December 12, 2008
When a magazine asked me to review a new Indian restaurant in London, I jumped at the chance. What dissect a menu? Criticise the food? Scrutinise the ambience? For a fee?
Christmas has arrived early!
A blast of incense greeted us as we walked into the place. I spotted linen kurtas, banana leaves and stainless steel glasses. Momentarily distracted, I murmured “home” before hanging my coat and greeting Rosie.
As we pored over the menu, my husband ordered lemonade. The waiter said they didn’t have any. Okay, nimbu pani then. To which the waiter replied, you have to go to India for that. Funny he didn’t recommend we head to India for the food too.
We probably should have anyway. The Masala Dosa and Idiappam were tasty but stone cold. I was told I couldn’t have sambhar with the rice noodle cakes. And the feast, with two free glasses of tap water came to £15 ($30)! Rosie then declared she didn’t like the waiter’s vibe and we left without trialling the chocolate chilli and cardamom cake.
That would have made for a very short magazine review indeed.
Good food is better served simply with a smile. Like Peas Pulao. A restaurant staple in several guises – luminous yellow, golden brown, saffron spiked. But this simplest peas pulao recipe never fails me. And then of course, you can dress it up with other lovely ingredients.
Measure the uncooked rice in a thick cup and then wash it thoroughly in cold water in a colander or sieve. In a large pot, bring the ghee to heat and when it’s hot add the whole spices and ginger.
As they start sizzling, stir in the peas for a minute and then the rice. Add salt to taste.
Stir the whole lot for another minute until the rice starts turning bright white. Now add in one and a half times as much boiling water as rice, measured in the same cup. Bring to a boil and then simmer covered until the rice is cooked and the water is all absorbed.
Serve hot with a thick curry or dal of your choice.
Thanks so much Somananda! Mother knows best, of course, but the ginger adds a lovely quirk to a pulao that should never be complicated x
Hello! This is the first time I saw this recipe of peas pulao which is just the same my mother makes, sans the ginger. In every blog they add a lot of ingredients to this other simple and delicious pulao, but I am definitely going to try with the ginger this time! Your recipes are amazing
Hi Harshini – Thanks so much for letting me know how it came out. My advice to you would be to always cook extra, when you do, so there is another meal ready for you! Enjoy!! x
I tried the above recipe… turned out simple to cook and nice to eat !! As a beginner in the kitchen, a super hectic work life doesnt allow me to experiment in the kitchen. I barely have enough strength at times to just pick up some food..eat n crash!! .. The pulao turned out good…n it got me all enthu about trying out other recipes..!! Will keep you posted about how it goes… Thnx for sharin these recipes !!
Sounds like most of the Indian restaurants here in the US. They don’t give a damn about customer service. Some places are worse, you not only get crappy service but you get food that sucks. That’s insult to injury. I love Indian food but every time I go to any Indian restaurant I come back disappointed. Some places even serve meat/chicken that is not so fresh. My husband calls it the fermented meat.
This looks so good, but can you make this in a rice cooker? I truly suck at making rice in anything but a rice cooker. However, I am headed to India for the holidays, so I don’t have to think about burning rice for at least the next month :). And yes, please do share your actual review with us (not that I’m likely to visit any restaurant in the UK any time soon).
Hope you get to write good reviews soon:-) Sad to hear that people are doing such things in the name of selling food! Like you said, a smile is all it takes…lovely pulao…
I would have exited . You are patient and kind, Namesake .
Damn…these guys are rude! You know in London we had gone to a really small place to have some masala dosas. There were 4 of us so we decided that we’ll order 2 dishes and 3 teas as it was just 3.30pm and we just wanted to have tea. The waiter was like you are 4 people,you cant order just 2 masala dosas. So we said okay….just give us 3 tea’s. The idiot said you cant have tea without ordering something to eat!!! We just got up and left. Sometimes it makes me wonder what type of business these people run.
And your pulao looks damn good Simple and yummy!
Good review Mallika. Sometimes it is hard to get everything in one place. Too bad it is that way.
They told you to go to India for nimbu pani??!!!
I wouldn’t have minded being advised that sambar is not the right accompaniment to idiyappam but not after being told to go to India!
The staff in my favourite local Indian restaurant are so absolutely lovely that I feel guilty even considering trying out a new place. Luckily, the food is great.
jaani you are too good. thanks for the yumm recipe.
Their sense of humor sure needs a lot of tweaking. But the Peas Pulao is delicious no doubt.
When i read kerala restraunt , i was like yeah nex time when we are in london we will go there, then i read the rest of the post, it was forget it they won’t get me indie the placce even if they give away their food.
I agree!! We drive about 90miles to go to Woodlands here and what do we get? Frown or indifference!! These waiters are amazing!! They all look depressed or sleep deprived or home sick to me and still people like us who love the food and feel of “home”, keep going there.
Feels very very strange to me because in India, they are all in smiles and even snatch your baby so they can coo to her!
(Happened when Trisha was 9mnts old and we visited B’lore from UK! I literally went to the kitchen to find my baby with 3 waiters taking care of her! Beautiful people although I had a mini heart attack after being “trained” in UK to be careful about baby kidnaps and all! Hahaha!! )
Peas pulao is simple and great with any gravy, veg or non-veg.
Take care. Happy new year (it will be, I know! ;D) to you and hubby. Work at home is done for this year, I am free to enjoy the winter vacation now. See you next year. Hugs! :))