Monday, September 28, 2015

Holly and Barry's Valentine's lunch


Deepa Krishnan, Owner of Magic Tours of India briefed me about this request by a indulgent wife. They are Irish and the husband loves Indian food and above all he loves to cook. The following month was Barry's milestone birthday and Holly his childhood love and wife had brought him to India to totally pamper him. They live in Dubai so that made it easily possible for them fly down to India than from across Ireland.

After that brief Deepa and I agreed to make this memorable for the couple, it was a Valentine's date after all!

I shopped for the groceries and planned the menu couple of days ahead. Since this was a demo and dine session. I decided to keep things simple yet create a meal with variety that excites even the most jaded palates. That is our Maharashtriya Paan. Like a good Mumbaikar I tried to create a meal representative of the different communities of Maharashtra and used local ingredients like Kale vatane. I chose the tomato-batatyachi ras bhaaji so that Barry can rustle it up easily when he goes back using pantry staples. I decided to do a little surprise for them after the meal. Here take a look and the meal on the Banana leaf.

The menu: Grape panha (not in pic), kakdichi koshimbir (salad), tandlachi bhakri (rice roti), Malvani vade (deep fried bread), three types of fritters (Mirgund, pheni and kurdai), two home-made pickles (chili pickle and amboshicha loncha), cabbage wadi (not in pic), Cilantro chutney, tomato-batatyachi ras bhaaji, kaley vataney gavaar bhaaji, garlic-and-chili tempered dal, basmati rice served with ghee. 
If Deepa hadn't clicked this pic I would not have one of this meal.
I found them very cute and as Deepa introduced us I served them the welcome drink of Grape panha. Barry was so excited to get into the kitchen and immediately started helping me with frying the kobichi vadi which later I served with Cilantro chutney. The conversations were getting interesting as Holly explained to me how much they had loved their trip so far and that it was a special trip for them. It was so lovely to exchange stories of love, family and food that bonded everyone, theirs and mine too.

Following that we got into the kitchen again to cook the main meal. To save time I had prepared the meze for cooking before they came in so we did the quick tadkas for the bhaajis and dal. He loved making the koshimbir and the Malvani vade as much as he loved eating them. They watched my aide Harshada make the rice rotis and were fascinated about how she was moving and shaping it skillfully using water as lubricant. 

Finally with mouthfuls we talked about the eating scene in Dubai and Barry's capacity to handle higher spice quotient. They were quite surprised that home cooked food was not as fiery as the Indian restaurant food they had tried until now in Dubai. The table was laden and I was happily coaxing them to eat more.

Finally we moved to my bay window for a more relaxed chat and after a short break brought out the Strawberry Soft Melting Hearts cupcakes with icecream to the singing of happy birthday to Barry. They were so thrilled that squeals of happiness lit my home.

So now you know why there was no sweet on the Keli cha paan. I had deliberately made something that would remind them of their home and what better way than making fresh fruit summery cupcakes. Holly and Barry were quite thrilled to know I bake as much as I cook traditional Indian meals.


It felt so good to make a couple happy on their special Valentine's and it turned out to be a special milestone for me and my beau AC too later that evening.


This is what Deepa posted immediately after on her FB page.
What a fabulous feast. I tagged along for the Maharashtrian cuisine experience, and learnt so much today! We also tasted some of Anjali's fabulous jams and preserves. I brought back home her trademark "koli masala" and I'm looking forward to experimenting with it!

Cheers, Deepa to more such with you and your guests!

6 comments:

  1. am thrilled to read this Anjali. Hopefully more of such experiences will happen to you. all the best girl

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    1. It was so much fun and when you meet people from across the globe you learn its the same feeling, memories and connections thru food. Thanks Sayantani!

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  2. This must be such an amazing experience! I loved the mouth watering spread you prepared for them. I really appreciate the thoughtful planning on your behalf to include a curry they can recreate on their own, to allow them to participate in the whole process by letting them help in the kitchen and last and not the least the special surprise in the end! You truly left no stone unturned to make it memorable for them. You are really great!

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  3. What a special and memorable experience! Your cooking sessions are so much fun, Anjali, as I know from experience :)

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    1. Nupur come again. You are fabulous company and total foodie but come hungry, my complaint is you eat too little. We'll do some really fun stuff may be modak next time?

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