Coffee Bars

Last fortnight saw major happenings in the tiny world of coffee bars. Barista announced its willingness to be bought out, Starbucks is – finally – poised to enter the country and Barnie’s made its entry into the country, the first outlet being in the National Capital Region. That means that Barista, Café Coffee Day, Coffee…

A Theory of Butter Chicken

Last Sunday, a friend and I were having an animated discussion about where in Delhi one goes for the best butter chicken. Rahul said Mini Mughal; I said Swagath. Many other suggestions came up and were shot down. Both of us thought that Moti Mahal had no consistency between branches; that dhabas got the dish…

Viva Goa

The next time you’re in Goa, if you want to stir up hornet’s nest, try asking a group of house wives for the exact recipe of Goan fish curry. have a riot on your hands in no time at all. The exact details of the recipe may elude you — whether the Gherkin-like bimblim, tamarind,…

The Mystery Spice, Kalpasi

The first time I heard about the mystery spice must have been around 1998. I had just started writing about food, when a youthful chef from Taj Coromandel, Chennai, came visiting Delhi for a Chettinad food festival. He showed me the spices necessary to make the iconic Chettinad chicken, and there it was, nestled amidst…

Not by Bread Alone

Which came first – the chicken or the egg? And no, I’m not asking this with reference to the bird flu scare. It’s the first question I asked Chef Arun Tyagi, Corporate Chef of the MBD group of hotels when I visited a festival of breads that featured 100 different varieties. On the other hand,…

Tamil Nadu’s Hidden Cuisines

There’s a certain point on the map of India, north of which ‘South Indian food’ tends to be a one-size-fits-all panoply of dosas and sambhars with minor, if any, variations to distinguish them. In fact, all four southern states have an abundance of cuisines. Geographical location – coastal or interior – and community both play…

Spices from Jammu & Kashmir

Think Kashmiri spices and you will automatically be reminded of saffron, that most expensive spice that grows nowhere else in India except the Valley. However, on my annual pilgrimage – or would it be more (politically) correct to call it Hajj? – I came across facts that I had never suspected before For instance, in…

Sushi ~ the Culinary Haiku

A few decades from now, they’ll probably be asking a riddle: what started in China, became popular in Japan, was expounded in California and became a hysterically frenzied cult in New Delhi? The answer, as anyone who has visited the capital in the last decade knows, is sushi. The Chinese character was first found in…

Give us today our daily tchot

It never fails to amaze me how Kashmiri wazwan has percolated the consciousness of every foodie in the country, yet how few know anything at all about Kashmiri bread. At the most basic level, there are three types of bread that are eaten morning and evening: tchot, lavas and tchachvoru. All are made with wheat…

Kitchens all over the world

Think that commercial kitchens around the world do nothing but churn out food? Imagine that all chefs think and behave in the same fashion? Some of my chef friends reminisce about kitchens on the other side of the globe. When Chef Ravitej Nath, Executive Chef of Trident Gurgaon went to Hilton Beijing for an Indian…