VOOTOO SALT, SPICE AND EVERYTHING NICE WITH RAJU SINGH (DJ RAJU)
PHOTOS: PRITAM CHHETRI
WORDS: SHREEYA SANGROULA
If you are in town and you need an authentic Newari restaurant with a modern twist, Vootoo is the place to please your taste buds with its spicy food. What makes Vootoo interesting is that it actually feels like something new even though you may have had some of the food before. The food is modern Newari, and much of what you eat at Vootoo will be excellent. Bring some friends, drink some drinks, order a bunch of food, and have a good time.
We’ve always loved the place and this time we got a chance to sit down and talk with the man behind it all, Raju Singh, better known as DJ Raju. Here are the excerpts.
HOW DID THE CONCEPT OF VOOTOO FIRST START?
First of all it started because I am a huge foodie and I have an interest in cooking as well. I always had a thought of doing something food related. And somehow my love for food transformed into my business which I am very proud of. And now, I am not that involved in music like I used to, I am just taking some time to concentrate on my restaurant.
HOW HAS THE RESPONSE BEEN?
Well, Vootoo is in operation for about 6 years and the response is positive. It was quite hard at the beginning but now things are going pretty well and people mostly come here for the authentic Newari food and its quality.
WHAT IS YOUR SPECIALITY?
The name vootoo translates to ‘Bhancha” or Kitchen in the newari language. Our main specialty is how we try and make modern dishes with a Nepali twist for example for sourness western food consists of vinegar but we use Nepali Hogplum (lapsi). It gives a distinct taste and flavor that is different from anything else. We have dishes here with a local twist and that twist is appreciated by the customers. So, the specialty is Newari food.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A PERSON?
As a person I think of myself as a creative person and I am a bit of a perfectionist and whenever there is a new recipe for a dish I will taste it 10 times and make adjustments before keeping it on the menu. And it is the same with my music and I think that describes me as a person.
ARE THERE ANY FUTURE PLANS OF EXPANDING THE BUSINESS?
Yes, we are currently constructing a new pizzeria. We will also be introducing a larger menu with time and adding more dishes to Vootoo. And also try and make it even more authentic.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES THAT YOU HAD TO FACE WHILE STARTING AND OPERATING VOOTOO? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?
It is very hard, there are lots of restaurants and the number is increasing day by day. The main thing is maintain the basic thing that is quality. Yes, there is a lot of competition but you should always stick with why you started a business in the first place.
SPICY CUP NOODLE SOUP (THUKPA)
Cook noodles in boiling salted water until slightly undercooked. Drain and rinse reserve in a large bowl. In a sauce pan heat cooking oil; add chopped garlic, fry for 30 seconds or so. Add chicken stock soup then chicken, pork slice and mix vegetable Bring to a boil; set heat to low and cook for a few minutes adjust seasoning with salt and Pepper. Add all vegetables into the soup mixture; cook for a few minutes or until tender. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Add chili sauce to the soup if you desire spicy soup broth.
- lb rice noodles
- ½ lb boil pork slice
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1 ⁄2 lb grilled chicken breast, cut into very thin 1/8 inch slices
- 1 ⁄2 cup red bell pepper, julienned
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- Salt and pepper, as needed
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (to garnish)
CHICKEN CHOELA MOMO
- All-purpose flour – 2 cups
- Oil – 1 tsp.
- Salt to taste
- Water – Luke warm to knead the flour
- Cabbage – 1 cup, packed, finely chopped
- Carrot – 3/4 cup, finely chopped
- Onion – 1, medium size, finely chopped
- Green chilies – 1-2, finely minced
- Garlic – 2 clove, finely minced
- Ginger – 1/2”, finely minced
- Soy sauce – 1 tsp.
- Black pepper powder – 1/4 tsp.
- Salt to taste
- Green Onion
- Mustard oil
1. Heat sunflower / mustard oil in a pan
2. Mix the chopped onion, tomatoes & red chili paste in a pan
3. Shred the dry buff meat to small pieces. Fry the shredded meat in the pan for about 57 mins and set it aside
4. Chop the onion and tomato to small cubes. Mince the green chilly
5. Add salt (as per taste), cumin powder, red chili powder, and mix it well add the fried Buff meat. • 200 gms of dry buff meat (homemade or readymade)
- 3-4 Green chilly (adjust to your taste)
- 1 tsp. Chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. Cumin powder
- 2 Mustard oil
- Fresh coriander/ cilantro
- Salt as per taste