THE GANGA CAFÉ: Pure Desi Delight

1

Read a lot of reviews about The Ganga Café on social media, got recommendations from friends as well, but somehow never had a chance to visit the restaurant. Being a meat lover, pure veg was never an option exciting enough to make a trip all the way from Tun Razak to Jalan Riong (On Lorong Kurau). But finally today, being 1st of Jan & a Sunday, S suggested we go there for lunch & I agreed. I was proven wrong & how! 😀

2

We were greeted by one of the owners of the café, Mr. Prabodh Sheth who explained to us about the menu (Sundays are meant for only buffets) & went out of his way to make our experience memorable. His affable nature is what created my very first positive impression.

If you take pleasure in simple things in life & enjoy freshly cooked healthy traditional Indian fare, then Ganga Café is the place for you. I haven’t come across a place as such in KL. The café was pretty small but bustling with people which was a testimony to its popularity. I saw many Chinese take a fancy to veg Indian food which was very surprising for me.

Their lunch buffet spread had a pumpkin soup, masala chai, a salad, starters, main course & a dessert. All this for just RM21!! & unlimited helpings 😀 Can you beat that?!

Every single dish was freshly prepared using quality organic ingredients & no MSGs. My personal favourites were the dhokla, aloo tikki & onion pakodas from the starters. The pakodas were crunchy outside & juicy inside, dhoklas were superbly moist. I must give a special mention to the masala chai (tea) which complemented the snacks perfectly.

3

The starters

4

Among the mains, I simply loved the kadhi. In fact it was the best kadhi I’ve ever had. Rich, creamy with a lovely aroma of ginger & asafoetida, it was so comforting. I could have bowls after bowls of it with some rice. Throughout the meal I felt like I was at one of my close friend’s (who is a Gujarati) & eating food prepared by her mum.  Guess I needn’t say more.

6-2

Main course

6-1

7

I only wished there were more options for dessert 😀 After so much for yummy starters & main course I really wanted to have some sweets, & just a halwa (which was delightful by the way) didn’t satisfy me enough.

9-2

But the highlight of my lunch was meeting the two owners of the café Meeta & Prabodh. The husband & wife duo also own the neighbouring Mediterranean veg restaurant, Barat.  You seldom meet people who are so passionate about their work & make you feel at home. A soul cleansing experience, The Ganga Café took me back home in India & renewed my love for fresh wholesome healthy food.

9-1

Rustic Chilli Garlic Naan

20150716_201353

Perks of being a teacher. Yes, I used to teach at a leading hotel management institute in Calcutta. Those were some memorable days! Classes, assignments, exams, paper corrections, celebrating festivals, cultural activities..and so on. But among all these things, I also got to learn some really amazing recipes from different corners of India. One of my students’ family owned a chain of dhabas in the city. The recipe that I am about to share today is a very popular one from his dhaba.  One can never have enough of it. I have had it many times and drooled every single time! Finally after some coaxing, he shared the recipe with me 🙂 Yay!!

I served these crispy hot naans with kadhai chicken (will share the recipe soon) at dinner one evening and the husband was mighty pleased. He polished off his plate in no time. A sight which I love to watch over and over again 🙂

So here’s the recipe (for 5 medium sized naans):

  • 2 cups all purpose flour/ maida
  • 1/2 cup curd
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped garlic & green chillis
ingredients for the naan
ingredients for the naan

First sieve the flour in a big bowl. Next, sieve the baking powder & baking soda. Add some salt & mix well.

Now add the curd & mix it with your hands. Keep adding water slowly & knead the dough. It is going to be sticky but don’t worry. The dough is supposed to be loose & sticky. Now add in the lemon juice. Mix again. This is how it will look like:

the dough mix
the dough mix

Put a wet cloth over the bowl & then cover it with a lid. Let it rest for about 4-5 hours in a warm & dark place. You can slightly preheat your oven & then keep the dough for resting.

the dough resting
the dough resting

Now since the final dough is stretchy, add some loose maida & make 5 balls. Put them on any flat surface & press & stretch each dough ball with both hands. You can give them any shape, I made them oval. The dough shouldn’t be very thick but about 1 cm. Now put chopped garlic & chillis all over the naan & press with a rolling pin so that they stick well.

20150716_193703

The naans in a dhaba are made in open tandoors, but you can recreate them at home using oven or a gas stove.

Now heat a tawa. Place a naan on it. When you see small bubbles forming on top of the naan, turn it over.

20150716_195859

Using tongs, heat the naan for 5-6 seconds over direct flame

20150716_195927

Now put the naan back on the tawa for some more time. Once slightly brown, remove it from the flame. Don’t overheat , else it might get hard & chewy.

Brush some butter and serve hot.

20150716_20135320150716_201349Soft yet flaky naans 🙂

This is the Kadhai chicken I served with the naans:

20150716_201312