Posts Tagged ‘roti’

Wayanad – An Emerald Breath

March 3, 2010 1 comment

Recently we went on a whirlwind visit of Wayanad, the hilly region to the north-east of Kerala, bordering Karnataka. Wayanad is blessed with great natural beauty and a refreshing climate. Early morning, dense swirling blankets of mist smother the hills, which is gently pulled away by a mellow sun by mid morning; dew drops hang glistening on spider webs; bright fuzzy yellow blotches of sunlight filtering through branches of mahogany, jackfruit and areca trees coagulate on several spots on the grass. It is pleasant throughout the year, even during summer.
Over the past few years Wayanad has transmogrified into a tourist hotspot from a rural backwater. Agriculture, the mainstay of the region has taken a backseat. The sparkle of practically tax free lucre from tourism has seen almost everyone hitching to the bandwagon. Real estate near tourist spots have undergone an unprecedented escalation. One cannot walk around without rubbing shoulders with a real estate agent or a home-stay owner. Not that it is a bad thing. Home-stays, the tourist arrangement where you typically stay with a family and share the meals, have flourished in this region, and has brought in a modicum of prosperity; augmenting the hard earned agricultural income. Several Ayurvedic massage centers and spas have cropped up aimed at tapping the exploding tourist traffic, taking advantage of the rejuvenating climate.

An Old Jain Temple


Our flight from Delhi to Kozhikode was 3 hours late. A sweltering 45 minute taxi ride from airport brought us to the Kozhikode bus stand. The blazing afternoon sun had us scramble for shelter, but an exhilarating cool breeze which blew as the bus zig-zagged across the mountain pass restored our spirits by the time we got down at Kalpetta late evening. Our accommodation was arranged at Hillview Homestay, a short walk from Kalpetta town. The bustle of the town faded away as soon as we turned into a pocket road; it was pitch dark, myriad stars twinkled in the dark velvet night sky stretched between slender trunks of areca trees.

Hill View Homestay

The home-stay was a sprawling double storied concrete mansion set in a small garden. The family was waiting at the porch to receive us. After refreshments, we were ushered to a double room on the upper floor, overlooking a valley. A lavish Kerala style dinner was laid out for us when we returned downstairs. The owner, a retired HR manager in a pharmaceutical multinational in Mumbai spent only a few days in a year at Wayanad. His brother and a caretaker attended to the home-stay arrangements. There were 3 double bedrooms available. Since we were the only guests we had the entire house for ourselves. We spent sometime in the lawn playing with the frisky Alsatian dog ‘Paula’ before retiring for the night.


Early next morning we woke up to the clamour of birds. The world outside was awash in shades of green – rolling emerald green of a tea garden, dark forest green of coffee plantations, pale green paddy fields wedged between hills. Yellow sunshine winked across swaying green palm fronds, the air crisp, bright and hopeful. We had a busy day ahead visiting relatives and taking care of business. Evening, we downed couple of beers and munched on fried fish and Kerala mixture on the lawn. The dinner was exhaustive and featured mutton and fish much to my delight. The caretaker, originally from Orissa had prepared Roti’s especially for us which added to the pleasure. We left at day break the next day, headed back to Kozhikode for a long flight home. The visit though hectic, instilled a permanent love of Wayanad and its people in us. We hope to return some time this year for a longer stay.

Hill View Homestay
Off PWD Office Road
Kalpetta, Wayanad,
Kerala – 673121
Contact: Mr. K V Joseph
Tel : 09249112468, 09833416688, 09422475757

Rs.2000 per person per night
(Inclusive of breakfast and dinner, Kozhikode airport/ railway station pickup and drop and local sightseeing vehicle)

How to reach:

Nearest Airport: Kozhikode
Daily flights available to major cities

Nearest Railhead: Kozhikode

By road: Kalpetta is located on NH-212 highway, approx. 70 KM from Kozhikode. KSRTC (Kerala State road Transport Corporation)  bues from Kozhikode to Sultan Batheri and Mananthavadi goes via Kalpetta. Travel time: 2.5 Hrs. approx.

Places to see: We did not visit any tourist places. But there are peaks, waterfalls, a dam, wildlife sanctuary, ancient temples and caves in the vicinity. Plenty to keep one occupied.

There is an Ayurvedic Spa next door to the home-stay. The Kerala Ayurvedic massage is quite relaxing.

Kozhikode is famous for sweetmeat. Be sure to visit SM Street (next to the railway station) for some exciting varieties of Halwa.

SM Street - Kozhikode

Photo courtesy: Subha Varma

Categories: Totternama

Gurgaon Potpourri

February 6, 2010 3 comments


The restaurant menu was loquacious over Kashmir.
It explained Kishti as “flat-bottomed boat or light skiff used for quick transport over the waterways in Kashmir”.
The lengthy menu preamble was encyclopaedic:
“When Timur invaded India in the 15th century he unknowingly introduced to the country a cuisine that is perhaps unrivalled in the world – Wazwaan. For the first time ever, the exotic treasury of secret recipes from the renowned family of Wazwa – the master chefs of Kashmir – are made available to all those who love the cuisine of the beautiful valley. The preparation is considered an art and is traditionally done by a Vasta Wazwa, or head chef, with the assistance of a court of Wazwas, or chefs. The Waswaan is most often prepared for a big event, especially marriages. Guests are grouped into four for serving of the Wazwaan“.

With all that eloquence, my expectations soared, but fell flat in the face of incompetent service.

The restaurant was a 30 seater on one of the labyrinths of Qutub Plaza. Not really spacious; one harried waiter served all tables.

Our starter – Rista Kanti, hand pounded mutton balls shallow fried with fresh onion and spices -arrived after an interminable wait which made me wonder if the Wazwas were chasing goats out there for their balls. It eventually appeared drenched in oil and sinfully tasty. The meat had a crunchy-chewy feel marvellously augmented by supple sweet onions. My rating index which was scraping the bottom till then went up several notches.

However, our main course proved a near disaster. Roti with Lal Maas. A sudden bout of sheer stupidity made me order it, a Kishti chef speciality according to the menu. I fell for the descriptive flair – fiery hot Rajasthani meat stew gently simmered in a red chilly & spices paste, finished with desi ghee and ginger. Whoever wrote it had copious imagination and considerable genius for writing. The Lal Maas when it came was hot and fiery for sure, almost sanguinary, with thick gravy – all onion and tomato and every spice on earth; with an extra measure of salt thrown in as bonus. The mutton pieces were disappointing too. Whenever I order a mutton dish I am prepared for bones. But this one was all bones and very little meat. Clearly we were devouring the leftovers of a hunt. Mea Culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa! I should not have ordered a Rajasthani dish at a Kashmiri restaurant.

It is not all doom and gloom though. The silver lining is that the restaurant’s Kashmiri oeuvre definitely passes muster. But for the clumsy service, Kishti is a decent restaurant by our standards. By all means check it out. But stick to their Kashmiri fare. Core competency – see what I mean. Never stick out your neck and try the others. Or else…

Rista Kanti – Rs.165.00
Lal Maas – Rs. 230.00 ($$$)
Plain Roti – Rs.7.00 each

H-10, Qutub Plaza Market
DLF Phase – I, Gurgaon
Contact: 0124-4051991, 3020044, 3020045, 9311879607, 9310152559
Free Home Delivery Available

Kishti Foodiebay Menu: Click Here

Pind Balluchi

Pind Balluchi (see my earlier post) has an outlet within the concrete canyons of DLF Cybercity, underneath building no. 9A, opposite Mainland China. Rustic setting, earthen walls decorated with Rangoli, strategically placed musical paraphernalia – Ektara, Dhol, Tabla and flute, a corner decked in bangles, a giant plastic tree reigning over the floor, an open air Tandoor, brass studded king size chairs and tables… Inside a glass bell jar electric arcs jab a bottle of Kingfisher Premium lager beer.

Service is prompt. Much rush at noon time. To be on safer side better book a table in advance if there is a large group. But I guess one can walk in and find an empty table or two any day if you reach early.

Be sure to check out these delicacies:
Murg Malai Tikka – Succulent, drool some… (Rs. 160.00 – Six pieces)
Mushroom Kurkure – My concession to veggies. Yet Outstanding!!! (Rs.150.00 – Six pieces)
(Ever watched Inspector Clouseau’s (Steve Martin) first encounter with a hamburger in Pink Panther (2006)? This is close!)
Dahi Kebab – Finger licking good… (Rs.120.00)
Mutton Kheema Masala – Passable (Rs.180.00)
Chicken Biriyani, served in a clay pot – Passable (Rs.180.00)

Pind Balluchi
Contact: 0124-4218880
Address: Ground Floor, Building No. 9A, DLF Cybercity, Gurgaon

Pind Balluchi  Foodiebay Menu: Click Here


Apni Rasoi
This one is a little way from the DLF Cybercity office complex, but well worth dodging all those rushing cars, flying spittle and billowing dust if you are intent on a healthy vegetarian meal.

Located in one of the by lanes of Sector-31, the Rasoi is popular among locals and the singles.

Mud walls, bamboo screens, thatched roof…

Spacious, airy and clean, this place with no pretensions dish out excellent North Indian fare and very good Thali’s. It cast a vegetarian spell on a hardcore non-vegetarian like me. Even though the seating capacity is fairly large evenings here can be crowded. So be sure to reach early…

Special Thali (Dal, Paneer dish, Sabzi, Raita, Papad, sweet, rice, 4 Tawa Roti’, salad) – Rs. 70.00 (Value for money!!)

Apni Rasoi
Contact: 0124-2566088, 9873111724, 9716008892
Address: U-71/4, DLF Phase-III, Gurgaon
Accepts Ticket restaurant and Sodex Pass coupons as well.
Home delivery available.

Apni Rasoi  Foodiebay Menu: Click Here

Categories: Gastronomique

Weekend foodlog

November 9, 2009 2 comments

Hi Lanka Map Hi Lanka

Friday evening, on a whim, we landed up at Hi Lanka, the newly opened Sri Lankan restaurant in town. Our intent was to sample the Kothu Roti’s advertised in the menu.  Long back, while I was working at a project site in Tamil Nadu, Kothu Porotta used to be my staple dinner. Shredded fluffy porottas cooked with chicken, spices and curry leaves served with a small bowl of chicken gravy, it was a wholesome meal. I hoped to relive that nostalgia.

Hi Lanka was a one room shop front located on Smt. Santosh Yadav Marg, near NH8, bordering Sector-31. Our hearts sank when we saw a “government approved” drinking place next door. However, having come such a long way, we decided to proceed with dinner.

There was a plastic table for 3 in the open. Inside, the Sri Lankan Tamil chef slogged at a shiny, brand new steel kitchen counter. The menu didn’t offer much choice except Kothu Roti and String Hopper (Idiyappam). We ordered vegetarian and non vegetarian Kothu Roti’s and spent 40 minutes watching patrons of the drinking place before dinner was served. Quantity was substantial. The tomato and grated coconut salad tasted nice. Vegetarian Kothu Roti had a tonne of Soya and smelled of egg. Non vegetarian had shredded chicken and finely chopped, cabbage, carrots and beans. It tasted bland. No comparison to the superlative Kothu Porotta of Tamil Nadu, not even a pale shadow if it. A complete letdown.

Visiting restaurants promising exotic cuisine, especially in cosmopolitan cities like Gurgaon is risky. These restaurants have to cater to a motley crowd. The original recipes are therefore tampered with and watered down to produce a fit for all product, which lacks the flavour and aroma of the authentic dish. Something similar seems to have happened in Hi Lanka. The Kothu Roti, although similar in form totally lacked the spice and vigour of the original.

Check out Hi Lanka, only if you must.

To offset the fiasco of Friday evening, we visited the Rajasthani counter at Dilli Haat for lunch. It is completely vegetarian, but have countless choices. The food is supposedly authentic. We took Special Rajasthani Thali which came with Bajra and Missi roti, dal-baati, churma ki laddu, ker-sangri, gatte ki sabzi, rice, kadhi, side dishes and achaar, all for Rs.150.00. The makki ki roti and sarson ka saag cost us Rs.50.00. Drowned it all with kulhad chai (Rs.20.00). The radiance of a satiated belly shone brightly on our faces.

Dilli Haat, as I indicated in a previous blog, is an exhibition centre showcasing arts and crafts from different states of India. Apart from the close to 200 stalls devoted to handicrafts, utensils, paintings and clothes, it also has 20 odd counters serving regional cuisine from different parts of India. This time around, we spotted counters of Awadh and Orissa. A repeat performance? maybe later.

Categories: Gastronomique