Pakistani Passion

Every hotel vies with its competitors to host the most innovative food festival. There are a couple of variables. Though the cuisine has to be bold and novel – and of course memorable – it also has to appeal to the taste-buds of the public and be as popular as possible. There are a few…

Galauti versus Kakori

Most red meat eaters thrive on the texture of the stuff. So it is inexplicable that Lucknow’s gourmets have invented kebabs so soft that they could give a vegetable a complex. The galauti and the kakori have both originated in Lucknow. In my ignorance, I thought that they were both largely the same, until a…

Red Blooded Royal

“Cumin and asafoetida is an appropriate combination, as is onion with garlic. Just don’t go mixing up the two combinations.” I was learning how to make the Rajasthani signature Lal Maas (which translates less than felicitously as red meat) from Arvind Singh of Mewar, Maharana of Udaipur. Shreeji as he is called affectionately, reportedly keeps…

Souring agents

My friend Karan has a strong opinion on almost everything. So, it didn’t surprise me at all when he trashed my plans to try out a new Malaysian place in town. His objection? The cuisine of Malaysia does not use enough souring agents according to my very opinionated friend, who had much to say on…

A Meal in Kattumaran

One of the few places where I’ve ever eaten seafood idlis – or even heard of them for that matter – is in Kattumaram, a tiny seafood restaurant just outside the gate of Chennai’s Park Sheraton.  The chef, a TV food show host, has travelled down the length of the Tamil Nadu coast to research…

The Four Southern States

For most of us in the North, South Indian food is a largely homogenous entity, comprising idlis, dosas and not very much else. So I was in for a surprise last week when Trident Gurgaon invited me for a festival that was no short of brilliant. Not only did the variations in the food of…

The Real Mughlai Food

Forget about the too-greasy-to-be-true offerings that commonly go under the name of Mughlai food in restaurants. The real Mughlai food is not even a homogenous entity. It has, if researcher Salma Husain is to be believed, transformed itself from completely Central Asian from the time of Babur who came from Ferghana, to overwhelmingly Indian by…

The Red Devils

I have a friend who travels to Europe and USA with a bottle of Tabasco. She doesn’t relish food that is less than incendiary. The result is that she just has to spice up her food and she – and doubtless others like her – find that Tabasco works just fine. It is spicy, its…

Cooking with Wild Almonds

When I walked into Zest, Delhi’s newest restaurant that has fuelled a feeding frenzy among the chattering classes, I had made up my mind that I would only sample dishes from the Middle East, Chinese and Thai sections. Well, maybe I’d give the modern European and Italian sections a try, but I’d definitely steer clear…

Indian Food without Red Chillies

I wish I could count the number of times I’ve visited a restaurant and been discouraged  to try Murgh Musallam or Meen Moilee. “Don’t have this one,” I’ve been urged. “It has no spice in it. It is white in colour.” In the Indian restaurant trade, there are a number of cardinal sins, but none…