Indian food in all its avatars – recipes, reviews & essays
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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.
For most Indian immigrants the two most mouth-watering words in the English language are “Indian Food”. Last summer I enjoyed a great culinary journey back to India: I visited Anjappar, a noted ‘military hotel’ in Chennai famous for its non-vegetarian Chettinad cooking , and also the iconic Sarvanna Bhavan beloved for its dosas, uttappams and other vegetarian delights. I next ate my favorite street foods at Kailash Parbhat, my family’s favorite Sindhi eatery in the by-lanes of South Mumbai. Final stop was of course the classic Moti Mahal in my hometown of Delhi where I’d first tasted the divine makhani murg or butter chicken in my childhood.
Yet you’ll be surprised to know that I visited all these treasure troves of regional cuisine without ever boarding a flight or stepping out of America!
When immigrants came to America, they bought their home cures and folk remedies along, a legacy of mothers and grandmothers. It is surprising how many families still turn to ginger as the first remedy for coughs and colds, and even motion sickness. Ginger has certainly been around for centuries and everyone from the ancient Greeks to Confucius to the Emperor Akbar is supposed to have been a fan, not to mention the sage Vatsyayana – author of India’s famed sex manual, Kama Sutra, who recommended ginger as an aphrodisiac for lovers.
What can be better than going home for Christmas, especially if home happens to be warm and sunny Goa? Chris and Beverly D’Souza with their young son Luke visited Goa, their hometown, far away from the cold of New York. This story is a Christmas tradition on Lassi with Lavina!
If there’s only one thing you do today to make yourself happy, watch this excellent video! For all those who love the street foods of India this is the ultimate experience, traveling state by state and eating the delicious eats right on the road. The tears sting your eyes, your nose runs, your tongue burns – and you’re in foodie heaven!
It is amazing how everything is available in the open – be it spicy chat papri, ragra patice, alu tikki, chole bature or seekh kebab. You’ll see foods you’ve never eaten!
Vikas Khanna’s new book ‘Indian Harvest: Classic and Contemporary Vegetarian Dishes’ begins and ends with his poems. No, it is not a book of poems but a recipe book which is part memoir, part travelogue and part encyclopedia, as well as his repertoire of traditional and modern vegetarian recipes.
When Sunita Advaney, now married and settled in Forest Hills, was seven years old, she came home from first grade and asked her immigrant parents about Thanksgiving. Her father Lal Lakhati, who had migrated from India, didn’t just explain the holiday to her, he actually went out and bought a small rotisserie bird and all the trimmings and the family had a Thanksgiving dinner. In later years they did two turkeys – one traditional and the other a bright red, coated with tandoori spices, coloring and stuffed with biryani and boiled eggs. Says Sunita, “We need our chillies and it was a good way to ease people into turkey because turkey is not our culture.”
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!
Don’t you just love love stories and happy endings? When I first did the story with chocolatiers on their own sweet romances, it was a popular post. This year I thought I’d go back and see if there were any romantic updates. Yes, there were – including an adorable baby!
Shefalee Patel, our only chocolatier who was single had found true love and Aarti Mahtani Raman who had just got married now has a baby boy!
So here is a Valentine’s Day Treat – true love stories!
On Valentine’s Day we share some of the fabulous chocolates and desserts created by Indian pastry chefs, culinary experts and entrepreneurs – and to add some extra sweetness, we also unearth their personal romance tales, from New Delhi to New York! Meet Divya Burman, Shefalee Patel, Monica Bhide, Surbhi Sahni and Aarti Mahtani Raman – taste their chocolates and hear what Valentine’s Day mean to them. We ran this story last year – and this year it’s twice as sweet!
Do you have a weakness for burgers? What if you could eat the burger – without the bun? McDonalds has come up with a creative idea, substituting the high calorie buns with low-calorie lettuce. Can this work or will eaters get withdrawal symptoms hankering for the substantial, filling bread? Well, this has been introduced only in Australia yet – let’s see how it catches on!
Did you ever hear of the arrival of the turkey on to the Thanksgiving table being heralded as the arrival of the ‘dulhan’ or Indian bride? For Sunita Advaney’s family fixing the 30 lb bird was like preparing for an elaborate Indian wedding. Trust desis to bring their own take on this American holiday, imprinting it with their own special flavor!
Forget sex, forget travel, the biggest fantasies people seem to have are about – Indian food! Yes, home-cooked comfort food just like mom made. The fantasy is to have such a meal whenever and wherever the urge arises – with minimal effort.
Well, that’ s a reality now thanks to Saffron Fix, a brand new creation by two entrepreneurs, Ankita Sharma and Madhuri Sharma.There is such a hunger for this that the duo, hoping to raise $10,000 on Kickstarter, were rewarded within days with $13,761 – and are still going strong.
Indian cooking fans! Welcome to Lassi with Lavina’s blog which flies you to quite another universe – Foodiesphere! Alka Keswani of Sindhi Rasoi.shares some very authentic, typical home recipes for vegetarian Sindhi food which have been made by grandmas and mothers for decades. Sindh is the lost homeland of hundreds of thousands of Hindu Sindhis who had to flee as refugees in the Partition of 1947, and their food, culture and language are the anchors they hold on to.
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.