It is Navratri time and people all over are busy preparing for the festivals, gearing up for the holidays and planning their weekly menu.
While the South Indians abstain from eating onion-garlic during these 9 days and have only tiffin items for dinner, the North Indians fast in a different way- they abstain from eating rice, wheat [any by product of wheat], grains and pulses as well, apart from the no onion no garlic diet. This makes it quite difficult as there are very few items available for one to cook with or eat during this fasting season.
Mast Kalander, one of the leading North Indian veg meal restaurant have taken this into consideration and put together a meal that address the various issues and concerns. For the Navratri season, they have created a Vrat thali which consists of Puris, pakoda, side dishes and sweets made with ingredients people are allowed to eat.
The puri is made with Kuttu [ water chestnut flower], kela chaat [ banana chat] similarly the dessert is coconut laddoo, there is also a paneer sabzi where the paneer is not cooked, but just scrambled by hand in a very light gravy and chole gravy as well. All of these dishes are made with Sendha namak [ rock salt as people dont eat table salt during this vrat phase]. There was also another dessert we tried, which was Makhana kheer [ lotus seed kheer]. The highlight of this meal is that the entire thali is priced at Rs229 [dine in] and Rs149 [take away mini vrat thali]. The puri was dark in colour and tad crispier than our regular puri [ but apart from this there was no major taste difference]. I quite liked the paneer sabzi [ they had used ajwain even though most people who fast dont eat ajwain, but for need of flavour this spice had been used]
If you are not the kind to experiment, you can always pick up the Utsav maha thali combo, they have one very similar to the vrat thali, but the puri is made with carrot/beetroot puree to give it a rich colour, there was a daal with cereals & lauki, kofta gravy a gulab jamun and a small serving of pulao as well. If your sweet buds are still not satiated, you should try their malpua- it is sinful and heavy duty [with sweet rabdi poured generously on top]. With all this food and sweets, I needed a glass of Chaas to wash it all down 🙂
The highlight of the meet at Mast Kalandar was we got to meet their CEO Mr Gaurav Jain and get a glimpse into his journey, and his experience with Mast Kalandar. They are also the only restaurant to have 65 outlets across the country….
To know more , visit http://www.mastkalandar.com/
You can also read about Gaurav & pallavi’s journey here
Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit 🙂