Category Archive : Navigating Plate

A Taste Of Haoma Bangkok at Four Seasons Mumbai

Getting to be part of Vir Sanghvi’s food superstars academy is one of the biggest achievements of my blogging life. And as part of that I got to relish on the top quality Neo- Indian (a cuisine Chef Deepankar Khosla fondly calls his own, a sustainable Indian cuisine) dishes served at Haoma in Bangkok right here at Four Seasons in Mumbai.

What is Haoma? It is a sustainable dining concept, something that is the need of the hour. They grow what they cook.  Haoma ( literally a sacred plant of the Parsis and ancient Persians) is an urban farm restaurant located in Bangkok. Chef Deepankar being an alumnus of the college (WGSHA), where I wanted to pursue my under grad from, made the pop up an even more exciting event for me!

The dinner was laid out at San-Qi, the Pan Asian restaurant of Four Seasons. As a pre-course, Chef Deepankar had laid out a mini garden with edibles hidden in between the micro greens. A minute late and I would have embarrassed myself of my poor eyesight, a small piece of truffle coated with dark chocolate was what I had dug out!

For the second bite, he had laid out a mini ‘chaat’ section from where he handed me a tartlet, a rice based cutie with  freeze dried sambhar making it a savoury sambhar tartlet. Mind blown I tell you!

After this interesting green session, I was back in my table where I was accompanied by Karishma, Tarun and a good looking, appetising menu. I wasn’t prepared for an 8 course meal, yes, I was stupid enough not to expect anything less than that. Here, have a look:

The names of 3 dishes caught my attention, The yellow dal and rice,  Me in a bowl and Nadia. While the curiosity behind the second and third names are understandable, you might be wondering why the poor old staple food was on the list. Haoma is a fine dine concept, how can someone take Dal and rice and make dining it a fine experience? Keep  reading…

The Galauti Soft Serve: What do you have in mind? A meat based ice cream? If yes, welcome to the club, if not, you are smart. A mini ulte tawe ka paratha shaped like a cone in which yoghurt and galauti are filled one above the other and topped with a drop of citrus gel.  

 

Yellow Dal an Rice:  A red carpet makeover of the humble dal chaval. Between the crisp wafer made of rice and the jelly like dal, which was made to look like a corn, was a layer of Indianised Tuna tataki, enoki mushrooms and avocado mash. It has been more than a month since I had this, I am still reminiscing the the flavours.

Curried Melon: Local melons infused with Thai red, green and yellow curry. Cold pieces of melon with a bite, but with the creamy flavours of the Thai curries. A power play of sweetness and spice, the lemon grass and coconut milk flavours stood out in these. Served along with a sorbet of Tom Kha and caviar made of tapioca and wine.

Stay with me, we are not done yet.

The Disappearing Duck: A plate with three good looking dishes. A chicken wing pakoda which tasted so good that I shamelessly wanted to ask for more of it. A duck mousse that was laden with spicy hot curry which  melted the mousse (thus giving the dish its name) and a small portion of jasmine sticky rice to go with. What a game of texture and flavour this dish was. Before I could get a good picture of this beaut, the curry was poured and the duck disappeared, damn!

Farmer’s Fuel: If you eat like a farmer, you got to work it like a farmer. Dal Baati Churma from Rajasthan , Litti Chokha from Bihar, Chakka Puzhukku from Kerala, Makki di Roti from Punjab are examples of the high carb food eaten by farmers in India. This gives them enough energy for an entire day. Farmer’s fuel was Chef DK’s take on a combination of Dal Baati and Litti Chokha. Baati that was fried in ghee with Chokha was what we had on our plate, be an Indian and use your hands, do not shy out on the amount of ghee that you intend to pour on top of your hot crushed Baati.

 

Me in a Bowl: Like I mentioned before, the name had me curious. What I got was a sophisticated plate of comfort food. A sexy quenelle of frozen makhani placed over charbroiled chicken which was adorned with pickled shallots and micro greens. Now who could stop at one bite when it is butter chicken in front of you?

Black and White: A walk down the memory lane for Chef DK as he served us a plate of frozen yoghurt with cookie and Oreo crumble. What does sweet yoghurt remind you of? Let me know in the comments.

 

Nadia: Why do you think the dish is named Nadia? We did go the extra mile to ask Chef DK the same, why don’t you head to Haoma and ask him yourself? Let this dish play the card of curiosity.

Sometimes you got to grab an opportunity by the neck, I did just that. 🙂

Konkan Katta | Lunch Time at Mumbai

When Keerthana Priya (known as Tea pot and tales on Instagram, the one who clicks amazing pictures of me;) ) and I had visited Mumbai in May, we had plans to feast on seafood thali. Unfortunately, we couldn’t and we had to settle for prawns biriyani instead.

This time around in Mumbai I had to have it. I cribbed about it so much that Sido, Abhijeet and Leandra were forced to take me to Konkan Katta at Mahakali, for lunch. It was like they had done a research on how I eat, or maybe Sidharth had given them a clue, they ordered 4 different thalis so I could taste all of them!

In like 15 – 20 minutes we had food on our table, a plate each of crab, chicken, Mutton Sukka and Bombil (bombay duck) thali. The Khekda (crab in Marathi) looked majestic and stole the limelight with its bright red colour and size. I had expected a single piece of bombil fry in mine but it came in three. Soft and buttery with the goodness of rava (semolina) in each bite. It was my first encounter with the mighty Bombay Duck and its name got me curious, that lead me to read up some interesting stories about the same. Check out my Instagram post to read it in detail.

A plate of Thali came with the chosen veg / non veg option, coconut- mint chutney, a chutney made of caramelised onions and dried prawns, a coconut based gravy of your choice (fish/ chicken), Onions and lemon wedges, to wash it all down – a colourful bowl of sol kadhi (spiced coconut milk with kokum – Malabar tamarind) and for dessert a small Gulab Jamun.

We chose Tandlachi Bhakri (roti made with rice flour) and Malwani Wade (deep fried Indian bread from the Konkan region made with rice flour and urad dal) for breads and had a quarter plate of rice as well.

Malwani Vade

The chicken and mutton curries had strong flavours of dry roasted coconut which resembled a South Indian style of cooking. The use of tamarind and coconut, the dried prawn chutney and the the love for seafood made a malayalee (me) feel at home. It is just the coastal way of life I guess. I am pretty sure that I can go again to Konkan Katta for a feast.  Credit goes to Leandra for taking me here.

 

Crossing the border for chicken | Rahmath Border Chicken at Courtallam

Everyone needs a friend like Muhusin in their life, the one that motivates you to cross borders to eat, but that motivation does not bear fruit unless you have friends like Aslam and Dr.Sneha.

A mouthwatering discussion about Rahmath Porotta stall at Courtallam, Senkottai in Tamil Nadu got us 4 geared up for a drive to taste the spicy-juicy goodness. It was a shame that among the 4, the food blogger of the lot (eyes this way, please) was the one who was about to taste this for the first time in her life!

We drove almost 107 kms covering Nedumangad, Madathara and Thenmala to reach our destination. Let me help you with a picture to make it easy for you to spot:

Let me warn you well in advance, the place is going to be packed! Just walk in with full confidence and sit as soon as you find yourself a seat, second thoughts will leave you minutes away from relishing the biriyani, chicken and porotta.

We ordered 1 chicken biriyani, 1 mutton biriyani, 2 plates of pichi potta kozhi, border chicken fry, porotta and 3 glasses of cold lemon juice.

A typical Tamizh styled spicy masala rice with a tomato base covering the fried chicken beneath. The same rice is used for mutton biriyani as well. Unlike other states, the price for Mutton and Chicken remain fairly same in Tamizh Nadu, maybe due to the easy availability of the meat. The mutton that you get in TN is also super tender. Both the Biriyanis were priced at Rs. 160/-

Coin porotta: Small – medium sized crispy porotta, not to be confused with the flaky big ones we get in Kerala, this one is fried in oil and has a slightly crunchy exterior. Served alongside with a salad (sliced onions mixed with thick curd). Priced at Rs.8/- for one.

Pichi potta kozhi literally translates to chicken shredded by hand. Shredded fried chicken tossed in a pool of spices where black pepper elevates the flavour game. The right kind of punch that does not hit you at the back of the throat.

To cool it all down we got ourselves a glass of cold lime juice, the hint of liquorice (Narnari / Naruneendi) makes all the difference, this was a bit too sweet for my liking though. I would have loved the addition of basil seeds in it.

If you are travelling from Trivandrum let me warn you in advance that the road that connects Trivandrum to Thenmala is under construction and is in a pathetic condition, but beyond that, its lush green and beautiful. Make sure to stop by and take a break near the paddy fields of Senkottai and enjoy the cool breeze. If you spot vendors who sell Nongu (Ice apple/ Tad Gola) do not miss a chance, jump in! Keep your bargaining skills in handy, they might loot you with prices that are off the charts.

Direction | Maps: Help yourself

Would you cross the border for food? Let me know in comments.