George Family Restaurant @ East Street, Camp Area, Pune



 George, one of the oldest restaurants in Pune with its location as the USP is still one of the most sought after restaurants around the city.

I wonder what magic the chef spells on its food that it makes us go there almost every weekend. The mutton biryani which George serves is unbeatable. We don’t even have to look at the menu card now. We know what we need to eat, One Tandoori Chicken which btw is the real roasted one, not deep fried and without any extra food color and Mutton Biryani.
I am astounded at its Mutton Biryani and I am not able to crack the code of its spices which usually I am not very bad at. The mutton is super soft and super juicy and simply melts in your mouth. The rice is fluffy, flavourful , not very oil and not sticky.

It has many other things in menu like Mutton Shami Kebabs, Chelo Kebab which it serves only on weekdays, Jujeh Kebabs which are scrumptious.

The restaurant will always have a long queue waiting and you might have to wait for 15 min to 20 min for seat. The sitting is ground floor (Non AC) and 1st floor (AC).  However, once seated, the service is instant. The people taking customer’s order always have a sweet smile on their face and help you in taking a quick decision. This makes your lunch/dinner even more pleasurable. Once your order is complete, food is served within 15 minutes. The billing too is pretty fast.

The place is always crowded with youth and family people. It is not expensive at all and therefore, it’s a desired joint for most college going crowd.

One suggestion for the management would be to start making whole wheat tandoori rotis as the one we get here is all purpose flour or maida. That’s the reason we avoid eating Rotis and Gravies here.



If you have a sweet tooth, go for their fresh fruit sundaes. 

The only issue you will face is the parking. You may have to park somewhere else and walk all the way. But the food served here makes that little extra walk all the worth.

Note : You will not be served alcohol here. This is a place for hard core non vegetarians.

Beetroot Chocolate Walnut Cup Cakes





Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup oil
1 cup milk
1/4th cup coco powder
1 big beetroot grated
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs
1 cup powdered sugar
½ cup chopped walnuts

Preparation:
Seive all purpose flour , sugar, baking powder, baking soda and coco powder together.
Beat eggs, milk, oil, vanilla essence and grated beetroot together.
Mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients 1 tbsp at a time and stirring the batter in one direction.
Once everything is mixed together, beat with electric beater for 7-8 minutes.
Preheat oven at 180 degree centigrade for 10 minutes.
Pour the batter into cup cake mould and bake for about 30 minutes at 180 degree centigrade.
Allow cake to cool down completely before you de mould.
Makes 8-9  medium size cupcakes


Creamy Fish Curry with Green Mangoes


Ingredients

500 grams Tilapia or Basa Fish Fillets cut in medium size
1 cup thin coconut milk + 1/2 cup thick coconut milk
1 small raw green mango, peeled, stone removed and cut into small pieces
1 tsp mustard seeds
10-14 curry leaves
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1-2 green chili chopped depending on the hotness of the chilies used
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp oil


Preparation

Heat oil in a pan.
Add mustard seeds. Allow it to splutter.
Add cumin seeds.
Mix turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, ginger paste, garlic paste, chopped green chilies with 1/4th cup water.
Add the same to pan. Add 1 cup thin coconut water and chopped mango pieces. Bring it to boil.
Add fish pieces, salt to taste and garam masala.
Add thick coconut milk and cook for 4-5 minutes.
Serve with steam boiled rice.

Penang Chicken Curry




Penang curry is a rich creamy flavourful curry from Thailand. However, it is milder than other Thai dishes. You can make this curry using store bought penang paste or make it at home if you have all ingredients readily available with you.

I have given below the recipe for penang paste. Since, I could not find few things at home,I have give their equivalent substitute. There will not be much difference in the taste.

For the Penang Paste :

2-3 shallots (original) or 1 big onion chopped (substitute)
4-5 big garlic pods (original) or 1 tbsp garlic paste (substitute)
1 inch long galangar (original) or 1 inch ginger or 1 tbsp ginger paste (substitute)
1 lemon grass stalk (original) or 1 tbsp dry lemon grass soaked in hot water for 10 minutes (substitute)
1 tbsp shrimp paste (original) or 4-5 small prawns fried(substitute)
Dry roasted : 1 tbsp cumin seeds + 1 tbsp coriander seeds + 1 tsp whole black pepper corn
4-5 kaffir lime leaves (original) or Juice of 1 lemon + rind of 1 lemon (substitute)
2-3 dry red chili (original) or 2-3 fresh green chilies  (substitute). You can add kashmiri red chili powder for color if using fresh green chilies
½ a cup roasted peanuts without skin
1 tbsp sugar

Grind to a smooth paste adding little water

500 grams boneless chicken pieces or pre-cut chicken pieces cut in small
1 and 1/2 cups thin coconut milk + ½ cup thick coconut milk.
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a pan. Add the penang paste and cook for 3-4 minutes. Now add chicken pieces. Mix well and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add thin coconut milk, salt to taste and bring it to boil. Add thick coconut milk, fish sauce and cook for another 3-4 minutes on low flame.

Serve with hot steamed rice(Boil enough water in a pan. Wash and drain rice. Add rice to boiling water. Cook till rice is done. Strain excess water with a strainer. This way you remove starch from rice and you don’t feel heavy after your food.)

Octopus - Asian Restaurant at Lavasa City, Pune


Lavasa City has become the hot favorite weekend spot for all residents of Pune and Mumbai. The landscape is stunning, lot of adventure sports and other activities. Many educational programs in the field of hospitality and hotel management and corporate meetings/trainings are conducted here. It has also become a prime spot for shooting advertisements for many brands. People interested in photography get some real good landscape shots here during sunset.
You will be amazed to see the number of eating joints available here, catering to all budgets and all section of society. One of such place is Octopus. We visited this Asian food joint during one of the weekend and were not disappointed at all. Though we don’t get octopus (: P) , we do find the imprint of octopus right from the false ceiling to the toasters to the fabric of the furniture.



The hospitality was good. The service was fine too. The cuisine was a mix of Asia countries like Japan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and China.

We ordered some Vegetarian Spring Rolls, Chicken Satay in starters, Stir Fried Tofu and Mushrooms, Masaman Chicken Curry, Green Thai Vegetable Curry, Pad Thai, Steam Rice and Garlic Egg Fried Rice. The portions were huge and food was delicious. Green Thai Vegetable Curry was on the spicier side. Stir Fried Tofu and Mushrooms and Masaman Chicken Curry were palatable.  We were 5 and found really difficult to finish the spread.

The only disappointment was the desserts. They ran out of Coconut–Jaggery Ice Crème which we all were looking forward to. So we decided to go for Schezwan Tiramisu. We got a nice surprise on the table. It was less sweet than the original Italian dessert and had Schezwan Pepper mixed with Mascarpone Cheese which gave that extra kick to the palates. The chef had sprinkled Coco Powder in Octopus shape.

Lastly, they were giving 5% cash back for giving an honest review. We took the pain of filling the entire form on their ipad, however, at the end their internet connectivity was lost due to a power failure. Hence, all our effort and time was wasted L

Here’s a picture for all of you of Tiramisu. Do visit Octopus, the next time you go to Lavasa and if you want to have some real good Asian food.



Karanji




Karanji  also known as Gujia in some parts of india is generally a Holi Food Item(the fetivel of colors). It can be made with various stuffing like Khoya or dry grated coconut or raw grated coconut. I made the way we make in my home town using raw grated coconut , jaggery instead of sugar , added some roasted semolina and poppy seeds. You can either bake it or deep fry it. Choice is yours. Baked once need to be consumed faster. Deep fried ones can be stored in refrigerator for a minimum of 3-4 days.

Ingredients for the stuffing:
1 whole coconut grated
1 cup gud or jaggery
1/4th cup roasted semolina/rawa
1/4th cup roasted poppy seeds
1 tbsp cashew nuts
1 tbsp raisins

Heat a pan on low flame. Add coconut and jaggery  and cook till jaggery melts and coconut is well cooked in jaggery. Add roasted semolina, poppy seeds, nuts and raisins. Cook for another 3-4 minutes and switch off flame. Allow the stuffing to cool down completely before you proceed.

For the outer crust:

2 cups maida
Pinch of salt
1/4th cup rawa/semolina

Knead a soft dough using water and keep aside for 10 minutes atleast.
Divide into equal portions making lemon size balls.
Use some more flour for dusting.
Roll out each ball into chappatis. This should neither be too thick nor too thin.
Apply water on the sides. Put some stuffing and spread in the middle as shown in picture.
Fold and seal the sides with hand. You can use moulds available in market if you are not comfortable making it by hand. However, the ones made with hand have little chance of opening when you deep fry them.
 
Heat enough oil in a kadai. Keep the flame just slightly above the low flame. Once oil is hot  It should not be very hot), gently slide in the karanajis made above. 

Cook on both sides till they turn light golden brown in color. (In case, you are using olive oil, check the temperature continuously, olive oil take time to heat up and once hot , suddenly becomes very  hot and then stays in that temperature for a very long time. When you try to reduce the flame, it becomes colder than the minimum temperature required to try. I will advise using sunflower oil if you are not familiar with the way how olive oil behaves when deep frying)

Remove from kadai and put in tissue paper to absorb excess oil. Serve when karanjis cool down.

Poran Poli and Amti






Gudi Padawyachya Hardik Shubhechya !

Good Wishes for a joyous Ugadi and a Happy New Year with a plenty of Peace and Prosperity.

Known as Gudi Padva in Maharashtra, Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh and Yugadi in Karnataka

I thought of making some poran poli and Amti on this occasion. This came out better than my last attempt. Just the right amount of sweet in the poli and right amount amount of sweetness and punch of sourness in the amti.

Recipe below for Poran Poli
Channa Daal – 1 cup soaked in water for 3 hours
¾ th cup crushed jaggery
2 cardamom crushed.
2 cups atta + 1 cup maida + pinch of salt
Ghee

Cook channa daal in pressure cooker with double the amount of water for 5 min on high.Reduce flame and cook for another 5 minutes. Switch off flame. Allow pressure to drop.

Strain the water and keep aside. Also, take out 3 tbsp channa daal and mash and keep aside. This we will be using for Amti.

Mash the channa daal and put in a non stick pan. Add crushed jaggery .Mix well. Now heat the pan on low flame and allow jaggery to melt. At this time, de-seed cardamom and crush the seeds to powder. Add to the daal-jaggery mix .Mix and cook till a soft dough is made. It should not have any liquid. So, you need to cook till jaggery is well cooked and mixture is little dry. The stuffing is ready. Allow this stuffing to cool down completely.

Make a soft dough of atta , maida, salt by adding water/milk. Cover with damp cloth and allow it to rest for 20 minutes.
Divide into equal portion and make small lemon size balls. Mould into small bowls and stuff with 1 and 1/2 to 2 tbsp of stuffing made above. Cover and roll out into small round parathas. (Process is same like you make any other stuffed paratha).
Heat a non stick pan. Cook on both sides with ghee.

For the Amti :
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
Pinch of aesofotida
2 tbsp jaggery
1 tbsp tamarind pulp
4-5 curry leaves
1 tbsp oil

To dry roast and ground to powder: 1 bay leaf + 2 cloves + 1 cinnamon + 2 tbsp grated coconut + 1 dry red chili + 1 tsp coriander seed + 1 tsp whole black pepper corn
Heat oil in a deep pan.
Add mustard seeds and allow to splutter. Add cumin seeds and aesofotida.
Add curry leaves and roasted ground powder.
Add the strained water and mashed channa daal.
Add salt to taste, tamarind pulp and jaggery. Bring it to boil.
Boil for 7-8 minutes till amti is neither too thick nor too thin.
Squeeze juice of half lemon, 2 tbsp coriander leaves chopped and 2 tbsp grated coconut.
Serve Amti with poran poli.


Arthur’s theme - European Restaurant




Arthur’s theme is the only restaurant in Pune which serves you Authentic  Classic Food from Britain, France , Italy and many other European Countries.

The food items served have European Names too after the great historians like Alexander, Queen Elizabeth etc. It is located in the 6thlane of Koregaon Park. While the place is small, it is still very much European.


We went out on the New Year Eve and enjoyed a quiet and pleasant dinner away from the hustle bustle of the city. The lighting was dim and was adding to the mood of the dinner. The chef is excellent in his job. Menu is carefully chosen and food is mild and
full of flavors.

What we ordered was Alexander the great (Chicken cooked in mushroom Sauce). The chicken was cooked to perfection and melted in mouth. My better half ordered Queen Elizabeth (Fish baked and served in served in red gravy and some herbs) and three small potatoes with some rice and salad which to my surprise, tasted even better than my chicken.
I don’t remember the name of the appetizer but it tantalizing. Prawns wrapped in thin chicken slices and cooked in some red tangy sauce. The cherry on the cake was tiramisu made to perfection.


I was wondering why I waited all these years to visit the place and what I was missing all this time. Now I have decided to become a regular. If I want to have a good quality time with my family and friends, this place will hold top priority.
They should start thinking of opening chain of restaurants in other places of the town especially one in the extreme east of pune and one in the extreme west of pune. I want more and more people to explore this joint so that they will be able to enjoy their unique spread.

Well, not everybody can cook like Arthur Theme.



Report Card:
Parameters
Stars out of *****
Taste
***
Value for Money
****
Service
****
Ambience
***
Overall Rating
***1/2

Soba Noodles cooked with Stir Fried Tofu and Veggies




Ingredients:
Soba Noodles (buckwheat noodles)
1 onion cut into julians
1 big carrot cut into julians
1 big capsicum cut into big chunks
250 grams tofu cut into small cubes
3 tbs Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp garlic sauce
1 tbp tomato sauce
1 tbsp roasted  sesame seeds
1 green chili slit
Juice of 1 lime

Heat water in a deep pan. Once it starts boiling add few drops of oil and soba noodles.
Cook on 5-6 minutes. Drain and run under ice cold water. Add 1 tbsp soy sauce and keep aside.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan. Add Tofu and cook on all sides till it turns golden. Keep aside.
Add onions, green chillies and cook till onion turns pink. Add capsicum and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Add carrots, 2 tbsp soy sauce, Worcestershire saucesauce , tomato sauce sugar, salt to taste and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Allow it to cool down.
Add cooked tofu and cooked soba noodles. Add juice of one lime. Add some roasted sesame seeds.
Mix well and serve .
Alternate (Replace Soy sauce, Worcestershire saucesauce and tomato sauce with teriyaki sauce only. Add some chopped cabbage)
Tip: After boiling in water, strain and immediately cool down. Don’t add noodles to veggies when hot.

Zambar - Coastal Kitchen


If you are one who likes coastal non vegetarian food from across 4 states of India : Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, then don’t miss zambar. You can find some real authentic items on the menu like appam, idiappam & kerala parotha which you normally don’t see in the list of Bread to go for with main course.

You will be surprised to see the minute detail that has gone in the decor of the restaurant. Everything has a boat theme embedded very intelligently. Even the napkins are folden in boat shape.

There is a small bar which also looks like a boat. Sitting is outside as well as inside.

Even before you decide what to eat, you will be welcomed with deep fried rice papads and hot rasam. I was surprised to see  ada pradhaman(rice flakes cooked in coconut milk and jaggery) and sarkari pongal(sweet jaggery pongal) on the menu. They are special items prepared only during pongal in south indian families.

We went for King Fish Starters – 4 big fish steaks were served in 4 different flavours(red paste, green paste, coconut paste and curry leaves paste)

We ordered 2 other chicken dishes (Chicken Chettinadu and Sungta Sukee- Malabari  Prawn Curry). However, the starter portion was so large that we will filled our stomach having king fish itself and had to ask the person serving us to pack rest of the food to go.

The kitchen is transparent and you can actually see your food being cooked.

Try out there Dosa if you are around this area between 4 pm to 7 pm. They also offer vegetarian thali and non vegetarian thali if you wnt to have a taste of everything in small quantities.

With excellent hospitality, located in Amanora Mall in the Easten Pune and in Phoenix Mall on Nagar Road, is definitely on the pricier side but worth trying atleast once. 


Report Card:
Parameters
Stars out of *****
Taste
***
Value for money
**
Service
****
Ambience
****
Overall Rating
*** 1/4