Tuesday, July 29, 2014

2 Exclusive Iftar Recipes from Daniell's Tavern, The Imperial

Paya Shorba with kofta- 6 portions


·         Paya of Goat - 12
·         Onions- 4
·         Oil- 2 tbsp
·         Ginger Garlic paste-4 tsp
·         Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
·         Red Chilli powder- 1 tsp
·         Coriander powder- 1 tsp
·         Green chilly- 2
·         Tomato- 1
·         Ghee (clarified Butter)-2 tsp
·         Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
·         Fenugreek seeds- ½ tsp
·         Whole Wheat Flour- 2 tbsp
·         Garam masala pdr- 11/2 tsp
·         Salt to taste

For kofta

·         Mutton mince-100ml
·         Garam masala-1tsp
·         Chopped coriander-1tsp
·         Salt to taste
·         Egg-1 no
·         Mutton Paya (Goat)

Method :

1) Heat oil in a cooker. Add onions and fry well. Add ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder and washed paya. Fry well for 15- 20 mins. Add green chilly, tomato , salt and 
2) 4 ½ litre water. After 1 whistle lower the flame and cook for 12 hr.
3) In a big pan heat ghee(clarified butter). Add Cumin seeds, Fenugreek seeds, ginger garlic paste, 1tsp Red Chilli powder, 1 tsp Coriander powder and Wheat Flour. Fry till you get a good smell. Add paya mix and boil. Add garam masala and boil.
4)Mix all the kofta mixture and make small balls and pouch in water
5)Put the pouched balls in paya and serve hot with coriander as garnish

Gosht Nalli Nihari

• Mutton - 1 kg
• Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
• Cinnamon stick - 1
• Bay leaves - 2
• Cardamom - 2
• Cloves - 8
• Garam masala - 2 tablespoons
• Ginger garlic paste - 2 tablespoons
• Chilli powder- 1 tsp
• Coriander powder - 1 tsp
• Yogurt - 3 tablespoons
• Ghee or cooking oil - 1/2 cup
• Nutmeg - Few pinches
Spice masala:
• Make it as a powder
• Fennel seeds - 2 tablespoons
• 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorn
• 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
• Ingredients For Garnishing:
• 1 Onion fried to brown
• 2 Green chillies chopped
• 2 Ginger strips sliced
• 3 tablespoons coriander leaves chopped

·         Clean the mutton and cut into medium pieces.
·         Heat oil in a pan and add bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon stick and ginger garlic paste. Add the mutton and fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Now add red chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, yogurt, garam masala and fry until the oil separates.
·         Add the nutmeg, cardamom, spice masala and 3 cups of water and cook on low heat for 3 to 4 hours.
·         Finally, add the flour and cook for about 10 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves, ginger, onions and green chillies.
·         You can serve mutton nihari with chapatti, naan or rice

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bob Marley Lives on at Raasta, Cyber Hub, Gurgaon

It was not too long ago that I reviewed Raasta, the Carribean Lounge at Hauz Khas village in Delhi. The place had a fantastic vibe, it was cool, it was funky and buzzing with youthful energy and rebellion. 

When the idea of Raasta, Cyber Hub, Gurgaon was proposed I wondered how that laid-back feel could be translated to a space which is virtually the ultimate futuristic food place in the national capital. Standing cheek by jowl with some of India’s biggest corporates, steely skyscrapers steeped in so called capitalism, how would Bob Marley’s dreadlocks and reggae beats fare here?

Commenting on the launch of Raasta @ DLF Cyber Hub, promoters Joy Singh and Rahul Kundan had said, “Raasta is a philosophy and way of life. The huge popularity of the brand made it essential for us to take it to more people and places. DLF Cyber Hub with its cosmopolitan culture and fabulous ambience was an apt choice for Raasta on its journey of expansion.”

Walk into this space, that still remains all about the unmistakable music, an ambience that lets you relax and go with the flow. The essence of the brand stays alive with the décor elements, while evolution has taken place in both the design and food philosophy to bring a newer, fresher version of the brand to old loyalists and new visitors alike.

The décor is quirky, and takes a dig at all things institutional, much like the maverick philosopher who inspired it. Boat shell pushcarts and large truck tyres painted in red, gold and green, back-up as table stands; while caged boxes hold together little references to our industrial and corporate lifestyle.
A unique tribute to Bob Marley

The outdoor seating area of Raasta is like a beach shack
The street style is very much alive with street lamps hung upside down from the ceiling to form a part of the lighting schematics. The movable DJ console and stage form the central focus of the space with the Ms cages with iron chains for a symbolic 3d mural on the main wall of the restaurant where again traditional bongs have been used to add a dose of colour and bring together the connect with the original Raasta. The trademark record cover wall creates a colourful backdrop to this corner.

The tantalising Sex on the Beach
You can either sit inside which is plush and sparkling or the outside bar area which looks like a beach shack with huge fans spraying mist to keep the evening moist and sea-kissed. The staff looks cool and casual in jeans and funky black shirts (oh what a relief not to see stiff, liveried stewards at times!)

We start with some cocktails that look promising. The energetic bartender recommends the notorious ‘Sex on the Beach’ that has my preferred liquor vodka and the even more notorious ‘Electric Iced Tea’ that has every spirit imaginable. Sex on the Beach is truly refreshing and transports me to a palm-fringed beach. Electric Iced Tea is not really my cup of tea but would be a hit with hard drinkers.

You can start off with a cheerful bite of the Plantain Frittos (raw banana chips served with sour cream) or the Tangy Mango Mushroom, and move onto a hearty helping of the all time Caribbean favourite, the Red Snapper Escovitch.

Barbados Platter
Salmon Prawn and Smoked Sole Skewers
For starters we try the Salmon Prawn and Smoked Sole Skewers served with 3 alluring dips and the Non Veg Barbados Platter that comprises of Carribean Chicken Strips, Grilled Chicken Wrapper, Lamb Empanadas and Lamb Chilly served with Cilantro Sour Cream and Spicy Harissa. The cooking is perfect and the tantalising dips provide just the right antidote to the crispy textures and piquant tastes.

Jamaican Jerked Chicken
For the main course there’s Sambuca Cajun Grilled Basa that comes with a side of fajita and Cajun Sauce, Carribean Chicken Curry and Jamaican Jerked Chicken. For vegetarians there is the Wild Mushroom Rizo or a refreshing Soco Peppery Apple Yoghurt Salad amongst others.

While talking about Raasta’s appetizing food menu, Chef Anil Pandey from Raasta elaborates “Staying true to its Caribbean origins, Raasta  serves seamlessly varied cuisine from the cultures of Spain, Africa, East India, China and other palettes into a distinct tradition all its own. Our offering promises to satisfy every craving, as well as makes for a great option for a meal out.”

Herbed Prawns Bowl
Penne Arabiata
Grilled and Spiced Fish Bowl

‘Raasta on the Go’ is a popular menu served from 12 noon to 4 pm catering to corporate busybees who breeze in for a quick bite. Comprising of meals in a bowl such as Pepper Lamb Curry Bowl, Grilled Cajun Chicken Bowl and Herbed Prawns Bowl for the rice lover or basic, nutritious pastas, this is a  popular option for a quick working lunch for corporate denizens of Cyber City.

The menu reflects a fusion of a wide range of cultures and heritages, and many ethnicities that landed on Caribbean shores for the past centuries. This led to an intermingling of different cultures and cuisines, as people survived the islands, and weathered oppressions and challenges for many years. The fascinating stories of this confluence of culture and race are told through the menu of Raasta.

We skip dessert as the sound of reggae resonating into the deep, mysterious evening is all the sweetness one can handle for the moment.

The night is still young and the vibrant crowd is trickling in, fiesty and gregarious, clicking selfies, celebrating birthdays, flirting, buzzing, laughing or simply sharing cosy twosomes.

At Raasta, Cyber Hub the options are manifold. I am sure all of us need a break from our materialistic pursuits!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Cutting Chai at The Claridges

Get a taste of your favourite monsoon foods & hot chai at The Claridges, New Delhi

The Claridges New Delhi’s annual & much loved monsoon food festival – Cutting Chai,  makes a return this July, just in time to welcome the rains. A monsoon ritual at the hotel, Cutting Chai brings with it the familiar tastes of a typical Bombay rainy day. 

Relish street food favourites like “Chana Jor Garam”, Vada Pao, Mirchi Bhajjiya, etc while enjoying a hot cup of chai in the lush & cool environs of the Claridges Gardens. Served hot & strong, in small glasses typical of a roadside tea stall, the cutting chai served with savoury snacks, is a great accompaniment to afternoon conversations and catchups while lazing in the private outdoor gazebos in the garden. Alternately you can also enjoy the chatpata, sweet & spicy foods & chai at the cool, sunlit Lobby Lounge.

Promotion period: 7th July onwards
Price Range: Starting at Rs. 795
Venues: The Claridges Gardens & The Lobby Lounge at The Claridges, New Delhi
Timings: 3pm to 4pm

For reservations, please contact: +911139555082, +919871294834 or email 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Time Travel at the Spa at Shangri-La's Eros

Ever come back from a holiday feeling as if you need another holiday to rest and recoup? Come to think of it, holidays do get hectic. 

You often end up in different time zones, conflicting weather conditions, varying temperatures. You are in a new room every day, a strange bed, pillows plush and plumped up but you are unable to sleep well as you miss your own little, familiar even if doughy pillow at night. 

Food that you experiment with can leave you both surprised or shocked at times! Add to that the walking, the trekking, the early mornings, the late nights, carting luggage and lugging those rucksacks that keep adding a kilo every hour!

If you go to a reasonably non-urban area, the number of stairs you have to climb to get to anything worth watching. Aaah! We city dwellers have become dependant on out lifts and escalators. Not a good sign but a fact of life.

You do come back from holidays pretty stressed out. There are strange aches that have developed, muscles that are sore, your sleep cycle is messed up, your hair is frazzled and dry as straw and of course there’s that uneven tan (I have nothing against even tans!)you’ve acquired braving it out in the sun all day.
Well, I recently returned from a holiday across four different mountaineous terrains, sated, rejuvenated but yes, a bit deflated. To the extent that on the last leg of my journey I had actually started hallucinating about spas and massages.

Now there are spas and there are spas. Some leave you pampered silly while some leave you iffy and cramped and uncomfortable. A spa should put you at ease and instill a sense of calm. The whole idea is after all, to feel as light as a feather and new-born like a baby.

The Shangri-La Spa sounded promising. Not only is it one of the largest spas in Delhi in terms of area, but the interiors are truly tranquil. The brochure claimed that the spa at Shangri-La's Eros embraces a holistic approach to physical and spiritual well-being. Inspired by traditional Asian healing philosophies, their treatments are based upon the principles of restoring balance and harmony to mind and body. Of course there is a Buddha at every corner and the gurgling water body instantly sends soothing undercurrents in my being.

The therapy rooms are well appointed and spacious with diffused lighting and a welcoming aura. I scanned their many services and while their Shangri-La Journey is supposed to be their signature treatment, there were so many more therapies on offer. 

The much touted Shangri La Journey that takes approximately 2 hrs is holistic healing at its best. After a long tiresome journey or a hectic day, it promises to relieve muscular aches and pains and assist your body's natural healing with this Signature Journey. The journey starts with a full body papaya scrub followed by a Classical Swedish massage, and a head and shoulder massage.

Other massages here include a Jet lag massage, Indian Back Massage and Chakra, Head, Neck & Shoulder Massage.

There is also the alluring 'Serenity Ritual' which combines three relaxing treatments into one. Starting with a Biodraga Nourishing Milk and Honey Wrap, followed by a soothing aroma massage and foot reflexology and a Biodraga Oxygenating Facial.

There are indoor and outdoor jacuzzis where you can enjoy a Cleopatra Bath or a Citrus Jacuzzi Bath or Lavender Jacuzzi Bath and spacious steam and sauna rooms. Ayurvedic treatments include Abhyanga, Podikkizhi and Shirodhara.

However what caught my attention was the ‘Voyage Reviver’. It sounded like just what I needed after my extended romp in the mountains of North-East India which beautiful as it was in a close-to-nature-and-the-elements kind of way, it allowed no access to anything remotely hedonistic. I realised I made the perfect choice in the 'Voyage Reviver' in order to feel buffed and polished and urbane again.

So feeling tired and grimy after a long journey? This oriental treatment is guaranteed to relieve your stressed muscles and tension. It starts with a Balinese scrub made out of dry coconut and some secret ingredients.  It is followed by a Balinese massage which is a hard, deep tissue massage that cajoles those bottlenecks out of your system. The Balinese Boreh wrap feels as if you've been mummified with some curative and preservative herbs for about 30 minutes-I actually dozed off- only to appear from it tender and revived as if your skin was born anew. The scrub cleanses your body, Balinese massage boosts the blood circulation removing knots and aches while the wrap soothes your skin.

I feel I have time-travelled to a happier, purer, calmer place. I am ready to face the rough and tumble of Delhi again. This Voyage Reviver is a must try at the Spa at Shangri-La's Eros hotel.

Spa Opening Timing

The Spa opens at 7 am to 11pm, seven days in a week.
For Spa reservations call: 91-11-41191220 Extn 1220