Monthly Archives: May 2011

Contents Food Special

The Devil Lies in the Details

The Idea of a Food Special Issue

The gift of “Maggi”: My precious!

Sweetness of Bengal & The Zing of China

Sail with the Salads

Bengaluru’s Bongo Desh’….

Banana Walnut cake

Keep it Healthy and Yummy

Trip Down the Ice Cream Lane

What You See Makes You What You Are…

The Appetising ‘FARE’

Nutri-Delicious North-Karnataka Food

The Italian Café

Chicken and Ice Cream


The Final Sip

The Finer Details

Download Food Special Issue


The Devil Lies in the Details

As I sit here almost 8000 miles away from home, trying to pen down an article on request, there are many things that are flooding my mind. But since I have been asked to talk about food, I am going to try and restrict myself to it. I am not a connoisseur or a gastronome. I am a simple person who eats to live (and not the lives to eat kind) and who believes in cooking well to eat well. I have very few preferences in terms of food and as Phoebe once said, I can eat almost anything without a face (being brought up as a vegetarian does leave you a little disadvantaged in that one arena that faces become unappetizing…). I have also almost always had a very high threshold for taste and smell perceptions and that just means that I need a lot of salt to taste the saltiness, a lot of spice to taste the spiciness, a lot of sugar to get the sweetness, I am sure you get the drift by now which is that, I basically needed a lot of anything to sense it, one way or another. I was a survivor in some sense. Quite unlike the gourmet friends of mine, I could eat almost any food and not complain – be it the mess food or the food at some other unmentionable places (unmentionable because I am still not rich enough to spend money on libel cases, you see!).

My introduction to food as an art and an experience happened after my introduction to IISc and a few people (unmentionable now, because of privacy issues rather than the fear of libel) who surrounded me and who kept talking about the texture of food, the smells, the looks, the subtle tastes and a whole lot of such stuff which was completely unpalatable (pun intended) to someone like me. More often than not, I was left amazed at the sensory acuity of my friends… (one of them could actually smell food and tell if the salt was right.. !!! (Wow… and at this point you should imagine me staring at her with my not so very well-known “jaw-dropping look”)

But that was the beginning and from that shaky beginning I have now evolved to see the very many pleasures of food. I have started to explore diverse cuisines and to note the finer points of the entire culinary expedition. I find it fascinating now, to eat a morsel of food and to try and discern the components that built it… I mean, the spices, the herbs, the vegetables that went in… The subtle flavour of oregano or pepper, salt or mustard, basil or cumin, garlic or ginger etc etc…. I find it fascinating that people can actually do that!! I have also started noticing the kind of food that I like more than a few others, I have started paying attention to the texture of food, the amount of oil, the possible variations etc (truth be told, the fact that I didn’t have a PhD on going to pay attention to did help enormously…). I assure you that it would have seemed like a lot of indulgence and vanity to me too perhaps a few years ago but now I can see the art and the craft underneath. I have started to appreciate the view of the connoisseurs. After all no pursuit can be trivial and while books interest me, food could interest someone else. And more often than not, having food could kill you while not having a book will only upset you a little.

I also realize now that my unbridled spirit in dealing with ingredients was kind of kept in check by the fear that I could have others consuming (and perhaps commenting) on the fruits of my labour. A physical distance from such daunting responsibility and a solitary existence in distant lands has now truly liberated me from the bonds of tradition and culinary shows. I now cook for myself knowing fully well that I will still love myself no matter how the food turns out and I experiment with gay abandon. I mix ingredients just because they appeal to me and I match recipes. The fact that I have to cook for myself has only opened up a new journey and I am loving it so far. Cooking can be therapeutic in some ways. Coming back from a crazy day at work with a disastrous experiments, pushy bosses and dumb colleagues, cooking can be a relaxing activity. One atleast gets a good meal at the end of the day and the joy of creating something new is an added bonus. It is an experience that I treasure and look forward to. I am exploring a whole new world and as Mc Donalds says it “I’m lovin it”.

But then through all these years, there has been one thing that has been a constant in my life – my sweet tooth (I didn’t lose it when I lost my milk teeth and grew the permanent set!!). While, I was quite unaffected by most food and not really choosy about what I put in my mouth (well, there is a child in me still); there was one thing which really got me dreaming and drooling. Desserts!!! Oooo wonderful desserts!! Through the more physiological endorphin and dopamine release the desserts – cakes, pastries, cheese cakes, mousse, muffins, chocolates… have made many a rotten day feel better. I have often craved for some simple sugar and chocolate combination when things have been going far from good and my friends have pampered me through. From a cheese cake at Amma’s to the Ganache tart at Freska’s to sometimes the Tiramisu at Miller’s, I have relished many a fine desserts. I have also realised that my weakness lies in the combination of a bitter-sweet taste of dark chocolate or coffee and sugar, like life as it is (well… I knew there was a philosopher in me all along). I love the chocolate melting in my mouth even as the nuts give me something to chew upon. I love the warmth of the molten chocolate as it seeps through the cold vanilla ice cream and I love the sweet mascarpone cheese even as the coffee soaked sponge cake crumbles in my mouth. If there were a heaven, I would say that I have seen glimpses of it and I am very happy with it too…

But then, here lies the challenge for the future, through my culinary explorations, I have still not ventured into the land of desserts, simply because it sounds like sacrilege to me!!! But one day I do hope to make a leap of faith and try my hand at some of these bits of heaven accessible to ordinary mortals like us… Till then I console myself saying that there should be something in man’s reach but just out of his grasp. After all it gives us something to look forward to. So as I prepare myself for my giant leap (sometime in the future) I continue to dabble with smells, textures, colours and tastes as I explore the world of culinary perfection though my own humble means.

As a sincere advice, I would say “the devil lies in the details” and one must watch out for what one puts into their mouth… it is a rewarding experience…

Happy eating and happier cooking to you all!!

Suvasini Ramaswamy (Alumnus, MCBL)

The Idea of a Food Special Issue

The idea for a food special came up when I was in the Students’ Council 2009-2010 reunion party. Alexander Fell (SERC), who headed the Volunteers Committee came up with this brilliant idea. The Voices assigned team would visit restaurants all over the city, volunteering to publicise the place and in that pretext explore new dishes and new places. The plan did not work out. But the idea triggered Madhurima, our former editor, (along with Suvasini (Alumnus, MCBL) and Ananthalakshmi (MCBL)) and the work for the food special began.

Two regrets
Personally, I have regrets over two themes not being covered in this isuue. First is that of wine and alcoholic beverages. Surprisingly, no one wanted to write on the subject. Second is that of Kerala food. Let me make a weak attempt to overcome that regret. If you are a non vegetarian, Biryani Paradise is the place you should visit to enjoy one of the best Kozhikode Biryani (or North Kerala) dishes served in the city. A first left on the road between MS Ramaiah bus stop and Mathikkere would lead to Biryani Paradise.

Kudos to Mess workers

On March 25, I got an email from Subrata Chakrabarti (Mech Engg), who wrote:

“It just occurred to me that this edition of Voices must carry a word or paragraph of appreciation for the mess staff and workers for their punctuality, hard work and emphasis on quality of the food being served during the two days (March 21 and March 22) when electricity supply was disrupted and IISc was blacked out.

I think these hapless souls engaged in a thankless job deserve this. They have earned this.”

Voices echoes Subrata’s thoughts and would like to congratulate all the three messes for the wonderful job they do, day in and day out.

Shyam (MGMT)

The gift of “Maggi”: My precious!

kitchen | methods
Techniques for the dummies
The gift of “Maggi”: My precious!
“We likes it”

Maggi is a crucial component in the Ph.D students life cycle on the campus. Here, we propose a novel protocol to be employed in the preparatory phase of experimental eating. This version of the methodology has enhanced sensory satisfaction capabilities. We are the first to report that this is a direct consequence of the structural features of the Maggi polymer. A semi jelly-like solid quasi-polymer structure of Maggi resulted by employing this protocol. This is the most stable configuration adopted by all the final conformers under the kitchen conditions studied. We suggest that this result has new bearing in the field of Maggi consumption for dummies.

Ph.D. Student’s life . Polymer conformations . Heat capacity . Culinary life style . Total sensory satisfaction .


Of all the close homologues of the polymer superfamily Maggi is a distinguished creation (Refer review, Bhaskara et al., 2010). It is the most ubiquitous food among the younger (and older Ph.Ds) generation of the Indian sub-continent (ref required) (I do not know about the west, as Indians from here carry it as a backup for recharging their batteries in the vicinity of bland foods (ghass phoos)). A brilliant product of Nestle, as it is, has served many bhuke students, single workers, late night workers and of course kids and foodies across the globe and is a cause of immense joy, satisfaction and fulfillment. Maggi however plays a crucial role in a Ph.D. student’s life on the campus. It has been the source of vital dietary nutrients at times of war (semester ending crusades, manuscript writing, thesis writing), peace (Boss on a sabbatical /vacation) and happy moments (post previva, manuscript acceptance, colloquium over) in all academic institutions of higher learning. It has also served as a basic need on a daily basis to many who boycott the mess and want to grab a quick bite at any time of the day. Maggi and close homologous experiments have been carried out using various protocols in various labs, hostel rooms and guesthouses with a variety of heating gadgets from lasers to water-baths (The Big bang Theory, Season1, Episode 2). Maggi as such is the brand name under which Nestle markets soups, ketchups, sauces and other food products, but in this manuscript we shall nevertheless confine our scientific discussion to the 2-minute instant noodles. The 2-minute instant noodles as the name suggests can be cooked in 2-minutes to 2-hours depending on the cooking devices employed (Personal experiences; unpublished results). However the most popular protocols are published on the cover page (Instruction manual for research in maggi consuming)(See supplementary information). Interesting protocols tailor-made to suit the tastes of variety of researchers have been suggested by other groups (Refer Maggi TV commercials). They have been patented by Nestle as different flavors [Original (Basic concept), Masala (Predominantly consumed and researched in Indian subcontinent) Chicken (For the meat lovers, though there isn’t any chicken for the palate) , Curry (for the health conscious)Tom yam (didn’t give tasty results), dal sambar (For the andu gundus), Vegetable Atta Noodles (again a theory put forth to promote vegetarianism by the health conscious), Tomato (Genetically modified flavor, banned in the EU), rice noodles (Has 3 sub domains; Shahi Pulao (No literature available), Chilly Chow (for the Gults), Lemon Masala (supplements vitamin-C))]. Here we propose a novel protocol to cook Maggi Masala instant 2-minute noodles in just over an hour’s time. We hope this new cooking paradigm is conserved across all the versions of Maggi. This is the best approach to be considered by naive Ph.D. students who embark on their culinary life.

Materials and methods
As with any other experiment, the equipment at hand decides the final outcome (Not to mention the skill and the expertise of the researcher and the subject, refer previous sections on basics of cooking up things!). Oil was heated gently in an experimental trough (cooking pan) to 373K till the point, there was an observable color conversion to golden brown. To this a mixture of 2.785 gm of minced garlic, 2.785 gm cross sections of green chilies, 4-5 microtomed spring onions, large (2-5 cm diameter) broccoli and cauliflower florets, large chunks of freshly grown Agaricus bisporus Basidiocarps, pre-wet peas, shredded carrots and capsicum were added. The resultant mixture was heated until there was another color change. This resulted as the added components leave color and undergo a phase transition into a more stable colloidal paste like mixture. Then, a few ml of water (500ml per Kg of the final preparation) was added to ease the heat transfer to all the components. Care was taken to adjust the meniscus such that all components were submerged. This was done to maintain homogeneity. Structures such as the florets maintain their texture and properties even after adding water, providing small pockets of heterogeneity. Further this process was continued until the time required, for the room to be filled with the aroma. At this point the human nose can experience the collective essence of individual components. To enhance the olfactory perception, insertion of the default Masala to the above concoction is suggested. When this was accomplished the addition of the noodles was carried out under the supervision of an expert (Many; refer previous issues of this journal). The final assessment of the preparation is performed by measuring the change in conformations and texture of the coiled-coiled structures. This is accompanied with the water moving into vapor phase, and the polymer adhesion to the experimental trough, when they become wriggly (hmmmmm Golum Golum yummy!). At that instance the heating device was turned off and the mixture was allowed to anneal for 5 seconds. We then perform rigorous statistical analysis on the above mentioned parameters both in temporal, gustatory and olfactory domains to show the efficacy and relative importance of the above mentioned steps.

Results and Discussion
As expected the results of these experiments are phenomenal in terms of complete sensory satisfaction. The final preparation scored well in all the assessment methodologies employed. The overall morphology was breathtaking and mouth-watering (Figure 1). The garnished version performed even better in attracting more number of people into photographing the results. The imaging data (Figure 2) indicated possible mechanisms involved in the effectiveness of the methodology.

Figure 1: Morphology of the final test preparation Showing significant improvement (P < 0.00001) in overall satisfaction counts (No. of people who said "Whow!" ; normalized) over previous random kitchen experiments. Randomization involved altering the input parameters and the shuffling of the order in which individual components were added.

Figure 2: Nikon D 60 image (Macro mode) of the Final test preparation showing the microscopic texture of the polymers. Note the smooth surface of the polymer which is characteristic of these experiments. This nature aids in enhanced taste bud stimulation and easy consumption.

The fork lift experiment suggested that the final conformation of the polymers was stable enough and the polymer splitting occurred only at high retention time and heights (Figure 3).

Figure 3: The Fork lift experiment: The polymer elasticity and rigidity were studied using nice washed stainless steel forks with 3-6 teeth. The retention time i.e. time spent on the fork during the lifting process was measured as function of height of the fork from the experimental trough and the change in the polymer conformation.

This showed that the final preparation was rigid enough to be chewable and be considered solid dietary requirement. Please note that the tensile strength of the polymers measured also indicated that the elastic limit at higher altitudes and temperatures was considerably lowered. Again this pattern shows us jelly like behavior (Figure 3) which appeared contradictory to the solid nature established. So we report the first semi jelly-like solid quasi- polymer structure of this preparation. This has abundant applications in providing dietary nutrients to busy Ph.D. students (Who don’t have enough time to sit, talk and eat peacefully).

Figure 4: Test guinea pig employed for assessment of the final preparation. The observed consumption rates were far higher than any of the previously measured ones.

We tested its significance by measuring the consumption rates (polymer sucking test) (Figure 4) as a function of the polymer rigidity, and found that this semi jelly-like solid quasi- polymer structure is best suited for this purpose.
This approach paves way for further research in field of maggi innovations and opens up new avenues to the whole new world of tastes for the ardent maggi lovers. We believe this paper brings a paradigm shift in the current methodologies employed for polymer palatization and will accelerate the field of cooking up things in general.

Note: Supplementary information is available on the Kitchen Methods website. eat at your own risk.

Methods and any associated references are available in the online version of the paper at

Supplementary information
Please buy a Maggi packet from the nearest supermarket and read the instructions on the back of the cover page for a concise review of the previous methodologies.

The author thanks Nestle corporation for help with sample preparation, siblings, father, mother and various friends including pets (cats, dogs etc) for many expressive feedbacks (facial expressions, puking, nausea, gasping for water etc), helpful and inspiring discussions over the years for making an expert out of him. Krishnadev. O, Smita Mohanty and Nirmalya Basu are acknowledged for invaluable comments on the manuscript and for continuous support in this preparation. This work was supported by Maggi-maggi interactions (Integrated Project from café Polymerization) and the Centre for Snack bar Biology and Chemistry (co-financed by the Indian Maggi Development Foundation and the Department of Foodies).

Competing financial interests
These methodologies are under GNU public license. Academic and educational institutions are freely allowed to access and exploit the results, whereas restaurants and hotels act of 1984, forbids the marketing and abuse of these protocols.


1. Ref required
2. ns lab et al., Tough time 00.00 to 00.00, round the clock., PhD journal (2009).
3. Srinivasan N and Sowdhamini R., Times of peace: effects of sabbaticals and vacations on PhD students’ output., PhD journal (2010).
4. ns lab et al., Pleasures of PhD life., PhD journal (2002).
5. Rakshambikai et al., Correlated evolution on moral fibre: insights from KAKA Kinase family. J. culinary biol (2012).
6. O. Krishnadev., Interesting observations and anecdotes for “cooking up things”. J. of Theoretical cooking (2006).
7. Unpublished results., Trying very hard to publish. PhD Journal (2010).
8. Swapna et al., Hakka fiber oligomerizes into a hexamer and the mutant Hakka (E442Q) redistribute the wild-type Hakka into filamentous microtubule on concentration. J yummy chem (2005).
9. Bhaskara et al., Towards stabilizing Maggi-Maggi interfaces: comparative analysis on allied homologous polymers using HMMs. Kitchen (2010).
10. Manuscripts rejected.
11. TV. commercials
12. The Big Bang theory Season 1, episode-2., CBS (2009).
13. Smita M. et al., Effect of fiber intake on health: lessons from cautious eating. Proc. Nati Acad of Salads (2007).
14. Rupali G and Lakshmi B., How to make experiments taste homely? Live from the rasoie., Chapter2., Rasoie Univ Press 2000.
15. O. krishnadev and Nidhi T., Aloo: tuber of the soul. Personal communication. Potato research institute.
16. Sudha and Gayatri., My experiments with Chocolate Maggi . J . Kidos (2010).
17. Swapnil et al., First report of Hb M(aggi) deficiency :implications for size zero models and cheer leaders. Blood (2010). Special T20 issue.
18. Garima A. et al., Faltoo wine in New bottle: pasta vs noodles. PLoS wine (2008).

Ramachandra M. Bhaskara

Sweetness of Bengal & The Zing of China

When I read the announcement for the Food Special issue of Voices, I soon realized that being the foodie I am, I had to pitch in my two bits for this one. I decided to write about two places that serve my most favoured cuisine – Bengali sweets and Chinese.

The Bengal Sweet Shop is near the Gangamma Circle in Jalahalli East, right opposite the Prestige Wellington Apartments. On a Sunday morning around 9 a.m., it is difficult to miss this place because of the crowd of people who await their plate of piping hot radhaballabi (a puri with a filling of dal & some spices) served with a potato curry or chana dal and accompanied by a sweet ‘n sour tamarind chutney. A plate of 4 radhaballabis along with the curry & chutney costs Rs. 12 and jalebis. The sweets here are very reasonably priced starting from Rs. 8 per piece to around Rs. 15 per piece. The variety they serve is very good and they also keep the special nalen-gur sandesh during winters. This is a winter specialty in Bengal that is made from a type of jaggery available only during that season. You can also get a medium-sized cup of rasamalai or mishti doi (sweet curd) each for approximately Rs. 15. They also make kachoris and samosas and keep pre-packed chanachur (Bengali-style mixture) and other namkeens. Do not go to this place for its ambience. It is a roadside shop which sets out a couple rickety tables and stools on Sunday mornings only. The high point of this place is that it provides an authentic, although not the finest, taste of Bengali sweets and savouries at a very reasonable price.

My report card for this place would read as follows:
Taste: 7/10
Ambience: 5/10
Service: 7/10
Value for Money: 8/10

Hunan, just off New BEL Road and close to Mayuri restaurant is the best Chinese that I’ve had in any Chinese restaurant near IISc. They primarily serve Chinese along with a few Thai dishes. I beg the vegetarians to excuse me here since being a total non-vegetarian I never really looked at their vegetarian menu and so cannot comment on that. But for the non-vegetarians, the variety comprises of sea food, chicken and lamb. Their sea food soup is exquisite. The clear soups are as good as the regular sweet corns or manchows. The soups are well-seasoned and one does not need to enhance their tastes with the sauces or salt & pepper. The starters and main courses are also very well prepared and this is one place where you can safely order an exotically named dish without any trepidation. There is not much variety in the dessert and unless you are a fan of Darsan (honey coated, crisp fried flat noodles) and ice cream, give the dessert a miss. They also serve the usual range of cocktails and mocktails. The ambience is quite good. However, unless you are a cricket fan, avoid the place on days of big cricket matches or make arrangements so that you can get a table on one of the sides because just behind the bar, in the centre, is a huge LCD TV. The maitre‘d and other attendants are very courteous and friendly which makes the dining experience quite pleasurable. A meal for two over here, without desserts, would cost approximately Rs. 800.

My report card for Hunan would read as follows:
Taste: 8.5/10
Ambience: 7/10
Service: 8/10
Value for Money: 8/10
Bon Apetit!!!

Chandra Sen Mazumdar (MGMT)

Sail with the Salads

Salads have had an interesting journey from being an accompaniment to being the maincourse. Often associated as the necessary evil for the nutritious benefits to being a yummy addition to the food table.

The ‘Salad’ type that we have all grown up eating is the ever so common green salad served in restaurants and made at home always. Cucumber, carrot, tomato, onion, beetroot, raddish all cut arranged in concentric circles with a chilli in the plate. Another version is the ‘kachumber’- cucumber, tomatoes and onions chopped, mixed with a dash of lime, pinch of salt and chpped green chillies. The ‘kosambri’ in the south of India has a bit of soaked urad dal and grated coconut. This is combined with cucumber and carrots finely chopped or even the American sweet corn and pomegranate. We also have the ‘raita’ which could be the kachumber added to the whipped curd/dahi. We also have the ‘mooli raita’ which is grated raddish with curd, with a tadka of mustard.

Salads can be served as an appetiser, just before the main course or as an accompaniment to the main course. At times, they become the main course. So, as students, for those evenings when we want to eat light and healthy, here are a few quick salads that we can dish up!

We now have many fancy salads, the simpler versions of which are presented here:

• the greek salad (lettuce, bel pepper, cucumber, onion, cherry tomatoes, olive oil and feta cheese). To be chilled before serving.
• waldorf salad (apple, toasted walnuts, lime and mayonnaise)
• maze (sweet corn, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and paneer- all finely chopped with a dash of lime and chaat powder)

• an Indian salad with kabuli chana ( boiled kabuli chana, onions, cucumber, tomatoes and chillies finely chopped; with a dash of lime, salt and chaat powder).
• Sprouted green moong salad- with cucumber, tomatoes and onions. For a variation, you can add well boiled rajma also in this.
• a snack kinds chatpata salad with cucumber juliennes and kacha meetha mango juliennes, a dash of olive oil and salt.
• For the fruit lovers, make thin slices of apples- red and green pears. Add a dash of lime, olive oil, honey and oregano. Please chill this salad too for the crunchy experience!

Happy salad making!

Madhurima Das (MGMT)

‘Bengaluru’s Bongo Desh’….

The popular proverb ‘Bangalir Baro Mashe Tero Parban’ literally meaning ’13 festivals in 12 months’ perhaps fall short to enumerate the number of fairs and festivals the people of this state celebrate. Be it “Poila Boishakh” or “Durga Pujo”, “Dol (Holi)” or “Bhai Phota”, bengalis are always immersed deep into food and sweets, which play an integral role in all celebrations. With the opening of myriad of restaurants and eateries serving Bengali cuisine all over the country (or even world), it is hard to miss them even when you’re not physically present in Bengal. Bangalore, in this respect, holds lot of promises to food loving people.

Some of the well-known Bengali Restaurants in Bangalore are 6 Ballygunge Place (Indiranagar), Oh Calcutta (St. Marks Road), Bay of Bengal (St. Marks Road), Bangaliana (Koramangala), Best of Bengal (Frazer Town), 36 Chowringhee Lane (BTM Layout), Bhojohori Manna (Koramangala), and the list goes on. Going as per the ratings and reviews, 6 Ballygunge Place tops amongst all, followed by Oh Calcutta and Bhojohori Manna. But obviously, higher the restaurant ranks in order, costlier are the dishes served there. If you want to go easy on your pocket, there is a Bengali mess, Aastha in Mathikere. I particularly love the Rui Posto they serve there.

I have personally been only to Bay of Bengal located at the St. Marks Road on top of K.C. Das Sweet Shop. The menu there varies from Jhal Muri to Fish Finger, from Paneer Pakorah to fish/mutton/chicken/chingri (prawn) Kobiraji, from Sukto to Dhokar Dalna, from Ilish Paturi to Chital Muitha and from Mocha Chingri to Kosha Mangsho. Being a Bong is definitely like living amidst fishes, but there is also an interesting range of dishes for the vegetarians. Must try dishes for vegetarians are Radhaballabhi, Mochar Ghonto and Potol Dorma. Non-vegetarians can relish the large variety of fish, prawn, chicken and mutton dishes. My favourites are the delicious Fish Kobiraji and Daab Chingri. But whether vegetarian or non-vegetarian, thirst can never be quenched better than a refreshing glass of Ampora Shorbot (though only a seasonal drink made of roasted mangoes).
Food from any region is incomplete without sweets. And ‘Bengalis’ can be considered as a synonymous word for ‘sweets’. Favorites include Malpoa, Rosogolla, Pathi Sapta, Misti Doi, Phirni, Sandesh, Kalakand etc. Quite a wide variety of sweets are served in 6 Ballygunge Place. One of the best places to have Bengali sweets is in K.C. Das, the outlet nearest to IISc being Malleswaram. But, it is slightly expensive. On the contrary, there is a small shop near Mathikere circle, Bengal Sweet House. It provides one of the best Kolkata singaras (samosas) and sweets, especially rosogollas at a cheaper price.

Well, this small tour through Bengali food and restaurants in Bangalore, might guide you when you would like to take a plunge into the depths of Bengal. And, if you are too busy to explore these places, then you can always look out every year for the ‘Kichudi Bhog’ during Saraswati Puja organized by Spandan at IISc.

Sanchari Banerjee (MBU)

Banana Walnut cake

1.75 cups of flour 0.75 cup sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder 0.33 cup butter
0.5 tsp salt 2-3 eggs (depending on size)
1 cup mashed ripe banana 0.33 cup milk
(about 3 big bananas)
1 tbsp lemon juice 0.5 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1. Mix all the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and keep aside. Mix mashed banana and lemon juice and keep aside.

2. Beat sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the milk and dry ingredients alternately, in portions, stirring well after each addition. Add the banana mixture and the chopped walnuts and mix well.

3a. [Conventional Oven]
Pour batter in greased square or round cake pan (about 1.5 liter water capacity), and bake at 200-220°C for 30 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. The top and the sides should acquire a rich golden brown colour. Cool on the counter top for 20 minutes.

3b. [Microwave oven]
Put the batter into a greased microwave safe cake dish (9″ x 5″ or equivalent capacity – glass tray should be fine) on an inverted saucer in the microwave oven. Microwave at 500 – 600 watts until no uncooked batter can be seen through the bottom of the dish, and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 12-15 minutes. Cool on the counter top for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan.

Note 1: 1 cup in this recipe is 240 mL
Note 2: The microwaved cake does not brown on the sides and does not get golden brown color on the top.
Note 3: You may cut all the ingredients by half to make a smaller cake – you just need a smaller cake pan.

Uday Maitra (Organic Chemistry)

Keep it Healthy and Yummy

Feeling lazy to cook an elaborate meal and too lazy to go out and eat… u can always do something quick and healthy like Diet Dosa to satiate your hunger…

Diet Dosa
Preparation time 5 min, cooking time 10-15 mins for one individual…

1 cup – Atta (wheat flour)
3/4th cup- Ragi flour
½ cup – Oats
Salt to taste
For added flavor, you could add
Coriander leaves finely chopped
1/2 green chillies finely chopped
1 onion finely chopped (this will make dosa a lil thicker and not so crispy… otherwise dosa is quite crispy)

Mix all the ingredients, pour water and mix thoroughly without forming lumps, bring it to the consistency of dosa batter. And now make crisp dosas on a medium hot pan
To add more taste, you could temper the batter
In a pan, add oil, once the oil heats up add lil mustard seeds, chopped curry leaves, urad dhal, moong dhal, 4/5 pieces of dried red chilli, n finely chopped cashewnuts and fry it well, now add this to the batter, mix well and make crispy healthy dosas. This dosa will go with any side dish and chutney.

Soya chunks Peas masala

Soya chunks – 250 gms
Potatoes- 1/2 medium size cut into small pieces
Peas – 100 gms
1 onion- finely sliced
4/5 tomatoes – cut into small pieces
½ tea spoon turmeric powder
1 spoon chilli powder
2 spoon coriander powder
2 green chilli – sliced
Ginger/garlic paste – 1 spoon
Cinnamon sticks -2 pieces
Clove 3-4
Fresh coriander, finely chopped
Salt to taste
Soak Soya chunks in water for about 15-20 mins. Wash and cut potatoes into small pieces.

In a pan, heat some oil, add cinnamon sticks, cloves and finely sliced onion until golden brown, now add the ginger garlic paste and fry well in the oil, add sliced green chilli and fry. Now add the turmeric, chilli and coriander powder keep frying till all the powders blend well with the onions. Now add the tomatoes and salt (salt as required for the onion and tomatoes alone) keep frying till tomatoes dry up. Now wash and add the peas and cut potatoes with little water. Wait till they are partially cooked.

Drain the excess water from soya chunks and cut them in to smaller pieces (2/3) and add this and mix thoroughly with the masala, add the required salt for all the vegetables along with required amount of water to boil the chunks and potatoes, and let it boil.

Finally add the fresh coriander and cook until the excess water is dried up.

Indumathi A. (MGMT)

Trip Down the Ice Cream Lane

I remember the years when ice cream was exclusively a summer treat. Come the mid of march, and we could expect to eat whatever flavour caught our fancy and try out innovative combinations of ice cream teamed with any other side dish we could think up, classic or otherwise. One time, It was vanilla with rich, luscious mango slices. Another time, it was the hot-n-cold combo of vanilla ice cream and piping hot gulab jamoon.

When I think back to the first time I remember eating ice cream, home-made kulfis come to mind. They were just being frozen in molds and I simply had to know what it tasted like. Though not technically ice cream, “lolly” which is coloured ice in thin longish plastic covers was a major hit in school. These were sealed on both ends and kept frozen. Also available were the kulfis. Right from the basic to the innumerable varieties, all of these taste rich, creamy and cool. Add to this the nuts garnished and they are mouthwatering. The popular ones used to include the mawa kesar, badam kulfi and the matka kulfi.

Some ice creams have stayed in the mind even though its been a long time since I first tasted them. One such ice cream is the Kwality Walls “Feast” which had a crusty layer with nuts in it, vanilla ice cream and finally, pure chocolate. There was also the MTR “Softy” which was all the rage at the time when it was first introduced. The surface of the ice cream hardened into a crust once filled into the cone and tasted heavenly.

Outlets such as “Corner House” and “Baskin N Robbins” are relatively recent additions as ice cream haunts. Their concoctions combine chocolate, ice cream and cakes in a manner that makes chocoholics crave for more. The sinful chocolate sauce with vanilla ice cream and the brownie to go with it garnished with nuts is simply a delight.

As I write, my mouth salivates at the images conjured. I guess I’ll stop now and see if I can get a cone-ice.

Kamala Ram (CSA)