In a changing economy & environment, it helps to have always been creative with very little. Every day at lunch break at the Convent of Jesus and Mary School in Delhi, India, hordes of ink-stained white-uniformed schoolgirls would surround me, salivating for a taste of my home-made lunch: aam ke achaar ke sandwiches.
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Getting Hooked on Indian Sweets…
We all love kaju rolls – the cashew nut mithai which comes in cool cigar shapes with a pistachio filling – but I didn’t quite expect a one-year-old Italian- German toddler to be such a fan of this Indian sweetmeat! Call him a Mithai Monster instead of Cookie Monster but he sure loves the desi sweets.
Warning: Do NOT Separate an Indian from his Onions! It’s the one ingredient that no self-respecting desi cook would want to be without; whether you are whipping up a Mughal feast or a poor man’s meal – onions are absolutely necessary. In fact, a shortage of onions can cause a near revolution in India!
Like a breath of fresh air from the Himalayan river valleys here are some mouth-watering recipes from Vikas Khanna’s new book ‘Return to the Rivers’ (with Andrew Blackmore-Dobbyn). Vikas Khanna traveled to India’s Himalayan valleys as well as countries of Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal to gather a taste of dishes rarely eaten in the West. Here are a few tantalizing bites – and recipes.
Bombay Duck? Chote Nawab? Thelewala? No, you are not lost on a Mumbai street nor are you watching a Bollywood movie – these happen to be the names of new casual restaurants which have sprung up in New York City.
Not fancy like the Michelin Star rated Indian restaurants like Tamarind, Junoon and Tulsi, nor no-frills like the many small eateries in Curry Hill, there’s a new breed of Indian restaurants, offering authentic Indian eats in a fun atmosphere with low prices. Many of them have come up in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village and West Village, a gathering spot for students and tourists.
A no-turkey Thanksgiving should make both vegetarians and the turkeys very happy!
As each successive wave of immigrants come to America, they introduce their own well-loved foods to the Thanksgiving table and in the process create new traditions.
In ‘Ajanta – Regional Feasts of India’ cookbook author and restaurateur Lachu Moorjani explores the diverse foods of India, with regional feasts from different states. Here he shares some recipes from different regions of India. Come hungry!
So what’s on the menu? Chef Roshni Gurnani showcases Fusion Sushi, Curry Infused Swordfish with creamed spinach, and Coriander crusted rack of Lamb with Bombay smashed potato, baby carrots and an onion tomato salad. Bon Appétit!
Get into the kitchen with noted chef Maneet Chauhan and it’s a daring marriage between Indian spices and ingredients from around the world. Chauhan, who’s cooked up a storm in India and the US, including the critically acclaimed Vermilion, is now working on two cookbooks and is a judge on Food Network’s Chopped. Here she shares some of her unusual recipes which pair the quintessentially desi masalas like Sambhar powder and pau bhaji masala with unlikely items like edamame and olives, which are rarely used in Indian cuisine.
“In the Hindi language, there are no sweeter words than ‘Muh Meetha Karwaho’ – ‘Make Your mouth Sweet’ – and any occasion of joy needs a sweet ending. Something about the idea of how no meal was truly complete without a sweet bite and how every major celebration, gathering and even religious event is commemorated with sweets has resonated with me.
I can’t count how many times I’ve heard someone say, ‘Make your mouth sweet’, but I do it happily every time. However, it is Diwali that I especially remember from my childhood because it featured an abundance of sweets.”
Sponsored Guest Blog by Shefalee Patel
She’s a svelte and golden goddess with a cooking utensil in her hand and she’s coveted by all those in the world of cuisine.
We’re talking of course of the Varli Culinary Award, in the form of a lithe sculpture – and now the most talented chefs are going to be able to take her home as a testimony to their cooking talent.
On November 15, foodies, chefs and restaurateurs will gather for the first Varli Culinary Awards at the Altman Building in New York City to honor the best talents in Indian cuisine. The chief judge of the evening is renowned cooking authority Sanjeev Kapoor whose show ‘Khana Khazana’ is a huge hit on TV. The hosts for the evening are popular New York actors Manu Narayan and Pooja Kumar.
You will never look at Brussels sprouts the same way again after this you try this recipe. While they are not a traditional Indian vegetable, Brussels sprouts have found their way into my kitchen. Honestly, I first tried them to see why so many Americans disliked them!
Diwali in America is all about innovation and creating new traditions and each family follows its past rituals but also adds in new ones. Indeed, Floyd Cardoz, the celebrated chef of North End Grill in Manhattan, is a Catholic married to Barkha, a Hindu, and is an avid celebrator of Diwali.
“Even though Floyd and I come from different religious backgrounds, our kids are lucky and blessed to be able to celebrate both holidays,” says Barkha. “They absolutely love Diwali – we do Lakshmi puja in the evening and then it’s followed by the food that is a tradition from when I was a little girl – Pooris with aloo rassa, makhani dal, a paneer dish, gobi sabji, lots of mithai and then the all time favorite – sabudana kheer.”
(Barkha Cardoz with extended family at the Diwali table)
After being the chef at Vermilion, the acclaimed Indian-Latin fusion restaurants in Chicago and New York for eight years and the first Indian woman to be a competitor on The Iron Chef and The Next Iron Chef, what do you do for an encore?
Well, if you’re Maneet Chauhan, you take a break. You go have a baby, become a judge on Food Network’s ‘Chopped’, work on two cook books and plan a new restaurant in Nashville, TN, partnering with the M Street Restaurant Group.
Here Maneet shares her life and recipes with Lassi with Lavina readers!
Once upon a time three young rising chefs were handed shrimp, an immaculate kitchen. limited time and a medley of ingredients to orchestrate into an award-winning new shrimp masterpiece. They dashed and they mashed, they mixed and they fixed, they chopped and they pureed as a lineup of pedigreed judges and VIP guests watched with bated breath and hungry stomachs.
The event was Varli’s ‘Rising Star Chef 2012’ live competition at Junoon featuring chefs under the age of 35 – Bhavesh Patel (Moghul Caterers), Shravan Shetty (Urban Spice), and Sylva Senat (Tashan). Each created a signature entrée and served a tasting to the celebrity panel of judges – noted chef Jehangir Mehta of Graffiti and Mehtaphor; restaurateur Rajesh Bhardwaj, and award-winning cook book authors Monica Bhide and Ramin Ganeshram.
Sacrilege or a seduction? Chocolate Dosa!
The other day wandering in the pleasurable desi by-lanes of Jackson Heights, admiring the mounds of mangoes, lychees and papayas, I stopped at Dosa Delight, a small family-type vegetarian eatery. There along with the traditional idli, medhu vada and Pondicherry Dosa was – Chocolate Dosa!
Now this is not a gourmet city restaurant but a tried and tested homey Southern outpost. So how did something as contrary as Chocolate Dosa find its way here? And could I have a taste?
Who’s Matt? And who’s Meera? Well, Matt & Meera is the name of chef Hari Nayak’s newest venture, a happening new cafe in the heart of Hoboken, NJ, which is fast coming up as a young, multicultural haven. Nayak saw so many young intercultural couples in this area that he decided to take two typical Indian and American names – Matt and Meera – and combine them for his cafe.
“American food is a combination of so many different cuisines today and I like to give it a flavor punch with ingredients and spices from India and around the world,” says Nayak. “I don’t want to eat heavy Indian food every day but whether it’s a slice of pizza or a bowl of salad, I want to give it an Indian touch.”
Nayak, whose popular cook book ‘Modern Indian’ touched upon this very subject, goes fun and light at Matt & Meera, with American comfort foods to which he has added his own desi twist.