Lasagna with a Twist – Urban Chef

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Chicken Lasagna with a slice removed. Layers of delicious-ness!

 

Traditional lasagna always varies from maker to maker; no two lasagnas are ever the same. However with the pressure of making lasagna that is well-balanced, also comes the pressure of competing with flavors of those tasted earlier.

Though I love all kinds of food, lasagna is one of my favorites and I rarely come across one that I can speak highly about. Thus, the curiosity as to the flavor and technique led me to order the (Barbeque) Chicken lasagna from the Urban Chef, which was accompanied with a 300g sample of dahi baray [a dish consisting of balls made from ground lentils, which are deep-fried and served in a chilled, thick, sweetened whisked yogurt sauce]. The lasagna was placed in an aluminum rectangular container, which boxed up in a cardboard box of a slight larger size with the logo of the Urban Chef on top. The lasagna, to my surprise, was hot in temperature as if I had taken a few minutes to let the lasagna sit subsequent to taking it out fresh from the oven.

 

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The boxes the lasagnas came in.

The sample of dahi baray was wonderful! The yogurt liquid in which the dahi baray themselves floated in was not exceedingly sweet; the dahi baray had soaked up a sufficient amount of the liquid whilst resting in it, but not so much that they broke apart. They maintained their shape, but at the same time, were moist, and not dry. In this scorching and unforgiving heat, this was just the pick-me-up needed. It was light, fresh, cool, and refreshing. I enjoyed every spoonful, from start to finish! At the end, I wished that I had some more!

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Dahi Baray. Yum!

Now let’s move on to the pièce de résistance, the star of the show… the lasagna! Immediately after opening the cover of the container, with regards to the elements everyone looks for in any lasagna, one box was check marked, right from the get-go, the cheese layered on top. The sections of melted, lightly golden brown and crusty cheese were browned in such a way that each slice to be cut would get a taste of the beautifully baked cheese. In every lasagna, people struggle and, at times, nearly combat one another for the edges. And the edges in said lasagna were just that; lightly browned, just like the layer of cheese, but due to the moisture being removed whilst baking, the edges were thus, slightly crunchy.

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Check out that gorgeous lasagna with the beautifully browned cheese here and there. YUMMMMMMMM

When cut into, the knife easily went through the obvious layers within with little resistance, which made clear that the pasta sheets were not overcooked to the point of turning into complete baby food. Then the time to see Urban Chef’s masterpiece in the form of a slice clearly revealed layers of lasagna pasta sheets; roughly chopped, almost cubed, pieces of chicken with a slightly red marinade that seeped deep into the meat, béchamel and cheese. The chicken chunks were clearly marinated in advance based on how deep the color went. It was a unique lasagna; not your everyday, traditional lasagna. It was one that I have never seen before, a Barbeque Chicken Tikka lasagna. When one thinks of types of lasagnas and their variations, the most that come to mind are changes ranging from meats, to purely vegetarian, and now a new culinary trend of ‘dessert’ lasagnas. And when I initially heard the title of the lasagna, immediately what came to mind were the flavours of a standard barbequed, overcooked and dried piece of chicken; however, the flavour was only ‘tikka’ so much as the intensity of spice and flavour. I would like to point out that I enjoy spicy food but not to the extent as the way it is cooked nowadays wherein there is little to no balance and mostly just red chili powder to the point where the dish is nearly inedible. The chicken in the lasagna was spicy, but not exceedingly spicy; it had that nice ‘kick’ to it and was balanced with the béchamel and cheese so that it was ‘turned down’ a little. The mix of all the components of this lasagna were perfect and in harmony.

I admire the Urban Chef’s creative spin on a classic and did not anticipate such creativity and triumph, especially with the word ‘tikka’ in the title, but it was definitely worth the gamble!

I enjoyed the lasagna and the dahi baray very much; so much so that whilst writing this review, my stomach is growling for more. Come Saturday, Urban Chef can expect to get another order from me for this lasagna!

If you enjoy lasagna and/or spicy food which is unique, then this creation from the Urban Chef should definitely be on your list!

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Oh My God, let’s order Oh My Grill!

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Burger joints have been popping up everywhere! Some have failed to impress, while others have almost reached that level of a ‘perfect’ burger. The general comments on the new ‘Oh My Grill’ (‘OMG’) burgers were all the same, ‘Wow, it’s amazing!’, ‘I love it!’, etc. but lacked description. What was this craze all about? This led me to order 3 individual burgers from OMG on a spur-of-the-moment lunch for myself and the family on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, OMG does not deliver, however, the ‘Food Genie’ delivery service was kind enough to make an exception and deliver to the area in which I reside on the weekend and without a minimum order amount, which was against their policy. The Food Genie operators were very helpful and patient; the individual who delivered it on time, as assured, within 90 minutes, did so with a smile on his face and replied politely to my ‘Thank You’. The food was delivered piping hot and fresh, as if I had ordered it right there and then from OMG; which I later learned, was due to the new triple insulated bags in which they carry the food to be delivered.

The burgers ordered were the Classic Burger (Double), the Classic with Aged English Cheddar and the Gouda Burger. Both, the Classic with Aged English Cheddar and the Gouda fell under the heading of ‘gourmet’ burgers, due to the respective cheeses chosen and the size of their burger patties, I assume. Furthermore, they were also larger in size, as compared to the Classic Burger (Double). The burger buns of the aforementioned gourmet burgers were visibly lightly seared on the grill, with grill marks on both, the bottom AND top buns.

The Gouda burger had a 250 gram beef patty, covered with a heaping and substantial amount of Gouda cheese, crispy bacon, which wasn’t burnt, but lightly crimson on the edges, topped off with their OMG sauce. The imported Gouda cheese had a firm, yet slightly elastic texture, not too overpowering in flavor, and coated the burger patty completed.

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Gouda burger

The Classic with Aged Cheddar also had a 250 gram beef patty, but the cheese chosen for this burger was, as the name suggests, Aged English Cheddar, fresh tomatoes, crisp onions, thick and sweet ketchup, which eventually mingled their OMG sauce. Sharp cheddar, also imported, with a slightly earthy flavor, firm in texture and beautifully paired with the fresh tomatoes, crunchy onions and the mixed blend of ketchup and the OMG sauce.

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Classic with Aged Cheddar

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Classic with Aged Cheddar

Finally, their Classic Burger (Double) contained two patties, each 100 grams, processed cheese, onions, tomatoes, ketchup and their OMG sauce. Each patty was nearly enveloped with the cheese and very moist inside. This burger was not only small in size, but also not much of a contender when up against the above-mentioned gourmet burgers. And how could it be? It was a nice burger, small in size, but compared to the other two, it was no match.

Oh My Grill

Classic Burger (Double)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh My Grill

Classic Burger (Double)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Though each burger was exceedingly juicy, the Classic with Aged English Cheddar burger stood out as the juiciest! Each bite resulted in a mouthful of flavors and not a single piece of dry beef; still makes my mouth water just thinking about it!

Though the prices of the individual burgers were a bit on the ‘high’ side, these are burgers that would be most enjoyable if eaten at the establishment itself or as soon as possible. Moreover, the overall textures and flavors were impeccably paired and constructed. The buns of all three burgers were soft and light, almost like pillows in which the juicy patties were nestled and coated with such thick layers of cheese that they were oozing off the sides! The freshness of the onions and tomatoes appropriately complimented the burgers’ rich sauces and meaty patties. The combinations were unique and didn’t leave a heavy feeling, which is most expected after eating burgers and the like.

Boasting about Roasters

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Surprisingly, most people, even those who have resided in the city of Karachi for their entire lives, are unaware of the existence of Roasters. Thus, when I suggest to dine at, or order from, Roasters, to receive the response, “Roasters? Where’s that?” has become quite normal. Therefore, I feel it my obligation and duty to introduce the individual to a burger they have been missing out on, which is one of the best burgers I have had in this Country to date!

The subsequent familiar question asked, after the one above is, “what’s the best thing to try at Roasters?” And for any of you who have partaken in their specialty, the unmistakable and undeniable reply is: the Burgers! Indeed, on the face of the menu, they may advertise themselves as ordinary burgers, however there is much more than expected once the plate lands on the table. There is a distinct and unambiguous reason people keep coming back for more!

It all began with (my regular) Western BBQ Beef Burger, which came with a side of coleslaw and French fries. I have tried numerous items off the menu, so much so that many people contact me inquiring not only with regards to the items on the menu, but also the overall judgment of flavour and suggestions. However, reviews of their other items shall be made when they are tried; for now, let us focus on the Western BBQ Beef Burger.

 Straightaway upon immediate observation of this burger (or any burger from the menu), an instantaneous occurs, “Wow! That is a huge burger!”, and rightly so. The burgers at Roasters are famous for their plentiful sizes which are far too much for one human to consume in a single sitting; to do so is equivalent to training for a marathon; you must practice, practice, practice! I, myself, have been ‘Training’ so that I may one day ‘cross the finish line’ and devour the entire burger, plus fries and coleslaw; however, that day has yet to come.

Sesame seeds delicately resting on the soft burger bun. The layers underneath are what catches the eye once cut down the center; a picturesque view of a multitude of elements. The crispy onion ‘straws’ which aren’t cooked too long so as to burn and turn bitter; they are lightly coated and fried until they are translucent and the natural sugar inside begins to slightly sweeten the rest so as to decrease the sharpness of the onion had it been raw. But that doesn’t mean that a large raw onion ring won’t be present in the burger; a burger just wouldn’t be a burger without onions, right? The onion performs its role perfectly above the beef patty for an element of crunch. Two beef strips which resemble bacon, but are halal and made purely of beef, layered side by side under the onion straws; stacked on top of an abundant serving of barbeque sauce to add tartness; with the ends of the strips visible on the outside of the burger which conceal the patty. Then you are greeted with a crunchy onion and crisp, fresh lettuce leaf, and slice of cheddar cheeses; which are all merely supporting the star of the show, the delectably prepared beef patty. And not a patty similar to those in a fast food chain where there is only a wafer-thin, compressed and processed slab of meat which is nothing but a sad excuse for a ‘beef patty’. The beef is tender, grilled all the way through, but not so much that it is left absent juices, leaving the patty dry. No, the patty remains moist and juicy, whilst breaking apart with every bite taken. No fear of it crumbling and falling apart in your hands. Everything nestled between the warm embrace of the burger bun that caught your eyes, which you traced, at the outset. However, it must be kept in mind that this burger is truly not for the faint of heart!

Finally, the coleslaw and fries, which have certainly been appetizing in the past, failed to live up to the ‘Roasters Standard’ on this occasion; specifically the fries, which were dreadfully insulting. Different from the fries presented by Roasters; they were flimsy, exceedingly soggy and mushy, and discolored to the extent that I decided to refrain from eating them in fear of health-related repercussions. Furthermore, there was more chaat masala on the fries than you would put on chana chaat during Ramadan! I failed to find any trace of salt, but found the unnecessarily overpowering chaat masala on every single darkened and faded French fry.

This may be a one-off event, or it may be the new Roasters’ fries, but I would highly recommend that you visit the Roasters at Zamzama for their exceptionally marvelous and lip-smacking Burgers, whether you prefer beef OR chicken, they will live up to their reputation! #Bon Appetit! #food #burgers #Karachi #Delicious #Eat&Tell #yum #Boasting #wantmore #FoodReview #foodie