Dining with the Jalalis

“Our food has influences from Delhi and Lucknow, Rampur being equidistant from both cities,” Osama Jalali greets us at the door of the restaurant where his festival is in full swing. The Jalalis are from the principality of Rampur; in fact, Osama’s wife Nazia Khan is a Rohilla Pathan, a community well represented in the…

Dining Out in Chennai

If there ever was a model restaurant city in India, it would have to be Chennai. It has always been thought of as uber traditional, but in the last three years, the number of hotels, their grandeur and the sheer wealth of food and beverage concepts puts every other city in India to shame. One…

Onions: Making us Cry

Out of the couple of hundred books I have on the subject of food, ingredients and cookery, I had never come across one where the subject of onions was dealt with as exhaustively as in Asma’s Indian Kitchen. The author, Asma Khan, London-based founder and cook of Darjeeling Express, who writes in the introductory chapter…

Fratelli Wines and Tuscan Flavours

Meeting Chef Francesco Costagli is a revelation because of the refreshing perspective he brings to his kitchen. He was born not far from the village of Castellina in the Chianti region, and Castellina is where his Michelin-starred restaurant is. Costagli’s zero kilometre cuisine is a concept that he has worked on, virtually since the start…

From Kari To Curry

Sadanand Dhume, Washington-based journalist and author once tweeted to a few of us food writers based across India. “Can you tell me how many different preparations of dal there are in India?” There was a flurry of activity that lasted two or three days, when all his interlocutors did some energetic back-of-the-envelope calculations. Each of…

Dining in Dubai

Travel around Manila in the Philippines and you’ll be struck by how many branches of Jollibee Burgers there are. It’s a brand you are unlikely to encounter elsewhere in the world, because the rather sweet sauce that is Jollibee’s trademark, is a Philippine brand. If you visit Mumbai, you are like to be surprised by…

The Clash of the Kashmiri Ladies

For the last three decades or so, Delhi has been exposed to the glories of Kashmiri food. Or, to be more specific, wazwan. It is a banquet conjured up entirely of lamb and it is cooked by a community of caterers called wazas. Usually eaten at weddings and other celebratory occasions, it consists of gargantuan…