Mumbai Food: Bandra takeaway offers home-cooked fare from Assam and Kerala
A new takeaway and delivery kitchen based out of Bandra presents wholesome home-cooked fare from two diverse regions in India
Over the last few months, we have seen a sudden increase in the number of home chefs offering fare from the Northeast, a region whose cuisines are yet to become mainstream. The flavours, after all, are not as universally accepted as those of a chicken tikka masala or dal tadka. That said, the city's diners are gradually warming up to unfamiliar regional cuisines, which makes us come to Kasos Home Kitchen. The newest takeaway and delivery kitchen in Bandra, it is the creation of home cook Kasturi Barua. A native of Assam, she has been living in Mumbai for six years. The menu, although limited, features not just Assamese favourites, but also a few popular dishes from Kerala, where her husband's family hails from.
Chicken in Black Sesame, Pork with Bamboo Shoot , Aloo Pitika, Boror Tenga, Mutton Stew, Steamed Rice. Pics/Nimesh Dave
Northeast meets south
"I learned to cook five years ago, and I've enjoyed it since. In fact, my husband and I connected over a common love of food," says Barua. Sharing why she started her own home kitchen, she says, "We have a lot of friends here in the city, and I would end up cooking for everyone whenever we'd meet for birthdays. My food got a lot of good reviews. So, I thought, why not start something of my own?" The recipes come from family members, and Barua even sources some of the ingredients that go into the dishes from Assam. "I get a lot of my supplies from Khar Danda and Bandra markets. For meats, I rely on Joseph Cold Storage in Bandra, and bamboo shoot is brought in from Assam by someone travelling."
A meaty menu
We order a few dishes a day in advance (Barua requires a day's notice, or needs to be told early in the morning on the day if you want the food to arrive in time for lunch). The food gets to our office on time, with no leakage. Famished, we tuck right in. The Aloo Pitika (Rs 100), which is an Assamese-style potato mash, makes for the perfect accompaniment to the dishes that follow. The dish, which is flavoured with mustard oil, is flecked with chopped onion, giving the creamy mash a nice crunch.
If a light dish is what you're craving, opt for the vegetarian Boror Tenga (Rs 250), where fried lentil fritters swim in a tangy, comforting broth.
The Pork with Bamboo Shoot (Rs 400) — Barua's signature dish — might not find many takers, owing to the offensive odour it unleashes as soon as the container holding it is pried open. Barua will warn you about this prior to ordering, telling you that the bamboo shoot is not your best friend in an AC office, where the smell floats around for what feels like an eternity.
However, once you get past this, the dish is delightful in its simplicity. The pork is tender, and the warmth of ginger and the gentle heat from the chilli flakes pack the dish with flavour. The Chicken in Black Sesame (Rs 300), too, is a hit, with its rich sesame paste-based gravy. The Mutton Stew (Rs 350) gets a stamp of approval from a Malayali colleague, who pays it the highest compliment: "It tastes just like the stew my mother makes." For the Kerala part of her menu, Barua sourced recipes from her mother-in-law, which explains the authenticity.
While all the gravies we try are high on flavour, our only complaint is that many — the Chicken in Black Sesame and the Mutton Stew, in particular — are a touch too oily. Bring the grease down a notch, and when paired with the Steamed Rice (Rs 100) or Kerala-style Chicken Biryani (Rs 400), you have a winner in Kasos.
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