RockMe Burgers in Chiang Mai

It all started by reading a blog on food joints in Chiang Mai, prior to our departure for this beautiful city in Northern Thailand. Apart from the super local food, I chanced upon this particular writeup featuring the best burgers in town. Just by seeing the pics, I was all set to dive into a meaty & cheesy concoction, made famous by all travelers to this small but happening restaurant.

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Located on Loi Kroh Road, the nightlife paradise of Chiang Mai, this Restobar is located below the Raming Lodge Hotel. We chose to stay there as well as the hotel’s breakfast was being catered to by Rock Me Burgers (how convenient). Having spent the first two days roaming around sampling local fare and walking a lot to build up a massive hunger (and to lose some weight as well), we decided to hit the joint on a Friday afternoon. The interiors of the joint made us even hungrier as all we read and saw were food related information and pictures. The menu card is expansive and has options of meat and vegetarian burgers so, all my veggie friends.. fear not.. enjoy !

IMG-20180819-WA0029I ordered a massive beef burger and to my expectations.. it was MASSIVE.. my friends ordered other varieties including one in seafood which came in a coconut shell. The quality of the burgers is superb and portions enough for 2 to a plate.

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Ice tea and a few beers later, most of us were struggling to walk as half a ton of burger inside each one of us did make us sleepy as hell. Over the next few days, we did visit the joint again, and enjoyed every bit of the bite.

Next time in Chiang Mai.. its RockMe all the way

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Location & Other Detail credits: Chiang Mai Food Critic

At a Glance

Lots of seating. Fun counter bar outside. Air conditioned inside. Excellent burgers. Sandwiches include french fries. Reasonable prices. Credit cards accepted.

Prices

Drinks: Water: 30 baht/Heineken, San Miguel: 80 baht/Singha, Leo: 70 baht/Chang: 60 baht

Food:

Original Burger: 160 baht/Classic Hotdog: 130 baht

Food Taste: If you’re looking for a delicious burger in Chiang Mai, this is the place to go! They also offer hotdogs, fries, onion rings, milkshakes, and more. Everything is excellent!

Atmosphere: There is indoor/outdoor seating. Indoor is air-conditioned. Outdoor has a long bar along Loi Kroh Road with a fun atmosphere, and you can watch the cooks grill the burgers. 80’s rock plays throughout the restaurant.

Cleanliness: The restaurant is part of Raming Lodge, so it is pretty clean.

Service: Great! The staff speaks American English and serves with a smile.

 

Address:

17-19 Loi Kroh Road, Chiang Mai 50100, ThailandPhone: 089-852-8801 / Facebook:Rock Me Burgers & Bar on Facebook

Hours: 11:30 – 24:00 Everyday

Florence’s “cucina povera” is deliciously rich

“Oh, my poor darlings,” cries the proprietor at Da Nerbone, a butchers’ stand in the heart of the San Lorenzo Market in Florence. “You’ve been waiting for such a very long time.”

Tara Isabella Burton

Blog by Tara Isabella Burton- Travel Writer

He shoots me a wink. Da Narbone is one of the most famous purveyors of Florence’s famed lampredotto: tender, broth-infused tripe made from the fourth stomach of a cow.

On this spring afternoon, the lines – an equal number of suitcase-toting tourists en route to the nearby train station and agitated locals – snake out the market door for this classic example of cucina povera(“kitchen of the poor”): traditional Florentine peasant cuisine now reimagined as the paragon of local Florentine fare.

Despite the hordes of tourists, Da Nerbone has never raised its prices; for around 5 euro, I get a crusty rose-shaped bun moistened with broth, several forkfuls of sizzling lampredotto, and a piquant chilli sauce. I eat it walking out of the marketplace, elbowing past so many other tourists, workers, stall-sellers of Florentine leather and Chinese toys.

My lips burn from the peperoncino – but boy, it’s worth it.

Above article reposted from TRVL.com 

OUT-Ventures Dope : 

What is Cucina Povera?

“Cucina Povera”, which essentially means “peasant food” (literally “poor cooking” or “poor kitchen”) are mostly always made using super simple recipes, containing a minimal of ingredients. Usually, the products and seasonal and locally grown. As you would probably guess, those ingredients must be the best quality. There’s nothing to hide the lack of flavor otherwise.

Cucina povera recipes are the antitheses of American “Italian” chain restaurant’s dishes. If you enjoy this type of  menu, that’s totally fine, just know that there is essentially nothing on it that is truly Italian.

dishes of food at Il Contadino cucina povera recipes

Traditional Italian food is not smothered in sauces, tons of cheese and/or “lots of herbs and spices”. Those are American concoctions. Authentic Italian dishes are mostly light, include lots of vegetables, very little cheese (even on pizza) and are very healthy/nutritious.

If you wish to know more on Cucina Povera recipes, please visit :
https://www.christinascucina.com

Time to Wine Down!

The range and variety of wines that are available these days, allows you a choice for all occasions. From Reds to White, Sparkling to Dessert wines, we are spoilt for choice. A simple barbecue to a formal wedding party or that lazy Sunday at home with friends, having to choose from your favourites can be quite a task. So here’s a list of some major grape varieties and their common characteristics which will help you choose your favourite wine for your next party…

Wine! Because no great story started with someone eating a salad!

Benjamin Franklin once famously declared that wine is “constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.”

Without a doubt, wine is one of the most beloved beverages of all time. It has been hypothesized that early humans climbed trees to pick berries, liked their sugary flavour, and then begun collecting them. After a few days with fermentation setting in, juice at the bottom of any container would begin producing low-alcohol wine. According to this theory, things changed around 10,000-8000 BC with the transition from a nomadic to a sedentism style of living, which led to agriculture and wine domestication.

Wine has long played an important role in religion. Red wine was associated with blood by the ancient Egyptians and was used by both the Greek cult of Dionysus and the Romans in their Bacchanalia; Judaism also incorporates it in the Kiddush and Christianity in the Eucharist.

The first known mention of grape-based wines in India is from the late 4th-century BC writings of Chanakya, the chief minister of Emperor Chandragupta Maurya. In his writings, Chanakya condemns the use of alcohol while chronicling the emperor and his court’s frequent indulgence of a style of wine known as “madhu”.

WHICH WINE SHOULD I CHOOSE?

The range and variety of wines that are available these days, allows you a choice for all occasions. From Reds to White, Sparkling to Dessert wines, we are spoilt for choice. A simple barbecue to a formal wedding party or that lazy Sunday at home with friends, having to choose from your favourites can be quite a task. So here’s a list of some major grape varieties and their common characteristics which will help you choose your favourite wine for your next party:

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White Wine grape Varieties:

1. Chardonnay (Shar-doh-nay):

The king of the white grapes- Chardonnay is one of the most popular grape varieties and you will find its name on many labels. Each winery produces its own individual style based on differing fermentation techniques and use of oak barrels to age the wine. Some winemakers prefer not to use oak aging at all (often identified on the label as “unoaked”).

Unoaked Chardonnay Tasting notes:
Dry to slightly off-dry, light to medium bodied, crisp, clean and refreshing. Fruit aromas and flavours include apple, pear, citrus and tropical fruits.

Oaked Chardonnay Tasting notes:
Dry, medium to full-bodied, slightly rich, lightly refreshing to buttery smooth. The bouquet and flavours may include ripe apple, pear, pineapple, melon, fig, oak, spice, vanilla, nut, butter, cream, honey and coffee bean.

2. Riesling (Reez-ling):

Riesling, one of the finest grapes in the world, is able to retain its acidity as it ripens, and is produced in styles ranging from bone dry to honey sweet. If Chardonnay is the king of the white grapes, then surely Riesling must be queen.

Riesling Tasting notes:
Bone dry to sweet, light and delicate to fresh and clean to rich and oily with age. Aromas and flavours of peach, apricot, citrus, tropical, floral, mineral, and steely.

3. Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris (Pea-no Gree-gee-o or Pea-no Gree):

Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are the same grape, but stylistically different. Pinot Grigio is a lighter more refreshing style of wine, while Pinot Gris is often a gently perfumed, medium body, slightly rich wine and a typically slightly deeper in colour than most whites

Pinot Grigio Tasting notes:
Dry, light-bodied, refreshing and lively. Green Apple, delicate pear and citrus aromas and flavours.

Pinot Gris Tasting notes:
Dry, medium-bodied, slightly rich and smooth. Aromas and flavours of delicate perfume, melon, pear and spice.

4. Sauvignon Blanc (So-vee-n’yohn Blahn):

If a wine could be referred to as “green” this would be the grape. An aromatic varietal with recognizable “green” aromas.

Sauvignon Blanc Tasting notes:
Dry, light to medium body, with refreshing acidity. Noted for its aroma of grass, gooseberry, bell pepper, asparagus, citrus, herbaceous tones, even tropical fruit, melon and passion fruit in riper styles.

5. Gewurztraminer (Gah-vurts-trah-meener):

Gewurz means perfumed or spicy in German, and traminer is a reference to the town of Tramin in the Italian Tyrol region, where the variety originated.

Gewurztraminer Tasting notes:
Dry, to off-dry, medium-bodied, smooth and slightly rich. Distinctive aromas and flavours of Lychee, fruit, rose petals, rose water, tropical fruit, spice and perfume.

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Red Wine grape Varieties:

1. Cabernet Sauvignon (Cab-air-nay So-vee-n’yohn):

The king of red grapes. A full-bodied, dry red wine, usually aged for many years in oak barrels. Often blended with Cabernet Franc and Merlot.

Cabernet Sauvignon Tasting notes:
Extra-Dry to dry, medium to full-bodied, often aggressive in youth and silky when aged. Bouquet and flavours consisting of Black currant, black pepper, spice, strawberry, oak, cedar, violet and chocolate.

2. Cabernet Franc (Cab-air-nay Frahn):

Rich, expressive flavour, Cabernet Franc is usually blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Cabernet Franc Tasting notes:
Extra-Dry to dry, medium to full-bodied, smooth and fresh to seriously rich with aggressive tannins in youth. Bouquet and flavours of red and black fruit, spice, oak, green pepper, dried leaves, olives, tobacco, earth and herbaceous notes.

3. Merlot (Mair-lo):

Silky with fruity flavours, Merlot is sometimes blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc to soften the muscle of Cabernet. Mellow, seductive and a much-loved varietal.

Merlot Tasting notes:
Dry, light to medium-bodied, silky and smooth, slightly rich. Expect a bouquet and flavours of plums, red berries, blueberry and spice.

4. Shiraz/ Syrah (shee-rahz/ see-rah):

Oak aged for many months, Shiraz exhibits rich, ripe fruit character with a soft, plush mouth-feel, whereas Syrah is extra-dry with youthful tannins, moderate acidity and notes of wood, and red and black fruit.

Shiraz Tasting notes:
Dry, rich, smooth, full-bodied, with almost sweet, ripe fruit flavours and hints of chocolate.

Syrah Tasting notes:
Extra-dry to dry, medium to full-bodied. A bouquet and flavours of spice, black pepper, oak, earth, red and black fruits.

So go ahead, pour a wine that encourages heartfelt conversations and laughter because it is said that You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy wine & that’s kind of the same thing!”

Please get in touch with us for personalised wine tours on the email id below.

Email: wanderers.outventures@gmail.com

 

Mock pecan pie recipe – a baking challenge with a difference — My Custard Pie

Can you walk past a second-hand book shop without going in? I certainly can’t, and I generally leave with an ancient, well-thumbed cookbook in hand. These days ‘ancient’ means pre-1980’s and I’m drawn to those with lurid, colour plates of weirdly jellied concoctions or domed things with whipped cream, garnishes of rose radishes, and recipes […]

via Mock pecan pie recipe – a baking challenge with a difference — My Custard Pie

Romancing the Hilsa

When the scorching heat of the Indian summer finally bids adieu, the curtain is lifted to usher in the most prominent and long lasting season of our country – the monsoon. The quality of life in every season is shaped by a variety of factors – food, being a very important one.

I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to hail from that part of the country which can boast of a rich cultural and social heritage – Bengal or Bangla, if we go by the most recent nomenclature. Food is the undisputed hero of every Bengali’s life, and I am no exception. An undiluted Bengali (Khaanti Bangali) mind would wake up thinking about what to have for breakfast, gradually proceed to the lunch menu, followed by the snacks to be relished with a cup of steaming, hot tea and finally, the food that would be served for dinner and wrapping up the entire thought process by dreaming about food in sleep as well. While this may be quite difficult to digest under normal circumstances, this is nothing new for a Bengali – in fact, it is quite normal and mundane for a Bengali psyche. We eat, drink and breathe food – of all kinds and types.

Growing up in Kolkata in a typically Bengali household exposed me to different facets of Bengali life and culture and hardly a day went by when fish (sometimes more than one kind) was not served in my house. Occasional trips to the fish market with my grandfather during my childhood helped me get acquainted with the finer nuances of understanding this staple food of almost every Bengali household and it stands me in good stead now when I go to the market to buy fish.

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Pic Courtesy: Scratching Canvas

When I sat down to write, I thought of sharing my thoughts with you about a very special food without which the Bengali life is incomplete – the Hilsa or the Ilish as we fondly call it. The hallmark of monsoon in Bengal is the abundant presence of this amazing fish in almost every corner of the fish market.  The glistening, silvery outer coat seems to draw one like a magnet towards it and every time even now I end up making a big hole in my pocket and becoming the proud owner of a good quality Ilish Maachh.

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Pic Courtesy: Brahmaputra Tumblr

The day there is Hilsa in the kitchen, I feel specially inspired to use my culinary skills to the best of their abilities. Time tested recipes inherited from Ma are always there to guide me the right way. We Bengalis have innumerable preparations of Ilish – fried Hilsa (Ilish maach bhaja), steamed Hilsa (Bhapa Ilish), Doi Ilish (Hilsa cooked in curd gravy), Ilish maachher Paturi being my personal favourites. Needless to say, mustard oil acts as the perfect cooking medium. The very mention of Ilish Maachher Paturi makes me nostalgic – it conjures up in my mind an image of a succulent piece of Ilish, brushed with mustard oil, turmeric and smeared with a combination of mustard and green chillies paste, enveloped in a clean banana leaf and steamed to perfection – a heady concoction indeed. When this perfect piece of culinary delight is gradually unveiled on the dinner plate, the heavenly aroma that greets us is indeed an unforgettable experience – a must try for every fish lover. As far as I remember, Paturi was reserved for special occasions, usually for formal lunches and dinners. It was mostly the regular Ilish Maachher jhol (the typical Bengali fish curry) and Ilish maachh bhaja ( Hilsa deep fried in mustard oil) along with Khichudi ( khichdi as we know it) especially on rainy days.

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Pic Courtesy : peekbook.com

It is a well-known fact that fish holds a very special place in the life of a Bengali in more ways than one. Bengali marriage rituals are incomplete without fish. A typical Bengali monsoon wedding usually has Hilsa as the main ingredient of Tattwa (gift) which is sent from the groom’s house to that of the bride.

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I remember during my childhood, some of my friends’ families observed the ritual of having Joda Ilish (a pair of Hilsa) on the occasion of Saraswati Puja held on Basant Panchami as it was considered very auspicious.

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Pic Courtesy: Sutapa’s Kitchen Cuisine, Kolkata

Apart from Bengal, Hilsa is also available in other parts of India and its neighbouring areas but I feel the deep connection that the Bengalis (of both Bengal and Bangladesh) have with the fish, is the stuff romantic tales are made of.

For those who are particularly conscious about their health, I would like to say that the Hilsa is a very oily fish rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and requires very less oil for cooking. It is truly a very dynamic fish – one of its kind. Every noble path is beset with difficulties and learning to overcome those hurdles makes the journey memorable. My experience with the ‘Queen of all fishes’ have also been something like that. This extremely delicious fish is accompanied by very fine and sharp bones, making it quite cumbersome for some to deal with it. Luckily for me, I have been well initiated in that process right from my childhood.

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Pic Courtesy : peekbook.com

 

I feel that the deep bond that we Bengalis share with Hilsa transcends generations. I see my daughter enjoying the fish with the same degree of enthusiasm and happiness which makes all my efforts, love and care in preparing it truly worthwhile. The availability of fresh Hilsa is confined to the rainy season here and being considerably heavier on the pocket has made this fish a luxury item – saving it for special occasions mostly. Our culinary tastes have evolved with time but our love for this royal fish continues unabated, transcending age, tastes and preferences. Hilsa or Ilish, as we call it, will always hold a special place in our hearts. It truly defines a pucca Bengali like me and so many of my fellow Bengalis.

The World in My Soup!

THE WORLD IN MY SOUP!

The word soup always takes us back to wintry chill of an evening spent on a holiday, those rainy afternoons, or just remainder of the homemade tomatoey “maa ke hath ka soup” nurturing a bad cold. Whatever the reason, a bowl of piping hot soup is all about nostalgia, where only one word defines it, that it is “COMFORTING”.

Soup, according to the dictionary, is a liquid food derived from meat, poultry, fish or vegetables. This definition is alright as far as it goes, but there is a lot that it doesn’t tell us. Is a stock, straight from the stockpot, a soup? Is beef stew liquid enough to be called a soup? Stock and broth are very similar: water simmered with meat and/or bones, and usually some vegetables and aromatic herbs, then strained. (Though in the case of vegetable broth, meat is not used.) They’re both utilized as a base for soups, sauces and gravies. And, truth be told, some chefs use the words interchangeably.

Evidence of the existence of soup can be found as far back as about 20,000 BC. Boiling was not a common cooking technique until the invention of waterproof containers (which probably came in the form of clay vessels). Animal hides and watertight baskets of bark or reeds were used before this. To boil the water hot rocks were used.

In 1975, a Parisian named Boulanger began advertising on his shop sign that he served soups, which he called restaurants or restoratives. (Literally, the word means “fortifying”.) It was an antidote to physical exhaustion.

The word soup comes from the French soupe (“soup”, “broth”), which comes through Latin suppa (“bread soaked in broth”), from a Germanic source, from which also comes the word “sop”, a piece of bread used to soak up soup or a thick stew. Indians are more fascinated with the Chinese varieties — hot and sour, sweet corn or Manchow. But the plain dal or sambhar or thukpa also fall under the soup category.

The popularity of soups today may be due to increased nutrition consciousness, to a desire for simpler or lighter meals, or to an increased appreciation of how appetising and satisfying soups can be.

Here are a few of my top picks of noodle soups from around the world…

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Pic Courtesy: postmates.com

1) Pho, Vietnam

Pho is to the Vietnamese what pasta is to the Italians. In cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, you’ll find locals slurping up steaming bowls of this noodle soup, every hour of every day. The dish is made of a beef or chicken broth, linguine-shaped rice noodles and a host of spices including ginger, star anise, and coriander seeds. The best part of a bowl of pho are the garnishes, which turn it into a kind of ‘build your own’ meal: Fish sauce, hoisin sauce, Thai basil, cilantro, mint, scallions, chillies, bean sprouts, and lots and lots of fresh lime.

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Pic Courtesy: pinterest.com

2) Laksa, Malaysia or Singapore

One of the most enticing things about laksa is its unmistakable bold orange colour. This curry-based noodle soup, which uses vermicelli rice noodles, usually has a coconut or tamarind (known as asem laksa) base and is utterly delicious when served with shrimp. The dish can be found across Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore.

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Pic Courtesy: istockphoto.com

3) Ramen, Japan

This flavourful bowl of soup and noodles has become so popular around the world that almost every Asian-style restaurant now has a take on it. But even when it comes to traditional ramen there are many, many variations—whether its shio (meaning ‘salt’) ramen or the shoyu (meaning ‘soy sauce’) version.

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Pic Courtesy: lostrecipesfound.com

4) Ash Reshteh, Iran

This thick and hearty Persian soup is real comfort food, ideal for winter. Made from linguine-shaped reshteh noodles, khask (Persian whey like sour cream) and a variety of wholesome ingredients including spinach, lentils, chick peas, turmeric, and parsley, this vegetarian soup is brimming with flavor. The soup’s noodles are believed to bring good fortune, which is why this dish is often eaten before the Persian New Year, Norouz. Ash reshteh is incredibly common in Persian cuisine and it’s likely you’ll find people pouring out of soup cafeterias or local eateries during their lunch break, slurping up bowls of vegetable goodness.

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Pic Courtesy: picturetherecipe.com

5) Khow suey, Burma

In Burmese cuisine, Khow suey, is a noodle dish that comes from the mountainous Shan state. It is a one-dish soup meal made of egg noodles and curried beef or chicken with coconut milk, served with a variety of contrasting condiments.

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Pic Courtesy: www.vegansandra.com

6) Thukpa, Tibet

Thukpa is a common Tibetan noodle soup which originated in east Tibet. This healthy noodle soup originally comprises of homemade hand pulled noodles and winter vegetables.

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Pic Courtesy: cocina-casera.com

7) Sopa De Fideos, Mexican

A traditional Mexican tomato soup with noodles. Perfect for rainy days and whatever ails you!

Hope you enjoyed reading this post. Do leave your comments. Cheers!

7 Coffee Beans in a Beard – Origins of Indian Coffee

Coffee! Don’t we all love a good cuppa… 

It is the world’s most tried and tested conversation starter… an incredible beverage that starts off the day for millions of people around the world. It not only gets our creative juices going but, is synonymous with every professional break and, is the spark of every romance that begins in a cozy café around the corner.

But what do I really know about this much loved beverage? Where did it come from? And how did it land up in my mug? So I decided to look into the history of my brew, and how and where it grew… turns out the story of how coffee came to India is as interesting as the conversations it helps start…

According to the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, the earliest history of coffee growing can be traced back to 875 AD. The origin of the source is attributed to Ethiopia (then Abyssinia) from where it travelled to Arabia (Yemen) in the 15th century. In the Indian context, the history and origin of coffee dates back to around 1600 AD.

The story goes…

Baba Budan, a 17th century Sufi saint from India, went on a pilgrimage to Mecca. On the way back to his homeland, he came across a dark sweet liquid called Quahwa being served to other guests like him while in Mocha, a port city of Yemen that overlooks the Red Sea. This is where he first tasted coffee. He enjoyed the drink and thought of it as quite refreshing.

Besides being a trading hub for coffee, Mocha was also the source of the popular Mocha coffee beans. The Arabs knew coffee was unique and were extremely protective about their coffee industry. In those days, coffee was exported to other parts of the world in roasted or baked form so that no one could grow their own. It was considered an illegal act to carry green coffee seeds out of Arabia.

But Baba Budan was so much in love with the drink that he wanted to bring it back with him. Since he couldn’t carry it, he decided to smuggle it instead. So he took just 7 green coffee seeds and hid them in his beard to avoid having them confiscated on his way back. Since the number seven is a sacrosanct number in Islamic religion, the saint’s act of carrying seven coffee beans was considered a religious act. And that’s how the first 7 seeds of coffee made their way to India from Mocha to Mysore – in the beard of the courageous Sufi saint.

After returning from his pilgrimage, Baba Budan planted the Seven Seeds of Coffee in the courtyard of his hermitage in Chikmagalur, Karnataka and that became the birthplace and origin of coffee in India. The coffee plants gradually spread as backyard plantings, and later on to the surrounding Chandangiri Hills. In order to thank the Sufi saint for his efforts, the kind people of Chikmagalur named this entire mountain range as Baba Budan Giri (‘Giri’ meaning hill) in his honour. It includes the highest peaks of Karnataka. Filled with coffee plantations and estates that seem to go on forever, today Chikmagalur is also known as the Coffee Country. The 7 coffee beans planted by Baba Budan were of the Arabica coffee variety, which is today the second most cultivated coffee bean in India after Robusta, which is a modified, more climate sturdy variety of Arabica.

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Commercial plantations of coffee started in India during the 18th century. Coffee cultivation grew and thrived in India during the British rule and beyond. The Dutch began to grow coffee in the Malabar region. The Arabica coffee plantations were setup across the hilly regions in South India, where the climatic conditions were apt for growing coffee. Most of this area is concentrated in the southern states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Since then, Indian coffee has grown into a multi-million dollar industry and has earned a distinct identity on the coffee map of the world. Here are a few awesome facts…

  • India is the only country in the world where all coffees are grown under a ‘well-defined two-tier shade canopy of evergreen leguminous trees’.
  • India is today home to 16 unique varieties of coffees
  • India has 13 distinct coffee growing regions, most of them in the southern part of the country.
  • India’s coffee regions are one of the 25 biodiversity hotspots in the world.
  • Robusta & Arabica are the most widely grown varieties in the regions.
  • India produces more than 316,000 metric tonnes of coffee per year, of which the Robusta variety accounts for 70%, while the Arabica accounts for 30% of total produce.
  • India is the seventh largest producer of coffee in the world; after Brazil, Vietnam, Columbia, Indonesia, Ethiopia and Honduras.
  • Indian coffee is exported to more than 45 countries… Italy being the largest importer, followed by Germany, the Russian Federation, Belgium and Turkey.
six white ceramic mugs
The different varieties of Indian coffees are well suited for cappuccinos and espressos alike and have no parallel in any other coffee growing nation globally.

The different varieties of Indian coffees are well suited for cappuccinos and espressos alike and have no parallel in any other coffee growing nation globally.  These awesome facts about the Indian coffee plantations have definitely managed to stir up a warm and sweet sense of pride within me.

So the next time you pour yourself a hot cuppa coffee maybe you’ll appreciate it a little bit more than you usually do. Hope you enjoyed reading this post.
Do leave your comments. Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quinoa v/s Indian Millets… An Urban Perspective…

Millets have been the traditional component of the Indian food basket for ages. They have been a huge part of our grandparents’ staple diet; as well as a preferred cultivated crop for Indian farmers. They are a rich source of protein, vitamins, fibre & minerals, making them an ideal & healthy food option. Studies show that a regular consumption of millets can have a beneficial influence on many lifestyle diseases – as they are highly nutritious, gluten free, non-acid forming and are soothing and easy to digest.

glossary millets

 

Inspite of all their benefits, the past few decades saw a decline in their consumption. Reason, urbanisation of the Indian market! Even the earth rotates from west to east but our Indian mindset keeps turning to the West for all latest food trends.

 

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One such trend that took our super markets by storm in the recent years was the entry of many international grains and the star performer of them all was Quinoa. All major supermarkets had isles filled with this super grain and its varieties in the form of chips, biscuits, flours as such and every trendy restaurant had Quinoa preparations featuring in their menus. I too was so taken in by the Quinoa trend myself, that I had literally begged my cousin, who was traveling to Kuala Lumpur on a work trip, to bring back 4 packets of all the different kinds, like white, golden, red variety of as if it was some kind of food treasure.

There’s no doubt that Quinoa is a healthy food option. This Peruvian grain, originated in the Andean region of north-western part of South America. It is gluten-free, rich in protein and contains nine essential amino acids. It is also high in fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants.

Now coming to my question…

Do we really need grains like Quinoa in
our regular diets to stay healthy?

My answer to that is a big NO!

Although Quinoa is very healthy and has numerous benefits, the fact is that like any other imported international grain lands in your shopping basket – first it travels a long period of time to reach our country, then it sits in distribution centers, then on the supermarket shelf from where you purchase it. This long process causes the grain to age considerably. On the other hand, the locally grown Indian grain spends a much shorter time from its harvest to getting your dining table making it less likely for its nutritional value to have decreased. Eating home-grown & local varieties is good for both our environment and the economy.

There’s a common saying, “What grows together goes together!”

Here are a few ideas…

on how Indian millets can make a comeback as an option by choice in our daily dose of urban recipes, and can be used in a creative and modern way to break that mindset that Indian Millets can only be prepared in Indian style of cooking.

Just to get you started here’s a quick and easy recipe of the quintessential modern breakfast pancakes made with apna gaonwala ka Anjeer and Jowar or if you like it to sound more Western…

Date & Fig Sorghum Pancake

date and fig sorgham pancake

Ingredients:

Sorghum Flour          –           200g
Brown Sugar              –           20g
Baking Powder         –           2tsp
Baking Soda              –           1/2tsp
A pinch of salt
Milk                            –           350ml
Chopped dates         –           20g
Chopped dried figs  –           20g

Recipe:

– Blend the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda & salt well and keep aside.

– Pour milk and whisk into the above mixture ensuring no lumps are formed.

– Fold in chopped dried figs and dates.

– Cover & leave to rest for 10 mins.

– Put a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Lightly coating it with ghee or oil.

– Once hot pour a ladle of batter on to the pan and spread slightly.

– Cook each side for 1-2 mins, till golden brown.

– Serve immediately with honey or any other topping of your choice.

Hope you enjoyed my take on Quinoa versus Indian millets keep watching this space for more about the goodness of home grown & local Indian food options. Do leave your comments… Cheers!

 

 

 

 

Living ‘n’ Loving Phuket

Taking a trip across the island of Phuket in Thailand was something I had wanted to do for a very long time. Having done some 20 odd trips across the years, I now fondly consider this jewel of the Andaman, my second hometown. These trips involve potential real estate investors rattling away financial jargon or friends discussing the upcoming bar-hopping night, but the ones where it was just me driving around were the most enjoyable so far.

Travel Tip: Books a Toyota Yaris or another cheaper alternative just one day before landing there. Since the system allots one to you, you will almost always get an upgrade at the counter as the cheapest cars will already be booked (only in a prepaid situation). Talk to agencies like ASAP or Thai Rent-a-Car kind of smaller players as they will go out on a limb to accommodate your requests, unlike the very large brands which don’t really bother if you need any last-minute adjustments.

So, it was the Altis with a 1800CC 1.8VL 16 valve intelligent engine which I was offered. I was driving up the hills of Kathu effortlessly, which on a Yaris felt like being ferried along with a wailing pregnant hog, especially on the climbs.

Though I do own my apartment in Bangtao, an upmarket & expat infested beach area in Phuket, I almost always choose to stay either in Patong or Kata beach areas just for the energy those places bring to you. The bars in expat zones are priced for expats which is exactly what we Indians yearn for. Add some live music to the scene and its akin to Jannat for our desi hearts.

Ok, so apart from my work schedules which usually got over by 3pm or so, I did manage to catch some very local happenings. like Loy Krathong in October last year and the Vegetarian Festival early this year. The Loy Krathong is a prayer offered to the Water Lord to be kind to the crops and keep the nation prosperous always. It’s a complete visual delight to watch beautifully crafted flower arrangements being adorned with colorful candles and being set off into the waters. Some areas like Chiang Mai, up north in Thailand, still allow the lit lanterns to be set off into the sky but the government has realized the safety hazards involved and have decided to ban it in Phuket and surrounding areas.

Now comes my favorite part. The food during the festival. Oh my god, if there was ever a food scarcity in Cambodia or Laos that time of the year, you know where it has all landed up. Fresh seafood, amazing fusion food, deals on drinks everywhere. My favorite has always been the Som Tam Goong, translating to Raw Papaya Salad with Seafood.

 

Depending on how you like your spices or your capacity to handle it, you can get a plate full of aromatic veggies with prawns and squid all over in a spicy sauce that will make you go running towards a Chang or a Tiger beer to wash it down. Romantics are advised to stay away from any PDA (public display of affection) or PLA (post lunch action), as your partner is sure to faint at the over-killing garlicky emotions you would be expressing post such a lunch.

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One of my favorite drives in Phuket is the one from the Airport to Bangtao via Nai Thon beach, avoiding all motorways and through Sirinath National Park, a dense & lush forest where one’s driving skills are tested on every corner. This route demands a stopover at Nai Thon Beach, where the white sands and crystal clear blue water make you feel like surrendering to nature. For those wanting to stay here, there’s upmarket Pullman Resort as well as a very few luxurious serviced apartments here.

Further down towards Bangtao, one would pass Phuket’s most expensive residential zone, namely Trisara Avenue (named after the villas there). The one enters Laguna, a beautifully manicured mega residential and resort zone home to luxurious resorts and smaller residential buildings like the one I own a flat in. Having tracked property prices here for over past 3 years, I have realized that, with upwards of 15% net gains per annum, if there is a place one should invest in the place is Phuket.

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An important tip to remember while driving In Thailand is that honking is severely frowned upon. Our Indian driving license works fine to rent a car as a tourist, but that doesn’t give us the right to blow the horn every two minutes. Lane discipline is quite well adhered to, despite many westerners feeling otherwise. They drive on the same side as us so that makes life simpler. I would highly recommend renting a self-drive car over hiring a tourist vehicle.

You will enjoy the sights more and the flexibility of doing your own thing. If the loud side of Soi Bangla in Patong or the serene beaches of Bangtao and Mai Khao have satiated you enough, take a 3-hour drive to Krabi. Stop by at PhangNga and take a cheap ferry to James Bond island, have some local coffee made by Malaysian immigrants. At 20 baht a cup, iced or hot, it’s the best you will have on the island. Have the ice cream made with fruits on an ice slab. The hot banana or peanut butter pancakes/crepes at a roadside stall. Get a foot massage (while at it, try not falling asleep and snoring). And most importantly take the off-the-beaten roads. Thailand on wheels is one the most beautiful journeys you will take in your life. Enjoy and Khaap Khun Khraap!