Lord of the Drinks Forum luminescent with the warm glow of a hundred dim light bulbs
Mixologist Anthony probably had Bollywood in mind for his creation Jhatka Mary which stands tall amidst the non alcoholic selection of beverages. Soothingly sweet Guava Juice is pitted against smokey aromatic Indian Spices.
An extraordinary example of contradictory taste and textures – Soft Pepper Chili Lime Grilled River Sole resting on a bed of nachos and glazed with chocolate sauce.
Warm and crispy Banofi Rolls. Filled with creamy banana and caramel sauce on a bed of powered sugar and sprinkled with sesame seeds for extra crunch.
A smoking Belgian Waffle and a deconstructed tiramisu!
Traveling to Amritsar is simple just buy a ticket in any of the Shatabdi trains that depart from New Delhi or alternatively book an overnight bus online. Most of these buses depart from the Red Fort/Kashmiri Gate ISBT depot. You could also drive it’s 6 to7 hours from New Delhi.
Now if you believe in exploring new places on foot, like we do, then this is going to be quite a challenge. The roads here are ill maintained and most lampposts do not function post dusk. The locals however are hopeful that the city is under the throes of development and better roads are just round the corner, some of them are even excited at the prospect of Amritsar turning into a “smart city”. Unless you are a being from the promised future we suggest: carry a torch, wear comfortable shoes and wrap your nose with a scarf because the burnt diesel smog will suffocate you. Brush up your haggling skills and practice a few know-it-all smirks as you will need them while bargaining with auto-wallahs and shopkeepers alike.
Now for the TOP TEN things to do in Amritsar: Here we go!
1 Pray at The Golden Temple
Let The Golden Temple soak your spirit with a strange silence…a silence that is encircled with chaos, a silence you have to journey towards… a silence that resonates with your soul. The Golden Temple is an example of a miracle, how goodwill can provide free food and shelter to everyone who knocks at its door. Millions of people throng towards the temple and queue up for the langhar and each day freshly cooked food is offered to one and all. The system functions like a well oiled machine. From the distribution of plates and cutlery to the collection of wastes and the subsequent dish washing…everything is taken care of. Pray for world peace, pray for harmony…even if you are not religious…pray for a better future. Just close your eyes and make a wish
2. Appreciate Diversity
You are far from home. You have chosen to step into a new unfamiliar world so brace yourself for all the spectacle which awaits you. Your paths will cross with people from all walks of life. Some of you will seep into them and some of them will flow into you.
3. Volunteer at the Guru ka Langhar, Golden Temple
Offer your service at the Golden Temple Kitchen. Derive pleasure from knowing that the morsel you’ve helped cook will be served free of cost to whoever arrives hungry and thirsty. This has been happening for ages and we’ve got to make sure the kitchen never falters.
4. Take a Dip at the Holy Pool
When was the last time you dipped into a Holy Pool full of fishes? Try it now!
5. Visit Wagah/Atari Border and Witness what Patriotism Feels Like
Never did I imagine just a glimpse of Pakistan could stir such emotions. Separated by a history of hatred and mistrust here we are breathing the same air, cheering for our nations and wondering what life must be like on the other side.
6. Breakfast at Kanha Sweets
Take a rickshaw to Lawrence Road and order the Puri Launji thali. (We didn’t have to say anything though…they probably just read our faces and served us this dish) The puri is a rotund globe of crispiness and it is served with a spicy chole masala and a potato gravy called launji which looks nothing like what it tastes! this seemingly regular potato gravy is cooked in tamarind and jaggery thereby turning it into a kind of chutney which compliments the overall dish. Wish good morning to your taste buds with this. Thank me later
7. Lunch at Bharawan da Dhaba
Very close to the Golden Temple Bharawan da Dhaba is where you should head to witness the glory of Amritsari Kulcha. The soft kulchas are stuffed with spicy pieces of potatoes and glazed with a generous coat of butter. Reach early and order a breakfast thali which comprises of 2 kulchas, a bowl of choley and a bowl of raita…all for just 120 rupees!
8. Look Dapper in a Headscarf and Sooth your Guts with Ahuja’s Lassi
When you feel like you’ve stuffed enough aalu chana and ghee into yourself flush it all down with a soothing creamy glass of Lassi! Please note Ahuja’s lassi has nothing to do with the headscarf.
9. Beera’s Chicken
This one was super easy to find since everyone in Amritsar knows where Beera’s Chicken is. All you have to do is say Beera and a friendly finger will point you where to go. The tandoori/roast chicken they serve is the best I’ve had. It is spicy grilled to perfection outside and moist as butter…melt in your mouth inside. Visit Beera like a sacred pilgrimage if you’re a tandoori chicken fan and happen to be in Amritsar…or even if you’re not.
10. Makhan Fish
We are Bengalis and we know our fish, I think we’ve over used this line in our blog..anyway, as I was saying, we are Bengalis and we know our fish and we say that Makhan Fish is good. Not the best though…not something that makes your world stand still…and a tad bit over priced…but worth giving a shot anyway.
Toss calorie count to the wind and open your mouths you are in for a treat!
Dont we just love recipes with a history? This is one of those dishes which made me realize my love for baking. Mango Cake was the first cake I ever make. I still remember that day clearly when I had messed up my Calcutta kitchen with a flourish of egg shells, white flour, mango peels and cinnamon powder strewn across the workstation. All in a bid to impress my future in-laws ! I have to admit I went with my instincts, I took a chance with this cake. This was a question of my reputation an ordeal to establish my identity, this cake was in a way an edible representation of me. I wanted to make “something different”, something that isn’t easily found in Calcutta confectionaries (that itself was a humongous task because we Calcuttan’s could kill for our sweets, there are sweet shops in Calcutta which have experimented with all kinds of culinary feats; chocolates, fruits and even vegetables have found their ways into the delectable ‘sandesh‘. In Cake territory however there was a lot of room for experimentation).But I couldn’t get too carried away in the process of inventing something new. A first time baker should be a little careful after all. While i sat deciding what to churn up as a ticket to my entry to the new family i kept in mind the season, the insatiable love for sweet ripe mangoes and the precise sophistication that comes with the scientific art of baking. So mango cake it was.
After an hour of preparation and thirty morre minutes of staring into the oven what came out was a piece of sunshine !
I had no ways of tasting it (I had tasted the batter though 😉 ) but the aroma filling the kitchen said it all. I had a winner.
Six years down the line I cannnot tell you how gratifying it is when my husband and my in laws still rave about that cake and call it “The best thing I ever made”.
Shashlik is a word derived from its east European roots for skewered meat barbequed over high flame, a tasty and a meaty proposition. But while living in the heavily vegetarian north india we had to come up with the veg version of that. More over the challenge was to give it a twist and see how we can manage the same taste with the least minimum effort and ingredients.
So enjoy this on a summer evening over a glass of chilled beer (I hope even the sternest of vegs are allowed to take beer !).
Assorted vegetables cut in large chunks (Capsicum (red, green, yellow), Onions, Tomato, Courgette etc )
Cottage cheese (Cut in chunks)
Indian Chaat masala
Oil (Sunflower or Olive).
Take a large bowl and put all the veggies and the cheese. Sprinkle chaat masala and tandoori masala adequately to cover all the ingredients. Sprinkle salt and paprika or Kashmiri mirch powder. Add 3 – 4 spoons of curd, just enough to add the moisture for the spices to stick to all the veggies and create a crust. Add 3-4 table spoons of oil. This will help cook / grill the items without getting dry. Don’t over marinate by adding excess curd or allowing the margination to wait in excess of 15 minutes!
Heat a pan till its smoking. Add some more oil. Heat the oil on high flame. Add the ingredients turn by turn and ensure each of them get slightly charred edges. The spices will get cooked and create a spicy crust . Remove from pan add some more chat masala and squeeze some lemon juice. The easiest version of shashlik is ready to be served straight away !
For a more authentic feel one needs to buy wooden skewers and wet them overnight in water. Skew the marinated veggies and grill them over open fire /stove for a charred feel. Once done use the pan method to give a more uniform effect!
Now I must admit I’m new to the world of cocktails. The other day when we were having lunch at a local Deli I spotted a woman on the adjacent table sipping a ruby coloured liquid from a fat mason jar. A discreet yet closer inspection revealed slices of orange at the bottom of this fantastic concoction. A little research revealed that the drink she was sipping is Sangria, a Spanish cocktail. The aim now became to recreate this exotic drink at home and I subsequently poured myself into the internet trying to figure out how to make Sangria at home. There are plenty of recipes available, you may try those out and see which one you like most, I tried this after a lot of consideration and I’m pretty much sold!
Orange 1 (sliced into thin circles)
Lemons 2 (one sliced and the other juiced)
Pomegranates (a handful)
Lemongrass flavoured Vodka (1/4 cup)
Orange flavoured Vodka (1/4 cup)
Brandy (1/3 cup)
Red Wine (1 cup)
Pomegranate Juice (1 cup)
Slice the oranges and place them in a glass bowl.
To this add the lemon slices, pomegranates and lime and orange zest
Now mix the drinks one at a time, cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate over night.
Rrink Desponsibly! Okay!
This dish is for those days when you want to eat out but you’re just not able to pull yourself up from your sofa, get dressed and let go the comfort of your home. (Does it happen o you too? Or am I the only one THAT lazy in the planet?). It hardly takes any time to make and gives you a sin-like satisfaction. Just what you need this winter!
Take a thick bottom pan. Add the roughly chopped bacon stripes in the pan while it’s still warm. This way the bacon will leave a lot of fat and oil as the pan heats. Now add the finely chopped garlic and the chilies. Fry them all together till golden. Add the drained mushrooms. Increase the heat now. You will be surprised to see how much water the mushrooms leave before they start browning. Then add the onions and the tomatoes. Cover the pan and let the tomatoes turn mushy. Add paprika, chili flakes, crushed pepper, pizza seasoning and mix well. Throw in the spinach leaves when the dish looks well done. Add high flame to dry the excess water from the spinach. This will roughly take 3 minutes tops.
Now add the cheese and cover on low flame for 2 more minutes for the cheese to melt. Sprinkle some seasoning and serve hot over bread!
Winter is here! There is a certain chill in the air for sure. It’s time to whip up something that compliments the weather and warms us from within!
Here is an easy Chili Bean Chicken Recipe for you to try at home
You Will Need
Kidney Beans (2 cups)
Tomatoes (4-5 large chopped)
Herbs and Seasoning (Thyme, Rosemary, Paprika, Salt and Pepper)
Season the chicken with pepper, salt, paprika and garlic powder and rub it on some corn flour. Shake off the excess and deep fry the chicken pieces till they are cooked. Set aside on paper napkins to drain excess oil.
Boil and drain kidney beans. In a large pot add about 2 tbsp oil and fry chopped garlic, ginger, onions and tomatoes. Once it’s done add the beans and let it simmer. Stir in a good quantity of ketchup. Add salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary and cook. Now tumble in the chicken into the pan and mix it all together.
Bake this in the oven for 10 minutes before serving it to your guests.
This Thanksgiving we decided to thank the Gods above for all the good food that has been bestowed upon us. This dish, served with a chilled glass of Chenin Blanc is an expression of our gratitude on a plate. May no one on this planet ever have to go hungry. Amen to that!
Chicken (preferably Thigh piece and with the skin on )
Ginger Garlic Paste
For the Rub
American Barbeque Sauce
Red Chili Powder
For the Glaze
Coarsely Ground pepper
Keep the chicken thighs marinated atleast for 2 hours in the ginger garlic paste. Make a sauce for the rub with all the Rub ingredients (Worcestershire Sauce, American Barbeque Sauce, Mustard Powder and Red Chili Powder). Add salt to taste and 2 tsb sunflower oil. Add to the marinated chicken.
Heat the girdle pan. Add 2 tsb of sunflower oil to each pieces of chicken to avoid sticking before placing them on the pan. Grill till they get cooked and start getting nice grill marks. They should roughly take 5 minutes on each side on a medium to high flame.
In a separate bowl mix honey, Pepper and Thyme and add 2 tsb oil. This is the glaze that has to be smeared over the already grilled chicken but only on one side.
Grill the chicken pieces in a micro oven with the glaze side on top till the honey dries and creates a nice shiny caramelized coat!
Serve it on a bed of boiled veggies seasoned with oregano, mustard sauce and bring it together with some hung curd.
P.S don’t forget the good ol’ Chenin Blanc!
For a very long time and over exposure to American cooking shows in TLC we wanted to make our own version of lamb chops. Sincerely I never expected it to come out so good. But the smell of the roasted dry rub was enough to convince me!
Lemon Juice, Red Chili powder, crushed pepper, sugar (preferably crushed brown sugar for better caramalization) and tandoori masala. Massage the lamb chops (This cut looks like a large “comma”) with the Dry rub spice mix along with a couple spoons of vegetable oil.
Keep marinated in fridge for at least an hour. Sprinkle salt and rehydrate the mix with couple more spoons of oil. Heat the griddle or pan and place the chops. It will take roughly 15 minutes on each side for a dark brown crust to develop and the meat to soften.
We served it with some light fried rice bejeweled with red pomegranates.