Food : Trivandrum Rating : 4/5 Stars

Leela’s Kitchen – First Try

A couple of months ago, I saw an ad in Facebook about Leela’s Kitchen a home-made food venture by Deepika NK… The ad said that she specialises in vegetarian Dhaba style North Indian cuisine and since me and my mother love North Indian food, I thought of giving Leela’s Kitchen a try and so contacted Deepika and was informed about this app called PinStove whom she works with to have the food delivered… But unfortunately an iOS version of the app wasn’t available at the time and since I don’t have an android phone, I had to wait for the iOS release of the app to come out, especially since her location is not nearby where I live… Finally after 2 whole months of waiting, the iOS version came out and so, I finally made my first order to Leela’s Kitchen today…

First of all I must say, I was surprised at the promptness of the delivery… Came 5 mins before time… The order was placed on the previous night as we planned for it… The order consisted of a Paneer Muttar Biriyani, Paneer Jalfrezi, Sizzled Kadai Paneer, a portion of Buttery Soft Rotis and what they call Absolute Yummy Ginger Raita…

Regarding the food, I have been reading a number of good reviews about the food by Leela’s Kitchen in the foodie groups in facebook like EAT at Trivandrum and I must say that those reviews are perfectly justified… The food tasted absolutely awesome that I felt like I was back in one of the punjabi places in Mumbai (from back when I was there) 🙂 The food packs quite a punch in terms of spice levels and tastes incredibly authentic…

First, about the Paneer Mattar Biryani: Recently I participated in a discussion in the EAT community about the best options for a Veg Biriyani in Trivandrum and I gave my opinion based on my previous experience… However, Leela’s Kitchen has me corrected because this biryani is by far the best vegetarian biriyani I have ever had… Absolutely perfect flavours with the right paneer to rice balance that you can’t find in anywhere else… It was served with some freshly cut carrots and tomato, a little bit of vegetable raita and some green chillies along with a couple of pappadoms and a small cup of vegetable pickle (might be combined quantity for both the biriyani and the soft rotis)… What made me quite happy about the biriyani is the fact that it didn’t contain any dalda/vanaspati which not only makes it healthier, but also is quite rare to find a biryani to buy which doesn’t have it… Instead, this one has a good smell of ghee 🙂

The Buttery Soft Rotis looks and felt exactly like chappatis but incredibly soft with a thin coat of butter inside the fold… 🙂

Next is about the two curries Paneer Jalfrezi and Kadai Paneer: Both curries came as 500ml portions with quite a generous quantity of paneer in it along with vegetables – tomato, onions, bell peppers, green chillies… The jalfrezi is a dry dish and the kadai one is with a gravy thats a bit creamy in texture (made me feel confused if my order got mixed up and I got Paneer Butter Masala instead 🙂 ) with the flavours being just perfect with the right balance of hot and sweet…

Last but not least is what Leela’s Kitchen calls as the Absolute Yummy Ginger Raita… This tastes exactly like our Inji-Pachadi but without the texture of the coconut… The curd tasted quite sour (which is a bit too much sourness for me) with what I describe as pretty much an explosion of ginger in my mouth…

So, overall, a welcoming experience with what I can tell as definitely one of the best options for North Indian food in Trivandrum which is better than most of the restaurants including all of the so called Dhabas 🙂 A funny thing that happened here is with regards to my grandmother… Normally she doesn’t like to eat vegetarian food and since my mother is a pure vegetarian, she ends up only eating very minimally and ends up throwing away atleast half of what we give her (which she supplements by raiding the store for all kinds of knick knacks 🙂 )… The same is true when we give her food we buy from restaurants ie, she would only eat the non-veg item and just enough of the vegetarian items to accompany the non-veg item and throw away the rest… This time, after a very long time, she not only finished the plate we gave her and asked for seconds… She particularly loved the Paneer Jalfrezi and ended up eating most of it 🙂

Only complaint personally for me is the spice level and oil level in the food… As the people who know me personally plus readers of my posts/blog would know, I like things that are mildly spiced, which lets me enjoy the natural taste of the ingredients better… So, for me, the food from Leela’s kitchen felt too spicy… Also, I prefer minimum oil content in the dishes, which also unfortunately felt a bit too much as you can see in the pic of the ginger raita for example… However, I have talked to Deepika regarding this and she assured me that she will reduce both in my future orders and all I have to do is remind her when ordering, which we will definitely be doing very soon… 🙂

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