Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Aromas Of China



It was the first day of college , and I had a mix of emotions – excitement of a new place and new course, as well as a  little nervousness about the kind of people I would meet there. It was a small town and I wondered if I would really fit in there . On my side sat a brown eyed girl, who didnt really look interested in making small talk. On the other side sat a more approachable girl,and the first thing was I noticed was all these colourful butterfly clips(!!) in her hair.As we sat through our first day together , little did we 3 know it was the start of a wonderful friendship. Brown eyed girl – Soph , though on the quieter side , was the practical and sensible one, she was the one I could turn to for honest advise and be my guide through last minute studies. And the colourful clip girl , Indu(@indugetscooking) was the one I could get crazy with. She made me laugh and in bouts of constant homesickness , kept me sane.
4 years passed by in a flash, gossiping , laughing ,crying( especially when it was exam time) and even fighting together .I can say that it was the probably one of the best times of my life.
Now I’m so proud to see her wonderful blog . I enjoy each and every post of it – maybe because I can relate to the little stories behind most of them. Be it waiting for her parents to get some yummy chicken noodles during our study leave, our desp chart (which I must mention Indu hardly featured in :P), our birthday treats in Nelco, the sharja shake in the most unhygienic fruits shop ever, eating her tiffin beneath the bench during class,we were all in it together. Since we’ve been through so much together, it only makes sense that she does guest posts for me as well ( I mean I shouldn’t be the only one having so many calories ;) ).
So I’m passing over the rest of the post to Indu , and her experience at Aromas of China, a place she keeps convincing me I have to visit- and now going through the below is really tempting me to book a table right away. As she loves to cook its only appropriate that she ends the post with one of her delicious recipes as well.

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Carol is one of my best friends, has known my heart and soul (she says I am a beautiful person inside out) and has kept with me through every thick and every single thin. We studied together in college, made every day at hostel a party, and walked the long roads of Chengannur talking about every single thing under the sun. We shared our love for food and fantasized about the beef at Nelko, the pastries at Anne's and the burgers at Sun & Star. We divided chocolate into tiny bits and fought for the bigger share. Even now when we get together, I feel like an 18 year old with not a single thought about tomorrow. Ah, what would life be without friends and life has been generous in giving me a friend like her.

Carol and her husband simply love to eat good food and visit some restaurant every weekend. She records their experience (the food, service, ambiance, decor, the entire works) at each place on her lovely blog. I love going through her reviews since they are so detailed and leave me in no doubt as to whether or not I would enjoy eating somewhere. I am delighted that she allowed me to guest post on her blog. Thankyou Carol!

My parents, as opposed to qya and me, do not approve of eating out regularly. I usually have to beg and plead with them to go out, and qya's excited musings about various menu options at restaurants always help. It was no different when I proposed that we celebrate their wedding anniversary at the Aromas Of China. They said no, I said don't be boring, qya was happy they offered marshmallows. Finally the marshmallows won out, and we were on our way!





The restaurant has elegant interiors. The tables and chairs are in rich dark wood, beautiful paintings depicting scenes from a Chinese banquet adorn an entire wall, and large Buddha statues grace the dining rooms. The warm ambiance makes it a great place for celebratory meals, I thought rather smugly. There are also glass enclosed private dining rooms, but they looked slightly intimidating and are probably reserved for the Chinese mafia heads.





We decided to try the buffet. We started off with chicken soup which was a bit too thick and none of us felt inclined to finish our bowls. Next, came chicken momos, crispy fish with chilly soya and spicy fried chicken winglets. True to its name, the fish was quite crispy and with subtle chili, garlic and soya flavours, it was really good. I liked the chicken as well though it was not particularly better than the chicken lollipops I have eaten at other chinese restaurants. Momos, no thanks to seconds.

Chicken Soup
Chicken Momo
Crispy Fish with Chilly Soya

Salad

Post a chicken and broccoli salad tossed up at the live salad counter, we moved on to the main course. For the first time ever, I preferred the simple fried rice to the slightly (ever so slightly) oily Chicken Hakka noodles. The wok tossed prawn dish was good and the lamb with dry pepper and cashew even better. The chicken satay was the best I have ever had and it more than made up for the bad Shredded Chicken in Spicy Mustard. Vegetarians can choose from a wide array of dishes serving corn, roasted chinese greens, okra, potatoes, tofu  etc. I thought the reddish szechuan noodles looked particularly  good but the knowledge that it lacked tiny morsels of tender chicken stopped me from sampling it.


Chicken Satay




Finally, we came to the most awaited part of the meal - the desserts. Even though I was almost bursting to the seams, I was able to fully appreciate the sweet delicacies which are quite unlike the desserts normally served at buffet meals. My favourites were the fruit pavlova and the chocolate fondue, while qya seemed to like the chocolate cream catalan and my mom preferred the darshan. I did miss the chocolate fudge and chocolate pancakes I ate on my previous visits, but all in all I could find no fault with the desserts.



For the chocolate fondue


Fruit Pavlova


The service was good, the staff was friendly and they even answered ALL of qya's queries patiently.
The buffet is priced at Rs.325 on weekdays, Rs.349 on Fridays and Rs.399 on Saturdays and Sundays (prices are exclusive of taxes). At the price, I do wish the buffet included a welcome drink and that bottled water was on the house. But, I must say I loved the food experience I had here and would love to visit the place again.

Inspired by the Chinese food I had, I attempted a Chili Soya fish at home.



Here is the recipe:

You will need:

Marinade:
500 grams firm fleshed fish, cut into thin strips (without bones)
2 tablespoons chili soya sauce
2 green chilies
6 cloves garlic
1 cm piece ginger
2 tablespoons cornflour
1 1/2 teaspoon pepper powder
To fry, sesame oil

Sauce
5 spring onions (the white bulbs)
1/8 cup spring onion greens, chopped
3 green chilies, finely chopped
1 cm piece ginger, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chili soya sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup fish stock (see notes below)
2 tablespoons sesame oil

Method:

To prepare the marinade, grind together green chilies, ginger and garlic. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade along with the fish and let it rest in the fridge for atleast half an hour.

In a pan, heat the sesame oil. Add the fish strips to the oil, and fry. Turn over only when the side immersed in oil is almost done, else the cornflour coating may stick to the pan. Like wise, fry the other side of the fish strip also. Remove from oil and keep aside.

To make sauce, transfer oil from the pan to a heat resistant container and wipe it clean. Add some more oil to the pan. Toss in spring onion whites, ginger, garlic, green chilies and sugar and saute for a few minutes. When onions start to caramelize, pour in fish stock and soya sauce. Let it boil for a few minutes till the sauce becomes thick. Add the fried fish and spoon over the sauce so that it is well coated. Sprinkle over spring onions greens and heat for a few more minutes. Serve hot.



Notes:

I didn't add salt to the dish since chili soya sauce already has salt in it. Adjust according to your taste.

You can make fish stock by sauteing together fish bones, carrot, onion, celery and spring onions in a bit of butter, then tossing in a star anise, cinnamon and pepper corns and simmering in plenty of water for about 30-45 minutes. Squeeze in a bit of lemon juice and adjust seasoning. Strain before using.



Enjoy!

10 comments:

  1. Thanks for the nice words about me....And the last minute studies with sophi were so funny!!

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    1. :D .. more than last minute studies( how come i dnt recall much studying :P), what i remember most is the 'milo' incident of hers

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  2. Heading over from Indu's blog and awww, that is so sweet to read about your friendship. I love Indu's blog- her recipes along with the photographs. I love chilli chicken, and this version with fish sounds great!

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    1. Thanks Shumaila :) we did have a lot of fun together and i dint really have to think much about what to write .DO try out the fish recipe and let us know how it turned out.

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  3. Loved reading the post and admire your friendship...Many of the stuffs written there brings loads of memories down the lane...The recipe looks delicious and loved the clicks...

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  4. Great write up carol .loved the way u wrote abt ur friends ... Though its all very familiar to read it was more fun .. And needless to say food luks yummmm !!

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    1. thanks di ... :) try the fish recipe for melvi :D

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  5. HI, came from Indus space, recently started following her space, amnd I love it. Your space is great too, love teh friendship u guys have:)...I really know the exam pressures and the last minute study thing, I did Eng in computers too.... You guys rock:)

    Nice recipe and great pics. Visit my blog sometime when time permits:)

    Love,
    Shabs

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind words Shabs :)
      Just visited your blog and Im drooling here at work seeing the pictures..Im bookmarking a couple of recipes to try ;)

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