Sunday, 15 March 2015

My Favorite Dish - Tambli

The most difficult question to ask a Foodie is “Which is your favorite dish?” coz it will be an endless list. It’s like asking “Which child is favorite?” to a mother having more then one kid. Similarly, for a BIG FOODIE like me it’s a dilemma to pick one from my endless list. 

Anyways, I believe that when we talk about favorite food, it’s not only the taste but it should also give a feeling of contentment after eating. Also the other elements that go into creating a terrific dish are smell, presentation, color, exotic ingredients etc.

Now that you got me thinking, I should mention one of our Chirtapur-Saraswat’s traditional dish called Tambli, definitely wins the ”Bownie Points”. This is a curry served with plain steamed rice. I remember my grandma/mother sitting and grinding the masala for Tambli on the grinding stone. Such a simple tool that did wonders in transforming ingredients into a smooth wet paste with the right consistency. No modern appliances can remotely match the beauty of the almost extinct grinding stone. This is how it was traditionally made, which has now taken over by mixture/grinder. I used to sit on my grandma’s lap and help her to grind the masala. The momentum of the grinding stone was a thrill to my eyes and the magic of the ingredients getting crushed into a paste increased my curiosity.

There are many ways and variation to make Tambli like the green tambli made from leaves (palak/tendli/radish/ajwain/coriander/turnip/kale/navalkol/cauliflower etc...), garlic, onion, jeera, amla, mango, etc… My all time favourite is the Palak Tambli.

Tambli is preferred during summers as it gives a cooling effect in the hot scorching heat. Along with any one of the above mentioned main ingredient, the other items used are fresh coconut, buttermilk/tamarind, green chillies and jeera while grinding and is served cold with plain steam rice.

Each tambli mentioned above exudes its own unique flavour and a distinct taste depending upon the different core ingredient being used. Usually Tambli is accompanied with another traditional dish–Bendi, which is hot spicy and compliments the mild taste of Tambli.

This is my favourite as not only does it rekindle the priceless childhood memories of innocence, but is also bundled up with its mild sweet-nutty flavor of coconut and the subtle flavor and smooth texture of the Palak leaves that leaves a lingering taste to shout for more. 

Friday, 13 March 2015

VILLAGE - The Soul of India

This place at Raghulella - Kandivali (West) is Buzzing full of Activity and party atmosphere in the typical Desi rural style. The ambiance actually takes you on a rural ride.

I was very impressed to see how they have used innovatively the tea kettles, dabbas (typically the Mumbai dabbawala types), puppets, lanterns, dandiyas, garba pots, cycle wheels create the rural look. 

They have created vidaymandir (school), daak ghar (post office), talkies (movie theater), vivaha mandal (marriage bureau), cycle rickshaw, auto rickshaw, truck, a well, trees etc...In short it like a Gaav ka Mela..... (Caution, as i have heard stories of people getting lost in gaav ka mela..lols).


You cannot miss out on the half truck, right at the entrance greeting you and tempts you to ride on it. 

And a typical Munimji sitting with his cash box collecting money for the entry. Infact the entire staff is seen dressed in traditional Gujarati / Rajasthani attire.

I have been here twice and both the times we ended up having food almost after one hour of dilly dallying our time in the restaurant by mingling around with the gola wala, the bangle wali, the mehendi wali, astrologer, chai wala, at the chana, imli, raw mango, star fruit and guava etc...counter, being a noisy bunch of spectators to the garba and dandiya going on.  

Suddenly there were some folk dances and folk songs being sung which we enjoyed whilst moving a leg or two with the performers. The energetic folk song and dance was followed by the string puppet show. 

You can also indulge in pottery wherein the potter dressed in a traditional attire teaches you the art of making your own pots for a nominal price.

So we spent most of our time in all such super exciting rural activities and only when our stomachs started growling we actually headed for the food counters. 

The spread consists of 4-5 types of farsaan, 3-4 types of khakaras, live chaat counters, spread of salad, live dosa counter, 3-4 veggies (dry and gravy), live tava counter, paav bhaji, khichdi-kadi, khichu, rajasthani dal bati, 3-4 types of churma, papad-gatte ki sabzi, dal pakawan, chinese rice, gravy and noodles. Desserts had icecreams, kheer, gulab jamuns, moong dal halwa, rasgulla, gajar halwa & a live jalebi counter. 


We started off digging into the Chaat counter with pani puri first. The pani puri was unique as they had 5-5 different flavoured paani like kachi kairi, jeera, orange, hing (asafoetida) in addition to the conventional paani. One other not so common chaat was the paapdi chaat which tickled our taste buds with its burst of flavours & texture. After having quick bites of other chaats we were too stuffed to start main course immediately & so indulged in some more village activities to kindle the hunger within.

Paani Puri Counter
Jeera and Orange Paani
Kachi Kairi and Hing Paani

Live Chaat Counter

Live Jalebi
From top: Jalebi, Moong Dal Halwa, Gulab Jamun, Rasgulla, Gajar Halwa
To digest all that huge spread of food they also have chaas; in addition to the activities like garba and dandiya J.
Food out here is pretty decent and nothing very exotic. They do have this Unlimited Massive Menu for a fixed price. But quality wise and taste wise its strictly average.

Overall the ambiance is very festive and feel good kinda but if one concentrates on the quality of food by overshadowing all the distractions its becomes apparent that the food by and large is very Standard in taste.

I should mention this is an ideal spot for impressing the non mumbaites or specifically firnagee friends to go gaga over the fancy entertainment with a splash of tradition bundled together in a nice rustic village dining package.