Cold Brews by The Flying Squirrel – Artisan Coffee

 It is that time of the year, when some of us may feel “it’s too hot for coffee”! But iced coffee can kick that notion away. If you love coffee in summer , what can be better than an iced coffee?  Cold brew iced coffee ❤

Yes, cold brew coffees – Just what we want for summer. A brewing technique so incredible that you are very likely to get hooked on it all year round.

In lieu of the launch of their cold brew coffees, a few of us coffee lovers in town got invited to The Flying Squirrel Micro-Roastery & Café Bangalore, to learn about the concept of Cold Brewing.

The Flying Squirrel was founded in 2013 by a group of passionate coffee lovers represented by Ashish D’Abreo, Tej Thammaiah – third generation coffee estate owner and coffee connoisseur – and Phalgun Chidanand, entrepreneur and restaurateur. Ashish and Tej, two primary founders, have 15 years combined expertise in the coffee industry. During those years they have greatly expanded their knowledge which includes coffee roasting, barista training, cupping, and blending. The brand primarily retailed online though www.flyingsquirrel.in and supplies coffee to cafes and restaurants across India – as long as they too approach their own offering as artisanal or gourmet.
The cold brew special blend ground coffee

The founders Ashish & Tej shared their start-up story and lead us into the fascinating journey of a coffee bean before it reaches out cup.

 It was wonderful to hear they nurture every coffee plant at the nursery to ensure only the healthiest Arabica & Robusta seedlings are replanted in the estate to grow in patches under heavy shades. It is things like this that enables the brand to know every bean that goes into a cup. They grow their coffee in patches amidst – Citrus, vanilla, spices and a whole of other wild plantations in the estate.

During the harvest, which is usually after 7 months for Arabica & 9-10 months for Robusta, each coffee cherry is carefully handpicked. It is assessed on it’s perfect amount of ripeness, size and colour, and only the best make it into the Picker’s basket.

The beautiful Robusta & Arabica Potted plants
 It is at this stage where the roasters determine the course of action for each coffee cherries in order to yield the best body, aroma and flavour of course.
The beans and the blend

It is also at this stage , where the brand allows customers to customize the coffee to their liking. It starts right here. Depending on the flavour profile we’re looking for from each bean, the freshly handpicked coffee cherries are either pulped, semi-pulped, mildly fermented, sun-dried on brick yards, either whole or washed.

They use their time-tested proprietary profile-roasting curves to extract the desired values of each flavour element (sweetness, bitterness, fruitiness, acidity etc) for each of our variants. 

The Cold Brew coffee blend contains Honey Sun Dried Arabica and some Arabica Peaberry amongst other beans, and uses a medium to medium-light roast coffee, roasted using a unique profile, that delays caramelisation of the bean sugars until the very last few moments of the roast.

Coffee Roasting and Grinding at the Micro-Roastery

In our Brewing – Cupping – Tasting Session, before we got into making our cold brews, we were oriented about how flavours of the same ground coffee differs when brewed differently.

An experiment where the hot and cold brew coffee were compared. We learnt that Cold Brew coffee is up to 60% less acidic than the typical, hot-brewed version. 

Cold brew coffee is when coffee is brewed in cold or room-temperature water for an extended period of time).

Cold brew is an age-old technique of brewing. The first evidence of Cold Brew dates backs to early 1600s , from Kyoto Japan. The Japanese brewing style is more artistic, by brewing drop by drop.

The more popular cold brewing technique now is the immersion and filter. The coffee beans ground to a specific Cold Brew grind size are placed in cold water for about 12 – 14 hours, and then filtered.

The procedure of Cold Brewing

It is best to do a 1:4 ratio for cold brewing. A part ground coffee to 4 parts water ( room temperature or cold) . The filtered brew is then bottled and kept refrigerated (it stays for about 7-8 days)

 

This style of brewing draws out the natural sweetness of the roast perfectly while keeping a check on the acidity and bitterness.

The Cold Brew Blend of coffee is the perfect summer beverage, caffeinated and cold and the coffee blend is specially formulated to make palate-pleasing cold brew at home. It is amazing just by itself. It works really well with different kind of milk and a bit of sweetener of your choice.

While I absolutely loved the cold brew , just by itself , I loved one with coconut milk and one with citrus bloom. We also sampled cold brews with condensed milk , regular milk and with ice cream.

Another interesting coffee we got to try was the Nitro Coffee. A fresh blended espresso which is pumped with nitrogen that is strong & intense in flavor and looks almost like a little shot of frothy stout beer. A great shot of coffee, only for the true blue coffee lovers.

Nitro Coffee
Yes! But then it is coffee!
A glimpse of the bottle and packaging

 I have been cold brewing coffee for more than year now. And you can find one of my cold brew coffee recipes here on my blog. Since I have done this at home, it was wonderful to learn more about it.

Generally,to learn about where you coffee comes from is a very satisfying feeling. The session talked about all that more.

At the end of the session, all of us were given a little Cold Brew Coffee Kit – The blended ground coffee, muslin cloth for filter and notes on how to cold brew. I plan to do a separate post on how I went about cold brewing using the kit and my recipe. Stay tuned!

Scene from a lunch that followed the workshop

Thank you The Flying Squirrel Team and Radhika for making me a part of this.

 

To know more about THE FLYING SQUIRREL :

website: http://www.flyingsquirrel.in

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fscoffee/

instagram: theflyingsquirrelcoffee/ twitter @GoArtisanCoffee

 

 

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Sushi Festival at Zen, Leela Palace : Sushi Galore

Zen , at the Leela Palace Bengaluru has been running Sushi Festival, as a part of their ” From the Land of the Rising Sun” Promotion.

A few of us food bloggers and enthusiasts were invited for a chef’s table to preview the promotional menu.

  Chef Boonlurah Panchai has put together an incredibly grand, specially crafted spread of 26 varieties of delectable items- that included sushi, sashimi, tempura rolls , salmon roe and with the quintessential Japanese ingredients and interesting use of truffles, avocado etc. All of this beautifully complemented with the traditional soy, pickled ginger, wasabi ( a little less pungent than normal) , spicy Japanese mayo and yuzu.

The centerpiece of the spread was the sashimi platter. Stunning to look at. Tuna, Salmon, Octopus, Hibachi and Scallops, although slightly thick in their cuts but, delicious.

The festival has been on for a couple of weeks now and it comes to an end today – 21st March.

Priced at INR 2500++, the festival offers great vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian options.

There is a glimpse of some of food from that afternoon:

Spicy Crispy Asparagus Roll
Tuna & Salmon Roll

Sashimi Platter

 

Ebi Tempura Roll 

A Slice of Food History at the Oberoi Bangalore – Recipes from the Bygone Mughal Era

    If Kitchen archaeology were a profession, I would have probably taken it up , last night. Unearthing the recipes , the techniques , the tools, the ingredients that are lost in time. Unraveling the hidden culinary treasures of the bygone era. Bringing them back to life, one by one.

Imagine the challenge of creating ( or recreating) something that you ( or anyone you for that matter) has never seen, tried or tasted before. Imagine the excitement of having successfully revived a lost piece of culinary puzzle ( and yet be retrained about that because there is no measure of that success. No benchmark to tally it against)

Imagine the joy of doing that…pretty much everyday.

Osama Jalali ( along with his mother Nazish Jalali) do exactly that. Prolific Food Historian, Food Journalist and Chef Extraordinaire Osama Jalali, is one of the few people in our country who is extensively working on towards reviving lost recipes of India. He has taken up baton for bringing them back into the present. He, with his mother, have become champions of such lost genre of culinary experiences.

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One of his collaborations is with The Oberoi, Bangalore where they are showcasing some of the culinary treasures from the bygone era, straight out of the Mughal Kitchens.

The Mughals beautifully synergized elements from their Mother land with the indigenous aspects of India. This same marriage happened in their food as well. Since they were great patrons of art, finer aspects of living and retold definitions of luxury and opulence, the same sense of indulgence and generosity were seen in their food and their feasts.

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For Oberoi Bangalore , they have created a menu that gives a glimpse of some of the cherished dishes which once found pride of place in the Mughal kitchens.

This menu has tapped Khansamas who had retained these recipes for generations tapped to. Locals from Old Delhi, Rampur and Lucknow have also been consulted to gain insight into these dishes which had found a place in local markets and homes including food historians such as Salma Hussain who has extensively researched on Mughal cuisine and have written books on the era too.

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The show casing menu

Appetisers

Murgh pateeli kebab : Chicken pockets filled with raisins, pistachios, apricots, mince, pepper and saffron cooked in a “taambe ki pateeli” or a deep vessel usually of copper. This kebab is from the table of Bahadur Sha Zafar, the last Mughal Emperor.

Yakhni kebab : Lamb cooked in Yakhn or broth flavoured with cloves. The meat is pulled apart and pounded on a “silbatta” with saffron and caramelised onions. These are combined into patties and pan fried.

Kebab e burghul : Broken wheat, pepper, coriander and lentil kebab served with a spicy mint chutney. This is a vegetarian version of the original as Aurangzeb was vegetarian towards the end of his reign. The khansamas employed were not Indians as there were revolts all over the kingdom during his reign.

Mewa shahi kebab : Babur loved dried fruits and this rich kebab of cheese, khoya, yoghurt, spices and dried fruits is an ode to the Emperor.

thali-full-mainMain Courses 

Piston ka qeema : Lamb mince cooked with Afghani pistachios and spices. A creation from the era of Bahadur Shah Zafar who was captive at The Red Fort.

Murgh zameen doz : Chicken marinated with almonds, yoghurt and spices, wrapped in dough,cooked in a earthen pot under the earth, Zamin Doz. Influences of this style of cooking may be traced to Akbar’s alliances with the Rajputs.

Amba qaliya : Braised lamb with ‘kairi’, raw mangoes, onions, ginger, coriander, dry fruits and saffron. The fondness of the rulers with mangoes at varying stages of ripening is evident. This recipe is from the tables of Jahangir.

Mutanjan Pulao: Layered rice and chicken pulao with cloves, orange, cardamom, dates and figs. The unique taste of spices, meat and sugar is interesting. Bahadur Shah Zafar was fond of creating new recipes; however, he hardly ate them and enjoyed feeding his guests.

Murgh Mussalam: (whole chicken) This is a rich dish in which a whole chicken is marinated, stuffed with eggs, prepared with spices like saffron, cinnamon, cloves, poppy seeds, cardamom and green chilli, and decorated with almonds. It is considered a gourmet dish in the book of Moghul cuisine Dastarkhwan-e-Awadh, where it is described as lending a certain majesty to the dastarkhwan (tablecloth upon which the dishes of a meal are places).

Arbi ka saalan : Fried spiced colocasia in a gravy of fried onions and toasted nuts

Khandaiyan : ‘Katliyaan’ or diamonds of cooked chickpea paste in a yoghurt and Qasuri methi gravy. A dish of Afghani origins that also finds variants in Rajasthan. A recipe handed down by the ancestors to Nazia Jalali.Qubooli : Rice and bengal gram cooked together with saffron, spices and dry fruits. Another vegetarian creation from the era of Aurangzeb. There is also a meat variant of this dish.

Desserts

Maleedah: Pounded ‘makke ke rotis’ with almonds, dates, apricots with sugar, cinnamon and cardamon powder

Gosht ka halwa : Meat, spices and sugar cooked together to create a most unique halwa

Pricing : INR 1600 – INR 1800 per person.

For reservations call 2558 5858.

 

Drifting Focus : My vintage soul

For the vintage soul in me.
For memories of romance and desire.
For emptiness and pain

A little photo experiment to do something vintage…and try to evoke the a feeling of lost romance, a void, the pain ….and searching for hope & strength. vintage-flower1a

vintage-flower2avintage-flower3a-text

Having seen the post of Facebook, a friend shared this with me. And I think this makes perfect sense. 

” Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. An intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great exception. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you’ll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way” 

~ Janet Fitch, White Oleander

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An Afternoon at Soda Bottle Opener Wala

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  The beauty of Parsi Cuisine lies in its simplicity. The eclectic mix of Indian & Iranian flavours, blend of mild sweetness and spiciness, an occasional surprise of tartness , makes it interesting.

Soda Bottle Opener Wala  (SBOW) is just the place for this.

A place that not just offers this easy-on-the-palate delicious parsi delicacies but also lets you soak in a bit of a quirkiness, a little mad yet, relaxed and laid back moments of a typical Irani Cafe. The place has a character that can seen in the food, the decor , the way the food is presented , the serving staff etc. Something that demands to be experienced.

Having been around for a while, SBOW has just introduced a new menu. Their in-house chefs – the talented Chef Danish & Chef Manbeer have tried to bring in the experience of the street food, popular food legends and food re-inventions and put their culinary spin on it and devised this new Menu.

A bunch of us got an opportunity to try out a few of those new set of dishes and cocktails.

Thank you team SBOW for having us over!

Here is a glimpse, in the form of a photo journey, of what the new menu has to offer:

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Adu-Tedhu Babycorn fry with Cheese sauce
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One of the cocktails

 

fried-egg
The quintessential Parsi .. Kheema Khari Par Eedu ( Egg on Mince)
cutlet
Aloo Aunty’s Vegetable Cutlis ( Veg Cutlet)
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Squid & Prawn Patio Served with Malai Parantha
falooda
Falooda
prawns
Parsi Style Jumbo Prawn with Curry and rice

 

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More Cocktails
fish
The incredibly good Tarela Rainbow Trout
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Mint Julep
coffee-dessert
Matunga Coffee Cake . One of the best coffee desserts I’ve had in a long long time. Incredibly decadent.
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Spiced Raspberry Soda
custard
Lagan Nu Custard
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White Chocolate Orange Brownie …and a glimpse of the decor
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A paused moment
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The props
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The blue vespa…almost a mascot

 

Get to know more about the place and for reservation – Click here 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spicy Yogurt Chicken / Dahi Murgh

Spicy Yogurt Chicken / Dahi Murgh

There is something extremely comforting about curries. And there is no reason to stress out to make most of them, for they are real simple to make.

Our Indian cuisine boasts about a number of curries, from all regions. There are traditional recipes , popular recipes  and heck, in many cases, every household has its own versions of those recipes. Chicken curry is one such dish. Chicken in yogurt based curry is hugely popular and I believe it is one such curry , for which the recipe would vary from region to region, kitchen to kitchen.

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This post here is about my version. A version that I picked up when I started making chicken curries , back in the day with my ma.

I love this because it is extremely flavourful. I love the rich intense aroma when it is cooking. I also love it because it really easy. And you can’t really go wrong with this.

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 The flavour, the heat of the spices blends so well with the mild tang of the yogurt. It tastes gorgeous. ( Yogurt also keeps the chicken very tender) 

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 This can be made with lamb too, if one prefers that.

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Recipe : Spicy Yogurt Chicken / Dahi Murgh

Ingredients – For 2 -3 servings

  • Chicken – 1/2 to 3/4 kilo chicken ( I used curry cut. Feel free to use boneless. Although, chicken with bones are so much more flavourful than the boneless.) 
  • Dry Spice –
    •  Coriander seeds – 1 & 1/2 tsp
    •  Dried red chillies – 6-8 (depending on how hot they are)
    •  Dried Ginger – 1 inch ( or use the powder – 1 tsp)
    • Jeera / cumin – 1 & 1/2 tsp
    • Cinnamon – 1 inch
    • Cardamom – 5-6 pods
    • cloves – 3-5
    • Yogurt – 200 – 250 Ml
    • Turmeric – 1 & 1/2 tsp
    • Garlic – finely chopped – 1 &1/2 tsp
    • Salt – to taste
  • Onion – 2 small to med size
  • Bay leaf – 1 -2 med
  • Oil & Ghee (optional)
  • Garnish – Almond flakes & mint leaves ( optional)
  • Lemon ( optional)

Method :

  1. Make sure the chicken is clean and cut into desired size.
  2. Roast the dry spices ( coriander + red chilli + dry ginger + jeera + cinnamon + clove + cardamom) in a wok/ pan for a few mins so they lightly release the flavours. Let it cool for a few mins and grind it into a fine powder. Keep aside.
  3. To marinate the chicken , take a bowl large enough. Add the chicken, tip in the yogurt, salt, turmeric, chopped garlic and 2 -3 tsp of the ground dry spice blend. Massage it well and let it rest for anywhere between 2 hours t 24 hours. ( in the fridge)
  4. When ready to cook – In a pan, add a bit of oil,  the finely sliced onion  and bay leaf. Sauté it a little , or till the onions are a bit translucent.
  5. Add the chicken that had been marinating.
  6. Saute it gently in low heat. Add another 1-2 tsp of the ground roasted dry spice powder ( the one used in the marinade). If you like enjoy your curries with more heat- feel free to add a little more red chilli powder. Add half cup water, mix well and cover it. Let it cook for about 20-25 mins. Make sure it is in low- med heat throughout.
  7. In between make sure you stir it from time to time.
  8. I also added about 2 tsp of ghee in between, while it was cooking ( You could either use butter or oil or Completely drop the idea) There is enough fat in the yogurt already 😛
  9. When ready, garnish it with some almond flakes and fresh mint.
  10. Works well with rotis, naans, pav or just a bowl of good old rice.

Royal Rajasthan : Food Festival, Oberoi Bangalore

“Rajasthan, the mystical beauty & the land of the royals, is not only rich in its culture but also the food.” And Oberoi Hotels Bangalore is hosting a celebration of this rich heritage – The Royal Rajasthan Food Festival 

Two incredible chefs – Chefs Vipin Mogha and Rajender Joshi,  from The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur and the talented Mangania folk band have together to create a unique journey across this incredible state of India. An experience that is on offer at Le Jardin, Oberoi Bangalore.

I was invited to dine at this fest and through this post I intend to share a little glimpse of the my experience. Title Collage

The seasoned chef duo, have been specializing in cuisine from this amazing state of India. 

The interesting array of food ( roughly about 75 authentic dishes on a rotational menu) in this fest showcases the culinary strength of the duo and the nuances of the traditional rajasthani cuisine.

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What we get to savour are some quintessential foods of the state – like the Lal Maas, Ker Sangri, Junglee Maas, Safed maas, Dal Pithode, Gatte ki Sauzi, Mirchi Pakode, Dal Baati Churma, Jalebi , Ghewar to name a few.

Chillis
Fresh green and dry red chilli
Dal Bati chura
Dal Bati Churma

Some of the delicious dishes that this fest showcases are Amrood ki Subzi, Ambi Mangodi , Khad Khargosh , the incredibly flavourful Punchkuta ( It is a dry curry that celebrates the Ker, Sangri , and 3 wild berries) , Aloo Shorba.

What makes the dishes standout is not just the flavour, and technique but also ingredients that go on , the legend behind the dishes…and how the dishes came about. It was a delight to hear the stories, from the chefs, behind these signature dishes, while relishing them.

A satisfying dining experience lets you soak in a bit of culture and the royal rajasthani hospitality.

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Raw Ker Sangri

veg kabab
Vegetarian Kabab and some fresh veggies as prop decor
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Vegetarian Thali
Steam dal
Piping hot Dal on a beautiful earthen chulha.
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Non-Vegetarian Thali
Ghewar
Ghewar
Jalebi
Jalebi ( and Rabri, not in the frame)

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Period of the FestivalAugust 30 th to September 10th
Timing : Lunch ( 12:30pm – 3pm) and Dinner ( 7:30pm – 11pm)
Format : Buffet ( with a rotational menu)
Pricing : INR 1575 plus taxes per person / INR 1775 plus taxes per person with one domestic beer
Prior bookings preferred. Call at 080 2558 5858