Thursday, 20 March 2014

The TIMES NOW - 'The FOODIE' Award

Saturday morning started with a huge surprise when I opened my mail. There was a tweet from Kunal Vijayakar congratulating me for being shortlisted in the twitter contest and was invited for ‘The Foodies” award function at ITC Grand Maratha, Andheri on 10th March 2014. I couldn’t believe that lady luck had showered her blessings on me finally.

I along with my brothers reached the venue on time as I didn’t want to miss any bit of the function.  The circular tables were well arranged and the white cloth elegantly draped over them. Our eyes were caught by the beautifully laid flower arrangement on the center of each table.  The crew members were still busy setting up the stage.  We made ourselves comfortable on one of the chairs, while watching them run around. 

In a little while, one by one all the celebrities started walking in. The first one to arrive was Suhel Seth, followed by Kunal Vijayakar and Rashmi Uday Singh.  I was so thrilled, hard to believe that I am seeing them in reality.

They were soon joined by Cyrus Broacha, Pooja Bedi, Rahul Roy, Satish Kaushik, Bachi Karkaria and Kalpana Lajmi. Boman Irani was seen with his wife and son.

Kangana Ranaut, Vikas Bahl, Sharman Joshi, Mahi Gill, Jackky Bhagnani paid a flying visit.

While we were watching them all chatting, giggling and cracking jokes, suddenly I was taken aback by Randhir Kapoor’s entry.

Is this a dream? I had to pinch myself to realize that I was awake.  So many celebrities under a single roof ….

It was 7.30 pm and time to start the award function. The Foodie Guru Kunal Vijayakar along with Affrida Ali hosted the show.  Could we ever have anyone better than Kunal Vijayakar to host a Foodie show?

This award function reminded me of Flimfare, ZeeCine Award function, as it was similar to those. The awards were divided regional wise i.e East, West, North and South zone. This was then subdivided into Local Cuisine, Debut Restaurant, Fine Dinning, Vegetarian Restaurant, Non-Veg Restaurant, Indian Coastal Cuisine, Street Food, International Cuisine, etc. Just like the Filmfare award this also had a Lifetime achievement award and a Legend award too.

There were 4 – 5 nominees in each category and a winner amongst them. The winners were as below:
  • Best South Local Cusinie:Nalas Appamkadai from Chennai.  
  • Best North Local Cuisine:Indique, Jodhpur. 
  • Best EastLocal Cuisine:6 Ballygunge Place, Kolkata. 
  • Best West Local Cuisine: It was a tie between ‘Chaitanya, Mumbai and ‘Sanman, Alibaug. 
  • Debut restaurant: Again a tie between ‘Jhalfarezi’, Kolkata and ‘Cirque Signature, The Leela’. 
  • Special debut restaurant:The Spare Kitchen, Mumbai.  
  • Best Non-Vegetarian Restaurant:The Flying Elephant, Park Hyatt, Chennai.  
  • Best Vegetarian Restaurant: Tie between ‘Hotel Nalapaka’, Bangalore and ‘Manis Lunch Home’, Mumbai.  
  • Best Coastal Cuisine: Once again a tie between ‘The Konkan CafĂ©, Mumbai’ and ‘Karavalli, Bangalore.  
  • Best Street Food:Kusum Rolls’, Kolkata and ‘Chaudhary Namkeen, Jodhapur.  
  • Special Jury Award:Jilani’, Mumbai.  
  • Best International Restaurant:Diva, The Italian, Delhi and ‘India Jones, Trident’, Mumbai. 
  • Best Fine Dinning:  ‘Risala, Umaid Bhavan, Jodhapur and ‘Kainoosh’, Delhi.  
  • Special jury award:Masala Library, Mumbai.
  • Lifetime achievement award:Tunde Kababifrom Lucknow. 
  • The Legend award:Yadani Bakery, Mumbai

In order to cut the monotony of honoring the trophies, magic show by Hasan Rizivi was arranged to entertain the audiences.

So over all this was like a filmfare award function for food. Finally it was the best tweet award; my heart started palpitating so fast that I could actually hear the beats. I wanted to know who all were nominated for the tweeter award but when Kunal Vijayakar announced that there were no nominees but only a single winner, I was in shock. On this note along with the pacing heart beats, even butterflies started fluttering in my stomach. OMG this means it’s me by default … I just can’t believe this … I said to myself, “If this is the dream, I don’t want to wake up”. When my name was called out, I walked up to the stage with the butterflies still fluttering in my stomach. Satish Kaushik, Bachi Karkaria and Ratan Jain were already on the stage. They congratulated me and handed over the trophy. By this time my heart beats were so loud that it actually got merged with the applause. They asked me to say my tweet, which I did surprisingly without apprehension and this lightened my anxiety. Holding my trophy I felt like winning an Oscar award J.

Now comes the most awaited part of the day.  Can the Foodies Awards function be complete without ‘THE FOOD’J???  During the course of the function itself the starters were circulated around.  Starters like Prawn Salt & Pepper, Cheddar Cheese Aranchini, Roasted Eggplant Calonate, Carmalized Onions & Bell Pepper Tarts, Smoke Salmon & Dill Cream Cheese Rolls, Galouti Kebab … oopf the list goes endless...We had to stop ourselves from hogging more as the main course was still pending and we need to do justices to it as well.
Prawn Salt & Pepper

Cheddar Cheese Aranchini

Roasted Eggplant Calonate

Chicken Tikka

Carmalized Onion & Bell Pepper Tart

Smoke Salmon & Dill Cream Cheese Rolls

Galouti Kebab

After a while we headed toward the dinner hall. What a Crazy Buffet Spread from all over the Globe…

There was huge spread of Pork, Turkey and Chicken Mortadella.  Basket of assorted Baguette, Buns and Croissants.There was another counter for Nawabi Khana with huge spread of Murg Nihari, Chicken Biryani, Dum Biryani, Mutton Biryani, Veg Biryani and Prawn Biryani etc... Hot naans and rotis from tandoor were served along side.

Live Station was all set for fresh hot Roast BBQ Chicken, Ravioli and Rosti.  Hotel Dakshin had laid their table with varieties of South Indian dishes like Chapa Pulusu, Meen Gassi, Lemon Rice, Veg Korma, Urlai Roast along with this there was live station, where crisp hot Sundal were served on our plates. Pan Asian also showed that presence at the buffet counter.

 And last but not the least Dessert, a sweet way to end the meal J… There was a huge circular table surrounded with the spread of desserts. Chocolate mousse, chocolate mud pudding, chocolate eclair, chocolate mud pie, assorted cheese cakes, chocolate brownie, assorted fruits kulfi  etc… Having said that how could one forget our own desi mithai? Jalabi with rabdi took edge over the other videsi mithai. There was live counter for different type of halwa like beetroot, wheat, moog dal, gajar, dudhi etc… We actually hogged ourselves to glory.

A day full of surprises, excitement and foodJ.  This was the most memorable day in my life. It was a dream come True ..... Wishing to experience many more days like this one…

I am blogging about my dreams and passions for the Club Mahindra#DreamTrails activity at BlogAdda. You can get a Club Mahindra Membership to own your holidays!

Friday, 7 March 2014

Kala Ghoda Arts Festival - Part 2

I am back … let’s continue our journey … As I said we had cookery workshop platter laid for the entire week.

Volunteer assisting Chef with 'Pandan Leaf Wrapped'
Renowned Chef Vikas Seth from Singing Kong demonstrated some dishes and was generous enough to share his special and signature recipes with us. He not only shared his recipes but also made the audience participate in it. So it was a two-way and the most interactive workshop. Few lucky people got a chance to work with such a great Chef and I was one of themJ

He started with the recipe of ‘Pandan Leaf Wrapped Spiced Cottage Cheese’. The marinated cottage cheese was wrapped in pandan leaf and roasted. The entire hall was filled with the aroma of the Pandan leaves, which was similar to our basmati rice. The aroma was so irresistible that we all were eagerly looking forward for our tasting portion; finally we got our plates. Before we could even take a bite our smelling senses had become hyperactive to activate our taste buds. The cottage cheese was slightly charred with the flavor of leaves and soft in texture. It was cooked to perfection. A blend of sweet & sour with sensational aroma, it actually took us to a different world.

Steamed Open Bun-Textured Soya Wheat Black Pepper and
Pandan Leaf Wrapped Spiced Cottage Cheese
Next he showed us ‘Steamed Open Bun- Textured Soya Wheat Black Pepper’. As the name suggest the bun was steamed instead of baked. It was then stuffed with the Soya Texture and served with pickled cucumber. The bun had a soft yet a firm texture and the filling was excellent. Though it was veg dish I would get a feel of roasted chicken, it was like molecular gastronomyJ.

Last was Chef’s Signature dish Lamb Rendang. Can you imagine a Chef disclosing his signature dish??? No wonder he is known to be one of the Best Chef.  How truly said that knowledge multiples as you divide. 

This dish had maximum amount of ingredient and a slightly long process. But it was worth the wait as the taste was completely out of the world. The dish was served over the steamed rice. Not only that he ensured to get the veg version (tofu and mixed veg), so that the vegetarian's are not left out. In short the session served us with a complete meal.

Generosity does not ends here; chef gave a take away parcel box to the audience. The box had 4 pieces of marinate Cottage Cheese wrapped in pandan leaves, a container of coriander chilli soy sauce and extremely spicy House Screaming sauce. We just had to roast the cottage cheese parcels at home. He told us that since we got a chance to taste; this was for our family. Could we ever ask for more????

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Drumstick Soup

Drumstick Soup


3 - 4 Drumsticks
1 Onion
3 tsp oil
2 Green Chillies
Few Coriander
Salt and Pepper to taste


Boil drumsticks and remove the pulp of the drumsticks and keep it aside. Heat oil in a pan and fry chopped onion. When the onion turns translucent add the chopped chillies and drumsticks pulp. Cook till the liquid evaporates. Let this mixture cool. Grind the onion-drumstick mixture, coriander, chillies and drumstick stalks into smooth paste. Sieve this paste and add water in which the drumsticks were boiled. Adjust the consistency as per your requirement. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring this to a boil.
Garnish with cream, finely chopped coriander and serve piping hot. 

Monday, 3 March 2014

Kala Ghoda Arts Festival - Part 1

As the name suggests ‘festival’ it truly brings out the festive mood in you. It’s a 9 days long festival which brightens and enlightens you and takes you away from your daily stressful routine life. I call it a getaway festival coz it’s a gateway to our relax temperament. It takes us back in those golden days of school and college, where we used to spent time in developing our interests and hobbies.

The festival involved every age group and interest of the people. So be it kids of 3 years or senior citizen of 85 + years, noticed that they all got involved with equal enthusiasm.  The events and workshops were perfectly categories into Children, Cinema, Dance, Food, Heritage Walks, Literature, Literature (Children), Music, Theatre, Various other workshops. You just have to choose your pick.

I being an avid foodie obviously selected food workshops. There were almost two workshop everydays for all 9 days. Yes, it was a gastronomic journey for all foodies J. For those who have missed the workshop, don’t get dishearten I’ll take you to the kaleidoscopic tour of the food workshop.

Junior MasterChef Emanuel

The opening of the workshop was done by a little master Junior Masterchef  Emanuel. He was such a cute little chef and full of positive energy that we all got keyed up. He impressed all of us with his ease on the work counter and ingredients. He showed us few recipe of Nutrela and he wanted us to ask him questions related to it. But we all so impressed with his cute little personality that rather than asking food related queries, people started pouring some personal question like whether he cooks, what was his favorite food, whether he help his mom in cooking, when did he start cooking etc…and he very smartly answered them all. He said that he is only Emanuel for his friends when someone asked him whether his friends call him “Junior MasterChef Emanuel”.  
Junior Masterchef Emanuel in Action

He had great knowledge of the key ingredient Nutrela and went on giving out the nutritive value of same. Nutrela Burger, Nutrela Soya Dry Red Chili, Nutrela Tossed with Greens, and Kachne Aam Ki Shami were the few recipes he showed us. This was soon followed by tasting samples. The final product was so tasty; it was actually unbelievable that a 9 year old child could cook like an expert.  He was a perfect example of proficiency and innocence.

There were many more chefs and demos lined up. I’ll take you around, however hold on your horses …J …. Stay Tuned … Will be right back …. Tour Continues …