Built in the 19th century, CHIJMES on Victoria Street is one of the most majestic structures in Singapore. From a foodie’s perspective, it has authentic Asian restaurants, bars and coffee houses. Hence its a favourite destination for people who want to unwind after work as well as tourists who are looking to explore Singapore. The latest addition to the refurbished CHIJMES is Anglo Indian Cafe and Bar, a restaurant showcasing Indian food from the British Raj period. They have a precedence of serving good food from their successfully operating outlet at Shenton Way which has a loyal clientele. Their new outlet at CHIJMES positions them to attract tourists who want to taste Indian food due to their liking for the cuisine and ease of location. They have both indoor and alfresco seating which helps to soak in the ambiance.
Their menu mainly has North Indian food and some Indian Chinese dishes. Personally, I prefer their North Indian dishes in terms of authentic taste and consistency in preparation. Since they serve Indian cuisine, the place has a significant variety of vegetarian dishes.
In the starters section, you cannot miss their delicious ‘Paneer Tikka’. These are large size cottage cheese cubes marinated to perfection with yogurt and spices and served with mint chutney. They are grilled in tandoor style which gave them a discernible flavour. For the price, I wish there were more paneer pieces but otherwise this dish is highly recommended.
Among North Indian curries, our favourite curry to try at a restaurant is generally the ‘Chole’. Prepared in Lahori style, the chickpeas are gently simmered in a gravy base and have a soft texture. The spices used were well-balanced and had been well absorbed by the chickpeas. This will serve as an apt accompaniment to your naans and rotis.
Paneer Tikka at $16
When okra is cooked to perfection with minimal ingredients, it will shine through in a curry. We decided to try the ‘Bhindi Masala’ as its a vegetable that pairs well with rotis. The okra was cooked with tomatoes, green chillies and spices and tasted decent. Basically, this curry lacked the perfection to taste like an authentic dish. The gravy coating on all the okra pieces was not uniform and hence the consistency in taste was not the same with every bite.
Lahori Chole at $11
Dals are common as a side dish in an Indian restaurant. Anglo Indian has a nice assortment of dals to choose from and we ordered the ‘Dal Bukhara’. This dish is made using black lentils cooked on slow fire with tomatoes, ginger, garlic and spices. The soft and creamy lentils will melt in your mouth and the spices slowly unfold creating a memorable experience on your tastebuds. Highly recommended, do not miss this!
Bhindi Masala at $14
They do not have a bread basket on their menu. Individual orders have to be placed for rotis and naans. All their naan varieties are good as is the Laccha Paratha.
Dal Bukhara at $14
For quality Indian food in the central location of CHIJMES and a nice ambiance, Anglo Indian Cafe and Bar is worth a visit.
As I explore cooking, I have come to realize the versatility of beetroot in curry and dessert preparations. Apart from the immense health benefits, it cooks quickly and can be used either grated or diced – which adds a lot of texture to dishes. Paneer acts as a good ingredient in gravy dishes as it soaks in the flavours of the curry beautifully. This also adds variety to the standard lunchbox recipes as it is an unusual combination which has a great balance of taste and texture. For vegans, you can substitute tofu instead of paneer and it tastes equally good.
Recipe Details :
Serves: 3-4 pax
Time: 30 mins
- 2 beetroots, peeled and cut into cubes
- 250 gms paneer, cubed
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 200 ml coconut milk
- 2 green chillies, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 inch piece of ginger, grated
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp garam masala /Kitchen King powder
- Salt to taste
- 2 tsp oil
Beetroot and Paneer Curry
- Take a pressure cooker and add oil in it. Add the beetroot cubes, onions, ginger, garlic, chillies and salt in it. Add 1.5 cups of water and close the lid. On a low flame, let the cooker steam out 3 whistles. Then switch off the flame. After this, wait for the pressure of the cooker to release naturally.
- Open the lid and add in the coconut milk, paneer, coriander powder and garam masala powder and bring the curry to a boil on medium flame. Stir the gravy so that the added spices coat the paneer and beetroot nicely. If the gravy seems thick, add a little water as per your judgement.
- This curry is absolutely delicious and goes great with rice and rotis.
- Don’t add too much water. If you want a thinner gravy, use a combination of coconut milk and water.
- For a deeper taste, cook on a very low flame once you add the paneer and spices and let it rest for some time before eating.
Experimenting with new ingredients gives me a high. Lotus seeds are an ingredient I hadn’t heard about – let alone tasted. I came across them in an article by Rujuta Diwekar, the famous Indian nutritionist who suggested using it as a healthy snack. It can be consumed (like popcorn) by dry roasting. It is also largely consumed during fasting. I wanted to make a curry that could be had with rotis. Then began the daunting process of finding it in Singapore. Mustafa is the place where most of the Indian cooking specific ingredients can be found – but the shopping complex is huge. If you do not know the ingredient shelves properly, you may never find it. It took me two visits in two months just to figure that out since I don’t frequent the area often. After this, what remained to be done was just the cooking part. I jumped on to the task and needless to say, I was deelighted with the way the dish turned out.
Recipe Details :
Serves: 3-4 pax
Time: 40 mins
Ingredients for cooking: :
- 2 cups lotus seeds/ makhana
- 1 cup peas
- 150 gms cottage cheese/paneer, cut into cubes
- 2 green bell peppers/ capsicum, finely chopped
- 6 – 7 cashews split in half
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- Salt to taste
- Coriander for garnish (optional)
Ingredients for grinding: :
- 20 cashews, soaked approximately for 1 hour
- 3 tomatoes
- 2 green chillies
Roasting of makhana
- Roast the lotus seeds and cashews in a pan (left half of pic). Roast on a low flame till they are light brown in colour (right half of pic). Switch off the flame and let them cool for 15 mins.
- Meanwhile, grind the ingredients mentioned in the grinding section into a smooth paste.
- Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add cumin seeds, followed by the ground paste and some salt. Let this paste cook till the raw taste of tomato and cashew goes. This will take around 5-7 mins
- Next, add the bell peppers and salt along with around 2 cups of water. Cover the pan and let it cook for around 5 mins.
Makhana cooking stage
- Add the lotus seeds, paneer and peas into the rich gravy and let them cook for another 5-7 mins. At this stage the colour of the gravy will look as shown in the pic above.
- Cook the paneer well and let it fully marinate. The colour of the gravy will also slowly change and become a nice yellow colour.
Makhana final dish
- Garnish with coriander and serve hot with rotis. The final dish will be mouthwatering for sure!
- If you have a high flame, roast the cashews and lotus seeds separately as the cashews roast, and therefore burn faster.
- Do not increase the quantity of cashews as the gravy will become too thick.