Saturday, June 7, 2008
So my girlfriend and I finally tied the knot with a small ceremony in Pune last week and flew straight to Jaipur for our honeymoon. My wife wanted to live in a small place with lots of character so anything with the name Taj, Oberoi or Sheraton was out. We found this small hotel, Hotel Palms that must’ve been someone’s residence at one point. It was one of those hotels where the owners lost interest in running it just as soon as they acquired it, giving it the right amount of character and ample scope for comic relief that we were looking for. It came with notable amenities such as mosquitoes, an internet café that was open only between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., a utilities shop that never opened the entire time that I was there and more staff than there were rooms none of whom were of any real help. On my first morning there, I woke up and ordered some tea. The tea came in a stained thermos with a jar of sugar cubes. The jar of sugar cubes had ants crawling all over the sugar. When I pointed this out to the barefoot waiter, he simply demonstrated the best way to get rid of the ants. Picking up the sugar cube, blowing on it and then directly tossing the cube in the tea. At this point I was looking more like the NRI arse hole who couldn’t deal with some ants than someone who wanted good service. My favourite part of the hotel, not surprisingly, was the restaurant. The Olives restaurant as it was called boasted an Indian, Mexican, Thai, Chinese, Italian and Continental menu. Pretty impressive I thought and then I was disillusioned by the pizza I ordered. It was made from readymade pizza base, Kissan sauce and Amul cheese product. There also was some dried fruit and nuts in the toppings. I have always been enamoured by the ability of Indians to take any dish and Indianize it instantly. My wife decided to go for the walnut and banana pancakes. I knew in the back of my mind that it was a bad idea, but I somehow wanted to see what came out of the kitchen. As I saw the waiter walking with our order towards us, I noticed that there wasn’t anything even slightly resembling a pancake on his tray. As he finally placed the ‘pancake’ on our table my American wife gave me a look that would make most Indians respond with the “hey, this is India” look. The pancake was a crepe made out of chapatti flour drowned in honey. The ‘pancake’ in spite of not being one, was extremely delicious and probably one of the healthiest versions of a crepe she had ever eaten. So in honour of my Rajasthani friends, here’s a recipe for the pancake/crepe that left my wife smiling for more reasons than one.
Some other menu translations at Hotel Palms
Hash browns or Home Fries = Potato subji.
Pizza = Bread base, topped with lots of stuff including nuts and dried fruits, Kissan ketchup and Amul Cheese.
Thai Spring Roll = Maggi Noodles in a spring roll
Mexican rice and beans = Rajma and Basmati rice
1 cup Chapati flour (Durum Wheat Flour)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter (optional)
2 cups cut up Fruit
In a big bowl add the water, milk, salt and flour and whisk till it is completely mixed
Then add the eggs and whisk till it becomes a homogenous mixture.
Melt butter and mix it to the batter
On a non-stick skillet pout half cup of the batter
Turn the skillet to make spread it around and make a thin crepe
Place 2-3 tsp cut up fruit at the centre of the crepe and then fold the crepe over
Drizzle honey or powdered sugar over the crepe
Garnish with some more fruit and serve