December seems to have brought along with it an unlikely guest in the form of Mr. Ockhi. I am not very sure about his supposed intensity, but where I stay – in Mumbai – Mr. Ockhi has left people wondering if it is, indeed, December – the sorta winter month – or June – the monsoon month!
I know, I should not complain about it. I am warm and dry within the four walls of my house, enjoying the slight chill that December had failed to get along with it! The pleasant dip in temperatures feels wonderful, and makes you yearn for, and enjoy, some hot and spicy chow!
And, in Mumbai, which other dish can meet your needs of hot and spicy, other than pao bhaji?
After batata wada,and bhelpuri/panipuri, comes pao bhaji – the food that Mumbai stands for. A dish made up of a few veggies(potatoes,tomatoes,green peas, capsicum, etc) mashed to a smooth consistency, topped with a huge dollop of butter and served with soft, hot, buttered bread, called ‘pao’ and garnished with finely chopped onions and coriander.
The aroma that wafts from an eatery, or even the roadside food stalls that serve the pao bhaji can make your mouth water. So, when it rains, the way it is today, or when there’s a slight nip in the air, all you want to do is head to a nearest food stall or restaurant and have a plateful of this steaming hot, spicy and buttery sin!
Hubby, who happens to be proficient in the kitchen, cooks lip-smacking pao bhaji. So, we do indulge our taste buds and our appetite for the same some times. But, on days when we are too lazy to do the cutting and chopping, we just head to our nearest eatery to have our fill.
However, not every eatery serves the dish using the time-tested formula for preparing it. For, very often, one visits an eatery that ruins their dream dish with a really unpalatable and inferior version of what they had in mind.
Like the other day, when we visited this new food joint in our neighbourhood that appeared cool and classy, to enjoy our favourite. I did experience a sense of foreboding as I entered the place. And, how my fear came true!
To begin with, when hubby placed the order, the waiter brought only one plate of pao bhaji. Hubby and I looked at the plate and each other and decided to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. “Maybe the second plate is on its way,” we thought, and waited.
Surprisingly, the second plate did not arrive, following which hubby enquired if the order had been heard right – 2 plates of pao bhaji. The waiter realised his gaffe and went into the kitchen to work on the second plate.
In the meanwhile, my amused hubby and I began eating what was served to us. But, to our dismay, the pao bhaji was anything but! Have you tasted the gravy of, say, chhole, or some North Indian cuisine, that has way too much masala and little else?
That was what lay in front of us. And, the pao was clearly past its ‘use by’ date. It had masala smeared on its insides (as if warmed on a pan which had been used the earlier day for preparing something else) , which made the dish all the more inedible.
Hubby whispered to me to just forget about it and we left our table to pay the bill – for what, I know not!
The lady at the cash counter asked if we hadn’t been satisfied with their food. That was all that was required for hubby to give her a good lecture on the art of cooking the dish in question.
Do you know what the lady replied at the end?
“Oh, but the other dishes on our menu are, definitely, much better!”
I am glad hubby didn’t catch that remark!
We just stormed out of the place, located another place to go, have dinner. The appetite for pao bhaji lost, we decided that the next time we wish to eat out, we would rather stay at home and have our humble dal-chawal. Or, prepare our fav dish on a Sunday.
That’s all from me today, at #FlavoursomeTuesdays.
Joining me today, at #flavoursometuesdays are…
Do visit them..you will love their posts!
Do you have any memories, sweet and sour, revolving around food? If yes, then do share them with me and Sunita, using the hashtag #FlavoursomeTuesdays, and have fun!