Today was Anna Shetty’s last day of her five day break and we decided to spend it in a toyland paradise otherwise known as Hamley’s. Ever since that iconic London shop opened a branch at Mumbai’s Phoenix Mills Mall, I have wanted to take my own daughter now a mother herself to this shop. Hamleys’ is always magical whether the bubbles are blowing or not and undoubtedly her little boy enjoyed himself but all that excitement and running around whetted our appetities and before we knew it , it was time for us to re-charge with our mid-day meal.
Ever since I met my husband three decades ago, I’ve eaten so much Chinese food that my father was convinced that our first child would be a noodle. Luckily it turned out to be a lovely baby girl who has now matured into a young lady. Our favourite haunt those days used to be Chopsticks at Churchgate but we soon shifted loyalites to China Garden of Nelson Wang fame. However, its charm soon began to fade and thus began my search for the perfect Chinese food.
I heard of Mamagoto simply by chance when I was surfing the net for Chinese restaurants around town. When I found it was in Fort, I was all the more determined to visit but could never figure out exactly where it was on the Google map till one day I happened to dine at The Pantry two months’ ago which is when I discovered it was bang opposite the restaurant Mamagoto! Since then I’ve been actually dreaming of going there, a wish that was fulfilled last week.
We made a prior reservation and when the restaurant actually checked back to see whether we were showing up it seemed like a good omen – one that doesn’t encourage walk-ins and was checking ahead meant that it was popular.But once past the main door, I realised that this was not a classy restaurant but a simple home style Irani Restaurant turned Chinese! The ground floor was dominated by the bar in the corner and a big staircase leading to the mezzanine which had most of the seating. There were naked bulbs hanging all over the place and the ceiling on the mezzanine was covered with different coloured swags. The overall ambiance was a friendly family especially with the loud music that played over the conversation.
Distinctly disappointed at discovering that this was not the great Chinese restaurant I had expected it to be, I was happy that the waiters and servers made up with their attentiveness and response to customers. Presented with the menu, we were told that it was a dry day and that we could get a free mocktail if we ordered from their set menu of MAMATIFFIN a three cuisine option ( Chinese Rs.349, Malay Rs. 349 and Thai Rs. 391) . Hubby Dear went for the MamaTiffin Chinese which was a choice of soup, noodle or rice and a main dish. He chose his favourite Hot & Sour Soup, Haka Noodles and Stir Fried Veg. Despite my quest for the best Chinese food, I succumbed to my preference for Khow Sway and ordered the vegetarian version . I wasn’t disappointed as the Khow Sway was flavourful with vegetables that were crispy and in plenty.
Overall we had a pleasant enough lunch – easy on the wallet and easy on the palate.
This restaurant is ideal for casual dining and young families.
Unfortunately more often than not good and wholesome is also sorely lacking in taste. For the past two months we’ve been following a diet that has been good and wholesome – fatless, sugarless, saltless and unfortunately often tasteless. Of course this has led to a cumulative weight loss of at least 15 kilos ( for the entire family) but has also led to severe cravings to eat something good and wholesome and simultaneously YUM.
|Fada and whipped yogurt|
Returning home from a day out on our “farm” I had this absolute urge to eat something different, something wholesome, something specially meant for a chilly February evening. So I thought of rustling up some “Fada nu Khichada” or a vegetarian wheat based khichadi, my all time favourite at the iconic eatery SWATI in downtown Mumbai famous for its “snakes” . Khichada is a mix of rice and lentil and was normally served in my home while growing up, on wet rainy days or when the tummy sorely needed some special care.
So I took 2/3 cup broken wheat, 1/3 cup moong dal and washed them together and let them soak for around 5 minutes. While they were soaking, I peeled a potato and cut half of it into tiny wedges, chopped half a tomato into small wedges, and cut up two florets of cauliflower into tiny pieces and cut four French beans into tiny pieces.
I added 1 tablespoon of ghee in a pressure pan and let it heat up on high heat taking care not to burn it. When it was hot, I added 1 green cardamom, 1/2 ” piece of cinnamon, 4 cloves and 4 pepper corns. To this I added a pinch of asafetida 1/4 tspn each of turmeric and red chilli powder. Then I drained off the water and added the broken wheat and dal to the spice mix sizzling in the pan. I sauted it for a bit and then added the vegetables and continued sauteing for another minute or so taking care not to scald it. To this I added 1/2 a cup of whipped curd, 1/2 tspn salt and 1 1/2 cups of water to cook the khichada. Khichada is gooey and well cooked so it needs more water than normal i.e. the total quantity of liquid should be twice that of the dry ingredients. I added some salt, put on the lid and the pressure and allowed it to cook for 4 whistles.
I am now going to eat it with whipped curd over which I poured some red chilli powder in hot ghee and perhaps a deep fried udid dal papad to provide the crunch…………..
If this is not wholesome and yum, I wonder what is!
If you allow the wheat and dal to soak for longer, you will have to cook it for less whistles ( 3) and you can reduce the quantity of water as well. Khichada starts drying up as it cools down so you may have to add some more water just before serving ( and of course heat it up!) to make it gooey