June 21, 2011

Siri's Eat Outs | An Evening at Cafe Coffee Day

"This coffee falls into your stomach, and straightway there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move like the battalions of the Grand Army of the battlefield, and the battle takes place. Things remembered arrive at full gallop, ensuing to the wind. The light cavalry of comparisons deliver a magnificent deploying charge, the artillery of logic hurry up with their train and ammunition, the shafts of with start up like sharpshooters. Similes arise, the paper is covered with ink; for the struggle commences and is concluded with torrents of black water, just as a battle with powder."

~Honore de Balzac, "The Pleasures and Pains of Coffee"

fresh espresso, brewing

...and you thought Cafe Coffee Day (CCD from now on) is just for kaapi? Let me tell you, gone are such days as they have launched a brand new Summer Menu, to quench your thirst and refresh you from the hot summer heat. Thanks to my dear blogging pal, Mads I have got an opportunity to taste their summer drink collection and here I am with a review of what I think about each one of them.

Be prepared to get surprised and expect the unexpected. Literally speaking. Let me give you a teaser. Ever thought of Kokum in a drink? or Keri (Raw Mango) with jaljeera?.. How about desi thandai? As I said before, expect the unexpected. :-)

I love CCD just for its ambiance. Best place to meet up friends over a cup of coffee and yap to glory.

This post is a review cum photo journey about my experience at CCD. A picture is worth a thousand words, so I made sure I had enough of them to entice you and give you a sneak-peek of what is available at CCD today. It all started with we meeting Felix, manager of Food & Beverage at CCD, an amazing and knowledgeable guy who won the World Barista Championships twice. :-).

You can see him below where he very shyly modeled  for our cameras. The drink in his hand is ahem.. "Kokum Jhatka". Yes you heard it right. and it would be an understatement if I said, I was pleasantly surprised. 

Felix, the guy who developed all these amazing drinks at CCD

..and you will love it, if you like Kokum. It is one such thing where either you love it or hate it. there is no middle ground. That is Kokum for you. Personally speaking, I liked it and the taste just grows on you over time. You can get it with soda (Kokum Jhatka: Rs 80) or as a slush (Kokum Crush).

Kokum Crush
Kokum Crush is a little more milder version than the Jhatka. I liked the Jhatka ;-).

Kokum Jhatka

We take our job very seriously *wink*. There is Mads trying to get that perfect shot.

Coming up next is - Keri (Raw Mango). Capturing the flavor of Aam Panna. This again is served two (in fact three, if you count the sundae) ways. - Keri Pop : Rs 80 (with fizzy soda) and Keri Crush (with crushed ice)..Yet again, both taste great, but my personal favorite of all the drinks tasted tonight is - "Keri Pop", a tangy refreshing drink. It has jaljeera which gives it even more interesting taste which is hard to resist. Unlike Kokum drinks where either you simply love it or hate it, this Keri drink is much more appealing-to-the-mass-types.

Keri (Raw Mango) magic

a closeup shot of our favorite drink of the night.

You would want with soda or with ice, it is up to you. Don't miss out on this Keri goodness

Now, now - good news for ice cream lovers. You can have the same kokum, keri or thandai sauces drizzled over a scoop of vanilla ice cream and enjoy it as a sundae.

Felix is serving us ice cream with keri sauce. Yummyville!

this is how it looks, best of both worlds - ice cream with keri sauce.

The third offering is "Cafe Thandai" - their signature espresso ice cream blended with the iconic thandai and topped with whipped cream.

Last but not the least is - "Thandai Chiller". this is perfect for those who love desi thandai and who want to enjoy the same taste in the form of a delicious drink. It can't get better than that. :-)

After tasting so many drinks and knowing that I don't have that much of a sweet tooth, we got ourselves some warm samosas paired with imli (tamarind) ketchup. Delicious-o!

If you are at CCD and talking about coffee, then one would be curious to know about - how the frothy, beautiful looking latte art is done over the coffee. It is not as easy as it looks. The milk is blended until frothy and with perfect, tactful up-and-down motion of espresso with the milk is what forms these shapes.

these are two leaves and a flower on your coffee. Isn't it cute?

Latte Art, as it called is a fun way to make our everyday coffee a tad bit more interesting.

All in all it was fun evening spent over many fun conversations, tasting summer drinks, few samosas and a cup of coffee.

Finally I leave you all with a famous saying by F. Scott Fitzgerald-

"First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you."

..of course I was referring to a summer drink here ;-).

You got to visit your nearest Cafe Coffee Day and enjoy summer with their desi summer flavors.

Will ya?

until next time,

June 12, 2011

Amma's Recipes: Poori Bhaji [Poori Koora]

"Poori-Bhaji" (Poori-Koora, as we call in Telugu) is like a comfort food at its best since I was a child. There are zillion versions of the same potato bhaji served as an accompaniment for the crispy, deep-fried pooris. Some make it as an  aloo-matar combination or a dry potato bhaji version and some make it out of  memories during their train journeys. Whichever way you choose to go, you will reach one place i.e *Yummyville*. :-).

Today, I am sharing my mom's version of it. It is not spicy but mild with much less oil, which works best with its deep-fried counter-part. and this time, I pestered my mom that I would take step-by-step photos, this time around. Though she was all shoo-ing me away in the beginning, after couple of mins, she had to give in as I was adamant on capturing every action of hers. Of course my sister had call me one crazy-lady to shoot so many pictures and ultimately delaying our leisure Sunday breakfast. (you see, she is still mad ay me that I didn't put up the picture where she modeled for me holding a mysore bajji. ;-))..

Now, lets just dive in as we have a delicious photo-journey of poori-bhaji ahead of us...

The Ensemble

The Making of Poori

Step 1: Heat oil in a wide pan, preferably not a non-stick pan as research says at high temperatures they release unwanted and sometimes poisonous substances, which we really don't want in our food. Isn't it.

To test if it is ready, make a very tiny poori out of the dough and drop it. it should fluff up and rise to the top.

Step 2: Knead about 2 cups of wheat flour with little salt, 1 tbsp of oil and enough water (not more than a cup). Mix just like a chapati dough. Make lemon-sized balls out of the dough.

Step 3: Immediately roll into small pooris. Don't stack them, spread them on a paper or a plate, so that they are easy to remove while frying.

Step 4: Slide one-poori-at-a-time into hot (not smoking) oil and it almost instantly rises up. For puffy pooris, the trick is to press down slightly.

Step 5: Turn on the other side. Let it become slightly golden brown.

Step 6: Drain all excess oil and drop them onto a paper towel. Serve immediately to enjoy them at their best taste.

..moving on to the potato bhaji...

The Making of Bhaji

Step 1: Cut 3-4 potatoes into quarters and pour water until they are completely dipped in water. Pressure cook until 3 whistles.

Step 2: Remove skin and keep aside.

Step 3: Heat a 1 tsp of oil in a pan and add 1 tsp of each - urad dal, mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Once they start to splutter, add 1/2 tsp of ginger-garlic paste, 3-4 green chillies, few curry leaves and 1 finely chopped onion pieces. Saute until translucent. Season with turmeric and salt.

Note: My mom doesn't use red chilli powder in her recipe. It is only the green chillies. You can adjust the spice levels according to your taste.

Step 4: Lightly mash the boiled potatoes and add it to the onion mixture.

Step 5: Add about 1 cup of water and adjust salt if necessary. Mix well.

Step 6: Cook on low-medium heat for 6-7 mins until everything comes together.

Finally turn off the heat and add lemon juice if desired.

Note: Make the bhaji first and then start making the pooris. that ways, you enjoy them almost immediately..

The poori and bhaji is ready to enjoy!..

Did you like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow me on Facebook to be the first to know what I am are up to. Interested in just photo blogging? 365 days of Siri is my one other blog where I share a slice of my life through my lens. Cya all there. :-)

 until next time,
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