While the superstitious horde of believers has been cowering in their houses and hiding in prayer rooms, simply because the doom-inducing number 13 is evident in our year this time around, HT City decides to risk the fire and brimstone expected to hail from the sky, just to bring you this year’s round-up of hatke dishes. And, while we did wander off the beaten track, we assure you we found no witches lurking in the bushes, but just some truly great food, ranging from the simple to the truly bizarre. So go on, we dare you to get through this article without having eaten up the newspaper before you’re done reading. Bon apetit!
1) Parma Ham Wrapped Chicken,
Virgin Courtyard, Sector 7
While Virgin Courtyard’s menu might be a little hard to navigate, considering you’d need to be fluent in Italian, we managed to not bungle up completely and hit just the right note with their Param Ham Wrapped Chicken — not that hard to pronounce either. Parma Wrapped Chicken stuffed with chicken mousse in Sicilian mustard sauce with Toscana potatoes, zucchini and asparagus, melt-in-mouth, cooked to absolute perfection.
Monica’s, Sector 8
While Red Velvet has been around the rest of the globe for quite a while, the person credited with bringing it to our nook of the world is Monica’s bakery. The craze for them mushroomed across the city almost immediately with every other place introducing their versions of it, but the undisputed king is still the original, with its distinctly sweet flavor and melt-in-mouth frosting. The mini version makes for a cute gift, if you don’t gobble it up yourself.
3) Virgin PinaColada Shake,
French Press Cafe, Sector 16
Knocked back one too many pinacoladas with your brave resolution? Here’s a healthier alternative, a Virgin PinaColada Shake with burnt marshmallow. Yes, you read that right, burnt! The piping hot caramelised marshmallow adds a wonderfully mellow contrast to the smooth chilled concoction of pineapple and cream of coconut.
4) Peanut Butter and Jelly Wings,
Brooklyn Central, Elante
While you must have had your fair share of wings — buffalo, barbecue, etc — we bet this name excites your thoughts — Peanut Butter and Jelly Wings. Trust us, this combination of flavors is the best of all worlds. A savory, sweet and spicy twist on wings elevates the food to a new level. Eaten to the bone, it is a whole lot more messy, but fun. So, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Served with a celery and blue cheese dip, the tangy creamy mix goes perfectly with the wings that are sure to make you fly. 5) Signature Hot Chocolate,
Choko La, Elante
The colder it gets, the better it is for you to wrap your hands around a mug of steaming hot chocolate. Choko La’s signature version is over 70% cocoa (practically just melted chocolate). Decadent and so sinful that the customer next to you might just be a red skinned gentleman with a pitchfork and horns. As if teamed up with spices and nuts wasn’t enough to make you a drooling fool, there are five other variants of it — Ancho Chilly, Cinnamon, Coffee, Hazelnut And Pepper. Talk about being spoilt for choice! 6) Spiked Nachos,
The Red Kitchen, Sector 34
Ahhh, tequila, Mexico’s miracle elixir. This mysterious potion has the ability to both enhance and ruin lives. Often in the same 24-hour period. ‘No more tequila’ said no one, ever. Another one of Mexico’s gifts to us is nachos and what’s better than tequila and nachos. Nothing, you say? Oh, but there is, and that’s tequila IN nachos. The Red Kitchen’s bowlful of nachos comes smothered in the usual accompaniments, but the added twist just makes it more delightful. Simple and brilliant, save yourself the effort of knocking back a few and eating when you can do both at the same time. 7)Raclette,
Backpackers Café, Elante
Confused about how to pronounce this one? Well, don’t worry. As complicated as it sounds, it’s that simple and absolutely delicious. Raclette is a semi-firm, cow’s milk cheese, most commonly used for melting, and let’s face it, who doesn’t like melted cheese! Serving involves an electric table-top grill to heat slices of raclette cheese. Alternatively, slices of cheese may be melted and simply poured over food on the plate. The emphasis in raclette dining is on relaxed and sociable eating and drinking, the meal often running to several hours. Great one for those who love procrastinating over food.
Girl in the Cafe, Sector 17
A great place to relax in the middle of Sector 17’s hustle, GITC seems to have found its niche in not overcomplicating their food. The chicken is beaten to a pulp, AFTER it’s been killed. Then it’s layered on foil and lined with salsa and vegetables, after which it is wrapped up completely in foil and then put in an oven. No, foil does not catch fire in an oven, incase you’re wondering. The dish is taken out and served as it is, the foil keeping it moist and juicy, till you take a bite. There is a fish and vegetable version to the dish.
The Kylin Experience, Elante
Ever wondered what’s in your momo? Mystery solved, with the new crystal dumplings, now on offer at the Kylin Experience. Made from specially imported Japanese flour that’s so refined that the dumplings are transparent — slightly disconcerting being able to see right through your dumpling, literally and perhaps metaphorically. The stuffing varies, ranging from tofu and vegetables to prawns and water chestnuts and spiced chicken. 10) Brazilian Churrasco Pineapple,
Pirates of Grill, Elante
Rest assured, these are pirates of the best kind, the ones that feed you. Forget grilling the usual suspects like chicken and fish and skewer a whole pineapple instead, why not! The Brazilian Churrasco Pineapple is marinated with honey and cinnamon and cooked in a special grill that gives it a smoky flavour.
11) Meen Polichattu,
Whistling Duck, Sector 26
Tucked away in the backside of the market, with nothing but a discreet sign to proclaim them, and some great word of mouth reviews, this place has fast become a hit for youngsters. Turns out, discretion is preferred now, over being spotted. Meen Polichattu is their absolutely mouth-watering fish that gets your palate a tingle. It’s a fresh water fish marinated in special Kerala spices, wrapped in a banana leaf and shallow fried, served with delectable coconut rice. The folks down south sure know what they’re doing with fish.
The Pewter Room, Sector 26
The Pewter Room, while confused about what cuisine to focus on, has managed to nail their version of the beloved Indian dessert. The twist? It’s infused with citrine and apple, giving it a wonderfully contemporary twist, while challenging your taste buds to forget the age-old version you’ve been having since you can remember — a feat fairly easily achieved. 13) Yeti Masala Prawns,
Gourmet 9, Hotel Pelican, Industrial Area
This restaurant seems to be hitting all the right notes with their unorthodox menu, serving some unusual flavour combinations. Nothing overtly crazy happens here, except for an extraordinary meal. One of the chef’s favourite dishes is Yeti Masala Prawns, a spicy Mangalorean delicacy that’ll get your taste buds revved up before you know what hit them.
YETI MASALA PRAWNS
8 medium-sized fresh prawns
10 gm bhedgi chillies (dry red chillies)
20 gm grated fresh coconut
1 cinnamon stick
5 gm black pepper (whole)
5 gm whole coriander
5 gm curry leaves
15 ml coconut oil
Salt to taste
Sautee the spices in a non-stick pan for five minutes, then grind the same with fresh-grated coconut. Marinate the prawns with lime 10 minutes before cooking.On a pan, pour coconut oil, add the masala, saute it for about eight minutes. Add the prawns and then saute it for another two minutes, till the prawns are cooked to perfection.Sprinkle some fresh coriander to add flavour and the dish is ready to be served!
"Molecular gastromony was supposed to hit us big in 2013. it din't. While some parts of the world are still engulfed in the complexity, India isn't. Thus, my forecast for 2014 is simplicity. professional cheifs and home chefs here are going to keep it simple in 2014; our focus would be on local produce. The fact that tax is levied on export could also be factored in here. But, mostly its because Indians are becoming more aware of their health. Thus, companies from overseas are coming to our country to provide us with the best of their freash produce. The same way, farmers are under pressure to produce 'non-Indian' vegetables. So, in 2014, we are going to keep it fully fresh and daintily simple."
Chef Kunal Kapur, Hotel Leela Kempinski, Gurgaon