Two little words give me great joy. And those are ghee and roast, put together. My favourite dish at Saravana Bhavan – those carefree days when one could sit there and have a happy meal – was a ghee roast dosa. It was crispy, and had a delicious fragrance of ghee. And it was the thought of this aroma that drew my eyes to a dish called that had the words ghee roast chicken on the menu of Fresh to Home (Freshtohome.com), a food delivery platform.
We started ordering uncooked fish and shrimps from Fresh to Home a couple of years ago. Then, some weeks ago, I saw that they had added marinated, ready-to-cook items on their menu. And there was a dish there called Tangy Chicken Ghee Roast! I ordered it, and despite being not a great fan of chicken, I loved it.
It came wrapped in the flavours of ghee and all that we had to do was to put it in a kadhai, add a tiny bit of oil and let it simmer for 10 minutes or so in 100 ml of water. We stirred it now and then, sprinkling some water when needed. And out came a delicious dish — tangy and fiery red (thanks to the Byadgi chillies that it had been marinated with). The dish, says the app, is popular in the Mangalore-Kundapur region of Karnataka. And it’s certainly popular in our house.
We tried out some of the other marinated dishes, and came to the conclusion that a prawn dish that we ordered — Gambas Con Tomates Secos Y Aceituna – deserved the crown, though the runners-up were not bad either. This was a dish of fresh shrimps in a garlicky marinade, cooked in olive oil, with sundried tomatoes, garlic, parsley, chilli flakes, sliced pitted olives and salt. Following the instructions given on the site, we let this cook in 50 ml of water, until the shrimp was done. The dish was delightful, the sweetness of the shrimp complementing the tanginess of the sundried tomatoes.
Another dish that worked well was Mutton Mince Dry Fry. It had a tomato base and a mildly sweet taste (perhaps from the peas) that I quite enjoyed. I had the keema with home-cooked rotis, freshly sliced onions and tomatoes on the side.
We also asked for Amritsari ajwaini machi pakora – a 300-g pack of sliced boneless basa, in a batter of mildly spiced besan flour and ajwain (carom seeds). This was meant to have been deep fried, but we shallow fried it. I am not a great fan of basa, though Fresh to Home usually stocks the Indian river basa (and not the Mekong one). This one didn’t appeal to me much. The besan coating was a bit too thick, and I think it also lost some of its taste because we didn’t fry it the way it should be done.
The rates are reasonable, but a bit erratic. I paid ₹279 for the 500-g pack of the Tangy Chicken Ghee Roast, though the site says it costs ₹245. Likewise, the 400-g mutton keema pack is priced at ₹700, but my bill shows that I paid ₹444.
Also on the menu are Coconut Chicken Curry, Butter Chicken, Chicken Cafreal, Lahsuni Malai Prawns, Honey Mustard Chicken Wings, Tandoori Chicken Legs, and something called Granny’s Masala Fried Chicken.
The writer is a seasoned food critic