South Mumbai Food journey Episode 3

Welcome to South Mumbai food Episode 3 This is your host Harish Bali If you missed the episode number 2, you can find its link in the description of this video In this food journey, we shall explore the following – Sabudana (Tapioca) Vada (ball), Mysore onion rawa masala dosa, Khotto Idli, Filter Coffee, Pav Bhaji, and lots more I have come to the Gokhale Road in Dadar (West) to eat Sabudana vada for breakfast People usually eat this kind of dish while fasting on festive occasions but that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy it otherwise as well This vada is made of three basic ingredients –sabudana, boiled potatoes and crushed peanuts This much is known to me Sabudana vada is hugely popular snack in Mumbai I’ve got chutney to eat it with From what I’ve understood so far, the kind of chutney usually served here is made with coconut Some people add crushed peanuts to the chutney as well In all the sabudana vadas I’ve eaten till now, the prominent flavor has been that of cumin seeds It is this cumin flavor that makes eating the sabudana vada a yummy experience The 3 ingredients that I told you about earlier, these are brought together as a ball shape & deep-fried I’ve not touched the chutney yet. Let me taste it too As far as I know, 80% of total sabudana in India is produced in the Southern region – especially in 3 states, though I may be wrong, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu I was checking out the menu to know whether there was a Maharashtrian dish that I hadn’t tried yet So, I came across a dish named Puran Poli, which I am going to order next This dish sounds interesting though I will need to find out more about it It is very soft and it looks like a very thin roti (flatbread) The filling is made of gud (jaggery) & chana dal (split chickpeas), which is a first-time experience for me I don’t have any knowledge about how it is eaten by the locals But I feel that it is a good combination to be eaten even after sabudana vada Vada would be a savory item complimenting the sweetness of this Puran Poli And, of course, a cup of tea to finish the meal! Let me show you its filling inside See, this is the mixture of chana dal and gud inside the roti Before placing my order, I had inquired about the method of eating this Puran Poli They told me that I could eat it just like this However, some people even prefer to eat it with milk as well Some others spread ghee over it and enjoy it Well, obviously, I cannot try those two methods because I’ve ordered this tea for myself They told me that this contains ghee as well but I did not feel it while eating Puran Poli So, it maybe that very little ghee was added while making it This dish is tasty and interesting! Let me open this up and show you, once more, the filling inside it made up of chana dal and gud In the Dadar (West) area, this food joint is quite popular for its Maharashtrian food items In fact, I was here two days ago and this place was packed with an insane number of people and there was a waiting time of almost 15-20 minutes So, I went back without eating here I also asked them what time of the day should I come when it wouldn’t be so crowded So, they told me to come at 7.30 am because it is opening time & crowd isn’t in till 30-45 minutes

I also saw people who serve food to the customers, dressed in traditional Maharashtrian dress It feels good to see people dressed in traditional garb It is a neat & clean restaurant and it is quite popular, as you can guess from the crowd of people There are a number of restaurants serving South Indian food in the Matunga area of Mumbai All the restaurants serve delicious South Indian fare One of those gems is a restaurant named “Ram Ashray.” I have come here to eat a combined lunch & dinner I’ve ordered for myself Mysore onion rawa masala dosa I’ve been told that the chutney used inside this dosa is Mysore chutney I can see lot of onion in this dosa There is rawa in the name because rawa (semolina) is also used in the rice flour batter of the dosa They have also given me the dosa filling separately I also got the sambhar as well as the white coconut chutney alongside This dosa looks amazing! Let me first find out where I can start eating it from Let me tear a bite from the top I want to taste just the dosa first Too good! After my first two bites, I can say that this dosa is hugely crispy Second thing, the Mysore chutney used inside the dosa is also very delicious In fact, if you ask me, I am ready to eat this dosa without the sambhar or filling given separately I don’t need this coconut chutney either to enjoy this dosa, this is what I feel I feel that when a dish is good in itself, you don’t need to eat it with any of the accompaniments because its taste is self-sufficient This is a very basic, simple potato filling It doesn’t contain any complicated spices It has simple flavors of mustard seeds, chana dala, curry leaves, etc Very, very simple flavors, but tasty Hmmm! Sambhar is also tasty! I want to taste each dish separately because once I eat it with dosa, I wouldn’t be able to understand the individual tastes Hmmm! Good! It is like this – sambhar is good but this chutney is out of this world In fact, I would like to make a special mention of this white chutney Each bite of this chutney is oozing with juices of fresh coconut I don’t have enough words to describe the taste of this chutney If you live in Mumbai and if you have eaten this chutney here at Ram Ashray, you will be able to relate to my observation about the delicious taste of this chutney Excellent! Let me spread this dosa on the plate like this! This is the filling inside, which has green chilies as well as the raisins This is the Mysore chutney that I am talking about Let me eat dosa with the filling now It is 6.30 pm When I reached here earlier, I asked them if I could come at some other time, when it wouldn’t be so crowded But they told me that it is like this the whole day In fact, they said that if I came back after 30 or 60 minutes, I would have to stand outside in the waiting

line So, I asked them which time was non-peak time for them, when the customers would be less so that I could record the video properly They said come at 5 am! I thought that idea was a bit difficult to follow Therefore, we decided to shoot the video right now I am not sure whether the audio is clear enough for the viewers or not, but I would definitely like to state that eating this dosa here has been a lifetime experience for me in terms of the taste Every part of this meal is ultimate in terms of taste! Dosa, this, this, this and the chutney is Number 1 in taste! I have not eaten a better-flavored coconut chutney every in my life Such a good sambhar, I can say, I have had somewhere or the other Both dosa and this chutney are ultimate in taste I wanted to ask them to give me a bigger bowl of sambhar and chutney, but, never mind, I will ask for more helpings This dosa has raisins as well as cashew nuts inside I enjoyed my meal today and now I want to drink filter coffee I think there must be filter coffee on the menu here Before that, let me check the menu for some dessert They suggested sheera to me So, I’ve ordered pineapple sheera for myself As far as I could understand, it is made of rawa, ghee and sugar First thought – this looks tempting in appearance The sugar is just right and pure ghee has been used in it The dosa, that I just ate, was made with butter This sheera is made with 3 key ingredients – desi ghee, rawa and sugar And since it is pineapple sheera, it has pineapple flavor in it Good! I can enjoy pineapple bits in there too In fact, eating the dosa earlier and now this sheera, these have become two new benchmarks in taste for me In the future, whenever I eat these two dishes again, I am going to recall the taste that I enjoyed today and compare this taste to whatever I am going to eat in future Now, after this, it is time for filter coffee. Though I haven’t asked them yet whether they sell it or not I am hopeful I don’t have a lot of knowledge about filter coffee But I know this much that the aroma of filter coffee is totally different from that of the normal coffee I have had it before I was just asking them about how it is made They told me that a coffee decoction is mixed with milk and sugar The decoction is made in an apparatus called filter Coffee powder is added to the top of the filter and hot water is poured over it The filter has two compartments – Cup A and Cup B The liquid collected in Cup B is the decoction used to make the filter coffee Now I haven’t seen this process happening in front of my eyes Really, the taste of this coffee is really different than that of instant coffee There is no comparison between the two varieties. Both are different This filter coffee has a very amazing flavor That is it My meal at Ram Ashray was delicious. I enjoyed it very much

Right now I am at Anand Bhawan, Matunga, to eat idli for breakfast After coming here, I came to know that they have a number of varieties of idli In fact, this variety is called Khotto Idli This idli is served inside the jackfruit leaves basket The idli is steamed after being placed inside this basket of green leaves, which change color on being steamed The idli batter is directly poured into this basket The batter is usually made with urad dal (split black gram) and rice They also told me that cooking idli inside the leaves has its own health benefits The juice and flavor of the jackfruit leaves gets transferred into the idli too once the steaming takes place Let me eat it now and I shall tell you more about it It has on the side the following dishes – Sambhar, red chutney, coconut oil and pickle The traditional way of eating this idli is to mix some coconut oil in the pickle and then add it to idli They told me that the traditional way was the best way to eat this idli Now, first I need to remove these twigs to open the leaf basket I was told that this would be very spicy It is spicy but at a mild level It has green chili as well as red chili but at a very mild level This is how I should pick up a bite The taste of this idli is totally different from that of a normal idli Obviously, the flavor of jackfruit leaf has permeated well into the idli I can taste it. There is no doubt about it Hmmm! This is good. I am eating idli mixed with chutney Now I am going to try it the traditional way I am going to pour this coconut oil directly to the idli and mix in the pickle into it Doing this has changed the taste completely In fact, the idli tasted good with the sambhar and all but coconut oil and the strong lemon flavor from the pickle are creating a magical flavor with the idli I liked eating this idli both the traditional way as well as the popular way In fact, I am going to repeat both the methods again Man: “We always come in a group to eat here. On Sundays, we come with our garden group but today we are here to celebrate the birthday of one of our friend. Someone orders idli-sambhar, while some one else orders idli-vada sambhar. I have ordered onion utthapam.” Host: “Sir, many happy returns of the day.” Man: “Thank you!” I asked them for another special dish on their menu and they told me to eat Ulundu dosa

It took me a while to correctly pronounce this dish Then I asked them more about it Now let me explain it to you as per my understanding First thing, this dosa is made with urad dal batter, which means it is high in protein Second thing, it can be eaten both traditional as well as cosmopolitan way You can eat it with sambhar and coconut chutney, which would be the cosmopolitan way However, the traditional method includes eating this dosa with this Malgapodi chutney Malga means chili and podi means powder. So the literal meaning of Malgapodi would be chili powder They informed me that this chutney is made with chilies, of course, but apart from that it has the following ingredients – lentils, hing (asafetida), etc The traditional method requires spreading this chutney on the dosa, which is how it has been served here One can also eat it with white butter White butter is called Coimbatore butter here They have suggested that I should add this dollop of butter to the center of the dosa like this Then I need to break bite size dosa, apply butter and eat it The common perception of dosa is that it is crispy, thin and folded in the middle or conical in shape But I am not sure dosa the way they have suggested Quite interesting taste! In fact, I’ve just had a corner bite Let me have some more bites before I explain it further While eating the Ulundu dosa, I had completely forgotten about this sambhar and coconut chutney right here In fact, I did not feel the need of these two sides at all Now let me tell you about this Malgapodi chutney It is coarse in texture. It is granular in taste Since it is my first experience, I am not sure whether this should happen or not I think one needs to eat it multiple times in order to develop a taste for it But trust me, it is a delightful combination Now I do not have an idea about how it would be if we eat this chutney with another dosa or idli But it tastes delicious with this dosa In fact, the magic of this taste is also due to this white butter I am falling short of words to praise this dish The amount of chutney added to the dosa is sufficient in my opinion However, I believe, if I add some more of this chutney to the dosa, the taste would become better That is what I am going to do now So, this gentleman here is eating aapam stew The aapam is made with rice flour batter Stew is made with mutton too but since this is a vegetarian restaurant, this here is vegetable stew Host: “How is the taste?” Man: “It is good. It feels healthy to eat.” The stew has coconut milk as its base and green vegetables, of course Let me taste it Host: “Can I have a spoon?” Interesting! In fact, it has a lot of vegetables Second thing, it has a mild flavor of black pepper Second thing, it has a mild flavor of black pepper

Host: “This technique is called what?” Waiter: “Filter maarna (to filter coffee)!” I felt one thing after coming to Mumbai The aroma of filter coffee is absent in the instant coffee In fact, I can smell this aroma even at a distance I also liked the interesting technique of “filter maarna” The taste is rock solid Obviously, it would be foolish to compare it to instant coffee But within filter coffee also, this one is really very delicious in taste This is amazing. I enjoyed it Sardar pav bhaji is very famous in the Tardeo area of Mumbai In fact, when I first came here 3 days ago, I was amazed to see the crowd here There was a long waiting line, that too, at 12.30 pm Then I asked them what time should I come so that there is not this much crowd They said, I should be here at 12.00 pm because 12.30 pm onwards, the place starts getting crowded So, here I am at 10 minutes to 12 pm and I am their first customer of the day I have already placed my order, so that the audio quality of my video is not affected I have come to Mumbai after a long time In fact, last time I was here was in 2005 or 2006 Ohh, here come the onions So, here is bhaji (vegetable curry), dhania (coriander leaves), butter, pav (bread) and onions First of all, let me taste this bhaji I will have to eat some more of this bhaji I have had bhaji at a lot of places in Mumbai In fact, I had pav bhaji also at Cannon restaurant, right opposite to the CST station There they had used whole spices in making the bhaji They did not allow me to shoot a video while the bhaji was being made or while eating at the restaurant Apart from Cannon, I had bhaji at a few other places too The bhaji I am eating here, right now, is different in taste But I will need to eat some more of it in order to understand the difference This pav is drenched in melted butter and there is a thick portion of butter in the bhaji as well There is this group of 3-4 vegetables, which are, invariably, used everywhere to make bhaji Potato, tomatoes, capsicum, onions and peas! Now, all the vegetables have been pulverized properly, so I am not getting any vegetable in a bite separately, not even the peas Second thing that I noticed, there is a lot of butter on top So, let me take a bite with this melted butter now The whole taste has changed It feels like I am eating butter, not the bhaji I am being very frank here So, the bhaji is divided into two compartments on my plate – one side without butter & the other side heavily loaded with butter And I feel that the bhaji I tasted without butter was better in flavor than when I ate it with butter Next thing – the spices used here are a bit different too I am not saying whether it is good or bad, but the spices are different in comparison to those I had in my earlier pav bhajis I am not a subject matter expert on this but I am enjoying the taste Now, about the amount of butter – in my opinion, if there is no butter, or just a little bit of it, then one would enjoy the bhaji more Now, let me finish this bhaji and then I am going to get some more bhaji, without butter Host: “Yes, please come. I was waiting for you. Thank you!” Host: “this one is without butter, right?” Waiter: “Yes.” Now I am going to keep this aside for a minute or two and focus on the bhaji without added butter

You can see that I have eaten at least 50% of bhaji from this plate, but the butter is still left Now, I have ordered this extra bhaji, without butter, to understand the real taste of the vegetables One more thing, apart from adding too much butter to the bhaji, they have also loaded enough butter on to the pav as well So, I am going t handle this separately as well Now I can understand the actual difference because in my earlier dish, butter had overpowered the flavor You can see, ever since I started eating it, I have been talking about butter This is because butter is killing the taste of this bhaji In my opinion, butter is not enhancing but subduing the taste of the dish It is my personal opinion because some people enjoy lots of butter in their dish If you want to really enjoy the pav bhaji here, I would recommend, you order it without butter Only then will you be able to enjoy the original flavor of the dish Rest, they use their own spice blend Unlike Cannon bhaji, they use powdered spices only When I used to come here in 2005-06, this place wasn’t so crowded as it is now This shop is at least 50-60 years old They also sell juice right outside In fact, I can see some photographs on the wall, which show the glimpses of old Mumbai I had an enjoyable time eating pav-bhaji here The good thing was that I was able to come here on time and enjoy myself before the crowd starts coming in I had a good time eating here Woman: “We came from Ahmedabad this morning, to pay obeisance at the Siddhivinayak Temple Before going back, we thought to come here and enjoy Sardar’s pav bhaji. The pav bhaji here is full of cheese and butter & I love its taste. We are going to go to Pune from here & I will miss this pav bhaji very much.” We had planned a meet up in Dadar (West) from 4-6 pm today It is a matter of chance that no one turned up I came here at 3.35 pm and have been looking at the clock every since It is now 6.20 pm and I am leaving here now In fact, there is no activity because today is Sunday. The day has been lousy so far The restaurants are crowded I will see if I can go and explore some more food in the next few hours Otherwise, I will go back to my hotel and take some rest Rest, see you again next morning I hope you will like this video If you have some food related experiences of your own from Mumbai, please share with us in your comments I will look forward to your comments In the food journey, Episode 4, you will see me eating Misal pav, Piyush, Poori-Chhole, and lunch at Crystal, Girgaon, Chowpatty. Goodbye till then Thanks for your time!