Rainy days and hearty dinners. Nothing warms the soul more than a comforting stew. Last weekend I headed over to Hyatt Pune for my share of monsoon fix. A rooftop table, a slight drizzle, and a table for two- Pune monsoons are here, and I am making the most of it!
For those of you who do not know the difference between a stew and a soup- stews are thicker, concentrated and more flavorful than soups. Soups are served as a first course whereas stews could be a part of your main course. There’s a beautiful quote I read somewhere, and must share it with all of you- A stew is like a poem…a soup is like a short story.
Stews, unlike soups, take a long time to cook. The meat is simmered for a long time, leaving the spices and herbs to add their flavor gently and wholly. Every pot of stew is customizable- ingredients can be substituted to provide different flavors, a new personality.
Stews are associated with a feeling of warmth and tenderness …a symphony of warm positive feelings. There is something very romantic about them. A piping hot stew is comforting in a very primal manner, you know what I mean?
When they say “Stews of the World”, they mean it. The extensive menu comprises of a mixture of European stews like the Irish Stew, Clam Chowder, Hungarian Goulash, Moroccan Tagine, the popular Ratatouille along with some Asian favorites like Chicken Stew, Hakka Style Potato and some desi options like the famous Kerala Chicken Stew.
Here is what I tried-
Lamb shanks stew flavoured with Indian spices. Served with saffron pilaff
Perfect start to a cold rainy evening. Rich flavours that are light on the stomach (though I did feel it could have been a little less salty) If you do not want to experiment with your food and are looking for some fresh North Indian flavours, try this out!
Pacchakai Stew with Appum
Kerala’s famous vegetable stew finished with fresh coconut milk
My personal favourite. I could have eaten 20 Appams in one sitting, but I had to stop myself at 2. Soft, spongy vellappams and the exotic, rich flavour of the coconut milk based stew. Gorgeous. DO NOT MISS OUT ON THIS IF YOU ARE A FAN OF SOUTH INDIAN FOOD.
Moroccan Chicken Tagine
Moroccan chicken stew flavoured with saffron, cumin, cinnamon, prunes and apricots
Smooth and velvety with chunky pieces of chicken- try this if you’re willing to move out of your comfort zone, but just a little bit.
Coq Au Vin
French speciality, chicken and root vegetables braised in full bodied red wine.
If you’re feeling adventurous, don’t miss out on this one. After the Ishtu (Kerala Stew) this one was my favourite. The flavour of the red wine is so strong; this stew can probably get you drunk. Not that we’re complaining.
Traditional vegetable stew from Nice region of France
Basil, thyme, fennel, peppers, tomato- a stew packed with flavours, and how! A traditional dish, don’t miss out on this one simply because no other place in Pune will serve you such a delicious preparation of such a simple stew.
Speciality from Burgundy, tenderloin braised in red wine with mushroom, pearl onion and bouquet garni.
If you like beef, try this for the different flavour. My third favourite of the evening. The beef pieces were a little hard and chewy though. But the flavours more than made up for it.
The stews are served with bread/rice. Each stew has a different story to tell. Indulge without fear, it’s a culinary adventure worth taking.
Pamper yourself a little bit this monsoon season. You know you deserve it!