The Lore of White Tea

“You can find a diamond in a coal mine,” beams the genial Rajeev Mittal of Mittal Tea House, Lodi Colony, New Delhi”just the way you can discover white tea on a regular bush.” White tea – it’s not really white, but very pale green and its leaves are long and pointed – is, quite simply, the…

Spice Up Your Life

What is the spiciest dish you’ve ever eaten? I’ll bet you’re thinking only of fiery hot red chillies. Yet, other things than chillies can blast off the top of your head. Japanese wasabi paste comes to mind. Korean cuisine has a yellow mustard that’s ear-burning too. I was once invited to a Korean banquet where…

2008: The Year of the Rat

Exactly five years ago, I made my way to Hong Kong. It was my first trip to South East Asia and I was wide-eyed with wonder. The veritable forest of tall buildings, the neon brightness that threatened to outshine the sun, the sheer variety of Chinese food, from roadside dai pai dongs (street-side stalls) to…

Singapore Fling

Budget travellers to Singapore head happily to the thousands of hawkers centres in that city-state. Two people can have a filling meal of noodles, soup, Hainanese chicken rice or something called roti pratha, and still have change left over from Singapore $ 5. Hawkers’ centres provide variety. In the interests of fairplay, owners of a…

SIAL: the French Gastronomy Exhibition

Salon International de l’Alimentation, better known as SIAL, just concluded in Villepinte, Paris. No matter where you looked, you couldn’t have missed the Indian contingent, and I’m not referring to exhibitors like Satnam Overseas. We were a motley bunch of executive chefs and F & B Managers, importers and food writers, looking at what France…

Smoke House Room

What do you get when you cross a bon vivant with a solitary translator of Ghalib’s poetry? You get maverick restaurateur Riyaaz Amlani. He has two sides to him. He is blessed with friends across the planet on one hand, yet on the other, he loves nothing better than to hole up in his study…

Smoke House Grill

Delhi’s newest restaurant – Smoke House Grill – is from the stable of Riyaaz Amlani, the maverick genius who gave us Mocha. Expectedly, it is not just another fine-dining eatery with a lounge section, but contains a novel concept that is set to change the way we look at cuisine. The restaurant actually has a…

Coffee: Ways to Brew It

Unless you live in south India, where coffee is grown, it’s a nightmare getting a decent cup. It shouldn’t be, because India grows plenty of coffee, of which, three are specialty coffees: Monsoon Malabar, Mysore Nugget Extra Bold (MNEB) and Robusta Kapi Royal. OK, so you’ve heard the age old argument that arabicas are inherently…

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…