Category Archives: Food

Recipes, restaurant reviews, food articles, seasonal eats. Everything you need to know about food.

Recipe of the Month: Potato Bread Pakora

I’ve been experimenting with recipes and textures for the past few weeks and retried a recipe from my childhood. Every time I visited India when I was younger, one of my aunts would bring up a batch of these bread pakoras with a hot cup of masala chai. I called her a few weeks ago and asked her how to make them and I have to say they were absolutely delicious and savoury.

Here’s the recipe for all of you to try with your evening tea:

Ingredients:

  • White bread slices (5-10)
  • 2-3 large potatoes
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 tsp amchur masala (dry mango powder)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • Cumin seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp red pepper powder
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • Hand-full of coriander finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli finely chopped
  • Oil to deep fry pakoras
  • 1-2 cups water in a bowl
  • 1/2 tsp chaat masala

Preparing Potato Masala/Stuffing:

  1. Boil potatoes until completely cooked (you can add a teaspoon of salt to the water to quicken the boiling process)
  2. Once potatoes are boiled and peeled, mash them until there are almost no clumps. Set aside until later
  3. Heat vegetable oil in a wok or kardai, add cumin seeds and let sizzle until seeds become golden brown in colour
  4. Add onions, ginger, garlic and green chillies; cook until onions are golden brown
  5. Add dry masalas (powders and seasoning) and mix well until the oil begins to separate from the masala
  6. Add frozen peas and cook for 4-5 minutes or until peas are soft and easily crushed
  7. Add potatoes and sauté until all ingredients are completely mixed
  8. Add coriander leaves and mix masala together
  9. Cook on low heat for 3-4 minutes
  10. Remove potato mixture from heat and allow to cool

Preparing & Cooking Bread Rolls:

  1. Remove edges from bread slices
  2. In a flat dish or plate add water, dip bread slice into water and remove it immediately, as you don’t want to over-soak the bread
  3. Squeeze out the excessive water from the slice of bread and lay it flat on a dry plate or the palm of your hand
  4. Scoop 1 tsp of potato stuffing (masala) onto the bread slice and begin rolling it into an oval ball shape, carefully ensuring that all the mixture is secured within the bread
  5. Repeat the process for the rest of the bread pieces
  6. Heat oil on medium flame in the wok/kardai; make sure oil is fully heated before placing bread roll in it, as cold oil will force bread to soak up a lot of the oil and the bread rolls will be unevenly cooked
  7. Once bread rolls are golden brown in colour, remove from oil onto a plate lined with paper-towels
  8. Sprinkle with chaat masala and serve hot with ketchup or your favourite green (mint-coriander) chutney (if you don’t have a dhaniya-pudinay ki chutney, you can make your own by following the recipe from HERE)
  9. Bon appetite!
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Recipe of the Month: Mint-Coriander Chutney (Dhaniya-Pudinay Ki Chutney)

Indian people love their tea-time snacks and appetizers and in my house we’re as Indian as it gets; especially when it comes to food. Of course, yours truly enjoys experimenting with different recipes and so, I’ve been making tons of Indian snacks during the holidays.

But a staple item in most households is our dhaniya-pudinay ki chutney (mint-coriander chutney). This savoury chutney goes with everything! You can make it to dip snacks and appetizers in, or out it in your raita (yogurt side dish) or eat it with roti or parathas and even enjoy it on top biryani. It’s like ketchup in the modern world.

And of course, I have my mother’s recipe here to share with all of you.

Here’s how you make a delicious and savoury coriander and mint chutney to go with all your appetizers and snacks.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups roughly chopped coriander
  • 2 cups roughly chopped mint
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3-4 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp black salt (kala namak) or regular salt
  • Blender or mortar and pestle

Here’s what you do:

  1. Wash and roughly chop green chillies, coriander and mint leaves
  2. If you have a mortar and pestle, you can mash all the ingredients in that. But I’m not so traditional, so I used a blender
  3. Blend all ingredients for 1-2 minutes or until a thick paste is made
  4. At this time, you can adjust the liquidity consistency to your preference. We like a thick chutney so I only add a couple of tablespoons of water but you can add more if you want your chutney liquidity
  5. Pour into a glass jar and refrigerate
  6. Serve cold with your favourite snacks and appetizers
  7. Enjoy!

Restaurant Diaries: Colaba Junction 

A couple of days ago, Dev and I decided to go out for dinner and try a new Mumbai street food restaurant in downtown Toronto. Colaba Junction is located at the corner of College St. and Bay St. It’s a fairly small restaurant with roughly 15-20 seats. The decor of the restaurant is fantastic and well designed. 

When we first arrived, I started looking at the menus hanging against the wall and immediately the cashier asked me to ignore those menus as those were the new menus and weren’t currently valid. 

He handed me a paper menu and told me to order from there. I started looking at the menu realizing it was slightly higher priced than the menu hanging above. So, I jokingly said to the cashier that had we come the next day, we’d probably save a bit of money since the new menu was lower priced. He said, “yeah but there’s nothing I can do about it.” Probably not the best first impression to give a customer that’s about to write a review about you. After that disappointing start, we still ordered tons of food and took a seat as we waiting for it to arrive. 

The arrival of the food was reassuring and had me extremely excited. The presentation was extraordinary and looked amazing. 

Dev ordered the Vegetable Thali and a vara pau and I ordered a Meat Thali. The thalis looked completely different than any of the thalis I’ve ever had before. There was ample food served that could easily feed at least two other people. 

However, the food wasn’t hot, it was lukewarm and by the time we got to our second naan, it was cold. I complained to the cashier that the temperature of the food was quite cold but he assured me that the food was fresh and because of the front door opening it may have gotten cold. 

I later went to order a paratha and noticed the “chef” or guy behind the counter take out a frozen paratha wrapped in plastic; the same way that you receive Shaana parathas from the grocery store. I immediately changed my order and asked for a naan instead hoping that it would be freshly made. Unfortunately, that too looked like a grocery store frozen naan. 

Disappointed and turned off from the frozen naan and paratha, I folded my napkin over my plate and decided to end my meal. 

The curries and gravies taste good aside from the cold temperature. But paying $49+ for two thalis and a vara pau just to receive frozen naan was extremely disappointing; that I didn’t even bother to finish my review of the meal.

Before leaving, I spoke to the cashier again and explained how disappointing it was to see their chef take out frozen naans and parathas from the freezer to serve us and he kind of just shrugged his shoulders as if that was normal. 

This restaurant could have been a big hit with its decor and food presentation, had the food actually been up to the standard it was expected at. Needless to say, we will not be visiting or recommending this place to anyone. 

Restaurant Diaries: The Great Maratha

Recently, in search for a good Indian restaurant, a friend of my husband’s suggested we visit a former colleague’s restaurant. We try to stay away from friend’s restaurants as we don’t want to dine for free or at a discount. But we’d heard so many good things about this restaurant and I was craving good Indian food, plus anxious to review a new restaurant before the year ended, we decided to visit The Great Maratha. It’s a decent sized restaurant near Eglinton Ave. West and Bathurst. Cozy enough to enjoy a nice meal with family or friends and competitively priced that it doesn’t burn a hole in your wallet. 

We started our meal with Onion bhajiya and the TGM Royal Platter; which came with a side of mint and tamarind chutney. The onion bhajiya was perfectly fried and crispy, as it should be. The Royal Platter consisted of beef seekh kabobs, achari tikka, mint tikka, fish tikka and tandoori vegetables. I found the beef seekh kabobs a bit bland and wanting more spice. But the other items were fantastic and well seasoned.

Our main course consisted of tandoori naan, roti, rice, goat curry and fish curry. The naans and roti were cooked to absolute perfection. Crispy and well-cooked and rice seasoned just enough to compliment the curries with overpowering the tastes.

In general, I am not a fan of fish curry as I have yet to try one that I absolutely love enough to have regularly. Disappointingly enough, this fish curry didn’t do the job either. It had a slight sweetness to it; which for me isn’t how fish should be in a Maharashtran restaurant. I’ve known their food to be more savoury and spicy. But I won’t completely skip this curry. It was well-made, the fish was perfectly cooked. I just there was more of a kick to it.


The goat curry was well seasoned and the chunks of goat just the right amount of tenderness. But again, like the fish curry this too needed a little more heat. 

Overall, the meal was satisfactory and flavourful enough to come back again when craving a good tandoori meal. For three adults and one child, the meal was competitively priced. 

I will definitely be visiting again. But next time may ask for the curries to be slightly spicier. 

Check out their website at: http://www.the-great-maratha.com

Address: 965 Eglinton Ave. West

Phone: (416) 787-1020

Cake Mix Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies 

I recently ran out of flour at home but have promised to make cookies for some of my customers and family. Going through my pantry I found a box of vanilla cake mix and decided to use that to bake some cookies. I followed a simple cookie recipe with the consideration that all my dry ingredients and flavouring was already premixed. 

Needless to say, the cookies turn out amazing and I am still awestruck at how easy this recipe was. After this first recipe turning out delicious, I decided to make a second, third and fourth batch with different ingredients. I used oatmeal and dried cranberries, white chocolate chips and almonds, and a batch of peanut butter chips.

Here’s the quick and easy recipe:

  • 1 box white cake mix (or chocolate)
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla essence 
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat oven to 350C.
  • Sift cake mix into mixing bowl, mix in sugar.
  • Add butter, vanilla and eggs and mix until a thick dough is created. 
  • Add extra ingredients (I used oatmeal & chocolate chips) and mix well.
  • Make 1 inch balls and drop on parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 7-10 minutes depending on how crispy or chewy you want your cookies.
  • Dust with icing sugar if desired and enjoy!

I bake my cookies for a bit longer because Dev likes well-done cookies. But once the top layer is no longer moist and bottoms golden, your cookies are ready. 

Restaurant Diaries: Savera Indian Cuisine

We have visited Savera Indian Cuisine a couple of times over the past few years and it has never disappointed me. Yesterday, when my craving for tandoori food kicked in, D and I decided to revisit Savera to satisfy our cravings. It’s a small restaurant, located on the west side of the city at 815 St. Clair Avenue West. There’s ample parking on the street in front of the restaurant or on a side street just a couple of steps away. 
When we arrived the 7-8 table patio was nearly full and inside the restaurant half full. We decided to sit inside since Nid was with us. I asked for a booster seat for her and 10 minutes later, was given one. It took another 10 minutes for us to receive our menus and water and that too only after I got frustrated and asked the owner who stood lingering around if he could bring us a menu. He apologized and one of the waitresses immediately brought us a menu. Not a good start to the visit but I gave them the benefit of the doubt and decided to stay. 

We ordered the Snack Platter to start; which came with Chicken Tikka, Lamb Kabob, Onion Baji, a Samosa and hot and sweet chutney. The lamb kabob and onion baji  were absolutely delicious. However, the chicken tikka was bland and undercooked. D and I split the samosa in half and just as he was about to take a bite, I pulled it out of his hand. It stunk. It was old and probably spoiled. It had a foul smell to it, like the smell of fungus or food that has been unfrozen and left out to rot. I called over the owner and let him know that there was an issue. He took it away and came back to apologize and asked if we wanted another one and I immediately rejected. A couple of moments later, his daughter Sonya came by our table to ask what the problem was. After explaining that the samosa had gone bad, she apologized, asked if we wanted a replacement item of our choosing and I declined the offer as we had already ordered plenty of other dishes for our meal. 

Sadly, that wasn’t the only disappointing dish we had to experience last night. For our main course, we ordered chicken tikka, chicken curry, fish curry, plain rice and garlic naans. 

Once again, the chicken tikka was bland and a couple of pieces seemed undercooked. The platter had so much onions and cabbage on it, which under normal circumstances I would really enjoy because most restaurants will add some spicy or salty masala to the onions and throw the chicken on top of it. However, here, the onions and cabbage had no seasoning on them just like the chicken tikka. What a disappointment, since the main purpose of our dinner here was to satisfy our tandoori cravings.

As always, D ordered the fish curry expecting perfectly seasoned fish in a spicy curry; which authentically how fish curry should be made. To his disappointment, the fish wasn’t seasoned and had just been placed on the curry. The curry itself didn’t taste bad, it was quite good. But it lacked the spiciness that we had expected. So, he ended up sharing most of my chicken curry instead of enjoying his fish.

The chicken curry was well-made and tasted authentic. It wasn’t spicy but was a perfect mixture of spices and seasoning. The chicken was well-cooked and it really hit the spot. Except for a couple of pieces of chicken, we nearly finished it. The garlic and plain butter naans we ordered with it, perfectly complimented the curry. Besides the lamb kabobs, this was a second favourite dish.

At the end of our meal, we spoke to the owners daughter, Sonya and I let her know how so many dishes were undercooked and flavourless. Being from the Indian restaurant industry for so many years, we recognized one of the chefs as a past colleague of D’s. He came outside to greet us and I mentioned to him how disappointed we were. He too apologized. I mentioned to them that I was a food critic and wrote restaurant reviews for my blog and that sadly, Savera had failed to impress us this time around. 

Sad to say, this little nook on the west-side of the city has left us terribly disappointed and I doubt we’ll be revisiting anytime soon. The 10% manager discount couldn’t justify the price we paid for the undercooked, spoiled food we were served.

Here’s the rating:

Service: 1/5 – we waited over 15 mins for menus, a booster seat for Nid and to be served

Ambiance: 3/5 – Nicely decorated and dimmed lighting. However, with their garage door patio opening, the inside of the restaurant was extremely humid and guests were left sweaty

Food: 1/5 – undercooked, under-seasoned and spoiled food was served to us

Price: 1/5 – Over priced, even after a 10% discount for the spoiled samosa. 

Portion Size: 4/5 – Good size to share

Will we visit again? 1/5 – No

Recommend to a friend? 1/5 – No

Overall Rating: 1/5

Recipe of the Month: Feta-Alfredo Chicken Spring Pasta

IMG_5227Was that title long enough for you? I couldn’t figure out the best way to sum up the medley of flavours in this quick delicious recipe.

This is a quick meal and has everything you need to feel full and satisfied! The prep time takes about 20 minutes and cook time is 10 minutes. You can use an array of fresh or frozen vegetables and pre made Alfredo or Vodka sauce. I made this one with Alfredo because it’s what I had in my pantry.

Here’s what you need: 

  • Half chopped red bell peppers
  • Half stalk chopped green onions
  • A cup of chopped mushrooms
  • A cup of chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 cup of chopped purple cabbage
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup each of shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese
  • 1 bottle Alfredo sauce
  • Chilli flakes
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. Paprika
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3-4 cups pasta of choice

Here’s what you do:


Heat oil, add chopped veggies and sauté until soft. Stir in chicken and cook until tender. Add basil, parsley, salt and pepper and cook on medium heat.


Add Alfredo sauce and half cup water and let boil on medium heat until sauce thickens. Add shredded cheddar and mozerella cheese. Cover and let cook until cheese is completely melted.

FAdd feta cheese and let cook covered, mixing slowly. Remove from heat and let stand uncovered for 5-10 minutes.


Sprinkle with chilli flakes and serve with garlic bread and wine. 

And there you have it; a quick, easy and delicious recipe for those lazy days you can’t figure out what to eat.