The Best Recipe From Mom

Travel and Food

Made my first ”khichdi” while away from home. On the auspicious occasion of “Ganesh Chaturthi” each family has their own traditional and favorite dish that they prepare. Mine is a moong dal khichdi recipe – rice and green gram lentils cooked to porridge consistency.

Call it Khichdi/Kicdi/Hotchpotch, this is one of the grandma-mother-inspired dishes for me. This is a dish we grew up eating during the Indian festivals and hence holds a lot of sentimental value. Khichdi an Indian dish consisting chiefly of rice and split pulses. Rissoto is very much similar to khichdi the only difference is, Rissoto is from Italy. It is a dish from the South Asia made from rice and lentils (dal). Khichdi was the inspiration for the Anglo-Indian dish kedgeree, and is also commonly considered to be the inspiration for the popular Egyptian dish, kushari.

Place of origin‎: ‎Indian Subcontinent

Main ingredients‎: ‎Rice‎, ‎lentils‎, ‎spices (Bengali mixed spices also called Panch phoron, bay leaf, grated ginger, dry red chilli, turmeric powder, salt to taste) and clarified butter (ghee).

La Vinoteca Barcelona – Spanish Brunch Like No Other!

Events & Experiences, Travel and Food

Saturday Brunch at one of the island’s only upscale Spanish restaurants, La Vinoteca Barcelona! What can I say…Delicious! The food was gorgeous and plentiful and the drinks kept flowing. The idea of eating squid and calamari for the first time was fascinating (even though in the beginning I was slightly fearful).

La Vinoteca Barcelona / Café Amsterdam outdoor garden

Vibrant Restaurant and Lounge Interior

Great place for spending a Saturday afternoon with your friends over the world’s most admired wine (Torres wines)

The happy hostesses Daisy and Mary – they made me feel like family

The very charming Dragi at the smoking lounge upstairs

Love the wood work, and all the little details

My 10th brunch experience on the island, I went there on a recommendation from my friend Ryan, who also happens to be the restaurant manager there. La Vinoteca Barcelona has been making quite a stir on the Bahrain fine-dining scene since it opened its doors in early 2015, thanks to its unique culinary and oenological experience. The menu offers sublime Mediterranean cuisine with a focus on contemporary Spanish and Catalonian dishes.

Love the look of my table – it has been set up with Torres La Oscuridad Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Vinegar and El Silencio de Torres Picual, extra virgin olive oil

Snapseed

Chef Zablon cooking my lunch. I was pampered to death by this wonderful team

Here’s my first attempt at this hearty paella

Virgin Sangria

My tasting party began with Virgin Sangria (that’s a non-alcoholic sangria) – made with three different juices, apple, pineapple, and grape garnished with banana slice, cinnamon stick, orange and lemon slice.

Stand-out dishes at this outing were Fried Calamari, Patata Brava, Lucky Pepper and Octopus Croquettes (starter dish).

Lucky Pepper

Patata Brava

The verdict: A classic tapas dish –  just like you’d find in Spain. What I (absolutely) loved tasting in this dish is the patata brava. This stuff is gooood. If you’re not aware, patatas bravas is basically crispy potatoes served in a spicy tomato sauce and garlic aioli…which kind of sounds a bit boring. But trust me, it’s amazing. This is a must for your Tapas table at La Vinoteca Barcelona, Bahrain.

The perfect classic crème brulee

What followed next was a surprise! My main dish for the day was a proper paella dish. Like I previously stated this was my first time eating calamari, squid and octopus, I immediately asked “What’s in this!?”

Traditional Spanish Paella

After careful consideration and much thought, I decided to dive in.

The verdict: If you’re looking to try the most authentic Spanish paella on the island, look no further. The Spanish rice made with freshly caught seafood including white fish, calamari, cuttlefish, mussels & shrimps will leave you drooling. What a meal! (Only if you are a Seafood fan)

Lemon pie passion fruit gelee, cardamom ice cream

My favorite – Cappuccino

A true Spanish experience – my tasting ended with a Lemon Pie (Homemade) topped with passion fruit gelee, served with cardamom ice cream and a signature cappuccino!

Final review: Good food, fantastic ambience and service (slightly pricey) but very effective overall de-stresser, and you get what you pay for.

La Vinoteca Barcelona Events:

Business Lunch: Mondays thru Thursdays from 12 noon till 3 pm get choice of 2 tapas + choice of main course + dessert for BD 9+

Afterwork at the wine bar: Every day except Sunday from 4 pm till 8 pm enjoy 30% discount on tapasand wine + Draft on Mondays from 4 to 12 midnight

Saturdays: Brunch from 12 to 5 pm

Location:

La Vinoteca Barcelona

19 Yousif Ahmed Al-Shirawi Avenue
Block 338, Adliya
Kingdom of Bahrain
Tel: +973 17 007 808

Cuisine: Spanish

Price Range: BHD40+

Website: http://www.vinotecabcn.com/ 

Facebook: VinotecaBH

Instagram: lavinotecabarcelona

Some more pictures and notes from my review below (Click on the pictures to read the stories)

Manuka Bahrain – Making life a little leafier and a little sweeter

Events & Experiences, Travel and Food

My 7th visit to a bakery store, (and a Botanical Salad Bar this time around) at Manuka Bahrain and it is better than ever. In fact, I ate one of my best sweet treats in 2017 so far. Manuka’s head chef Dilli and his merry band have put the bakery and salad bar in a great spot and I think this team are flying right now. The execution is 100% on-point, fully realising the wholesome, hearty, belly-thumping treats of Manuka.

The Entrance to the Botanical Salad Bar & Bakery

I was in there for Friday evening coffee with my friends Pieter and Sandra and were greeted by Hassan, one of the owners of  Manuka. I was welcomed with their signature and all time favorite ”The Pistasha” (Pistachio and rose cookie). Things I absolutely loved (at first sight) about the place was it’s engraved rose wall interior that adds a unique character and elegance to the place and the meld of plants, wood, jute and bamboo that connects a natural aesthetic appeal to the place.

Gorgeous Manuka designed Coffee takeaway cups will perk you up immediately

As for eats, they had some amazing bakes in their menu, some of the must try items in their menu are the pistachio and rose cookie, nutella donut, chocolate cornflake crunch, honeycomb chocolate crunchy bars, and calling all coffee lovers..you’ve got to try their Cappuccino and Americano. (Loved the gorgeous Manuka designed coffee takeaway cups, adds some fun!)

Just look, and try to take in the beauty of this hypnotising river of smooth, lustrously luscious pink creamy frosting..sorry it’s half eaten!

Moist, chocolaty perfection. This is the chocolate cake you’ve been dreaming of!

Great selection of Cookie Jars sweeten their countertop

Move over cupcakes, there’s a new trend in town! Mini cakes are making a big statement on today’s dessert tables

Some more treats – Chocolate covered Honeycomb crunchie bars

Espresso Cookies – Looks like all you coffee lovers out there might want to give this one a try

Hello donut lovers!! Nutella Donuts with Nutella Glaze

Chocolate Cornflake Crunch – Our childhood favourite, with a grown-up, healthier twist. Surprising things you can do with cereal

My companion this week..this classic red velvet beauty

The engraved rose wall interior adds a unique character and elegance to the place

Just look at these lovely little take away boxes

Get to know your options!!

Amazing salad joint! Fresh, healthy, friendly, bright

A fundamental offering on the salad bar is the black rice aka the forbidden rice, a rarity in the food world. You might be wondering what black rice is and where you can find it. Here is your place!

What makes this place even more special is the Botanical Salad Bar where you can build your own salad. The salad bar looked ample and appetizing, but we definitely had no room for anything beyond the sweet snacks and coffee. So I decided to take a quick look at the options (for my review). Some of the exciting choices which make Manuka’s salad bar unique are the forbidden rice (aka black rice), wrapped vine leaves, green papaya and water-chestnuts. Next time I Visit Manuka, I will make sure to leave some space in my tummy to stuff in those greens.

So if you are looking for a fresh, healthy, friendly, bright location then this could be the place for you! For this much quality and beauty on the plate, it will be worth every penny.

Pure Baking, Pure Class. Take me back to Manuka!

Details

Manuka Bahrain, Botanical Salad Bar & Bakery

Open everyday

Jamal Al Deen Afghani Ave, Muharraq, Bahrain

(+973) 32111191-17003232

Timings: Sunday-Thursday : 4 pm – 10 pm Friday- Saturday: 12 pm – 10 pm

Instagram @manuka.bh

Some more pictures and notes from my review below.

Café Amsterdam – Enjoying the Summer Sunshine in Bahrain

Décor, Events & Experiences, Travel and Food

Located in Adliya alongside its sister restaurant La Vinoteca Barcelona, Café Amsterdam is based in a cozy and cute Dutch canal-style building reminiscent of the back streets of Amsterdam. The european architecture shouldn’t mislead you, this restaurant is located in the bohemian neighborhood in Manama, Bahrain.

In the heart of Bahrain’s fine dining neighbourhood, Café Amsterdam’s menu is built on modern European and New American cuisine. The menu includes innovative gastronomic creations, decadent desserts and original beverages. The award-winning Café Amsterdam offers a dining and nightlife experience under one roof with a sleek, state-of-the-art lounge, a bright and spacious glass conservatory and a lovely garden for al fresco dining.

Begin the day with breakfast in the light filled conservatory, lunch in the lofty dining room, after work in the snug and dinner on the expansive balcony overlooking the garden. Plus, catch all your favorite games in the sleek sports lounge!

I had my 9th brunch at Café Amsterdam, whose kitchen is now purring along at a consistently high standard. Stand-out dishes at this outing were dazzling Barley Salad, Risotto al Pesto with cream pesto sauce, parmesan cheese and charcoal grilled chicken and their Passionfruit Cheesecake. A technically demanding (for heat in the summer) pineapple, coconut cream and kiwi mocktail ”Prince of the Middle East” was superb.

Buzzing at nighttime with regular live music events in their garden area, this is the perfect venue to enjoy a fantastic atmosphere and unwind with friends. So whenever you feel a craving for a true Dutch experience, you know your place in Bahrain.

The entrance from inside the restaurant

Wanderlusting: contemporary restaurant design, so bright & pretty

With its wooden panelling and beautiful orange bricks, this interior gives a very welcoming image of the place.

Restaurant or Gallery? Art is served up

The European Landmarks

The Mesmerising Fireplace

My favorite click – Loving the wall mirror

Up the stairs to the bar

The live music section in the restaurant by the railing for best views

Enjoying my healthy Barley Salad with pearl barley mango salsa and thai dressing and my Prince of the Middle East (Mocktail) by Bartender Tanmay

My main course – Risotto al Pesto with cream pesto sauce, parmesan cheese and charcoal grilled chicken by Chef Rahul

My Dessert – Passion fruit cheesecake by Pastry Chef Ajith

Full of modern elegance, Café Amsterdam’s design and decor is a tasteful combination of cozy-chic art-deco reminiscent of the late 1920s period.

Family-friendly Friday Brunch at Cafe Amsterdam

Checking the chicken for my risotto. This was my first attempt with charcoal. The flavor was exactly what I had imagined: smoky

It was another hugely successful day with brilliant, tasty & professional looking food. When there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.

Restaurant Info

  • Serves Alcohol
  • Good for: Brunch and Dinner
  • Separate Smoking Available
  • Outdoor Garden Seating
  • Good for Groups and Business Meeting
  • Good for Bloggers and Writers
  • Private space for Reading
  • Live Music

For booking & info: Call 0097317007404

Website: http://www.cafeamst.com/

Instagram: @cafeamsterdam

Facebook: CafeAmsterdamBH

Hashtag: #cafeamsterdambh

Restaurant Hours

Sunday: 12pm-2am
Monday: 12pm-2am
Tuesday: 12pm-2am
Wednesday: 12pm-2am
Thursday: 12pm-2am
Friday: 8am-2am
Saturday: 8am-2am

Restaurant Menu 

Stuffed Chicken Legs

Events & Experiences

Today, I bring you a very delicious, yet inexpensive weekend meal. This is an easy & elegant baked lemon chicken legs recipe with full of flavours from the garlic, lemon, herbs and it is perfect for a quick and delicious meal.

Prep Time – 10 min

Cook Time – 45 min

Total Time – 55 min

Ingredients

6 chicken legs – with skin

For the Stuffing:

-Juice of a quarter lime

-1 cup cilantro or Italian parsley

-2 garlic cloves

-1 tsp. Sugar

-1/2 tsp. Cumin

-1/2 tsp. Turmeric

-1/2 tsp. Black pepper

-1/2 tsp. Salt

-1/2 tsp. Coriander powder

-4 tsp. Olive oil or butter

Method:

-Place all of the above in a food processor and give a few good chops.

-Preheat Oven at 375 degrees.

-Gently pull the skin from the leg and stuff the mixture into under the skin.

-Place the leg pieces in a baking dish and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a beautiful golden color appears and the juices run clear.

Serve and enjoy!

Note: For those who are not big fans of cilantro, feel free to substitute it with Italian parsley.

I look forward to seeing you again!

xoxo

Sanchali

Thai Vegetable Stir Fry

Events & Experiences

As the weather turns hot and humid, I find myself increasingly indecisive about what I want to eat. Maybe my cravings are scrambled by the constant passage from sweltering Bahrain streets to air-conditioned stores and hone; maybe it’s the explosive vegetation, or the expanse of summer produce suddenly available at the market. Regardless, summertime stresses me out—there’s just so much food out there, and I want all of it.

Thai food not only makes a stunning sight, laid out in a lavish, colorful spread, but the boldly sweet, sour, and spicy notes seem to physically lower my body temperature—even when the dishes themselves are fiery-hot. This particular recipe is quick, easy, and hot weather-friendly.  This super tasty Thai Vegetable Stir Fry is a delicious, easy to make meal that proves vegetables need not be boring or tasteless!

The massive variety of seasonal vegetables is enough to make this Stir Fry a very healthy, fibre loaded meal.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots or purple onion,
5-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped,
1-2 thumb-size pieces ginger, sliced,
1/2 to 1 small fresh red chili, sliced, OR 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. chili flakes,
1 medium-size carrot, sliced,
5-6 mushrooms, sliced or left in halves or quarters,
1 small head broccoli, cut into florets,
1 red pepper, sliced into strips,
2-3 cups baby bok choy, or other Chinese cabbage (leaves left whole if not too large, otherwise cut in half or thirds),
handful fresh Thai basil,
2 tablespoons vegetable oil.
Stir-fry Sauce:
2/3 cup coconut milk,
2+1/2 tablespoons soy sauce,
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice,
1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed chili (chili flakes),
2+1/2 teaspoons brown sugar. 

Method:
-Combine ‘stir fry sauce’ ingredients together in a cup or bowl. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Taste-test, keeping in mind that the first taste should be spicy-salty, followed by sweetness and the rich taste of the coconut milk.
-Warm a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add oil and swirl around, then add the shallot/onion, garlic, ginger, and chili. Stir-fry 1-2 minutes, then add the carrot, mushrooms, and cauliflower (if using). Also, add 1/4 of the stir-fry sauce. Continue stir-frying 2-3 minutes.
-Add the broccoli and red pepper plus enough sauce to gently simmer vegetables (about 2 minutes).
-Finally, add the bok choy or Chinese cabbage. Add more of the stir-fry sauce as needed, almost enough to just cover vegetables in sauce. Simmer until bok choy or cabbage is cooked.
-Remove from heat and taste-test. If not salty enough, add a little more soy sauce. If too salty or sweet, add a squeeze of lime juice. –Add more sugar or chili if desired. Top with fresh basil.

Serve over Thai jasmine rice or Thai coconut rice.

Variations: Great as a side dish, or make it into the main course by adding tofu, wheat gluten, cashews, shrimp or slices of chicken.

Creamy Chicken Fettuccine

Events & Experiences

Italian for dinner it is! This classic Italian dish is quick and easy to make. Whatever your choice, chicken or shrimp, with these simple steps, you’ll have a hearty dinner on the table in no time!

Don’t be intimidated by the name of this dish, it sounds like something only a restaurant can make for you, but stay with me! Read the instructions below-you can totally do this.

Here’s the recipe:
Serves 3-4
INGREDIENTS
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 chicken breasts, sliced thinly into strips
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
2 cups heavy cream
¼ cup parsley, chopped
12 ounces cooked fettucine
PREPARATION
Heat oil in a pot over high heat.
Add the chicken and let it brown in the pan, cooking until no pink is showing.
Add the onions, garlic, salt, and pepper, cook until onions are translucent and soft.
Add the heavy cream and parsley, stirring until evenly mixed.
Add the fettuccine and stir until the pasta is evenly coated.
Serve!