Wednesday, 4 February 2015

“Innovative Bangalore” My Culinary Journey

Bangalore’ always gets me into full spirit. It makes me nostalgic and takes me back to my childhood. I remember, no sooner did we get our summer vacation, than our bags were packed and we headed to Ammamma’s (means Nani) house – Bangalore. Me & my brother would be super excited to visit Ammamma and Aajyo (means Nana). For us the visit was nothing but fun, getting pampered, playing with my little cousins, lots of love & traditional yummy home cooked food by my Ammammas and Mamis. During all our previous visits to Bangalore exploring street food or restaurant was never on our agenda as the traditional varieties of dishes at home were so yummy and tempting that they out-competed our cravings for outside food!!!

Over a period of time, as we grew up so did my little cousins. And just like other adolescents, they too started exploring new age food trend. This time, my visit to Bangalore included a new dimension in comparison to all my previous ones as my cousins decided to take me on a street food culinary ride.

Our first stop-over was at a bakery near my Ammamma’s house ‘Sri Venkateshwar Bakery’ at Subramanya Nagar. This bakery was started in 1962, and according to the locals they have maintained their standard and quality since then. I was told that all their items are made in pure ghee. Their popular items are masala buns, aloo buns, cakes, pastries (known as cold cake), egg puffs, chicken puffs and veg puffs.

Sir Venkateshwar Bakery and their products
I noticed many people were taking egg puffs as parcels. However, I was in a mood to try their veg puffs. The outer crust of the puff was perfectly crisp and flaky. Each layer was so distinct, that one could actually count the number of layers. With every bite you would hear and feel the crispness. Inside, the filling was flavorful and perfectly moist. One could feel the crunchiness of onion and semi-soft blend of vegetable. The filling in the pastry was sufficient enough to make the puffs wholesome.

Veg Puffs
I noticed there were varieties of cookies at the display counter that aroused my curiosity. Upon enquiring I was informed that they have coconut cookies, cashew nut cookies, butter cookies, dry fruit cookies and the most unusual Chilly cookies. I remember my mom making chilly cookies (my favorite) during my school days, so I bought them instantly. The other cookies I opted for were coconut, butter and cashew nut cookies. Every cookie was distinct in its flavor, coconut cookies had the freshness of coconut making it irresistible to stop just at one!! On the other hand cashew nut cookies were nutty and rich in flavor with small pieces of cashew in every bite. The butter cookies was smooth, buttery as the name suggest and just melted in the mouth. The best one was the chilly cookies, as it took me down the memory lane of my school days. For those who like to be little more adventurous, my recommendation is to try the chilly cookies.

Clockwise Top Left: Chilly Cookies, Coconut Cookies, Butter Cookies and Cashew nut Cookies
Whenever you visit any Iyengar bakery, you cannot miss out on their famous Milk Bread as this unique bread is available only in Iyengar Bakeries. ‘Sri Venkateshwar Bakery’ is also an Iyengar bakery, so how could I forget the world famous Milk Bread. This bread is so delicious with its mild sweet and sour taste, that it can be devoured with plain butter and you are in Seventh Heaven!!! 

Milk Bread
After this, was time for chaat, something you could nibble on anytime. According to my cousins Sai Ram’s Chaats at Malleshwaram serve some very unique and unusual chaats. If you are for some innovative, out-of-the-box chaat, then this place is worth a shot. They have nearly 100 varieties of the most extraordinary chaats with their unique names, which you might not have heard or tasted before. There are chaats like Disco Chaat, Hong Kong Chaat, Sai Ram’s Special Chaat, Congress Masala, Kiss Masala, Crazy Chaat, Ting-Tong Chaat, Student Special, Chip Masala, Gad-Bud Chaat, Time Pass Chaat, Bhel Nippat Cutlet, Kodbale Masala, Bun Masala, Bun Congress with cheese, Bun Corn Chaat, Bun Nippat with Puff, Pani Puri and Floating Pani Puri the list goes on…

As we were almost full with the cookies, puffs, & pastries; unfortunately we couldn’t do justice to chaat and went only for Bun Corn Chaat and Chip Masala. I must say they were exceptionally exquisite, something I have never tasted before in Mumbai at least. I recommend for all the chaat lovers, that this place is a must-try. In the end don’t forget to ask for pani (similar to how we Mumbaikars ask for sukha puri) and they will serve puri floating in mild spicy and sour pani in a small bowl. 

Clockwise Bottom Left: Bun Corn Chaat, Chip Masala and Pani
I always thought Mumbai and Delhi are pioneer of Chaat, but Bangalore has now taken Chaat to a different level. Try once & you will always ask for more…

Now on my next visit to Bangalore, I would definitely treat my taste buds with more varieties of chaats at Sai Ram's Chaat.