Galito’s Rules the Roost

Galito’s invited ‘Bring on the Chef In You’, to sample and taste their Menu and I was all excited. So one sunny afternoon, accompanied by two other foodies, who I knew would appreciate the Menu, we headed to the venue at Al Wahda Mall.

Galito’s saga began in 1996 in Mpumalanga city of Nelspruit, South Africa, when the first Galito’s restaurant opened its doors. Since then Galito’s has spread its wings to the rest of Africa, Canada and now also in the Middle East, which testifies the Galito’s Mission…to “Rule the Roost”. Abu Dhabi residents are a lucky bunch with 4 branches of Galitos @ Yas Mall, Marina Mall, Dalma Mall and Al Wahda Mall.

Galito 007Galito’s is located on the second floor @ Al Wahda Mall extension. It is a nice location as you can shop till you drop at the Al Wahda Mall and then famished drop-in to savour all their goodies. The ambiance is nice and the seating is cosy. The Galito’s Mascot rooster is pre-dominantly placed.

Galito’s make their traditional marinade from all natural ingredients infused with select herbs and spices. The chicken is marinated for at least 24 hours until moist and tender and they are ready for the grill, thus ensuring a superb moist, tender and juicy chicken.

The blistering heat of the afternoon drained us completely; with temperatures soaring to 50 that fateful day; but a welcome drink got us back in the groove. We were served 3 refreshing mocktails, a Melon Teaser, a Kiwi Mojito and an Orange Laranja.

Galito 001The Melon Teaser – was a mocktail  of melon, berries and mint and it really tingled our tastebuds and once sipped it was guaranteed that nothing would go waste.

Galito 003

The Kiwi Mojito – was a unique fusion of Kiwis, Lemon and herbs and gave a real swing to the traditional mojito.

Galito 006The Orange Laranga…. Was tinged with citrus and contrasting mellow taste of strawberries and mint.

Then it was time for starters. We were in a quandary over what to order, but finally made our selection. It was Chicken Satay with a Nutty Dip and a Livers n Roll.

Galito 021The Chicken Satay was served in small skewers and the dip was peanut based…yummy. The Liver was in a garlicy sauce and served with hot in-house made rolls…delicious.

Galito 019Soon came main course. Although we were stuffed already but one look at the Espetada Combo, and we were quickly grabbing our forks again.

Galito 024The Espetada came in two large skewers, one with soft tender marinated and grilled shrimps and the other was spectacular chicken pieces. The picture above does not do full justice to it.   I was truly taken over by the authenticity in flavours and the freshness of ingredients. It came with two Side Dishes, crispy sweet potato fries and a Coleslaw. The Crispy Sweet Potato Fries were very unique and it really went very well with the Espetada. I must say without hesitation that the Espetada is indeed the best offering from Galito’s and one not to be missed.

Galito 032We also ordered a Galito’s special Peri-peri Chicken; but as we were so stuffed we were unable to do full justice to it; look-wise it really was lovely. One of the foodies did mention that it was delightful.

We rested for a while, and we were very much tempted to go for a short shopping spree at Al Wahda Mall and then return to Desserts…he he. After a big break and when the starters and main course had settled a bit, we finally ordered our Desserts; but told the Server that we were not in a hurry and to take their own sweet time. The three of us engaged in exciting foodie-banter and soon came the Desserts. We decided to order three Desserts and equally divided them into three so that all of us could taste a bit of every things.

This is what we ordered.

Double Chocolate Fudge Cake…yummy and lip-smacking and a chocolate lovers dream.

Galito 033

Baked Cheese Cake, which was amazing; but the strawberry sauce on top was a little bit sweet for my liking . Galito 039

Sticky Caramel Pudding; was heavenly and divine…the highlight of the desserts segment. A must have at Galito’s and we were told that it was one of their high-in-demand items.Galito 043

In a nutshell, it was a fun tasting session. Galitos has a powerful combination of great tasting chicken, shrimps and mouthwatering desserts. Abu Dhabi residents are lucky to have 4 branches of Galito’s in Abu Dhabi……… don’t wait any more…..South African Chicken at it best awaits you at Galito’s.

Our rating for Galito’s :

Ambience         : 4/5
Food                 : 4/5
Value for Money : 3.5/5
Service              : 4/5

Galito 011

Hot & Spicy Lamp Chops


‘Bring On The Chef In You’ presents “Hot and Spicy Lamb Chops”. Do not be taken aback by the number of ingredients listed; give it a try and am sure you will like it. For those who like their chops spicy, tangy, juicy, tender and succulent, this recipe is made just for you.

Chops can be cooked in various ways, grilling, pan-broiling, braising, breading, deep-frying and baking; but nothing beats this slowly sauteed way.


Come along…note down the ingredients needed, have them all ready and handy, put a wide-mouthed non-stick pan/pot to heat, add oil/ghee/butter to the pan and thats the way you start……..


Ingredients needed :

1/2 Kg. Lamb chops

1/2 Kg. Onions – sliced

2-3 tomatoes pureed

1/2 cup yogurt

1 teaspoon ginger paste

1 teaspoon garlic paste

1 teaspoon red chilly powder

2 green chillies slit

1 tablespoon lemon juice

5-6 pepper-corns crushed slightly

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 inch cinnamon

5-6 cloves

5 cardamoms

2-3 tablespoons chopped mint leaves

2-3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves

3 or more tablespoon oil/ghee or butter.


Head oil/ghee/butter in a large non-stick pan. Add pepper-corns, cloves, cardamoms and cinnamon. Then add sliced onions and stir for 5-7 minutes till the onions are soft. Add chops and stir-fry for sometime till they are well coated and lose their pinkness.

Add green chillies, ginger garlic paste and fry well. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally and just sprinkling a little water so that they do not burn. This is important – it needs to be fried nicely on slow fire.

chps3Then add turmeric powder, red chillie powder, garam masala powder and saute. Add tomato puree and mix. Add salt as required. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a little water if required.

Add yogurt, lime juice, mint and coriander leaves and mix well. Cook for another few minutes and cook till all the masala dries up and the meat is tender.

Serve hot with roti and/or rice. When serving, garnish with a few mint and coriander leaves and some fried potato wedges.


Buttermilk and Dill Chicken

Bring On The Chef In You presents Buttermilk and Dill Chicken.  Dill and Chicken go well together and this easy-peasy chicken was well liked when I served it.

Dill Chicken1Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication; said, Leonardo Da Vinci, and he could’nt be more right. Simple, effortless,uncomplicated and a touch of sophistication is what this recipe is all about.

Dill Chicken 5

• 1 cup buttermilk (make with 1/2 cup curd and 1/2 cup water)
• 4 tbsp fresh dill (chopped)
• 2 tsp lemon zest
• 2 tbsp lemon juice
• 4 cloves of garlic (minced fine)
• 2 green chillies (remove seeds and chop fine)
• Freshly crushed pepper (as per your spice tolerance)
• Salt to taste
• 4 chicken thighs – cut into 2 pieces

Dill Chicken 2

Combine all ingredients in a ziploc bag, seal and place in fridge overnight or at least for a few hours.    Preheat oven to 200 deg C.

Dill Chicken 3
Take a little butter or olive oil in a pan and brown the chicken on both sides for about 5-10 minutes. Then transfer to a baking tray and bake in oven for 10-12 minutes. Baste now and then with remaining butter/ olive oil and leftover marinade till the chicken is done.
Serve hot garnished with a few Dill leaves and a dash of lemon juice.

Dill Chicken 5


Bring On The Chef In You,  presents ‘Hummus’,   a dip made from cooked, mashed chickpeas blended with Tahina paste, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic.


Hummus is useful in vegetarian and vegan diets; like other combinations of grains and pulses, it serves as a complete when eaten with bread.

As an appetizer and dip, Hummus is scooped with Pita Bread.   It is also served as part of a Mezze or as an accompaniment to falafel, grilled chicken, fish or eggplant.

HM3Simple and delicious; if you don’t try your hands at this one;   immediately label yourself ‘lazy’ and ‘uninspired’.

P.S : I even made a mini version of ‘Pita Bread’;   which will be coming soon on Bring On…watch out for it.


Recipe :

2 cups of chickpeas

Juice of 2 lemons (ensure that no lemon seeds –as this will make the hummus bitter)

¼ cup tahina paste

Olive oil

2-3 cloves of garlic

Paprika or chilly powder for garnish

Coriander leaves for garnish

Soak chickpeas overnight.   Was thoroughly and pressure cook with water and salt to taste. It should be very very soft. Reserve some of the liquid as you may need this when blending.

HM2Grind the garlic in a blender till well ground. Then add the chickpeas, lemon juice and tahina paste. Blend till smooth. Taste and add any seasoning required. If you need it spicy – you can mince a green chilly fine and just mix it to the paste.. its optional.

Spread in a shallow serving dish, take a spoon and make a swirl in it. Sprinkle a little chilly powder or paprika on it, add a few reserved cooked chickpeas, garnish with coriander leaves. Generously pour olive oil in the swirls made.

Best had with Pita bread.


Mini Vegetable Samosa

TSFG1  Bring On The Chef In You presents a Samosa Recipe, which is a tried and tested one. There is an awesome tamarind and date sauce that goes with it and is there somewhere on the blog in the archives. The recipe for the crust is something that I have made umpteen times and it always worked flawlessly for me. Just ensure that the dough is not too soft and not too hard either. This dough does not need any flour for dusting when rolling, so you can roll it easily on your kitchen counter or on the rolling mat.


The filling for the Samosa varies everytime I make them; and the Potato and Pea filling is one of my favourites. I made a mini version of the Samsosa as it goes very well as finger-food and I prefer the smaller version rather than the chunky huge one, firstly coz its easy to fry and secondly they look cuter…don’t you think so ?

Fried correctly these Samosas are crispy and crunchy and the filling is nice too.

Ingredients :
For the outer cover:
Plain Flour (Maida) – 2 cups
Warm corn oil -1/2 cup
½ teaspoon ajwain seeds
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon very fine semolina
Water roughly 1/4cup

Use measuring cups to ensure that you get it right.


First take 2 cups flour in a large bowl, add to it the salt, ajwain seeds , semolina and the warm oil. Mix with your fingers till it resembles bread crumbs. Then add water till a dough is formed. It should be stiffer than chappati dough. If you find that water is not enough wet your palms with a little water and knead till the dough comes together and forms a mass. Knead gently for about five minutes – cover with cling wrap and leave to rest for 15-20 minutes.

Till then prepare the filling.
Ingredients :
For the Filling :
Boiled potatoes -4-5 medium (boiled & roughly mashed- not fully but ensuring no large lumps)
2 large spoons of ghee/oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Ginger (1”) chopped very fine
Mango Powder (Aamchur) 1-1/2 teaspoon
Green Chillies – 2 finely chopped (or more if you want it spicier)
Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon
Garam Masala powder – 1 teaspoon
Green Peas – ¾ cup (if frozen, just blanch in hot water)
Whole Coriander seeds – 1 tablespoon
Dry Pomegranate seeds (Anardana) 1 teaspoon
Coriander leaves – small bunch chopped
Salt to taste

MS4Heat oil/ghee in a pan and add the cumin seeds, then the ginger, green chillie and chopped/mashed potatoes. Then add all the masala powders, amchur, salt and coriander leaves.
TSFGSAM1Mix and keep aside. Dry roast the whole coriander seeds and anardana on a tava/pan… mash them with the back-end of a tablespoon and add to the mix. Add the blanched green peas – check taste and add more seasoning of salt and masala powders if required. When cooled – it is ready for filling the samosas.

MS5Knead the rested dough again and form into golf sized balls. Roll into oblongish shape with a rolling pin. Then cut into two equal pieces. Apply a little water with your finger tip to the straight side of the piece and join together to form a cone. Hold the cone between your thumb and pointer finger..and stuff enough filling into the cone. Seal the ends – you can then stand the samosa on the rolling mat and once again dab the sealed ends and also the other seam – if it appears too thick.


Heat oil in a deep pan and heat to a medium temperature. When medium temperature is reached, lower the temperature to very slow and fry the samosas in batches of 7-8 on a very low heat for 10-12 minutes. This is very important to ensure a crispy crust. Turn over and fry on the other side for about 5-8 minutes. Then increase the heat and fry till the samosas are golden brown all over. (By using this method to fry, a crispy crust is ensured ..P.S: I made the Samosas in the morning and even till the evening they stayed crispy..I got about 17 mini Samosas from the above dough)

Remove on paper towels and dab lightly with a tissue to remove excess oil, if any.

Serve with chutney or sauce of your liking.

Pork Chili

Normally, one wouldn’t imagine a bowl of steaming hot chili as a meal on a sweltering summer day, but this Pork Chili is so light and fresh tasting, and even easy to make on a week night. Mouth-watering with a bright flavor boost and a summer-y feel. But feel free to spice it up with more chili, jalapenos green onions …these are all great options.
1 kg Pork
1 green capsicum diced
2- 3 medium onions diced
4 green chilies in long slits
1 inch ginger
4 flakes garlic
1 tsp. red chilly powder
1/2 tsp pepper powder
2 tablespoons soya sauce
2-3 tablespoon tomato chili sauce
Salt and vinegar to taste
3 bay leaves

Cut pork (preferably Belly) into thin slices – 1 inch bite size pieces and wash thoroughly. Add crushed ginger /garlic, bay leaves, salt and vinegar and boil for 20 minutes adding very little water.

Take a non-stick pan and grease it with a few drops of oil, and fry these slices till light brown on both sides. In the same pan (remove excess oil, because when frying pork the oil gets separated.) fry diced onions and green chilies for 2-3 minutes till it’s translucent. Add capsicum and stir fry a bit, add chilly powder, pepper powder, soya sauce and tomato chili sauce. Mix well. Add the fried pork to this mixture and let it cook for 5 more minutes.

The Perfect Iftar Feast at JW Marriott Hotel, Dubai

Ramadan Kareem! Wishing all our Moslem friends and their families a blessed month!1

We were invited to experience Ramadan at one of the premier luxury hotels – JW Marriott Hotel in Dubai, and break our fast with the flavoursome Iftar selections prepared daily by their skilled culinary staff, provided by The Market Place featuring live cooking stations, authentic Arabic dishes, sweets and traditional Ramadan beverages.

7This is located next to the popular Hamarain Shopping Center in the city’s downtown, with unique surroundings and spectacular ambience so families and friends can get together during this time of reflection and spiritual devotion.

5In the restaurant level heading towards The Market Place, styled as a traditional Dubai market it opens to a decorated area that showcases live saj bread making where all the tossing, and turning, lifting and tilting happens.

3Saj bread is a type of flatbread common in the countries like Lebanon which is baked on a domed or convex metal griddle. Chef Radie who is originally from Lebanon prepares it using a convex metal griddle and personally delivers it at every table.

4While in conversation with Chef Debrup Mitra we asked :
Chef Debrup Mitra, JW Marriott Hotel Dubai (2) (Large)“What is unique about the Iftar at The Marketplace, JW Marriott Hotel Dubai?”
“The unique thing about our Iftar offering at The Market Place is the concept and quality of food. It is set in a friendly bustling market atmosphere featuring open kitchens serving a wide variety of food such as authentic Arabian cuisine combined with international selections prepared fresh each evening and specially created for the Ramadan period. The venue’s rustic feel and décor creates the ambiance hence we used props that are locally available”.

10a“What is the edge you have over the other restaurants offering Iftar”?
“The Market Place prides itself with the various live cooking stations in front of the guest therefore food served is really fresh and not only served in serving dishes – ‘from pan to plate or from grill to plate’. Guests can delight in the various live cooking stations, such as the Lebanese mixed grills of shish kebab, lamb kofta and shish tawouk, well paired with the freshly prepared saj. Indian specialties will be served at the tandoori station, another live station featuring chicken biryani, lamb jalfrezi and mixed vegetable korma, best enjoyed with papadums or Indian naan bread.


The aromatic Iftar buffet, featuring a host of international flavours, and is open every night of Ramadan at a price of AED 165 per person and AED 60 for children aged 6 to 12.

12Featuring also is the traditional Sohour fare at the hotel’s quiet and stylish 24-hour Viennese coffee shop, the Vienna Café, open daily from 2 to 4 a.m. during Ramadan., this special menu is priced at AED 90 per person and AED 60 for children aged 6 to 12. The delightful venue is located in the hotel’s main lobby and also features complimentary Wi-Fi.

9For additional information, or to book a reservation, please contact the JW Marriott Hotel Dubai at +971 4 607 7977 or online at

Potato & Pomegranate Salad

“Bring On The Chef In You” presents to you a “Potato Salad”, which is yogurt based. There are countless ways to make a potato salad; the one here is a simple one where the potatoes are cubed and mixed with a few spices and then tossed with whisked yogurt, coriander leaves, cumin seeds and pomegranate arils.

pomegranate  1

A lovely tangy salad that all will love.

Curds/Yogurt 1 Cup
Pomegranate arils – 1 Cup
Potatoes – 2-3 boiled and chopped into small cubes
Onion -chopped fine – 1
Oil – 2-3 teaspoons
Green Chilly – chopped fine – 2
Urad Dal – 1 teaspoon
Channa Dal – 1 teaspoon
Mustard Seeds – 1/4 teaspoon
Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves – 1 spring
Coriander leaves – a small bunch -chopped fine
Sugar – 1 teaspoon -or more if curd is sour
Salt – to taste

pomegranate 2

Heat oil in a small vessel, add mustard seeds. When they splutter add the cumin seeds, urad dal and channa dal and fry till brown.  Add curry leaves & onion and stir till onion is soft. Add green chilies & chopped potatoes. Stir and mix together and then remove from heat.


In a small bowl, whisk the curd with sugar and salt. Then add the potato mix, coriander leaves and pomegranate arils. Serve warm or cold – both are equally good; garnished with coriander and pomegranate arils.


pomegranate 3

Caramel Abu Dhabi – Restaurant Review

‘Bring on the Chef in You’ were invited by “Caramel Restaurant & Lounge” for a tasting session at their elegant and classy joint at St. Regis Sadiyat Island Resort.  And OMG!!! what a wonderful experience it has been.


“Caramel” brings luxury and opulence not only to the residents and guests of the Sadiyat Island Resort,  but also to residents of the Capital City, Abu Dhabi.  Located not more than 15 minutes from the Port Area,  this is one place that needs to be visited again and again simply for the sheer awesome food that they dish out.

Collage Caramel 1

Utilizing elements such as natural wood and textured stone with bold contemporary lines, Caramel creates a one-of-a-kind environment that engages patrons and invokes a new level of visual stimulation. Caramel Restaurant & Lounge boasts a warm inviting ambiance and relaxing atmosphere that offers drinking, dining, and entertainment at one centrally located hot spot.

The team at Caramel is professional, dedicated and friendly and we felt relaxed in the Company of Mr. Mahindra, who made sure that we enjoyed the Caramel experience.
The menu here has over 40-50 items on offer and with help from the staff we began the afternoon with TNT Shrimps, which were served on a bed of finely chopped cabbage leaves. The Shrimp were fried in a light batter and served tossed up in a spicy Japanese Mayo. Crunchy on the outside and juicy and succulent inside, it was absolutely an awesome way to start on a delicious note.

The Chinese Chicken Salad followed closely and was a complete delight. A juicy, nutty and fruity salad consisting of Clementine, cashews, honey, chicken and fresh greens, this was presented in a small ringed tower. We thoroughly enjoyed it and proceeded to order our Beverages of Australian Wine to sip along with our starters.

The Forest Mushrooms came next, sauteed in butter emulsions and fine herbs, which were absolutely scrumptious, to say the least. I never even dreamt that the simple mushrooms could be elevated to such heights.

Next on the menu was Seared Chillean Sea Bass, which was served with a Risotto of Rock Shrimp, a Lobster Broth and Tomato Basil Tapenade. The fish was very tender and delicate and the risotto and broth and tapenade were good accompaniments. Fish lovers are really going to enjoy this amazing delicacy that is so well prepared that you long to have another one then and there.

Next on the Menu was the Grilled Steak with a dollop of herbed butter. We ordered medium rare and it came along with two sauces, the creamy one of which was wonderful and went along perfectly with the Steak. To be honest the Steak was good, but I would have loved if it came with some grilled or sautéed vegetables or fries alongside, just to make it complete. The Steak however was comforting, homely and reminiscent of the beefy old world charm.

The Menu also has a host of other inviting and innovative dishes, and we marked them with a note that that the next time we came to Caramel that would be our selection.
We were too stuffed to have anything more; and we resisted the urge to order more, keeping into mind, that we do not want to skip the desserts…. so we beckoned to our server to bring on the Dessert Menu.

Caram BA
We started with the Baked Alaska, which was a lovely mix and match of ice cream, cake, mousse and meringue. It was a real show-stopper and was a treat not only for the eyes, but for the tummy too. With brown specs on the meringue and luscious strawberry mousse which was light and velvety; a blob of ice cream of the finest quality, thin slice of cake and swathed in a meringue which was baked ever so gently in a hot oven for a few minutes to give it lovely specs of burnt sugar on some of its edges. I can say without hesitation that the Baked Alaska at Caramel has become my all-time favorite and mark it as a must-have at Caramel.

2nd came the Pumpkin Cheese Cake, which wowed both in presentation style and taste. It was extraordinarily rich and creamy and the luscious swirl of cream was as light as a feather and not overtly sweet; but just right.

The Banana Crème Brulee was simple, yet impressive. The brittle Caramel Topping had a bitter-sweet taste and the smooth creamy custard/cream beneath the caramelized layer, was rich, sticky and wickedly sweet.

After we were done, we were given a tour of the lounge and Bar, and were dazzled by the array and collection of wines, champagne etc that were on display. We were told that in the evenings they also have a DJ playing and making the place more exotic.  Besides the surrounding areas are so good for a stroll right after you have stuffed yourself jolly.   There is a beach close-by and plush gardens all around.


So the next time you are looking to have a special treat, just hop across to Caramel at St Regis; a different, elegant and awesome place which offers you good value for money and delivers delicious, regal and authentic tasting fare too.

Caramel 1
Thumbs up Caramel, you positively rock!!!!!!


Ratings by Bring On the Chef In You :

  • Food 4.5 / 5
  • Service 4 / 5
  • Ambiance 4.5 / 5
  • Value for money 3.5/5


Banana Fritters

Bring On The Chef In You” shares a recipe for “Banana Fritters” that may come in handy when watching the 2014 FIFA World Cup matches, which are just round the corner.

My Mom made these whenever she ended with many ripe Bananas and went bananas over what to do with them. At our place “Bananas” just disappear in a jiffy and there are hardly any left for fritter-making. I got lucky when our Office-boy returned from his vacation with a load of Kerala-bananas and I got a big bunch. As they were over-ripe, my boys just did an “ugh” and refused to touch them. So it was fritters making time; and you wont believe how much the boys enjoyed it…so much so that they wanted me to make it again.

This recipe is fairly a trial and error recipe. You have to keep adding and subtracting the ingredients till you get the right consistency; i.e. slightly thicker than pancake batter. You can use any type of Bananas (though the Kerala ones (Nandarkai) taste better), the only think is that they should be extra ripe. Even the sugar content can be adjusted to your taste. The recipe below is just an indication – you can add/deduct as per your liking.

Ingredients :
3 large ripe bananas (Kerala large ones)
2 cups of flour- maida (roughly)
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
5-6 teaspoons milk powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar (more or less)
5-6 cardamoms – (remove seeds and crush coarsely)
little water or milk (1/2 cup +/-)

Peel the bananas and add to a large bowl. Mash the bananas with a fork. Add sugar, cardamom, salt, milk and mix. Add flour, baking powder and milk/water, till you have a dough that is slightly thicker than pancake/cake batter.


Heat oil in a deep frying pan and add a tablespoon of batter to the hot oil. Dont over-crowd the pan. Fry on both sides till brown all over. Remove on kitchen towels – dab them with a tissue to remove excess oil. Fry in small batches till all batter is utilized.

Serve warm with hot cup of tea/coffee.