Vadodara 2023

Vadodara 2023

People and Stories


Cousin's Engagement

Michal's Trip to Baroda and Ahmedabad

Baroda - Conversations with everyon in the family, lots of chai and food, crossed out the entire list.

Ahmedabad - Tour of the city and food places with Jijaji, Stay in government hospital hostel room. Homemade goat by patient with Bajri Rotla, Offered free icecream tasting, conversations about stock market.

Got food poisoning.


Dry Fruit Halwa and Jalebi Rabdi

Dry Fruit (Nuts) Halwa - It is made with either semolina or flour or lentils by roasting them in ghee and cooking with water or milk. It is sweetened with sugar & flavoured with various spices like cardamoms, nutmeg, saffron etc. Lastly it is garnished with nuts & a lot of times the halwa itself is cooked with nuts and raisins.

Jalebi - made by deep-frying maida flour (plain flour or all-purpose flour) batter in pretzel or circular shapes, which are then soaked in sugar syrup.

Rabdi (white thick liquid) - Rabri also known as Rabdi is a North Indian traditional sweet dish made with full fat milk, sugar, cardamoms and nuts. It is served as a dessert or along with Malpua, Gulab Jamun, Jalebi and Poori. Rabri tastes very delicious, creamy & is full of flavors from the cardamoms and saffron.

Jalebi - Fafda

Hindus celebrate a 9 day festival called Navratri. The tenth day is called Dussehra and that is also the day when Lord Ram decimated the evil king Ravana in the famous scripture - Ramayana.

On Dusshera, people in Gujarat enjoy a dish called Fafda-Jalebi.

According to hindu ritual, any fast must end eating food prepared from gram flour (fafda). The reason for Jalebi, apparently, is that Lord Ram loved a sweet called Shashkuli (Jalebi). Lord Hanuman loved items prepared from gram flour.

Featured also is a chutney made from gram flour and lemon flowers (besan chutney) and a sambharo (unripe papaya salad with chilli).

A common practice in my extended family is to order Jalebi-Fafda in bulk and enjoy together with all the cousins!

Bhajiya Usal

Sev Usal originated from my hometown (Vadodara, Gujarat) so it's extra special! It is cooked in a generous amount of oil, with a curry base of onions, tomatoes and garlic along with dried white peas, drizzled with a generous amount of sev, and onions.

Sev is a thin, crispy noodle made from besan (chickpea) flour. This crunchy texture-maker is commonly used in Indian and South Asian cuisine. Usal in Maharashtra is made with sprouted beans and legumes. This recipe of Sev Usal is drawn from Maharashtrian cuisine. An adaptation of Misal pav and Usal pav.

While Sev Usal is the OG dish, a popular variation (one that I enjoy more) is Bhajiya Usal. Bhajiya is a type of fritter that is commonly made in India and is typically made from gram flour, spices, and vegetables such as onions, potatoes, or spinach. In English, it is sometimes referred to as "bhajia" or "pakora". Smash some Bhajiya into the Usal gravy, top with onions and sev and enjoy with a soft bun or by itself! The "restaurant" / "food truck" or as it is locally called - lari - are commonly found in all parts of India and are the soul of Indian street food. Seating (or standing) is at the stall itself.

Rajasthani Kulfi

Kulfi is a frozen dessert made with pure full fat milk, sugar and a flavoring ingredient like cardamoms or saffron. Sometimes cream (malai), chopped nuts or fruit purees are also added to it for flavor and richness. Like most other milk-based desserts in India, Kulfi is also made by condensing the milk and evaporating a lot of the water in it and flavoured with nuts and cardamom seeds.

Historically poured into cylinder-shaped molds, resulting in a long frozen pop when set, nowadays, Kulfi is also served by weight so you can mix and match many flavours as you please. Pictured here is a Malai Kulfi in the cone-shaped popsicle and a selection of 6 different dry fruit flavours (my favourites 😍) in the small ceramic dish weighing a total of 100gms - Rajbhog, BPK (badam pista kaju), Kaju, Anjir, Kesar Pista -> Almonds, Pistachios, Saffron, Cashews, Fig. There are also flavours like Chocolate, Mango, Orange, Raspberry etc.

The layers are slightly difficult to see because of lighting and the similarity in colour for the flavours that I chose but I will be going here many more times so will try to order a more aesthetic selection πŸ˜‰

Karva Chauth Feast

Elaichi (Cardamom) Shrikhand - Shrikhand is a thick creamy and delicious Indian dessert made with strained yogurt, powdered sugar, cardamoms and sometimes saffron & nuts. Some would call it sweetened yogurt, but shrikhand is much more than that. You strain curd aka Indian yogurt to remove liquids and whisk until creamy. Other popular Shrikhand flavours are Mango, Dry Fruit and Kesar Pista (Pistachio).

Wheat (Atta) Halwa - It’s a simple dessert made with atta (whole wheat flour), sugar and ghee. You only need these 3 basic ingredients to make atta halwa. Wheat is roasted in a thick bottom pan until it turns brown and then stir constantly after adding Ghee and Sugar!

Teekhi Puri - A few spices (Ginger, Garlic, Green chilli paste, Coriander or Spinach, Fennu Greek leaves) are added to the plain poori dough just to add some flavor and also to make it spicy. Puri (sometimes spelled as poori) is a deep-fried bread made from unleavened whole-wheat flour that originated in the Indian subcontinent. It is eaten for breakfast or as a snack or light meal. It is usually served with a savory curry or bhaji, as in puri bhaji, but may also be eaten with sweet dishes.

Mix Vegetable Sabzi - Stir fried mixed vegetables.

Jhol -

Mutton Chaap Bhuna Masala

Here, you are looking at another "restaurant" that is more like a hawker-style food joint. The kitchen is essentially an open air Tandoor / BBQ grill.

Dressed in white is a Chicken Malai Tikka, an entree dish marinated in cream and then served with more cheese and cream along with a mint chutney.

In yellow, is a Tandoori Naan - Roti/bread with turmeric and some other spices in the dough, hence the beautiful colour. Next to it is a creamy chicken dish prepared identically to butter chicken.

Last but not the least is the showstopper, the Goat Chaap Bhuna Masala. Chaap is a Bengali dish made from Rib Chops. Bhuna means "fried". Mutton pieces are cooked in a lip-smacking semi-dry gravy made using lots of onions, yogurt and spices. Dominant flavours are mace, cardamom and cinnamon. Chops are slow cooked in a thick and luscious gravy to make the meat more tender and juicy.

Cooking goat well is also not easy. Lots of patience and experience required. I'm focusing my time in India towards trying as many places as I can that cook goat dishes that are hard to find elsewhere. 100% agreed. Unfortunately, extremely difficult to find good goat meat and sheep/lamb does not even come close as a replacement.

Khamiri Roti and Matka Chicken

Yesternight's dinner was Matla Chicken, Malai Tikka, Chicken Surti and Khamiri Roti. Photos are deceivingly unappealing. It was finger licking good (literally πŸ˜›) Malai Tikka - as described previously but served in a hot sizzler platter in this restaurant.

Khamiri Roti - Famous in Mughlai cuisine, Khamiri roti has two essential ingredients that make it supple, soft, fluffy and gooey! Khamir or yeast is added to the dough and left overnight. The rotis are traditionally cooked in a clay tandoor and served with some desi ghee 🀀 Roti is best paired with any gravy-based dish, preferably spicy. Which brings me to...

Matala/Matka/Matla Chicken - Chicken is marinated with yogurt, oil, chilli powder, turmeric, salt and cumin and coriander powder. It is then wrapped in a foil along with onion, garlic (LOTS OF GARLIC!), bay leaves, cardamom and cinnamon sticks and green chillies. The clay pot is sealed with dough and placed on heated coal pieces to cook slowly for an hour. The end result is rich, semi-dry, spicy, garlic-y roast chicken with an aroma that can easily get you drooling!

I vaguely remember cooking Matla Chicken regularly in our backyard BBQ before 2011. We dug a pit in the grass and created an old-school brick oven specifically for slow roasted chicken and goat. Having the same dish again yesterday was quite nostalgic and it didn't take long to devour it all πŸ€ͺ



Indian Tawa Fry

Indian Tawa Fry is a classic farm-based food joint run by the owner of the poultry farm that it is colocated at. The kitchen setup made entirely of tandoor grills and the rest of the makeshift set up is quite attractive for a late night feast with local friends πŸ€ͺ

From where I live in Baroda, it takes roughly 40 minutes to drive there (15kms away). For a lowkey dinner, this is as far as anyone can imagine going to, in India but Indian Tawa Fry is absolutely worth the trek. The long drive, partly through dark, dirt roads and long grassy farms on either side, is not a bad build up for the appetite either πŸ˜‰

For entree, we ordered the fish banjara, chicken peshawari, fish chilli and chicken chilli. Fish chilli and chicken chilli were prepared in Indo-chinese style identical to a semi dry manchurian. While they weren't mindblowing, I wouldn't mind ordering it again because of the crispy texture. The fish banjara, a little low on quantity, was one of the best fish tikkas I have ever had! Coated in mild indian spices, it was extremely soft and melted in my mouth. Together with onion and cabbage kachumber and mint chutney, it was the best dish second only to chicken peshawari - A whole chicken cut into all the different pieces, marinated in a turmeric based coat, grilled in the tandoor and served with a thick creamy sauce on top. The flavours from this dish were so good that I ate 50% of the dish alone, leaving the other 4 people to share the rest 😬🀀

For mains, we ordered rumali roti and a boneless chicken curry with a spicy fried rice. Although we were essentially full from all the entrees, we enjoyed the mains and were left licking our fingers!

My dad and cousin ordered some ice-cream that is also made onsite which was not bad either! I was mildly surprised to see how delicious it was, but I was just too full to properly enjoy any more food after the mains 🀐

The service was impeccable. Our waiter diligently understood our preferences, spoke with the chef and recommended great dishes tailored specifically for us. And, they delivered! We ate to our heart's content πŸ₯°

Next time, I would love to order some of their goat main course dishes.

Kathiyawadi - Lasanya Bataka, Kaju Gathiya, Vagharelo Rotlo