Home food is the new exotic food and we all agree with it! Ghar Ka khana was an initiative that was specially curated by “Soul On A Plate” to bring on the table 8 varities of Indian regional food to the guest at Hyatt Regency Chennai.
For the first time 8 homechefs under one roof over a month, quite a task right, but all the ladies were put to ease with the excellent planning and execution by team Hyatt Regency under the able leadership of the GM Ruban Das. And this could happen only and only because he believed that there sure is so much to offer by homechefs who make home style regional food.
The excitement of the event started with menu curation and photo shoots. Our Homechefs were on the roll, each one encouraging, supporting and motivating each other and that I thought was the happiest part of the event personally for me.
From Malabar to palaghat from Coorg to Bengali from Bihari to gujrati from rajastani to marwari it was India in a plate for people of Chennai. #gharkakhana has definitely made history in Chennai!
This was possible because of many people who worked behind the scenes special mentions to the staff of Hyatt regency.
This vacation has been in the planning for the longest time and finally after 3yrs of short drives, vacations and staycations we had to make this trip to the ever charming Leh Ladakh!
We landed on 30th June afternoon with bad weather in Delhi ( transit) risking the terrain of leh airport, It is not an easy terrain to fly. With lots of gratitude to all our pilots who landed us safe.
Our itinerary was made in such a away that we had enough time for acclimatization since this height could give altitude sickness. Soon after we landed the sickness hit me and I was wondering why ever did I choose this location for a vacation. I have seen beautiful pictures and videos of Leh Ladakh but not heard anyone warn about the altitude sickness. I had mild irritating head ache nausea and just too lethargic. I was advised to take rest and drink lot of warm water. When I Still was not feeling good I popped a paracetamol and slept for a while now that made me feel better towards evening.
Our first day pretty much was all about taking care of ourselves. Next day 1st July we had decided again to go slow with minimal activity. So we had breakfast and just strolling around when a good soul suggested we visit the Hall of fame leh. It was a few metres of walk from our place and do we agreed without knowing much what the place had in store for us. And I cannot be more thankful to the person who suggested this place, since this one gave me goose bumps and made me love my country and my jawans even more. This is a war memorial with so many stories.
In the evening we set out to enjoy the city of leh. We did the Shanti stupa, the Leh palace and my most favourite leh market. Loved the colours in the market, the old met the new be is fruits, vegetables, grocery, restaurant, clothes of accessories you could find everything in this market traditional and modern. I picked up some fresh apricots since it is the season for apricots.
The next day was the beautiful Sangam were the indus met zanskar river. Sometimes you wonder how nature is so beautiful by itself the mixing of the 2 colors of the river was serene and peaceful! Did you know that during summer people do rafting here and during winter when the water turns to ice, they ice trek on this same river. So what would you like to do? Our next destination for the day was the cool magnetic hill, so our car was totally switched off and no we were not on a slop, but yet we moved, kinda exciting. The gurudwara pathar sahib is another monument to just find peace. Don’t miss the tea and prashad there it’s yummy!
The most significant day of our trip was doing the worlds highest motorable road the one and only Khardungla pass. We had our own altitude sickness challenges to handle but boy when we reached the peak it was like magic. It was such a proud moment for us to know that our country has the highest motorable road in the damn whole world yay!
After the movie 3 idiots the pangong Lake gained more popularity and why not it is so surreal. Surrounded by mountains it’s hard to say we could find a huge mass of water with shades of color that changes from blue, green, grey, brown to red, it is one of the highest altitude lake in the world with salty water that freezes during winter. Mind blowing right!!!
On our way back from pangong Lake we had to stop by the changa la pass another one of the highest! We stopped by for lunch and had a hot bowl of authentic ladakhi thukpa! We also stopped by a few more random places for some good photo shoots.
Whenever we visit a new place or country the first thing that I look for is Local home cooked food. Before we left to leh I started my search for good home cooked leh traditional food. Since we are non vegetarians I was surprised to know that traditionally people of leh Ladakh eat according to the weather and season. So in winter it’s meat and non vegetarian and in summer it’s mostly vegetarian, from June to September they get to grow vegetables and fruits and get to eat it too. Other time of the year it is cold and snow. So after doing some search on google found gyapthago heritage home. Got speaking to Jimmy and visited his House for a soulful all vegeterian dinner cooked by his mother. We were greeted by butter tea that is made using Fresh cows milk butter from their own farm. This place is more of a farm to table concept since everything that was cooked for dinner came from their farm including wheat and barley. The barley soup with fresh vegetables and leh local peas was warm and had a creamy consistency. The veg momos were made using wheat flour and we had the steamed and fried momos that was served with cold salad. The khamir the local wheat bread with Home made curd sure was a delicacy. The local pasta is made fresh, pasta is made with fresh grounded wheat and turnip sauce. We finished this most amazing meal with the local sweet of apricot soaked in water. Must say that ended my search for Local Leh Ladakh food.
Discovered Namza that serves authentic/ traditional leh Ladakh food and what excited me even more is the farm to table concept. The place has beautiful ambience, outdoor seating will be lovely in the evening. We started our lunch with mutton Za-thuk this is a soup that is made using nettle leaves, dried cheese and local herbs, available in veg, chicken and mutton option, we loved the flavour of nettle leaves and dried cheese with little chunks of mutton. I personally love the flavour of mountain mutton. The chicken momo also known as mok mok was average nothing to write home about. The yarkhadi pulao is a chefs special and I am glad we tried it. The meal come with pulao made of paneer, green peas, Carrots and fried onions loaded with ghee. We were warned it would be heavy, it was but we just loved the flavour, this meal comes with a clear soup and 3 momos or mok mok. Available in veg, chicken and mutton. We opted for the veg option. The most famous home grown fruit of Leh Ladakh is apricot and the season has just started. We enjoyed a tall glass of homemade apricot juice. Like us if you are keen on trying local food, this place is a must visit.
Had a very happy lunch after we descended down the khardungla pass at Dontang. This place has beautiful seating and the most comfort food. The ladhaki thukpa was my favourite. We had fresh lime soda, potato in honey chilli, chicken clear soup and chicken momos / mok mok. The service was polite and every thing we had was made fresh to order. Few vegetables are used from their garden. Definately a try when in leh.
We had hired a private chauffeur driven ertiga for 5days that cost us 25k which I thought was pretty reasonable and we could go around according to our own convenience.
Leh Ladakh is a very beautiful Indian union territory that is a must visit, but with all precautions and understanding the terrain. It could get very warm and dry in summer on few days that’s what we experienced and it is not easy to handle that weather. If you are a person who likes to see greenery around you please don’t expect anything like that around. Winters could be very harsh so please check before you go. You can fly or drive.
We travelled all the way to Cambodia to see the Angkor wat when we had this unesco heritage site just 300 odd kms away from us.
The feeling when you enter the temple is estatic, the energy one can derive from the Periya koil or Brihadeeshwara temple built by the chola dynasty in Thanjavur is immense.
You just need to let yourself float like a free soul in this ocean of 11th century architecture. We decided to visit this place just before sunset so we get a glimpse of day and night. To experience the lights that adorns the temple at night.
The mammoth Nandi and Shiva status grace the place with their presence which most of them come to worship there.
It was Panchami when we visited the place and there were so many people performing a special Pooja through the day with lamps made of coconut.
It was heart warming to see people from all religion pay their respect to this beautiful place that deserves every bit of it!
Definitely recommend this place to friends who are looking to explore India and its hidden treasure.
Where to stay and dine when in Thanjavur? We stayed at hotel sangam and we had a beautiful view of the temple from our room. Hotel sangam has clean rooms and good service.
We had lunch at pattukottai kamatchi mess it was a huge banana leaf meal with everything non vegetarian South Indian food. The food is cooked with home ground spices and served with Love.
Dinner was at nasar idiayypa, idiappam is served on banana leaf with south indian non vegetarian gravy and some side dishes. Tried idiappam kottu for the first time, just like kottu parotha I preferred idiappam kottu for sure, was much more lighter in our tummy.
My hands are trembling with joy when I am writing this Blog. This is the food I grew up eating and have been wanting to have it in Chennai. Specially now during lockdown since I couldn’t travel to Mumbai or Goa due to the pandemic.
Deepika and me have been having discussion about konkan food and we started the discussion last year when lockdown was announced. Have been following up with him every other week and he kept telling me soon. Finally the dream is a reality.
Konkan food ( Goan and Konkan) has its own unique flavour of spices, coconut and kokam. The Flavours are very comforting and not too rich. The sol kadhi has its own soul and it’s the best! We ordered the fish thali and the chicken thali.
The fish thali had bangda/ mackerel rava fry, prawn curry with kokam, kismur ( typical goan salad made using dry fish), kosambir ( veg salad), steamed rice and sol kadhi ( spicy kokam juice in coconut milk) it is a digestive. Like south indians have curd rice end of the meal people from the konkan region have a small portion of steamed rice with sol kadhi.
The chicken thali has malvani chicken curry with either rice bakri ( rice chapati/ roti) or vadi ( rice puri) kosambir ( veg salad) and sol kadhi. Packed with Flavours right from the Konkan region.
A must must try meal it has its own charm and this one will definitely not disappoint you. If you have had Konkan food before go for this, if you haven’t tried Konkan food before you have to experience this Flavours. Very limited uncomplicated menu. Btw they buy their produce fresh everyday. Available for delivery in Chennai , call +91 9930503526 order!
On a beautiful Friday afternoon we entered the story to write our story for the next two days!
Our story started from Chennai on a early Friday morning with a bunch of like minded fun people. We did a quick pit Stop at murugan idly. A little about murugan idly, the food was good, rest rooms are worse. A humble suggestion for murugan idly, many of them stop for your food more to use the wash room, hence please keep it clean. After that stop we straight headed to Yercaud. The weather was stunning, the drive was a breeze.
The story in front of our eyes had a mesmerizing effect on us, the vibes and aura were inviting. This resort is relatively new in Yercaud. Must say it was love at first sight for us, the view from the resort is stunning too!
A little about Yercaud, Yercaud is a hill station town in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It lies in the Shevaroy Hills, known for their orange groves, and coffee, fruit and spice plantations. Yercaud Lake has a boathouse, and is surrounded by gardens and woods. On the lake’s eastern shore, Anna Park has local plants and a Japanese garden with bonsai. It is a 365 kms from Chennai 195kms from Coimbatore 205 kms from Bangalore and 30kms from salem.
We did visit a few places in and around Yercaud, but tried to spend as much time as possible at The story. They have a bonfire at night with music, the food is very good and made fresh to order, they do inform you to order food in advance. The complimentary breakfast is quite a big spread with south Indian breakfast delicacies. The staff are extremely polite and are ay your service all time with a smile in their face. Special thanks to Ravi, Saravana, John, Bobby and Namita for the excellent hospitality.
Manjal ( turmeric) is such an important part of an indian meal and so is this restaurant that serves the best of traditional food cooked on firewood. The food here is from Central Tamil Nadu.
We all know that food cooked on firewood has a flavour and taste that cannot be matched by conventional cooking. The theme of this place is to serve traditional food the traditional way. The meal comes in plates laced by Banana leaf.
The vegeterian meal is as interesting as the non vegetarian meal keeping tastes and flavours intact. Both meals are unlimited Manjal has a whole variety of side dishes like the crab curry, brain fry, mutton chops, chicken fry, fish fry, prawn fry vanjaram fry that is served along with the meals. The biryani both mutton and chicken are available on the menu too. The vegeterian meal is priced at 450 plus tax and non vegetarian meal at 575 Plus tax. Remember it’s unlimited.
What makes this place special is traditional food cooked on firewood with nostalgic feeling of eating at some small town, fresh ingredients, no fuss food, eat to your hearts content.
Manjal opens their door for guests on Christmas with a hearty breakfast and lunch.
Manjal is located at Old no 17, ,New no 4, kasturi estate, 1st street Poes garden, Chennai-18
#coimbatoreseries! Like I always say this city amazes me! Infusions cafe is one place I always visit when in Coimbatore. What I like about this place? The genuine ingredients that makes the deserts, pastries and beverages a class apart.
This time was not different, since we went as a family we could order more desserts and that meant I could taste a little of a few more desserts.
Their signature dessert sinful indulgence is served in a copper mug. The mug of blissful sin is layered with brownies, hot chocolate and icecream. The difference offcourse is the quality of chocolate used, made a whole load of difference.
We have had brownies all over the world, this one was sure out of the World. The texture of the brownie with a chocolate class apart is always superlicious.
Coming to the exciting part of the menu was the 16 layer eggless chocolate truffle cake. The layers were distinct yet blended so well in my mouth.
What we tasted as tiny sample and I really loved that small bit of tasting was cacao dalliance it is like a toffee but taken to a totally different level. The flourless fantasy definitely was a show stopper.
We are people who cannot stop with what we eat and we had to pack something home, specially when it comes to chocolates. Hot chocolate cubes it was to make easy hot chocolate at home. It is a Chitra’m brand segment and made with 51% bean to bar chocolate. Did you know Chitra’m and infusions belong to the same person? Arun Viswanathan is a Food technologist, Cornell alumni and Chocolate maker by profession. He run a cafe called Infusions and a bean to bar chocolate brand called Chitra’m. Arun has been winning international chocolate awards since 2018.
All the desserts, pastries and beverages made and sold at Infusions cafe are made using a blend of bean to bar and couverture. A little about couverture. Couverture chocolate is a very high-quality chocolate that contains a higher percentage of cocoa butter (32– 39%) than baking or eating chocolate ( courtesy wiki)