Wednesday, 9 April 2014

McDonald's New Grilled Chicken Royale Burger - Review

Hello folks. Hope you are doing great. Today, it's not a recipe, but a review. A burger review! Lately, I have been really irregular with the blogging because of studies and workload. So, today I got some time off and here I am! I have been thinking to quit blogging altogether since I am unable to do justice to my blogs. The thought has hit my mind several times, and I just keep bouncing back to this place after several weeks. I guess you are not going to get rid of me any sooner :p

Okay, so today I am writing a review on McDonald's Grilled Chicken Royale Burger that was launched in my city on 27th March, 2014. Given all the hype about the burger, I definitely wanted to try it ASAP. You see, I am a frequent visitor to McDonald's. There are several reasons for that. Firstly, I love burgers and there is no other place in my town that serves decent burgers. McDonald's is just across the street from my college, and so are Pizza Hut, KFC and Domino's. But it's not just about food. It's about the way I link to McD. The atmosphere is lively and jazzy. I have spent some of the happiest moments of my life at McD and so I feel connected to the place.

McD's menu has always been very limited, especially the burgers. However, in last couple of years it did introduce the spicy range of burgers and wraps, one vegetarian and one non-vegetarian of each. Unfortunately, I was disappointed with the spicy range because it's just not spicy. It was not even close to the existing range of burgers and wraps. Last year, in May came up the new Chicken Masala Grill Burger. But again, nothing extraordinary about it. The spicy sauce was a new addition while the chicken patty was the same old one they use in all other chicken burgers. I have sensitive taste buds, and if something were significantly new about it, I could tell.

Since then, I was waiting for something exciting to come up on McDonald's menu. And last month I thought it was time! I entered the McD to order something from the usual stuff but then a huge ad placed near the entrance caught my eye. It featured an insanely delicious looking burger, where all the ingredients were perfectly stacked in layers one upon the another. It said, there were two chicken patties, two chicken cold cuts, lots of salad leaves, a couple of fresh tomato slices, topped with mayo and packed between two cornmeal dusted buns. So, my foodie instincts told me to go for it!

I wish I could take pictures, but I was unaware of the ways of my mind and that it would abruptly feel like putting up a review here. Hence, no picture. But I did manage to get one from the McDonald India's site for you to look at. Nevertheless, don't let the good looks deceive you. The burger was nothing like what it looks in the picture. The patties weren't so chunky. They were pretty thin. Almost as thin as you what you get in Chicken Maharaja Mac. The chicken cold cuts were a brilliant addition though. I had never had cold cuts before, so I kind of liked it. It did have a smokey flavor and tasted good enough. There were indeed lots of salad leaves, a couple of tomato slices and an ungenerous dash of plain white mayo.

Picture Source - McDonald India
The first bite I took did give me a momentary nirvana. The hot patty and cold cuts lent an amazing combo of texture and taste due to the extreme temperature variation. The hot and cold chicken did feel good for a while. The cornmeal dusted buns were nice and fluffy. But you do need other things on a burger to make it a good one, which Chiken Royale clearly lacked. There was no cheese slice and the plain mayo could do nothing to amplify the taste. Again, I was kind of let down. Because it was a whopping INR 135 (Taxes extra) that I just spent on a below-average burger. I finished my meal halfheartedly and the burger didn't even leave a sour taste in my mouth. Pun intended!

Later on I went to at the counter just to inquire if they replace they plain mayo with some spicier sauce. They said they do, and they charge INR 16 just to replace the sauce. I mean why charge extra? We want the sauce "replaced" and not an extra sauce added. So, that seemed unjustified to me.

Here is the verdict!

The Good
  • The fluffy cornmeal dusted buns. I think they are better than the regular sesame buns.
  • The chicken cold cuts lent a good texture and slight (very slight) smokiness.
  • The salad leaves gave a nice crunch to the burger.

The Bad
  • Chicken patties were too thin. Nothing like what the pic says. I mean really thin.
  • The chicken patty has no new flavors. It's just the ones you get in McD's other chicken burgers which are less pricey.
  • Plain mayo does no good.
  • Lacks cheese.
  • Costs a fortune.
Rating - 2 out of 5

For me, Chicken Maharaja Mac still wins. I would rate it 3 out of 5. It has the same old chicken patty but there is a third slice of bread, a tangy tartar sauce and a cheese slice to make up for the drabness. And it comes at INR 99 (Taxes extra).

That's all for today. Hope to see you guys again! Till then, I am signing off! Have a great week ahead.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Ginger-Pandan Leaves Tea - A Soothing Combo for the Mind, Body & Soul of a Tea-Lover

Hello buddies. Hope you are having a great weekend. Today I am sharing a recipe of making a perfect cup of flavored tea. This recipe has been resting in my drafts since almost a year now. So, decided to post it today.

Chai (Hindi), or tea is way of life for us Indians. I may not be exaggerating even if I say that we survive on endless cups of tea! It is the very first thing we think about when we wake up. Every office, small or big, has its own tea-boy. You will find numerous tea stalls at railway stations and some even on the street-sides. Basically Indian tea is cooked, milky, strong and sweet.




Black tea, green tea, spiced or flavored, you name it, we have it! Chai is now a part of our vernacular, and deeply ingrained. For example, in Hindi language, Chai means tea, paani means water, and chai-paani together actually means offering water, tea and snacks to the guests visiting us. The term reflects hospitality. We also use it in a way that makes a different sense altogether. The short-hand for a small bribe is called 'chai-paani' in India.

The best tea blends come from India. Assam tea is named after the region of its production. The north-eastern Indian state of Assam is the world's largest tea-growing region. It lies on the either sides of River Brahmaputra. Assam tea is grown near the sea level. It is strong, brisk, and has a malty flavor, and gives out a bright color. 


And I'm an ardent tea lover. I love trying out different types of tea at different places, be it a road side stall where it costs just five rupees, or a fancy expensive restaurant. I love it everywhere. I will never deny a cup of tea. You wake me up in the midnight and I'm up for a tea treat! :D

Also I play with it at home, trying to making it more fun experimenting in the kitchen. Among all the varieties, ginger tea is my favorite. We can make it at home. Its very easy and quick, and yes it is very refreshing. As ginger is a hot ingredient, providing warmth to the body after consumption, we have ginger tea during monsoon and winter. It is really soothing, especially due the medicinal properties of ginger.

But if you like to have it in summers, go ahead. There is no harm, but just go a little easy on ginger. Add a very little ginger, just enough to add a mild flavor. You can add either pandan leaves or ginger to your tea, as per your liking. I added both this time. This tea is strong, milky, flavorful, slightly sweet and keeps you warm in winters. Too much sugar would kill the flavors of the herbs. I used whole milk. Tea made using skimmed or toned milk doesn't really taste good.










And we need black Assam tea for making this ginger tea. The black tea that we use here is granular. Black tea leaves are further processed to form this granular type of tea. There are a number of brands available to choose from. Personally I like 'Taj Mahal Tea' and 'Sapat Parivaar' the most. I use these brands at home. You may pick your favorite brand as per your preference for blends and also the availability to make this flavored tea.


I hope you will try making this tea at home and will like it. Let us make it!

Preparation time - 5 minutes
Cooking time - 10 to 12 minutes

Serves - 2

Ingredients

Whole milk- 1 and 1/4 cup
Water- 1 and 1/4 cup
Tea powder- 2 and 1/2 tsp, or depending upon the strength of the brand you use. I use Sapat Parivaar Tea
Sugar- 2 tsp, or to taste
Pandan leaves- Two long leaves, cut into smaller strips
Fresh ginger- 2 tsp,crushed. Adjust the quantity for a desired strength of flavor

Method

1. Take a heavy bottom utensil to make tea. Add water and milk to it. Turn on the heat to medium and bring it to boil.

2. Add tea powder and stir with a ladle. When the milk gets a little color from the tea, add in crushed ginger and pandan leaves.

3. Turn the heat to low and let it simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, till the tea gets its usual color and the raw smell of milk is gone. You would now be able to smell the aroma in the steam.

4. Add sugar and stir again. Let it boil nicely for 2 more minutes. By now, the tea might as well have reduced to 2 cups.

5. Strain into your favorite tea cups and we are done!


Your perfect cup of tea is ready. Just sit back, relax and enjoy with your favorite tea-time snack!