There would be instances when you ate something (a different cuisine for that matter) for the very first time. Something authentic with a secret sauce that the chef refused to even after propped a double barrelled gun to his head, something that had evolved as organically as the dialect used to describe its mysterious ingredients, something you’ve described to a million people but haven’t tasted again. This concept, a brain-child of Richa and Sandy Singh was initialised in the month of October 2015. They are planning to have a pop-up every month in coming time with offering different cuisines by renown chefs across the town. Next one would be at 10th april (save the date, so that after reading through this blog, you wouldn’t miss the next one). The Secret Chulha Pop Up brings you a canvas to unlock the secrets of sacred dishes that have been out of your reach. So far so good!
Hence, here I was at Prem’s with startling hope of having new experience by indulging into a secret affair (not the usual ones, which boys or girls accused for😛), of a conceptualised 4th Chulha Pop-Up where renowned Home chef Sharadchandra Bagde got featured with his Sri-Lankan delicacies for the very first time. He even took a few cooking lessons from people who knew about the cuisine, researched on the web a little and began the trial and error sessions with his wife. He cooks Awadhi, Maharashtrian, Parsi, Gujrati, Burmese, Mangalorean, Malaysian and Nevari cuisine and announced to soon start serving amazing Anglo Indian food. He is almost set to launch his next line of Anglo-Indian delicacies very soon (In-fact, if you are interested and in hurry reach out to him by in-boxing him on messenger even👍🏻).
He mentioned to us that the Sri-Lankan cuisine deals with a lot of spices and maintaining a fair thread between way too spicy than to eatable spicy down for Punekars was most important. The traditional people from the city are not so open to trying new things compared to those that have moved here from different metros. This was his biggest constraint. But Sharad’s wife Kruti and his mother helped him through and actually made the process a bit easy by working together and preparing all the food. Both of ’em are his biggest support and critics as well as. They actually sit and talk about the delicacies and about the preparations for which all of ’em work together and lend a hand if required. He told me that he still remembers the first time he was in the kitchen. He was helping his grandmother cook and did everything from grinding the masalas to secretly memorising her recipes. Preparing food and Cooking makes him happy and he will be mostly happy doing the same with rest of the life. Though, he loves to challenge himself and prepare some out-of-the-box recipes, his favourite are always prawns and anything cooked under Kashmiri cuisine.
After occupying a good amount of time (lets say a couple of decades) into family Business of Real Estate Construction and Water Storage designing, Mr. Bagde finally thought to chase his another passion known to us as cooking. The journey started with restoring the old faith and confidence in between, a gourmet venture named Marinare kicked off along with his friend Ashlesha Phatak, about a year and a half ago. Making successful Experiments and trails with all kinds of food, be it South-Indian cuisine or Kashmiri cuisine, every dish prepared by the home-chef is unquestionably of very good taste and amazing display of hard-work. He has a loyal set of customers that keep increasing every day and so does the list of cuisines that he cooks. Few of the clients he mentioned that are eager to travel from long distances from the different parts of the town (I mean seriously as long as a round-about of your 9.30-10.30am of Hinzewadi traffic😇).
With his latest Sri Lankan cuisine pop-up, he is not only pushing his own boundaries but even Punekars’ pallete power. It was his friends’ constant feeds (just returned from Sri-Lanka, I assume his name would be Rama, the Lucky guy👌🏻😎) which forced Mr. Sharad to challenge himself and sign on to Sri-Lankan Cuisine. His friend kept raving about it and this only increased his curiosity.
His partner-in-crime Ashlesha too bakes to order. She is specialised in making international desserts and créme-dè-affair. But to our surprise, she claims not to have a sweet tooth and almost never eats what she bakes unless if its required to taste and check the content’s ratio. Their dream is to provide people with a fine-dine experience being at their home only and very soon we can expect them to be loaded on a food truck offering different items which we drool for. Sounds like a deal, right!
Coming onto the event held at Prem’s ;
Two rounds of Community dining had been arranged, the first one being at 7.30pm later followed by 9.30pm. Obviously, the fast-trackers we (me and my blogger friend whose blog goes by the name of chugnchow) are, that we jumped for the first slot to know what’s there in store for us! All the tables were occupied by the guests (mandatory reservations were had been made) and later served with the choice of menu selected by all of ’em.
The menu consisted of ;
* Elu Maas (mutton chops in Sri Lankan spices) – mutton chunks tasted amazingly.
* Seer Sothi (fish in yellow curry) – tasted not so good as of less spices.
* Kukulu Musamma (chicken slow cooked in coastal curry) – the pieces were nicely cooked but gravy wasn’t satisfying one.
* Jafna Prawns Rice (served with secret Colombo Curry with boiled eggs) – It was better and a lot of prawns chunks were easily found in my share of the portion (lucky me, here)
* Pol Sambol (side serving) – tasted nice.
* Kaju Mulava (cashews seared in spicy curry leaves) – whoa! good one is was.
* Wattakka curry (pumpkin curry cooked in roasted curry powder and coconut) – for the veg ones, this was a delighted affair.
* Beetroot Curry – again a fair deal for the vegetarians.
* The Coffee Biscuit Pudding – it was extraordinarily soothing and went perfect with the mood after so full with the delicacies mentioned above
Attraction of the Evening ; Pablo (golden retriever) the happy go lucky brat being pampered by the owner himself Mr. Sandy Singh. It was amazing to catch his energy with few children who were having some good time teasing or playing with him.
Disclaimer ; Few of the description has been taken from the facebook page of The Secret Chulha and rest of the excerpts are from the conversation took placed with Mr. Bagde. All the photos are solely clicked by me with an iPhone 6+.