Saturday, January 23, 2016

Navigate your way through Mumbai on a budget – Street Food

Imagine you land in Mumbai for the first time and you have, let’s just say, INR 100 to taste Mumbai’s yummy food. What are you left with? What are your choices?

You still have a lot of choices, believe me. Yes, this expensive to live in Metro offers you a plethora of options to eat. With INR 100 per meal, you’ll never go on a hungry stomach – the city has to offer for everyone and every pocket.

Vada Pav

The Indian burger. The humble man’s sustenance. As this ranges from INR 8 to INR 15 per serving. They are sold all over Mumbai. Every nook and cranny. These deep fried batter dumplings with potato filling are made at an alarming rate at any vada pav centre. Served with dry garlic chutney and/or wet coriander chutney inside a pav. To fill you up, you can have atleast two of these.

Misal Pav

How can I not make a mention of this dish in this post? Misal Pav is a whole meal in itself. The steamed lentil gravy base, add chopped onion and garnish with farsan topped with chopped coriander – Voila! Have it hot with Pav.

Veg Sandwich

Come across a sandwich-walla, don’t be alarmed to see the number of variations that he can serve you. Be it sada sandwich (plain sandwich) or the more exotic mexican veg sandwich; these sandwich-wallas are mighty creative. Do not be shocked to see Nutella and peanut butter banana sandwiches the next time you visit.

Price: Starts from INR 20 for a Plain Vegetable Sandwich that is loaded with cut vegetable slices like boiled potato, beetroot, onion, cucumber and tomato between two liberally buttered and chutney added white bread slices.


Perhaps you’ll not find this everywhere in Mumbai like the humble vada pao. But some khao gullies (food streets) do have this. Steaming hot dumplings, either with veg filling or non-veg filling must be eaten hot.
Price: Starts from INR 60 for 6 pieces of momos.

Masala Dosa

Being south Indian, this dish does not have an instant appeal to me.
Of all the Udipi restaurants that throng the city, there are some that are still true to their roots and serve only south Indian fare. So if you happen to stop by Matunga suburb, close to the railway station is Hotel Ramashray – a must visit to get your idli – dosa fix.

If you’re in for a more fun variation of this dosa, head to Ghatkopar’s Khau Galli and watch the dosa guys in amazement as they create variations in an assembly line. From Chinese dosa to Chocolate dosa, you’ll get it all here.

Frankie – another name for a roll, is popular thanks to Tibbs. I would recommend having it only at Churchgate station, one of the flagship store of Tibbs. Enjoy this roll made of maida (all purpose-flour) with a stuffing (potato for vegetarians, chicken/mutton gravy for the non-vegetarians).
Price: Starts from INR 60 for one roll.

This post is a part of a series of posts on Mumbai on a budget.
This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

My Fantastico Challenge no 1: Pani Puri Madness

Ever seen Man vs Food on TLC? How the once huge Adam Richman finds eateries across the length and breadth of USA to land with the most outrageous challenges. I envied that guy each time he devoured a 16 pound burger or the tallest glass of milkshake to claim the title – Man won!

More often than not, Food won. The show wrapped up and months later, Adam Richman depreciated into one-fourth his size, which is truly remarkable feat in itself.

I wanted to be in Adam’s place so many times. Hell, I wanted his job! But alas! So I decided, in my own way to set food challenges and try and beat them.
So the point of this post is, how I challenged myself truly out of sheer madness to have the most pani puris in one hour at any neighbourhood. This was my Fantastico Challenge no. 1 - Pani Puri Madness.

Why pani puri? Why not something else?
A) Because pani puri is also one of my favourite foods.
B) I’ve always wanted to do this crazy challenge.
C) Because I honestly don’t have that kind of money. It was either pani puri or ragda pattice.

And so one chilly winter night in Vashi, Navi Mumbai I started the challenge and was timed by my brother. I aimed to gobble down at least 7 plates of pani puris. We started at 7 PM.

Here’s how we navigated through my crazy challenge:

Pani Puri Outlet number 1: Shiv Kripa Sweets and Snacks, Sector 6, Vashi
This outlet had to be number one since I love the sukha puri and the sev puri here.

Image Source: Zomato

He uses boondi for the paani puri and it was yummy, I finished one plate in no time. If you plan to visit here, reach here before 8 PM, else most of the chaat will be sold out.

Price for 1 plate: INR 25

Pani Puri Outlet number 2: Jhama Sweets, Sector 17, Vashi
We reached the place via car ride at 7.17 PM. I was ready to gobble down another plate of these yummy gol gappas.

Pani Puri at Jhama Sweets
Jhama is best known for his piping hot Jalebis. You MUST have them right from the hot chachni (sugar syrup).

Price for 1 plate: INR 20

Pani Puri Outlet number 3: Bikaner Sweets, Sector 17, Vashi

Right around the corner from Jhama, I gobbled my first puri at 7.28PM. Now this pani puri I liked the best. Maybe the use of ragda is to my liking. I was 3 down and aimed at completing 4 more. Did I make it?

Look at me concentrating.

Price for 1 plate: INR 20

Pani Puri Outlet number 4: Gupta Sandwich, Sector 17, Vashi

Gupta’s is famous for his yummy grilled and toasted sandwiches and my personal favourites are the Veg. Cheese Grilled Sandwich and the Mayonaise Grilled Sandwich.

However, not much to my surprise, I felt Gupta Snacks’ pani puri is rather bland.
Time was now 7.45 PM.

Price for 1 plate: INR 18

Pani Puri Outlet number 5: Some pani puri outlet outside a dry fruit shop near Sector 17 parking lot, Vashi

Yes, I forgot to note the name of this outlet down. And now midway through this pani puri plate, I was full. Tried really hard and somehow finished the remaining three.

I was well within time, but could not go on any more. White Napkin raised!

Price for 1 plate: INR 20

So, unfortunately, I couldn’t finish my set aim of 7 plates. Only 5 is what I could scrape through.

In case you’re wondering how my stomach is, its fine thanks. In case you’re wondering if I’m crazy to do this in the winter chill, well yes I am kind of aren't I?

What did you think of this challenge?
Should I go for it again? Leave your thoughts in the comments below:

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Edible Music - Hindi

In my earlier blogpost, I had covered the Popular English Songs with Food titles/ references. In this blog post I shall cover Popular Hindi Songs with Food titles/ references.
Every Bollywood movie is synonymous with at least four to five peppy songs. Some of them go on to become huge hits, while the others bite the dust. Especially now-a-days, a big banner production house goes to launch the music of the film first and then the movie itself. Some may argue that the quality of songs has touched rock bottom, with commercialized hits

Popular Hindi Songs with Food titles/ references:

Shaayad Meri Shaadi Ka Khayal

This song celebrates the quintessential formal invite to the girl’s parents over to the boy’s house, for the shaadi ki baat. Hence the ‘chaai pe bulana’. The song was sung by the singing icons Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar for the movie Sautan.

Ek Garam Chai ki Pyali ho

Yes, another iconic chai song. If Annu Malik had to promote a tea stall in India, it has to be through this song. Alas! Our ears bore the brunt when he decided to give a voice to Salman Khan serenading leggy lasses in bikinis at a beach in Har Dil Jo Pyaar Karega (2000). Somebody out to have told the directors, nobody has chai at a beach!

Mai toh raste se jaa raha tha

Sung by Kumar Sanu and Alka Yagnik, this song is chatpata like Bombay chaat. Govinda sang this song to woo Karisma Kapoor in Coolie No. 1, but I was appalled at the references to the humble bhelpuri and false accusations over the spiciness quotient. Couldn’t he have told the bhaiiya ji to tone down the spice instead of falsely accusing Karisma? (Yes, I love my chaat and I can go to any lengths to defend its unsolicited usage)

Batata Vada

I kid you not. This IS the title of the song. I was one of the lucky ones to witness the song whilst watching the film Hifazat. The song was picturized on Madhuri Dixit and Anil Kapoor in the movie, who have sudden cravings for the humble indianized burger patty. Watch them take the batata vada all over India. There perhaps cannot be a better tribute to it.

Don’t believe me? Watch the below video:

Jab tak rahega Samose me aalu (1997)

Mr. Akshay Kumar and his Mrs. Juhi Chawla in the movie Mr. and Mrs. Khiladi are romping in the moonlight but fondly missing samoses. Thanks to Baba Annu Malik, we have this creative (ahem) song. (Someone instead should have promptly fed the hungry Malik and we would’ve been short by 2 songs at least)
There was a parody slogan to this the next year for the elections (Genius whoever that was) – ‘Jab tak rahega samosa me aalu, tab tak rahega bihar me laalu’.
This was sung by singers Abhijeet and Poornima.

Almost making the cut:

Chane ke khet mein – Anjaam – 1994
Tu Cheez badi hai mast mast – Mohra
Hai Hai Mirchi – Biwi No 1

Do you have any more to add to the list? Do share in the comments below:

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Edible Music - English

'I'll take you to the candy shop
I'll let you lick the lollipop
Go ahead, girl, don’t you stop
keep goin’ ‘til you hit the spot (whoa)’

50 Cent may have spoiled the whole innocent lollipop licking experience with his lyrics, but the song caught on well a few years ago. The opening beats were enough for us to know that Candy Shop was being played. And it is no lie that the song was one of the chartbusters for a long time.

Nevertheless, this post is not about 50 Cent’s exploits, but about how there are some cool songs that either talk about food or have been popular for their food references.

I’ll be very frank when I say, I am not a hard-core music buff, but I do listen to certain popular tracks in various genres. So the though behind this post is to list out these songs, which I feel are quite popular of having food references. I will be listing out these in two lists, one for English songs and the other for Hindi songs.

Popular English Songs with Food titles/ references:

Sugar Sugar, Honey Honey – The Archies

Apparently, the original song was specifically written for Archies, the comic in 1969. I did not know that!

Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice

Sung by the band also with a food name – Vanilla Ice – Ice, Ice Baby was an unforgettable hit.
Don’t miss the moves! 

Milkshake – Kelis

After sugar and ice, next is Milkshake. Kelis shake-d and shake-d us to this song from her album ‘Tasty’ about six years ago. With repetitive raunchy lyrics like ‘My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, And they’re like it’s better than yours’ throughout the rap song.

American Pie – Don Mclean

This song from 1971-72 is one of my personal favourites as it instantly peps me up. Soulful voice of Don Mclean is throughout this rather long song – about 9 minutes.

Sweets for my Sweet, Sugar for my Honey – The Drifters

Truly a short and sweet song to serenade your sweetheart.

If you’re thinking why my selection is constrained to sweets, here’s a list of songs that are, if one can say so, savoury:

Potato Head Blues by Louis Armstrong

The Coffee Song by Frank Sinatra

The Lemon Song by Led Zeppelin

Shanghai Noodle Factory by Traffic

Fried Chicken by Ice-T

Mother Popcorn by James Brown

You can check out more from this list of 100 songs here: 

I’ll be sharing the Bollywood/ Hindi Popular English Songs with Food titles/ references in my next post.

This is my list. What about you?
Which are your favourite songs that talk about food? Does it feed your soul?

Do share it in the comments section below:

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

A Fantastico Seafood Experience - Zinga - Restaurant Review

It was one of those days that my family and I were in the mood for some seafood. It had been a long time since we had a family get-together and wanted to make the most of the opportunity and gorge on some yummy fresh sea food. And so there we were at Vashi, searching on Zomato for restaurants around that would serve up some lip-smacking sea food fare.

The obvious choices were Mahesh Lunch Home and Tunga, or if neither, then Gajalee in Mumbai. But we decided to go for this restaurant that we’ve never tried before: Zinga – The taste of Kokan

Located at Fantasia Business Park, Opp. Vashi Railway Station, at Sector 30A, Vashi, Navi Mumbai, we head to our lunch destination.

When we arrived, we were welcomed with some foot tapping dance music, to which we realized that it was the lounge next door – Zing.

As we entered by 1.30 PM, we surprisingly noticed that it was relatively empty for a Sunday afternoon. We were seated immediately and ordered upfront. Upon seating, I looked around the creative décor that talked about the Konkan cuisine and the Marathi culture. A boat adorned the décor.

Upon scanning the food menu card, we found the prices to be quite reasonable. So we ordered up.

To start with, I tucked into a Seafood Lemon Coriander soup. Piping hot and spicy, just the way I liked it.

Next, we tucked into some crispy rava fried Bombil fish (Bombay duck). I must tell you, it was simply melt-in-the-mouth. And that is the best way to have bombil. Perfectly cooked and seasoned, we were tempted to order another serving. And in no time, we succumbed to our temptations as we dug into the second helpings of this fish dish. 

Apart from the Malvani menu, we also tried Chicken Tikka as one of the starters. Served with pickled onion and coriander-mint chutney, it tasted well.


Next we tried the Chicken Sukkha (Chicken Dry). Mind you, this is better had with rotis, even if sukkha suggests ‘dry’ it’s a dry gravy – a part of the main course. As an accompaniment, we had asked for Jwarchi bhakri (Jowar pancake), but there was only Rice Bhakri available.

We tried the Masala roti, which I liked. 

For the main course, we stuck to Malvani cuisine with two types of curries: Chicken Aagri Curry and Malwani Surmai Curry. (Surmai = Sword fish)

We did not try the desserts as we were overwhelmed by the starters and the main course.

Overall here’s I would rate my experience:

Taste: 4/5; True to Malvan taste buds. Tangy, spicy and tasty.
Quantity: 4/5; Good quantity of fish
Freshness: 3.5/5

Service: 3/5; Overall, the service was good. Timely and prompt service and attending.
Ambiance: 2.5/5; Simple décor.
Damages: ~1600 (excluding beverages)

Will I visit again? Most definitely will.

That was my Fantastic SeaFood experience at Zinga. If you happen to visit this place, do let me know how your experience was.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Mushroom Peas Masala with a peppy twist

Food, in my opinion, can be associated with various emotions. It goes beyond becoming a delicious dish. It turns into an emotional connection.
Be it satiating like a paneer or chicken tikka masala, dull or uninteresting like bottle gourd (lauki) ki sabzi, or be it foodgasmic like hot gulab jamuns on a cold winter’s day.

And when it comes to the peppy emotion, it need not be pasta or pizza. But can be indian based gravies too!
Whenever I cook at home, I usually end up making pasta and noodle based dishes. And usually, when we order in, we call for Indian gravies that are milder in the spice quotient. So, I thought of recreating an order in peppy favourite – Mushroom Peas Masala.

Mushroom Peas Masala is a mildly spiced gravy with tomato and onion based but is creamier due to the addition of cashew paste. It is a main course dish. A hit with the kids as they tend to love both mushrooms as well as green peas. I’ve tried this adapted recipe from Tarla Dalal’s recipe book several times and it has been a hit.
So here’s the recipe:

Preparation Time: 15 mins   
Cooking Time: 30 mins   

Serves: 4


1/4 cup cashewnut (kaju) paste
1 1/2 cups green peas (frozen peas are fine too)
200 gms mushrooms (khumbh), cleaned and cut into halves
2 tbsp oil
4 black cardamom pods
1 stick of cinnamon (dalchini)
1 cup finely chopped onions
2 tbsp ginger-garlic (adrak-lehsun) paste (you can even ground 6 cloves of garlic with 1 inch cubed piece of ginger instead)
1/2 cup tomato puree (you may use fresh 4 medium sized fresh tomatoes, blanch them, peel and blitz in blender for homemade puree)
1 tbsp chilli powder
2 tsp coriander (dhania) seeds powder
1 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
1 tsp garam masala
salt to taste

For The Garnish
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves (dhania)


Heat the oil in a pan, add the cardamoms, cinnamon stick and onions and saute till onions turn golden brown in colour.
Add the ginger-garlic paste, mix well and cook for 2 minutes on a medium flame.
Add the tomato puree, chilli powder, coriander seeds powder, turmeric powder, garam masala and salt and cook till the oil leaves the masala.
Add the cashewnut paste dissolved in 1 cup of water and mix well. You can also use powdered cashewnuts and add water to it to use it like a paste.
Add 1/2 cup of water and bring it to a boil.
Add the green peas and mushrooms and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or till the green peas are cooked.
Serve hot garnished with coriander.
You can have it with steamed rice, jeera rice, phulkas, rotis, naan or bread.

Do try out this recipe and let me know how you liked it.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Foodie Wishlist 2016

I love Instagram. It's a foodie's heaven. And a fantastico treat for any foodie's eyes. And if you're following me, you'd know most of my posts are full of what. No points for guessing!

And you should see how my feed is inundated with fantastico food photographs of the hundreds of accounts that I follow, right from a restaurant or homemade dish, to the hors d'oeuvre by a budding chef or a molecular gastronomical Heston Blumenthal dish.
I simply salivate thinking of them.

And with January being the holy month of resolutions and stuff, this is what I decided to do. I picked the best off my Instagram feed so far, and put it on the wishlist of dishes that I'd like to devour in 2016. Yeah, it's like a wishlist but only of food and more food! These are snapshots from my Instagram feed.

Not in any order, here goes:

The kitkat milkshake from @145kalaghoda

Can't believe all these years in Mumbai and I have not yet had the classic Irani berry pulao at Britannia & Co., Churchgate.

I have had this icecream sandwich, but want to relive college days again by devouring into it one more time. This is at K Rustoms at Churchgate.

If traveling to Amritsar isn't on the cards yet, I think this lip smacking parantha thali is a good enough reason to head there and devour it from Kesar Da Dhaba.

Now, being a south Indian, food from the south does not excite me too much. But the sheer length of this dosa is tempting me to indulge in this crispy batter pancake.

This gem was hiding away from me for so long. To add to the list of must eats is Pancham Thali from Pancham Puriwali. And is VFM.

The presentation had me in! This might appear to be an innocuous looking roti ki tokri with a vegetable curry, but I was salivating at the first moment I saw it.

Any true pizza lover in this city will swear by Joey's pizza. Located in the inner lanes of Andheri west, this truly Value For Money pizza joint will make you want to come back again and again.

I've been to The J, at Churchgate before and that time I had the pizza fries. But this photo got me salivating to have fish and chips. Gotta try this one for sure.

The following four posts are full of Nigella Lawson's wisdom - more fat, the better.
Fat Kid Deli, at Vashi serves up these AMAZING treats which I'm waiting to devour.

Take a look at this loaded dog. This is taking Hot dog to the next level. The southern Mac dog!

Mac and cheese anyone? or perhaps Death by CHEESE?
Loaded with loads of cheese, this is too tempting to resist!

How about this gorgeous marshmallow chocolate drink?

Popsicle anyone?
Or perhaps a Craft beer popsicle?
One for the cold!

The day Soda Bottle Openerwala opened in Mumbai, my feed has been inundated with some lip smacking parsi fare. Gotta visit it soon!

Will keep updating this list, so watch out! So if you spot me at any of these places in this year, do come to say hi, but don't expect me to share my food. *Peace Sign*

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.