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!

Corn Jewelled Upma


I bought a lot of corn and froze it just like I do peas. I also had extra curd that needed to be used up. This upma turned out so good I thought you might want to try.

Ingredients

1 cup semolina/ rava
1/2 cup corn kernels
1/4 cup grated coconut
1 green chillies chopped fine
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon mustard
2-3 sandgi mirchi / sundried curd chillies
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon ghee
3-4 curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
2 cup hot water
1/2 cup curd
salt and sugar to taste

Heat oil in a kadhai and splutter mustard and cumin seeds. Add asafoetida, follow in with curry leaves, sandgi mirchi crushed, chopped green chili and finally cilantro. Now add the rava and roast till fragrant. Add the hot water and drop the corn into the rava, fluff up by covering with lid. Now tip in the curd. Mix. Follow in with grated coconut. Sprinkle in the salt and sugar. Mix rava well by moving the spatula in folding action. Let it steam up by covering the upma with a lid for another 5 mins. In the end drizzle the ghee and mix well.

Fluff up and then fill a mould and demould into a plate before you hand out to eat. 

PS:

No story to share because I am worried about my cousin ATK, I had got him admission to an expensive course in Global Financial Market. On the condition that the institute will give him a job which will take care of his fees. The institute has failed to provide him a job and he had to drop out of the course even though he loves to attend the classes and enjoys the curriculum too. I want him to get back wondering what to do?

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Coconut Mawa Cake With Ganache

 
It's a new birthday that I look forward to celebrate every year henceforth on 23rd Sep. Its a special person who has dared to accept me in his life. He who loves me and pampers me much. Meet AC, my beau.

I had ordered a cake with an elaborate theme but the homebaker services are unpredictable since its always a one person show. Well it turned out to be a blessing really. I made this simple cake myself in the flavors my beau would love, coconut and mawa and since its a day for celebrations poured some sinful ganache over it.

I baked the cake at home and made the ganache at his home. This was all before we stepped out for an evening of fun. We were joint by a friend for the cake cutting. It was so funny that I had two men watching me make the ganache like two little school boys. Thanks to the friend we had some moments captured on the cell that we will cherish for life. So we sang the happy birthday song and cut the cake. He liked it he said. Then I packed 2 boxes, one for AD the friend to take home and one for Mami.

Mami is one of our only 3 relatives. She is such a darling. She wished me happy birthday too! I laughed at the moment and only learnt later from a friend that it is an old tradition among the Parsees to wish both partners. Ain't it a cute tradition?!


I am blessed to have AC in my life and wish we have a meaningful, loving life together as long as we live.

Would you like to make this cake? Here is the recipe.

Ingredients

1/2 cups All purpose flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1 cup dry coconut powder 
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 molten Amul butter
1/2 tin sweet condensed milk
100 gms Mawa
1/4 cup of sugar or more as you like
1 cup milk
In a bowl whisk together the dry ingredients first, then add butter and whisk till incorporated. Then add the condensed milk, sugar and mawa whisk again till sugar distributes well in the batter. Now add milk and whisk together to loosen up the batter into foldable consistency.

Prepare a tin by greasing and dusting with dry flour. I chose a heart shaped mould for obvious reasons, you can use any other as the occasion calls for. Pour the batter in it and tap the tin on the counter to even it out. I used a wet baking strip to control the rise of the cake. A blogger buddy had gifted it to me couple of years ago and I finally used it. It worked pretty well.

I preheated the oven at 200 degs, baked for 10 mins at the same temperature and then lowered the temp to 180 deg Celsius and baked further for 25 mins. Checked with a wooden skewer, it came out dry. Removed and cooled for an hour and a half. Then frosted it with ganache

The ganache 
1 bar of dark chocolate (I used 80gms bar of 50% cocoa)
1 Amul Fresh cream 200 ml pack

In a bowl melt together the chocolate and fresh cream in a microwave about 45 secs. Mix to get marbeled effect till all chocolate is liquid. Pour over a cooled cake.

Chill it before cutting and serving.


I picked out this nice plate to serve the cake on and got to know a bit of history about it. It is from AC's grandmother's collection of beautiful things that are lying in dusty cabinets that I am going to dig up some treasures from. This one is aged approx. 100 yrs. It is from Burma, a light weight porcelain. On the back is a logo that reads "Honeysuckle" with the Victorian crown prominent on it.

 

 Like a friend rightly commented on seeing the pics and it sums up my thoughts too...
"Many Parsis were settled in Burma and had flourishing trade as it was part of the old spice route (not many people know that). This beautiful plate must be an old English one and has probably seen many an elegant evening and much familial bonding. Precious!"


After visiting Mami and taking her blessings, AC took me out to dinner at Delhi Darbar, Colaba. We chose it for all our growing up years nostalgia sake and the food there still tasted so good. Greasy but good followed by a juice at another childhood favorite Canteena adjacent to the restaraunt. Later a walk by the Gateway of India. 

I had come to Gateway with my lover and it was a special feeling as that's where I had walked most late nights as a toddler held by the finger with my favorite uncles T kaka, MJK and Mothe baba everyday after dinner.

That night we returned home very content, my head lightly resting on the shoulder that has promised togetherness for life...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Youtube: Catch me on the Mumbai Episode of The Great Indian Rasoi 2

 


I am assuming you read about my exciting experience on the making of the Mumbai Episode of The Great Indian Rasoi 2. Sharing here the video.

The link is now available on Youtube : https://youtu.be/18PdwdOtyYk

Suranga Date has written an ode to the episode, a poem for the smashing Chef Ranveer Brar and one for me too!


तेलात चकाकले शुभ्र कांदे ,
हळूहळू झाले सोने ,
जणू मावशीन्च्या नाकी चमके

साग्रर मोत्याची नथ;
फटाकड्या हिरव्या मिरच्या
तुटून पडती त्याञ्च्यावर ,
आणि कुणा एका ब्रारला ठसका लागताच,
मावशी मान डोलवून ,
गळ्यातलं चाचपडून,
टीव्ही क्यामेरा कडे बघून
"अगोबाय !" हसू पडे …
अंजलीचा हात लागताच
"इश्श, मी येतच होते…" म्हणत
स्वतःला त्यात झोकून देणारी वांगी ,
स्वादात डुंबत आतुरतेने
चिंब 
कोळीमची वाट बघणारे सगळे ,
कोळी मसाल्याच्या होडीच्या
तवा वापसीचा अपूर्व जल्लोष;
आणि मग कोवळ्या पण जबाबदार
हिरव्या कान्दापातीचे आगमन ,
आणि त्यांचे बोट धरून
हट्टाने टीव्ही वर आलेले कोकम .

सर्वांवरी एक झाकण ,
आसमंतात मावशीनचा फुललेला चेहरा,
एक दणदणीत वाफ
झाके मावशीनचा चष्मा.

गोड तांदुळाचे वडे
वाट बघती 
कोळीमची,
परवानगीसाठी बघती अन्जलीकडे .

आणि कोळी बांधवांचे अदरातिथ्य बघूंन
अन्जलीचे कौतुक करून
ब्रार भारावून जातो,
आणि 
देवा  खंडोबा
समाधानाने सागराकडे एक दूर कटाक्ष
टाकत 
म्हणतात ,
"मी अनेकदा टीव्ही वर 
आलो रे ,
पण सर्वाना घेउन अंजली आली ,
फार छान वाटलं !"
White onion slivers
glistening in hot oil,
with a tinge of 
pale polished  gold,
like the Pearly nosering
adorning Mavshee's nose;
 

Item number mirchis
rushing in
all cut up and 
doing their stuff,
causing a Brar to cough,
and a Mavshee to nod
and crack up,
quickly adjust her necklace,
and surprise the camera
with a heartfelt "Agobaya!"....

And the brinjals,
falling on to the tawa
at the slightest Anjolian nudge,
waiting and sizzling
for the tiny shrimp, 
inebriated with water.

The celebrated Tawa Wapasi
of the Koli Masala,
spicing and saffronizing it all,
and they agitate and stir
as streaks and cuts 
of green onion,
lugging some Kokam 
enter the scene. 

A great cooking 
behind closed lids,
steaming and tearing,
and the shrimp are done
amidst a  clouding 
of the specs of a Mavshi 
checking it out 
and waiting for it all...

A thrilling welcome from
Sweet Rice Wadas
impatient to hold close
the shrimp masala.

And as the Brar sits,
biting into 

the wada and the shrimp,
overcome 
with the Koli Hospitality,
the resplendent Khandoba
watching it all,
looks at a shining sea
in the distance,
and says,
" You know what,
I've been on TV many times,
but this one
with Anjali and friends
is special indeed !
".....

I am so happy about the rave response the episode has received from the audience.Would love to hear what you think about it.

 Have fun!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Protein Rich Golden Toast

When a new student of Hotel Management asks you for an innovative recipe, you just jump at it. So here you go Gautami a step by step recipe just for you.

Ingredients

1 cup soaked and ground chana Dal or moong dal
1 medium onion diced fine.
2-3 green chilies chopped fine
1/4 cup corn kernels
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
salt to taste
4 slices of bread or two brun paos like I used.
1/2 tablespoons oil

First mix in a medium bowl the soaked and ground chana Dal or moong dal with finely diced onions, fine chopped green chilies, chopped cilantro, corn kernels and salt.

Apply it on the slices or cut side of the brun.









Put them on a seasoned non stick pan facedown and shallow fry with little oil till golden.




Turn over and toast up the other side of the bread like this.










Remove on a plate and serve with ketchup.

  Then don't wait, just take a bite into a warm wonderfully savoury  Protein Rich Golden Toast ! 

These are so filling that after 2 each of those we skipped lunch !


Monday, September 21, 2015

Ganpati 2015

  
The morning pooja, abhishek with Atharvashirshya chanting

While we were away in Bangalore for 7years I would miss the family Ganpati. So my father started this new tradition on my request of doing a pooja on Ganesh Chaturthi. We have a pancha dhatu Ganpati idol that we offer Pooja only on this day and then it goes back to its mantle after the uttar pooja in the evening. I follow many family traditions but this one is truly my own.

Here is all the food that happened along with the poojan ...



Half day, fasting feasting begins with chopped apple with condensed milk, after the pooja.


 Microwave Sabudana khichadi, Batata Kees, Kokum coconut chutney and curd for the late afternoon meal.

 The evening pooja, uttar pooja


Naivedya in the evening, Modak - mango pulp in the cover and regular jaggery coconut filling inside, Top left Keshar pista Shrikhanda, Left bottom Goad shev, Top right Motichoor ladoo (bought out) and bottom right Alepaak pohe.
There was varan bhaat toop and green coconut coriander chutney too, see pic above. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Watch me on The Great Indian Rasoi 2, Mumbai Episode on LIVING FOODZ Channel


Date and Time of broadcast : 16th Sep 2015, Wednesday at 9.30 pm

With : Chef Ranveer Brar

Presented Recipe: Sukka Kolim, Vanga ani Ool / Shrimps with brinjal and spring onions

Story: Chef Ranveer is a traveler exploring different cuisines across India. He meets me at the Khandoba temple at Colaba. I take him into the temple to partake in the Pooja. He is curious to know the unusual deity and the history of the temple. Then we cook together a breakfast of Sukka Kolim Vanga ani Ool and serve it with Goad ghari. After cooking we share the meal with the community.



Shooting Experience:

It all began on 1 Dec when Rubeena from Zee Khana Khazana now LIVING FOODZ messaged me to send my co-ordinates, after a brief discussion on phone the next thing I knew was the following Sunday we were doing the recce of Colaba Koliwada together. We checked out many a kitchen but were unsatisfied with them. All of them were modern ones and the traditional Koli kitchen was lost to time in Colaba Koliwada. Rubeena took a lot of pictures to show to her team and we agreed on an open air kitchen setup as an alternative.

A rough plan was up on what we would want to showcase in the episode. I was told the shoot was on the 13th, a Saturday just 2 days ahead. This was not the most suitable day as there was an engagement in the community and the entire community was expected to go for it in bus-fulls outside Colaba, leaving it deserted. Inspite of it I took courage and talked to a lot of the community members. They were not really happy with the date as they were not going to change their plans of attending the engagement for this shoot. I had jitter bugs.

On Friday, a day prior to the shoot I decided to camp at Colaba to set up things. I ordered the veggies in the Colaba Market and collected ingredients required for the shoot. Gajanan Godkhav an old friend of my family stood by me. We spent that entire evening convincing the Bhagat or Koli pujari to stay back from the engagement and be available for the shoot. I am extremely thankful to Devendra Koli for the wonderful support he provided. He proclaimed, "I am there with you. We will try our best to make it a success!" Since none of the young women were going to be around I had given up hope on any dance sequence to be include in the story.

That night, at 1.30 am, mid December there was a rain storm, completely un-seasonal in Mumbai. Nature had gone wild and the breeze was roaring through trembling trees. I was at Sudarshan Dheer Kaka's home that faces the sea, we both woke up and stared outside. We were shaken to the bones. I wondered how the shooting would be possible the next day. Dheer kaka calmed me down saying the storm will subside by morning. He said it will go away the way it had come. After an hour the storm did calm down and we fell back in bed to catch a few winks before the next day dawned.

 Follow RanveerThen in the morning Rubeena called to tell they had started from Andheri, that assured me, they were a determined lot and the shooting was to happen as planned.

They reached the Khandoba temple which was our chosen location for the shoot and asked me to reach there too. I went to pick up the green veggies for the shoot and broke my chappal in the market. Fortunately there was a cobbler who did a swell job that morning. The Zee Khana Khazana (now LIVING FOODZ) team had set themselves up. I was a little late, Chef Ranveer saw me and received me with the warmest hug. After exchanging our greetings, He clicked and tweeted this picture of us just before we started our day.

I was only slightly nervous. I wanted to know if they had a script and asked Ranveer about it. Tusshar the creative director gave me the brief of the storyline. Ranveer insisted that we should not discuss further as he wanted to keep the spontaneity intact and enjoy my responses to his curious questions too!  

I was already beginning to like Ranveer, down-to-earth and lovable. He smiled through the entire shoot of 4 hrs and that put me to ease. Whenever the team asked for a retake, Ranveer lead me appropriately to make it easy for me and so that it did not look like a clip off. He nudged me to look straight at him and not bother about the camera.

The funniest moment: 
Was when we added green chilies to the oil, the pungent odor got straight up my nostrils while the tall and handsome chef kept stirring it with elan. We had all the people surrounding us, who were watching the shoot coughing out and followed by ripples of laughter. The cameras were happy capturing it!

The charged moment:
After the pooja when the group called out Jai Malhar! Sadananda cha Yelkot!!

The magical moment:
When Devendra started playing the dhol and the Aajis and Maushis who were sitting on the OTi of the Darbar started singing songs spontaneously. The atmosphere was like a wedding and I coaxed the women to do the ritual dance. The Aajis threw their walking sticks away and began to move gracefully in circles. I danced for the first time in my life to Koli songs and beat of the dhol. Ranveer joined them and the whole environment was filled with high energy. Personally this was the magical moment for me. It was a feeling of becoming one with your roots, a heady feeling.

The moment of calm:
Later when we sat down to eat with the community Ranveer asked me the meaning of AnnaParabrahma which is Food is Supreme. I explained how, the sanskar we give to food is what the food makes us irrespective of whether it is veg or non veg food. At this point, Ranveer was calm and almost meditative. That moment I discovered the real Ranveer and understood why he is this much loved and respected Chef Ranveer Brar!

Ranveer's comments on the recipe: 
Ahaan! I am not telling here you must watch it on TV :)

Devendra said, "Kolim tagda banlay!"

Overall a fun experience with a very easy going team that is Zee Khana Khazana now LIVING FOODZ, Rubeena, Tusshar, Ambika, Jatin, George and everyone who was part of the shoot.


The certificate of appreciation and an autograph by Chef Ranveer Brar


Why you must watch the show:

1. To know the history of the Kolis
2. What their busy and risk filled lifestyle is like.
3. To see me dance for the first time in my life to Koli songs and dhol beats with all the Aajis and Maushis.
4. To watch how Malhari Martand or Khandoba is worshiped in this Darbar. 

If that is not enough...
5. To watch me cook and present the recipe with Chef Ranveer Brar!

Post script:

Good I did not know about Ranveer's achievements before the shoot. I had chanced on his blog, The food fables while I was trying to learn about him a few days before the shoot which I loved a lot for his deep thinking on the technicalities of food. What came across to me and touched me most is his spiritual outlook towards food and life. After the shoot I started browsing through his official site, www.ranveerbrar.com and it gave me goosebumps when it dawned on me that I have cooked with Chef Ranveer Brar who has a huge body of work and prestigious recognition and awards behind him.

That is the secret of his greatness, he is a young achiever but carries it lightly and is rooted to the ground. My wishes are with him however it is his giving nature that will bring him a lot of success and fame. God bless!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Saee's Mejwani Thali


First things first, the Mejwani Thali is available only till 15th Sep at FourPoints Vashi at their Asian Kitchen restaurant on the 2nd floor. That's just 3 nights more, to get a taste RUSH NOW!

Saee, my blogger buddy has evolved over the years into a Food writer and Consultant. She bears a passion of taking the Maharashtriya regional cuisine to the commercial kitchens of a restaraunt and executes it to perfection. That said I have already set the expectation high for you even before I talk about the Thalis I tried out.

 
The special decor sets the mood for the Mejwani

We walked into the restaurant and met Saee and Pooja of who's initiative this event is. What followed was total excitement after all my blogger buddy was slashing down one challenge after another. As they sat me and my father down, Saee took charge. She ordered the refreshing Kokum soda. A sip and I was cozy in my seat or rather harnessed for the roller coaster experience of tasting Saee's cooking again. She makes sure we friends get a taste of her gourmet jams and fun things coming out of her kitchen (read further) when whenever we meet. I had tasted her Ambil at an event we did together but I was set to taste a full Thali here and that too on two consecutive days. The first one a Konkanastha menu and the second a Deshastha menu so you can only imagine my excitement.

Kokanastha Thali : Clockwise: Puri, Mix veg bhajji, The cabbage moog dal Koshimbir is hidden under the puri, Green Coconut chutney, lime, salt, sukki batata bhaji, tomato saar, alu chi patal bhaaji, Vala cha birda, Gavhlyanchi kheer, curd. Tondli masale bhaat in the center. Poha mirgund and kurdai in the top left steel bowl. Refreshing Kokum soda in the copper tumbler. Closed by a simple Paan Vida and sweet raj awala.

I started this thali with the whole wheat puri and sukki batata bhaaji. Such a homey morsel. We Marathi cannot do without it in our celebratory meals. Perfect seasoning. The birda is made differently in different communities we Kolis use onion and coconut masala to thicken the Vaal curry. Saee pointed out that since this is the month of Shravan and as typical to the Konkanastha Brahmin (KoBra) cuisine she had skipped Onion and garlic in the curries. This made the Vaal curry slightly thinner than our Koli version. I was happy with the birda as this dish can become a crumbled mess easily, here it was perfect each bean held well in the curry. The Aluchi patal bhaaji she had kept it slightly less sweet than we are used to in a KoBra meal to make the appeal more universal. Having been smitten by her Tomato saar video imagine a move from the virtual to real life experience, one could only wish it to be instant and not like this long wait to taste it. The crowning glory was the Gavhlyanchi kheer, made with Orzo like pasta only thing it is traditional Maharashtriya. Italians take a step back you are not the only pasta Kings. The kheer was sublime to say the least and Saee shared an inside story of  how a Gadhwali cooks it with love reducing the milk and stirring the kheer lovingly to the desired consistency. I must say she trained the hotel staff well in such a short time. This Konkanastha meal closed with a simple Paan vida of fennel and coconut and sweet sundried raj awala on the side. The meal was memorable and the conversations sparkling in her company.

That's Saee and Me looking all goofy due to the excitement of she waiting for me to start the meal while it was served piping hot. See the glee on my face waiting to dig in. While Dad acts like he photo-bombed when I pulled him in the frame as he was silenced by every morsel he relished. We both did. Pooja thank you for the click.


Before I left I enquired with Saee about the next day's Deshastha menu and was already looking forward to another night of indulgence.

Deshastha Thali : Clockwise: Puri, Cabbage carrot moog dal koshimbir, green chilli pickle, Kairi chutney, mini sabudana vadas, a wedge of lime, salt, sukki batata bhaaji, bharli vangi, Masoor usal, Drumstick aamti.*Ratalyache kaap* and curd. You have a better view of the mirgund and kurdai bowls in this pic. There was saffron cardamom lemonade in the copper tumbler with this Thali. They table was set beautifully.

Since I am from the Konkan all of the dishes in the Konkanastha Thali were known to me however my Deshastha food exposure is from Shree Brahmachaitanya Maharaj's Gondavale Sansthan at Satara so I was curious to see Saee's take on it. Infact I was being unfair to her by putting her up against a benchmark like Gondavale's food I thought but She excelled with flying colors!
 
Lets look at the commons in the two thalis first. The puri and batata bhaaji which was meant to be. The masale bhaat in this thali was with peas.The koshimbir was a variant of the Konkanastha with Cabbage carrot moong dal. The chili pickle, the sabudana vadas did not impress me. The Kairi chutney was familiar yet tad different than what Saee had gifted me once but equally lipsmacking and wonderful for the 'ruchi palat tondi lavana' by that I mean it worked well to allow me to experience each distinct dish and flavor by acting like a taste changer. The Bharli Vangi tasted delightful in the coconut peanut masala more towards coconut than peanut. I have something to say about the vangi but at the end.The masoor usal was absolutely delightful every grain of pulse cooked perferctly and balanced with spices. The aamti hearty sweet and sour, the drumstick such fun to suck on and then place the fibres on a side plate. Saee has really been careful in sourcing all the produce and proof was the tender drumsticks and the perfectly green alu chi patal bhaaji in the Konkanastha Thali. The finishing act was the outstanding *Ratalyache kaap* much like a mesmerizing crescendo in a Sangeet Natak. (Well this is inspired by Suranga Date's ode to Saee's Mejwani ).


 My Favorites top left Ratalyache kaap, bottom left Masoor usal, top right bharli vangi and drumstick aamti

In both the thalis there was a bowl of curd which is very traditional of Brahmin cuisine to tone down the effect of spice and aid digestion as a final course in a set meal. Concluding the meal with the paan vida and sweet raj awala.

These two days of the Mejwani were memorable for many reasons, for the food and for the new challenges Saee takes up. Every single dish was distinct. Stock sauces were avoided. Everything was fresh and good quality ingredients used. I am satiated by the fact that there is a gutsy lady who has taken OUR cuisine to the restaurants and done so well. 

Before I close this post I must point out few things for continuous improvement and to delight the customer that any business seeks incase this Mejwani is repeated again or made a permanent feature by Four Points Vashi.

1. I missed the sada bhaat in the Mejwani. When you have patal bhaaji, saar, birda and aamti on the menu the craving is for some plain rice to be mixed with these. A person who knows their food misses it. A small mood (molded serving) of saada bhaat should be included.
2. The Masale bhaat was lacking flavour and technique on both days. One could tell that it was a commercial hand that was used to making pulaos had made it. The tondli tasted like they were boiled. Even the Matar masale bhaat lacked the happiness of eating a soft slight moist good masale bhaat that we Maharashtriya are used too.
3. There were two vangi in my serving, one was undercooked. Cooking Vangi is an art and it has to be done skillfully to avoid undercooking or mushiness.
4. My co-diners on the second day a group of 7 were refused a replenishment of the Kairi chutney. In a thali the little things can be easily topped by a restaurant without hurting the pricing of the thali. You would have had a delighted customer with just a spoonful of extra chutney or koshimbir.
Having said that the portions in the thali were generous for all other dishes. The pricing of the Thali at Rs. 375 plus taxes was affordable. Thank you for offering a refill of my glass of Saffron cardamon lemonade.

On the whole this was a brilliant experience and felt like I was at Saee's table at her home. 

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P.S : I missed the chef's table as I was traveling so lost the opportunity of catching up with all the Foodie Blogger friends. But then I had Saee to myself later when I visited, good thing! 

Here is what others are talking about the Mejwani Thali


A closing with mukhashudhi : Paan vida and sweet sundried awala

Note : We were invited by Saee, and Four Points for the first day and the second day we went back to show our support to the wonderful initiative and paid for our Thalis.

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