Saturday, August 23, 2008

Shraavan ka Maheena

The best thing about this month? FOOD!Last night I drove for an hour to reach Faral Heaven. I felt like I was back in my mother's kitchen, with my grand mother on hand, helping aie to cook up a feast for the family on a shravan monday. Some of the 'pakwanna' I sampled at Gypsy Corner, took me right back in time. I hadn't tasted bharleli vangi in years, nor enjoyed a delicious fresh tender peanut curry poured over steamed broken rice. Rahul Limaye deserves far more culinary recognition than his present one, which is as a Dadar phenomenon. Perhaps he is happy enough with his position as the undisputed Aamti King of the locality, but I would like him to receive the sort of accolades we reserve for a Rahul Akerkar. I mean, Rahul's a great chef, but we adore him because he is sophisticated,amiable, hip and successful. So.... he serves a great rissotto at Indigo. But wait till you try the other Rahul's (Limaye) masala bhaat eaten with oli kobi chi bhaaji. As for Limaye's range of freshly ground chutneys... omg... each one had a distinct flavour that perfectly complemented the dish it was accompanying.The thaalipeeth was outstanding, but the batata wada was the real star. If you think this was just another potato patty, think again - this was a symphony of tastes, blended into a scrumptious ball, served with a fiery red chilly-garlic chutney. The sooran kababs were terrific, too.And so was the die hard Dadar crowd (Mohan Wagh eats dinner there every night! Nana Patekar and Mahesh Manjrekar are regulars) at adjoining tables. I so enjoyed meeting Limaye's lovely daughter Aditi who is an accomplished chef herself and runs an independent catering business... besides supplying mouth- watering desserts to her dad's restaurant. I promptly called up Rashmi Uday Singh to share my discovery with her. She was on her way to Delhi but has promised to go hogging with me on her return.
My Friend Bhawana Somaaya was with us at the dinner, and there was much to celebrate - her latest book (translated from the original Gujarati)is called Krishna - The God who Lived as a Man, and is being launched by Rani Mukherjee on monday. Perfect timing.As she bit into a fried green chilly coated in aam chur,Bhawana outlined her plan for the evening.We continued the conversation over an exceptional cup of tea(lemon and ginger) at a Barista down the road. What a perfect evening! Pure bliss. When was the last time any meal reached those inaccessible, metaphorical taste spots on my tongue, inside my stomach, head and heart??


Praveigne Meruwa said...

U seem to be a diehard foodie !!The way u describe each of dishes just makes my mouth watery !! So the next time I lose my appetite, I know where I can find the appetizer !! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Oh my, the description of that meal brought tears of envy to my eyes. How I miss the subtle but delicious koknastha style food of my childhood!

Time for me to dig up my trusty, dusty Ruchira (did they ever translate that into English?) and cook up some "varyache tandul ani danyachi aamti". Unfortunately for me, my gora husband's idea of desi food runs only to the execreble greasy saag paneer style food dished out by Bangladeshi run faux Indian restaurants. There is no way he can appreciate the subtleties of a regional cuisine that is not heavy on the grease and chilli peppers. That window of opportunity is lost.. alas! Perhaps I can still save the culinary horizons of my bacchas!

It is unfortunate what the ubiquitous Punjabi style restaurant has done for the percieved image of Indian food. So sadly one dimensional!

I am so glad that atleast in Mumbai, there is a strong customer base to support tradional regional cuisines.

Kudos to Rahul Limaye for keeping classical traditional food in the limelight and doing it well. Kudos are also in order for Rahul Akerkar type folks who make a mean risotto but are also willing to experiemnt with nouvelle variations of some traditional food... (he makes a to die for "pohe encrusted salmon served with an aamti sauce"... if thats not a take off on traditional food what is!).

Never been to Gypsy before but I will make sure to eat a meal there on a future trip to India. Thats for the tip!

Meanwhile I will sit here in solitary sad splendour spooning varan bhaat and lime pickle into my mouth.

Another Kiran in NYC

Kris Bass said...

To contrast this, you need to understand that there are people in the same wonderful city who have to stick to Maggi Noodles, plain sandwiches for months on end.

I have never been too much of a fan of marathi cuisine. I think I can attribute it to the lack of exposure.

De, have you tried Malayalee cuisine?

Arjun said...

hunger pangs have struck - just that I'm @ work on a sunday.. so the tummy will have to wait...

what exactly are sooran kababs? Tell more!

VIDYA said...

omg iam hungry after reading ur post :) do u cook?

Harish said...

Yummy Yummy...

Bhawana Somaaya... screen and lehrein ke baad krishna.. multi talented she is.

I have foind 3 distinct personality types: 1) A Barista person: intellectual types. 2) Mocha person: one who likes thrill in life. 3) Cafe Coffee Day CCD person: Someone who likes interaction with teh masses, Likes being counted as aam junta yet sohphisticated.

sanju ayyar said...


Shobhaa De said...

Darlings, I am having problems with the mails I send out individually - they are all bouncing back!! Tragedy. Till I sort that one out, please bear with me, and read this collective response. Kiran, I suggest you get your gora hubby to Sivaji Park for the real taste of Maharashtra. I love my varan bhaat with a green chilly pickle. Salivate!

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