Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sanpada gets spicy with a Masala Table

As we walked into the restaurant, I could smell that its new. The decor is trendy, at first the sofas give you a feel of a Chinese place but the the walls show a trail of Indian with a Mughal style painting on the wall and a motif reminiscent of a jharokha jaali. The cubicle walls at the far end got me curious and I walked closer to look at the phulkari work hung up there. The restaurant was still warming up to people as it was just 7.30pm.

We settled down at a table next to the window that overlooked the traffic on Palm beach road. It was night and speeding cars and flashing lights looked lovely. In the day time one can see the mangroves from the restaurant as the Masala Table in located on the first floor. I like restaurants that are cut off from the buzz and give a feeling of space, especially in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. This one is not really big but can accommodate about 50 people comfortably. Introductions followed, Pooja who runs #NaviMumbaifoodies had invited Rhea, Sudha and me for the review. I was meeting Pooja and Sudha for the first time, while Rhea and me have known each for sometime now. We got talking about the food scene in Navi Mumbai and Mumbai as the manager presented us with personalized menus. 

The thirst quencher arrived and thrilled all four of us, it was the North Indian version of limboo sharbat with absolutely fresh mint blended into it. The Shikanji set a tone, perfectly chilled.

Paneer Zaituni tikka & Dahi ke kabab

Aloo Chatpate! You will order seconds...

After checking our preferences we were served veg and non veg starters. Paneer Zaituni tikka which is paneer with olives sandwiched and grilled just right to leave the paneer still soft and bite-able. The Shakarkand ki tikki had honest flavors, low spiced it need an accompaniment of chutney with it. The Chukandar ki Shami was beetroot and potato laced with cardamom it was lovely to bite into a rare cardamom seed in the kabab. The Hariyali roll was light green bread roll with few peanuts in it, no charachter of its own. The Dahi ke kabab was delicious with raisins lending a beautiful sweetness to the slight tartness of curd and silkiness of the paneer interrupted only by the nuts. They were melt in the mouth texture. The show stealer in the starters were the Aloo Chatpate. How can anyone not trip over soft-cooked baby potatoes coated is creamy masala just clinging to the aloo? We asked for seconds.

The non vegetarians were particularly happy with chatpati murgoli, marble sized meat balls done in the same masala as the aloo. Ought to be good. The Murgh zaffrani tikka got a thumbs up from Kurush who happen to join us later. The meat eaters enjoyed the other starters of Murgh angara kabab, Awadhi mutton boti kabab and Jhinga Kalimirch too.

Murgh zaffrani tikka
 Jhinga Kalimirch & Murgh angara kabab

We were stuffed by the starters itself and the manager came to check with us if we wanted to go for the buffet or a la carte but the menu read the same for both! So we chose the buffet anyways.

I'm not a fan of buffet menus so I took a peek at everything lined up first. The staff was very helpful and answered my questions patiently.

The main course line up was Paneer kalimirch, Alu nariyal aur chutneywale, Subz pancharatni, Arhar dal tadka, Kathal ki biryani and Veg Kheema kaleji. Now let me explain to you the Veg Kheema kaleji, it is a creamy concoction of soya granules from which it gets the kheema in the name and the kaleji is the mushroom. Its a very veg dish with a no bars non veg name and the veg among us were taken aback by it. Take me seriously change the name if you want more people to enjoy the dish. It isn't outstanding but was tasty enough and no one will turn up their noses on it. I missed the Kathal biryani altogether not by choice, may be I should go back for it.

Alu nariyal aur chutneywale & Veg Kheema kaleji
Paneer kalimirch
The non-veg mains were murgh saagwala and mutton do pyaza and the meat eaters looked pleased with it. Atleast they weren't complaining with the name or the taste.

There was raw papaya salad, that was a Thai take in the "Indian at heart" Masala Table. But because it tasted good I forgive the inspired chef. I eyed the papaya relish. Sudha this pic is for you. The majority consensus was a double like for it. Thinly sliced raw papaya in jaggery laced with kalonji. Yum! For an accompaniment it did fantastically for us to be eaten on its own.

The papaya that was relished!

The desserts were Chukandar ka halwa which Kurush liked. I loved the Shahi tukda, it was non greasy yet creamy, Sudha liked the caramel cheesecake. The mango mousse and pineapple pastry don't count.

I haven't forgotten the soups but wish to talk on them last only because seriously the restaurant needs a good vegetarian soup recipe. The Singhade aur pudine ka shorba was singhade ke atte ka garam green pani. Nothing more to say. Even the mint did not give it flavour. The meat eaters were happy with their Murgh badami shorba which was a  simple clear tasty broth.

Chefs must not forget when designing a menu no two items having the same flavor should follow in sequence. Unless one experience leads to another and is only heightened further. I had to point this out as the Shikanji which won our hearts was followed by a Singhade aur pudine ka shorba both had mint and the second dish failed miserably. Else if serving same flavors provide palate cleansers. In this case however there was no chance even for that, as a welcome drink was followed by a soup!

The conversations were good and I made new friends. The service was doting I'd say as we were there to review the restaurant and it was not an anonymous one. We being bloggers click every single thing we eat so the servers had to be told to slow down a bit so that we can click and yet eat warm food. Some stuff got cold but we still enjoyed it enough.

In the end the shikanji had to be called for again to make sure we burped happily. Would I go again? May be. The place is new and hoping they will go from happy to Wow!

I'm scouting places for small parties for my family as there are celebrations coming up soon and I can say Masala Table is shortlisted.

This is a paid review yet all opinions are honest and my own.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Teaser: Maharashtrian Mejwani on 23 May 2015, this Saturday

Rushina and I have been discussing for many months now about doing something together. Finally, here I am speaking and cooking at her Culinary Legacy Series which is this time focusing on the varied nuances of regional Maharashtrian cuisine. Each one of the presenters is a passionate cook and we will demo the heritage recipes of our communities respectively.

I will be making Kanji, the lipsmacking curry which is a staple in Koli homes. Come listen to the hilarious stories and experience the quirkiness of the Kolis as I cook. While I am excited about playing my part in this event I can't wait to listen to all the fabulous people who are sharing the show with me. Come join us!

Introduction and Overview of Maharashtrian Cuisine
by Shakti Salgaonkar Yezdani, writer

    Kolhapuri Cuisine beyond the Tambda and Pandhra Rassa 
by Aditya Mehendale, author of Rare Gems

    Deshashtha: Food of the Plateau Region 
by Saee Koranne-Khandekar, food consultant and blogger at

    Food of the Muslims in Konkan 
by Dr. Mohsina Mukadam, professor and food historian

    Koli Cooking 
by Anjali Koli, food entrepreneur and blogger at

    Pathare Prabhu food; the original cuisine of Mumbai 
by Kunal Vijayakar, host of TV show ‘The Foodie’ and author of cookbook ‘Made in India

 When: May 23, Saturday; 10 am to 3 pm

Price: Rs. 1700 + taxes

Contact: 022-42152799 to book a seat 

Friday, May 08, 2015

A Fun Wall Makeover

Finished wall in flat 4hrs

Marked by heavy Monsoons

In May 2013 I renovated my home and just 2 months later came a heavy monsoon. Mumbai monsoons are notorious. The heavy lashing on outer wall of the bedroom gave us a patchy, musky wall. When friends and family visited my home, everyone would sigh sadly at that wall. It was the first thing that was noticed by everyone in a newly done up home. I lived with it for almost 2 years and finally decided to fix the problem. Last year the society got all the repairs for the cracks on the outer walls done. However I did not want to paint the wall again. I wanted something different. I was looking for a quick solution and wall paper seemed the right choice.

Off I went straight to the Flipkart’s Home Store section.They have a whole range of Wall decor, stickers, posters, painting, shelves, hang-ons etc. in addition to wallpapers.

I chose the Puffin FL87308 (MultiColor) PVC wallpaper. It was a nice design and washable too. Pasting it up on the wall sounded easy. My bedroom wall size is 230 cms ht X 335 cms width with an a/c outlet in the middle. I quickly checked the size of the wall paper. It was 10 mts in size and got a clarification from flipkart that it was 53 cms in width. Which meant I would need 2 rolls of the wallpaper to cover the surface area of my bedroom wall.

The ordering was easy. I checked out the item and paid online. The notifications from Flipkart informed me about the processing of the order, dispatch and delivery at every stage.

After I placed the order I called in for the wall paper worker to tell me if there was any preparation involved for the wall. They said they would do it themselves. I was away for a wedding when the wall paper was delivered at my home. Dad got the wallpaper pasted while I was away. As decided he arrived with the tools and glue at 3pm and by 7 pm they were done with the wall makeover project. I was co-ordinating everything over the phone. The excitement was mounting...

Since the wall was stained and powdery due to leak in the monsoons, the wall was first scraped and touched up with white cement. Then each sheet was aligned to get continuous design. Finally the wall paper was glued and pasted and finished in flat 4 hrs!

I was all excited to see the bedroom wall when I came back today. I quite liked the wall makeover and it was so easy to do that my Dad who is a senior citizen could manage the project for me in my absence.

The before and after pictures of the bedroom wall had to be done! What say ? 

I think wallpaper makeovers are a lot of fun for a quick change that you want to bring about in your home decor and quite affordable too! 

Have you done any projects for a quick make over? Tell me about it, it would be lovely to hear your stories.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Delicious Doi Patol

Doi Patol or Parwar in Dahi is a dish my mother cooked whenever Parwar as we Maharashtrians call it was in season. Yes there was a season for it and it was mostly available in winter months. Now however Parwar or Patol is available all the year round. 

Many a times Dad brings home this pointed gourd I make a simple stir fry; will post that recipe later but this delightful recipe first. It is a keeper try it out.

Portions : 4 
  • 1/2 kg Patol / Parwar /  Pointed gourd
  • 1 cup curd
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 2-3 green elaichi / cardamom
  • 1 tej patta
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 8-10 blackpeppers
  • salt to taste
  1. Scrape the gourds to remove the waxy skin. cut off the two ends. Scoop out the seeds if the gourds are mature however no need to remove if tender. 
  2.  Chop onions lenghtwise. Keep aside.
  3.  Dice tomatoes and save.
  4. Whisk the curd.

  1.  Heat oil in a kadhai.
  2.  Add the whole garam masala items into the oil one by one, cloves and black pepper first followed by tej patta, cardamom and cinnamon. Fry till fragrant. About 30secs.
  3. Add the cumin seeds. Brown them a bit.
  4. This is the time to add the onions.
  5. Follow in with the prepped Patol. Cover and cook till soft and golden. Stir intermittently.
  6. In go the diced tomatoes. Cover and cook till all wilted.
  7. Now add all the powders, coriander, chili powder, turmeric and then add 1/2 cup water to it to avoid for charring.
  8. At this time add the whisked curd and let it cook for 5 mins.
  9. Add the salt and sugar.
  10. Top up with a glass of water and cook till oil rises up on the gravy.

Plating and Serving 

I presented this typically Bengali dish in the souvenirs I bought at Kalighat during my visit to West Bengal in 2008 (Read about the visit on my travel blog, Swachchanda). The plate and bowl is made of soap stone and it called Paturi, perfect serveware for Doi Patol. I served it with the layered bengali paratha which is rolled out in the shape of a triangle. I made big triangles so folded it while serving up.

The cloth under the plate is also a Bengali Batik on Mulmul that I bought from a handloom shop in Bangalore. Also the Tulsi is blooming in my window grill box so plucked the flowers to add some freshness to the picture.
How was the taste? 

As I broke off a morsel of the bengali paratha and dug into the Doi Patol, the first thing that pleased me is how tender the vegetable was cooked. The flavours of curd, tomato and onions enhancing the taste besides giving it a texture. The sourness balanced by the sugar made it delicious, in no time the plate was clean and all mopped up!

Friday, May 01, 2015

Athlya aNi Shektachya Shenga chi Bhaaji

Jackfruit Seeds and Drumstick Curry

The summers are redolent of ripe Jackfruit as much as of the Hapoos Mango. For me the Jackfruit memories are of Tata Colony where I spent my years between the age of 16 to 28 yrs, unlike memories of vacations in the village of Thal. This colony is a dense enclave of trees of every kind and so the jackfruit too was abundant. Neighbors shared their jackfruit harvest with each other and so right from April to August we had a continuous supply of 'garey' or the fleshy yellow arils. If the Jackfruit has firm fleshed arils it is called 'Kappa phanas' and the soft creamy fleshed one is called 'Barka phanas'. It is hilarious that when we had cold as kids the snot if soft and yellow was also termed in the same way!
Sorry to have digressed but then what are memories without some wanderings. In Thal my memory of jackfruit is watching the huge spiky fruit being cut my Yeshi Malin or some other seller and we buying a slice as long as we vacationed in the village. The slice would be held at eye level to count the no. of arils we would get for the money and also mentally check what the distribution would be among cousins. We never bought completely separated aril. The fun in eating from the slice peeling out the rags and popping out the seed from the sac is a pastime we enjoyed on those uncomplicated days.

Yet Jackfruit memories of Tata colony are stronger. Those were the days when whole jackfruits were brought in by our opposite neighbors the Deshmukhs. The aunty would say cut and clean and share a few with us keep the rest for your family. We would gladly oblige. As evening fell and Mothe baba returned from work, we would tell him he had a duty to do. One of us would then spread a newspaper in the backyard. The cousins rallied around getting the soop (bamboo weaner) in which the garey would be placed later. Yet another one would go into the kitchen and comeback with the oil container and the Kaathi ( sickle ). After everything was set Mothe baba would take his seat on the concrete floor in the backyard much like a butcher. He would carefully oil the Kaathi and his hands. This to avoid the latex from sticking to his hands and the equipment. Then he would give horizontal cuts on the spiny jackfruit cover turning it around to complete circles, each circle was cut off carefully making sure we had whole arils. The rounds were then cut into halves and the yellow fleshy arils would be separated and placed in the soop. Only after all the phanas was cleaned some would be sent back to the Deshmukhs and then our family would be called to eat the garey. A warning followed, "Enjoy in moderation and don't drink water after eating garey."

The seeds or Athlya as they are called in Marathi, would be collected in a pressure cooker insert. Washed thoroughly and then pressure cooked along with salt; to be eaten as a snack or to prepare a curry, the recipe of which I am sharing here today.

The boiled seeds have a hard cover which is peeled off and the starchy seed inside is eaten. Many peel the skin before adding to the curry but I like to keep it on so that the seed does not crumble into the curry and I personally feel peeling the skin while eating allows you to stop and savor the seed a little longer than chomping on it and swallow it without a thought of where it came from.

Portions : 4 

10-15 jackfruit seeds
10-15 pieces of drumstick
1 large onion
1/2 cup grated fresh or dry coconut
1 teaspoon Malvani Masala
4 cloves garlic 
1 inch piece of ginger
1 handful of cilantro
1 green chili
4 pieces of Kokum / indica garcinia
1 tablespoon oil
salt to taste
2 red chillies for seasoning


Wash the jackfruit seeds and boil them in a pressure cooker with little water in the insert to allow proper cooking, these seeds are quite tough and must be cooked well to avoid bloating after eating. In a separate insert keep the drumstick pieces to steam. Keep aside.

Score the onion like a hot cross bun. Roast it on fire till outside is black. Let it cool. 

Toast the coconut a bit to make it nutty.

In a grinder make a masala paste with the roasted onion after discarding the outer charred skin, coconut, Malvani Masala, garlic, ginger, cilantro and green chili. Save it.


In a vessel heat oil. Smoke the red chili till pungent in the hot oil. Add the ground paste of masala and fry a bit in the oil. Add the boiled seeds and steamed drumsticks into the masala. Top up with water. Keep the consistency of the curry as you like. We like it not too thick and not too thin.

Add the kokum and salt boil another 5 mins. Let the curry cool a bit before serving.

This curry blooms in flavour as it gets older like most onion-coconut masala curries but this is summer time so don't leave it at room temperature, keep it in the fridge.

Plating and Serving 

I have these two bowls which fit into each other, they also resemble Jackfruit arils so I chose them to serve this curry along with Wada kolam rice and Poha mirgund microwaved and tucked in. This curry is lovely with rice and would go well with chapati, bhakari, puri. Malvani Vade would be really fantastic to mop up this curry. Did you know you could buy Malvani Vade peeth on my Eshop?

How was the taste? 

This  is a wonderfully fragrant curry and peeling the seeds as you lick off the masala gravy on it gives you time to relish the curry even more. Sucking on the drumstick soaked in the juices is something you will enjoy thoroughly.

Have I tempted you enough to collect the seeds as you enjoy the season of Jackfruits and make this curry? Don't waste the seeds and don't waste your time. Make this curry first and thank me later.

On Trail