Friday, 24 July 2015

Heng Bok

Korean barbeque is one of my favourite things to eat. My best friend introduced me to Gyu Ka Ku in New York in 2008. A few bottles of Demonslayer later, I was hooked. There’s nothing more fun than being able to cook your own food at your own barbeque station on your very own table.

Shoju at Heng Bok
Mumbai is not known to be a meat eater’s paradise. There are the standard cuts of meat on almost every menu, a slight differentiation with the sauces and vegetables that accompany them, but for the most part the food is unremarkably similar. Enter Heng Bok – an unpretentious place in Bandra that opened with absolutely no fan fare and has quickly become one of the few go to places on my list for amazing meaty goodness. Mumbai’s first Korean barbeque had a lot of expectations and I’m pretty sure that Heng Bok has satisfied most of them.

I’ve been there multiple times in the last few months, and what I’d like to do is a round up of the best food you can eat there. Naturally, we’ll start with the DIY Korean BBQ. You can opt for chicken, pork belly, spicy pork belly, seafood, vegetarian and once upon a time, beef bulgogi.

Ready to rock & roll
Go for the Samgyeopsal – which is the pork belly bbq. I’ve had both the regular and spicy ones, and I honestly can’t tell the difference. Your server will bring a huge platter of meat to the table, and well as a plate piled high with leafy lettuce, sliced onion, mushroom and pieces of garlic. 

Once the pork has been put on the grill, the onions and mushroom go on too. Take matters into your own hands and add the garlic as well. There’s nothing better than sweet, charred garlic cloves – except for what it can do to your love life haha. Once the pork has been sizzling for a few minutes, your server will come and snip the long strips of pork belly into smaller bite size pieces. Here’s where you should turn the heat down and just let the meat sizzle slowly. Let the fat on the pork belly soften until the entire thing is melt in your mouth delicious.

Pork Belly
I’ve also had the seafood barbeque which gives you a mix of octopus (don’t over cook it will be too rubbery to eat), squid, prawn and a little fish. The sauce needs a little time to dry up on the grill, but don’t over cook the seafood or you won’t enjoy it.

Here fishy fishy fishy
Order a Dolsot Bibimbap with pork (or beef) – it’s rice topped with vegetables and a soft fried egg that they mix up and serve you at the table in a hot hot stone bowl. Don’t burn yourself in your eagerness to eat this :)

The Tune Tartare is a refreshingly light dish of fresh soft tuna with avocado and spicy mayonnaise topped with roe. I would eat this as a meal in itself if I weren’t so greedy.

Heng Bok also offers a sushi menu – we tried the Futomaki (salmon, tuna, Hamachi & avocado) and the Tornado roll (spicy tuna, crab, avocado). They’re nice but I’d prefer to stick to the bbq next time.  

Roly poly
Roll to me
I have never made it to dessert and with good reason. You stagger home sleepy and satiated. 


Monday, 8 June 2015

Cheesecake Cups with Brie

A little while ago, I had this wheel of really ripe, really divine smelling Brie in my fridge that everyone refused to eat because it had gone ‘too high’. Can a Brie really go too high? Methinks not. 

In the interest of salvaging this amazing cheese that a friend had brought from Paris, I decided to change it into a cheesecake my mom in law has made for us multiple times which we absolutely love. Unfortunately, they took the recipe of the internet!!! After much searching, I found a recipe that sounded similar enough for me to try out. It incorporated ginger biscuits in the base, and a little bit of sweet to go with the highly flavoured Brie. I opted to make 2 versions of the cake – cheesecake cups and a smaller regular cake. The resulting pastry (for I cannot call it a dessert) was extremely interesting, but not something I recommend serving to anyone who doesn’t have a great understanding and appreciation of cheese.

You will need

Ingredients laid out
8 ounces / 225 grams of good quality Brie or Stilton cheese (don’t buy the little tins, they’re extremely processed and won’t melt or taste good in this)
2 packets / 16 ounces / 550 grams cream cheese
3 eggs
½ cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla essence (or cut a vanilla pod in half and scrape out the insides)
2 tablespoons melted butter

1 cup ginger biscuits (crushed) (Try using ginger biscuits with no sugar added to them, it contrasts really well with the flavor of the cheeses being used. Sugar adds another layer to the flavor profile that just gets confusing. )

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees C

Step 1
Mix the crushed biscuits & melted butter together and press into the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan.

Biscuity goodness 
Cheesecake cups
Step 2
Crumble the brie into a mixing bowl and add your cream cheese and sugar. Beat until well blended.

I can almost taste the cheese again
Adding cream cheese
Step 3
Beat in the eggs (one at a time) until they’re smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla.

Step 4
Stir in your flour, sour cream and lemon juice and beat until everything is well blended.

Mix well
Step 5
Pour the cheese mixture over the crust & bake in the over for 1 hour.

Cheesecake cup
Ready for the oven
Step 6
Turn off the heat and let the cake cool in the oven for an hour. (If you take it out too soon, it will fall)

Step 7
Let the cheesecake cool on a wire rack for another hour & then cover it with cling wrap and refrigerate it for at least 2 more hours.

Look how pretty they are
Step 8
When you’re ready to serve, loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the pan with a heated knife.

Step 9

Serve the cheesecake cups with a smile and a teaspoon – they make a great snack with tea as well as a great pre dinner appetizer. I served the cheesecake with some sliced apples, a sprig of mint and a generous spray of balsamic vinegar.

Cross section - cheesecake cup

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Craving Goodness

I found a new pizza place and it is AWESOME. It was Thursday night, I was sitting home alone playing Super Paper Mario and trying to finish the level. The phone rang and my mum in law asked if I would like to join the girls and try a new pizza place that had just opened in Prabhadevi.

 Pizza is one of my favourite foods, and one that seems most forbidden to me most of the time (the diet you know). Crave Comfort Food has been opened by the same people who run Di Napoli at Nariman Point. The result is lovely thin crust wood fire oven pizzas that melt on your tongue.

I fell in love with Crave when we walked into the restaurant. The walls and ceiling are painted in thick yellow and white stripes and the entire space compliments that. I’m a sucker for anything that is bright, happy and yellow and this place has matched everything from the packaging to the little pots that sit on the table.

Love it
Super pretty
From the outside
We decided to start with 2 orders of fries and some of their dips – the cheese & chive and the honey mustard. The fries came out deliciously golden and crunchy, but I have to say I didn’t like either of the dips. They were too gelatinous and didn’t taste very natural or fresh.

Yummy fries
We’re big on meat, and even bigger on bacon. Cue the ‘Bacon of Hope’ - ham, bacon, onion & paprika brought together deliciously. I’m not a raw onion person, as we all know, so half the pizza came without it. Yum.

Bacon of hope
Next up was the Italian Job – parma ham and arugula lettuce lightly sprayed with olive oil. This was my favourite part of the meal – I could have eaten the 9 inch pizza in 4 giant bites if I’d been alone.

Cool packaging
Crave’s menu also boasts sandwiches and burgers. In the interest of trying everything, we ordered The Knockout – a lamb burger with onion, lettuce, tomato, gorgonzola sauce and bacon. It was pleasant enough, but I think I’ll wait till beef is back on the menu. This was slightly reminiscent of seekh kebab. I couldn't get a picture of the burger because we asked them to cut it into 4 pieces which fell apart because I unwrapped it the wrong way. 

Wrapped up lamb burger
2 baskets of fries, 2 pizzas and a burger down and we were still hungry. We decided to try the Awesome Foursome – scarmoza, cheddar, ricotta and mozzarella with bacon. The different melting points of each cheese resulted in a lot of burnt fingers and palettes and a lot of stringy goodness that oozed all over the place.

Dessert is also available, and plated in tiny plastic shot glasses that are perfect for one person- we tried the tiramisu, blueberry cheesecake and the vanilla panna cotta. I liked them all, though the panna cotta was a bit boring after the wallop the tiramisu packs.

I’m waiting for Crave to open an outlet in town – unfortunately I don’t live in their range of delivery. I’m happy to go there over and over again though!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Eggs Benedict a la Fram

The best time to experiment in the kitchen is when you’re home alone and there is nothing in the fridge. It makes you get creative, it makes you try different things, it makes you attempt to make food you have sworn off because its too ‘difficult’. Let’s set the scene.

It’s Monday night, and my band of usual suspects are conspicuously missing. We’re home alone and craving a little bit of comfort food. The only thing we have in the fridge are eggs. And some old bread and ham. We decided to make eggs Benedict and greet the elephant in the room – the Hollandaise sauce.

Halfway through dinner 
You will need:

2 toasted English muffins (or any regular bread works too)
Thin slices of ham/bacon/smoked salmon
4 eggs (every recipe I’ve read says that the eggs MUST be as fresh as can be)

For the Hollandaise:

125 grams butter
2 egg yolks
½ tsp white wine vinegar
Some tarragon
A little ice cold water

Making the Hollandaise 

Step 1
Melt the butter and skim anything that solidifies on the surface.

Step 2
Put the egg yolks, vinegar, a little salt and a splash of ice cold water into a glass bowl (you can use a metal one too) that fits over a small pan. Whisk together for a few minutes.

Step 3
Place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water (you will need to keep the heat down low) and whisk continuously until the sauce is pale and thick (this will take up to 5 minutes).

Step 4
Add the butter slowly and keep whisking. It may seem endless and hopeless, but I promise you that the sauce will come together eventually and start thickening up. If it gets too thick, add a little water.

Step 5
Season with a little lime juice & pepper and keep warm.

How to poach an egg (slightly imperfectly)

Step 1
Bring a small pan of water up to the boil. Add a teaspoon or so of white wine vinegar to the water.

Step 2
Crack your eggs into individual bowls – you will only be able to poach one at a time

Step 3
Using the back of a spoon, swirl the water in the pan to create a little ‘whirlpool’, which will help keep the whites around the yolk.

Step 4
Slip the egg into the water & leave to cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

Swirling away
Step 5
Remove the egg from the water with a slotted spoon and make sure it is drained well before putting it onto your ham.

Assembling the Eggs Benedict

Step 1
Toast your muffins or bread.

Step 2
Add a few slices of ham to the bread and top it with the poached egg.

Step 3
Smear the hollandaise all over the poached egg and season with pepper.  


Serve with asparagus and a smile.