Indian Spiced Orange Salad

Bored of eating oranges the usual way? Use them in this bright and beautiful Indian Spiced Orange Salad!

I have used Indian spices to delicately spice this salad, which is extremely flavourful and delicious. It is a medley of sweet and tangy and spicy in every bite, and would make a refreshing addition to any meal.

Here’s how to make this Indian Spiced Orange Salad.

Ingredients (serves 2):

  1. 2 large fresh oranges
  2. About 10 almonds
  3. 1 tablespoon honey
  4. Salt, to taste
  5. A dash of red chilli powder
  6. 1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin (jeera) powder
  7. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander leaves

Method:

  1. Dry roast the almonds in a pan, on medium flame, till crisp. Take care to ensure that they do not burn. Keep aside and allow them to cool down completely.
  2. Peel the oranges and remove all the seeds and fibres. Roughly tear the segments into bite-sized pieces using your hands. Transfer the orange pieces to a large mixing bowl.
  3. When the almonds are cool enough to handle, chop them into slivers. Keep aside.
  4. Add salt to taste, honey, cumin powder, chilli powder, almond slivers and finely chopped coriander to the orange pieces in the mixing bowl. Mix gently.
  5. Transfer to serving plates and serve immediately.

Notes:

1. The oranges that I used were a good mix of sweet and tart, so I didn’t feel the need to use any lemon juice in the salad. If you think your oranges aren’t too tart, you could add in a dash of lemon juice.

2. Skip the honey if the oranges are too sweet. Use more honey if needed, depending upon your taste preferences.

3. Roasted peanuts, walnuts or cashewnuts can be used in place of almonds. The lemon juice can be substituted with vinegar, the red chilli powder with finely chopped green chillies, and the honey with maple syrup, palm sugar or any other sweetener. Similarly, you can use torn basil or mint leaves in place of the coriander.

4. You can use a mix of sweet lime (mosambi) and orange to make this salad too.

5. Make sure all the seeds and tough fibres are removed from the oranges, before proceeding to make this Indian Spiced Orange Salad.

6. Serve the Indian Spiced Orange Salad immediately after preparation. Do not let it sit for too long – it will then begin to release water and become tasteless.

Did you like the recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for this week is ‘Salad Recipes’.

I’m also sending this recipe over to Fiesta Friday #228.

 

Pattarveliya| Patra| Gujarati Steamed Colocasia Leaves

The heart-shaped leaves of the colocasia plant – also called pattarveliya, arbi, elephant ear or taro – are considered a delicacy amongst several cultures in India. The most common way of consuming these leaves is in the form of rolls, usually with a paste made of gram flour and one or the other souring agent spread over them. There are little variations in how different parts of India cook these rolls – the Gujaratis call them Patra, and use sesame seeds, jaggery and a hint of garam masala in them, for instance, while the Pathrode of the Udupi-Mangalore regions uses ground rice, coconut, curry leaves and urad daal. I’m a big, big, big fan of the Gujarati-style Patra made using these colocasia leaves!

Growing up in Ahmedabad, Patra would be a common tea-time snack at our place, sometimes store-bought, often home-made. They suit my taste buds just fine – a medley of sweet and sour and salty and spicy. We also loved them because they were so healthy – they are steamed, after all, with no oil, and how much oil to use in the tempering depends entirely upon you!

Back in Ahmedabad, Appa would get big bunches of colocasia leaves when he returned from his weekly round of the local vegetable market. I would get overjoyed to see the big green leaves peeking out of his cloth bag, because that meant that delicious patra would soon be in the making in our kitchen. 🙂 When I shifted to Bangalore, I was so disappointed to see colocasia leaves not very commonly available. After a few years of missing them badly and grappling with the sad, wilted leaves we would sometimes get hold of in certain stores only, I began growing them at home! Yes, that’s how much I love my Patra! 🙂 The dish you see above is made from home-grown colocasia leaves – just how awesome is that?!

Gujarati-style patra is not a very difficult thing to make. The proceedure is quite simple, actually. What it does need is a bit of patience and practice – with time, the movements of cutting the stubborn nerves off without damaging the leaves, that of spreading the gram flour mixture evenly on the leaves, that of rolling up the leaves together, that of steaming them in a way that water doesn’t touch them, become more and more natural and easier. So, if you are about to make patra for the first-ever time and the proceedure looks daunting, please don’t worry – just keep at it and it will become all smooth in time! The end result is totally worth it, I tell you.

Here is how to make Patra, Gujarati-style.

Ingredients (serves 2):

For the colocasia leaf rolls:

  1. 4 medium-sized tender colocasia leaves
  2. 3/4 cup gram flour aka besan
  3. A small piece of tamarind
  4. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  5. 2-3 green chillies
  6. Salt to taste
  7. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  8. 2 pinches asafoetida powder
  9. 1 teaspoon garam masala
  10. 2 tablespoons jaggery powder

For the tempering:

  1. 4-5 tablespoons oil
  2. 1 teaspoon mustard
  3. 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  4. 2 pinches asafoetida
  5. 2 tablespoons fresh grated coconut

For the garnishing:

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander leaves

Method:

First, we will get the colocasia leaf rolls ready.

1. Wash the colocasia leaves thoroughly. Pat dry gently with a cotton cloth.

2. Use a pair of scissors to trim down the stem and thicker veins on the leaves, taking care to ensure that the leaves don’t get cut in the process. Keep aside.

3. Soak the tamarind in a little hot water for at least 10 minutes. When it cools down, extract a thick juice from the tamarind layer. Keep aside.

4. Peel ginger and chop finely. Chop green chillies finely. Grind both of these ingredients together in a mixer, using a little water. Keep aside.

4. Take the gram flour in a large mixing bowl. Add salt to taste, turmeric powder, garam masala, jaggery powder, 2 pinches of asafoetida, the tamarind extract and the ginger-green chillies paste. Mix to a smooth paste using a little water – it should be thick and not too runny. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

5. Spread out the biggest colocasia leaf on a clean work surface, face down. Spread some of the gram flour paste evenly over the entire surface of the leaf. Place another leaf over this, face down, and spread some paste all over it too. Similarly, place another leaf on top, spread some paste, place the last leaf on top, spread the last of the paste. Fold the right and left edges of the leaves together, inwards. Then, roll all the leaves together tightly, from top to bottom. Place the prepared roll in a colander to steam evenly.

Now, we will steam the colocasia leaf roll.

6. Take 1 cup water in a pressure cooker bottom. Place a tall stand over it. Place the colander with the roll atop the stand.

7. Close the pressure cooker and put the whistle on. Allow 4 whistles on high flame. Let the pressure come down naturally.

8. After the pressure has entirely gone down, open the pressure cooker and allow the roll to cool down. When the roll is cool enough to handle, cut it into pieces that are neither too thick nor too thin.

Now, we will temper the pieces.

9. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the mustard and allow it to pop.

10. Add in the sesame seeds and the asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

11. Lower flame to medium. Add in the cooked colocasia pieces. Stir gently to coat the pieces evenly with the tempering.

12. Add in the grated coconut. Mix gently. Cook for a couple of seconds on medium flame. Switch off gas.

Lastly, add the garnishing.

13. Add the finely chopped coriander to the pan. Mix gently. Serve the patra hot – they are best had straight off the pan, but can be had cold too.

Check out the following pictures to get a clearer idea of how to make Patra.

Top (left to right): Trimming the stems on the colocasia leaves and spreading the gram flour paste on them; Centre: Rolling up the leaves together; Bottom: Left – the roll ready to go into the pressure cooker; Centre – the roll placed in a colander to cook; Right – the roll cooked and ready

Notes:

1. You can even deep-fry the colocasia leaf rolls, if you want. I prefer the non-deep-fried version, just a simple tempering as above.

2. Do not add more than 4 medium-sized colocasia leaves in a single roll, otherwise it will become too large and unwieldy. If the leaves are too big, roll them 2 at a time.

3. Some people add garlic to the gram flour. I usually don’t.

4. You can do the tempering with ajwain aka carom seeds, instead of mustard – too. I prefer the mustard, though.

5. Amchoor powder can be used instead of tamarind, to add sourness to the patra.

6. Make sure you use a tall stand inside the pressure cooker while steaming the colocasia leaf roll. No water should enter the colander in which you will place the roll.

7. A colander helps in even steaming of the roll, rather than using a closed vessel.

8. You can use red chilli powder instead of green chillies, to spice up the colocasia leaf roll. Use as many or as few green chillies as you want, depending upon how spicy you want the roll to be.

9. Choose fresh, tender colocasia leaves to make this dish, preferably with black veins. Don’t choose mature leaves, as there are more chances of them causing itchiness on your tongue and in your throat.

10. A steamer can be used to cook the colocasia leaf roll, too. We prefer using a pressure cooker instead.

Did you like this recipe for Gujarati-Style Patra? Do let me know in your comments!

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I’m sending this recipe over to Fiesta Friday #228.

Highlights: World On A Plate – 2018

VR Bengaluru in Whitefield, Bangalore, saw a 3-day culinary festival, World On A Plate, happening between June 8 and 10, 2018. For the uninitiated, World On A Plate (popularly called WOAP) is one of Bangalore’s biggest foodie festivals, which aims to bring together food enthusiasts from all spheres, from across the globe – foodies, food brands, masterchefs, stalwarts from the food industry, restaurants, food critics, food bloggers and journalists, and the likes. I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of World On A Plate – 2018, the third edition of this festival, which happens to coincide with VR Two, the second-anniversary celebrations of VR Bengaluru.

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Chefs Sarah Todd and George Calombaris at the World On A Plate – 2018 media meet

Chef George Calombaris and Sarah Todd (both of the MasterChef Australia fame), famed Indian chefs Saransh Goila, Ajay Chopra and Ranveer Brar, and pop star-cum-culinary enthusiast Anaida Parvaneh were some of the chefs associated with the event this year. At the exclusive masterclasses held as part of WOAP – 2018, foodies got a chance to learn from these celebrity chefs. Patrons were also offered an opportunity to engage in a tete-a-tete with the chefs and to pose for photographs with them. This year, Chef Calombaris had also curated a special 4-course meal for WOAP-2018, in co-ordination with Toscano. I could not be part of the masterclasses or the Calombaris-special menu because of paucity of time (and thanks to not keeping too well!), but I loved the little of WOAP – 2018 that I insisted on being a part of.

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Chefs Saransh Goila and Ranveer Brar in a solemn mood, talking about celebrated food writer Anthony Bourdain’s recent demise, at the media meet

At an exclusive media meet held on June 9, Jermina Menon (VP-Marketing, Virtuous Retail – South Asia) spoke of her excitement at being associated with World On A Plate the second time in a row.

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Ms. Jermina Menon speaking at the media meet for World On A Plate – 2018

Kiran Soans (CEO of Gold Rush Entertainment, the principal organiser of this festival) said, “This edition of World on a Plate is bigger in scale and size and guaranteed to be an unparalleled culinary journey for connoisseurs and aspiring chefs.

He also spoke of GiftAMeal with HUG – an initiative to collect funds for the underprivileged as part of a hunger management program, something that World On A Plate and Gold Rush have supported for three years now. In the year 2018, the program aims at giving away 1,00,000 free meals, something that I absolutely love and highly appreciate.

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Mr. Kiran Soans speaking at the media meet for World On A Plate – 2018

The media meet was quite enlightening and interesting, with Chef Ranveer Brar speaking of the differences in food culture among the various cities of India. He spoke of how Bangalore is a great space for food innovation, thanks to the people being quite open to experimenting.
Chef Saransh Goila spoke about the need for a formal body to certify food bloggers and writers. He also went on to speak, very interestingly, about the need for a chef to balance humility with social media popularity, especially in these modern times.

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Top: Chef Saransh Goila, speaking at the media meet for World On A Plate – 2018; Bottom: Chef Goila’s Goila Butter Chicken, presented at the venue

The media meet also offered us, food bloggers and journalists, a chance to sample a few dishes put together by Chef Sarah Todd, Chef George Calombaris, Chef Saransh Goila and Chef Ranveer Brar.

Chef Goila presented his signature Goila Butter Chicken, which Chef Calombaris fondly referred to as ‘the best butter chicken in the world‘.

Chef Todd presented Kolhapuri Slow-Cooked Lamb On Betel Leaf, while Chef Calombaris presented Potato Skordalia With Black Garlic & Walnut.

Chef Ranveer Brar, known for his innovative fusion ideas, presented Burnt Miso & Chocolate Matcha Modaks.

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Left: Chef Sarah Todd speaking at the media meet for World On A Plate – 2018; Right: The Kolhapuri Slow-Cooked Lamb On Betel Leaf, presented by Chef Todd at the venue

I didn’t sample the non-vegetarian dishes, of course, but loved the two vegetarian ones that I did. Chef George Calombaris’s Potato Skordalia With Black Garlic & Walnut was exquisite, with curry leaves adding an Indian touch to the jacket potatoes.

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Left: Chef Calombaris speaking at the media meet for World On A Plate – 2018; Right: Potato Skordalia With Black Garlic & Walnut, presented by Chef Calombaris at the venue

Chef Ranveer Brar’s dish was utterly gorgeous! It was sheer beauty inside and out, a very well-executed blend of Indian and international cuisines. The green matcha modaks were oh, so pretty, the miso-and-chocolate filling complementing the exterior perfectly. The aam ras the modaks were served in added a burst of flavour to the dish!

Left: Chef Ranveer Brar speaking at the media meet for World On A Plate – 2018; Top Right and Top Bottom: The Burnt Miso & Chocolate Matcha Modaks presented by Chef Brar at the venue

Some of the best-known restaurants of Bangalore city set up stalls at the event, including Caperberry, Smally’s, Punjab Bistro, Sindh Kitchen, Nasi & Mee, Sodabottleopenerwala, The Whitefield Arms, Rajdhani and Siam Trading Co. The atmosphere at these stalls was charged, not unlike that at a fair.

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A few of the food stalls at World On A Plate – 2018, at VR Bengaluru

Many of these restaurants are places I have always wanted to try out. Every single one of these stalls had some really lovely food on offer, and I had a tough time trying to figure out what to taste and what not.

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The Sodabottleopenerwala stall at World On A Plate – 2018, at VR Bengaluru

Patisseries like Smoor, Aubree and Lavonne: Academy Of Baking Science & Pastry Arts offered some of their beautiful creations for sale at World On A Plate – 2018. I had a gala time walking through these stalls, checking out this and that, taking pictures.

Some gorgeous sugary confections on sale at the Aubree stall, at World On A Plate – 2018

I abstained from treating myself to a dessert, but was still on a high by the time I had finished ooh-ing and aah-ing over all of those delightful confections, merely by looking at them! 🙂

Top left: Melting Apple, a very interesting-looking dessert from Smoor; Bottom left: Cake pops from Lavonne; Top right and bottom right: Special desserts created for World On A Plate – 2018

I love events like this because they help me discover unique food products and ingredients. World On A Plate – 2018 was no exception. Soya-based vegetarian meat by Good Dot and beautiful, beautiful, organically grown cherries sourced from Jammu by Healthy Buddha were my cherished discoveries at the event.

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Left: Vegetarian Meat by GoodDot, on display at World On A Plate – 2018; Top right: Vegetarian Meat Chilli Chicken; Bottom Right: Vegetarian Keema

I loved the Vegetarian Meat Chilli Chicken and Vegetarian Keema that I sampled at the GoodDot stall and, now, I can’t wait to cook with these products in my kitchen!

The cherries from Healthy Buddha were so fresh and lovely, they disappeared within minutes of my bringing them home. Now, I’m all eager to get my hands on more of their gorgeous produce!

Left: A sweet decorative piece at World On A Plate – 2018; Top right: Green burgers at Smally’s; Bottom right: The gorgeous cherries that I picked up at the Healthy Buddha stall

Overall, it was such a beautiful experience for me, being a wee li’l part of World On A Plate – 2018. I wish I could have done more, explored more, tasted more, learnt more, but I am glad I got to do at least this. Well, next time…!

I hope you were part of the event this year, too!

Were you at World On A Plate – 2018, too? How was your experience there?

Bread Rolls| Bread & Mixed Vegetable Cutlets

Eid is just around the corner! Here’s wishing good times to all those who are celebrating! 🙂

Today, I present to you a recipe for Bread Rolls or Bread & Mixed Vegetable Cutlets that you can make for Iftaar, the routine breaking of the fast during Ramzaan. You can also make these on the occasion of Eid, a hearty and nutritious vegetarian snack.

I have extremely fond memories associated with Bread Rolls aka Bread & Mixed Vegetable Cutlets. In the almost 36 hours it took to travel by train from Ahmedabad to Madras, while I was growing up, Bread & Mixed Vegetable Cutlets would make for my morning breakfast. I remember them tasting awesome (I’m not sure if I would still say the same about them!), and being all excited about having them because they were such a novelty for me – we never made them at home ourselves.

I also remember my school friends bringing home-made Bread Rolls in their snack boxes, and offering me a taste. I would adore them, and we would end up exchanging our boxes – they would happily gobble up my idlis while I munched on their Bread Rolls.

The bub was introduced to Bread & Mixed Vegetable Cutlets at school, and she happened to adore them. Like mom, like daughter, eh? When she came home from school grinning like a Cheshire cat a couple of days – because the snack was her favourite Bread & Mixed Vegetable Cutlets – I absolutely had to learn how to make them at home. I spoke to the parents who had sent them, understood how they had made them, and began making them with a few customisations. Now, they are a regular snack at our place, and a much-loved one, too!

I make these Bread Rolls with tonnes of vegetables and whole wheat bread, and use home-made garam masala to spice them. I use a dosa pan to shallow-fry them, with minimal oil, as opposed to deep-frying. They turn out absolutely delicious in taste, perfectly crisp from the outside, soft from the inside, just the way we like them to be.

At a lot of places, I find Bread & Mixed Vegetable Cutlets containing either too much of potatoes or too much of bread. The recipe I am going to tell you about today will help you avoid both these situations. These measurements will give you the perfect cutlets – perfectly balanced ones, with no one ingredient overpowering the others. Do try it out!

Here’s how to make the Bread & Mixed Vegetable Cutlets.

Ingredients (makes 18-20 cutlets):

  1. 4 medium-sized potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
  2. 2 medium-sized onions, finely chopped
  3. 1/3 cup shelled green peas
  4. 1/3 cup grated carrot
  5. 1/3 cup finely chopped cabbage
  6. 1/3 cup finely chopped beans
  7. 1/3 cup finely chopped capsicum
  8. 1/3 cup finely chopped cauliflower
  9. Salt, to taste
  10. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  11. 2 generous pinches of asafoetida
  12. 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
  13. Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
  14. 4 tablespoons bread crumbs + more as needed to coat the cutlets
  15. 3-4 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
  16. 2 tablespoons of slivered almonds
  17. 8 slices of bread
  18. 4 green chillies, finely chopped
  19. A 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  20. 1 tablespoon oil + more as needed for shallow-frying

Method:

  1. Heat the 1 tablespoon oil in a pan. Add in the chopped onion, carrot, cabbage, beans, capsicum and cauliflower, as well as the shelled green peas. Salt lightly. Cook on medium flame till the vegetables are half done – they should be cooked, but retain their crunch. Switch off the gas, and allow the cooked vegetables to cool down entirely.
  2. Grind the ginger and green chillies to a paste in a mixer, using very little water. Transfer the paste to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the peeled and mashed boiled potatoes to the mixing bowl.
  4. Soak each of the bread slices in water for just a second, then squeeze in between your hands and drain out all the water. Add the drained bread slices to the mixing bowl.
  5. To the mixing bowl, add the 4 tablespoons of bread crumbs, lemon juice, asafoetida, salt to taste, garam masala, turmeric powder, chopped coriander and slivered almonds.
  6. Once the cooked vegetables (the carrot, capsicum, beans, peas, cabbage, cauliflower) have completely cooled down, add them to the mixing bowl too.
  7. Mix all the ingredients in the mixing bowl together thoroughly. Shape patties out of this mixture. Keep aside.
  8. Heat a heavy dosa pan on high flame. When it is nice and hot, turn down the flame to medium.
  9. Spread out some bread crumbs on a large plate. Dip two of the patties in the breadcrumbs, evenly coating them, and place them on the hot dosa pan. Spread some oil around the patties, and cook on medium flame till the bottom gets brown and crisp, ensuring that they do not get burnt. Then, flip the patties over, add a little more oil around them, and cook till crisp and brown on the other side. Transfer to a serving plate.
  10. Prepare all the cutlets in a similar manner. Serve hot with hot green chutney, kasundi, tomato ketchup or sauce of your choice.

Notes:

1. Cooking the Bread & Mixed Vegetable Cutlets on a dosa pan ensures that minimal oil is consumed, as against shallow frying in a deeper pan.

2. To make bread crumbs, just tear a few pieces of bread roughly and grind in a mixer. Alternatively, you can use store-bought bread crumbs, too.

3. You can use either whole wheat bread or white bread to make these Bread & Mixed Vegetable Cutlets.

4. Chana masala can be used in place of garam masala, too.

5. Increase or decrease the number of green chillies you use, depending upon how spicy you want the Bread & Mixed Vegetable Cutlets to be.

6. You can add any vegetables of your choice to these cutlets, but the ones I have mentioned above are the usual suspects. These are the veggies that go really well in the making of Bread & Mixed Vegetable Cutlets.

7. Make sure you soak the bread slices for just a second and then immediately drain out all the water from them, before proceeding to add them to the cutlet mixture. Over-soaking of the bread slices or retaining too much water in them will cause the cutlets to get soggy.

8. The above quantities of bread, bread crumbs and vegetables are perfect to get cutlets that are just right – neither too much of veggies nor too much of bread.

9. I prefer cooking these Bread & Mixed Vegetable Cutlets on a dosa pan, but you could deep-fry them too. If you want to deep-fry them, dip the prepared patties in a thin paste of maida or wheat flour and water, then coat evenly with bread crumbs, then proceed to put them in smoking hot oil. Deep fry on medium flame till evenly brown on both sides, ensuring the cutlets don’t get burnt.

10. Crumbled paneer or cheese can be added to the cutlets too. Alternatively, you can garnish the cutlets with grated cheese, just before serving them.

Did you like the recipe? Do tell me in your comments!

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for this week is ‘Eid-Special Recipes’.

I’m also sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday #227. The co-hosts this week are Lizet @ Chipa by the dozen and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

 

Check Out The Summer Menu at Farzi Cafe, UB City!

Farzi Cafe is a name that needs no introduction. The place is, I think, best known for adding quirky twists to ordinary recipes and the dramatic presentation of food. The out-of-the-box plating at Farzi Cafe has been known to titillate – no wonder the dishes here are so widely Instagram-ed and Facebook-ed.

At a recent bloggers’ table, a few of the city’s foodies (including yours truly got a sneak peek into the ongoing Summer Menu at Farzi Cafe’s UB City-Bangalore branch. The Summer Menu includes various exciting new drinks, dishes and desserts, all of them bearing the cafe’s signature off-beat presentation style. I tried out some of the vegetarian and non-alcoholic offerings from the Summer Menu, which will be available for a month or so more. There were a few dishes that I fell in love with, while a few others did not quite tantalise my tastebuds. That said, the presentation of every single thing brought to our table managed to blow me away!

Here is the low-down on the dishes we sampled from the menu and the stars of the show, for me.

Drinks

I absolutely adored the mocktail I chose from the Summer Menu, Litchi Panna Desire, the perfect cross between the tangy aam panna and sweet litchi juice. It was very well done and utterly refreshing, the sweet and sour perfectly balanced. This is one drink I would highly recommend here!

The Strawberry Lemonade, a non-alcoholic mix of strawberry and lemon juice, came a close second. It was beautifully done too, the sweet and sour well balanced and complementing each other perfectly. The drink was quite the beauty too, a pretty pink, presented in a glass with a ‘tail’. 🙂

Top Left: Strawberry Lemonade; Bottom Left: Farzi Rita; Centre: Litchi Panna Desire; Top Right: Chuski Margarita; Bottom Right: Bottle Ka Gin

The Chuski Margarita (a mango margarita served with a desi ice gola), Bottle Ka Gin (a gin-based drink served in a light bulb, with magical effects), and Farzi Rita (a cocktail served in a tall glass shaped like the Eiffel Tower) won full marks for presentation. My fellow foodies were thrilled with these cocktails!

Soup & Appetisers

The Desi Curd Rice Poppers With Smoked Tomato Chutney were simply mind-blowing! What are these, you ask? Well, curd rice coated with batter and deep-fried till crisp and absolutely delicious, served with a gorgeous South Indian-style roasted tomato chutney. Trust me, I don’t like anyone messing with my curd rice – it is soul food for me, and I want it as simple as can be. Farzi Cafe, though, had done a real good job with these poppers – they were super-duper delish! The roasted tomato chutney they were served with was delish, too. Highly recommended!

Top Left: Desi Curd Rice Poppers With Roasted Tomato Chutney; Bottom Left: Harissa-Spiced Paneer Tikka served with Tadka Cream; Right: Curd Rice Tikki Chaat with Dragonfruit Scoops

The Curd Rice Tikki Chaat With Dragonfruit Scoops, another starter that used the good ol’ curd rice, was absolutely gorgeous, too. The curd rice, here, was converted into a delectable chaat, served with pretty scoops of dragon fruit and a beautiful tikki, and the end result was finger-lickingly delish! Again, highly recommended!

Harissa-Spiced Paneer Tikka served with Tadka Cream and Paanch Phoron Paneer Bhurji Tarts were the two starters that were presented next. Both of these were not bad, but weren’t brilliant either. They, sort of, paled in comparison to the two lovely starters we started off with. I fared similarly with the soup we sampled next, an Avocado & Mint Gazpacho served with Jeera Namak Paara – though quite unique and beautifully presented, it was not something my tastebuds relished.

Top Left: Avocado & Mint Gazpacho with Jeera Namak Paara; Bottom Left: Paanch Phoron Paneer Bhurji Tart; Top Right: Black Sesame Chicken Tikka served with Sesame Ash; Bottom Right: Santrewala Chicken Tikka

The Black Sesame Chicken Tikka served with Sesame Ash and Santrewala Chicken Tikka were thoroughly relished by my fellow non-vegetarian diners. I loved the look of both these dishes, too!

Main Course

The Daal Khichdi Risotto With Papad Crisp And Achaari Butter was so very blissful! It was comfort food in the form of a simple and homely arborio rice khichdi, served with achaari spice-infused butter and crunchy papad. If khichdi reminds you of home, too, this is one dish-with-a-twist that you must absolutely try out here!

Top Left: Daal Khichdi Risotto served with Papad Crisp and Achaari Butter; Bottom Left: Andhra Chilli Chicken Thatte Idli served with micro herbs; Right: Charcoal Appam with Paneer Ghee Roast and Podi Dust

It was love at first bite for me with the Charcoal Appam served with Paneer Ghee Roast and Podi Dust. The black appam was fluffy and utterly gorgeous, the ghee roast absolutely heavenly. The cottage cheese was succulent, beautifully spiced, bursting with rich flavours. This you shouldn’t miss out on, at any cost!

I heard wonderful things about the Andhra Chilli Chicken Thatte Idli from my non-vegetarian counterparts, too.

Desserts

I loved the Flourless Chocolate Cake With Tanguery Mousse And Orange Crumb, a perfectly made, super light intense chocolate cake, served with orange-flavoured cream. Brilliant, I say!

The Peanut Butter Mousse Taco with Banana Kulfi & Caramelised Banana did not blow the socks off me, sadly, pretty as it looked. There was a bit too much of peanut butter and banana in there for my liking.

Top Left: Peanut Butter Mousse Taco with Banana Kulfi & Caramelised Banana; Bottom Left: Flourless Chocolate Cake with Tanguery Mousse & Orange Crumb; Right: Feni Nest with Chhena Balls & Flavoured Milk

The Feni Nest With Chhena Balls Served With Flavoured Milk is one of the prettiest desserts I have come across. Shaped like a bird’s nest, this one was so beautiful I resisted digging a spoon into it. I am so very glad I did, though, for it tasted even better! Everything about it was just perfect – the flavoured milk was sinfully rich and gorgeous in taste, complementing perfectly with the soft, soft, soft chhena balls and the feni. Don’t miss this!

In hindsight

I think Farzi Cafe – UB City’s Summer Menu surely is exciting. There are quite a lot of interesting new drinks, dishes and desserts to try out! Do check it out if you are in the vicinity!