Highway Treats: White Butter Paradise Part 2

Day 2

The suprisingly adventurous Man said that we should head to Amritsar. So strategically light breakfast later, we were on the road. 1.5 hrs later we were in the holy city. A trip inside the Golden Temple, and a booboo later (where we ate the prasad without offering it inside and this was pointed out by a good hearted admonishing sardarji), we landed at the Langar Hall to have the Guru ka Langar- one of the largest community kitchens of the world.

Jalandhar

(left) Mise en place for the langar                                                (right) Hungry thousands

Have you ever been humbled by the food? The Guru ka langar at Harmandir Sahib (aka Golden Temple) will do that you! Being part of the 1,00,000 odd people being fed that day, watching the amazing sense of crowd control and chivalry by the managers, the selflessness of the sewadars chopping vegetables, making rotis and stirring dals in big cauldrons, eating a simple meal of roti, dal, kheer and watching hordes of volunteers cleaning your plate, fulfilling one of the basic needs of a human being- hunger, without any discrimination of caste, creed, wealth and for no material consideration-This to me is religion done right! There is no menu, no tables waiting to be seated and NO white butter, but this meal reminds you what every dietician propounds for a healthy life- simple, wholesome, nutritious meal J

Guru's langar

                               Guru’s langar

Following this we strolled in Jallianwala Bagh, a reminder of the sacrifices made for our freedom. It makes you wonder whether these sacrifices were made in vain.

(left) Phirnis set out to set  (right) Phirni set out to be gobbled

(left) Phirnis set out to set                          (right) Phirni set out to be gobbled

An argument (which I won obviously) later, the Man and I decided to head to Kesar da Dhaba for its famous lassi. We ordered the lassi, aloo parantha and phirni. The lassi was served in the tallest glass I have seen. We stir the drink, take a sip and guess what??? WHITE BUTTER again! It did live up to its reputation. Then came the aloo parantha in a thali so big that I could literally sit on it. It was expectedly coated with white butter, but Sukhdev paranthas won me over. Lastly came the phirni which was of melt-in-ur-mouth consistency and the Man gobbled up everything and left only 2 spoonfuls for me! The lassi n phirni at Kesar are definitely worth a try.

Lassi n Aloo Parantha

                                                                           Lassi n Aloo Parantha

2 hrs drive and COMA later, we were back at the hotel to witness the Punjabi hot chick wed her golfer beau..ok fine we didn’t watch them wed as the pheras were to happen at 4 am and our systems shut at 2am (old age i tell u)! A fun weekend, some hilarious moments courtesy the alcohol (I think I had a vision of jagjit singh doing flamenco), new friends made, memories with old acquaintances refreshed, we are back in guru ka gaon- tired, sleep deprived but motivated- for another road trip! 😀

Wishing N&M our best!!

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Highway Treats: White Butter Paradise Part 1

I was pleasantly surprised when the Man said that he wants to go to Jalandhar to attend his friend’s wedding. It was unbelievable- a workaholic leaving work and travelling 7 hrs by car one way!!- guess the Man really needed a break! It was a road trip after a long time and for me, a car, gps and internet connectivity are sufficient to hit the road! (err…hand sanitiser and tissue paper also :P)

Got ourselves into a cab by 8am and the journey began. The skyscrapers of Gurgaon gave way to the illegal constructions in North Delhi and finally we were on NH1. Sceneries comprising of yellow mustard fields, green cauliflowers, saffron marigolds, creamish sugarcanes and the orange kinnows prevented me from catching up on sleep. Little did I know that I was about to land in white butter paradise, where I would go into a coma after each meal!

First stop: Amrit Sukhdev Dhaba at Murthal

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That’s not yoghurt, its white butter!!

Condiments galore

Condiments galore

Not really a dhaba anymore, its more like haldirams on the highway. Bustling with patrons, we had to stare at people to make them uncomfortable and vacate the table 😛 We ordered mix veg paranthas which came with a big dollop of white butter, served with pickled onions, green chillies, mix veg pickle and a sweet lemon preserve. The paranthas were true to the dhaba style- warm, medium spicy, with the right amount of stuffing and greasy (basically yum!). We ordered tea, which is just the way I like it- milky, sweet, spiced with cinnamon and served in the chaiwala glass- in short Oxford Book Café’s truck driver chai!

COMA

I woke up and it was Ludhiana!! 😀 We stopped for a late lunch at a dhaba called ‘Punjabi Dhaba’ (how unique) Sadly I didn’t take any pics as I was still groggy from the previous butter assault. This time we ordered roti, dal and kadhai paneer. The Man served himself what he thought was a piece of paneer floating in the dal, only to realise that it was a big piece of..u guessed it right…white butter! Special mention abt the staff, who were very exceptionally good hosts. When we could only eat 2 gigantic rotis, the ‘manager’ told us that we hadn’t eaten enough! And when we were leaving he was kind enough to give us a bottle of drinking water, which he had billed by mistake. Such experiences make me realise that some good people still exist in the world… 🙂

COMA

Wake up and we are in Jalandhar to ‘attund wedding’. The Man met his friends, some of them long since his graduation. They are a motley gang of fun people, which unites under the influence of alcohol 😀 It was hilarious dancing to Punjabi pind songs and Honey Singh songs with an Italian, Spaniard, Brit, Chinese, and making new friends on the dance floor- Alcohol, music and dance floor has always done that to me. There was even a clash of Djs, with the local DJ playing hans raj hans and the IITian DJ playing Swedish house mafia, finally the uncles choice for Punjabi songs won the battle. And not to forget, the Spore batch trademark dance to ‘I’ve got a feeling’ was also performed to complete the evening.

Rajasthani Laal Maas- But with Chicken

Eat: Laal Maas

Prey: Kashmiri Red Chilly

Love: My Mum gave it a thumbs up and for the first time in our lives asked me for the recipe of the dish (i am the lowest ranked cook in the house at the moment)..so yes its a winner!

The family made a trip to Kashmir last week.

How was the place?…I was prancing around the place like Anushka Sharma in the song from Jab Tak Hai Jaan (filmy me!). But let’s just say Indian tourists can even ruin paradise!! Every beautiful lake, valley, hill, river was surrounded by discarded plastic bottles, shiny snack packets (Haldirams/Bikano/Lays should be banned in the hills), and even condoms floating on Dal Lake! In fact when I first set foot on the Dal Lake Boulevard, I narrowly escaped setting foot on a discarded diaper!!

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While my co-travellers were keen on purchasing pashmina, aari work, etc, I had set my heart on Kashmiri red chilly. No matter what a place has in store for me, I always make it a point to research on the peculiar food in that particular area and if I like the food, I will end up in a local non-touristy market to purchase the ingredients.

I have major trust issues with tourist drivers, so with the help of a good natured uncle unrelated to tourist business and google, I learnt that Zaina Kadal is the local market in Srinagar. There a large number of shops offering various spices and ingredients, some of them specific to the Kashmiri Wazwan. After nagging the Man for 3 days, I finally got my bag of Kashmiri Red Chilly and I was a happy girl!..The Man was also happy because the souvenir cost him only INR 80 (for 250gms)!!

Although I had started the prep to make the Kashmiri Mirchi Korma, I was too lazy to head to the store to buy mutton. I had some chicken breast and the Rajasthani Laal Maas has been on the waiting list since a visit to Jodhpur last year around this time.

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Mehrangadh Fort or Batman Fort as the guides call it now!!! (Thanks Christian Bale…. thunks head on the wall)

 

Again the recipe calls for mutton, but I experimented on chicken based on the recipe here. I cannot bring myself to use more than 3 tablespoon oil in a dish. So the oil on top of the dish is the 3 tablespoon oil which was used to brown the onions and some fat from the yoghurt (made from low fat milk) used in the marinade. I substituted juice of lime with vinegar.

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Color is purely from the chilly..no color added by spoon or photoshop!

Endnote: Enjoy!

In Santa’s land

(well not really…Santa’s airport more like it!!)

What happens when one has to spend 5 hours at an airport in Lapland cause somebody crossed immigration unknowingly and lost the golden opportunity to step out into snow clad wonderland…

we eat cheesecake with lingonberry sauce….

Curiosity got the better of me when I popped in a piece of humble looking cured meat only to be told that is REINDEER MEAT…. sorry Rudolf but u taste very good…I also ate cold smoked caviar only to regret it and chomped on some liquorice to change the taste in my mouth. I was tempted to pick the reindeer meat and bear meat to take home, but taking the said meat outside EU is banned.. 😦

Finland..your transit lounge keeps me well occupied, you definitely deserve a visit! Hope to see u soon…