Friday, October 31, 2014

Mexican Delight at Swissotel Kolkata

I think I did not share with you all that I was on a self imposed exile from food in my quest for a fitter (read thinner) physique! Well that was sometime ago. Throughout Durga puja I kind of stayed away from my favourite foods and resorted to muesli and such funny stuffs. But then it was getting a little too much and the invite from Swissotel to sample their Mexican festival fare specially curated by Chef Lilia Castro from Mexico came just at the right time. I was raring to go and enjoy the spread and give myself the much desired break. Thus on a sunny sunday afternoon along with co blogger Pritha who blogs at Guilt Free I hogged away on a huge Mexican spread. There was everything from Quesadillas to chili con carne to churros!

I started with sampling the salad section and the variety was delightful.I swayed a bit more towards the vegetarian varieties and I wasn't disappointed. I particularly found this phyllo pastry stuffed with mushroom and cheese very interesting. Also the  Cauliflower Mousse with Asparagus was unique - creamy mushy delight!

As we know Mexican cuisine is influenced by a variety of cultures so it uses an exciting and varied range of ingredients. The use of fiery peppers, cilantro, avocados being very predominant.When I told Chef Lilia that the spread was expansive she smiled and said that there could have been many more dishes! I wandered into the main course section and to be honest was a bit lost as to what all to try. I loaded my plate with the goodies and ate away to glory. Special mention of Tamale  - a typical Mexican dish of cheese wrapped in corn peels and grilled. I will leave you with lots of pictures from the amazing spread.

arz ala mexicana


calabicatas Mexicana - zucchini and squash with cottage cheese

carnitas -deep fried pork

chicken in tangy tomato sauce

beef chilli con carne

papas al cilantro - baby potatoes with cilantro

pescado alo veracudano - fish cooked in a light broth with peppers

prawns in tamarind sauce

tamale - cheese wrapped in corn peels and grilled


Hot salsas

I was stuffed and so happy to have gorged after ages. But the dessert section was on my mind and I could not miss that. There were Churros and how can I not eat Churros while on a Mexican gastro trip. There were a whole lot of my favourite dessert items and I tasted each one of it.


 Kahlua chocolate mousse


caramel pudding

cheese cake
This delectable fare was available only for a day on 19th October at Café Swiss but some of the items are a part of their South American dinners on Fridays from 7 -11 pm at Café Swiss priced at 1600 ++

The highlight of the afternoon was the annual cake mixing ceremony of Swissotel and I was thrilled to be a part of it. Cmon my first ever cake mixing how could I not be elated. I even instructed Pritha to click pictures while I was mixing and she very sweetly obliged. Just looking at that tray I was salivating and eagerly waiting for Christmas when I get to sample the yummy cakes.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Diwali Treat - Spicy Mixed Chana Chaat

In continuing with the festive spirit I tried out another recipe that will surely be a part of my Diwali menu. Think Diwali..think chaat - spicy concoction of yoghurt , tamarind - mint chutneys , crunchy sev and boondis. On my recent trip to the supermarket I picked up a pack of ready to use sprouts and there I was sorted. I knew exactly that I could transform it into a lipsmacking dish with very little effort.Here's presenting my super easy recipe of Spicy Mixed Chana Chaat. This one will surely be a crowd pleaser!


Mixed sprouts - 2 cups - I used the ones readily available at the supermarket. Alternatively

                                            You could soak 1 cup mixed grams - white peas, black gram and
                                     green moong overnight and then boil it in a pressure cooker.

Onion - 1 large - chopped

Tomato - 1 large - chopped

Green chili - 2 nos - finely chopped - adjust accordingly

Turmeric powder - 1sp

Red chili powder - 1 tsp

Cumin powder - 1 tsp

Tomato puree - 1 tbsp

Salt - to taste

Refined oil- 1 tsp

Coriander leaves - a handful finely chopped

Sev or Boondi - a handful

Yogurt - 1 cup

Sugar - 1 tbsp

Tamarind sauce - a few tbsps.


The first step is to make the sprouts/mixed chana. Rest is simply assembling everything together.

In a pan heat 1 tsp oil. Fry the finely chopped onions till lightly brown in colour. Add the tomatoes and fry till mushy. Add the green chillies.
Next tip in the boield sprouts /chana and all the dry spices - red chili powder,turmeric ,cumin powder,tomato puree and salt. Give everything a good mix. Cover and cook for 5-7 mins. Garnish with chopped coriander and keep aside.

In the mean while prepare the yoghurt by mixing it with some salt, sugar and dahi bhalla masala ( I used store bought). Whisk well and keep aside.

Now for assembling the chaat - you could either serve it in one dish or assemble in individual shot glasses and pudding bowls.

First make a layer of the yogurt. Then a layer of the cooked sprouts. Then drizzle some tamarind sauce. Another layer of yogurt and cooked chana.
Garnish with chopped coriander and sev/boondi to add a crucn to the whole dish.

Serve chilled!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Diwali Treat - Tava Paneer Tikka and some wraps

So my favourite festival is just around the corner - Diwali - the festival of light,finery and ofcourse some good food. Every year I make it a point to stay home and fill up my home with lights of all kinds. The diyas , the rangoli , the puja and finally party with my dear ones on Diwali night. Now parties also calls for some food and I like to prepare sweets and starters at home. A week before Diwali I diligently plan out the menu and start with the preparations. This year I have decided to serve up some starters that easy to prepare and are party pleasers. I will be making this very convenient to make Tava Paneer Tikka - that I am going to serve up two ways. For those who want to keep it light can have the tikkas as is and the rest I am going to turn them into wholesome wholewheat wraps garnished with some mint mayonnaise.


Fresh Paneer - 200 gms - cut into big sized cubes

Curd /Yogurt - 100 gms

Tomato - 1 large - cut into cubes

Onion - 1 large - cut into cubes

Shahi Garam Masala - 1 tbsp.

Kashmiri red chili powder - 1 tbsp.

Salt - to taste

Olive oil - 1 tsp + 1 tsp for brushing on the tava

For the wrap:

Wholewheat flour - 1 cup

Olive oil - 1 tsp

Salt - to taste

Carom /ajwain seeds - 1 tsp

Warm water - to knead the dough


Take the paneer , onion and tomato cubes in a bowl. Add all the ingredients listed above. Mix well and keep aside for atleat 6 hrs. I usually keep it overnight - the flavours get absorbed very well.

Put a heavy bottomed tava /flat pan on heat. Arrange pieces of paneer , onion and tomato alternatively into wooden skewers.

Brush the tava with some olive oil and place the skewers on the hot tava. It takes very little time to cook so keep changing sides till it get a golden brown colour.

Remove from heat and serve with mint mayonnaise ( I used store bought ) or with some homemade mint coriander chutney. Make some salad with onion and cucumber and serve alongside.

Or you could  wrap them up inside some wholewheat parathas /flat bread, top it up with some mint mayonnaise , secure with a tooth pick and serve hot.

  • To prepare the paratha /wraps- simply knead together the ingredients mentioned under "wraps" into a soft dough. Roll out into thin flatbreads and roast in the pan without or with very little oil. Stuff the paneer tikkas in to wrap, top with some mint mayo or chutney and chopped onions. Roll and secure with a tooth pick. Serve hot.