for a thali of two Amritsari Kulchas. Did you ask if the price included the  hugely popular GST? Honestly I do not know.

The Cashier advised me to take a seat around a fragile looking plastic table placed in the open air. I sat down as advised and wondered what that over rated architect Le Corbusier would have thought of such use of the 'open spaces' designed by him and his nephew or cousin Jeanneret. Honestly I find Sector 17 market to be dull, dusty looking, boring and lacking in any character. Anyway back to the issue at hand-  a lovely lunch.

At that time I did not notice Punjabi Juttis hanging around in the adjoining shop. In any case as a hard  boiled Punjabi, I would shrug it off saying- Kee fark painda hai (what difference does it make). Now take a look at the thali:

The chanas, daal, raita and kheera chutney were all good. There was a little problem with the 'kulchas' though. In an effort to give customers value for money, the kulchas had been over-stuffed with potato mixture making them less crisp than what those should have been. But over all, it was all good.

I do look forward to another visit soon to try out other items from the menu? Would you like to join me?

Friday, October 20, 2017

'Indian roti/chappati/phulka?' - by K.J.S.Chatrath

Indian roti/chappati/phulka?

Naw....Egyptian bread in a roadside restaurant on the outskirts of Cairo....

Saturday, October 14, 2017

'In praise of Al Jawahar, Moti Mahal & Mr. Kundan Lal' - by K.J.S.Chatrath

Earlier this week, I went to Jama Masjid area of Delhi to satisfy my protesting taste buds. I would share photos and stories about that visit some other time. Today it is about a visit to Al Jawahar restaurant in a lane opposite Jama Masjid.
After taking a quick look at the menu I asked the waiter the difference between 'chicken stew' and 'chicken korma'. He gave a very crisp and clear answer- In stew onion is non fried while in korma it is with brown fried  onions. Wanting no further details I promptly ordered half a plate of chicken korma and a roti. And see what I got. It was tasty. 

 Let us take a close up of the beauty....


My friends often accuse me of duplicity saying that at I claim to be a vegetarian at times and non-vegatarian at other times. In fact they accuse me of being an opportunist. Let me explain. For me, western cuisine is out especially the non-vegetarian dishes as I find those to be too bland and under-cooked if not almost raw. So while travelling abroad I pretend to be vegetarian.

While in India I generally take vegetarian food. However at times when I am sure of the quality of non-vegetarian dishes, especially if I have previous good experiences of that food joint, like for example, Kake Da Hotel in Connaught Circus, I go for non-vegetarian dishes.

Now back to Jama Masjid area. Tummy full, I took an auto and told the driver my destination. Within minutes we were crossing the iconic Moti Mahal  restaurant in Daryaganj. It was around 1.300 pm and I noticed the shutters of the eatery were down. I asked the driver why was it closed that day. He shattered me by saying that it closed down long back. How I wish that it is not true.

I remembered my previous visits to Moti Mahal restaurant. One always saw Mr. Kundan Lal Gujral, the proprietor of Moti Mahal, giving a twirl to his impressive moustaches and personally welcoming and looking after each customer
Mr. Kundan Lal, said to be the 'inventor' of  butter-chicken. Sorry, but I do not like 'butter-chicken'.

Do take a look at the fine prints on the menu pasted on the wall, reproduced verbatim:

'Only mutton, chicken used, onion & lemon Free'

'Tandoori Bakra (order before 24 hours) 7000', and

If you like the rhyming stuff:
                                            'All Mughlai food for test,
                                            Al Jawahar serve the best'

Caution: This food is not for the weak hearted or for those who love talking about the cholesterol levels!

 Need I say Bon apetit?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

'Pakoras at Konark, Odisha' - by K.J.S.Chatrath

I really relished these 'pakoras' with 'dhania' & 'pudina' chutney from a street vendor in Konark, Odisha in January, 2017.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

' Frugal Indian food' - by K.J.S.Chatrath

My lunch is ready: boiled rice and  kabuli chana (Chick peas/Garbanzo beans)- simple, frugal but spicy, good looking & tasty.

Believe you me, my friends from around the world- there is nothing quite like Indian food on planet earth!

Come, visit my India and taste it for yourself.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

'Puri-Aloo on a Sunday morning in Chawri Bazar, Delhi' - by K.J.S.Chatrath

I joined a heritage walk in Chawri Bazar Delhi with the welknown Dr. Sohail Hashmi. Take a look at what wehad for breakfast on that Sunday morning... ... ...


Saturday, April 29, 2017

'Kadhai Paneer- an Indian dish to die for!' by K.J.S.Chatrath

Kadhai Paneer

A foreign friend of mine wants to know what is Kadhai Paneer. Here you are my dear friend. And believe you me,  it is something to die for!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

'Repeat visit to under the bunyan tree thali food in Khan Market' - K.J.S.Chatrath

I made a repeat visit to under the bunyan tree thali food in Khan Market, New Delhi. The menu that day was dal & rajma mixed and kadhi. Though the dal+rajma was a bit watery though tasty, it was the Kadhi which was just superb.

I am sure such food is available neither in  Heaven nor in Hell. I guess the food in Heaven would be be stuff without oil, salt or spices and consequently tasteless and bland, what I find the European /Western food to be.

Whereas the food in Hell would be burning hot -so spicy that it would burn the tongue permanently, oily with excess of salt and chillies and thus totally inedible.

Bottom Line: Indian cuisine is the best not only on planet earth but is also better that food served in  Heaven and Hell.

Monday, January 23, 2017

'I discovered a gem in Khan Market, New Delhi' - by K.J.S.Chatrath

I love Indian food.

I love tasty Indian food.

 But I hate to pay for the uniforms of the waiters serving the food or the expensive crockery in which it is served or the plush carpet under the feet, or the expensive dim lights, or the stylish furniture or neatly washed costly napkins - in all what the hoity-toity call 'ambience'. And, and where at the end of the meal, one has to pay over Rs.100 as tip.

I go after the basics. The food should be tasty, good to look at and affordable.

And this is what I discovered last week in New Delhi's fancy Khan Market.

The fixed menu was dal and saag paneer, The dishes were watery but very tasty. And the rotis- believe me some of the best I have had in my life. A dollop of nutralite 'butter' for those who cant do without the real thing.

The venue- under a big tree, on the low wall where the cars go for repairs, near the temple in Khan Market. The clientele- auto repairmen, auto drivers and those working in Khan Market shops.

The price? Yes, the price....I paid Rs.40/- for this thali with three chappatis.

 And would I love to go there again? Yes...Anytime, Any day.

Bon apetit!