650 Years Old & Kicking! The Unforgettable Belgian Hoegaarden Wheat Beer!

Who doesn’t like the occasional sinful indulgence to have a gala time! And what better way to celebrate those moments than to down your tension in a tall glass of chilled beer! I have often enjoyed one of these soft n tasty alcoholic beverages during my rare leisure moments. A few days ago, I was spending some quality time with my family at the Holiday Inn Kolkata and I suddenly got intrigued by my son to have and enjoy some Belgian Hoegaarden Wheat Beer. I was blown away at the rich taste of this fine beverage and couldn’t stop myself from putting my thoughts into words.

All about the Belgian Hoegaarden Beer:

I got myself a 375ml bottle for just INR 550, and for the quality on offer, the price seemed pretty reasonable. What amazed me the most was the lightness of the beer, despite the enriching taste of the hard-hitting alcohol inside it. I could tell that the beer had been processed with care and was intrigued to dig deeper into the brand to learn more about their history. Here is what I found out!

This beer originates from the exotic corners of Belgium, where it is believed that monks were churning out delicious alcoholic beverages as early as the 14th century. In a village called Hoegaarden, is this famous brewery that has floored the world with the quality of beer that they manage to provide for the price. It was started by a milkman, but now it has gone on to become one of the giants in the alcohol industry, delivering to over 70 nations.  Although they produce various types of beer, their wheat beer variant is the most popular. From the taste of one chilled sip, I could tell why! The beer is the perfect companion for the thirsty tired soul that needs some refueling before getting back to routine again!

Their other forms of beer include Rose, Citron, Julius, Forbidden Fruit, and many other beverages that contain somewhat the same alcohol content. I was impressed with what I had, and am definitely trying this brand out one more time when I have the opportunity.

Conclusion:

A simple beer would have been enough to win me over. So you can imagine my plight when I tasted the excellence of this one, a brand that is over six centuries and fifty years old! It seems practice does make a man perfect!

Have You Ever Tried Kancha Lankar Jhol (Green Chili Curry)?

Can you imagine Indian cuisine without spice? I certainly cannot with all the mouth-watering dishes on offer that have a generous dose of spice in them. Now when it comes to heat, we Indians have mastered the art of eating the spiciest of dishes as long as they are delicious. Such has been the case with our consumption of chili. Ever since Portuguese introduced us to this unique specimen, we can’t seem to get enough of it! We literally add it to most of our dishes for the heat and for the flavor. But, have you ever considered a curry dish where chili is the stand-alone item?

The Kancha Lankar Jhol is just that, originating in the rural areas of Bengal. This is a lip-smacking curry item that uses green chilies as their main ingredient. However, contrary to what you may think, this dish isn’t the spiciest on offer. This is because during the cooking procedure, the heat of the chili is neutralized by the usage of milk. The end-result is an aromatic, flavorful, and spicy dish that complements steaming hot rice brilliantly.

How to get going and make some delicious Kancha Lankar Jhol?

The ingredients that you will need include 15-20 green chilies, flour, salt, turmeric, nigella seeds, mustard oil, and milk. Take the milk in a bowl and add about a tablespoon of flour in it. Then add a tablespoon of turmeric and stir into a mix. Heat some oil in the pan and add the nigella seeds. Thereafter add the chilies and fry them a little before adding the mixture of milk and flour. Stir repeatedly and reduce the gravy while adding salt to taste. You need to cook it for around 5-6 minutes and once you are done, you can finish with some raw mustard oil. Your flavorful yet simple dish is ready. Try it out with some steaming hot rice and enjoy the rich taste of a lost cuisine.

If you’re interested to look at the video clip of the preparation, chk out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FagVj8Mpms

Conclusion:

It is time to move over the conventional vegetables, fish, and meat items, and explore the uncharted territories of Indian cuisine. In this case, you will have one of the most delicious things from the most unconventional recipe. It is high time you tasted the brilliance of our very own, authentic, Kancha Lankar Jhol!

Courtesy: Lost and Rare Recipes (Kitchen Tales)

Enjoy the Flavours of Bangkok Street Food at Kolkata’s Zara’s Kitchen

A surprise food tasting from Zara’s Kitchen (Insta: @_zaraskitchen0103, Fb: _zaraskitchen0103), courtesy Candid Communication and my world of taste buds become gay!!

The kitchen truly reminds me of the rich aroma and authenticity of a Thai street food. A sweet throwback and immediately you’re transported to Chinatown, Silom Road, Soi Rambuttri, Banglamphu, or Soi 38 Sukumvhit in Bangkok! A weekly pop up assortment of delightful dishes, prepared and curated by the Master chefs of Zara’s Kitchen shows the class. While the platter gives you a Goosebumps to taste it on a satisfying note.

The Monday platter comes with Chicken Satay (6 pcs), Thai Red Curry and Steamed rice. Priced @Rs.599, this is a ‘must try’ call for each and every food lover. The Chicken Satay was perfectly marinated in soya and grilled to perfection before it was served with peanut sauce as a starter. Red Thai Curry (chicken) is hot and sweet because of a coconut milk punch along with a careful mix of Thai red chillies, and a dash of kaffir lime leaves. And just imagine, the curry is served with hot, sticky and traditional Thai steaming rice! Wow! What a combination!

Fish cakes, which comes combining with Thai traditional sticky rice is actually an all time hit in Thai street food market. Zara’s Kitchen brings it for you on every Saturday with an added option to try out some more variants in the form of fish / chicken/ veg / crab. These fish cakes are a close match to our favourite “Macher Dimer Bora” (fish egg cake). They are deadly because of its enticing mix of red Thai paste, sweet chilli and fish sauce.

Thai Coconut Prawn Soup bowl looks very dull, but tastes immaculately refreshing. Needless to say, this is one of the best from Zara’s Kitchen. I preferred to have it cool with steaming, sticky rice, just to savour the lovely aromatic use of coconut milk blended with some strong ginger and basil, with a tinge of red paste to create the drama on your tongue. Just don’t expect big prawns in this soup. Have it once! This is a star item from this kitchen.

I cannot imagine ending this Thai platter without having my share of Zara’s signature coconut pancakes. Thanks to Zara Chishty Abedin for including this for me. Thanks once again for reminding me of the coconut ice creams, I had in Krua Apsorn and Baan Jay Fai in Bangkok. This soft beauty is made of eggs, shredded coconut, fine flour and a dash of Gandharaj lime to make it more interesting.

The meal ended in a jiffy. But believe it or not, the aroma and the satisfaction lingered long. And that’s where Zara’s Kitchen wins the heart.

Wanna touchbase Zara’s Kitchen? Feel free to WhatsApp: +918697849510

A Chocolate-y Main Course! Visit The Chocolate Room

Is there a particular age for being a chocolate addict? I think not. Over the years, the old and young alike have made chocolates the most loved dessert snack in the world. You might be feeling low or you might want to celebrate a wonderful success and your go-to snack can be a handsome chocolate bar.

The Chocolate Room:

I have obviously been to cafes that serve an exotic hot chocolate or some amazing chocolate cake. But to have a café provide food that solely revolves around chocolate? Well, I experienced it for the first time when I walked into The Chocolate Room. This one was located right opposite to the main gate of VIT University (Vellore Institute of Technology). Though, they have branches in various cities including Pune, New Delhi, Bangalore, and many others.

So what is the specialty of this place? For starters, it serves some delicious Choctails that are basically chocolate beverages to work out your appetite. The best thing about this place is that they use some supreme export quality chocolate in their products and this adds the exotic flavor and taste to their food. They do serve some savory items such as a Bread Fondue or a Cheese fondue when they are best-known for their chocolate specialty dishes. An item that I had never tasted before blew my mind. I had never known a chocolate dish to be served as a main course but why should good things come in portions? The Chocolate Room serves a delicious Chocolate Sizzler with an abundance of chocolate to heal the worst of moods!

The chocolate varieties are plentiful and you can get your hands on everything from dark chocolate to milk chocolate, and even white chocolate. As I have mentioned already, the quality leaves nothing to complain about and takes you to a different world. Although the prices are slightly on the higher side, it isn’t exorbitantly priced under any circumstances. The ambiance and service of the café also impressed me during my visit.

Conclusion:

There can never be a limit to a culinary experience. As you go around trying new combinations, you must acknowledge that something new is always in store for you. I was a little hesitant while walking into the café but after having some of their remarkable chocolate dishes, I certainly walked out as a satisfied customer. Do try out the place if your town has one on offer!

Savouring Street Food, the Hygienic Way

Street food under pandemic? Are you mad, or what? When everything seizes, life stops to breathe, uncertainty looming large and the going gets tough, I found a ‘FRIEND.’

Due to perpetual lockdown and times of uncertainty, eating outside has become a questionable habit. Even though some restaurants have put in their best foot forward to ease out the situation, street food is still like a forbidden fruit. I’m dying to have a bite of the rich street-food delicacies but the questionable hygiene has scared me every now and then. And just then, I found a ‘FRIEND.’

The unique Idea

Under such trying circumstances, an amazing initiative was taken up by my so called ‘FRIEND,’ Holiday Inn, Kolkata Airport, and their restaurant, Social Kitchen. They visualized and designed a street-food spread infusing the security of the best hygienic conditions and this event was called Unlock: Khao Galli the Eat Street Feast. It was enough invitation for me to go and try out their food. After all, I have missed street-food for so long, as much as any other foodie Bengali!

My Experience at this event

I would like to extend my heartiest congratulations for bringing in such a brilliant, innovative concept. At Rs.499 plus tax, with a wide spread of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies, this event was a huge hit and provided the taste of street-food from various parts of the country. Imagine a fine dining experience with the likes of Maidan Chaat counter or Paranthewali Gali or some famous tea-stall in the mix of things!

For starters they had various vegetarian and non-vegetarian chops and cutlets. I particularly enjoyed the chicken lollipops and the chaat counter was good enough to stir up the nostalgia of the days when you could freely enjoy street food. Even the famous Pav-Bhaji was authentic and left a lingering taste in the mouth. After filling up on the starters, I moved on to the main-course items where I gorged on some Kolkata style mutton biriyani and paneer dishes alongside a delicious fish in garlic sauce. The Murgh Tawa masala was perfectly spiced and they even had some Chinese options like chowmein and stir-fried vegetables.

As I headed for the dessert counter, I was pleasantly surprised by some hot gulab jamuns and a dedicated jalebi counter. They all had the conventional flavors that you would expect from a good street-food joint and those with a sweet-tooth would have a gala time! The chocolate brownie, pastries, and ice-creams were the cherry on the cake and by the time I was done, I could barely move!

Conclusion

Since they were so careful with the hygiene and maintaining food-standards, there was a significant footfall to attend the event. They are conducting this food journey from 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM every Sunday and I would strongly recommend you to go and try it out!

Baked Mihidana with Kamola Bhog, a Dramatic Combination at the Independence Day Dinner

What a combination!!

I am one of those individuals who look to celebrate a big occasion and as Indians, what better occasion it can be to celebrate than the Independence Day! We headed for the Dinner Buffet on the 15th of August organized by the Holiday Inn Kolkata. Given the standards and expertise of their capable kitchen, the price was cheap and tempting, and I didn’t think twice before I slipped into the den.

Social Kitchen was the venue for the grand buffet. They also had a 14th August pre-independence dinner alongside the lunch and dinner plans on the 15th. The best thing about the sumptuous meal is that the prices were surprisingly affordable considering the star category hotel spread on offer. Valued at INR 450 + GST, this has to be one of the most convenient dinner buffets that I have attended. More so because, the deal is quite affordable even for the middle class people having a tough time under the circumstances.

Coming to the food, I was pleasantly surprised with the explosion of flavors and dishes through their items. The Welcome drink was refreshing and I quite enjoyed the seasonal fruit punch as the beverage. We started off with the hot, fresh and delicate starters on offer such as Fish Amritsari and Chicken Lollipop. The lip-smacking taste was heightened by the quality of fish that they had procured. For the vegetarian starters, they had crispy chilly baby corn and Hara Bhara Kebab. After stuffing myself with these known, yet lip-smacking starters, I headed for the soup appetizer that consisted of a flavorful lemon-coriander.

The Spread, at a glance

There were salad options as well but I conveniently avoided the leafy greens to enjoy the sumptuous main course on offer. From mutton bhuna to grilled fish in lemon butter sauce to an amazing veg lasagna, they had perfected it all. The quality of mutton was amazing. It was soft, well-cooked and hence could smother each pieces within the mouth quite effortlessly. Each and every item was praiseworthy, except the Chicken Biriyani that tasted rather ordinary. There were also noodles and koftas and many other dishes that escaped my attention.

I was saving myself for the dessert spread that looked rather inviting. Baked Mihidana was simply awesome, and I swear, this particular item from Social Kitchen can pose tough contest on any day to lot of renowned sweet confectioners in the city. But the intense magic took place not before when the guy served me a scoop of hot Baked Mihidana combined with Kamola Bhog which absolutely stole my heart. The cream caramel which was basically a form of caramel custard was also heavenly for the taste buds and I also took a mouthful of the Fresh Fruit Gateaux.

Overall, it was a fascinating experience and I was feeling full and contented at the end of my meal. The fresh ingredients were impressive and their hygienic service using disposable plates and completely contact-less serving was also satisfying. At least I could enjoy a meal without worrying about the virus for a while!

QWaits Facilitates A Virtual Queue to End the Long, Unproductive Waiting Time

How many times have you been frustrated while standing for indefinite time length in a queue? We have all faced this situation where hours have been wasted as we wait for our turn. I have often wondered that in a fast-pacing world with new technology embracing our lifestyle is it not possible to end this unproductive wait!

As it turns out, now you can, because a Canada based IT consulting company, Boolean Array, has launched an App to be the answer to our troubles. This app, called QWaits, allows you to maintain queues virtually. All you have to do is download this app from iOS or Android phones and you can queue up from anywhere without actually being present to do so. As this amazing application marks its entry into India, I am delighted at the time I would save courtesy of this technology.

Besides, living in a time of Corona virus pandemic, it isn’t the smartest thing to wait for your turn along with hundreds of people. This app will ensure that you can be punctual while also avoiding the unnecessary queue for the work concerned.

Qwaits works both for business purposes and for end users or the customers. Be it some official work or the doctor’s chambers or a restaurant, you can now use QWaits to book your turn instead of physically being present at the time. This is also going to prove to be a respite for businesses who often worry about losing customers if they have waited too long. Time is money and this smart app allows you to save on both while also saving you all the trouble.

Qwaits uses sophisticated AI algorithms that allows it to set approximate wait times to the end-users and you can know about it even before you check-in. It is equally handy for businesses because as noted by prominent businessman, the customer is bound to respect the company that respects their time. As of now, they have planned to allow up to 100 check-ins every month without any charges. Besides helping the businesses in time management, this app will also allow them the opportunity to save expenditure on expensive hardware and ticketing systems that they have to do as of now.

I feel that this step will prove to be a massive boost to the challenges in the current-day scenario and as more businesses and customers avail of these services, time management will be a piece of cake in the times to come. 

Believe it or Not! Cake-o-logy Makes You Forget the Taste of Theobroma’s Iconic Chocolate Chip Brownies

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You may have the grandest of food items in the menu but the meal wouldn’t be complete without a lip-smacking dessert. And if you ask me, my all time’s favourite is Brownie and Ice-cream. It is a combination that is as good as it gets. The goodness of delicious ice cream with the sensational taste of a properly baked brownie is a match made in heaven.

My sweetheart, Mausumi is a foodie and a reasonably good cook. The best part is, she takes active interest in cooking and treating people. She loves to experiment as well. On my request, Mausumi tried her hand in making Brownie for the first time and it came out well. Within a week’s time, a box of Brownie came in from Cake-o-logy and I was simply blown away by the taste.

It is unbelievably delicious brownies, arguably even better than Theobroma’s iconic chocolate chip brownies. A great way to enjoy dessert after a wonderful meal. May be, toss some vanilla ice cream in there too if you want to shake things up a little!

The Usual Combination:

I strongly recommend the most exotic combination involving premium Vanilla Ice cream laced with no less than the warm fudge brownie from Cake-o-logy. Priced at Rs.75 a piece, every bite to this silken brownie is heavenly as you sink deep into the layers of the dessert. You will usually find your brownie with Ice-cream topped with chocolate syrup (Hershey’s) and nuts and time stops still when I allow myself to sink in such a sinful indulgence.

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How to Have it Ready in an Hour?

One of the best things about such a dessert is that it comes quick. If you are trying to make this at home, you wouldn’t require more than an hour to have this ready. You would require the following ingredients for the job.

  • Dark Chocolate
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Flour
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Vanilla Essence
  • Belgian Choco Chips
  • Double scoop of Vanilla Ice cream

First of all, melt the dark chocolate and butter and add milk, salt, and vanilla essence to the mixture in a bowl. Preheat the oven to about 350°F and layer it with butter and parchment paper. Make sure that it is well-greased so that it does not stick.

Add some baking powder to the mixture and some powdered sugar and whisk thoroughly. Make sure that it is mixed properly and then proceed to add some finely chopped walnuts. This will cause the crunch in your bites and add a nutty flavor to the brownie. Once all this is done, bake it 25-30 minutes. At the end, add some Belgian Chocolate chips on the top and your brownie is ready. Do not the add the chocolate chips when it is hot to avoid melting.

Now all you have to do is add the scoop of vanilla ice-cream and your delightful dessert is all set to be served.

Conclusion:

There are few people in the world who wouldn’t appreciate such a classic dessert. As for me, if asked to pick a last meal for myself, I would always sign off with a nice bowl of vanilla ice cream on top of a warm brownie from Cake-o-logy only. Whoever said, money can buy happiness, clearly never bought a nice brownie with ice-cream!

To order your Brownie, Please WhatsApp @9051601986

 

Picture Credit: Author

Cake-O-logy Poses a Pleasant Surprise with their Bake-O-logy

Independence Cake

I have always been intrigued by the new bakeries coming up nowadays. Most of all, I try to compare it with the existing big names and assess their quality accordingly. Cake-o-logy surprised me pleasantly when I tried out some of their delicacies. A small cloud kitchen bakery home has now developed into a prosperous business, courtesy their amazing baking skills that add a hint of homeliness to each product.

The Independence Day Special

The special occasion called for some special food and I opted for the Cake-o-logy special for the day. Their special edition Independence Day Cake was as good to taste as it was pleasing for the eye.

The cake was of the highest quality and had the richest flavours possible. A little overpriced, if you ask me, but then again, quality is where you pay the big bucks. What makes it even better is the praline and nuts carefully blended into the Nutella ganache in the middle of the cake layers. Goes really well with the fresh cream icing coat too. A delightful cake to taste.

The cake was a chocolate-lovers’ delight with some amazing Belgian chocolate used for the base. The use of Nutella spread, ganache, praline, and nuts made this a heavenly bite and I was surprised at how a relatively new bakery could attain this level of expertise.

Chocolate ganache is among the tricky desserts that requires special skills. You need to have an equal ratio of chocolate and warm cream and the mixture needs to be stirred continuously until it is smooth and shiny. It is a baker’s treasure as it fits into a variety of desserts adding an extra touch to it. The Independence Day Special Edition cake had the perfect ganache to complement a great quality of Belgian chocolate. With such quality ingredients on offer, the cake is reserved for the niche crowd and is priced at INR 1000 for 1 pound. Well, to taste something so good, you ought to pay the price! Their usage of fresh products impressed me the most and added to the delightful texture. What better way to celebrate Independence Day that to cut into an exotic cake with our beloved tricolor on top!

Conclusion:

I usually expect such finesse from the trusted brands but Cake-O-logy has been able to deliver although it is only about 4 years old. It shows true potential to prosper into a much bigger and popular name in the days to come. I would like you all to try some of their products and be assured that you would be licking off your plates, such is the magic in their delicacies!

To order, Please WhatsApp @9051601986

Picture Credit: Cake-O-logy

Khirer Chop from Sen Mahasay, Still an Enigma

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I was born and brought up in North Calcutta, a geographical domain famous for sweets and Telebhaja. My grandfather who was a voracious eater and a real food lover of traditional food items in the truest sense of the term used to believe that all the foodies emerge from North Calcutta and nowhere else.

The authentic sweets from North Calcutta are an integral part of the rich heritage of Bengali cuisine. After all, our meals are never complete till we have allowed ourselves a heavenly piece of sweets at the end. What can possibly be a better dessert than some reputed sweets from prestigious and ancient sweet-shops in town! Among the several well-known brands that have been serving us with mesmerizing sweets over time, I can tell you, Sen Mahasay at Fariapukur (just beside Mohun Bagan Lane) is one of my personal favorites. I do like my sweets in a case of history and with the flavors that make my mouth water!

The Rich History of Sen Mahasay

History and the beautiful City of Joy go hand in hand. So it is no surprise that my favorite sweetshop, Sen Mahasay has a history of its own. It started off way back in the year 1897 as a small outlet in Fariapukur. In-charge was a talented confectioner, Ashutosh Sen, who wasn’t a sweet-maker by profession and treated it more as a hobby. Even then, he successfully produced some of the finest sweets of the era and these were appreciated by stalwarts like Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay and Tara Shankar Bandopadhyay. The latter was even instrumental in naming the shop Sen Mahasay. The lip-smacking taste that delighted such prominent personalities continues to treat the foodie Bengalis.

The best thing about Sen Mahasay is that they have remained true to their original recipes without tinkering much with the procedure. Prepared from the freshest and finest ingredients, they have maintained their quality over time and retained their customers. One of their best products since ages would have to be the iconic Khirer Chop.

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All about Khirer Chop

It is a sweet-dish that is made from the finest of Kheer and fried in high-quality pure ghee. The aroma, the rich taste, and the heavenly after-taste make it one of their most sought-after items. Priced at INR 12, it is affordable and a fulfilling dessert to satisfy your soul. Interestingly, the lingering taste during my school days in late seventies and early eighties still remains the same even today.

Other delicacies

Sen Mahasay is well-known for some other classics like Abar Khabo sandesh, Rabri Sandesh, Monohara, Malai Chop, and Pink Pera. Their Mango sandesh during the summer months is nothing short of excellence and their nolen gur products in winter are what make winters special. You can enjoy these amazing sweets from their four outlets in Kolkata. They are located in Salt Lake, Bhawanipur, Gariahat, and Lake Market Area. You will also find one in the newly constructed Mishti Hub in New Town.

Conclusion:

Make the best of the rich bounty of tastes on offer and head to your nearest outlet. You can pick according to your choices but I would strongly recommend their historic Khirer chop.

Picture Credit: Author