As I noted a couple of days ago, there’ll be a fair bit of food on the blog this month. We ate out quite a lot in Delhi in our 3.5 weeks here (we return to Minnesota tomorrow) and ate a few excellent meals, some interesting meals, some good meals and some indifferent meals. Almost all of them will be covered. In the meantime here’s a little something to whet the appetite.
Chaamp Taajdar: Lamb chops that are braised and then finished in the tandoor. This was not bad but more attractive than tasty.
“pomegranate & churan kulfi sorbet” Okay, so this was one instance when even my stony heart was won over by the cutesy presentation. It helped that the pomegranate kulfi was dynamite as well. I wish I could eat this regularly. This was the palate cleanser before the mains arrived.
“chicken ghee roast” We got this on the second occasion, which is a shame because I missed the chance to eat it twice. The chicken was perfectly tender and the spicing was very balanced, and the appam, made with roasted coconut, was divine. One of the best things I ate on the entire trip.
Bhetki, a type of Barramundi, is very popular in Bengal (Maach just means fish). Paturi refers to dishes steamed in banana/plantain leaf parcels. This sort of preparation is very common in eastern India (and probably elsewhere in India too) just as it is in other parts of East Asia. Oh Calcutta’s version is not bad but they only steam the fish with a piquant mustard paste which makes it kind of one-dimensional. Just a day before we’d had the version made by one of my aunts (an incredible cook) and her version which includes shredded coconut caused this one to pale in close proximity/comparison.
This was the dish that first sold us on Swagath a decade ago. Very fiddly to eat if you get it with whole crab as we did on this occasion but very good. There is also a less fiddly shelled crab option and looking back, I think in the past I may actually have preferred the version with squid. To mop this up we got some neer dosas (soft, white and nothing like the crisp dosas most people in the West, or North India, for that matter, are familiar with); but I unaccountably did not photograph them.
A Malabar Porotta wot to mop the redundant mutton chilly fry up with. This is a Malayali version of the ubiquitous paratha, and this was excellent: soft, layered and crisp and flaky all at once.