Monday, 24 November 2014

Home Style Vegetable Fried Rice

Chinese is one of the most famous cuisines around the city, and many people are a die hard fan of chinese. Even I am a die hard fan of chinese but from the street side. Sometimes late night I have cravings for Chinese food, and that is the time, learning and the chef inside comes into action.

Ingredients -
Boiled Basmati Rice - 150 gms
Green & Yellow Zucchini - 20 gms each cut into cubes
Carrots - 20 gms cut into cubes
Salt -  to taste
Msg or Ajinomoto - 5 gms (avoid)
White Pepper - to taste
Soy Sauce - 5 ml
Oil - 15 ml

Method - 
1, In a wok, heat oil, and add in the carrots, green and yellow zucchini and toss it well.
2. Add in soy sauce, white pepper and salt and let the vegetables cook.
3. Once the vegetables are cooked, add in the basmati rice and toss it well.
4. Season the rice well and turn off the heat.
5. Serve hot.

Note - 
1. It is recommended to avoid the Ajinomoto, but it does bring out the flavors.
2. Other vegetables like bell peppers can also be added as per taste.
3. While boiling the rice, keep it 80% cooked, so that they do not become mushy, also the rest will get cooked while tossing it with the vegetables.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Hop Hop Hoppipola

There is always a time in life, where people grow and its very difficult for friends to meet, interact, but more than that, the old days, that is the teenage life, where partying, drinking and enjoying with friends are missed.

Now also, when some of my cousins come over, I tend to relive those days, drinking, partying, going out in the nite for long drives, not to forget playing my all time favorite game 'Monopoly'
This is one of those games, I have played in-numerable times, that I have forgotten the count itself. The other day, I recieved a mail from FBAI-Food Bloggers Association India, mentioning that a new restaurant cum all day bar is opening its doors to public. After having branches in Pune and Bangalore, the doors are soon going to open to the public of bombay, it was Hoppipola.

The restaurant is a part of the well known food chain, which also has Ohh Calcutta and Main Land China. The place being a couple of minutes away from my house, dint make me think much about it and went away and also knew that it will be a place, where ill get to meet all my fellow food bloggers.

Bird House Wall

Upon entering the place, the first site made me fall in love with it, the place was done very beautifully, use of light colors, spaced out not like other places which are crowded, and filled with tables and chairs. Meeting a few other bloggers, having a look around the place was the first thing. And there were actually two places that caught my attention, the wishing wall, which had small houses with door that could open, and they weren't any ordinary house, any person dinning in, could just open one of the houses, and can get lucky and win him/her self a complimentary shot or a glass of beer.

A Black Board Table with FBA

Apart from this, the other thing that got my attention was the game wall, this place had lots of games, to name a few would be Jenga, Monopoly, Uno and also a 32 bit tv game, along with these there were also old comic books of Superman, Spiderman and all other and there were some other book on food as well. Looking at the wall, I went to a flashback and was mesmerizing my childhood days, and all the more, the tables were not any normal tables, they were made of blackboard and on the table there was a box of chalks, which allowed you to write on the table as we all used to do in the childhood days.

While talking to people, I came to know, that Hoppipolla is not just any name, but has a meaning behind it, 'Jumping in the Puddle' and this is what makes the ambiance of the place this way, so people can come here, eat, play have fun and relive their childhood days.

Hummus with Chips and Fried Pita
When its a restaurant launch, there has to be food and drinks, to begin with, the food, we all had the Hummus with flatbreads, and it also contained fried pita which tasted really good, the hummus could be considered as one of the great hummus I have had in town. after the hummus,we got the mexicans favorite, Nachos, sadly, the nachos were readymade, but the salsa and the sour cream along with it complimented properly.

Nachos with Salsa and Sour Cream
The sour cream was not whipped cream like texture which is found in most of the places, here it was heavy, had the sourness and along with that had some herbs in it as well.

Patatas Bravas
Lamb Kebabs on Mini Flat Bread

The nachos were not over also, we got Patatas Bravas, these are one of my all time favorite Spanish starters, soft in texture, topped with amazing sauce, here it was served the very similar way, but some changes could be made for eg, the sauce could be a bit spicy, little tangy.

There was one thing which looked very enticing and tasted really good. These small lamb kebabs on mini flat breads with onion kachumber were tender and moist, but had a bit of an extra salt to it.
As a part of the decor, I also noticed there was a board with wording, very similar to the ones that is outside churches with a meaning full quote.
It was something I have seen at a place for the very first time.

The Harissian 

There two types of skewers for us as well, The Harissian, this dish consisted of fish marinated in a harissa base, skewered and then grilled to perfection. The fish was cooked perfectly, but it was again the salt which spoilt the whole experience and the taste, in my opinion, if the salt would have been less, the dish would have been extremely brilliant.

Along with the Seafood skewer, there was a chicken skewer as well, this was more on the mediterranean side, had a taste of lemon, labne and was served along with some, labne. Finally there was some dish with a little less salt, as compared to the other dishes.
Chicken Wings

I have always been a big fan of chicken wings, this dish is like a perfect to have with some drinks. These ones were cooked beautifully, the sauce was tangy, crispy, not soggy, which I find at many places. If the tabasco could be cut down a bit, the dish would have been much better.

Garlic Shrimp Tapa - Gambas al Ajillo

I'm personally not a big fan of seafood, but garlic shrimps are one of those things I love. The ones served to us was juicy, succulent, had an amazing flavor of garlic but again, loaded with salt,
Fish & Chips

I remember the days, when I working, and an order for Fish & Chips use to come, I use to make a small piece of the fish for myself as well.
Sine then, knowing that I'm not a Seafood person, I love Fish & Chips. Here the moment the dish arrived, I just wanted to dig in, but cant resist myself from taking pics. Soon after taking the first bite, I came to a conclusion, the Chef, loves salt, and can't avoid using it less. The fish was just perfect, cooked spot on, but due to the excess salt,

Watermelon Mojito 

Food and Drinks are a combination made in heaven, so with all the food, I gave Watermelon Mojito a try, in fact went behind the bar as well. Taste wise, the drink was quite refreshing, if there could some watermelon syrup or something, would have been much better, the reason being, the watermelon sometimes aren't that sweet.
Apart from this, they have a good variety of other drinks as well, which go well with the food.

Truth & Dare Jenga

Apart from the food we were having, we picked a game, and started playing, a simple but yet difficult game, Truth and Dare Jenga. The games simple to be simple, but the fun is when the tiles come out and the things written on them are more fun.

Beer Shots
 The place also has two more games, that is the Chugathon, and Gone in 60.
Each game consists of having beer. In the Chugathon, each person is given a mug of beer, and the person who finishes the first wins and the name is then listed on the board.
Gone in 60 consists of shot, but this time its beer shots. In the game, each person is give 30 shots, and is timed, the person who finishes first, wins. All beer lovers must try out these games.

Margherita Pizza

After so much drinking and games, we all were hungry again, and wanted to have something, decided to order the simple Margherita Pizza, to end the meal, drinking and the gaming. 
The pizza was very thin, the sauce was good, loaded with cheese and just perfect dish to end. 

The place is really good, for the ambiance, you could just spend the entire day here and chill with your friends. 

Overall - 
1. The place is cozy, simple with interiors, homely feeling and a perfect place to spend the day with friends. 
2. Food, the menu is pretty interesting, so can be the dishes, if the Chef uses less salt in it. 
3. The food is more of a bar kind of food, good to go with drinks. 
4. The service is a bit slow, you will need to tell the staff a couple of times, but I think, it was may be the place is new or something. 
5. Good music in the background, 
6. Play games, and become a child again. 
7. Cost wise, its not very expensive, drinks are prices at approx 300 Rs a cocktail and for food, the most expensive would be approx 350 Rs. 
8. Small changes here and there made by the chef and the staff would do wonders. 

Im for sure going back here again, loved the place and in my opinion, do try it out, I'm sure that you are going to enjoy it. 

Contact & Address : Hoppipola - All Day Bar and Bonhomie, Ramee Guestline Hotel, Off S.V. Road, Opposite post office, Khar West, Mumbai – 400052.
Social Media - Facebook | Instagram | Twitter – @atHoppipola

An Update on the review - I have visited the place again a few time, and by then, the food, which had more salt, was proper, but still the service is a bit on the slow side compared to other restaurants. As I had told, I will visit the place again, I did and enjoyed it.

You can also check the video review of the place here - Hoppipola - Review

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Thursday, 6 November 2014

Burnt Chilli Risotto

Cooking is always fun, if you love to do it. But one of the boring things about cooking is the preparation needed before the cooking starts. This dish requires minimum preparation, and is a bit easy to make. The dish is difficult to perfect, but packed with flavors. The reason the dish came into making was, my sisters friends had come home for a sleepover, and it was about 2 in the morning, they all were behind me, telling me that, we are hungry, teach us how to cook, but it should be something easy, and there came up this dish, Burnt Chilli Risotto
And actually, they were with me in the kitchen learning the risotto and we even have a video of it. 

Ingredients -
Arborio Rice - 100 gms
Veg Stock - 250 ml approx
Chopped Dried Red Chillies - 2 -3 nos
Chilli Flakes - 1 tbsp
Fine Chopped Onions - 1 tbsp
Fine Chopped Garlic - 1 tsp
Butter - 30 gms
Salt - to taste
White Pepper - 5 gms
Cooking Cream - 25 ml-30 ml
Oregano - 5 gms
Thyme - 5 gms
Mascarpone Cheese - 25 gms

Method -
1. In a pan heat oil, and butter, then add in the arborio rice and saute for a couple of minutes.
2. Add in the chopped onions, garlic and the dried red chillies and saute till the onions are translucent.
3. Once the onions are done, add in stock little at a time and stir well and let the rice cook.
4. Keep adding stock little at a time and keep stirring.
5. When the rice is half cooked, add in the chilli flakes, thyme and oregano and mix well.
6. Keep adding stock if needed and cook the rice till Al Dente.
7. Finally add in the, fresh cream and season with salt.
8. Take the pan off the heat, add in butter, mascarpone cheese and mix well.
8. Drizzle some chilli oil if needed and serve hot.

Note - 
1. Do not wash the rice, it will lose all its starchiness.
2. Keep stirring the rice continuously to avoid sticking to the pan.
3. The texture of the risotto should be like flowing lava.
4. Finish the risotto with some butter in the end.
5. Do not over cook the rice.

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