Posts Tagged ‘Vada’

On the Sambar Trail…


Are you pining for yellowish brown lacy pancakes, puffed white elliptical flying saucers or crunchy toroids served with coconut dip. And your mind is whirling, whirling.. Where do you, where do you go? Like a stuck CD your mind is playing this infernal music while flashing hot, humid, raunchy flashes of crisp Dosa’s, voluptuous Idlis and sizzling Vadas. To escape this vortex of temporary amnesia you check out gastronomique. Voila… There you are…

The infinite wisdom of tailrace coughed up the following. Gurgaon has restaurants galore that serve South Indian… Sanskriti, Naivedyam, Coco Palm – these are the specialists. Then there are the generalists that serve everything under the sun from sweets to Kulcha to Dosa to Manchurian to Dhokla to Vada Pav – Om Sweets, Shyam Sweets, Haldirams, Bikanerwala, they fall in this omnifarious category. Of course none can beat, in price or in taste, the mouthwatering fare served at the nameless South Indian restaurant/ takeaway located next to Maruti Vihar “OUT” gate. This not just an opinion, it is a fact, an axiom, a divine decree. Are you scratching you head and cursing tailrace for throwing this multiplicity of choice at you, already. Sorry, can’t help it. Facts are facts.

There is an easier way out. Check out Tripti. It may be a long way or a short way from you. I do not know. Depends on where you are. At least you have to be in Gurgaon. And you need to know where Qutub Plaza is. If you are still in doubt refer the attached map. If you are lucky the terrain will match it. Can’t say these days. Construction, you know, morbid, rampant construction. Reminds me of the movie, Dark City. Anyways, You can’t miss Tripti with that violent green neon sign announcing its presence. You might be a little addled, but you are not blind, are you? Then you shouldn’t be reading this any further. Full Stop, Period. Sorry, the sign is not written in Braille. Hey, I didn’t mean to disparage you or anything. Just stating the facts. Bored? Are you bored? Goddammit, I have this incorrigible habit of being too verbose. Carried away by words, you see. Dangerous, The habit is. Need to learn to keep my mouth shut. 

Well, so you have reached the restaurant! Wow, Am glad. Now you are standing under the glare of its massive, fluorescent green lettering and gazing through the glass door at the yellow walls (assuming you don’t have x-ray vision like superman in which case you would be seeing through it into the next door hair dresser? well I don’t remember), snake skin chairs, fibre tables on steel legs, the large illuminated framed picture of Sai Baba, the ceiling, the split A/c, Deepak – the restaurant manager, …. Blink, blink, blink. I say you have a keen eye for detail. You have pushed through the door; kicked the fly frying machine with an ultraviolent gleam; that whines constantly and sputters occasionally as it incinerates a desperate flying insect whose departing soul haunts your imagination for a Pico-second. Eh, you have sat down already! Deepak is at your elbow with the menu. What does it have, let me have a look? Oh, you are going for Vada Sambar, too traditional, I would say; and what else? Paper Butter Masala Dosa and Onion Rawa Masala Dosa. Hey, it’s gonna be too much for you, I’m warning you. What? Get Lost? Leave you ALONE? You want to eat in PEACE!!! Dammit, this is how you treat me for showing you this new place. Is this gratitude? O Tempora! O Mores!

The gracious gastronomique’s comments:

Vada/ Sambar: Three crisp Medhu Vadas served on a steel plate overlaid with plantain leaf, accompanied by large bowl of Sambar and tiny cups of tomato n coconut chutney. Delicioooous… Slurrrp…Emptying the Sambar Katori…

Paper Butter Masala Dosa: Same serving pattern as Vada/ Sambar. The paper roast is jutting out like a torpedo on either side of the plate. I attack it from one end while my wife burrow from the other heading for a collision around the middle of the Dosa. After an eternity, with Dosa bits stuck around our mouth, we are surprised to see each other. An MGR hit song bursts into our collective consciousness, we entwine our Masala encrusted fingers and croon. This Dosa is perfect for the romantically inclined. Follow the same modus operandi and you’ll be surprised at the end result. I want to add this recipe to the 10 best ways to rekindle your love life list.

Onion Rawa Masala Dosa: Well, didn’t really have a stomach for this one. But you don’t argue with your tongue or tummy. That’s a cardinal sin. Will haunt you to the wrong side of the coffin.  Never, never commit it. Promise? This Dosa remained within the confines of the plate. Same potato Masala. Same Sambar, same chutney. Only it looked different, all perforated like crochet. Yummy, all the same.

Vada – Sambar: Rs. 50.00
Paper Butter Masala dosa: Rs.70.00
Onion Rawa Masala Dosa: Rs.65.00
Yo, Ho! It’s less than 200 bucks. Hey, I would call that a bargain in this city of diminishing returns.
The delectable’s: No VAT, No Service Charge, Prices all inclusive. That is justice for once.

Rating: 7/10.
Ambience is nothing to talk about. Food is good. Service is prompt. 
Worth the money.

Tripti South Indian Food
N-11, Qutub Plaza Market, DLF City – I, Gurgaon
Contact: 0124-4221992/ 3/ 4/ 5
Free Home Delivery within 3 KM radius. Minimum Order – Rs.150.00
Tripti menu on Foodiebay: Click Here (Sorry, Not Yet Featured on Foodiebay!!!)

Categories: Gastronomique

Vada Pav & Volcano on a Friday Evening

December 15, 2009 Leave a comment

Friday evening, unable to resist a sudden craving for junk food, we landed up at DT Mega Mall. The food court used to be a lively place, but seemed poorly lit and dull this time around. Some of our favourite counters, “Lemon & Thyme” and “Simply South” had shut shop. Apart from the usual suspects – “Subway”, “McDonald’s”, “Dominos” and “Lavazza”, the other surviving members of the original cast were “Salad Bar”, “Sip’n Bite” and “Viva Hyderabadi”. Among the new counters scattering the floor, one served crêpe and another Vada Pav, the quintessential, lip smacking Maharashtrian benediction to mankind.

Amchi Mumbai Vada Pav sold varieties of Vada Pav ranging from regular to cheese and paneer versions as well as Vada Pav combos. We took a regular one with Brown Bread. The Vada was promptly fried before our eyes and handed over sizzling hot stuffed inside Pav with a smattering of dry red chutney and a lightly sauteed green chilly. Can’t say it was a match to the bona fide Mumbai edition, but came pretty close. I felt the Vada Pav of Ashva’s Fast Food (Check my previous blog – Serendipitous Delights) was better, particularly since it come with oodles of coconut chutney. But, Amchi Mumbai was right around the corner whereas Ashva’s was way too far to be bothered for a quick Vada Pav snack.

The Vada Pav only stocked our appetite. So we gathered a potpourri of dishes from different counters and finished dinner. Finally, to top it all, we went and ordered a Choco Lava cake from Dominos which proved to be the nemesis of a perfect evening. The very first scoop erupted in my mouth; seismic sugar waves surged through the blood stream as the viscous chocolate lava trickled down my gullet. It was nauseatingly sweet. Do not offer this to friends; reserve it for your enemies – it can be the sweetest personal vendetta.

Epilogue:-Avoid this hellfire confection, period!!!

The food court also featured Go Chaatz, a Semi-Americanized version of Desi Chat. I found their signature item, Papdi Popper quite good. Recommended…

Categories: Gastronomique

Fair Trade – At the Advancement Arena!

November 23, 2009 Leave a comment

This weekend, instead of combing our usual haunts, we visited the India International Trade Fair currently underway in New Delhi. In our infinite wisdom, we decided to take the Metro rail instead of driving down to Pragati Maidan (Advancement Arena!!). But Saturday was a bad day for Delhi Metro. Trains were running late. The one we took from Dwarka Sector 9 was jam packed by the time we reached Dwarka Mor. “Minding the Gap” was impossible as we stood on each other’s toes, breathed into one another’s ears and cursed. Train attendants rushed from door to door pushing people in and closing the automatic doors. Pictures of my previous near death experiences in local trains of Mumbai flashed across my mind. By comparison, this was mere massage of tired limbs. This attempt of Delhi Metro to bring Indians together irrespective of cast, creed, gender and nationality was laudable. I had no business deploring it. Excruciating circumstances precipitate philosophic resignation. This was enlightenment! Braced against the crushing weight and odour of humanity, I wondered if it was all an illusion, a spell of “samsara”. But the hair getting into my eyes and the elbows ramming my ribs were too concrete to be a mirage. Relief came when many passengers got off at Karol Bagh. We were already late by an hour and half. As a parting shot, the disembodied voice of Metro hoped “we had an enjoyable journey” and looked forward to “seeing us soon”. This bit of sardonic wit was not lost on the passengers.


We had already purchased trade fair tickets at the Metro Station, and passed though security check quickly. Ravenous, we headed straight for the food court. “Bharath Ka Khana” welcomed us with open arms. The food court was littered with people occupying every available inch and digging blissfully into idlis, vadas, puttu, mutton chaps and many interesting yet unidentifiable forms of grub.


Watching mad maws on overdrive only amplified our appetite. The cataclysmic force of craving scattered us in different directions. I landed up at the Nagaland counter and ordered rice with pork and bamboo shoots (Rs.100.00 only). Meanwhile others explored Odisha (Orissa), Bihar, Bengal and Tamil Nadu counters. When we gathered for barter I had a plate of rice with 3 handsome chunks of pork in a near bland gravy and a paste of fish and chilies. Others had come up with Vada/ Ghughuni (Urad Dal vada and Chole)from Orissa, Litti – Chokha (Atta balls stuffed with Sattu [barley] and garlicky potato) from Bihar, Idli – Chutney from Tamil Nadu and fried fish (fillet of unknown fish coated with flour and deep fried) from Bengal. These were rapidly decimated and replaced with Vada-Pav (Maharashtra street food specialty). To drown it all we had tea (Rs. 5.00) from the Tea Board counter. Being used to milky tea, I didn’t like it much, though it was probably more authentic.


More philosophy! To live we all need food. For some, food symbolizes luxury and has ceased to be a necessity. Coffee table magazines and news paper supplements catering to the hyper-gastronomic anxieties of such elite flourish in metro cities like Delhi. Even though I do not belong to that elect category, the gourmet fare that they nibble at has frequently attracted the desperate foodie in me. For others, food is incidental. I do not belong to this category either. Food, to me, goes beyond the survival value and enters the realm of sensory delight, good conversation and companionship. Good food begs good company. A solitary eater, according to me, is a miserable creature. I couldn’t resist that digression. Sorry!

Satiated, we took bearings and headed for the international pavilion. Crowded! There were exhibits from Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and surprisingly Papua New Guinea. Credit cards were not accepted. We ended up buying an onyx candle stand from Karachi, Pakistan and a papyrus scroll of Isis from Egypt. The guy manning the Egyptian counter was peremptory, intent only on money and hissed Anubis, Isis, Osiris, “Balance” replying to customer queries. Entertaining…

The most interesting counter of the Trade Fair belonged to NMBA, National Mission on Bamboo Applications. Apart from promoting bamboo as food, they have innovated various light weight and durable bamboo based wood substitutes and composites, construction and structural applications. A two storey house with steel frame and walls, roof, ceiling, columns, railing, doors and windows made entirely of treated bamboo was displayed at the exhibit. The treated bamboo was termite resistant and fire proof. Installation time was a mere 48 hours and it cost only Rs.13 lakhs. There were bamboo frame exercise bicycles coupled with a dynamo which generated and stored electricity sufficient to light an entire room. Specialty mud kilns for producing high grade carbon from bamboo for use in Tandoors and activated carbon for water treatment facilities were also on display. NBMA also promotes gasification of bamboo which can be an environment friendly source of renewable heat energy and electricity.

There were pavilions from all states of India. We could only visit those of Jharkhand and Kerala besides Techmart India where industrial machinery were on display. The Trade Fair was a wonderful fusion of business and pleasure. It provided a forum for small scale industries from all states to interact with other industries and the larger public.

 My only regret was not being able to visit pavilions of North Eastern States. I was also not able to sample Haleem chicken and other specialty cuisine from Pakistan. All in all, it was an informative, fun and relaxing jaunt.

Serendipitious delights

October 27, 2009 3 comments

Sometimes the best things in life are discovered entirely by chance. Like yesterday night when we came across this tiny shack near the rear exit of Anzal Plaza in Sector-22, Gurgaon. All of us were in a mood for a quick bite and that was probably why “Vada Pav” caught my eye so quickly. “Vada Pav“, a native of Maharashtra is a rare sight in Gurgaon. So, it was pure ecstasy to find it tucked away in this remote corner of the universe.

We were delirious with anticipation as we approached and immediately spotted the Vada‘s from far away. We rubbed our eyes and pinched each other to make sure this was no mirage. The Vada’s were definitely there for the taking, but Pav, nope, Pav was exhausted. We were heart broken but decided to try the Vada anyway. Soon, steel plates with Vada’s swimming in coconut chutney and red chilly paste were passed around. My god, amazing Vada‘s, authentic Mumbai flavour mouth watering Vada. We nearly exhausted the restaurant’s Vada inventory. My friend in the meantime couldn’t resist a chicken soup which he later claimed to have tasted a bit like Sambar! There were many more alluring items on the menu like chicken lolly pops, varieties of soups and momos. The food was warm and hygienic. The setting was informal; sweet chill of incipient winter was in the air, and steaming Vada‘s melted in our mouth.

The owner was thin, dark and pleasant faced. He was a Shetty from Mangalore. He asked if we were Malayalee’s and as we nodded in a semi trance induced by Vada, he told his story. He had come to Gurgaon, 11 years ago and had never returned to his native town. He could understand Malayalam, but could hardly speak the language, though he had many friends from Kerala. The shack primarily catered to students from nearby colleges and he was doing brisk business. We could see that. Even at this late hour there were a group of students chatting away at a corner over tea and momos. He had plans to expand the set up to cope up with the demand. He was particularly attentive to us. Compared to his, our lives were easy. Yet, he was optimistic and cheerful at the end of the day. Probably he has to wake up at 4 AM and start over.

Our nocturnal adventure was coming to an end. This was another instance of chance triumphing over well laid plans, reinforcing my belief in serendipity. I vowed to be more open to chance and its unexpected delights as we drove away.

Where to find Ashva’s Fast Food

It’s on the lane next to Anzal’s Plaza in Sector – 22, Gurgaon. Shetty can be reached at 9718559669.

Categories: Gastronomique