Should you need a nudge to get out of Mumbai and expand your sights, let me introduce you to a young resort just three hours away. It goes by the name Saj by the Lake and it’s warm and welcoming.Continue reading “Escape to Saj By The Lake”
While we all have the best intentions when it comes to taking care of our complexion, we sometimes sabotage our skin without realizing it. Daily habits make a major difference when it comes to preventing damage and premature aging. For my story for The Week Smartlife June issue, I spoke to renowned dermatologists for an insight in to the 10 most common skincare mistakes and how to fix them.
Menchie’s America’s premium frozen yoghurt chain has now launched its first outlet in Khar, Mumbai, India. The menu at this self-serving yogurt franchise holds non-fat, low-carbohydrate, no-added-sugar, gluten-free, vegan and dairy-free options.
As much as I crave a good sambar rice, I hanker for Ilish Bhapa with equal fervor. My love for Bengali food often sees me land uninvited to Bengali homes. I unabashedly ask for leftovers of macher johol (yes they taste better the next day) and even tag along with Bengali friends to Durga Puja for the mahaprasad of khichuri and bhaja. So when I heard Sofitel Mumbai BKC had a East Bengal / Bangladesh food festival I did the obvious – drove there and ate till I was in food coma!
East Bengal/ Bangladeshi food is very similar to West Bengal barring the fact that Bangladeshi food has a slight Mughlai touch. Both cuisine favour fish and the use of mustard and poppy seeds are similar. The food festival at Novotel is put together by chef Sirajul from Novotel Kolkata.
We started with a non vegetarian snack – Chicken Kabiraj. It’s a cutlet made with minced chicken and spices dipped in egg and coated with breadcrumbs. Like other chop cutlets, this recipe too is the result of British influence on the Bengali cuisine. Needless to say it was crunchy on the outside and succulent inside. Though I missed Illish bhapa one of my favourite Bengali dishes, I was glad to see another favourite – Kosha Mangsho – a mutton dish. The perfectly cooked, juicy meat had a Mughlai touch with the use of whole spices and a thin layer of oil floating over it. Yummy. The Katla Macher Kalia (fish curry) was heady from the mustard seeds, nigella seeds, chillies and ginger paste.
The amount of respect Bengalis pay to vegetables is unprecedented. Simple ridgegaurd is elevated with the use of poppy seeds and mustard paste in Jinghe Posto. It goes beautifully with steamed rice. The simple yellow dal tempered with mustard seeds is akin to the Maharashtrian waran with strong hints of ghee.
Bongs love to have their fish in unthinkable ways. Apart from frying, steaming, baking and dunking it in gravies they also put it in pulao! The Ilish Polao a great combination of spicy Ilish with rice was full of depth. Though Bengali food is known for its liberal use of green chilies, and Bangladesh in particular is famed for having some of the hottest dishes in the world, the dishes at the food festival have been toned down to suit various palates. Among the desserts I loved the misti doi and gurer kheer.
Pondicherry Café the venue of the festival is dressed in Bangla fervor with a cycle tonga at the entrance, terracotta pots and jhal muri cycles.
Where: Pondichéry Café, Sofitel Mumbai BKC
Date: 18th to 27th March 2016
Time: Lunch – 12:30 pm onwards and Dinner – 7:00 pm onwards
Price: Rs 3,400 (all inclusive)
For reservations, call +91 (22) 6117 5115
NIVEDITA JAYARAM PAWAR
It didn’t need too much coaxing for me to step out and check out the new addition to the 5 Spice family – 5 Spice Wok. Firstly it’s just 5 minutes away from home and most importantly it’s stir fry Chinese! I love the smoky, singed flavour of stir fry and also the healthy way of cooking vegetables and meat for short periods over high heat that retains their natural vitamins.
5 Spice Wok is a no frills QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) with a DIY concept. Here’s the deal: You choose your base – rice/noodle, then add your protein (fish, chicken, prawns or veggies) and then proceed to choose from over eight sauces. Your food is tossed up in a wok and served too in a wok. There are no plates and you are encouraged to eat off the wok.
There are some people who radiate positivity, energy and happiness – what we call ‘good vibes’. Yami Gautam is one of those people. And she has reason to be. Not many actors from television make the cut to Bollywood. Her debut film Vicky Donor, directed by Shoojit Sircar was a sleeper hit. Made on a shoe-string budget the film not only vowed both the audiences and critics but also earned her many female debut awards.
But how did a girl born in Himachal Pradesh and raised in Chandigarh land up in Bollywood? A civil servant aspirant Yami was pursuing a law degree when her uncle sent her pictures to a production house. An audition for a television serial landed her in Mumbai and Yami never returned.
Vidya Balan has finally discovered the secret to success: being herself. For years, waifish girls with striking cheekbones were the very definition of a Bollywood heroine. Well, this 30 something Iyer girl has rounded up those stereotypes, stuffed them into a bag and bludgeoned them to death. A confident, content and brilliant Vidya has captured our hearts with her honest and close to real performance of an overweight, desperate movie star in The Dirty Picture. After memorably bursting onto the scene with Parineeta years ago, Vidya Balan is now ready to take on the mantle of a star after being an actor for so long. Her unpredictability ensures that we never take our eyes off her. Vidya even seems to become more attractive with age. In fact she is one of the few in Bollywood who looks naturally beautiful rather than nipped and tucked. With her new found confidence, natural beauty and flair for picking movie roles with tons of personality, Vidya is destined to have a long career in the public eye. I caught Vidya in a candid mood for an interview Continue reading “Vidya Balan – A new beginning”
Arjun Rampal is proof that good things come to those who wait. Though he showed slivers of potential in films like Ankhen and The Last Lear, success eluded him. It took the vivid imagination and deft hand of film maker Abhishek Kapoor to give Arjun the biggest opening of his film career with Rock On. The resurgence that began with Rock On was followed by Rajneeti and today Arjun Rampal is suddenly one of Bollywood’s hottest commodities. But unlike his fellow muscle bound meatheads, the Jabalpur born actor’s broad appeal stems from his willingness to play the part of a suave politician as easily as he does a divorced father of two. After many stop-and-starts, it looks like Arjun’s transition from super model to a serious actor may be complete.
Arjun Rampal is often referred to as one of the most stylish men in India. It’s easy to see why. Despite being one of the best looking men in India somehow Arjun has managed to avoid the hot lights of the paparazzi by staying scandal-free. Aside from his daytime duties as an actor, Arjun is a devoted husband to yesteryears super model Meher Jessia and father of two girls. I did an interview with the new heartthrob for M magazine.Continue reading “Arjun Rampal – The second innings”