Mushroom Stroganoff (Vegetarian)

I was recently introduced to the wonder that is mushroom stroganoff at a buffet lunch the other day at a fancy restaurant. I couldn’t get my mind off it, so I googled to see if I might be able to make it at home. Found a shortcut recipe soon enough and here I am today.

Presenting mushroom stroganoff with broccoli on a bed of fragrant herbed rice. Served with a side of steamed corn.


Hope to be cooking a little frequently now on!

Recipe from Divya’s Cook Book. (Instead of carrots though, I went for brocolli. And I also added roasted sunflower seeds in the rice.)


Restaurant Review: Sliders, Mumbai

Sliders are basically mini burgers- but cuter because of their tiny size. They aren’t exactly common in India and so when Ketan Kadam launched an eatery around the concept in Bandra, Mumbai, I was immediately intrigued. Along with my photographer and foodie friend, Sanket, whom you know from my previous post, I went to Sliders after work one day. I’m vegetarian, Sanket is not. So the review below is jointly written by us.

Nutella Coffee and Sugar Rush

Nutella Coffee and Sugar Rush

We began our meal with the Nutella Coffee (Rs 110) and Strawberry Rush (Rs 110). “The Nutella Coffee was light on flavor and was nicely presented, though personally I would have loved a water based drink to accompany the mini burgers,” Sanket feels. The Strawberry Rush was light and easy on the stomach-exactly how beverages ought to be. It doesn’t fill you up and so, there’s enough room for actual food. The flavour and sweetness level was perfect.

The vegetarian sliders all cost Rs 60 each, while all the non-vegetarian ones cost Rs 65 each, with the exception of Double Decker (Rs 80). Among the first thing Sanket ordered was the Fish and Chips slider. “I like everything fish, and this one was a crisp fish combined with sauces that accentuate the taste. The Bademiya slider was a spicy piece of kebab between the breads; it was decent. The Double Decker is the tallest slider in the menu. It comprises chicken salami, cheese and a flattened egg amongst the varied sauces. It does take some effort to be devoured and also fills you quite a bit.” He adds, “I had to skip the much recommended Philly Steak slider, but friends gave rave reviews about this particular slider.”

Doube Decker slider

Doube Decker slider

Bademiya slider

Bademiya slider

Coming to the vegetarian sliders, the Jalapeno Popper packed in the just the right punch of hotness. The cheese nicely balanced the spice. It turned out to be my most favourite among all the sliders. Next up was Wild Mushrooms. Although it lacked the distinct mushroom flavour that one would obviously expect, it was pretty delicious. The Mac and Cheese was strictly okay but full points for the innovative thought. I suppose a lot many would order this slider out of sheer curiosity so perhaps it would do them well to improve the flavour. I also sampled the Falafel slider (again, superb idea), and it didn’t disappoint. Fans of Middle Eastern cuisine will definitely savour it. So the only vegetarian slider I didn’t try was the Paneer Chilly… because 1) There were more unusual options to choose from, and 2) There is only so much I can eat-even if it’s for the sake of my blog.

Jalapeno Popper slider

Jalapeno Popper slider

Next in line was Thai Fries (Rs 90). French fries are topped with a drizzle of Thai sauce, a fair amount of peanut butter and garnished with coconut. “I am no fan of Thai sauce. But that being said that’s not the case with everyone… Manali was eating it as if it were gold plated caviar (if at all they come up with some veg version). I just kept staring at her as she was at it… So going by the looks on her face, if you like all of the above ingredients mixed and presented in a basket, dig in,” Sanket cheekily says. And even though Sanket had reserved some tummy space for the Brownie Slider (Rs 70), he managed to eat some of their signature BBQ wings (Rs 130), “which were tender and flavorful, thanks to the sauce it was cooked in.”

Thai Fries

Thai Fries

Signature BBQ wings

Signature BBQ wings

Coming to deserts, Sliders offers a Brownie slider-a small chocolate brownie with (excessively) sweet chocolate sauce wedged between toasted mini buns. Sanket was skeptical about it at first but soon was wishing he had room for more! I, on the other hand, didn’t like it too much.

Brownie Slider

Brownie Slider

The day we visited, the Ice Cream Profiteroles were not available. A shame, really, because I was pretty intrigued by the concept. But there’s always a next time and Sliders is one place I’d definitely visit again. Apart from all of this, Sliders also serves up burgers and hot dogs. The place is also perfect for a quick bite after shopping on Linking Road ;) Sanket says, “To sum it up, I’d say, if you have a varied taste and would like some fun-sized burgers , you should definitely drop by Slider’s. A special mention of the food graffiti on the wall, it’s been quite some time since I’ve seen something like it.”


Sliders scores on all fronts. Food- great. Pricing- affordable. Service- polite. Ambience- no frills.

All the pictures are shot by Sanket. More of his work can be found on his Facebook page.

Fine print: Please note that we were guests of the restaurant for the day. Big ups to Amrita and Anisha for inviting us.


Sliders: New Karnal Building, Near Bandra Book Centre, Waterfield Road, Bandra West, Mumbai. Call: 022-66710844. Rs 450 for two people (approx).

Some previous reviews:

Chili’s, Mumbai

Barbeque Nation, Mumbai

Restaurant review: Chili’s, Mumbai

First ever guest post on Nothing Intellectual. Old friend Sanket Chavan, who is a freelance photographer, and a better writer than he thinks, does the honours. Here goes:

Chili’s gives you the feel of a regular watering hole filled with chatter from neighboring tables. The place emphasises on the south western American cuisine, influenced by Tex-Mex. I was invited for Chili’s Grill and Bar’s food festival; they had a special menu for it. Rezy, the restaurant manager was of a great help throughout the evening, explaining what goes into the dishes and managing our expectations, especially when people think that Chili’s must have something to do with all the dishes being spicy. They are not.

Steak - Medium done

Steak – medium done

Rezy recommended starting out with a Beer-ita. As expected, it came in a tall beer glass, dark, yellow and frothy. It tastes like the usual draught (sans the bitterness) and leaves an aftertaste of margarita. It was accompanied with Bold Calamari with Cilantro ranch (Rs 395). The pairing would’ve been ideal if it were to be just beer. However, the Calamari was crunchy and satisfying enough.

Then, we were recommended the Triple dipper (Rs 495). Given the fact that I was sharing my table with a vegetarian, we ordered Southwestern Rolls, Texas Cheese poppers, Paneer bites and Boneless chicken wings. Other than the wings all of them were vegetarian preparations. However, the best of them was the Paneer bites, you felt the initial crunch as you bit into the softer insides, it just disappears in your mouth. The Cheese poppers can barely be qualified as solid, these just melt as soon as it slides in your mouth. Chicken wings were a bit spicy with a sweet aftertaste, Southwestern Rolls were devoured before I even had the opportunity, must be that good.

Triple dipper

The Tripple Dipper

As I primarily eat fish at any given opportunity, I was waiting for the Orange Habanero Salmon (Rs 725) ever since I read the menu. Finally it arrived, paired with the freshest Brocolli and cucumber, the orange coloured fillet sat there emanating a smoky aroma. After taking a deep breath I sliced a part of the fillet, pink flakes of the salmon gave way for my knife. As soon as it was in my mouth I could feel the balanced flavors. The Habenaro and fish combination goes really well.

Orange Habanero Salmon

The Orange Habanero Salmon

We had also ordered a Paneer and Cheese Fajita (Rs 395). For someone who has never tasted the Quesadilla, I would want to recommend this to them vegetarians. Molten cheese, paneer, mushrooms, sour cream, four different toppings… it’s like a carnival of all things nice and soft on a platter.

Paneer and Cheese Fajita (2)

Paneer and Cheese Fajita

The meal concluded with the Molten Chocolate lava Cake (Rs 325). Sitting on top of a bunt chocolate cake is a dollop of chocolate coated vanilla ice-cream. As soon as you break open the chocolate coating along with the cake to get a spoonful of the Lava cake, you can see the ice-cream and the chocolate ooze out. Drool worthy site, quite literally.

Motlen Chocolate lava cake 1

Motlen Chocolate Lava Cake

All photographs by Sanket Chavan. Check out more of his work here. Also, Sanket would like to thank his dear friend Amrita Hom Ray for inviting him and Karishma Shah for being such good company.

Chili’s: 13, Ventura Building, Hiranandani Business Park, Central Avenue Road, Powai, Mumbai. 

Phone: 022 67419002, 022 67419003

Book Review: Land Where I Flee by Prajwal Parajuly

land where i flee book coverNew year. New book.

After forcing myself to finish King, Queen, Knave by the celebrated Russian writer Vladimir Nabokov (best recognised for Lolita), I was desperate to read a book I could relate with and enjoy. Although it has been praised for its ‘delicious prose’, I found the excessive metaphors and personification in King, Queen, Knave tiring. The pace too was a real drag. I was eager to begin a new novel.

A few days earlier, my ex-colleague and friend Shiwangi sent me an author signed hardcover of Land Where I Flee by Prajwal Parajuly, all the way from Gangtok, Sikkim, as a belated birthday gift! Shiwangi has always been the super sweet girl so I was more touched than surprised. Last year, I had borrowed from her and read the debut novel by Prajwal (who is her friend) called The Gurkha’s Daughter and quite liked it.

Now, coming to Land Where I Flee. To put it very simply, I had a good time reading it. Land Where I Flee is set in Gangtok, where the author himself grew up. So, it’s a culture and people he knows well. At it’s core, it’s a tale of fractured familial relationships, old wounds, and the refusal to patch up. The characters that people the novel are interesting, real, conflicted, layered, and thankfully, not complex to the point where you do not fully understand their motivations.

An old, formidable, beedi-smoking, Nepali-speaking Hindu widow Chitralekha Nepauney is set to turn 84. Her 84th birthday, or chaurasi, is an event to commemorate. Her grandchildren, who she single-handedly raised after their parents’ death in a car accident, are coming from different parts of the world for the chaurasi. She has, however, a bone of contention to pick with all three of them.

The eldest, Bhagwati, had eloped at 19 to marry a low caste, untouchable Damaai. She, of Brahmin ancestry, had ruined the family reputation. Her Baahun grandmother left no opportunity to taunt her slither by. The second in line, Manasa had done the respectable thing by marrying a man from one of Nepal’s most prestigious political families but by refusing to get her husband along for the chaurasi, earned the wrath of her grandmother. Chitralekha’s only grandson, Agastaya, stubbornly remained a bachelor at 34. Apart from Chitralekha’s incessant mocking, complaining and rebuffs, the three siblings have their own demons to fight and hope only to come out of the chaurasi unscathed. The novel follows the events that unfold when they all congregate in their childhood home. As if there wasn’t enough melodrama in the household anyway, a mischievous eunuch maid and an uninvited guest take it upon themselves to create even more. 

The sentences Parajuly weaves are quite simple in structure but every third page contained a word or two I was unfamiliar with! An aspect of Land Where I Flee I particularly noticed and liked was the liberal doses of dialogues and the muted, crisp narrative. The author doesn’t waste precious words in describing scenes and settings in great detail, and lets the story flow freely and quickly. The tension among the siblings and with the grandmother is brought out appropriately well by the words the characters chose to speak. The novel inevitably has a sprinkling of the Gorkhaland movement. However, one does wish that the author move out of his comfort zone in his next outing.

To sum it up, Land Where I Flee is a non-pretentious novel—literary enough but not absurdly, unbearably so.

On an aside, I hope 2014 turns out to be a great year for Indian authors and of course, the publishing industry in general. People of the world, please buy more books and show them damn Kindles and e-Readers who’s the boss.

PS: I also reviewed Sangeeta Mall’s Flight of the Flamingo recently. Click here for the link.

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