Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Mexican Food with Chef Eduardo Perez @ Taj Bengal , Kolkata

There is no denying the fact that Kolkata has always been the hub of good food. Now all the more with Kolkatans opening up to world food and truly enjoying it. When KFB got an invite to preview the Mexican Food Festival at The Hub @ Taj Bengal, Kolkata I was very excited. We all have had a taste of Mexican cuisine at some point in time or the other. Be it the Nachos or the Tacos we have all enjoyed it. This was going to be a one of a kind opportunity to sample authentic Mexican food since Chef Eduardo Perez has specially flown in from Merida, Yucatan , Mexico to enchant us with his exquisite "Mexica" and "Maya" seasoning using authentic Mexican ingredient.

Kamalika , Amrita and myself landed up at The Hub dot on time to be greeted by Sreyashi of Edelman/ Rediffusion. It was sheer pleasure meeting Chef Eduardo as he briefed us about his thoughts on Mexican cuisine and how he has tried to create dishes keeping in mind the Indian palate.He takes great pride in the wide varieties of chilli's used in the cuisine and has deftly incorporated the same in the dishes he has created.

We started with Sopa Azteca ( Chicken tomato chipotle soup with fried tortilla). A light and flavourful broth using chipotle mix. Chef suggested we have it with a dollop of sour and that did add to the texture.

Next came in the Chimchangas ( Flour tortilla stuffed with a potato tomato onion lemon coriander mash). It is traditionally stuffed with rice,cheese or shredded chicken but Chef gave it Indian flavours and quipped that he had given a paani puri twist to it! Served with a side of salsa , it tasted great.


The Chicken Fajitas ( Flour tortilla with Mexican spiced grilled Chicken and Cheese ) is a staple in Mexican cuisine. The crunchy shredded tortillas along with the chicken and gooey cheese was my favourite dish of the day. That roasted chili on top grabs attention for sure.

Chicken Fajitas
Chef Eduardo told us how Mexico has over 100 varieties of chili and is widely used in the cuisine along with tomato /onion /garlic and no ginger at all! Originally Panella cheese is locally made and used in such dishes. For the main course we were served Mole Con Pollo ( Chicken with sweet Mexican sauce ) and Enfrijoladas (Corn tortilla stuffed with cottage cheese and sweet corn with spicy kidney beans sauce)

Mole Con Pollo

Mole means sauce and the one created here has more than 15 ingredients in it! Essentially made of almonds , sesame , peanuts and flavoured with cinnamon made it quite delectable. It went very well with a side of spicy Mexican rice.

Pic courtesy Kamalika
Enfrijoladas was something very new for me - a base of cottage cheese and sweet corn covered with spicy kidney beans and tortillas made of corn.

Well no Mexican meal would be complete without Churros ( Deep fried sweetened dough served with chocolate sauce and ice cream) . I had been wanting to eat churros for a while now and I simply loved it so much so that I shamelessly went in for seconds! Not much of a chocolate person I enjoyed it more with the tender coconut ice cream that was being served alongside. 

The festival in on at The Hub @ Taj Bengal till 2nd March for lunch & dinner. The menu is available A la Carte as well as a part of the Buffet. A meal for two would cost INR 3000(approx.)

Disclaimer - This was an invited review and no compensation monetary or otherwise was involved.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Love on a plate - Bacon Wrapped Feta Stuffed Chicken

Since they say "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach" I decided to play it up totally this Valentine's Day. While we are not the really the mushy type of couple , we do bond big time over good food. KFB gave an impetus when they announced their latest online event Love on a Plate - Dinner for Two and I started planning something nice for V day dinner. But it had to be something easy and something that the husband enjoyed eating. I struck upon a brilliant idea! Why not make Bacon Wrapped Feta Stuffed Chicken and serve it up with roasted veggies and his most favourite mashed potatoes. Thus I got to work!

Talking about 'Not' being the mushy type of couple I was totally stumped when the man got back from work with a bunch of 11 roses (since it's our 11th year together..sigh...) and a slice of Mango Mousse from my favourite patisserie. This was unexpected and surprising and shocking and too cute and  heart touching - all at the same time.
I too decided to go that extra mile and set up a pretty table for dinner with roses and wine and candles.

Now coming back to the recipe. My effort has always been to share with you recipes that are easy to make and scores full on to the taste. And this one had bacon too...enough to make any dish taste good.


Boneless Chicken Breast - 2 pieces

Streaky Bacon - 6 strips

Feta cheese - a handful crumbled

Olive oil - 1 tbsp.

Salt - to taste

Pepper - to taste

For the roasted veggies:

Mixed vegetables - 1 cup - I used mushrooms ,carrots and cherry tomatoes.

Balsamic vinegar - 1 tsp

Chili flakes - 1 tsp

Oregano - 1 tsp - or any other herb of your choice.

Salt & Pepper - to taste

For the mash:

Potatoes - 2 large - boiled and mashed well

Milk - half cup

Butter - 1 tsp

Garlic - 2 pods - crushed.

Salt - to taste

Pepper - to taste


Take the chicken breast pieces and make a pocket by cutting through the centre of the fillet. Fill it up with crumbled feta cheese and season with olive oil , salt and pepper and keep aside for an hour.

In a baking tin , take the mixed vegetables ( whatever you are using) and marinate with balsamic vinegar , oregano,chili flakes and salt and pepper. Keep a check on the quantity of salt used.

Take out the marinated chicken breast fillets and roll it up with bacon strips.

Place the fillets on top of the vegetable bed and  cover the tin with aluminium foil.Bake in a pre heated oven at 200 deg C for 20 mins.

In the meantime , heat butter in a non stick pan. Tip in the crushed garlic and the mashed potatoes. Saute for 5 secs and add the milk, whisking it well so that there are no lumps. Season with salt and pepper and keep side.

Serve the bacon wrapped chicken with the roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes on the side.

I am sending this post to the ongoing Kolkata Food Bloggers event - Love on Plate - Dinner for Two


Friday, February 14, 2014

Singapore Peranakan Food Festival @ Swissotel Kolkata

Ok. So I will begin with a confession here. When I got an invite from Swissotel Kolkata through KFB to try out their Singapore Peranakan Food Festival I was at a loss. I was at a loss because I had no prior initiation to Peranakan food. I was clueless, so I googled! But the information that Wiki provided was too theoretical for my understanding. So I told myself that I will let this be a learning experience for me and gained confidence to attend the festival and gather knowledge from the connoisseurs themselves - the chefs - who were flown in from Singapore's Merchant Court Hotel.And after last nights dinner I can proudly say that my understanding of this cuisine is now kind of up to the mark!

Kamalika of Silence Sings & myself had a wonderful time chatting up with Chef Abdul Halim Bin Ahmed and Chef Jasper. They took all the trouble to very patiently answer all our queries and sharing with us little trivia about the cuisine too! Perankan cuisine is a kind of an amalgamation of Chinese and Malay food culture. The taste being milder that what you would find in traditional Singaporean dishes. The five often ingredients used being Garlic/Shallots/Chili/Galangal/Lemongrass.Now one would think that there is a lot of Thai influence here but that's not the case as Pernakan cuisine doesn't depend heavily on the use of  sauces but lets fresh produce cook in its own juices much like the way our grand moms would cook! 

The dishes rustled up for the festival were superb to say the least. The spread totally lip smacking! Not spice rich but still full of flavours was the highlight of the dishes.

There were many dishes to choose from both veg and non veg and I somehow found myself drawn towards the vegetarian dishes.The Urap Taugeh (sprouts salad with grounded peanut powder) was something I thoroughly enjoyed. Moving on to the main course the Veg Nasi Goreng ,Nyonya Chaap Chye ( Rice noodles cooked with cabbage, carrots and woodear mushrooms) was full of natural flavours.

Babi Pongteh
The non -veg counter had a wide array of dishes to choose from but the star of the            evening was Babi Pongteh - a very traditional Nyonya dish ( Succulent pork belly braised in a soy based broth )It was the chef's pick too when asked which dish he would personally recommend! Apart from this delicious dish there were the usual suspects like Beef Rendang and Laksa. 

My favourite was the Oatmeal prawns ( large sized prawns cooked with oatmeal and spring onions and also had a hint of pepper ). This was surely an innovation and very delicious too! The Ayam Buah Keluak ( Chicken curry Peranakan style) reminded me more of the Murgir'r jhol that we Bengali's devour and went well with steamed rice.

Prawn Oatmeal/Ayam Buah Keluak
Next I hit the dessert counter and I was happy! Apart from two traditional Peranakan sweet dish - the one being the famous Bubur Cha Cha (porridge made with sweet coconut milk with chunks of sweet potato and candied fruits being cooked with palm sugar) the counter was loaded with sweet goodies from around the world. That Rasgulla like dessert below is an authentic peranakan dessert made from glutinous rice filled with palm sugar and simmered in sugar syrup! Chef Jasper had a trivia to share on this one where every year on Dec 22 every household in Singapore prepares this dessert and you eat as many  as old you are!! I however stopped at one!
Pic Courtesy Silence Sings

Take a look at the dessert counter below!

The Strawberry Green Apple Mousse , Strawberry Streusel , Sacher Torte , Macaroons   Tiramisu , and our very own Ras Malai was so so delicious." Swissotel " take a bow!
Well that was the end to an excellent evening filled with good food and great coversations! Thanks to Enakshi and Maaya for making us a part of this evening and we look forward to more such gastronomically enriching experiences. Before I go sharing a pic of yours truly with the two very talented gentlemen who came all the way from Singapore to give us a taste of Peranakan Cusine right here in Kolkata.

Pic courtesy Silence Sings

Disclaimer - This was an invited review and no compensation monetary or otherwise was involved.