Indori Poha

Poha is a very popular breakfast or tea-time dish in India. Due to the diversity in Indian cuisine, there are different variants of poha. Poha is basically a flattened rice flake and is available in different grades of thickness. Having grown up in Maharashtra, I have had the ‘Kande Pohe’ (uses medium poha) which is pretty awesome. This time I tried the ‘Indori Poha’ from the state of Madhya Pradesh in India. So, the first difference I noticed in the preparation method is that for this dish, I had to use thick poha. The second difference is in the ingredients used as the garnish. The presence of fennel seeds and a hint of sweetness in the form of sugar and pomegranate seeds are the prime differences in the two styles of poha. When you add all the flavorful components in this colorful dish, I can assure you that you won’t stop eating it. This dish is also perfect for a teatime party as poha with chai is a divine combination. For those staying in Singapore, I picked the nylon sev from Mustafa and thick poha from Sri Murugan stores.
Recipe Details :
Serves: 3 pax
Time: 20 mins
Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients :

  • 2 cups thick poha / flattened rice flakes
  • 1 big potato cut in cubes
  • 1 big onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts (without skin)
  • 10-12 cashews
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated coconut (optional)
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • A handful of pomegranate seeds
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp nylon sev (for garnish)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp sugar (optional)
  • 1 lemon
  • Some cilantro leaves for garnish

Indori Poha

Indori Poha


Method:

  • Soak the poha in water for 5 mins. Drain using a strainer and keep aside.
  • Cut the veggies on the side so that the prep work is done.
  • Poha veggie preparation

    Poha veggie preparation

  • Heat oil in a pan on a medium flame. Add the mustard seeds, fennel seeds and curry leaves and wait till they splutter.
  • Once you get the pronounced aroma of fennel seeds, add 75% of the chopped onions and some salt. If you don’t like raw onions as garnish, then add all the chopped onions at this stage.
  • Once the onions turn translucent, add the peanuts, green chillies, cashews and saute them for around 2-3 mins.
  • Next, add the potatoes along with salt and turmeric powder. Cover the pan with a lid so that the steam cooks the potatoes quickly.
  • Once the potatoes are cooked, add the soaked poha and mix it well – such that all the rice flakes are coated with the yellow turmeric powder.
  • Check the salt level at this stage and adjust only if required. If you like a bit of sugar, add at this time.
  • Switch off the flame and keep the pan covered for around 7 mins so that the poha can cook a bit more in the steam.
  • Indori Poha

    Indori Poha

  • Finally garnish it rest of the chopped onions, cilantro leaves and grated coconut before serving. You can also add the pomegranate seeds and nylon sev (I forgot to take the pic with these toppings)
  • Lemon goes great with poha, so squeeze it just before serving. Serve this dish hot / warm only!

Tips:

  • Do not over-soak the poha. If you do that, the flakes will not separate and the dish will become mushy.
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Flying Monkey – Indian Tapas at Bussorah Street

Bussorah Street is filled with restaurants offering a variety of cuisines and that’s the best part about the culturally rich Kampong Glam District. As you walk on the street, it is difficult to miss the Flying Monkey restaurant which exudes a happy vibe with its bright interiors and vibrant colors. As soon as I entered the restaurant, the first thing I noticed was the extremely fascinating Kathakali painting on the wall. Kathakali is one of the major forms of classical dance from the state of Kerala and is based on the ‘story play’ genre of art. This is a full-fledged restaurant serving pan-Indian tapas and creative cocktails that are unique and with a twist. The fact that it is a sister concern of Pizza Fabbrica which is next door also guarantees a certain assurance of quality in the dishes.

Flying Monkey decor

Flying Monkey decor

The Orders
The food can be enjoyed in both small and big plates and has quite a few vegetarian options. The basic idea is to pair the food with an interesting cocktail from the bar and set the mood of the meal. The portion sizes of the items are just right for one person, hence it is better to go with a larger group of friends so that you get to taste more dishes in tapas style.

Flying Monkey menu

Flying Monkey menu


Regional food in India has been seeing its own renaissance. The most popular food from the Awadh region in India is the kebab. Over the years, this dish has undergone innovation and interpretation in myriad ways and hence we were eager to try the ‘Papaya Kebabs’ from the menu. Though papaya might be a questionable choice for some, it is a fruit that has seen usage in the Kakori style of kebabs with meat. Flying Monkey presents the vegetarian version with both style and taste. These kebabs were papaya fritters served with plum chutney and were delicately flavored with spices. This unique combination makes it a must-try.
Papaya Kebabs

Papaya Kebabs at $12


Next we ordered the ‘Chilli Poppers’ which are derived from the Mirchi Vada popular in the state of Rajasthan in India. They are chilli peppers stuffed with a spicy potato filling, then dipped in gram flour batter and deep-fried. The Flying Monkey version is not extremely spicy and makes you relish the poppers. I wished they were more hot in terms of the serving temperature and also that there were more pieces of the poppers.
Chilli Poppers

Chilli Poppers at $10


We also tried the ‘Paneer Shashlik’ which is usually served on a sizzler plate on skewers. The grilled paneer pieces were served with onions, tomatoes and capsicum and tasted good. The paneer was evenly marinated with the spices. Grab a bite with the chutney and salad served on the side to enjoy the combination.
Paneer Shashlik

Paneer Shashlik at $10


In the big plates section, we tried the ‘Lasooni Saag’ which is comfort food for most Indians. The green spinach mash with burnt garlic had a nice creamy texture and went well with the Tandoori Roti. The presentation reminded me of pita bread served with a dip. The thickness in the saag was impressive and I was able to experience the richness of the spinach.
Lasooni Saag

Lasooni Saag at $16


‘Baingan Salan’ pairs well with vegetable biryani but it also works as a great curry along with plain rice. This is a dish in which whole eggplants are braised in a cashew and peanut curry. The nuts add to the texture of the gravy but on the whole I would have preferred better balance and seasoning in this dish.
Baingan Salan

Baingan Salan at $16


The service staff were attentive and friendly and that’s always a bonus for a relatively newly opened restaurant. For their interesting cocktails, an evening out with friends or to experience unique Indian tapas in a relaxed atmosphere, Flying Monkey is worth a visit.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Indian Tapas ★★★1/2
Nearest MRT: Bugis
Address: 67/68 Bussorah Street, Singapore 199480
Timings: Tue-Sun: 12pm – 2.30pm , 5.30pm – 11pm
Website: http://flyingmonkey.sg/

Bitter Gourd Chips / Karela Chips

It’s quite evident from the name bitter gourd (karela), that not many people would be a fan of this vegetable. Apart from the health benefits, if made well, it can be transformed into amazing snacks. When they take the form of crispy fries, the humble bitter gourd can become a delicacy. The mild bitterness blends well with the spices and makes it a good tea time snack or side dish along with dals, sambhar and rasam.
Recipe Details :
Serves: 3-4 pax
Time: 20 mins
Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients :

  • 4 small sized bitter gourds(karela)
  • 4 tbsp rice flour
  • 3 tbsp besan
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil – to shallow fry

bittergourd chips

Bitter gourd/Karela Chips


Method:

  • Wash the bitter gourd, discard the ends, and cut it into uniformly thin rounds. Then pat-dry the pieces using a cloth. I did not de-seed them, but you can choose to do so if you are using the longer bitter gourds.
  • Cut bittergourd pieces

    Cut bittergourd pieces

  • Once dry, take the cut bitter gourd pieces in a bowl and add all the spice powders and mix well. Add 1-2 tsp of oil so that all slices are coated with the spices. Alternatively, you can sprinkle some drops of water but you have to take care that the mixture doesn’t turn soggy.
  • mixing bittergourd with spices

    Mixing the bitter gourd and spices

  • Heat oil in a pan on medium low flame. Since the size of my bitter gourd pieces was small, I just shallow fried them. Add the pieces one by one into the oil in batches.
  • Flip the pieces so that the pieces fry evenly on both sides. Remove them from the flame when they turn crisp. Drain the excess oil using a paper towel.
  • Serve them hot to munch, as snacks or during tea time.
  • bittergourd chips

    Bitter gourd / Karela Chips


Tips:

  • The older and bigger bitter gourds will have the more bitter seeds. I would recommend removing them.
  • You can sprinkle some aamchur / chat masala on the chips once you take them out of oil while they are still very hot.

Bikanervala Singapore – Changi Airport Terminal 3

Its no mean feat that Changi Airport has been considered to be the best airport in the world consistently. It is the global hub for most flights passing through the SEA region and has a steady stream of travelers and tourists frequenting its space. So its imperative for it to have a wide variety of dining options that suit different cultures. Adding its flavour to the newly opened dining joints in Changi Airport Terminal 3 is Bikanervala , a fully vegetarian restaurant serving all types of Indian cuisine. Operating under new management, the restaurant has amped up its presentability aspect in terms of its huge seating space, warm lighting, a mithai (sweets) counter and a snacks corner. It has a distinguishable red sign that cannot be missed as you walk towards the corner of the viewing mall from where you can also see the flights land and take off. The fact that it is open 24*7 also makes it convenient in case you are a vegetarian and looking for eating options at Changi Airport.

Bikanervala Changi

Bikanervala Changi Airport T3


Mithai counter at Bikanervala

Mithai counter at Bikanervala

The Orders
Bikarnervala is an Indian homegrown chain that has an international presence and a standardized global menu. The same menu has been launched in Singapore and it has a lot of variety in terms of subsets of Indian cuisine – North Indian, South Indian and Indian Chinese. So basically you’ll get to taste the diversity of Indian cuisine at fairly affordable prices.

Bikanervala is famous for its chaats globally and hence we tried their recommended dish, the ‘Raj Kachori’. Let me tell you that its a royal treat – both in terms of presentation and taste. Kachoris are fried cakes of refined flour stuffed with lentils and yogurt and topped with mint and dates sauce. The tangy and sweet flavours blend beautifully in this dish and is meant to be eaten hot – so eat this tasty appetizer before the outer shell starts getting soft and soggy.

Raj Kachori

Raj Kachori at $6.5


Since we are fans of North Indian food, we tried the ‘Chole Bhature’. The chole (chickpeas) were made with authentic spices and turned out to be delicious. The bhature which are the puffed and fried version of Indian bread were non-greasy and did not lose their fluffiness for the entire course of the meal and that was really good. Highly recommended.
Chhole Bhature

Chhole Bhature at $9.5


For lunch and dinner, they also have thalis and combo meals on their menu. We tried their ‘Deluxe Thali’ which had so many items in the right portion sizes that it is worthy of being called a meal. The first thing that caught my attention was the plate that was used for serving. The compartmentalized plate was spot-on as it helps in segregating the dry and gravy items with great convenience and hence you don’t find yourself struggling for space on the plate. In their Deluxe Thali, they serve Paneer, Dal Makhani, Veg of the Day, Raita, Pulao, Naan, Laccha Paratha, Papad, salad, pickle and sweet. Most of the items were tasty but the notable ones were the Dal Makhani, Pulao and the Paratha. This veg thali is ideal if you want to eat a decent portion size before catching a flight.
Deluxe thali

Deluxe thali at $14.5


Ever since Ananda Bhavan closed at Changi, one does miss the availability of popular South Indian dishes like idlis and dosas at the airport. Because of the extensive options at Bikanervala, you’ll find those standard items here now. The dosa was crisp and nice and the sambhar was well-seasoned. They also have mini-utappams and vadas that are good for breakfast or as snacks. The South Indian items are definitely good but overall I preferred their North Indian items since that is their forte and they have a better grasp on the authentic taste in that genre.
Dosa idli and vada

Dosa idli and vada with sambhar


To combat the humidity in Singapore, a refreshing glass of ‘Mango Lassi’ never fails. The yogurt based drink acted as an effective thirst quencher and was not overly sweet. The taste of alphonso mango in the drink was authentic and we liked it.
Mango Lassi

Mango Lassi


They have a mind-boggling assortment of sweets that can be had a la carte or conveniently packaged and taken home. They also have mithai boxes that are suitable for gifting. After putting in some thought, we tried the Kaju Roll (Rose), Rasmalai and Lamba Jamun. I have to say that their Rasmalai is outstanding with its perfectly chilled badam pista sauce and great texture of the malai. Do not miss it if you are here! In the Kaju Roll, the rose with cashews was an interesting combination to taste and it also had a substantial amount of pistachios to add some more texture. And if you are fan of the jamuns in sweets, then I preferred the Lamba Jamun to the Kala Jamun here. This place is a Mecca for Indian sweet lovers!
Mithai at Bikanervala

L to R: Rose Kaju Roll, Rasmalai, Lamba Jamun


Since it’s mainly Indian cuisine, if you are a vegan, you will find some items that cater to your dietary requirements and some that can be customized. This space is quite well-done and suitable for large groups. If you work in the East, you can also head here for team lunches. Their in-house ‘Bikano’ snacks are available here and so are their specialty items. We picked up a box of ‘Achari Mathri’ which is a teatime snack and it was very good. For enticing your taste buds with authentic Indian vegetarian cuisine, for its convenience of location, for its friendly service and for its astounding variety in Indian sweets, Bikanervala at Changi airport is a must-visit. Here’s hoping that the quality of food remains consistent at this restaurant as it was during this meal.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Indian ★★★★
Nearest MRT: Changi Airport
Address: Changi Airport, Terminal 3, Viewing Mall Level 4
Timings: Mon-Sun: 24 hrs
Website: https://www.facebook.com/bikanervalaSG/

Urad Dal Chutney – Side Dish for Idli/Dosa

When you want something that’s a little different from the traditional coconut or coriander chutneys, this Urad Dal Chutney steps in as a perfect side dish for idlis and dosas. Since this is a no coconut chutney, it can be prepared in larger quantities and refrigerated – typically for up to a week. The red chillies and tamarind make a spicy and tangy combination and the dish attains balance. This chutney makes me breeze through a work week if I have idlis or dosas in my breakfast plan.
Recipe Details :
Serves: 4 pax
Time: 15 mins
Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients :

  • 1/4 cup urad dal
  • A small ball of tamarind
  • 3 red chillies
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic pod, skin peeled (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp oil

Urad dal chutney

Urad dal chutney


Method:

  • In a pan, add the oil and a pinch of asafoetida. Stir for a bit and then add the urad dal, red chilli and tamarind. Sauté the dal on a low flame till it turns golden brown. Then switch off the flame and remove this aside on a plate to cool.
  • In the same pan, add the chopped onions and garlic and cook them till the onions turn brown. Then switch off the flame.
  • Now allow both sets of roasted items to cool completely.
  • Then put these items into a mixer. Add salt and grind into a smooth paste. Add water depending on the consistency you want and your chutney is ready.
  • Finally temper the chutney in sesame oil with mustard seeds, urad dal and a single red chilli just before serving.
  • Urad dal chutney

    Urad dal chutney


Methi Chole Sabzi / Fenugreek Leaves and Chickpeas Sabzi

When you want to pack proteins in your diet, get going with chickpeas. North Indian style curries with chickpeas are perfect for lunchbox recipes. Methi Chole is a popular Punjabi dish that combines fenugreek leaves with chole in a spicy gravy. It’s also a convenient way to include greens in your meal in a tasty manner. The aroma of this curry is amazing and it’ll make you want to eat it as soon as you make it.
Recipe Details :
Serves: 4 pax
Time: 30 mins
Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients :

  • 2 cups methi leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 big tomato, finely chopped
  • 1.5 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cardamom pods (break and finely powder)
  • 2 green chillies, slit in half along the length
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 2 tsp aamchur / dry mango powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tbsp oil

Methi Chole

Methi Chole


Method:

  • Wash the fenugreek leaves and chop them roughly.
  • Fenugreek leaves

    Fenugreek leaves

  • Wash and soak the chole in water for 6 – 8 hours.
  • Drain the water and add the chole in a pressure cooker along with 3 tsp of salt and 3 cups water. Pressure cook this for 6 whistles on a medium flame. Then switch off the cooker and let it cool till the pressure is naturally released.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, add the bay leaves, cloves, cardamom powder and let them crackle for a few seconds.
  • Now add the chopped onion, a pinch of salt and saute them till they are translucent. Add ginger garlic paste to the onions and continue cooking till they are golden brown.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and green chillies at this stage and fry them for 2 mins.
  • Then add the turmeric powder, garam masala powder, dry mango powder and coriander powder. Mix well to combine. Let this paste cook for 2-3 mins.
  • Add the chole along with the cooking water. Taste and add more salt, if required.
  • Cook the chole for around 10 mins on a low flame.
  • Finally add the chopped fenugreek leaves and mix them well and cook them for another 3 mins. The aroma of the sabzi is amazing.
  • Methi chole

    Methi chole

  • Tastes good when served hot and best paired with roti or naan.

Tips:

  • Make sure the chole is well cooked before you add it to the gravy. You can cook it for some more time in the pressure cooker if needed.
  • Ensure that the methi leaves are washed well. Rinse them multiple times before cutting.

Nukkad Restaurant and Panchtantra Breakfast menu launch – Syed Alwi Road

A ‘Nukkad’ in Hindi is a street corner where people generally hang out and talk about their daily life. In the modern times, it also loosely and conveniently translates into a grab-on-the-go concept that is ideal for takeaways. At a stone’s throw from Mustafa, is the newly opened Nukkad, a flagship restaurant of the Panchtantra group, serving Indian drinks and desserts on Syed Alwi Road. Those of us who have grown up in India will identify with the fact that we typically have a craving for a late night dessert binge in the form of chuskis (golas), milkshakes and lassis. Now imagine finding all of them at a convenient location after the exhausting exercise of weekly grocery shopping at Mustafa! A quick glance at their menu will show that all the favourite flavours that go in these items are present to bring a wave of nostalgia. They have also launched a new breakfast menu in the main Panchtantra restaurant which will also be covered in the latter part of this blog post.

Nukkad menu

Nukkad menu

Nukkad – The Orders

As the days get hotter, it’s best to pamper yourself with a refreshing drink. With the season of mangoes around, we decided to try the milkshake made with the king of fruits – ‘Mango Magic’. Without an iota of doubt, I can say that Alphonso mangoes are superior in their sweetness, richness and flavour. They are best suited to be used as an ingredient in a milkshake that also acts as a filling dessert. This drink was filled with the creamy and slightly heavy texture of delicious mangoes. Interspersed in the shake were a small quantity of chocolate chips which act as a nice twist. Do not miss this if you are a fan of Indian mangoes.

Mango Magic and Badam Tutti Frutti

Mango Magic and Badam Tutti Fruity


Another drink absolutely worth trying is the ‘Badam Tutti Frutti Milkshake’. This delicious summer cooler is loaded with the goodness of almonds and pistachios. It acts as the perfect refreshment since it’s extremely light in texture which makes it as easy to drink as buttermilk. A single sip of this well-made drink and you don’t feel like keeping the glass down – highly recommended.
Chuski is an ice lolly made up of crushed ice and flavored with various syrups like rose, khus, orange, strawberry or the famous kala khatta. It is also known as gola and is a vivid memory of my childhood in India. Nukkad gives you the option to mix upto four flavours of these syrups and customize your chuski. We tried the recommended combination of ‘Rose and Khus’ which was topped off with a slight sprinkle of chaat masala and it was an enjoyable experience. Khus is a fragrant, cooling herb with a woody aroma but is not overpowering like sandalwood. It goes well in sherbets and ice lollies and quite interesting to try as an unique option.
Two in one chuski

Two in one chuski at $4.5

Panchtantra Breakfast – The Orders
With an endeavor to make your mornings special, Panchtantra have launched their breakfast menu which will be available from 7.30-10.30 am everyday. These items will act as useful vegetarian options for Indian tourists who mostly stay in the area or seek to pack something and take while they are visiting attractions in Singapore. They have poha, upma, kachori, samosa and kulche as the main items in their breakfast menu.

We tried their ‘Chole Kulche’ which is a loved street food in North India. The chickpeas are made with an authentic Punjabi taste and traditional spices – and they are delicious! The kulche are made in a traditional oven, topped off with a generous amount of butter and best when eaten hot. You can opt for no butter, if you want. This item is extremely filling since two kulchas are served in one plate.

Chole Kulcha

Chole Kulcha


Kachoris are crusty, flaky deep-fried snacks that are popular as street food. We ordered the Aloo Kachori and this version had a spicy and tangy potato masala inside that will remind you of the aloo sabzi that you eat with pooris. The presentation of the dish was top-notch – spiralized onions, a sprig of coriander and the outer lining with dots of tamarind and dates chutney. Eat a little of everything in one bite to fully enjoy the dish.
Aloo Kachori

Aloo Kachori


For their new concept of a Indian drinks and desserts bar, for their chuskis and their convenient location, drop by this Nukkad and catch up on stories with your family and friends.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Indian ★★★1/2
Nearest MRT: Farrer Park
Address: 83 Syed Alwi Road, Singapore 207662
Timings: Mon-Sun: 7.30am – 11.30pm
Website: https://www.facebook.com/panchtantrasg/