Delicious authentic food and warm hospitality, this is what Mei Kun is all about. Situated on the third floor of the beautiful and tastefully decorated Kempinski Ambience Hotel, CBD Shahdara, New Delhi, Mei Kun specializes in South East Asian Cuisine. Made with fresh and authentic ingredients sourced locally and from South East Asia, the food is fresh, delicious and authentic to the core. The flavours from China, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia are prominently featured and the best part is that every single query is promptly answered by the staff.
Sid Kullar of Chef At Large & I had the pleasure of dining with Chef Rajiv Vimal, Executive Sous Chef and we were served by the charming and every attentive Sumitra Thakur, Assistant Outlet Manager and Sarah. Over a period of nearly 3 – 3 ½ hours we sampled all the specialties of the house that were prepared by Chef Veer Pratap who has over 11 years of experience in Oriental cuisine and has worked at ITC, Leela Kempinski and Shangri-La.
Walking into Mei Kun is an experience by itself. A guest is greeted by the statue of Buddha at the entrance and the walls are tastefully decorated with Tibetan art. A soft music is a constant companion and the restaurant is spacious with two private dining rooms with seating capacities of 6 and 8.
After a quick survey of the other two restaurants on the floor we sat down to a grand dinner which started with the Amuse bouche that was Lotus Root Fritters. It was a delicious combination of thinly sliced loot root dusted with flour and deep fried then tossed in sweet and sour dip. To accompany this was a refreshing Cranberry Kafir Lime Refresher.
There were four different varieties of salads in the next course. I loved the Raw Mango Salad which was made of shredded raw Thai mango in a tamarind dressing and Pomelo Salad. A Pomelo is a South Asian fruit and it was tossed with peanuts and served in a spicy Thai dressing. The other two salads were Larbkai – Minced chicken served mixed with mint leaves and roasted rice and Beans and Bamboo Shoot Salad – Juliennes of green beans, bamboo shoot black fungus and water chestnut tossed in light soy, sesame and red chili dressing.
For appetizers we were served Grilled Prawns – Tiger prawns in black pepper sauce with some spring onions. Roast Duck – Roasted duck served with cucumber, leeks and a plum sauce. This is a house specialty and the process of making this is fascinating and tedious. This dish is truly as labor of love. Chicken Satay – Grilled chicken on bamboo skewer served with peanut sauce. And finally Crispy Morning Glory – Flour dusted, batter fried and topped with sweet chili dressing. This was a show stopper. The tempura batter fried morning glory was delicious and crisp on the outside and had an amazing crunch. Chef Rajiv let us in on a secret. He told us that to make a really good tempura batter add an egg yolk to the flour and cold water batter and you will get crispier fries.
The Laksha was a delicious combination of coconut milk and seafood broth served with noodles, egg and shrimps. It was even better than the few Lakshas I had tasted on my trip to Singapore.
The Main Course We began this with the delicious Singaporean Chili Crab – Whole piece of crab cooked (steamed and stir fried) in homemade Singaporean chili sauce. The crab was fresh and the sauce was delicious in its sweet and sour avatar. I really loved the Chicken Rendang Curry – A rich spicy curry with the base of coconut, lemongrass and chilies. The flavours of the different ingredients were an amazing symphony. The Sambal Beans – Long beans cooked in sambal sauce, were a new experience and were delicious. We also had Stir-fry Baby Pokchoy,
Penang Vegetable Curry – MildThai curry with the base of coconut, lemongrass and turmeric.
Meegoreng Vegetable – Malaysian style wok fried noodles (mama style refined flour) tossed in light curry sauce with vegetables, Steamed Pomfret – Deboned Pomfret steamed with ginger and spring onion, served in superior soya sauce and Egg Fried Rice.
The meal was completed with an assortment of delicious desserts. The Icekachang which constitutes – shaved ice, milk, custards and fruits served with different jellies was a perfect end to the delicious meal. We were also served Black rice pudding – Sticky black rice pudding with coconut glaze and Fried ice-cream – Vanilla ice-cream, deep fried in homemade buns.
So, if you are looking to eat so delicious and authentic South Asian Cuisine, look no further, head straight to Mei Kun for an amazing and memorable evening.
Operation timings – 1900hrs – 2345hrs (Tuesday Closed)
Location – 3rd Floor (Entrance from Club Tower lobby)
Outlet Manager – Sumitra Thakur
My introduction to pickled cucumbers was through my first Subway sandwich. I was fascinated by all the layers of ingredients that were being piled up on my 6” sub and agreed to add all the different fresh and pickled ingredients they had to offer. My first bit into the sub sent me to a crunchy, gooey heaven of goodness. Then I decided to open up the sub and analyze all the new elements that they had piled in. My first discovery was a rather limp piece of cucumber that I thought had gone bad. I promptly went back to the counter and showed it to the manager. He looked at me with a ‘which planet are you from’ look and said, “Ma’am this is a pickled cucumber. It is supposed to be like this.” Well, I was a small town girl new to the big city, but I wasn’t impressed. I pulled all the pickled cucumbers out of the sub and that was that.
Then with time and more subs I realised that pickled cucumber are actually rather delicious, it just depends on which outlet you choose to eat your sub. Yes, all the outlets differ when it comes to the taste of the ingredients, there freshness and also how they are made.
However, it was only recently that I was inspired to pickle some cucumbers myself and that was after seeing this delicious Bread and Butter Pickle on the Brown Eyed Baker. That jar, of pickled cucumbers with the thin strings of onions and mustard and celery seeds had me hypnotized. I just had to make myself a jar and it came out delicious and heavenly. Add them to your sandwiches, into your salads or pour some of that delicious vinegar into your green chutney for a different flavour, this pickle will fill your life with delicious wonder. Have fun & go pickle.
Pickled Cucumbers :
Cucumbers (thinly sliced) 2 cups
Salt ¾ tbsp
Onion (thinly sliced) ½ cup
Granulated sugar ½ cup
White vinegar ½ cup
Apple cider vinegar ¼ cup
Brown sugar 1/8 cup
Yellow mustard seeds ¾ tbsp
Celery seeds (I used Ajwain) ¼ tsp
• Mix the cucumbers and salt in a large, flat vessel. Cover and chill for around 1½ hours.
• Move cucumbers into a mesh and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Drain well, and return them to a bowl.
• Add in the onions and toss with the cucumbers.
• Combine the granulated sugar, white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, mustard seeds and celery seeds in a medium saucepan.
• Bring it to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the cucumber mixture and let it stand at room temperature for an hour.
• Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
• Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 weeks. But it stays much longer depending on the season.
Enjoy ! ! !
Rice is a staple in any Bengali household. Imagining fish without rice is a rather difficult prospect for most Bengalis. However, steamed rice is not the only form in which rice is consumed. Many delicacies like the famous Kolkata Biryani, Bengali Pulav, Payeesh and Fried rice are also a few forms of cooking with rice. From spicy and oily versions to light and fluffy versions, there are as many variations as families.
I recently received a pack of Best’s Premium Basmati Rice and Premium Brown Rice to review. The things I really liked about the two varieties are that they cook evenly and the grains come out fluffy and soft. The aroma emitted by the rice is subtle and it can be used to make biryani’s and pulavs but just serving them as steamed rice is a pleasure. Do be sure to follow the cooking instructions as mentioned on the rice packets to get the best output for the brown rice. Overall, a thumbs up to both the varieties and a packet stored in the pantry is perfect to serve unexpected visitors.
Simple Fried Rice :-
• Soaking the rice helps to cook the rice quicker and it also increases the size of the rice grain.
• However, when cooking soaked rice the rice needs continuous monitoring as even a minutes delay can make the rice soggy and soft.
• While mixing two ingredients i.e. cooked rice and fried vegetables, the rule of thumb is that one of the elements should be at room temperature. This will prevent the overcooking of the rice and help to mix the two elements evenly.
• This recipe can be converted to egg fried rice or chicken fried rice by added scrambled eggs or pieces of shredded chicken to the rice at the end.
Best Premium Basmati Rice/Brown Rice 150 grams
Ginger paste 2 tsp
Carrots 2 (chopped finely)
French beans 12 – 15 (chopped finely)
Spring onion 1 spring (chopped finely)
Green peas 50 grams
Sweet corn 50 grams
Refined Oil 2 tbsp
Ghee/Clarified Butter 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Red Chili Powder 1 tsp
Fresh Green coriander leaves for garnish
• Wash and soak the rice in water for ½ hour.
• Bring the water to a rolling boil. Add the rice and cook till well done.
• Drain all the water and leave the rice in an open container. This will stop the cooking process and keep the rice grains fluffy and separate.
• Heat a bowl of water and soak the cut vegetables for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
• Now, heat the refined oil and ghee. On medium heat fry the onions till golden brown and add in the ginger paste.
• Once the ginger paste is well fried add in the cut vegetables and add salt and red chili powder and fry till any water released evaporates and the vegetables are partially fried.
• Now, reduce the heat to low and slowly start adding the cooked rice a ladle at a time and keep mixing.
• Fry for 5 minutes and switch off the heat.
• Sprinkle with chopped green coriander and your delicious fried rice is ready to be served.
Serves : 4 people as a main dish or 6 people as a side dish. Enjoy ! ! !
The beginning of a year brings new hopes and dreams. It gives us renewed strength and opportunities to set aside baggage’s and understand and contemplate the things that really matter. People who matter, Issues that matter. Another year of growth, of learning new things, meeting new people and understanding the indefinite opportunities life has to offer. The past year has been eventful to call it the least. I meet an amazing group of people who have enriched my life and suddenly for the first time in 6 years Delhi has felt like my own. My belief, ‘that it is the people and not the place that makes us wants to stay’ has been reinforced. I have strengthened relationships that very long lost and built new one’s for life. Struggles have been overcome and even in this gloom and cold I can see a warm ray of light that will make life more fulfilling and eventful. This year, life will take a new turn, a new chapter will begin and new history will be created. Even in all the sadness and human downfall, I still see hope!
My dear friends, I wish you a Very Happy New Year and hope it brings peace, happiness and contentment to your lives.
So let’s begin this year with some healthy and delicious food that will warm and nourish your body and comfort your soul.
Baked Beans :
•If you are in a hurry the rajma can be soaked in boiling water for 3-5 hours. This will give the same effect as an overnight soak. During winters it is anyways advisable to soak them in warm water.
•The effect created by the combination of red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and sugar is amazing. I would suggest that you don’t substitute or leave out any of these ingredients.
•Fresh rosemary will give better flavour to the beans, so if you’re lucky to have some use it.
White Rajma/Pinto Beans 1 cup
Water 2 cups
Olive oil 2 tbsp
Onion 1(finely chopped)
Garlic cloves 5-6(finely chopped)
Tomatoes 5 (finely chopped)
Tomato sauce 2 tbsp
Red wine vinegar 2 tbsp
Worcestershire sauce 2 tbsp
Sugar 1 tbsp
Dried rosemary 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Paprika 2 tsp
•Soak the rajma overnight. In the morning pressure cook with salt and water. Let the first pressure release on high gas and the next two on low gas. Switch off the gas and let the steam release naturally. This will give you beans that hold their shape and are soft enough to break on pressure.
•In a deep bottomed pan heat the olive oil and add the chopped onions and garlic. Let fry till translucent.
•Add in the chopped tomatoes. Cover and cook till tomatoes are soft and loose shape.
•Now remove the cover and add in the remaining ingredients except the salt and cook till they come together and release oil.
•Add in the beans and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Cook till almost all the water evaporates and the beans are well cooked. Now taste and add salt as needed.
•Serve warm with poached eggs, chicken sausages and break for a wholesome protein rich breakfast.
•Spoon in 3 – 4 tbsp of beans in a ramekin and break an egg on it. Now microwave on high for 2 minutes till the egg white is cooked and the yolk is half cooked. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve with toasted and buttered bread.
Serves : 8 – 10. Enjoy ! ! !
This month has been slow and a bit gloomy. You wonder why? With all the festivity around, it gets a little gloomy when you end up on your back looking throw the many delicious recipes being churned out in the blogosphere. But, then I pick myself up and live viciously throw all the deliciousness floating around. Once, I was at-least allowed by my body to get up and move around, I did do a bit of cooking, but had no energy to photograph. But, this cake had me muster enough motivation to click a few pictures. This cake is great to use up some of that ripe banana lying around and adding that cocoa will also satisfy that chocolate craving.
So have fun and bake some cake.
Eggless Marble Black & White Banana Cake:
•I picked up the recipe from a blog. Unfortunately I did not write down the name and now I can’t find it.
•I will increase the quantity of sugar by another ¼ cup the next time I make the cake. This was not sufficiently sweet for me.
•The cake was also a bit dry. So I will be adding a little more oil as well. The rest it came out delicious and I need to work on my marbling skills. But, I may be hooked to the idea.
Mashed Bananas 1 cup(around 3 medium bananas)
Flour 1 ½ cup
Curd ½ cup
Sugar ½ cup
Oil ¼ cup
Baking powder ½ tsp
Baking soda ¼ tsp
Cocoa 2 tbsp
Vanilla essence 1 tsp
•Preheat the oven at 175C and line an 8” baking dish with parchment paper and oil.
•Mix sugar and curd and set aside.
•Mix the mashed bananas, oil and vanilla essence in a separate bowl.
•Now add the mashed banana mix to the sugar and curd and mix to incorporate. Try not to over mix.
•Now slowly sieve in the flour, baking powder and baking soda into the wet mix. Fold in the dry ingredients gently. This will take some time and patience but if you over mix this, the cake will come out tough.
•Remove half the dough into a separate bowl and add in the cocoa and fold in to incorporate.
•Spoon the batter alternatively and then run a knife throw to form a pattern.
•Bake for 20 minutes or till a skewer comes out clean.
•Let cool, cut and enjoy !
Makes : 16 squares or 48 thin slices.
Enjoy ! ! !
It is time for another Secret Recipe Club reveal. It has been a year since I have been a member of this wonderful group. Every month has been an adventure and an insight into the different kinds of foods and culture that surround us. India on its own is a country of diversity. But, the world as a whole is a treasure trove of food, culture and ingredients. What has amazed me over the month’s is the similarities that I find in this diversity. This has been one amazing year of celebrating food and all the lovely blogger’s I have had an opportunity to meet throw this forum. To know more about this group and be a part of all the adventure and experiences go HERE.
This month I was assigned the lovely blog I Am a Honey Bee by Nicole. She works at an architecture firm and loves the architecture and details. I think that is why she label everything, so do I, it makes life easier, especially when you are telling a very disinterested husband to get you something from the kitchen cabinet, he can’t really say, “I can’t read!”. She loves to cook, bake, design and clean. She loves the beaches and has the complete series of Buffy the Vampire slayer. I can’t seem to get enough of the Vampire Diaries. Are we soul sisters in different continents Nic? Loved your blog and will keep going there often. Oh! And you must check out the 27 random facts about her. I won’t say more, just that you must!!
A few recipes that you must make are Wild Mushroom Rissotto, Chicken Soup, California Chicken Salad, Roasted Broccoli I did make this as well and it came out delicious.
But, the star of the day is Super Rich Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting.
Enjoy ! ! !
Super Rich Chocolate Cake :-
I have made very few changes to the recipe. For the original recipe please go HERE.
Cocoa powder ¼ cup
Coffee ¾ cup
Vanilla essence 1 tsp
All-purpose flour 1 ¼ cup
Baking soda 1 tsp
Butter ½ cup (room temperature)
Sugar ¾ cup
Eggs 2 large (room temperature)
Dark chocolate 90 grams (melted, I used Selbourne)
• Preheat the oven at 175C.
• Grease and line with parchment paper an 8” round or square cake dish.
• In a small bowl, mix the cocoa, coffee and water. Add in the vanilla essence and set aside.
• In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.
• In a large bowl used a hand blender cream the butter and sugar till fluffy, about 3 minutes.
• Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
• Add in the melted chocolate, mixed thoroughly.
• Add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture in thirds, alternating with the liquid ingredients, beating well after each addition.
• Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
•Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.
•When the cake has cooled, ice it with the Peanut Butter Frosting.
Peanut Butter Frosting
Butter ¼ cup (very soft)
Creamy peanut butter ½ cup
Milk ½ tbsp
Vanilla essence ½ tsp
Sifted confectioner’s sugar 1 cup
• Beat the butter and peanut butter until creamy, about 3 minutes.
• Add the milk and vanilla extract slowly and beat for 3 minutes.
• Gradually add in the sugar and beat until creamy and of desired consistency.
Makes : 1 8” cake or 1 6” cake and 8 medium size cup cakes.
Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. We all know that is a fact, but how often do we make an effort to make this meal special. Our standard breakfast every morning is a complete meal, carbohydrates, protein, fruits, all that is recommended and easy to make. However it is very boring and repetitive. So on weekends I do make an effort to add to the menu or change it to something different.
Further, breakfast has been on my mind since a blogger friend Rekha started the 30 day 30 breakfasts Challenge. I have been drooling at all the delicious breakfast she has been dishing out day after day. So I was inspired to make my breakfast a little special and my most favorite of them all is Sabudana Khichdi.
Sabudana or Sago or Tapioca Pearls are a power house of energy and are a huge source of carbohydrates. They are low in fat and are therefore healthy as against the general belief which was basically form as most recipes with sabudana are deep fired and therefore it loses all it health benefits. However, they are also low in proteins and therefore an added protein supplement will make the breakfast perfect.
The most simple, easy and healthy way of make sabudana is a khichdi or porridge. So here is a recipe to make breakfast special.
Sabudana Khichdi :
Sabudana 150 grams (soaked overnight)
Oil 2 tbsp
Peanuts 4 – 6 tbsp
Green chilies 2 (slit)
Jeera/Cumin seeds 1 tsp
Tomato 2 (cubed to small squares)
Ginger ½ tbsp
Potatoes 2 (cubed to small squares)
Red chili powder ½ tsp
Salt to taste
Fresh coriander leaves 2 tbsp (chopped finely)
• Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed vessel and add the cumin seeds and slit green chili and let them crackle for 30 seconds or till they release an aroma.
• Add in the tomatoes and fry till oil releases.
• Add in the chopped potatoes and cover and cook till done. This will take about 10 minutes with a little stirring now and then.
• In the mean time dry roast the peanuts in a vessel till lightly browned and the skin starts falling off. Remove all the skin and roughly break the peanuts in a mortar and pestle.
• Add the peanuts to the vessels and fry.
• Drain the sabudana and add it to the vessel. Add in the red chili powder and salt and mix well.
• This will get done quickly within 5 minutes.
• Sprinkle with coriander leaves and serve hot with plain curd.
Enjoy ! ! !
I just couldn’t stop myself.I can still taste them and oh! That picture makes me hungry every time.
Last Saturday, The Chef at Large – Blogger’s Table was invited to the Espresso Grill, a restaurant right in the heart of New Delhi, Connaught Place.
We eat, we clicked and we enjoyed! A Saturday afternoon well spent with delicious food and in amazing company. I am always amazed to see how much I have to learn about food and these meeting are the best places to understand the different cuisines and discuss food with like-minded people. Understanding the little facts about food and understanding flavours never gets more interesting.
I will recommend that you go visit this place, because not only is the food amazing, but the staff is very attentive, it is beautiful during the day with all the day light flooding in and the winter adds to its beauty. The ambiance is well planned with cookbooks on the racks and the coffee counter and open kitchen adds to the experience.
Now over to some delicious pictures !
We Began the meal with this delicious Gordan Ramsay Signature Cauliflower Soup, Wild Mushroom Crostini scented with truffle oil.
The experience was fulfilling and I will definitely be going back again.
Enjoy ! ! !
Delhi has been under the cover of a haze for the last 7 – 8 days. There has been no difference between morning and evening. There is no wind, no chill, just an unbreakable haze and smog that has enveloped the city.
I love the winters! These are the few months in the year when I am able to do all that I desire. The city comes to life with its cultural extravaganza’s. Food festivals are in full swing. Fresh and delicious flavour engulfs our lives. When talking about fresh flavours, the one flavour I really adore and use a lot during the winters are tomatoes. Now you must wonder why? Tomatoes are available year round, so what’s so special! I just love the flavours the tomato emits during the winters. But then, it could just be me and the winter fever.
But, this winter seems to be bringing in gloom and disease and the tomato is a fruit packed with health benefits. Rich in antioxidants and vitamins these are good for health and the palette. So here is a recipe that is dominated by tomatoes and loads of omega 3 fatty acids. So, eat healthy and stay healthy.
Fish Portugesa or Tamatarwali Machchli : -
Pomfret 500 grams
Lemon juice 1 tbsp
Tomatoes 500 grams
Onions 100 grams
Garlic 3-4 pounded
Fresh green chilies 3-4 chopped fine
Cinnamon powder ½ tsp
Peppercorn ½ tsp pounded
Sugar 1 tsp
Vinegar 1 tsp
Pinch of turmeric
Salt to taste
• Sprinkle lemon juice salt and turmeric on the Pomfret and set aside for 15 minutes
• Fry onions, garlic and tomatoes and then add all ingredients.
• Fry for 10 minutes.
• Lower fish into sauce and cook for 5 minutes.
• Add hot water and cook for another 5 minutes.
• Decorate with fresh coriander and mint.
• Serve steaming with plain rice.
Serves : 3 – 4.
Enjoy ! ! !