2 States, 2 Weddings & Endless Food – A whirlwind kind of love

Trying to think of excuses as I type… Why haven’t I blogged since January?

  • I was squashed under pre-vacation work load.
  • I was busy traveling to and in India.
  • I did not always have good internet connectivity… or
  • I was so engulfed by family and extended family drama and stress, that I couldn’t even think of EATING. The last reason will and can never fly… because no matter how stressed I am, I EAT.  I eat when I am happy, I eat when I am sad and I eat because that’s what I do.

So no excuses and given the number of people who read my blog, I am sure an explanation is not due. What have I been up to? I was on a whirlwind of a vacation to India. Hopping between states and cultures in the land of diversity. Travelled from the laidback Southern part of India to the loud and colourful North. I spent a week in Kerala; devouring my mom’s yummy treats, prepared specially for me and only me (I can safely claim that as I was the only one in the house), walking down memory lane in my ancestral home, exploring my uncle’s vegetable garden and spending time with cousins at Kentucky Fried Chicken – clear sign of how easy it is for food to break cultural barriers. And not to mention attended the coming together of a beautiful bride and the most compatible groom at a family wedding and feasted on the true Kerala feast – Sadhya. mom's yummy treats

Early morning veggie hunt at my Uncle's Backyard
Early morning veggie hunt at my Uncle’s Backyard

KFC wedding south I knew I was heading to the northern part of India, when Mr. Hubster came with ‘Idlis in a Cup’. Yeah heard of Cup Noodles… well now its Cup Idlis. Tasted pretty good though for airport food. idli in a cup

Landed in Chandigarh. Was amazed at how polite and well-spoken the taxi drivers there are. And not to anyone’s surprise, while Mr. Hubster enquired about the great French architect, the mastermind behind the planned city Chandigarh, I cut in with the most pertinent question “WHATS THE BEST PLACE TO GO FOR AUTHENTIC PUNJABI FOOD”. He asked us to go to Pal Dhaba. He said, “It doesn’t have the glitz n glam of a shiny five star restaurant but the food is the best in the land”. Exactly my kind of place.

Paal Dhaba

It was just the two of us, so we ordered half butter chicken, a dish which can most definitely be called the brand ambassador of Punjab or even India. Wasn’t prepared for what arrived. The portion sizes in this land matches the heart of its people. The half portion was equivalent to two full portions elsewhere. The taste – can never have butter chicken outside Punjab again. I am ruined! And the tandoori roti, just reminiscing about it right now makes me crave for it. BUTTER CHICKEN In Punjab, and how can I say no to dessert. Headed to Gopal Sweets for Moong dal Halwa and Gulab Jammun. After quiet literally supping up all the richness of Chandigarh we went into snooze mode. DESSERT I wrapped up my trip at a big, fat Punjabi wedding. My bestie was tying the knot, post which she will be relocating from Muscat. I was welling up with the sheer thought of having to part with her and my sole solace was the juicy tangadi kebab (tandoori chicken drumstick) and the endless mouth-watering dishes on display. My friends and I without a doubt devoured every bite wedding food

The North Indian Wedding
The North Indian Wedding
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Worth the Wait, Kind of Love

Oh My! I can’t tell you how much I have waited to put out this post. I wanted it to be perfect; I wanted it to be the best; I wanted it to be so many things and more that I realised if I didn’t write it now I would never end up writing it. The Manhattan Fish Market – A dinner date with ‘the man I am waiting’ for at ‘the restaurant I have waited to go to’

best seafood restaurant in muscat, oman
best seafood restaurant in muscat, oman

It finally happened. My hubster took a short break from the 3 year course that he is pursuing in India and came visiting. So date nights were on an all-time high and I was on a spree of showing him all the treasures that I had discovered in Oman in his absence. Ever since I read the dreamlike post about The Manhattan Fish Market on Andy in Oman (thanks Andy, I owe that night to you!) I was dying to go there. Waiting for the perfect moment, waiting for the perfect company. Even if you don’t read what I have to say, look at the pics and make it a point to go there. It is totally worth it. The food is amazing, the staff is extremely friendly and it’s worth the wait and worth every baisa you spend. Best Seafood Restaurant in Oman The Manhattan Fish Market, 6855 Way, 18th November Street, Azaiba Tel: 24 499621  Facebook Page, Website  First Bite Experience Stewed Tomato Mussels. Costs RO 2.9 and is served in a pool of tomato gravy infused with magical spices and condiments. IMG_1747 Scoop the earthy, tangy sauce into the shells of the mussels and sup it up.

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Us – Muscling up the romance.

The creamy mussels and the magical gravy will make you want to lick the last traces off the plate. Manhattan Flaming Seafood Platter

Must Have platter at the restaurant seafood
Aren’t you happy when what you see is what you get?

We wanted to taste everything on the menu as that was not possible we decided to go in for the Platter (RO 11.9). Squid was deep fried to perfection not chewy, not soggy and oily but just light, crisp n tender.

Flaming Platter
Flaming it up for us – Table side.

What can you say about a dish when even a grain of rice is flavoursome? The garlic fried rice, and the creamy flamed shrimp will help you attain nirvana. The fried oysters were good not great but good. The fish fillets were of buttery perfection. We wanted the veggies to be pan friend instead of their usual steamed version, and our request was delivered, without a single question. The quirky and creative decor wordplay combined with the oceanly love makes this experience totally worth the wait. But why wait… go for it and do let me know what you think.

Lunch Box: Magic Ingredient Freshness

So this week it’s all about freshness which I achieved by traversing through the route of traditional indian cooking.

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Smoked eggplant or baingan bartha

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Fresh herb chutney with cilantro, mint, green chillies

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Peal spot fish fried to perfection

yeah i couldn’t resist it…Had to have a strip of yummy in my tummy 😉