If you are a foodie in Bangalore with a partly (or entirely!) Gujarati soul like me, I am sure you would have roamed around the streets of the city, trying to find food with that authentic Gujarati taste, something that would transport you to Gujarat, the place that occupies some part of your dreams. I know I have done that. For you, I list down three recent discoveries – three foodie places in Bangalore that satisfy the Gujarati in me.
Sangam Chaats, Koramangala
Tucked away inside the busy BDA Complex at Koramangala, this place has been around for years, serving some awesome chaats, sweets, and savouries. We might never have known of this place if we had not had some free time just when we were at the BDA complex. We were hungry, too, at the time, and went into this shop, only to get pleasantly surprised. We have been to this place a couple of times since, and have always had a great experience.
I like the chaats at this place – they have a distinct North Indian touch to them, unlike the very South Indian chaats available elsewhere in the city. We have tried out the aloo poori and pani poori here, and found them much, much better than many other places we have had chaats at.
We also tried out the rasgulla chaat here, just because we had never had something like that before. We weren’t disappointed. Little rasgullas dunked in curd, served with sev, green chutney, and an assortment of other spice powders – a crazy combination but I liked the taste. It appealed to the Gujarati in me, who likes sweetness in her chaats. I understand this might not be for everyone, but it is still worth a try. Rasgulla chaat has to go down as one of the craziest things I have ever eaten – it gets a place in this list.
Also, just because of the novelty factor, we tried out the paan bajjis here – betel leaves dipped in savoury batter and fried till crispy. It comes in a packet with a shelf life of 2 months, and not fresh out of the pan, as we had initially expected. We still went on to try it out, but did not find it all that great. A great idea, but a dish best avoided here, I say.
Sangam has a variety of Gujarati delicacies on the menu, something that endeared the shop to me infinitely. We tried the patra and the khaman here, and both of them disappointed me. The dabeli here is lovely, though – it has a pakka Gujju taste to it. :) Now, I know where I should head to, whenever I have dabeli cravings!
Apparently, Sangam also sells Gujarati undhiyu every Sunday morning, but you need to place an order for the same by Saturday evening. I am dying to try that out! I am also eagerly waiting to try out the many other chaats and savouries on their menu! Everything sounds great!
We have passed by Anand Sweets so many times over the years, but have never really stopped by. Sad, because we missed out on so many wonderful treats that this place has to offer!
We happened to visit the Koramangala branch recently, and picked up some anjeer (aka dried figs) dryfruit barfis, just because they reminded me of Gujarat. They were gorgeous! They taste just perfect, with the right amount of anjeer and a variety of nuts in every bite. I have tried the same sweet at many shops across Bangalore, but Anand Sweets gets it just right. What’s more, this particular sweet is sugar-free – all the sweetness in it comes from the anjeer in it. Perfect for people like me, who have a sweet tooth but are wary of overdosing on sugar.
We also picked up some khandvi here, and it was simply superb. They got the taste down perfectly! That Gujju part of me got extremely happy. :)
There are so many varieties of sweets here, it is mind-boggling to choose just one or two. Everything looks super interesting! I am so going back to this place, if only for the khandvi and the anjeer dryfruit barfee.
Kota Kachori, Koramangala
This is a single shop in Koramangala with three signboards, saying Jai Jinendra, Kota Kachori, and Falahaar. Kota Kachori is the name the shop is most famous by, though.
It serves a huge variety of Rajasthani sweets and savouries, many of which are prepared piping hot, right in front of you. They also serve ‘falahaar’, dishes that you can eat while you are fasting. We have been to this place quite a few times, and have loved most everything we have tried.
The khaman is delicious, soft and juicy, just the right mix of sweet and sour, the way I like it. The aloo-pyaaz kachori is gorgeous, but I am not a big fan of their Kota kachori.
The sabudana khichdi here is lovely, made the Gujju-Rajasthani way, with pomegranate arils, lots of coriander, and falahaari potato namkeen in it – sweet and spicy, it is just perfect. The sabudana dahi wada comes with sweet and spicy chutneys, the way it is served in Ahmedabad, beautiful in taste and appearance.
I had my first tryst with the famous Rajasthani ghevar here, served straight off the pan, and loved it.
The chila here is great too, with aloo bhujia sprinkled inside.
Any wonder this place gets so crowded, on weekends and week days alike?
Have you been to any of these places? Your thoughts on them, please!
Inspired by OHW, I have decided to share with you all the little discoveries we have made in the last one year, while being parents to Bubboo. This will be a varied collection – from our favourite toys and dresses, to the way we find is best to take Bubboo out of the house. I want to make it very clear right from the start that I do not want to advertise any particular baby-related product or service. I just want to share with you the little things that worked for us and Bubboo, and made our parenting journey a wee bit easier and more beautiful. I hope these posts will be of use to you, in one way or the other. It doesn’t matter if you are a parent or not, I hope you will like this series.
Let us get started with the first installment of this series, shall we? :)
Today, I will tell you about this wooden rattle with sleigh bells that I had always wanted to buy for Bubboo.
My paediatrician keeps a variety of toys in his office, to keep the visiting kids entertained and to help him test their fine motor and other skills. I fell in love with a colourful wooden rattle with sleigh bells that I noticed in his office, the very first time he examined Bubboo, when she was about 20 days old. Bubboo is not really attracted to any of the toys in the office, the way some other kids are, but I sure am, to this rattle. Post the first visit, whenever we visited the paed, I would locate this rattle from the mound of toys there, and play with it till the doctor would come in to examine Bubboo. I searched for a similar rattle high and low, online and offline, but never got my hands on it till recently. The online ones were way too expensive, and the OH and I are not really fans of buying super-expensive stuff for Bubboo. In stores, I came across the ubiquitous plastic rattles, but wooden ones were hard to come by. I found wooden rattles in Channapatna toy stores, but they made a harsh, ear-splitting sound, unlike the soft melody of these sleigh bells.
In a small fair of sorts in Koramangala last month, after searching for almost a year, I found what I wanted. For all of Rs. 75. And I was not even looking at that time. What is it they say about the time being right for things to come into your life?
Bubboo is probably too old to play with rattles (or is she?), but I am glad this beauty became a part of her toy bag before she turned one.
Breakfast time has become much more melodious in our household, lately.
None of the people I talked to about this rattle knew that something like this existed, but everyone agreed that it did sound wonderful and different. That is why I am talking about it here. Now, you know about it.
I would love to hear of similar little discoveries you have made while parenting your little bundle of joy, or any baby-related little thing you might have come across anywhere. Tell me!
Remember the Ganesha havan in our apartment that I told you about? The priests made this pretty rangoli for the havan. I am told this is very common in Ganesha havans across Karnataka, maybe even the South of India, but this is the first time I saw something like this. I couldn’t resist snapping a few pictures of it.
And here is the kotthu kadalai sundal that I made as prasadam for the occasion.
Kotthu kadalai sundal – also called konda kadalai sundal – is a common Ganesh Chaturthi offering in South India. Made using black chana, this dish is super easy to prepare and is very nutritious, too.
The basic ingredients used in the making of this dish remain the same, normally, but there are little variations from household to household. I made the sundal we have always made it at home.
Here is our recipe.
Ingredients (for 2 people, as a snack):
100 grams of black chana aka kotthu kadalai (soaked overnight – if you want, you can even sprout the black chana to make the sundal healthier)
1 small cup grated fresh coconut
Salt, to taste
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
Red chilli powder, to taste
2 green chillies + 1-inch piece of ginger (peeled) – ground without water in a mixer
10 curry leaves – pulsed once in a mixer, just enough to shred the leaves into pieces, not ground to a paste
2 teaspoons oil
1 teaspoon mustard
A pinch of asafoetida
Drain out all the excess water from the soaked chana, if any. Boil them in a pressure cooker, adding just enough water to cover them. Give it about 4 whistles in the pressure cooker. When the pressure goes down entirely, drain out the excess water from the boiled chana. Keep aside. (I like reserving the water the chana has been boiled in, and drinking it warm with a dash of salt, chaat masala, and lemon juice. This packs quite a protein punch, you know?)
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the mustard and let it splutter.
Now, add the asafoetida and the boiled black chana.
Turn the flame of the gas to medium. Add salt and red chilli powder to taste, the ground coconut mixture, the curry leaves, and turmeric powder. Mix well. (Adding a teaspoon of sugar before mixing everything together adds to the flavour of the sundal, but that is not the way it is traditionally made, so I do it very rarely. )
Let everything cook together on a medium flame for about 5 minutes, stirring intermittently. That’s it!
Serve hot or after it has cooled down.
What are the variations that you use while making sundal? Tell me all about them!
~ A lot has changed over the last two months. We have shifted to a new house, nearer to the OH’s work place. He used to commute crazy distances to and from work earlier, and it was taking a toll on his health, as well as on ‘us’. This house makes things a wee bit easier. My parents stay near us, and help us out whenever they can.
We had been thinking of making this move for the last year or so, but everything worked out only now. I won’t say we have the perfect arrangement pinned down but, yes, this is easier on our strained nerves and bodies that are getting older. There, I said it!
~ We are still getting to know our new neighbours, and we still feel like outsiders in an apartment where everyone has been together for over a year. That said, there are more people here our age, many of whom have little ones Bubboo’s age. In the previous apartment that we lived in, there were no young ones – all residents were retired folk. We would sorely miss chatting casually to someone our age, which we are getting to do now. Our new flat-mates are a friendly, enthusiastic, and helpful bunch, from what we have observed so far.
~ Our apartment association had organised festivities for three days, for Ganesh Chaturthi this year. Funds were collected, a big Ganesha idol was brought in, worshipped religiously for three days, and duly immersed in a pond. They were a festive three days, indeed, and offered us a great chance to bond with our neighbours. Day 1 saw a Ganesha Havan being performed, for which I volunteered to prepare kotthu kadalai sundal as prasadam. I was quite nervous about preparing it, as I had never really cooked for people outside of my family before. Moreover, I could not taste it before it was offered up to Ganesha, as it was prasadam, and I had to eyeball the salt and spices that I added to it – something which freaks me out, honestly. In spite of all of that, the sundal did turn out to be yummy, thankfully! It was much loved.
~ There are people from all over India staying in our apartment, and everyone cooked something or the other during the three days of festivities. So, much gorging on festive food happened, and cultural (and foodie!) diversity was much celebrated.
~ I feel lost lately. Lost and uprooted. New house, always being pressed for time, no friends, no real social life, new locality, no work, and no signs of losing all that pregnancy weight – all of this has been contributing to making me feel stressed out and cranky and what not.
~ I have been trying to lose weight for the last couple of months, but haven’t really been able to focus on it. I need to SERIOUSLY buckle up. My out-of-home eating badly needs to be regulated, home cooking needs to get a lot more healthy, and walking needs to get a lot more focused and regular. Sigh! It is hard to believe I am the very same person who lost over 10 kg of weight before Bubboo!
~ On the work front, I have been trying out some things, which is keeping me busy and stressing me out, but is satisfying too. Nothing has really worked out yet, but I am keeping my fingers crossed. I hope things take off in this area soon! Wish me luck, will you? But then, a work life and healthy living just don’t seem to go together for me. That is one reason I quit work before Bubboo was born. I hope I find a balance now.
~ I feel old, too. The attempts at getting back to work that I told you about? They have been making me realise that I am no longer a young woman who can give her all to work, who can commute to office any which way, who doesn’t have to really worry about who will cook her dinner, who doesn’t think twice before logging in to work from home, who doesn’t have to leave home with worries about her baby, separation anxiety, and guilt at having fobbed her baby on her ageing parents in her mind. Sigh! Then, there is my body telling me it cannot take work stress, work B.S., long commutes, sleeplessness, and junk food like it used to earlier. :( Steadily working mothers, I salute you!
~ Bubboo is getting naughtier than ever before. She needs to be kept an eye on every second. I lose count of the number of times she tries to stand without support in a day, falls, hurts herself, cries her heart out, and needs to be comforted immediately. It is overwhelming, not to mention tiring. I dread what will happen once she starts walking! I have forgotten how to eat a relaxed meal or sink into a book. My concentration is shot to pieces. Gah!
~ Remember I told you about some things that affected me deeply this Independence Day? Post that, the OH and I have been striving to banish as much processed food and chemicals from our life as possible. We have been experimenting with a lot of organic stuff, some of which is working out for us and some plainly isn’t. More about that some time later.
~ Bubboo is turning one this month!! I must have been crazy to have committed to making the decorations for her birthday party – and some invitations – at home, all by myself. I wanted to do my bit for my baby, and it is now driving me nuts. Absolutely nothing has been done yet. There are a lot of plans to be made, a lot of errands to be run, and a lot many tasks to be finished.
Tell me all will be well in the end, will ya? And I could do with some virtual hugs, too! :)
Food trucks are all the rage in Bangalore these days. If you have been looking around, I am sure you would have noticed the increasing numbers of food trucks in the city – like S.W.A.T., Square Ruth, Ya Habibi, Gypsy Kitchen, The Great Indian Bhukkad, and The Spitfire BBQ Truck, to name a few. The Lalit’s The Lalit Food Truck Company is a new entrant in this arena.
The OH and I were recently running some errands in HSR Layout when we noticed the swanky red-and-yellow Lalit truck. At first, we were not sure if it was a van carrying food supplies to the Lalit – Bangalore or a food truck. We, the ever-curious cats, decided to find out – rather, I dragged the OH to the van to find out. It did turn out to be a food truck that had some delicious items on the menu. I was hungry already, and the menu made my mouth water. We HAD to try the food out – come on, it was THE Lalit’s truck!
Apparently, the truck comes in every evening at around 6.30 PM, near NIFT at HSR Layout. There is a fixed menu every day, mostly consisting of Mexican grab-and-go food, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Most everything is priced between Rs. 120 and Rs. 200. The truck is an initiative by Lalit that began in Bangalore just about a month ago, and then in Mumbai. There are plans to expand to other cities, too – Srinagar, Goa, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Khajuraho, and Udaipur, for example.
We ordered a Crispy Tacos and a Double-Decker Nachos & Cheese Burger, from the vegetarian part of the menu. It was exciting to see our food being prepared on the truck, in front of us. :) Yes, we are kids that way! The food was served on paper plates that were super easy to carry around and eat from on the street.
We found the tacos strictly okay, and not as great as we had expected them to be. The burger tasted good, and I liked it, though I felt that it was not ‘foodgasmic’, if you get what I mean.
Quantity-wise, I felt one dish was good enough for one person, as a snack. The rates were okay, too. Hygiene was well-maintained, thankfully. The staff was perky and friendly, which is always good when you eat out, I say.
I have had food from the back of a Maruti van at Law Garden, Ahmedabad – food cooked elsewhere, brought to the venue in the van, reheated on a portable gas stove, and served in tinfoil containers. This was my first brush with a proper food truck, a cool, happening food truck, that is. The ‘novelty’ factor of the experience was quite high for me. (The OH, Zen aatma that he is, remains unaffected by such things, in spite of the fact that he has never eaten at a food truck before, either. :P )
I am sure we will be going back to this place again, to try out the other items on the menu.
Years ago, we got home a king-sized bed. Not even a queen-sized one, mind, but a king-sized one.
When it was time to choose a bed for our home, we chose a huge one so that it could comfortably accommodate the baby (when it arrived!), baby’s Amma, and baby’s Appa.
The situation today is that the king-sized bed is good enough only for Madame Bubboo. Either the OH or I sleep in whatever little space is left over after Madame sleeps, curled like a pretzel, hanging on for dear life. The other one of us – either the OH or I – have resorted to sleeping in the spare bed, pulled over on the floor. The OH and I take turns at this game.
Whoever sleeps with Bubboo is treated to a full night of kick-boxing, for free. They also have the privilege of patting her when she wakes up in the night (which is at least twice, daily), feeding her, and rocking her back to sleep. The other one wakes up and helps out in the entire process. No one has the privilege of complaining of sleep deprivation – it is a given in our household for the last one year.
Babies are tiny, yes, but the space they take up in bed is inversely proportional to their size. If you are planning for a baby, do keep this very crucial fact in mind, will you? Bracing yourself for a lot of kicks and punches on every part of your body well in advance will go a long way, too. Oh, and the strength babies pack in into their kick-boxing moves is inversely proportional to their size, as well.