Makkan Peda @ Chettiar Sweet Stall, Arcot

Makkan Peda @ Chettiar Sweet Stall, Arcot

Spending about 9 years of my childhood in Vellore District has given me a lot of good memories to cherish. I wasn't a foodie then. My mos was an excellent cook and the maximum exposure I had was Kanna Hotel in Vellore, my college canteen, few sweet shops (dry fruit halwa & coconut mixture) opposite to fort. A veg hotel in Muthukadai & some snack shops in Walaja. Out of all my all time favourite are the gundu gunndu makkan pedas oozing with jeera :) I was a herbivore who eats only eggs (that too outside home)

So during our recent trip to Walaja, I decided to loot the Chettiar Sweet Stall :P Located in the bazar road, few mtrs away from the bus stand (near Pillayar temple) this is 186 year old establishment that sells droolworthy sweets & savouries. Every makkan peda is 100gms and costs about 25 bucks (I think). A twin version of gulab jamun, but stuffed with nuts & dry fruits these beauties will make u fall in love with them. But beware even for a person with sweetest tooth, one full makkan peda may be a bit cloying. On the other hand, it's sin to stop without finishing one :P




Packed about 2kgs of makkan peda and that's when the owner surprised me with a malai badhusha (I remember him saying something like that starting malai) and some onion pakoda. The taste was mindblowing. I almost hate badhushas and this one was absolutely melt in the mouth kind of ones with perfect sweetness. Got 1/4kg of that without second thoughts. I was clicking pics while my orders were getting packed, the samosas soaked in jeera (sugar syrup) looked damn inviting. He gave me a handful of onion pakodas and asked me to have them. While I was puzzled, he kept a khova samosa in a paper plate and handed over it to me <3<3 The regular samosa outer layer, stuffed with sweet paalkova :) Whattay wow it was. Since my dad was already looking at me like "Carukku badhila lorry eduthuttu vandhirukkanum" I refrained myself from packing that too :P





2 kgs of Makkan peda, 1/4 kg of malai badhusha, 1/4 kg of coconut mixture & regular mixture, I paid 610 bucks for all these. There are also places like Kannan Sweets, Chairman Sweets which sells makkan peda, I personally prefer them. Makkan Peda served with a bit of love & care :)

Star Biriyani, Arcot

Star Biriyani, Arcot

A trip upto Walajapet, Dad and myself were discussing lunch options in and around. I was in mood for meat. Dad goes with established places with ambience and family dining etc etc. To my surprise he suggested Star biriyani at Arcot with a condition that we will get it parcelled and eat in the car itself. I was more than happy. After all biriyani enga sapitta enna :P



A 60+ year old establishment selling only mutton biriyani, this place is located in the annasalai. Near Ramakrishna School in Arcot. Their biriyani sells like hot cakes and by 2pm it gets over mostly. And on weekdays the threshold is 11-12pm. We got our parcels by 12 pm on a Thursday. Neatly packed in Mandharai leaf along with little raita and lemon pickle, each parcel (1/2 plate) was priced at 130 bucks. After 45 minutes we opened the parcel and boy o boy what a smell. The biriyani was more than warm. Short grained fragrant rice, less oily and nil irritants, the biryiani was spicy. It had about 4-5 chunks of juicy perfectly cooked mutton pieces. Packing in mandharai leaf definitely has an impact on the taste. Portion was pretty huge for me. It would be more than enough for a voracious eater. I was bloody hungry and managed to finish 70% of it without raita or any other accompaniment :) A must try if you are travelling via Arcot.

They don't have branches anywhere else.

Cereal Killer Bistro

Cereal Killer Bistro

I am not a "cereal for breakfast" person. I am somehow not convinced with the quick, healthy (they do have truck loads of sugar) selling point of such cereals. In fact the last time I had a bowl of cereal (kellog's chocos :P) was some 12 years ago. The true blue South Indian in me simply refuses to fall for such fads.

Now someone can raise the question, why now? Well I was in the vicinity of Cereal Killer Bistro (Anna Nagar East, next lane to the metro station after the rountana, behind the scoop bar). I wanted to eat something off the track as I have reduced eating out a lot and also a week of being a true blue South Indian becomes monotonous :P I just noticed this place while I was sitting in my car waiting for my kid. Thought of checking them out as I didn't have breakfast that day. A compact place with pleasant outdoor seating and an indoor seating with a view full of plants and trees. They do have a wide spread menu ranging from starters to sandwiches to pastas. But I wanted to do justice to the place. Kill some cereals. I quickly settled for a cereal bowl called "Dexter's Date with the Muesli" (Rs.210). A bowl loaded with mixed fruit & nut muesli, dates, oats bites, black currants, almonds, whipped cream, pomegranate, a dash of caramel sauce along with a bottle of chilled almond milk. It was little bit sugary. May be because of the whipped cream. I liked the crunch from the almonds & the cereal. It would've been better if the pomegranate pearls were fresh and not frozen. It would've been much better if there weren't any pomegranate at all. It didn't fit in with the rest of the ingredients :( But that's my opinion anyway. The almond milk was mildly sweetened and wasn't too runny. The cappucino (Rs.130) I had after the cereal was a bit weak for my standards.





Overall, if you are a cereal lover and used to have it frequently, you may like this place. To me, I tried a new place that serves cereal bowls. Will I go back ? Mmmm may be not. As I am not a cereal person :)

Mataam-Al-Arabi, Hyderabad

Mataam-Al-Arabi, Hyderabad

Next to Baghara Khana & Dalcha, our area of interest was to try the Kabsa/Mandi. The major setback on the Mission Mandi was the portion/quantity. We for sure know that we can't even finish 1/4th of the plate. And we wanted to try both Mandi as well as Kabsa. Out of the few places that made to ur list for mandi, Mataam-Al-Arabi in Chandrayanagutta was our choice. They are the first to bring Mandi/Kabsa to Hyderabad we were told. Again a loooong travel on the last day of our trip, we reached here to have lunch. We were sent to the family dining area at the basement. Apart from the low cushion set up, they also have regular seating which we didn't know earlier.

We ordered for Chicken Kabsa & Mutton Mandi. The staff almost refused to serve us both the dish stating that it would be way too much for us. We told him that we would like to try both and we are all the way from Chennai. He accepted our request half heartedly and served us Chicken Mandi & Mutton Kabsa (he reversed our order and later told us that he knew what he was doing as that was only available.) I liked the Mandi more than the kabsa. Fragrant rice with chicken, caramelised onions and dry fruits. Those who love their rice spicier may not like this. The chicken could've been little more tender/juicier. Same with the kabsa too. Mutton was better in this. And it was a tad bit better than the mandi on the flavour note as it had whole peppercorns too. The accompanying raw tomato chutney helped a lot in taking few more mouthfuls of rice :P






The halwa was a bad news. Too much of ghee and it had the raw rice flour taste. We didn't go beyond a spoonful. Paid close to 700 bucks for all these along with water & soft drinks. Wrapped our 3 day trip with this place :)

BadeMiyan Kebabs, Hussain Sagar Lake

BadeMiyan Kebabs, Hussain Sagar Lake

The sheer determination to devour some sheek kebab and pathar ka gosht made us travel all the way to Hussain Sagar lake from Q-City. And we weren't disappointed. BadeMiyan Kebabs (Google Maps would lead you to this place which was recommended more than the ones with the same name in Tolichowki or Lakdikapul) is located on the opposite side of the lake, near the Ramdas Statue. A open place with a huge stone slab to make the pathar ka gosht. Settled for a plate of sheek kebab, pathar ka gosht & malai tikka. Wow is the word. Meat quantity was amazing and the marination was perfect in all the kebabs. Loved the slightly charred, crispy outer of the pathar ka gosht. Sheek kebabs were mind blowing and we devoured it in no time along with the rumali roti. The fish tikka we ordered later was also fresh with dominating crushed mustard taste. The runny yet spicy mint chutney was just the right accompaniment for the meat. Paid 900 odd bucks for all these along with a bottle of water.












Traditional Sweets & Snacks @ Hyderabad

Traditional Sweets & Snacks @ Hyderabad

Pramada's, Opposite to Indira Park Main gate:

We had plans to pack some traditional sweets & snacks from Hyderabad for friends & family here. I wanted to get my hands on some podi, pickles & sweets. Pramada's was strongly recommended for their tasty, fresh & homely savouries & condiments. Packed podi, chicken & mutton pickles along with some savouries. Podi was kickass. As spicy as it can get and was fresh. Tasted the chicken pickle alone. While the flavour and heat was good, somehow I felt the chicken to be too hard that, initially I thought it was bone :P Loved the kara sakinalu aka ellu murukku. It was damn spicy and was fresh and crispy even after couple of weeks. The poha mixture with fried garlic was a huge hit at home. Paid cclose to 4K for the hell lot of stuffs we packed :)



Emerald. Near Indira Park :

While Pulla Reddy & sons were recommended for Puthrekalu, our friend suggested that we try emerald. Packed 2kgs of puthrekalu (they also have dry fruit & jaggery variants) and assorted laddus. The laddu variety here is amazing. Coconut, til & gondh were my favourite from the box :) Not sure how much we paid here :/



Iqbal Cafe, Hyderabad

Iqbal Cafe, Hyderabad

From the moment we landed, we were constantly searching for places that serves Bagara Khana & Dalcha. Native to Hyderabadi Muslim households, I was more interested in trying this one than the biriyani. Couple of places we called were not serving it for the time being or they were running out of it. On day 2, when we decided to have lunch, we quickly called up Iqbal Cafe in Dabeerpura Road, Purani Haveli to check whether they were serving Bagara Khana. When we heard a yes, we were at the doors in no time :)

A small place that's been functioning for more than 50 years. It could hardly accommodate 20-25 ppl at a time. Much congested, old wooden bench & tables kind of set up. But hey we weren't there for ambience right. We squeezed ourselves between the bench & table and quickly placed our orders for a portion of Bagara Khana - Dalcha, Tala Hua Gosht, Beef biriyani, mutton kebab. When asked about Lukmi, we were disappointed when he said chicken/mutton lukmi weren't available. I bet he still would be puzzled at out joy & loud cheer when we were told that there was beef lukmi instead :P 

Bagara Khana is close to our own nei choru (ghee rice). Aromatic rice with minimum tempering & green chillies served with a thin/runny yet flavourful dalcha. More than the dalcha I fell in love with the Aloo-methi-minced mutton curry served along. Oh my god. It was so good and packed with a power house of flavours :) Beef biriyani was yummilicious to the core :) Soft & succulent beef in a spicy masala & rice mix was super delicious. Beef lukmi (a close associate to samosa) was flaky and divine with perfect balance of spices. 








We finished off with a Irani Chai. We were told that the milk would be boiled for hours to get the thickness & depth of the chai. Loved every sip of it. Paid close to 600 bucks for all of these along with few soft drinks.




If I'm asked to rank the places we visited in Hyderabad, without doubt this would top my list. Lovely people serving amazing food