From Tokyo, with love

Japanese restaurants will flood the market and Indian regional cuisines will be big If 2007 was the Year of the Chinese Restaurant, 2008 will be the Year of the Japanese Restaurant. Japan bites So far, almost every Japanese restaurant in India served either sushi, teppanyaki or both, but nothing more. Apart from Sakura in Delhi’s…

Malaysian on wheels

I’ve always wanted some enterprising soul to open a Malaysian restaurant in Delhi. The cuisine has more affinity with the Indian palate than, say, Thai, with its many spectacular vegetarian dishes and plenty of spice. So when I was told about Kayalan, a takeaway place started by a Malaysian citizen of Indian origin, my joy…

Santrampur: Dining with the Royal Family

In a supremely secluded corner of Gujarat, the 9 gun salute state of Santrampur occupies a rather interesting site in the intersection between three different states: Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat.  The present ruler and his wife, HH Maharana Paranjayaditya Parmar and Maharani Mandakini Kumari, are the latest in a dynasty that has been in…

Outside Influences on Indian Food

In a country whose area spans 1.24 million square miles, it is a foregone conclusion that there have been, and continue to be, a multitude of influences from outside the country as well as from within, in terms of ingredients, preparations, vegetables, meats, combinations, spices and cooking methods. Furthermore, in our ancient civilization, the notion…

The Great Indian Thali

Flip through Facebook, and you’ll see that the rules of the boasting game appear to have altered slightly. Instead of your friends crowing about the Sacher Torte they enjoyed in Vienna, now it is about a Sambalpuri thali from Orissa or an incendiary meal from Rayalseema. 2016 must go down in history as the year…

Of Fan, Khajla and Puffs

Light as air and as flaky as a snowdrop – that’s fan for you, never mind the curious name. They’re made by traditional bakers in pockets of Old Delhi, almost always by the Muslim community, and tend to be concentrated in Muslim-dominated localities – Kallan Masjid near Turkman Gate, Pahadi Bhojla and Matia Mahal. They…

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…