Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pizza Hut’s Tuscani Pizza = EpicFail

As much as the advertisement titillates, the product undoes it! Pizza Hut’s Tuscani Pizza was a classic case of much-ado-about-nothing! Xperia X2 ImagesWe’re Dominoes loyalist, but the Tuscani Pizza ad had me! The Pizza Hut at Madhapur (Hyderabad) was jam packed and though it instantly put us off, we decided to still hang on for the sake of the Tuscani. After much waiting it finally did arrive and broke my heart the moment I saw it! The pizza looked shrivelled and malnutritioned and a bite down I was convinced, it’s at best a pizza wannabe. The only saving grace was the crispy borderline. And the smoked onion flavour, in the one we ordered, made me somehow gulp it down. All that glitters need not necessarily be gold, that is! Dominoes Cheese burst Meatzaa…here we come!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The tastiest meat

Pork is not PIG for gods sake! At least that’s what I would like you to believe in case you are a pork-hater and have landed on this blog per chance. I rate it the tastiest of all meat - buy that from me! I know its aficionados will be nodding earnestly in agreement. But as fate would have it, the man in my life from Mars, loathes pork – like he does Fish and Seafood and all exotic cuisine – just about EVERYTHING that makes my tongue drop out. So I do not cook pork or any of those not-tried-before cuisine unless there’s someone home I can truly share the gourmet’s kicks and nirvana with…like Ju, for example.

Jyotsna Kalita is my ex-roomie turn sister and she, along with her husband, are North East (NE) Indian cuisine experts. Her post-card sized kitchen (in Mumbai) is a treasure trove of the most exquisite ingredients from the kitchens of NE…dry fish, smoked pork, khar, bhoot jolokia, khorisa (grated bamboo shoot), kasundi (mustard paste), are the mouthful I can instantly recall. And this new year’s eve she treated me to one of the best pork concoctions I have ever had. Over to the ingredients and then the final product…

IMG_8855 Smoked pork IMG_8856

Meseka tenga (Hibiscus sabdariffa) to add a dash of sourness to the dish. It is a commonly used in Assam as sour-up dals (lentils). As a kid I would love the sweet-n-sour Meseka tenga jellies that my Mahi (aunt) would make. I am planning to import a plant for my pot garden. 


The celebrated Bhoot Jolokia aka Ghost Chilly aka the Naga Jolokia, reportedly the HOTTEST chilly in the WORLD - 401.5 times hotter than Tabasco sauce.


Bamboo shoot – another signature Assamese ingredient – popular in many Oriental kitchens


Dried peel of Hatkora nemu – a type of lemon endemic to hilly regions of NE – known for its strong fragrance.


One after the other all of it went into that pan (salt to taste, of course) to be boiled till dried. Just to jazz up things, she also added a table spoonful of powdered til (sesame / black).

The end-product was lip and finger licking, soul quenching…OK, it was awesome!  

The last time I truly savoured a pork recipe was at Coorg. To my surprise, pork is one of the non-veg staples of the Kodavas (Coorgi locals) and the one I had was cooked with black chana and an overdose (not being the spice fan) of pepper and garlic. I was down with cold and it was like the miracle drug. (Here’s Coorg Photo Blog:

As it might appear, pork is not really The Assamese staple meat per se. In fact, it’s never cooked at my home and I did not quite “discover it” till I joined college and lived in a hostel in Guwahati. As a gourmet delight, it wouldn’t be wrong to state that it’s still picking pace in the kitchens of Assam. 

Thank God I am a foodie – happiness comes in a platter :) 


Ann Dee

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Retaurant Review: Rosang - Delhi's slice of NE!!

(NOTE: The previous review was what I wrote for my India Syndicate test, here's the honest, no-frills-attached one)
To be a pork-infatuate Delhiite with a North-East (NE) connection and not to have discovered "Rosang" means you’re incredibly uninformed and need to do something about your General Knowledge. And before you are discovered and muted, read what follows. Those who lack patience with words, may rush to the end, check the address and sniff it down this weekend – now, that I have already mentioned "pork" and “Restaurant”! However, shoved in the basement of the oh-so-cramped Munirka market of South Delhi, you have to be dog-trained to do that. The address should help and if it doesn’t, stop any passerby with an Oriental look (Munirka is studded with them) and you know what to ask!
Run by a humble Manipuri couple, Rosang (named after their son) is a post-card sized eating hole whose menu reads some of the most-loved culinary delights from the kitchens of North East India – with Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachali cuisine as the menu dominants. Not just that, you also have the choice of teaming your platter with the regular Oriental darlings like Momos, Thukpas and Chowmein. The NE section on the menu might leave you stuttering, so I suggest you consult with the waiter or buy my recommendations (please remember I have a ‘tongue’ for exotic food). NE cuisine has a lot of fermented, odorous stuff that might make you see “mustard flowers” (translation of an Assamese expression, meaning “faint”). For example, I ordered for a fermented Mizo Pork dish called Bai and in two gulps I felt I would pass out. Please don’t be repulsed, consider it a reminder - ‘exotic’ need not necessarily mean ‘tasty’.
The not-too-daring ones (like me) can safely try – Sohchiar (Mizo khichdee with shredded, crisp pork/beef), Shay Pally (North Indian gujjia-like, fried maida dumplings stuffed with pork/beef), Ironba (dry fish chutney/had with rice), Akhuni (fermented beans served with raja mircha/had with rice), Tibetan Tea (now, do not expect Yak milk at Munirka) or order for an authentic Pork/Beef Thali with the menu basics.
After you have belched and rubbed your belly, wind up with the traditional Shillong kwai (betel nut) with the desi paan. It might leave your ears red and throbbing, but that is exactly the kick to expect! And you’d love it!
During my stay in those quarters of the city, I became a Sochiar and Tibetan tea infatuate – great taste, less-oily and that small meal for just Rs.20 was a bet I couldn’t have had elsewhere. But hygiene-freaks might want to shoot me for tempting you with North-East cuisine at Rosang. Not that I’m a total hygiene-dunce just that I have set my priorities a little differently – culinary pleasure come before all hygiene of the world. And since I do not remember puking or rushing home to ‘unload’ after hogging at Rosang, and have been promoting it sans qualms for all these years (this one has gone to the I.S. test, my Tribune Column and of course it'd sit here in my blog).
So, what if the A/C is a little people-shy and non-Airtel users go network-less during their brief repasts (Rosang being in the basement) – the taste, the rates (dirt cheap) and the fact that you will get this food nowhere else in Delhi – makes it worthwhile! If that matters............
Address:- 138 A/5, Rama Market, Behind MCD Park, Munirka Village, Delhi - 67. Ph. No: 9811423552, 9811501052
Please Note:
1) Did you know: Paan-tamul (betel nut) is a traditional mouth-freshener in the North East region, served post meals and to welcome guests. They make your tongue slothful, just like the Assamese khar, and is totally discouraged for regular use or you might have problems pronouncing words like “Chacha”...if you know what I mean.
2) The owner also has a pork/beef (fine quality) shop and a beauty parlour in the same complex.
After thought:
I shifted base and am settled in Hyderabad for almost a year now and every time I look back, Rosang appears amongst the things I miss most about Delhi. During my last visit to Delhi (in August)the owner (ah! I don't remember his name) accorded me a hearty welcome and carefully extracted a piece of newspaper from his drawer with his restaurant's review and my name on it (the Tribune publication). He said at least three visitors came searching for his restaurant with such copies....I was so touched!!! So was he and this time he didn't accept a penny...instead packed some fine Manipuri dry fish chutney (hot and delicious) and Pork for me!