It’s the last day of 2017 and I was going through the picture gallery of my phone. A few thousands pictures and mostly of food. Then I sifted through my blog posts and realised that quite a few dishes and places to eat have been featured from across the country. So, why not try to select the best of dishes or eating experience I had during the year. It was a difficult task though to select the significant ones (these places / dishes worked best for me and by no means it’s a rating in any sort of hierarchical order). Let’s see, what all flavourfully tickled my taste buds this year and featured in my blog posts. You may click on the headlines below for the full story.
The first pit stop of the Food Journey, this year, started with enjoying Assamese Thali at Khorika in Guwahati. Besides my favorite, sour Tenga Fish Curry, I was floored with the flavours of Dry Pigeon Fry and the Dry Duck Fry. It was the Duck Fry meat which caught my fancy. The meat had a unique salty flavour and was juicy. It’s masala in which it was cooked had beans, chillies and onions. It was very flavourful and one could even enjoy rice with it, without the meat.
The platter served on a wooden plank ,having three pieces each of Shish Taouk (a chicken kebab from Middle East) , Samak Meshwi (Sole fish cooked in Iranian yoghurt marinade) and Adana Kebab (a lamb Kebab with roasted pepper paste and spices), accompanied by three dips – my favourite Hummus, Tzatziki and Muhammra, some fritters and baked chicpeas and lavash. All this comes with a basket of Pita Bread, a soft and fluffy off-white pieces of tempting carbs. I found the taste and variety of the meat offerings and the Pita to be really good here. Eating each Kebab with a galaxy of dips took you to the level of ecstasy of flavours.
A tiny, rustic hole in the wall kind of an age old eating place doted by a signboard which is almost worn out says that it was established in 1957. The place serves just Nihari (that too Bade ki) and the Khamiri Rotis. I have tried their both Nalli Nihari and Bheja Nihari. Nalli Nihari is of Paya of Buff and Bheja is goat brain. The man sitting to that huge degh first ladeled out curry into the quarter size steel plates and then scooped out Bheja from a dish and served in one plate. In the other plates , he picked up huge trotters which are cooked and kept separately and emptied the entire bone marrow into the curry. Once done, he pulled the tender meat out from the bone and discarded that trotter bone. The bone was then added to the curry and served to us. A quarter plate full of dark brown gravy laden with floating oil and chunks of meat floored me with just the looks and the taste.
Available only on Sundays, in a place which is not known for food and even then one has to jostle your way up to the counter and then you get instant service. This says a lot about the dish and it’s popularity. Mutton is served in a paper bowl and the Roti, topped with a few slices of onion, on a piece of newspaper. Pieces of Meat coated in dark coloured Saag, glazed with ghee and interspersed with fresh green and red chillies produce amazing flavours. It has all the blend of flavours of Saag, Meat, spices, ghee and chillies. The meat is tender and is a super hit, surely.
It is a casual dining restaurant serving Japanese, Chinese and Thai cuisine. Although I have thoroughly enjoyed our order of Double Cooked Pork Spare Ribs with Honey Glaze, Char Sui Pork Bao, Seafood Penang Curry with Sticky Rice, but it was Prawn Tempura that caught my fancy !!
Sitting in a wide bowl there were large prawns, straight and not curled, covered with off white fluffy yet crisp batter dusted with red chillies sort of powder and the light red tail of the prawns peeping out of the white cover. Picking a piece you could realize the fluffy outer layer was hot, crisp yet fragile, signaling “handle with care” lest you lose me. A quick bite gave you that crisp snow on to your palate which had the flavours of freshness of rice. By the time your bite quickly reaches the prawn meat, you realize it is fresh and flavourful. It is an experience in itself and words fall short.
The Junglee Maas arrives on your table and the looks and aroma hypnotizes you. The beauty of the dish glows in the backdrop of the dark rustic plate in which the dish is served. A dish having four pieces of dry mutton resembles the traditional Mutton Burra but it isn’t. One bite of the succulent meat and it does wonders on the palate. It is a ghee-roast mughalai kind of a dish which has mild but amazing flavors. Squeeze a few drops of lemon over the meat and it enhances the flavors. The meat is tender and visibly dark pinkish when one bites into the tissues. In all, it is a symphony of flavors where meat flavor is the hero and the dish is not solely dependent upon the spices alone.
You must order Mutton Pasanda Kebabs, Khamiri Roti and Mutton Biryani. It may sound foolish to order a Khamiri Roti with a Kebab and I also thought so but then decided to go by the strong recommendation of a friend. A plate of Pasanda Kebabs consists of two pieces of kebabs which may look insufficient to last with a large sized Roti. The kebabs emit a rich aroma of spices and the meat. Kebabs are soft, have a consistency of both minced meat and yet have little chunks of meat rolled into a paste type kebabs. One bite in the mouth tells you it’s soft, delicious, very flavourful blend of Mughalai Masala. Goes very well with the Khamiri Roti.
The Special Awadhi Biryani, on its arrival, gives out a rich blend of aroma of rice, spices and the meat. Has two reasonably large Mutton pieces and Aloo. True to Kolkata style Biryani, the meat is soft, succulent and juicy. The flavours of spices and the meat coat the Aloo and each grain of rice making it a delight to savor.
As part of Kashmiri Brahmin Thali here, you get Kabargah, a Mutton Ribs delicacy, also known as Tabak Maaz. In looks it resembles our Mutton Burra but this one has a little more glaze on it. It is crisp outside and juicy inside. Has very mild flavours but the taste of meat seared with fat will give you an amazing flavour. A very good piece of meat to start your meal.
The hero dish here is Mutton Yakhni. I loved its very look, aroma and the mild flavours. Yakhni is a creamy dish where Mutton is slow cooked in asafetida and yoghurt, normally with whole spices. This pale yellowish curry has Mutton pieces coated with the spices and the buttery cream. The meat was melt in mouth which came out easily off the bones, juicy and succulent. The whole spices and the mint provided that mild sharpness to the taste.
Don’t expect to look for those steamed dumplings sitting in a cane box. You will have to fish for dimsums with a fork for the bite sized star shaped dimsums hidden inside a creamy sauce. A first dimsum in the mouth tasted like heaven. It was drenched in the flavourful white sauce which hits your palate as a first flavour, then it leads to the flavour of the steamed dough which was soft and moist. Then you hit the flavourful chicken filling in the series of the flavours. A very simple yet wonderful recipe which raised the dimsums taste to altogether a different level.
During the year, I ate at many places but the above are a few which found their way amongst many others in my blogposts. Then there are a few, which featured in my various social media posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Here is a glimpse…
Bon Appetite & A Very Happy New Year !!