En, Mehrauli Cafe Ludus Mughal Cuisine Foods Quattro Indigo Cafe Panash Ultra High Lounge Karavalli, Gateway Hotel
Roaming Rover in
Four Points by Sheraton
Terra Farms: Microgreens
Point of View
The Indian Food Snob
A Chef in Every Home
Chef Christopher Koetke Jay Yousuf and Gauri Devidayal
Delicious hues of Korean Food CaLDRON March 2014
Malvani Food Everyone likes it hot tears from the spice and joy from the sublime yet complex flavors. Is
Malvani food for you?
YOUR TAKE ON
Methods of Coffee Preparation
There are those to whom coffee really doesn't matter and then those on the other side of the spectrum who want their coffee roasted in a certain manner, to a certain done-ness and would have it no other way. We asked Chef at Large members how they prepare their coffee. The results were interesting, to say the least. We learnt there are just as many who drink instant coffee as those who manually percolate. None of the above
Any way I can get it
Don't drink coffee
Original question: How do you prepare your coffee? Respondents: One Hundred and Thirty Nine (139) Link to Poll: http://bit.ly/cal-coffeeprep-poll 2
CaLDRON March 2014
EDITORIAL & CREDITS The Chef at Large Team MANAGING EDITOR SID KHULLAR (Delhi/NCR) ASSOCIATE EDITOR NATASHA ALI (Bangalore) CONSULTING EDITOR VINITA BHATIA (Mumbai) EVENTS EDITOR PARUL PRATAP SHIRAZI (Delhi/NCR) RECIPE CURATOR NADEEM KHAN SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS SANDEEP SRINIVASA (Coffee) JASWINDER SINGH (Wine & Spirits) SPECIAL PROJECTS RITUPARNA MUKERJI SHRUTI ARORA CHARIS ALFRED BHAGIANTHAN
All other recipe photos used are from the sources mentioned in the article.
Hrishikesh Thakker / Chef Christopher Koetke, Vice President of Kendall College School of Culinary Arts, Chicago / Chef Gracian Dâ€™Souza, Head-Culinary Design, Playboy India / Chef Kunal Kapur / Grey Goose Vodka / Chef Rajeev Arora, Levo, Mumbai / Chef Sandeep Pande, Executive Chef, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Center Hotel / Wikipedia / He Said She Said / Chocolatier Rakesh Saini, 32 Degree Studio / Chef Hayat Singh of Bellagio Restaurants, New Delhi / Dhaba by Claridges / Gung the Palace, Gurgaon / Chef Siddhanth Sawkar / Vee Delta / Sailesh Mehra / Rhea Mitra-Dalal / ABSOLUT / webdonuts.com / Hina Gujral from her blog, Fun Food and Frolic.
t's Holi in a few days and most houses will see the frantic and joyous preparation of traditional sweets and drinks. It's sharing at its best and most obvious, outlining the basic values of Indian households at their finest. The more adventurous will probably procure Bhaang, and mix it with the batter used for deep frying pakodas as well as adding it to refreshing drinks, thus ensuring few visitors will have an excuse to not join the revelry, shrugging off inhibitions and celebrating Holi with gusto. Gung the Palace was kind enough to share the prodigious output of their kitchen for our pages and Chef Arora spared his time to answer member questions, acts for which we are thankful and appreciative. Chocolatier Rakesh Saini of 32 Degree Studio too spent time writing us a lovely article on the basics of Chocolate tempering, a subject that has many confused. Which reminds me of a contest we're going to be springing on you shortly, where there are seats to be won in Rakesh's chocolate and sugar craft courses. These are highly prized seats, so stay tuned, brush up your confectionary quotient and get ready for a barrage of questions. It's bound to be exciting with stakes like this! We've received feedback on the website, the speed of the magazine and are working to fix issues as we hear from you. Please do keep the flow of commentary coming and do not be kind. Let us have it as you think it, because that can only make us better. Stay well. Sid
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CaLDRON March 2014
Don't forget to make your own Holi drinks this time! Check out the recipes for Thandai, Somras and Ruhani Lassi in the ‘Mix It Up’ column.
CaLDRON March 2014
CONTENTS Snippets Poll: How Do We Prepare Coffee?, 2 Born this Month: Bartolo "Buddy" Valastro, Jre, 6 Mailbox, 7 Ask the Experts, 46 Featured Members, 90 Listings - International, 92 Listings - National, 94
Recipes Braised Duck Leg, 25 Wild Rice, 26 Fish Panache with Pink Ginger Sauce and Microgreen Salad, 30
Reviews Enthralled By EN, 8 Swimming in a Sea of Cocktails, 10 Mughlai Gets Healthy Stays Hearty, 12 Fired up by Quattro, 14 The Bright Hues of Indigo, 16 Twist in the Tale, 18 Get Your High On, 19 Hallejujah to Good Food, 22
Aubergine and Peanut Chutney, 35
Specials Events: All Things Wine, 32 Booked: A Chef in Every Home, 34 Spa-Scape: Spa's The Way, 44 Point of View: The Indian Food Snob, 72
Food Fads Case Study: Terra Farms, Microgreens, 28 Hands On: Ambrosia in a Teacup, 38 Flavors of India Malwani Foods: Everyone Likes it Hot, 48 Cover Story Holi: When Everything Else Goes, 66
Malwani Crab Masala, 48 Okra Kurkure, 53 Spiced Jalapeno Poppers, 54 BBQ Chicken Wings, 55 Fish Taquito with Fruit Relish, 56
Mix Up True Blue, 41 Film Noir, 42 Punk, 43 Thandaai, 68 Somras, 70 Ruhaani Lassi, 71
Kitchen Kin Chef Christopher Koetke, 24 Business of Food Turning the Tables: Jay Yousuf and Gauri Devidayal, 36 Food Porn Korean food, 74 Roaming Rover Four Points by Sheraton: Full Comfort Guaranteed, 62
CaLDRON March 2014
BORN THIS MONTH
Bartolo "Buddy" Valastro, Jr. (born March 3, 1977) is an Italian American celebrity chef, entrepreneur, and reality television personality. He serves as head baker at Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey, which has built a new factory at Lackawanna Center, a mixed industrial/retail complex in Jersey City, and opened multiple branch locations. He is perhaps best known as the star of the reality television series Cake Boss, which premiered in April 2009. He is also the host of the show's spin-off, Kitchen Boss, as well as the competitive reality television series Next Great Baker and his new show Bakery Boss, which airs new episodes on TLC. Information courtesy: Wikipedia, Photo Courtesy: http://ibie2013.org/
CaLDRON March 2014
MAILBOX The February issue of CaLDRON was such an amazing issue! You read my mind. I wanted to know more about wines used for cooking and the article in the magazine is a start. The pasta recipe mentioned in the magazine is on the menu for lunch shortly. Great work, team CaLDRON. Anandi Iyer, Mumbai Thank you Anandi. This has been a topic of discussion for a while and a clarity was long overdue. - Sid Khullar The February 2014 issue of CaLDRON magazine is best one so far, in terms of feature articles, pictures and recipes. The complete look and feel of the magazine is simply wow! The feature done by Vinita Bhatia on Palanpuri cuisine is so well captured. The cover of Matai Mahal and other gorgeous pictures was a virtual treat. Not to forget to mention the awesome ‘Spiritual’ section with so many interesting cocktail recipes. My heartiest congratulations to the team of CaLDRON. Now, I want to see this magazine in the print soon Sonal Gupta Thank you Sonal. I enjoyed writing the article just as Sid had a great time taking those photos. - Vinita Bhatia Thank you for the article on Hotel Clarke Amer at Jaipur in the February issue of CaLDRON magazine. I will definitely look into the negative remarks mentioned in the article and make sure they are attended to. Ankur Lohani, Marketing Manager, Clark Group of Hotels We look forward to visiing again Ankur, when things are better. - Vinita Bhatia Congratulations to all the Chef at Large members CaLDRON March 2014
who were featured in the February issue of CaLDRON magazine. They have really done fabulous work. CaLDRON is a magazine that makes you feel proud because you feel that somewhere, somehow you are a part of it. Fantabulous work. Priyanka Sushant Varma, London We're a community to start with and there's a little bit of everyone in CaLDRON magazine Priyanka. Thank you for your team spirit. Jaswinder Singh Firstly, congrats on yet another fantastic issue. I have now started waiting for the release of CaLDRON every month, curious and excited about what new food-related information it packs. And those recipes are amazing. What I like most about them is that they are not very complicated and can be replicated with ease at home. I just have one suggestion. Can you include a few more vegetarian recipes in the issue? I feel there are way too many nonvegetarian recipes currently, which does not benefit a vegetarian like me. Mamta Sharma, Pune We hear you Mamta and are working on making the content mix equally fantastic for everyone. - Natasha Ali I just wanted to drop a line appreciating the fantastic work on the February issue of CaLDRON magazine. I read most of it in less than a few hours after it was online. Apart from the great Valentine's related articles, I truly enjoyed three really well thought out articles – 'Critiquing the Critics', 'Food Bloggers Are A Media in Themselves' and 'Food, Religion and Tranquility'. The articles 'Critiquing the
Critics' and 'Food Bloggers Are A Media In Themselves' had my attention from the contents page itself and I went ahead to read them first. Both the articles discuss lot of relevant issues about explosion of food blogging and restaurant reviews that we are seeing. The Palanpuri cuisine article was another novel and interesting read. Being a Gujarati myself, I was surprised that I did not know about it! Great work, as always! Disha Kapadia, Mumbai We're having a great deal of fun bringing out these issues Disha and are thrilled to know they're just as much fun for you. - Sid Khullar I simply loved CaLDRON’s February’s issue. It is so colorful. I have been reading it every day. At this rate, I will have it by-hearted it soon! Liz Alice, Bangalore That's such a nice thing to know Liz, thank you! - Parul Pratap Shirazi I have been reading CaLDRON since the first issue was rolled out last year. And I must say, the magazine has improved a lot. The cover photos are very impressive and are better than a lot of international food magazines I have come across. My only grudge is that the online publication takes a while to open up if you are trying to read it on the go. Is there any way to improve its loading speed? Jaya Khanna, Mumbai The publication is currently served from issuu.com. Please allow us a little time to understand and things work out. In the meantime, please do check out our site, chefatlarge.in, which we've been working on and made over five times faster.Sandeep Srinivasa
Letter of the Month I just printed the entire February issue of CaLDRON blogazine and what a marvelous read it is. It was so tempting that I ended up spending two hours at my office, going from article to article. My plan was to keep at it till night. Since I live away from India, I started sending restaurant options to all my friends back in New Delhi and Mumbai after reading all the restaurant reviews. I also shortlisted some interesting recipes that I plan to cook myself soon; and got to see some great food photography. I subscribe to lot of Indian and international food magazines and read a lot of food blogs too. But this issue of CaLDRON was phenomenal. It was a good balance of food and related subjects. Way to go for all those have are associated with this magazine. Keep the issues coming – there are people around the world who are your loyal readers. Mala Javeri, Bahrain We are always interested in knowing what you think about CaLDRON. Complaints, compliments, censure – go right ahead and email us your opinions at email@example.com. Missed reading the earlier issues of CaLDRON magazine? They're all on this link http://chefatlarge.in/caldron-issues/. Receive notifications of future issues, by filling in the the subscribe box on the website.
REVIEWS - DELHI
Enthralled By EN If you are looking for excellent Japanese food in a private and premium environment, look no further than EN.
ost properties in the Mehrauli area are beautifully done in varying degrees of Nawabi or Mediterranean-ish decadence. The compound housing EN, the specialty Japanese restaurant, is no exception. The issue is, that’s if you want to take issue with it, that since EN is Japanese the exteriors don’t get more un-Japanese than this. In any case, at the risk of letting the crane out of the bag, this won’t matter after you take your first bite at this upscale restaurant. You’re met at a counter on the ground floor and escorted up a wide staircase, leading to interiors that at first might feel minimalistic. However, soon you realize that this could be better described as dreary and disinterested. I understand the challenges of making a building the likes of Ambawatta One, look anything close to Japanese. However, one has to try, and I could not say that the current setup quite qualifies as an enthusiastic try.
only serve to jar the senses. The dim lighting at certain pockets of the restaurant is reminiscent of low voltage outputs in government guesthouses – instead of the elegance it actually aimed to achieve. Having said that, there are plenty of seating
The salad, ordinary as the main ingredients were, was extraordinarily delicious due to the dressing of sesame oil, rice vinegar and soy sauce.
options; from three to 20 tables in the regular indoor section to an expansive outdoor area. This denotes to lot of space, which, in this city, translates to privacy when used in the context of dining out.
The difference in light temperatures within EN was probably intended But like I mentioned earlier, all to be mood enhancers, but they words and misgivings are thrown 8
out the window in the direction of the very lovely view of the Qutub Minar, when you begin your meal at EN. Food that Charms Japanese food is probably the only cuisine I know of and have experienced, that has the most delicate, subtle flavors. Alongside it has a variety of cooking techniques while following a strict system of preparation and presentation that is as regimented as it is creative. You can expect linear containers combined with rounded, asymmetrically arranged food and an overall result of contrasts, finesse and surprise; and these are usually met. EN is no different. We started with a platter of assorted appetizers – al dente green beans with crunchy sesame sauce, tender pieces of chicken flavored with sweet ginger, and crunchy slices of carrots and lotus stem flavored with sesame oil and soya. A basket of ‘Vegetable Tempura’ (Rs 1000) followed, accompanied by a tiny bowl of daikon radish topped with freshly grated ginger and a bowl of Tentsuyu sauce. The mild sauce accompanied by the CaLDRON March 2014
REVIEWS - DELHI
Ebi Tornado - Finely spun potato threads wrapped around large prawns made for a very picturesque dish. The salad, ordinary as the main ingredients were, was extraordinarily delicious due to the dressing of sesame oil, rice vinegar and soy sauce. We loved the whole platter and couldn’t wait for the next course! Ebi Tornado, the next course, was A platter of ‘Fish Carpaccio’ slid into place and we realised someone a deep fried Jumbo shrimp, wound in the kitchen loved his job. Slices around with threads of potato. Quite of Salmon and Sea Bass flanked by a laborious process I assume and a dipping bowl of one of the most one that resulted in a few very nice bites of shrimp. The accompanying delicious sauces I’ve tasted – Yuzu proprietary sauce however, tasted of Sauce, on the north-western front haste and we recommend avoiding and a leafy salad on the eastern front. The sauce provided the perfect it. compliments of flavors for the fresh, raw fish. It was meaty (courtesy the A very well made braised pork main ingredient, Somen Broth), belly was followed by a platter of sushi served at a less than optimum zesty (yuzu peel and yuzu juice) with the inclusion of Yuzu peppers/ temperature, including a delightful baked ‘California Roll’, and termicapers providing an additional dinated by an assortment of desserts. mension of flavor. fresh textures of the radish went well with the very crunchy vegetables, that included zucchini, carrot, baby corn, mustard leaf and sweet potato among others.
CaLDRON March 2014
We loved the ‘Creme Brulee’ as it was served ‘wide’, not ‘deep’, resulting in loads of the lovely, crisp, caramelised crust. ■
Sid Khullar Rating: 4 out of 5 Price: INR 5000++ (meal for two) Address: H-5/1, New Ambawatta Complex, Kalkadas Marg, Mehrauli, Delhi - 110030 Phones: 011-26646471, 26646472 9
REVIEWS - DELHI
t might be a bit of an overstatement when I say this, but I wouldn’t mind doing that someday – swimming in a sea of cocktails. When I say cocktails, I mean drinks, not chicken tails. While I wait for my dream of swimming in a sea of cocktails to come to fruition, I will have to settle for something that is within the realm of reality. In the endeavor to accomplish that, I took a stroll to Café Ludus. Another friend had visited it before to sample the food. However, I figured it was time to talk to the guys who create magic behind the bar counter, and sample the drinks. The bar team at Café Ludus is led by Bhim Gurung. Though I am more of a wine person, one might catch me drinking a cocktail once in a while. All it takes is a guy like Bhim to dish out a drink that adds to my suaveness (since I am being brutally honest, I’ll admit that I’m not modest at all). Interesting Ambiance Appealing Drinks The setting at Café Ludus is quite interesting; open and lounge-y on the inside and a beautifully decked-up terrace outside. Wooden floors and lighting add to the ambience of the place and making it a very relaxing space to hang out. Obviously, a cold Delhi winter evening called for an outdoor experience. But, what about that drink?
Swimming In A Sea Of Cocktails
Bhim and his team have a few aces up their sleeves. They dish out stuff that would make you look like the debonair Will Smith from the movie Cocktails at Café Ludus are so delectable that you will be ‘Hitch’, in a club. Since I was all by tempted to go for seconds. Moreover, just the way they are my wee self, I could try out only presented will add to the sophistication of your demeanor. three of the best drinks that the house had to offer. 10
CaLDRON March 2014
REVIEWS - DELHI
Being a wine man, ‘Sangria’ (Rs. 499) was naturally the first choice on the table. Making good Sangria is not an easy task and very few can master this art. However, team Ludus has their recipe sorted out. Their choice is a Fratelli Cabernet Sauvignon with an added dash of triple sec, orange juice and brandy. The Cabernet Sauvignon lends the Sangria a very fruity taste with the orange juice adding to the tang and structure that balances the brandy and triple sec well. There’s a good amount of fruit in the bowl of the glass with slices of apple on a stick to add to the overall allure of the drink.
The ‘Smoked Whiskey Sour’ (Rs. 599), served in an old-fashioned glass like a whiskey drink ought to be served, says a lot about the person who chooses to drink it. A generous splash of bourbon with egg white, topped with tangerine/ sweet lime juice and lemon rind that lends it a very balanced structure and taste. Sweet lime/tangerine lends that extra punch that makes it an excellent cocktail for a relaxed evening. Good amount of bourbon in the drink makes it just about right, something even a handsome bloke should not mind rocking in his hands at the club.
Next up was the ‘Gin Basil Smash’ (Rs. 499). Gin, cane sugar, lime and basil make this dirty martini the way Jimmy Bond would like it – shaken, not stirred. This is a very balanced drink that is not too sweet or sour, with robust basil and lime notes on the palate. Served in a martini glass with a dash of panache, order this if you are absolutely sure you can handle your booze because you will go for seconds, thirds, fourths and probably fifths on this one. The martini glass makes it look like a feminine drink, but if Jimmy can handle it, gentlemen, we all can too.
Although I would have liked to taste the house special that Bhim has formulated himself, I was told it takes a while to make that and was not available on the day of my visit. Nonetheless, that calls for another visit to Café Ludus soon.
CaLDRON March 2014
Making good Sangria is not an easy task and very few can master this art. However, team Ludus has their recipe sorted out.
Rating: 3 out of 5 Price: INR 2000++ (meal for two) Address: Shop No 24-25, 2nd Floor, MGF Metropolitan Mall, Saket, New Delhi - 110017 Phones: + 91-9873180930 11
REVIEWS - DELHI
henever a food writer vouches for an establishment, it piques my interest, especially if it’s a place tucked away in the city (much like many good eateries) and features Mughlai cuisine in all its glory! Nestled in Jamia Nagar, Mughal Cuisine Foods is spacious, speckled with Mughal motifs, almost like being in a Nawab’s village haveli.
the careful selection of dishes, I was colour. After tasting the appetizers, certain I had found myself ‘the real it was apparent that the khansamas thing’! were paying homage to their history and creating complex, delicate dishA Meal for Royalty es with recipes only they know! We started with ‘Mutton Seekh’ (Rs 199) and ‘Mutton Barra’ (Rs 259), For the main course, the food which was so fine it reminded me of flowed like the river outside and Turkish sheep meat kebabs – pilooking back, there was not one dish quant but not fiery and so aromatic that made me pause, ponder or pass that each bite was a delight. This was up! The taste of good meat shone a promising start! through and I was told that the chefs bought The restaurant’s After tasting the appetizers, it was apparent whole animals location is hardly from select that the khansamas were paying homage to any cause of concern vendors and because it fills up regtheir history and creating complex, delicate made their ularly at lunchtime; cuts in-house. dishes with recipes only they know! unsurprising since I personally Delhites are known recommend to scale any mountain to reach their the entire menu but what really got favourite place to eat. We throng I tried the ‘Murgh Aflatoon’ (449), us nostalgic and lost in food were to Mughal food like bees to honey, mainly because I love the word, the ‘Urad Dal Gosht’ (Rs 180) where though often, we don’t even realize that and Al-Falah, which I was told each lentil seed was cooked through, that we are not indulging in the true meant ‘prosperity and abundance’, but separated; not sludgy, not al taste of Mughlai fare. It is a fine line, makes Awadhi food so close to God. dente, just right! differentiated by quality, consistency Mughal Cuisine Foods had their and most of all, preservation of tra- meats and cooking methods totally We loved the ‘Haleem’ (Rs 120) and ditions. Any kitchen that has these sorted, I actually loved the ‘Chick- the ‘Mutton Nihari’ (Rs 199). I was three factors in place will serve the en Malai Tikka’ (Rs 479) and the eating with a person who grew up real thing. From all the food talk at ‘Murgh Tandoori’ (Rs 369), which around Jama Masjid and all he said the table the day I dined at Mughlai was beautifully cooked through, after eating the food was, “This was Cuisine Foods, the eye for detail and juicy and not startlingly orange in
Mughlai Gets Healthy, Stays Hearty
Mughal Cuisine Foods serves up great Mughlai food with a healthy twist, cozy ambiance and fantastic prices.
CaLDRON March 2014
REVIEWS - DELHI and fluffy rice, no nonsensical masala business here! This meal now reads like it ought to have been my last, and if you ask me, if I ever walk the Green Mile, give me this spread before I go, because even the desserts had Lucknow stamped all over Returning for More them and were bites full of real joy! I would definitely return for the Mughal Cuisine Foods aspires to ‘Mutton Paya’ (Rs 199); sticky, slightly sweet and cooked overnight create the same traditional meals of Awadh, albeit with fewer calories. to mutton perfection!wish I could have had more of the ‘Mutton Qor- A claim like this usually will scare ma’ (Rs 590) and ‘Mutton Stew’ (Rs someone like me away, but it can be done! They have used olive oil on 590). I enjoyed the ‘Sheermal’ (Rs 25) with it so much, but didn’t keep naans instead of ghee; hung curd and cream combo for cream and it just for the Qorma. have managed to create such lovely and satisfying dishes that I can The ‘Dum Pukht Biryani’ was yet assert that if you know ingredients another eye opener for the simple well enough, you don’t need chilfact that it was just beautiful meat my childhood”! I actually loved the ‘Brain Curry’ (Rs 199) as well, something we make a lot of, with a ‘Khameeri Roti’ (Rs 15), which was just perfect for the curry.
lies or fat to make a nawab-worthy spread! Visit Mughal Cuisine Foods for great Mughal food, family ambiance and fantastic prices. ■
Parul Pratap Shirazi Rating: 4 out of 5 Price: INR 1000++ (meal for two) Address: D 23, Thokar No 3, Abul Fazal Enclave, Kalandi Kunj Road, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi Phones: 011-29940052
I tried the ‘Murgh Aflatoon’ mainly because I love the word, that and Al-Falah, which I was told meant ‘prosperity and abundance’, makes Awadhi food so close to God
CaLDRON March 2014
REVIEWS - MUMBAI
very restaurant claims to be unique. Quattro Ristorante in Mumbai can actually live up to this claim. There aren’t too many restaurants in the city that offer strictly vegetarian, and even Jain-approved, Mexican and Italian cuisine. What’s more is that their menu is not pithy; it is as elaborate and expansive as a wealthy Mexican’s sombrero. And they serve alcohol as well!
quite much in the taste. The three varieties of breads served with the soup are prepared at Quattro’s inhouse bakery called ‘Rolling Pin’.
ates along with the jalapeno pieces and bean gravy served alongside.
What really works up the appetite is the minimalistic, yet artsy, presentation of each dish. The ‘Nachos A Spread-Out Menu Grande’ (Rs 395) and ‘Bruschettas’ The menu accommodates quint(Rs 315) were exactly as one enessential Mexican fare, cleverly visaged. The former is saucy and replacing meat-heavy dishes with creamy and goes perfectly with the vegetarian alternatives seamlessly. The antipasti came rolling in like a strawberry salsa. The crusty bread MexItalian culinary freight train, en- complements the toppings of the ticing given the ornate presentation latter perfectly.
Fired Up By Quattro
Vegetarians often end up getting the short end of the stick when it comes to exploring international cuisine. Quattro Ristorante offers hope to those who want vegetarian options in Mexican and Italian cuisine. Quattro’s clientele unsurprisingly comprises patrons from Gujarati, Marwari and Jain communities. That it is already popular amongst these guests is easy to see – on a Wednesday night, the place was packed. And noisy.
and attention to detail. The ‘Orange and Poached Pear Insalata’ (Rs 295) opened up our taste buds with its sweet and zesty orange dressing. The slices of poached pear however looked, and tasted, as if they had sacrificed their flavour during the blanching process.
To wash down these dishes, we chose the ‘Ginger and Watermelon Mojito’, which had a strong flavor of ginger that complimented the melon's taste. Quattro also offers a spiced beer in an interesting looking glass, enclosed with half an invertThe decor is dim-lit while the ambied beer bottle. The spicy mix of ence strives to be subtly elegant. This The ‘Ensalada Castano’ (Rs 295) is tabasco sauce and mustard is filled effort is drowned in the ambient supposedly a warm salad, though it with one’s preferred beer brand. The cacophony as the place fills up. We lost its warmth with the air condisalt-n-chilly powder spread on the started our meal with the ‘Broccoli tioning unit right above our heads. rims adds to the drama and makes and Cheese Soup’ (Rs 295). Cheesy Nonetheless, the avocado dollops it unnecessarily spicy. On the other and creamy, the presence of broccoli and water chestnuts tickled our pal- end, the ‘Kiwi Margarita’ was was evident in the presentation; not 14
CaLDRON March 2014
REVIEWS - MUMBAI everything it should have been and more! Granita-ish in texture, its presentation was equally enticing, served as it is in a cactus-stemmed glass. Truly Sincere Service The service is prompt; in fact too prompt. The freight train continued to stop at our table with such speedy regularity that we had to gobble up the food
Clearly a cut above its counterparts in the vicinity, Quattro has tweaked two popular cuisines to suit the discerning tastes of the well travelled vegetarian Indian.
Delicious Tomato Bruschetta at Quattro CaLDRON March 2014
brim with Mexican rice and grilled peppers, are served with the works – sour cream, more Mexicano rice, black bean gravy and pico de gaio. These accompaniments come with the enchiladas as well, probably to tone down the spice index, which is courtesy the Cholula sauce that Quattro uses liberally in several of its dishes. Waiting at the finishing line was the ‘Tres Leches’ (Rs 150), strangely the only Spanish dish on the menu. Drizzled with condensed milk, the moist cake wedge is very coconut-ty. Again, this dish too was a treat to the eyes as well as the palate.
By the time we finished our dinner, it felt like a gastronomic Mexican standoff gone right! The only difference – no humans were harmed, and delicious food was enjoyed instead! Clearly a cut above its counterparts in the vicinity, Quattro has tweaked two popular cuisines to suit the discerning already on our tables. A tastes of the well travelled heart-warming sight is the vegetarian Indian. By the extremely generous portion looks of things, they've sizes of each dish. The ‘En- nailed it! ■ chiladas Grande’ (Rs 435) was quite heavy – not just in Hrishikesh Thakker looks, but also as its rests in your belly later. Swimming in a green chilly Rating: 4 out of 5 gravy, it explodes in Price: INR 3000++ (meal for two) your mouth like a bomb; a tasty Mexi- Address: 7, Janta Industrial Estate, Senapati Bapat Marg, Mumbai. can bomb. The ‘Burrito’ (Rs Phones: 022-67496444 455), filled to the 15
REVIEWS - MUMBAI
The Bright Hues of Indigo Indigo Delicatessen at Malad is a cozy American-style diner that you can pop into for a relaxed meal. Food is served sans fanfare, but is loaded with a profusion of flavors, making for an uplifting dining experience.
iven its famous heritage, diners usually walk into any Indigo Deli outlet with high expectations. This was exactly what we did when we entered the new Malad outpost of Indigo Deli. Incidentally, this eatery also has a deli shop with a range of artisanal jams, preserves and other gourmet condiments. This is in addition to in-house baked goodies, meats and cheeses, coffees, teas and salads that one can pick on-the-go.
from this daily specials menu.
Great Expectations, Mostly Met Gulp the ‘Banana and Cinnamon Smoothie’ (Rs 315) with a croissant for breakfast and you should be sorted till late evening. The ‘Watermelon and Mint slush’ (Rs 315) however had a strange orange hue and no taste of the melon. The profusion of berries in the ‘Mixed Berry Caipirojca’ (Rs 465) made it a bit tart and it was extremely mild to qualify as a The 60-seater Indigo Deli has Amer- cocktail. ican diner style booths and tables If you visit Indigo Deli, don’t miss that offer a clear view of its open kitchen. The ceiling has an interest- the soups. The ‘Roasted Sweet Potato and Corn with Sour Cream’ (Rs 415) ing canopy of pockmarked copper was thick and creamy, while the plates overlaid over each other, which complements the dark wood ‘Spinach and Chicken Soup’ (Rs 415) was heartwarmingly delicious. What finish of the décor. really made both tasty propositions was the simplicity of the dual flavors All Indigo outlets across Mumbai in each and Chef Jaydeep Mukherjee have a Daily Specials Menu that took care not to include too many changes every day. This is in addition to the regular items on the main condiments. menu. During our visit to Indigo We tried two quiches – the ‘RoastDeli at Malad, we decided to choose ed Cauliflower Cheddar Cheese 16
Quiche’ (Rs 465) and the ‘Ham and Smoked Meats’ (Rs 465) – and we would pick the latter over the former any day. The smokiness of the ham harmoniously paired with the herbs and cheese and melded perfectly well with the flaky pastry. On the chef ’s recommendation we tried the pizza, and are we glad we did. The base of the ‘Carbonara Pizza’ (Rs 725) was super thin and crisp. It is a wonder that it managed to balance the meltingly soft parmesan cheese with parma ham bits and crushed sage. Gather your friends, grab a beer and order this pizza – there can’t be a better way to kickstart your weekend. Simple Flavors, Fancy Plating The best part of the ‘Pan Seared Halibut with Mustard Mash’ (Rs 765) was the liberal amount of ground mustard mixed into the mash. It makes you oblivious to the creaminess of the mashed potato and turns your entire attention to the
CaLDRON March 2014
REVIEWS - MUMBAI Just as we decided to wind up our meal, Indigo Deli’s Director, Anurag Katriar, insisted we try their ice creams. One thing we noticed about the people associated with Indigo – they resolutely try to stuff you to your gills and don’t take ‘no’ for an answer! So like good little troopers, we tasted the ‘Hazelnut Ice Cream’ (Rs 365) and the ‘Low-sugar Mixed Fruit Cobbler’ (Rs 365). The former was lusciously delicious, the latter was regrettably forgettable. Any outpost of a successful restaurant often struggles to keep up with the image of its flagship outlet. Expectations are always high and sometimes hard to match. But our experience showed us that this new outlet is unlikely to face any such issues. However, whether its price points will win it a loyal clientele remains to be seen. ■ Vinita Bhatia
Bagel & Lox at Indigo Cafe delightful bite of the mustard. It was polite insistence and the sight of the perfect balance to the butter-lad- the burger on a neighboring table en fish steak. broke down our resolve to stay away from the ‘Burger with Works’ (Rs Prudence dictated that we stop our 785). With a name like that, it’s a meal here. However, Chef Jaydeep’s no-brainer you will get a fully-loaded burger with crispy chicken tossed in barbeque sauce, oodles of EmOne thing we menthal cheese, mushrooms, garden noticed about the greens, tomatoes, and a fried egg people associated – all slapped between a huge burger bun. Devouring it will ensure you with Indigo – they will get your own wall in a glutton’s resolutely try to stuff Hall of Fame, but sadly that honor won’t be ours. Halfway through the you to your gills and burger, we realized our folly in even trying to attempt finishing it and won’t take ‘no’ for sheepishly left it aside.
CaLDRON March 2014
Rating: 4 out of 5 Price: INR 2200++ (meal for two) Address: Inorbit Mall, Link Road, Malad West, Mumbai - 400064 Phones: 022-66777999
Fluffly Waffles byIndigo Cafe 17
REVIEWS - PUNE
he plan was simple – head to Panash and try the ‘Oodles of Noodles’ food festival at Panash, the pan-Asian restaurant at Pune’s Four Points by Sheraton. Except that things did not pan out as per plan. And are we glad about that!
What started as a dinner plan to explore the Chinese New Year celebratory meal at Panash in Pune’s Four Points by Sheraton ended up with us drinking and dining at Best Brew instead. All courtesy a lively bartender who enthralled us with his skill of serving cocktails with a twist.
Twist in The Tale
Let’s talk about the ‘Oodles of Noodles’ first. Panash put together this food festival between 16th to 23rd February, 2014, to celebrate the Chinese New Year. For Rs 850, a guest could choose from Chinese noodles like Ramen, Ya Mien, etc, and customize it with the toppings and sauce of their choice to create a customized meal-in-a-bowl. This, after they had built up an appetite by sipping on the soup of the day; and later they could end their meal with some preselected dessert. It looked like a straightforward dinner and we were looking forward to trying the Ho-Fun noodles with beef and black bean sauce. Except that we spotted ‘Best Brew’ pub located cheek-by-jowl to Panash within the hotel. Curious, we entered the pub with its leather furniture and dark colors with woody touches – all reminiscent of a British pub. Adding to this feeling of laidback sangfroid that Brit pubs are renowned for are the flags of prominent soccer teams foisted on a wall and a large screen TV that was airing a soccer match. The well-stocked bar has the traditional bar stools and a bartender who is more than happy to lend you an ear. We decided to grab a drink before proceeding to our dinner, little knowing that this is where we would be spending our entire evening instead. Encounters of the Bartending Kind We perched on the bar stools and started an animated chat with Samuel Christian, our smiling bartender. We requested a warm drink to beat the chill and he decided to offer us Hot, Spiced Brandy (475), which is off the menu, and which he whipped up impromptu. After soaking spices like cinnamon, star anise and cloves in hot water, he mixed it with a shot of brandy. Next, he punched an orange rind with cloves, placed it in the glass and poured hot water over it. The drink was an exotically spicy and fragrant drink, perfect for winters. Samuel revealed that he had to reinvent classic drinks since the Best Brew attracts a contemporary crowd that seeks something different to sip on. He strongly suggested that we try the Twisted Manhattan (475) with bourbon whisky, sweet vermouth and bitters; and we were more
CaLDRON March 2014
REVIEWS - PUNE
Bartender Samuel Christian with a Strawberry Daiquiri than game to play along. This time around, he decided to add some fresh orange juice and orange peel to give the drink a tangy and sweet punch. Well, this twist to the classic cocktail worked perfectly for us, since it gave the drink a really smoother texture, which even a non-whisky drinker would appreciate.
Bartender Samuel Christian revealed that he had to reinvent classic drinks since the Best Brew attracts a contemporary crowd that seeks something excitingly different to sip on. CaLDRON March 2014
Then Came The Food While having a jolly good time sitting at the bar and chatting with an attentive bartender, we realized that we had dinner reservations at Panash next-door. But on our request, Executive Chef Sanjay Mitra agreed to serve our meal at Best Brew. The Mint Chicken Soup with shitake mushrooms was immensely enjoyable and the chopped water chestnuts lent it a pleasant crunch. The chef had given his own tweak to the Singaporean Noodles with Pork in Sichuan Sauce. While we expected the sauce to be spicy it came to us sweet, courtesy some tomato ketchup added in the mixture. But one could not fault the well-cooked rice vermicelli noodles with lots of sautéed vegetables and thin pork slivers. The Chicken Schezwan Fried Rice won us over because it stayed true to the popular recipe and there were no surprises there.
We decided by this time to go back to the comfort of some more cocktails than opt for the dessert. Good ole Samuel offered to mix us a Strawberry Daiquiri (475) – a cocktail of fresh lime juice, white rum, fresh strawberry and puree, shaken hard and then infused with some sugar syrup to offset the tartness of the strawberry. It was easy to see why this is a crowd pleaser at Best Brew. The freshness of the strawberries, the sweetness of the syrup and the biting sharpness of lime – they blended perfectly in the drink, and brought our uncharacteristically, unplanned meal to an end on a perfect note. ■ Vinita Bhatia Rating: 4 out of 5 Price: INR 850 for ‘Oodles of Noodles’ festival; 1500 per person at Best Brew. Address: Four Points by Sheraton, Samrat Ashok Road, Sakore Nagar, Viman Nagar, Pune - 411006 Phones: 020-3940 6699 19
REVIEWS - BANGALORE
T Get Your
he city of Bangalore is full of zest and always up for a fun place to dine, wine and hang out. And perchance, should dancing be on the menu, all the better!
421 feet off the ground and on the 31st floor of the World Trade Center, new entrant High Ultra Lounge is a sure winner. Just the ride up to the lounge in a glass walled elevator provides the opening ‘high’, one that will be followed by further highs, thanks to the panoramic city views, The food at High Ultra Lounge lives up to the lofty promises, the delicious Asian food, fun cocktails and enthusiastic and knowljust as it offers a breathtaking view from its location. You're edgeable service.
assured of a great time at High.
The first time around, I missed an official tour that included space for a helipad, and the surely spectacular view of the sunset that being 421 feet high would offer. Someday, I hope to watch a Sunday afternoon slowly slip into dusk here, enjoying the food, drink and soaking up the atmosphere. High Ultra Lounge offers four different spaces. You can head to High View for the view; High Edge for a drinks date where the high energy of bartender Guru mixing his specials is entertainment in itself; High Mix to boogie your night away; and High Dine for a leisurely meal. Of the drinks we tried, Guru’s ‘Love Potion’, a fizzy pink concoction, and much to my surprise, ‘Inception’, a whiskey-infused cocktail, were my favorites. I usually can’t abide the smell or taste of whiskey, but this one actually had me saying “Bartender, mix me another!”
The very mood lit interiors and view from the dining area. 20
High on Food and More The food, with just one exception, was very good, and did justice to its Pan-Asian repertoire. The selection CaLDRON March 2014
REVIEWS - BANGALORE
Grilled Pork Ribs Glazed With Spicy Hoisin Sauce of vegetarian and seafood sushi was beautiful to behold and delicious to eat. The ‘Tempura Crab Stick’ is a good choice for the less adventurous. The ‘Peking Duck Rolls’ were top notch, the ‘Sweet Corn with Coriander Butter’ lived up to its name. The ‘Mint and Thai Basil Infused Chicken’ was delicious, as was the ‘Fried Red Snapper with Thai Sauce’. The cheesy and tangy ‘Sesame Cheese Rolls’ were a hit as well. After such a decadent start, our main course kept this goodness rolling. The ‘Green Vegetable Curry’ was a definite standout item, with the ‘Fish in Laksha Sauce’ and ‘Fried Soba Noodles’ quite good. The only item that hit an odd note was the ‘Massaman Lamb Curry’, which had an overpowering flavor of cumin, which was completely out of place. I almost forgot to mention the spectacular ‘Miso Soup’ that started us off – it was perfectly miso-y and made us all very happy, especially on a cool evening. The dessert of ‘Banoffee Pie’ served with ice cream, CaLDRON March 2014
and a fresh fruit platter, were the perfect high (yes, with a name like high, the requisite puns are too tempting to miss) to end on. A couple of my tablemates were in ecstasy over that Banoffee, and it was pretty good, which is saying a lot, since banana with chocolate is not a favorite with me. High has been open only for a few weeks, and a few of my friends
The food, with just one exception, was very good, and did justice to its PanAsian repertoire. The selection of vegetarian and seafood sushi was beautiful to behold and delicious to eat.
visited it in February since it was the perfect Valentine’s venue. And I too shall soon head there myself. I can’t imagine that anyone will tire of it soon and I think it’s will become a go-to place for party people and the ones looking to celebrate a special something. Speaking for my adopted city, it sure is nice to have a place that most visitors will be dying to visit when they’re in town. Now that the 11.30pm lights-out embargo is lifted, there will be more time to enjoy it! ■ Natasha Ali
Rating: 4 out of 5 Price: INR 3000 for a meal for two Address: 26/1, 31st Floor, Dr. Rajkumar Road, World Trade Centre, Brigade Gateway Campus, Malleshwaram West, Bangalore Phones: 080-45674567 21
REVIEWS - BANGALORE
Hallelujah To Good Food
that tomato, onion, along with ginger or garlic were the basis of most dishes. Chef Naren mentioned that Syrian Christian cuisine is not really about seafood, but rather is chicken and mutton-centric. This came through clearly in what we ate. The lamb appetizer and the ‘Kozhi Varatharachathu’ chicken curry were the best offerings from the festival menu’s main course.
Another dish we really liked was the ‘Chakka Kuru Kashvandi Ularthu’, a dry preparation of tender cashews and jackfruit seeds. It was a new flavor and the first time I enjoyed anything with jackfruit in the title! The accompaniments of ‘Puttu’, ‘Appam’ and ‘Kallappam’ were perfect The Syrian Christian Festival held at Karavalli in The Gateway to soak up the curries with.
Hotel tries acquaints diners to a niche cuisine that is sadly The desserts of steamed rice cakes unexplored, but doesn't manage to go very far.
he food at Karavalli in The Gateway Hotel is outstanding and is a favorite place where we food writers hang out. When we learnt it was holding a Syrian Christian food festival, few of us eagerly headed over. We sat indoors this time around, and we loved the ambience indoors quite as much as the al fresco dining area.
cooked with onion, tomato, ginger, green chillies and fennel, ‘Kera Pepper Fry’, Indian tuna fry, ‘Kozhi Roast’ and ‘Attirachy Varattiyathu’, dry lamb with coconut slivers and shallots were brought out for the carnivores. Of these, the lamb was
Chef Naren mentioned that Syrian Christian cuisine is not really about seafood, but rather is chicken and mutton-centric.
The evening began with the always-delicious ‘Rasam’, tomato this time, served in little metal and glass mugs; a perfect pairing with the fried vadams. A large selection of starters soon found their way to our table. ‘Vazhapoo Cutlet’, banana flower and sweet potato cutlets, and ‘Koonu Kurumilagu Roast’, fried the definite star. mushrooms that bore more than a passing resemblance to manchurian, An Unexplored Cuisine were the vegetarian offerings. The ‘Nadan Konju Ularthu’, tiger prawns As the meal progressed, we noticed 22
and such, as well as the interesting bamboo rice cooked in coconut milk and jaggery, however, left us all cold. All very mildly sweet and somehow did not manage to hit the right notes. We however ended our meal with bowls of Karavalli’s very special ice creams, the ‘Banana Caramel’ and ‘Tamarind’, and left happy as clams. Maybe our expectations were too high, since we have always enjoyed awesome experiences at Karavalli. But, the Syrian Christian food menu has its share of misses along with hits. ■ Natasha Ali Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Price: INR 2500 for a meal for two Address: 2Ground Floor, The Gateway Hotel, Residency Road, Bangalore - 560025 Phones: 080-66604545
CaLDRON March 2014
“Bicycle Changed her Life”
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Our Mission is to Empower Rural communities, especially Children with Eco-Friendly & Sustainable Mobility Solution; A BICYCLE through Study-to-own (for children) & Work-to-own (for adults) programs
KITCHEN KIN - INTERNATIONAL
“One needs focused discipline to turn passion into a profession” Chef Christopher Koetke, Vice President of Kendall College School of Culinary Arts, Chicago.
CaLDRON March 2014
KITCHEN KIN - INTERNATIONAL
good chef is one who can wield a knife like a magician and chop produce speedily with the precision of a conjurer. Chef Christopher Koetke, Vice President of Kendall College School of Culinary Arts in Chicago demonstrated just this skill. During a masterclass held in Mumbai, he spoke about the various elements he taught budding chefs at his college, even as he dexterously chopped vegetables. And if one were to take a measuring scale and measure each piece of bell pepper or tomato he cut, chances are one would find them to be exactly the same size and width!
per Midwest of the United States, including maple syrup, wild rice, and a distinctive relish called ‘Chow Chow’. This complex dish serves as a vehicle to discuss culinary education essentials such as discipline, passion, technique, seasonality, internationality, local sustainability, business acumen, and artistic principles. He spoke to Vinita Bhatia about his passion for travel, while he is not educating chefs, and how he would like to prepare the next generation of culinary professionals by teaching them the simple basics of cooking.
Vinita Bhatia (VB): How did you enjoy your maiden trip to India? Chef Christopher Koetke (CK): “My top three came to India to introduce the takeaways from this IKendall College in Chicago, partictrip is that Indian ularly its highly respected School of Culinary Arts. For three weeks, I cuisine is very was busy meeting interesting people, diverse. Most of teaching Indian culinary students what I ate was not and tasting the amazing Indian cuisine. There is a vibrant culinary super spicy and the community in India complete with flatbreads are simply talented chefs and dedicated, passionate culinary students. Now that I amazing!” have met so many wonderful people and experienced excellent hospitalChef Christopher believes that it is ity, I know this will definitely not be the simpler things like dicing, slicing my last trip to India. and sautéing that truly define a good chef, besides knowing how to work VB: You tried out some popular Indian recipes while hosting the LiveWell with modest ingredients to create Network show ‘Let's Dish’. Now that a complex meal. He demonstrated this with duck, an oft-ignored meat you tried Indian food in India, what in his opinion, to prepare a dish that do you think about the cuisine? represented the different facets of a CK: I was told that Indian food would be great, and indeed, it high quality culinary education. surpassed my expectations. My top three takeaways from this trip is that The dish he chose focused on Indian cuisine is very diverse, most during the masterclass was duck of what I ate was not super spicy and cooked several different ways and the flatbreads are simply amazing! paired with the flavors of the upCaLDRON March 2014
Braised Duck Leg Serves: 4 Ingredients: • 4 duck legs • 2 tbsps olive oil • ½ cup onion, diced • ¼ cup celery, diced • 2 garlic cloves, minced • ½ teaspoon thyme leaf • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper • 4 cups dark stock (made from chicken, duck, etc.) • ½ cup red wine Method: 1. In a large saucepan, sauté duck legs to brown them in olive oil. Remove and reserve. 2. In the same saucepan, sauté the onion and celery adding more olive oil if necessary. After 5 minutes, when these turn tender, add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes. 3. Add the duck legs, along with thyme, black pepper, stock, and red wine to the saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 2 hours or until the legs are very tender. 4. Remove the duck legs from the cooking liquid and when cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and shred. Reserve the meat. 5. Meanwhile, reduce the cooking liquid over high heat until about 3/4 cup. Strain liquid. 6. Combine the shredded meat and the reduced cooking liquid. Season with salt and additional black pepper. Recipe courtesy: Chef Christopher Koetke
KITCHEN KIN - INTERNATIONAL
Wild Rice Serves: 3 Ingredients: • 3/4 cup wild rice • 3 tbsps butter • ½ cup walnuts, chopped • Salt and black pepper, to taste Method: 1. Cover wild rice in lightly salted water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the rice grains start to break open and the rice is tender. This should take around 45 minutes. If the water reduces during cooking, simply add more. 2. Drain in a colander and reserve. 3. When ready to serve, brown butter in a sauté pan over high heat. Add walnuts and cook for another minute, being careful not to burn the butter. 4. Add the wild rice and sauté until it is reheated. Season with salt and black pepper and serve. Recipe courtesy: Chef Christopher Koetke
see and taste more authentic Indian food. VB: As a culinary educator, what are most important points you din into your students? CK: The first thing I tell my students is to pursue all that they do in the kitchen with passion because passion is the key to success and creativity. One needs focused discipline to turn passion into a profession. It takes many hours of practice to achieve the status of chef one day. It is also important that students learn the business discipline, as a chef is a businessperson with significant business responsibilities. And most importantly, one should live and learn intensely in all you do.
VB: What are some global culinary trends that will inspire chefs in 2014? CK: The biggest global trend I see is a refocusing on local and sustainable produce. In other words, it used to be that chefs tended to focus their efforts on a cuisine that VB: What do you think about the was not their own. It was almost culinary scene in India? Do you like the best food had to be somethink it is still in its infancy and is far where else. This has changed and away from the international gourmet now very talented chefs are looking scenario? at their own foods, indigenous inCK: In the short time that I was in gredients and traditions for creative India, I can say that there are strong, inspiration. As Indian chefs are world-class chefs in this country. well-versed in their own cuisine, this The Indian culinary scene is not in is completely in line with what is its infancy. Indeed, there is a strong happening internationally. system in place to prepare the next generation of chefs. Additionally, VB: Presentation, flavour or value for Indian cuisine is a well-established money – if asked to rank these three and exceptional cuisine with strong in order of importance during a meal, roots. Frankly, the world needs to what would your choice be, and why? 26
CK: Flavor is always the most important. Chefs are artists of flavor. Then I would say presentation. Value for money is not really last, but all encompassing to the overall business. People need to get what they pay for and part of that is the flavor and presentation. It is also things like service, ambiance, portions, etc. VB: While there are takers for gourmet food, an increasing number of diners are now opting for comfort food when they eat out, but with fancier presentation. Do you agree? CK: Yes, I agree. Comfort food will always be popular with diners around the world as it is a part of our personal heritage. When chefs tap into this and create unique dishes, it can yield some pretty interesting results. Comfort food is food that necessarily talks to the soul. I think that this is a positive trend. VB: Often, just the words gourmet cuisine is enough to put a higher price tag on certain dishes in a restaurant. Do you think people are willing to shell out more just for the pleasure of a gourmet dining experience or do they demand value-for-money when they eat out? CK: There will always be a place for the high-end gourmet restaurant experience. It is a part of many celebratory moments. In essence, the value statement is just as valid for these high-end restaurants as for lower cost restaurants - only it might be higher in the former’s case. In other words, diners expect the perfect experience from a high-end restaurant, which is the value statement. ■ Vinita Bhatia CaLDRON March 2014
CaLDRON March 2014
Image courtesy: Chef Michael Swamy
Terra Farmsâ€™ Microgreens: Yet To Come Of Age
Based in Mumbai, Terra Farms is trying to herald the concept of urban vertical farming of microgreens. It has managed to attract some restaurants and chefs as customers. However, will its concept stick or will it be relegated to another flash in the proverbial pan?
CaLDRON March 2014
visit to Manori island near Mumbai’s suburbs feels like a step back in time. While there is evidence of commercialization and urbanization in this sleepy fishing village, one can still see vestiges of the 18th and 19th centuries when the Portuguese ruled over Manori. Take for instance, the big, old and dangerously deep well at Terra Farms constructed from huge stones bound together with coarse mortar. Though a section of this well caved in during recent rains, it looked strong enough to keep chugging water for another century. And this is the reservoir that feeds the various microgreens that Terra Farms grows in a small shed on its spacious farmstead.
Now, let’s talk about Terra Farms. In November 2013, two enterprising men, Dan Gomes and Linesh Pillai, decided that the time had come to introduce Mumbai, and subsequently other parts of India, to the concept of urban vertical farming. What’s that, you ask? Well, farming is usually done in horizontal tracts of land. However, in space-starved cities, produce can be grown in vertical towers of varying dimensions. Ergo, the term ‘vertical urban farming’. Typically, this produce is grown indoors or in sheds, rooftops or balconies, where it gets some amount of sunlight. The growth is on a smaller scale for local use rather than mass consumption. And because it is grown on vertical shelves, more than one type of produce can be grown in a single tower.
Linesh Pillai with a box of microgreens the same taste as the fully grown plant, and are usually used as garnish, salad dressings or tossed into a salad. There are enterprising chefs who have managed to create esoteric dishes from microgreens, but given their smaller yield and higher cost as compared to their full-blown siblings, the trend for using microgreens as complete food ingredients hasn’t caught on as yet.
tainers; each with different varieties of microgreens in different stages of growth. The plants are grown on a bed of dried coconut husk treated with compost, which means they are free of any chemicals, pesticides or fertilizers.
Terra Farms offers a wide variety of microgreens, including spinach, rocket, pea shoots, coriander, mint, amaranth, beets, radish, dill, etc. That brings us to microgreens. As Who needs green thumbs Linesh and his team keep dabbling the name suggests, these are smaller anymore? with different types of seeds to envariants of green vegetables. Don’t The shed at Terra Farms houses rich the flavors of the microgreens, let their diminutive size fool you several racks with small plastic conresulting in some hits and misses. though – these small shoots pack CaLDRON March 2014
CASE STUDY We plucked a few shoots and popped them in our mouths. Surprisingly, just a couple of leaves of the mustard plant was enough to set our tongues afire. The frail looking dill leaves were sweetish, while the pea shoots tasted just like a sweet pea. No complains about the flavors here.
Currently, Terra Farms offers its products to chefs in fine-dine restaurants, including Chef Brijesh Kantharia at JW Marriott Mumbai, Chef Gracian D’Souza from Playboy Lifestyle India, Chef Gresham Fernandes at Salt Water Café, Chef Joel D’Souza from Crumbs to Gourmet, This means that when a Terra Farms as well as establishments like Ruby Restaurant and Made In Punjab. customer places an order for, let’s “Even our seeds are non-GMO (which means they are not genetically modified) and untreated. Our produce is completely organic and we offer living greens instead of a plant that has reached its final growth stage,” said Linesh.
Fish Panache with Pink Ginger Sauce and Microgreen Salad Ingredients: Fish Panache • 50 gm salmon fillet • 50 gm tuna fillet • 50 gm red snapper fillet with skin • 5 gm ginger • 15 ml red wine vinegar • 30 gm butter (cold) Method: 1. Peel and cut the ginger into fine juliennes and soak in the red wine vinegar for 24 hours and keep aside. 2. Place all the fish fillets on a tray and season with salt and pepper. Score the skin of the red snapper using a sharp knife. 3. In a nonstick frying pan, heat the olive oil. When the oil is smoking hot, add the red snapper skin side down and cook for 1 min on each side. Then add in salmon fillet and cook for 1 min on each side till it is pink in the center. Finally add the tuna and cook till rare. 4. Take off the fish fillets from the pan and keep aside. 5. In the same pan, add in olive oil and
• • • •
15 ml olive oil 100 ml white wine 5 gm shallots, chopped Salt and black pepper, to taste
Microgreen Salad • 5 gm dill fry the shallots till light brown. Deglaze the pan with white wine and reduce till it is reduced to half. Add in the soaked ginger and reduce further. 6. Take the pan off the flame, and add in the cold butter whisking constantly.
• • • • • •
5 gm fennel 5 gm mustard 5 gm sunflower shoots 5 gm spinach 5 gm red cabbage 5 gm garlic shoots
micro greens on top of the red snapper and serve.
To Plate 7. Using a chef ’s ring, place the salmon in the center of a deep plate. Then mount the tuna on the top, followed by the red snapper skin side up. Pour the sauce around the plate. 8. Season the micro greens with salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Place the
Recipe courtesy: Chef Gracian D’Souza, Head-Culinary Design, Playboy India
Benefits of Microgreens One differences between microgreens and regular vegetables, besides their size, is that the former are harvested when they are a few inches off the ground. The biggest advantage of Terra Farms’ microgreens is that since these are grown without using any fertilizers, they pack more nutrient value per serving. 30
say spinach, he does not get a bag of limp leaves. Instead, he gets a rectangular box with Pea Shoots tiny spinach shooting through. These will keep growing for almost “These chefs can try our microgreens while elaborately plating a week and during this time, the certain dishes, or as garnish for a customer can snip as many stalks signature dish. Their guests can also as needed and use the live leaves for cooking dishes. “It’s like having see that fresh produce is being used in their dishes, which is quite novel,” a live garden in your kitchen with added Linesh. Restaurants do not minimal issues like decay,” added have to worry about procuring Dan. CaLDRON March 2014
CASE STUDY the produce because after the initial few orders, Terra Farms creates a stocking routine and replenishes the produce on a regular basis. And since these are locally procured, transportation time from the farm to the customer is shorter, which means that the plants do not wilt or decay during this period.
greens, because then we might not be able to offer produce with the highest quality,” he added.
The Flip Side As with any concept, there are some issues with Terra Farms’ idea of commercializing urban vertical farming and microgreens. The first one is that of yield. “The output is Gracian D’Souza, Head of Culinary good enough for small standalone Design at Playboy Lifestyle India, is delis and eateries but not for large especially enthused by this concept. restaurants. Microgreens work well “As a chef, I would often freeze veg- with signature dishes where their etables and then shock them in hot presence can be tasted and viewed, rather than using them in regular dishes, especially those offered at a buffet,” explained Chef Varun Inamdar of The Chocolate Factory. Another challenge facing the popularity of microgreens is that of space. Foil containers housing pea shoots Most restaurant kitchens have to water before use. This sometimes use space optimally, since they have led to the plants losing their intrin- so little of it. Freeing up more space sic taste and texture. Snipping off is often impossible and unviable. fresh parsley or coriander while it is If they want to procure different growing on my kitchen counter and varieties of microgreens with sevusing these fresh leaves as garnish eral shelves stacked one of top of is immensely preferable,” he noted, the other, where will they find the adding that microgreens also have space? a stronger and more intense taste as compared to regular vegetables. Aware of this issue, Linesh has come up with wall-mounted boxes that Linesh also hopes to soon work can be affixed to pillars in restauwith housing societies in Mumbai rants, thereby saving space. Howand convince them to convert their ever, it is unclear how many takers building terraces into a vertical there will be for this option. farm. One of the biggest concerns however, is maintenance of the microHis plan is to create towers on their greens. Dan explained that these terraces with shelves for different require only exposure to sunlight vegetables that the housing society and around 20ml of water daily. But can then sell to its residents. In turn, given their hectic schedules and Terra Farms will keep replenishing grueling job demands, will chefs the vegetables regularly and get paid remember to water the microgreens for the same. and place them in the path of direct sunlight? One chef who has tried “But I do not want to get into com- Terra Farms’ products, said, on moditization of Terra Farms micro- condition of anonymity, that when CaLDRON March 2014
he unexpectedly traveled out of the city, there was no one to water the microgreens and they withered. “As much as I love their products, I doubt I can remember to maintain the greens, which makes one wonder about their business viability,” he sadly stated. Terra Farms has tried to overcome this issue as well, with the Zero-Mile Diet refrigeration unit. Similar to a mini-fridge, it is equipped with a row of sprinklers on top and lights to help the microgreens grow. As yet, the company has not started manufacturing these units in bulk and is still testing it out with its more regular clients. Then there is that all important factor of cost. Terra Farms microgreens are slightly more expensive than the vegetables one can buy from their local vendors. While the latter might be riddled with pesticides and fertilizers, will chefs and restaurant owners be willing to pay a premium to buy healthier produce and then transfer the price burden to their customers? The jury is frankly out on that one. The Bottomline The concept of microgreens might not be a novel or popular one anymore. Unless companies like Terra Farms build a robust ecosystem where besides high-end restaurants, smaller restaurants see the benefits of investing in their produce, this might soon be relegated to a fad that came, but did not conquer. We however root for Terra Farms, because we like to consume fresh, chemical-free produce, when eating out, or cooking in our own kitchens. ■ Vinita Bhatia 31
All Things WINE Folks who registered for the ‘Deutsche Bank All Things Nice Wine Week’ enjoyed preset wine-paired meal courses at participating restaurants. Those who were not excited by the thought of a set meal, simply opted for 30% discount on the wine they ordered off the menu or bought it at Living Liquidz for 15% less.
f you walked into Smoke House Deli, Otto Infinito, Cheval or Masala Bay in Mumbai and saw patrons break into a smile while paying their bill, don’t be surprised. Chances are that they chose to participate in the Deutsche Bank All Things Nice Wine Week and enjoyed some good wine at a reasonable cost.
consumers to drink wine and experiment with it at the city's best restaurants without thinking about price. “Most Indians hesitate to order wine along with their meal, either because they think it will be too expensive, or because they are confused which vintage will go best with the food. With wine week, both these issues
The third edition of the Deutsche Bank All Things Nice Wine Week was held in Mumbai between 17th to 23rd February, 2014. Around 45 restaurants participated in this wine promotion fest, which was supported by Good Food Magazine India, Inox, Zomato and Jean Claude Biguine Salon and Spa. This was the second year running that All Things Nice created this wine week, in a bid to promote wine drinking in the city of Mumbai. Nikhil Agarwal of All Things Nice Nikhil Agarwal, All Things Nice said that he wanted to encourage 32
are solved, because they get to savor over 1,300 varieties of wine at discounted rates and they can always opt for set courses, as it takes the confusion out of the equation," he added. Gurpreet Sethi, F&B Manager at The Westin Mumbai Garden City, which is associated with wine week, was also enthusiastic about the event. “We participated last year as well and think this is a great opportunity for our guests to enjoy fine wines at 30% discount, paired with moderately priced set menus ranging from Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,500, which is quite a steal,” he noted. Given its French legacy, Sofitel Mumbai too decided to participate in wine week this time around. According to the company’s spokesperson, the Deutsche Bank All Things Nice Wine Week has a broader reach to wine drinkers and the hotel wanted to use this strength to encourage wine connoisseurs to visit Sofitel’s CaLDRON March 2014
The offer graphic for the Deutsche Bank All Things Nice Wine Week restaurants and try wines from its impressively lengthy list. “We put in place some great menus paired with wines at a very nominal price in order to encourage our guests to try out three different varietals along with their meals,” he added. Log in, Register and Sip Customers who wanted to enjoy some good quality wine while dining out had to log on to www. allthingsnice.in/wine_week.php for a short registration process. A representative then called them to confirm their booking for the set course menu.
could generate a code online and then buy wine bottles from Living Liquidz outlets in Mumbai and avail of a 15% discount off the retail price. What’s more, they could gain this benefit even if they chose to get home delivery from the retail chain. Following the successful editions of the wine week, All Things Nice is now working out plans to introduce
Restaurants who participated at Deutsche Bank All Things Nice Wine Week
• Masala Kraft, Golden Dragon and Souk at Taj Mahal Palace • Cafe Prato and San Qui at Four Seasons • Pali Village Café If customers wished to retain their • Salt Water Cafe liberty to order the food and wine • Smoke House Deli from the à la carte menu they could • Trident Hotel BKC do so too. After registration, they • Sofitel Hotel could inform the representative • Two One Two about their decision and get a 30% • Busaba Colaba discount off their wine bill, after • Westin Hotel their meal. • Ellipsis • The Sassy Spoon Keeping in mind the fact that many • The Tasting Room people prefer to drink wine at home, • Cheval All Things Nice had also tied up • Out Of The Blue with Living Liquidz for the latest • Le Mangii edition of wine week. Customers • Di Napoli CaLDRON March 2014
this wine promotion fest in the cities of New Delhi and Bangalore shortly. Soon, more people across India can raise a toast to this initiative. ■
• Neel • Woodside Inn + All Day Bar & Eater • Otto Infinito • Olive • India Jones, Opium and Vetro at Trident • Masala Bay at Taj Land’s End • Nico Bombay • Stax at Hyatt Regency • Serafina • Vinoteca by Sula • Le Café • Olio at Novotel • Trendz at Lalit • Viccinia • Bungalow 9
A Chef in Every Home One can’t term the recipes in Chef Kunal Kapur’s cookbook ‘A Chef In Every Home’ as innovative creations. However, cooking them is made easy since most of the ingredients are those usually found in most Indian kitchens. The accompanying food shots also tempt one to try the recipes, which means that it passes the litmus test for any self-respecting cookbook.
he cover of Kunal Kapur’s ‘A Chef In Every Home’ shows the smiling chef dressed in a casual open shirt over a Tee and jeans. Somehow, this laidback demeanor is far removed from the image of the stern chef one had seen on MasterChef India, where he hardly cracks a smile and often admonishes contestants about their cooking skills.
Chef Kunal mentions that his culinary journey began in the large kitchen of his joint family in Delhi, where he often played the role of Chief Stirrer. Strangely, he acknowledges the cooking prowess of his father, uncles and grandfather; in short only the men folk, rather than including the women of the family.
He also goes on to mention that contestants of Masterchef India It is courtesy MasterChef India that inspired the recipes in his cookbook, Chef Kunal Kapur, and by extension especially those home cooks who his book, do not need an introduc- went on to present esoteric dishes tion. The sight of an easy-going with unusual ingredients. In fact, as Chef Kunal on the cover is bound to one goes through the book carefully, intrigue people enough to pick the one can see quite a number of dishes book up and go through the pagthat were similar to those showcased es. Once they do that, chances are on the TV reality show. that they will be inclined to buy the book. Why? Because the eye-catch- Each recipe has a short prologue ing photos by Shirish Sen tempt one where chef explains the reason he included that particular dish in the to try the dishes out, and try them book. Several of these preambles out pronto! touch upon his stint at Taj Group of Hotels and his experiences while TV Influences working in the Gulf. While some In his introduction to the book, 34
might find this an interesting insight into the chef ’s culinary encounters, others might find it bordering on megalomania as the chef tries to impress readers about his familiarity with Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines. It is a tightrope walk where the chef does sometimes teeter into one domain or the other; but not enough to put one off the book. Middle Eastern Inspiration The cookbook has several recipes with Middle Eastern origins, be it the falafel, hummus, tahini, chicken machboos, etc. Commanding another major chunk of the pages are assorted Indian recipes from South India, Punjab and Kashmir. A smattering of popular recipes from Chinese, Italian, Mexican and even New Zealand cuisines also make it into the book. In short, the cookbook aims to be the go-to reference guide for home cooks on the threshold of becoming culinary whizs. It encourages them to try out dishes from these cuisines and then plate CaLDRON March 2014
BOOKED them elaborately by observing the accompany photos of some of the dishes and present them with panache. In short, the cookbook proclaims that armed with the recipes, anyone can transform into a gourmet cook. We, however, would have appreciated the inclusion of some dishes that are nouveau in nature, because several of the recipes are commonly available online. After all, this is the least one would expect from Chef Kunal given his association with a food show that is synonymous with presenting rudimentary dishes differently.
leaves, basil leaves and chilli, with a generous dollop of nigella and sesame seeds. It also turned out exactly as depicted in the photograph given in the book. Next up, we tested the ‘Chicken Machboos’. The flavor was good, but the rice turned out too squishy; we expected the grains to maintain their separate shape. We suspect this was because of the quantity of water mentioned in the recipe.
In a cookbook with over 100 recipes spread across 157 pages, there are bound to be some hits and misses. The good thing about the book is that Our biggest complaint is that none of most recipes have ingredients comthe recipes have any suggested accommonly available in most Indian kitch- paniments. If one is trying out a parens. So, one does not have to dash to a ticular recipe for the first time, then it supermarket to pick up exotic ingredi- is always preferable to know what will ents every time one decides to cook a go best with it, so that one can plan a complete meal. complete meal. Testing Times Intent on testing some of the recipes from the book, we zeroed in on ‘Tawa Pulav’, a ubiquitous rice dish that every Mumbaikar knows well. Since it is a simple recipe, we figured there was minimal chance one could go wrong. Strangely, the recipe did not include potatoes, which is the mainstay of this dish, but we were willing to overlook this since every chef has his own take on the pulav. Despite following the recipe to the T, the end-result sadly did not come close to what one can enjoy off the numerous food carts dotting Mumbai’s famous Chowpatty beach. The rice turned out quite dry, unlike the juicier versions served at these food carts. We moved on to the ‘Olive Paratha’, curious about its taste. Impressively, this is a complexly simple dish. Playing off the tartness of the chopped olives was a mixture of fresh garlic, dill CaLDRON March 2014
This cookbook, priced at INR 599, can be a good help for people who want to cook hitherto untried cuisines sans fanfare. Whether it will transform them into a gourmet cook is difficult to predict. However, they can bask in the knowledge of having cooked a recipe that a popular TV chef has tested himself. At least Chef Kunal lives up to his promise that with this cookbook, anyone can cook good food. ■ Vinita Bhatia
Aubergine and Peanut Chutney Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 10 minutes Makes: 1 small jar This unique recipe is somewhat similar to a Hyderabadi dish of sweet and sour eggplants. Together the sourness of the tamarind and the sweetness of jaggery combine to make a great flavour. Ingredients: • ½ cup olive oil • 2 tsp onion seeds or kalonji • 1 tbsp jeera • ¼ cup curry leaves • 2 cups tomatoes, chopped • 2 tsp red chilli powder • 1 tsp turmeric • Salt, to taste • 6 cups aubergine, diced • 1 cup tamarind pulp • 2 cups jaggery, grated • ½ cup peanuts, roasted Method: 1. Heat olive oil and add onion seeds and jeera. When it crackles, add curry leaves and immediately add the tomatoes. Sauté for a minute. 2. Add red chilli powder, turmeric, and salt. Stir for a minute. 3. Now add the aubergines and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add tamarind, cover and let it simmer on low heat for 2 to 3 minutes. 4. Add the grated jaggery and roasted peanuts. Check for seasoning. 5. Remove and allow it to cool. 6. Store in a tight-fitting jar. Recipe courtesy: A Chef in Every Home, by Kunal Kapur
Title: A Chef in Every Home Author: Kunal Kapur Publisher: Random House India Price: INR 599 Format: Paperback Pages: 224 Language: English ISBN 13: 9788184003529 ISBN 10: 8184003528 35
BUSINESS OF FOOD
Turning the TABLES With an insipid name like ‘The Table’, one would imagine that this restaurant would have unimaginative fare served in an unoriginal environment. Nothing could be further than the truth. It has been listed in the ‘Miele Guide to Asia's 500 Best Restaurants’ in 2013 and has also won the Times Good Food Awards for ‘Best European/Global Cuisine’ in 2012 and 2013. Jay Yousuf and Gauri Devidayal take great pride in their menu, comprising small and large plates, which they had created to encourage sharing amongst friends, in a lively social atmosphere. They top it up by using locally sourced produce at the peak of their harvesting season to add a fresh touch to their dishes from America, Italy, and France, to China, Thailand, Japan, and beyond. national cuisine with a Californian twist. Vinita Bhatia talks to owners Gauri Devidayal and Jay Yousuf on what it takes to run a successful restaurant in Mumbai. Vinita Bhatia (VB): Following successful careers as finance professional and computer engineer, what made both of you shift tracks so? Jay Yousuf (JY): After spending 26 years in the US, I returned to India in 2007. Having had the opportuhe husband-wife duo nity to live and work abroad, and of Jay Yousuf and Gauri experienced a variety of cuisines and Devidayal took a big restaurants, my passion for excepgamble when they chucked tional food made me realize that their comfortable overseas jobs and there was a need for a high quality decided to start a fine dining restau- and innovative fine dining venue in rant in Mumbai – at a time when Mumbai. This inspired me to fulfill almost every other hospitality com- my dream of opening a restaurant pany was doing so. Years later and and having lived in San Francisco despite the competition, The Table for 14 years, I wanted to bring a taste has managed to hold its own and of the city’s distinctive food culture built a reputation of serving interback to Mumbai.
“We wanted to keep our restaurant simple” Jay Yousuf Gauri Devidayal (GD): As he said, The Table was basically Jay’s idea. I could see his passion for the project and also the commercial sense behind doing it, in that there were very few good stand alone fine-dining restaurants in Bombay and none serving the kind of cuisine we wanted to have. I wanted to support him as much as possible and as I got more involved with the project, it became apparent that this was going to be a full time job for me, so it was a no brainer that I would have to quit my current job. On the one hand it was a difficult decision given the high risk we were taking, since CaLDRON March 2014
BUSINESS OF FOOD neither of us had any previous experience in the hospitality industry. At the same time, it was an exciting project to be involved with and I wanted to support Jay all the way. I also knew I would continue using my existing tax and finance knowledge, so I didn’t feel like I was leaving my profession entirely!
rant. VB: What according to you is global cuisine in the Indian parlance? GD: It’s essentially inspired by different cuisines from around the
VB: Did you harbor any doubts that The Table wouldn’t be popular? It was quite a gamble you were taking, especially because till a few years ago Mumbaikars were not very adventurous when it came to their eating out habits. JY: It was definitely a gamble, but given the growing number of well travelled Mumbaikars who didn’t have enough good stand alone din“I think we sometimes ing options in the city, it seemed to underestimate our me that there was enough room for restaurants like The Table. Indian customers.” GD: Once we decided to go ahead with the project it really didn’t make Gauri Devidayal sense to ponder too much over the possible failure of the restaurant. We were determined to make it a world. Our menu cannot be classuccess and decided to deal with the sified under any one cuisine, but success or failure as it came. rather it is a menu which takes inspiration from French, Japanese, VB: Just how much experimentaAmerican, Oriental, Thai, Medition went in before the two of you terranean cuisines but is presented along with your Executive Chef Alex with our Californian chef ’s take on Sanchez, were clear about the kind of it. It is very different from the condishes to feature in The Table’s menu? cept of ‘multi-cuisine’ which Indians GD: We were very lucky with the are so familiar with. level of talent that Joey Altman, our consulting chef, and Alex Sanchez VB: Why do you think do an increasbrought to the project. To be honest ingly number of fine-dine restaurants I can’t remember any dish we didn’t position themselves as specialists in like during the trials. And we were some global cuisine, while giving their committed to having what we want- native cuisine a miss? ed on the menu and not pandering GD: Most locals who frequent fine to the Indian palate. dine restaurants are likely to have JY: We wanted to keep our restaucooks at home. So when they dine rant simple, which is why we also out, it is usually to have a differdecided to name it after the signaent cuisine or experience and that ture community table in the restau- is what restaurants are looking to CaLDRON March 2014
provide. VB: The Table has always taken pride in using locally sourced produce for its food. Yet, a lot of dishes on its menu have exotic ingredients that are not necessarily available locally. So how do you maintain this fine balance? GD: Unfortunately Bombay is not yet at the place where we produce a range of high quality, flavourful, local fruits, cheeses or vegetables. It is certainly growing with producers such as Trikaya, but we are not quite there yet, if you compare it to cities like San Francisco. So for an ingredient driven menu, it is difficult to rely entirely on the local produce and we do need to import certain things. But we are looking to do this less and less, not least because of the high cost factor, without compromising on the quality of our dishes. VB: You have a Culinary Institute of America-trained American chef Alex Sanchez as your executive chef. How can you ensure that he keeps creating dishes that are appealing to the Indian palette? GD: I think we sometimes underestimate our Indian customers. They are widely traveled and when back home, they look for restaurants that give them the quality of food they have tasted abroad. Our customers do not actually want chefs to adjust dishes to the Indian palate. These are the customers we are confident Chef Alex can continue to please with his repertoire. VB: Given the rising prices of dining out, it is said that eating out will soon be a luxury. What's your take? JY: I really hope not! ■ Vinita Bhatia 37
Ambrosia in a Teacup
was pleasantly surprised to find sachets of some very interesting teas in the mail one morning, and equally dismayed to find they were meant to be written about. Iâ€™ve never been an avid tea drinker, preferring to hold my sorrows firmly by the neck and dunk them repeatedly in copious quantities of strong, black coffee. This strategy has rarely failed me, except of course for that time when I sat staring wide-eyed at a wall in a state of catatonic, coffee shock for three days. Tea, has therefore been invited home in its lesser avatars, primarily for those who like their tea strong, sweet and milky, for an audience that includes me on Sunday mornings when hot, stuffed parathas are being served out of a smoky kitchen topped with spicy pickles, chilled, whipped yogurt and dollops of white or yellow butter. The past six months however saw a change. I quit my sixty cigarette a day habit and a short while later, began to experience flavors like never before. Tea and single-malts began to replace coffee and vodka as the liquids of choice in my house and soon, I had a tea station! I still didnâ€™t know however, how to evaluate tea. The amber-gold sachets were therefore deposited into a box at the tea station, awaiting the arrival of knowledge.
We checked out some of Tea of Life's offerings and found them to be quite lovely. If you like tisanes and enjoy green tea in multiple flavor variants, do check out Tea of Life.
Fortunately, I happened to meet Mr. M.P. Verma, a very well read septuagenarian, with whom I share a range of interests. He turned out to have over 40 years experience working with tea gardens as well as contributing his expertise to the University of North Bengal at one point. Mr. Verma kindly consented to drop by and take Indu and me through a session on tea appreciation. CaLDRON March 2014
While his first comment was a mildly disdainful, “This isn’t pure tea!”, it was soon followed by interest. From the many available, Mr. Verma chose to work with Tranquilitea, a blend of Sencha green tea and chamomile flowers. White cups were the order of the hour and they were dug out of reluctant cabinets. A 2.5 minute tea timer to time the brew, a second white cup to hold the liquor and a white plate to examine the infusion quickly found their way to the table and laid in front of Mr. Verma. The sachet of Tranquilitea was then split open and the dry tisane examined. Water was then nearly-boiled (“As soon as you hear the bubbles raging”, said Mr. Verma) and poured over the contents of the packet already in the cup. The timer was flipped over and I imagined I could hear the sand falling through the hour-glass during the silence that ensued. Mr. Verma did pipe up to inform us that timers such as the one we were using gradually became ‘faster’, due to CaLDRON March 2014
the sand particles becoming finer due to erosion and therefore falling • Aroma: The aroma of the dry tea, through faster. before brewing was clear, clean When the requisite 4 minutes and tea with a hint of chamomile. 30 seconds were up, a point halfway After brewing, the liquor had a between the recommended four and fresh, green/grassy aroma with five minutes, the liquor was strained clear overtones of chamomile, into the second cup and the infuwhich was quite refreshing. I sion; the leafy/flowery matter spread must mention here that the clear, out on the white plate. Both were berry tones in the Blue Jade varicarefully examined by Mr. Verma. ant were most pleasing and very On straightening, he pronounced reminiscent of a chilly day with the tea to be of high quality and promild winds and a warm sun; a ceeded to explain the qualities of the variant you really must try. liquor and the infusion. Here’s what • Flavor: A mildly flavored variwe experienced from this variant: ant with enough tannins to give it character, combined with the Appearance: The look of the dry distinct, rounded influences of tea, before brewing indicated a clean chamomile makes Traquilitea live pluck and processing for green tea. up to its name. After brewing, a quick examination • Mouthfeel: Clean and cleansing. of the bright green infusion brought out the second leaves, first leaves If you like tisanes and enjoy green and the buds alongside some dam- tea in multiple flavor variants, do aged leaves. The proportion of the check out Tea of Life. ■ damaged leaves however was quite low, making this tea a very high quality one. The appearance of the liquor in turn was bright bronze, and largely clear with some sediSid Khullar ments, mostly from the chamomile flowers. 39
DRINK in Style Your wardrobe speaks volumes about your sophistication, so why shouldnâ€™t the cocktails and finger foods you serve at your parties do the same? Letâ€™s help you get started with some stylish cocktails in this section, with the help of some hand crafted drinks crafted by Nitin Tewari, Brand Ambassador Grey Goose India. He created five style-inspired cocktails for the Grey Goose Style Du Jour. With the use of colors, props and ingredients each drink has a story to tell. From a bow and red gown feel for the Film Noir Cocktail to the touch of gold in Midas Touch, these Grey Goose cocktails will take you for a theatrical journey through the most fascination world fashion and style. 40
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MIX IT UP
Grey Goose True Blue Blue is the latest obsession. A refreshing cocktail, True Blue is a stylish interpretation of this colour in all its élan.
Ingredients: • 45 ml Grey Goose vodka • 10 ml Blue Curacao • 10 ml Lemon juice • Soda, to top up Method: 1. Take a tulip glass and refrigerate it for a while so that it is cool, but not very cold. 2. Mix the vodka, Blue Curacao and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. 3. Pour it in the tulip glass. 4. Top the drink with soda to ½ inch from top of glass.
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MIX IT UP
Grey Goose Film Noir As stylish as a red carpet debutante, the Grey Goose Martini is infused with flavors of cinnamon and berry.
Ingredients: • 45 ml Grey Goose vodka • 10 ml cinnamon syrup • 15 ml berry syrup • 90 ml pineapple juice • 10 ml lemon juice Method: 1. Take a martini glass and affix a black paper on its stem. 2. Combine all the ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. 3. Shake and pour into the martini glass.
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MIX IT UP
Grey Goose Punk
This cocktail owes its flavorful taste to the punch of Orgeat and bitter citrusy knock of grapefruit juice. Ingredients: • 60 ml Grey Goose vodka • 15 ml Orgeat syrup • 90 ml orange juice • 30 ml grapefruit juice • Crushed ice • Splash of Grenadine Method: 1. Fill a rock glass with some crushed ice. 2. Mix all the ingredients in a shaker and pour over the crushed ice. 3. Spear an orange slice through a stirrer. Use this as a garnish. Recipes and images courtesy: Grey Goose CaLDRON March 2014
very one of us is a part of the rat race, however far removed we feel from it, we’re in it. The effects are either subtle or very stark; for me it’s usually a nagging neck ache, that medical professionals have argued over, over several heavy investigation bills and frightening stories of surgeries. Bottom line? It’s stress; general, every day, stress. So I decided to redirect my hard earned funds to more holistic solutions that actually reach the problem without conjecture! And that’s how I got hooked to spas! My spa journey has been fantastic so far, mainly because I choose with a fine toothed comb. The highest professional standards coupled with a serene experience is what a spa has to deliver, regardless of whether it is nestled in the underbelly of a looming 5 star or on a sprawling resort, when you’re face down getting your tense back kneaded by skillful hands, the environs don’t matter, the soothing sensations do!
SPA'S the Way! 20,000 square feet of aromatic and relaxing luxury at The Spa in the middle of Delhi!
A journey to The Spa by Shangri-La in the heart of the city was my latest visit. I do love myself a beach side resort but 20,000 square feet of spa fun in Lutyens Delhi, is quite the treat. The Spa at Shangri-La welcomes you with tantalizing aromas of nature, a cozy little juice bar and Mr. Joseph Skaria, who will take you through each service, massage and therapy his spa has to offer. The amenities include two wet rooms with steam, sauna, Jacuzzi and locker facilities and a salon with private treatment areas, a range of hair treatments including cuts, trims and coloring, massage, manicures, pedicures and hair spa treatments for both men and women. I especially liked the gym – the trainers 44
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The serenity comes from the fact that the spa area is eerily silent except for the soothing piped music; the therapy rooms are spacious, yet cozy.
fan of high heels and she took care of both my concerns. I might have dozed off at some point and was roused to a cup of lightly brewed green tea and my fluffy bathrobe. Since I chose a singles treatment, my room didn’t have an attached shower, but it was just a few steps away. A quick 10 minutes in the sauna was delightful, it’s all part of the package and then on to the sparkling shower stalls. I came out feeling like a million bucks, which was way more than I could ever spend on creating Side by side massage therapies to this experience for myself. From begin with and champagne in the jacuzzi to end with! The differentiat- I chose a one hour Balinese Massage now every treat of high heels comes with with a treat at The Spa – Shaning factor is how the therapies have and it was blissful. My therapist’s gri La, Eros Hotel, New Delhi. As been selected. They’re presented as petite stature had no affect on her journeys and after a harrowing day strength, she was manna from heav- they say, I’m worth it! ■ at work 45 minutes of skilled hands en that day. I asked for relief in my Parul Pratap Shirazi across my tired shoulders is certain- lower back and feet since I’m a big were well informed and pretty busy with guests! The Spa has five treatment rooms and services include massage therapies, facials, body treatments and alternative holistic therapies. The serenity comes from the fact that the spa area is eerily silent except for the soothing piped music; the therapy rooms are spacious yet cozy and the couple therapy room has such tremendous prospects, it’s next on my list.
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ly a journey worth embarking on. I especially liked the quick massage therapies because the Spa is in the heart of Delhi’s business sector; this would be a great way to calm down after a long day. Though the real treats await those who have more hours to spare! The body treatments and alternative holistic therapies employ professionals who are able to customize each individual’s session. I have a tricky neck and my therapist was more than aware of how to take care of me.
ASK THE EXPERTS
Ask the EXPERTS Stumped about a dish that did not turn out right? Unsure about trying out a particular recipe? Let our expert chefs guide you through all your cooking dilemmas so that you can create the dish of your dreams.
have been buying boneless chicken for the longest time, since my husband prefers it. However, every time I cook the chicken, it becomes very dry. Initially I thought that there was an issue with defrosting. Some weeks ago however, I bought chicken with bones and was pleasChef Rajeev Aroantly surprised to find that ra’s first break in the when cooked it was juicy food industry was as a and succulent. So what is management trainee in The Taj Group of Hotels. the problem with boneless A Certified Chef de chicken? Cuisine by the Canadian Priyanka Chakraborty Culinary Federation, Ambala he added his inimitable touch to the menu of hotels like JW California and was instrumental in the launch of Globe restaurant at Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel. He has also served as a chef at premier Canadian hotels including the Sheraton Guildford, Coast Tsawwassen Hotel, Beetnix Restaurant, The Fairmont Hotel and The Pan Pacific Hotel. Prior to launching his maiden venture, Levo in Mumbai, he was leading the kitchen at Hilton Mumbai International Airport.
it in cafés. Can you tell me a foolproof way to prepare cold coffee at home? Tina Bakshi Ahluwalia Chandigarh A: Most coffee shops use full cream or add ice cream to their cold coffee to make it denser and more flavorful. Try making cold coffee at home with full cream milk and then add few drops of vanilla. It will taste wonderful.”
have been reading about the health benefits of brown rice and try to include it in our meals at home. However, whenever I boil brown rice it never seems to cook perfectly. Why does this happen? And how do I cook perfectly boiled brown rice? Meghna Malhotra New Delhi
A: The meat wrapped around the chicken bone holds the fat, which keeps the meat tender and moist. In the case of the boneless chicken, the meat, especially that of the breast portion, is very lean in fat. Due to this, it dries easily. If you wish to use boneless chicken, try using chicken thigh since they stay moister than chicken A: The best way to cook breast, even while grilling or brown rice is using the braising. steam method. Boil the rice, and once it is almost he cold coffee that I cooked, cover the pan with make at home doesn’t a tight-fitted lid. Switch taste like the one that we off the flame, but leave the pan on the gas stove for 10 get in coffee shops. Since I love cold coffee, I end up minutes. If the lid isn't very spending a lot of money on tight, place a kitchen towel
over the pan before nesting the lid onto the pan. Before serving, uncover the pot and fluff the rice with a fork to disperse the heat and then serve.
anana walnut muffins were baked at home recently and I topped them with cream cheese frosting. Though the frosting was yummy, it was a little runny. How can I get a thicker and creamier frosting? Delna Tamboly Mumbai A: Very often, cream cheese frosting liquefies. This liquefaction occurs when the cream cheese is mixed with icing sugar and gets dissolved, leading to a runny icing. To prevent that, you can use full fat cream cheese. There is also a chance that the cream cheese was over beaten before the sugar was added, which can sometimes lead to the cheese partially melting and dissolving the sugar. You could try making the frosting in a food processor, putting the sugar and cheese in together and whizzing for about 1 minute, until the ingredients CaLDRON March 2014
ASK THE EXPERTS are just combined. I would also suggest using a recipe, which contains part butter and part cream cheese. This is usually a bit more stable since the butter adds a little more fat and is less likely liquefy before dissolving the sugar.
here's this recipe I want to try, where I temper mustard seeds with urad dal and red chilies, add chopped onions and sauté, add 2 cups water, salt and then boil. Add 1 cup of rawa slowly while mixing, until cooked soft. Once cool I will shape the mixture into dumplings. After this point, can I brush them with oil and saute each one for a crispy texture or bake these dumplings in the oven? Will it work? Malini Suryanarayanan Bangalore A: Yes, it will work. You can do it on a slow flame in a non-stick pan, but I recommend cooking it in an oven. It ought to turn out similar to a crispy polenta.
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have a jar of gherkins. Can you share some innovative ideas to use them in dishes? Anushma Ghosh Hyderabad
preheated to requisite temperature.
ince there is a big avocado tree right in my garden, I have lots of avocados at home. I usually make only two dishes with avoA: You can use it to make pizzas, cados – I either use it in a salad burgers, sandwiches, salads and or blend it into a milkshake. Can dressing. Some interesting dishes I you help me with some simple, yet prefer eating with gherkins are Stro- interesting, recipes in which I can ganoff and Lamb vindaloo. use this fruit? Mita Mahendra Singadia he last time I tried to bake Uganda garlic cheese bread, the dough did not rise properly and the bread A: You can cook many interesting turned out hard. I am planning to dishes with avocados. Why not try give this recipe another shot. Can the avocado fries where you dip slicyou please share your suggestions? es of the fruit in flour with some salt Chhandita Chakravarty in it, then dip the slices into a bowl of beaten eggs, roll them in breadNew Delhi crumbs and then deep fry them? It’s A: To bake bread you need to follow a healthier option for French Fries. You can also make a mixture of a precise recipe. Baking bread also grilled chicken and avocados with takes a little bit of practice. Some any seasoning of your choice and pointers one needs to follow while making bread are using good qual- wrap it in a tortilla to make a nice ity of basic ingredients like flour or Chicken Avocado wrap. Just use your imagination to cook with this yeast. The dough also needs to be proofed properly before it goes into fruit. the oven and the oven should be
FLAVORS OF INDIA
MALVANI Food: Everyone Likes it Hot! The coastal Malvani fare is apt to reduce many to tears – either because of the fieriness of the dishes or from sheer joy of having tasted a cuisine so sublime, yet complex, in its preparation and flavors.
0-year old Sushila Narkar is a bundle of energy as she bustles around in her small house in Mumbai. She is either busy pounding the bright red masala using the traditional mortar and pestle, haranguing with the fish-seller about the freshness of the fish, preparing the marinade for the spicy Bombil Fry, or exhorting her grandson to gulp down Sol Kadi to ease the digestion. It is all in a day’s work for her, and she claims that more than half her waking hours are spent in the kitchen, cleaning, cooking, pounding, grinding, and then repeating the same pattern the next day. What’s more, she won’t have it any other way, and she proudly pro48
claims that she has eaten all of five times in a restaurant in her lifetime. Ask her why, and she smiles, “Because Malvani cuisine is the best in the world. And once you’ve tasted it, no other food can ever entice you.”
organized a Maharashtrian food festival featuring Malvani food and we decided to head there to understand the lucre of this coastal cuisine.
A Cuisine that Defies Adjectives There is another lady who would Malvan is a picturesque town sitagree with Sushilatai. And it is none uated in the valleys of Sindhudurg other than actress Nargis Fakhri. Af- district in Maharashtra and Malter her visit to Pune recently, where vani cuisine derives its name from she tried Malvani fare, she tweeted this town’s local food. Malvan has the majestic Sahyadri mountains that this food is her new favorite looking down upon it on one side cuisine. and the tempestuous Arabian Sea lapping its shores on the other side. What is it about Malvani cuisine that amasses diehard fans with This is why seafood and chicken take pride of place in any Malvani every bite? Is it the crunchiness of the fried fish? Or is it the fieriness meal, since both are available in of its masala? Renaissance Mumbai abundance in this region. Convention Center Hotel recently CaLDRON March 2014
In its present avatar, the cuisine imbibes the vinegary pungency of Goan food, the liberal use of freshly grated coconut from the Karwar belt as well as the sweet-and-sour combination of the Saraswat Goud community.
Malvani Crab Masala
Preparation time: 20 minutes ◆ Cooking time: 30 minutes ◆ Serves: 4 Ingredients: • 3-4 tbsp oil • 2 medium onions, chopped • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped • 3 sprigs coriander leaves • 10 medium blue crabs • 1 tsp turmeric • 1 tbsp Malvani masala • 1 tbsp garam masala • Salt, to taste • 2 sprigs curry leaves
Masala Paste • 2 tbsp coriander seeds • 1 tbsp fennel (saunf) seeds • 1 tbsp cumin seeds • 12 red chilies • 1 fresh coconut, grated • 2 medium onions, chopped • 1 inch ginger, chopped • 7 - 8 garlic cloves, chopped finely • 1 tbsp ghee • 1 tbsp turmeric
Method: Masala Paste 1. Dry roast, coriander seeds, fennel, jeera and red chillies for 3-4 minutes till they are fragrant. Remove and keep aside. Partially roast the grated coconut for 2-3 minutes. Remove and let cool. In the same pan, add 1 tbsp ghee and roast the onion along with ginger till the onions turn translucent. 2. Grind all ingredients with the turmeric to a fine paste, adding water gradually, to get a thick paste. Don’t add too much water or the paste will turn runny. The Gravy 3. Heat oil in a wok or deep-bottomed widemouthed pan. Saute the onions for a minute. Add tomatoes and half the coriander leaves. Saute them for a minute. 4. Add crabs into this mixture along with turmeric. Add Malvani masala and garam masala. Combine the crabs with these spices well. After a minute, add the masala paste to it. Now add water as per your desired consistency. Lastly, take curry leaves. You could just add them directly or crush them in your hand into small pieces. Combine all of them well. Add salt. 5. Let the curry boil for about 20 minutes on medium fire. Don't cover this curry while cooking. Once the curry starts leaving oil, your crab curry is ready. Taste to check the seasoning. 6. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with steamed rice Chef's Tip: This curry tastes yummier 4-5 hrs after preparation, as the crab meat has then soaked up all the spice.
Image courtesy: Wikipedia CaLDRON March 2014
Recipe courtesy: Chef Sandeep Pande, Executive Chef, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Center Hotel 49
FLAVORS OF INDIA The interesting thing about Malvani cuisine is that it’s an amalgamation of several cooking styles. Some food writers trace its roots to the early 16th century when fisherfolk settled along the coastal belts of what is now Maharashtra, Goa and parts of northern Karnataka, reveals Chef Sandeep Pande, Executive Chef of Renaissance Mumbai Convention Center Mumbai. Though the Maharashtrian variant of Malvani food is heavily inclined towards meat, certain factions within it, like the Konkanastha Brahmin preparations, are entirely vegetarian and comparatively bland in nature.
“It is the technique of grinding the masalas with fresh coconut or coconut milk that gives Malvani cuisine that edge and oomph” Chef Sandeep Pande, Executive Chef of Renaissance Mumbai Convention Center Mumbai
Culinary Confluence Unsurprisingly, in its present avatar the cuisine imbibes the vinegary pungency of Goan food, the liberal use of freshly grated coconut from the Karwar belt as well as the sweetand-sour combination of the Saraswat Goud community. There are subtle differences in Malvani food cooked along the entire western and southern belts of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka. For instance, kokum imparts tanginess in the Maharashtrian cuisine while the southern towns prefer using tamarind for the same effect.
cooking style. “However, it is the technique of grinding these masalas with fresh coconut or coconut milk that gives this cuisine that edge and oomph,” adds Chef Sandeep, who along with his team visited many places in Maharashtra to understand more about the cuisine while planning the recently concluded Maharashtrian food festival at his hotel. Despite this varied lineage, Malvani fare has come into its own. What is ironic is that though every taste of dishes like the Chimbori Masala or crab masala might lead one to believe that the preparation is complex, it is actually quite simple in nature. Proteins like fish and chicken are often marinated in a simple marinade of salt, lime juice, garlic-garlic paste, red chilly paste and turmeric; later coated in a mixture of rice flour and semolina before being deep or shallow fried.
It is unfortunate that there are not many standalone restaurants outside of Maharashtrian and Goan towns that offer Malvani food. Could this be because not many know about this wonderfully simple yet gastronomically complex cuisine? We do hope this status quo changes, and soon, because like Sushila Narkar believes, once you taste Condiments like triphala, Malvani food, you will keep tamarind, kokum, red Konkan coming back for more. chillies, peppercorns, mace, ■ cardamom and coriander lend a fiery punch to the masalas Vinita Bhatia that are fundamental to the CaLDRON March 2014
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Itâ€™s Finger Licking Good!
Image courtesy: Wikipedia
Summer is round the corner and this is the perfect time to host parties, using any excuse. When your guests are balancing a drink in one hand, the best food to serve them are finger foods. You can prepare these well in advance, and display them interestingly on your plate and let your guests pick these tidbits as they catch the latest goss. And it gives you the chance to mingle around, rather than be relegated to the kitchen. So let the guys at He Said She Said Shot Bar and Cafe show you how to have a good time hosting a party, by serving the perfect assortment of finger foods.
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OKRA KURKURE It’s a perfect savory for vegetarians and who does not like okra?
Serves: 2 ◆ Preparation time: 15 minutes ◆ Cooking time: 15 minutes
Ingredients: • 200 gm okra • 5 gm salt • 30 gm cornflour
• 1 gm chaat masala • 2 gm Cajun powder • Oil, to fry
Method: 1. Wash the okra, and pat dry with a kitchen towel. 2. Julienne the okra. Add salt and cornflour to the okra and mix. 3. Heat oil in a nonstick pan. Deep fry the okra till crispy. Remove and place on tissue paper to drain excess oil 4. Add chaat masala and Cajun powder, and serve. CHEF’S TIP: For a healthier version of the ‘Okra Kurkure’, drizzle the okra mixture with some olive oil and bake in a preheated oven at 200°Celsius for 10 minutes. If you want it to be crisper, then bake for a couple of minutes longer
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SPICED JALAPENO POPPERS
Think this is a difficult dish to assemble? Actually, it’s quite simple. And it is the perfect appetizer if you invite a few friends over to view a cricket match at home.
Serves: 2 ◆ Preparation time: 15 minutes ◆ Cooking time: 15 minutes
Ingredients: • 100 gm paneer • 100 gm processed cheese • 50 gm jalapeno, chopped • ½ tsp red chilli powder • 50 gm parsley
• • • • •
Salt, to taste A pinch of white pepper powder 30 gm bread crumbs Half quantities each of maida and cornflour Oil, to fry
Method: 1. Grate cottage cheese and processed cheese together. Mix with chopped jalapeño, red chilli, parsley, salt and white pepper powder. Once well mixed, make short cigar shapes. 2. Make a batter out of the corn flour and maida with some cold water. 3. Heat oil in a pan. Dip the cigar-shaped mixture into the batter, then roll them lightly in bread crumbs. Deep fry the poppers on low flame, till they are golden brown. 4. Remove from heat and drain on a tissue paper. 5. Serve with some honey mustard mayo. CHEF’S TIP: If you do not have jalapeños, you can use green olives or pimento chillies as a substitute.
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BBQ CHICKEN WINGS Serves: 2 ◆ Preparation time: 15 minutes ◆ Cooking time: 15 minutes Ingredients: weighing around 350 • Pinch of white pepper gms • 20 gm mustard paste • 2-inch garlic, • 20 ml oil chopped • 1 onion, sliced fine • 10 gm BBQ sauce • ½ tsp salt • 10 gm tomato ketch• Pinch of red chilli up powder • Parsley leaves, for • 5 ml Lea & Perrins garnish Worcestershire sauce • 6 – 7 chicken wings, Method: 1. Prepare a marinade of half the garlic along with salt, white pepper powder, oil, red chilli powder, mustard paste and Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce. 2. Marinate the chicken in this for an hour. 3. Preheat an oven to 160°Celsius. Place the chicken on an oven-proof plate and bake for 20 minutes, turning it over and checking if the chicken is done. 4. Heat a pan. Pour oil and let it heat. Add onion and remaining garlic and sauté for a while. Add the tomato ketchup and BBQ sauce in it. Toss the chicken wings in it. 5. Serve the chicken wings with some chopped parsley on top.
Who doesn’t like juicy chicken wings? This particular preparation is spicy, smoky and tangy; just the combination to spice up your party.
CHEF’S TIP: If you want to complement the spicy quotient, then add around 10gm of honey to the marinade.
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Fish Taquito Fruit Relish
Serves: 2 ◆ Preparation & Cooking time: 15 min each Ingredients: For Fish • 180 gm basa fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces • 1 lemon • Salt, to taste • 50 gm bread crumbs For Fruit Relish • 2 slices of fresh oranges, cut into small pieces • 1 kiwi • 1 large slice of pineapFor Taquitos • 25 gm maida • Salt, to taste
This appetizer can easily venture into the domain of an entrée and feel comfortably at home there.
• • • •
1 egg A pinch white pepper 20 gm mustard paste Oil, to fry
ple, cut into small pieces • 1 chilly • 10 ml orange juice • 10 ml pineapple juice • Herbs of your choice
Method: 1. For the Taquitos, mix maida with salt and herbs. Add sufficient water and knead to a soft dough. Let it rest for a while, and then knead it again. Roll out small rotis of around 3 inch circumference and toast on a grill or griddle. 2. For the fruit relish, mix all the ingredients and keep aside. 3. For the fish, prepare a marinade of lemon, salt, white pepper, egg and mustard paste. Marinate the fish in it for at least half hour. Roll the fish in bread crumbs. Heat oil in a deep pan and fry the fish on low heat till it has a golden brown crust. 4. To serve, place the taquitos on a rectangular dish. Place a fried fish on each taquito. Top with some fruity relish and serve. CHEF’S TIP: Instead of the fruit relish, you can also top this dish with salsa, guacamole or sour cream mixed with some herbs.
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Understanding Chocolates And Tempering
Chocolate is the one opulent ingredient that can set any wrong right. But itâ€™s important to understand how to treat this decadent delicacy the right way, and temper it in a way that brings out its essence perfectly. Rakesh Saini, Chocolatier and Founder of 32 Degree Studio, tells you how.
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verything in life is a little better with some chocolate. Having a good day, well, then chocolate only enhances your mood. Having a bad day - oh, how that first bite soothes the soul! From toddler to grandpa, chocolate has its fans, and we all have our favorite kind and brand. Some swear by dark, others love milk chocolate, if its Swiss all the better, and so on and so forth. But really, how much do we know about the process of making chocolate, and what constitutes a fine chocolate? Each chocolate manufacturer has a closely guarded secret recipe for every chocolate product they produce. This secret begins with the type and quality of the cocoa beans used. Correct fermentation, drying and roasting all contribute to the native cacao bean flavor to produce the final, true chocolate flavor that we are familiar with. When it comes to the crunch however, some chocolates simply taste better than others. This depends on which crystalline forms predominate as the chocolate cools in the factory. More on that later.
butter and low on sugar. The flavors and aroma in chocolates are specific to origins. A chocolate is evaluated on four parameters – appearance, aroma, texture and finish.
What are Crystalline Forms? Here comes tempering. No, its nothing to do with controlling one’s There are two methods to temper chocolates, tabling and seeding. temper but it is about making the Here’s a quick peek into how to temper correctly using the seeding The objective in method:
tempering, or precrystallizing, is to set the cocoa butter and suspended dry ingredients such as cocoa solids, sugar, milk powder, etc., in the most stable form.
chocolate stable! Why do we need to temper chocolates?
We do so because of a complex fat (cocoa butter) present in chocolates. Cocoa butter is composed of a number of glycerides of stearic, palmitic and oleic fatty acids with a small Types of Chocolates proportion of linoleic. What comA fine quality dark chocolate will plicates matters is that each of these have flavor ingredients of cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, sugar, lecithin different fatty acids solidify at different temperatures. Also, the compoand spices. Dark chocolate can be categorized as unsweetened (cook- sition of different species of cacao beans can have different percentages ing chocolate, cocoa liquor more than 85%), semisweet or bitter-sweet of each fatty acid. The objective in and sweet chocolate. The meltdown tempering, or pre-crystallizing, is to experience in your mouth is because set the cocoa butter and suspended dry ingredients such as cocoa solids, of cocoa butter in the chocolate. The finest dark chocolates are high sugar, milk powder, etc., in the most on cocoa, cocoa stable form.
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This is known in the industry as ‘V form’. As the chocolate (with its cocoa butter) cools, it goes through a number of forms, from very unstable with a melting point 17°C, to a very stable form which has a higher melting point of 34 – 35°C.
1. Chocolates from suppliers come tempered (at the factory stage). Use 1 kg chocolate and separate it in two batches of 80/20. 2. The ideal temperature of the workshop should be at 20°C. 3. Begin working: a. Take 80% of chocolate and melt all fatty acid crystals; heat to 40 – 46°C. b. Add seed crystals (20% of remaining chocolate) in batches to the hot chocolate (step 1). c. Keep stirring and reach a temperature of 32°C. A good thermometer is a must for tempering. Stirring is very important as chocolate is a poor conductor of heat, so you need to keep those crystals moving to maintain temperature and keep them from solidifying. d. Once you reach 32C° you have to retain the “temper of chocolate” by using any of these methods: warming in the
How is Chocolate Tasted? You know that ad, where the messy faced woman/man is blissed out while “Kiss me, close your eyes and kiss me” plays in the background? Well, there is some truth to it, actually. Chocolate has to be tasted with multiple senses. First of all, you will Never ever increase the temperature use your eyes to distinguish between of your tempered chocolate beyond the shine, gleam and texture of the different pieces of chocolate. Well 32.5°C and don’t let it solidify – if this happens you need to re temper tempered chocolate will shine the most. Then, on breaking the piece the whole lot! of chocolate you must hear a distinctive snap, which is indicative of When you’ve finished tempering your chocolate, never use it for stable crystallization. Next, smell molding or enrobing purposes un- the chocolate and you may perceive less you’ve done a temper test. This the aromas of grass, wood, rubber or fruits within. Place a small piece is done by taking a small smear of your tempered chocolate, either on of chocolate on your tongue and let a piece of parchment or a spoon and it slowly melt. Once the chocolate then letting the chocolate harden. If is melted, run your tongue around perfectly tempered, that solidifying your mouth to get the full mouthshould happen within minutes in a feel of the texture of the chocolate – it should be full and velvety. Finally, 20°C workshop. judge the chocolate piece on the finish or after-taste. microwave every few minutes so that temperature is maintained at a steady 32°C., using a heat gun and warming up surface at intervals or by wrapping chocolate with heat pad, temp maintained at 31°C.
Rakesh Saini of 32 Degree Chocolate Studio is a trained chocolatier from Ecole Chocolat in the US. He conducts workshops on chocolate modeling and sugarcraft, teaching participants the art of crafting fine chocolates. He specializes in theme based cakes and cupcakes.
Chocolate is an individual journey that can be shared, but must be experienced individually. Now go on, help yourself to a piece of your favorite - you know you want to, after all this chocolate talk! ■ Rakesh Saini CaLDRON March 2014
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Full Comfort Guaranteed Utilitarian is the adjective that springs to mind when thinking about Four Points by Sheraton. But for guests staying for long periods on account of their professional work, this works perfectly since the hotel offers no-frills but prompt service.
everal things work in the favor of Four Points by Sheraton in Pune, beginning with its proximity to the airport, which is less than 4 kilometers away. It is also smack in the center of the city’s suburban heartland. Inorbit Mall is right across the street, while Phoenix Market City is a stone’s throw away, so guests can always head to either mall to do some shopping or to catch a movie. Then again, there are some things working against Four Points by Sheraton in Pune. Ironically, one of them is its very location. The hotel is located cheek-by-jowl to a middle-class residential colony, which leads to some loss of privacy for the hotel’s guests. Residents of the neighboring building can simply open their windows to ogle at people swimming in the compact swimming pool or basking on the sundeck on the hotel’s second floor. 62
Another thing that Four Points by Sheraton has to combat is the stiff competition from Hyatt, Novotel, Ibis and other hotels in its immediate vicinity. However, Vinesh Gupta, GM of Four Points by Sheraton, is unthreatened by their presence and claimed that each have their own set of clientele. Since Four Points by Sheraton is a business hotel, he added that most business travelers chose it because it offers a high level of predictable service that they have come to expect from the chain. Decor The décor of the hotel is strictly no-nonsense and sans frills. We would call it cosy without being fussy. The lobby is flanked by Eatery, the all-day restaurant, on one side with an alcove for elevators to the rooms. The other side is the entrance for the banquets area, which incidentally has another separate entrance. Vinesh explained that
since the banquet was rented out for marriage functions, the independent entrance ensures that hotel guests are undisturbed by any loud sounds during the wedding. Rooms The three-year old hotel has 217 rooms, most of them overlook the swimming pool and lounge deck. Four Points by Sheraton at Pune positions its service apartments strongly to business travelers. There are three types of these apartments, with similar layouts. The only difference is the floor space of each type. Corporate professionals and businesspeople traveling to Pune for long-term assignments prefer these apartments since they have a wellstocked kitchen, a bedroom and a living room with entertainment center. With an induction stove, microwave, refrigerator, pots, pans and other paraphernalia needed in CaLDRON March 2014
ROAMING ROVER the kitchen, the kitchen is definitely functional enough to whip up a simple meal. There are a couple of residential apartments that share a connecting room, which is usually given to large families that travel in groups, so they access neighboring rooms without any hassle. Four Points by Sheraton thoughtfully has a couple of rooms specially fitted for the differently-abled and these are right next to the elevators, to give physically challenged guests quicker and easier access to their rooms. Dhaval Lamghare, Duty Manager at the hotel revealed that on special request, the hotel has even furnished washing machines to some long stay guests since they might have many clothes to be laundered. “We are always willing to go the extra mile to ensure that our guests feel they are in a home away from their home,” he added. There are 48 studio rooms measuring 400 square feet each feet, besides seven suites. Showing its eco-friendly side, the hotel has its own water recycling plant, and this water is used in the toilets. Strangely only the suites have bathtubs, while all other rooms have shower stalls. Free bottled water is provided in all rooms, as is the high-speed broadband internet connection, with the cost of the latter being bundled in the room tariff. The usual amenities, including mobile phone chargers, toiletries, etc are available too. Dining and Recreation The hotel has two restaurants and one pub. The Eatery is the all day diner offering buffet meals. It has an al fresco area where guests can enjoy their breakfast before the weather gets sultry. In the evening, CaLDRON March 2014
Al Fresco area of The Eatery barbeques are set up in this openair dining space, and guests can be seen enjoying some grilled food along with their beer or alcohol. The buffet priced around INR 850 per person, while being wide-ranging, can’t be termed lavish. For instance, during lunch we noticed that there were only two wedges of cheese – Gouda and Emmenthal, with some crackers. Red meat like pork and beef were also conspicuous by their absence. Panash is the Pan-Asian specialty restaurant on the first storey of the restaurant, while Best Brew is the
English-styled pub. The sushi at Panash is highly recommended. And we suggest you let the bartender at Best Brew toss up a cocktail based on your preference. It is unlikely you will regret either of these choices. The tiny swimming pool with its sundeck is on the second floor, but during our stay, we did not see many guests use the pool. This could be because it was a weekday, or because they did not want to be the cynosure of guests staying at the hotel, or those in the neighboring buildings. Incidentally, it is likely that the Best Brew will soon convert to a nightclub and Panash might cease 63
Sohum Spa 64
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ROAMING ROVER ly to see what is lacking in a particular property, based on a guest’s feedback. It mostly boils down to whether a guest is likely to keep returning to the hotel and the reasons for his decision to either become a loyal customer or why he would choose another property over it. What most people do not know is that the staff at various Starwood Hotel’s properties also get their incentives based on the GEI scores. For instance, if a restaurant’s GEI score is low, the chef, his kitchen help and serving staff have to pull up their collective socks to push the score to the average. If they are unable to do this, it might affect their incentive packages at the end of the appraisal cycle.
The meeting point at the lobby to exist. But these developments are still under discussion with the hotel’s management team. The gym is located right behind the pool. Equipped with treadmills, cross trainers, weights, etc., it has ample space for people to indulge in freestyle workouts. The gym is open to the public who can avail of its services through a membership. Yoga and aerobics classes are routinely held here under the supervision of a qualified trainer. We were happy to note that the gym and spa have an automated external defibrillator unit in case any of the guests suffer cardiac arrest. And regular training is provided to the staff to use it appropriately. The spa adjoins the gym and while we would not call it indulgently spacious, it is ideal to work out the kinks in the muscles after a tiresome CaLDRON March 2014
Vinesh however informed us that the GEI at Four Points by Sheraton in Pune is running parallel to the expected GEI scores. “Over the years, boardroom battle. The spa services we have understood the profile of have been outsourced to Sohum Spa our guests and what they expect from us. Most of them are long stay and is probably the only facility in the hotel that is not owned by Four guests who want to feel at home and expect prompt service. We give Points by Sheraton. them just that, and try to be a step ahead when it comes to their expecWe noticed that the hotel lacked a tations,” he added. garden or lawn where guests can take a post-dinner stroll or families Bottomline can let their children play. There Initially one might feel that Four are no indoor recreation options either. But then again, given that it Points by Sheraton is very utilitarian is a business hotel, one can overlook and unfussy. However, this is precisely the image the hotel wants to these aspects. cultivate, keeping its target clientele in focus. It is modern and minimalUSP All Starwood Hotels have an inter- istic, but well-designed for folks who esting way to gauge customer satis- do not intend to spend their entire faction and capture feedback. Called stay indoors. In short, it is busithe Guest Experience Index (GEI), ness-like, which suits their business guests perfectly. ■ this system allows the hotel to get opinions and criticism from guests and use it to tweak their processes Vinita Bhatia and offering. It is like a report card for the hotel that is revisited regular65
Holi: When Everything Goes Fun, frolic, friendship and food - these are the things that Holi, the festival of colors, symbolises.
The amazing aspect about Holi is that overriding sense of bonhomie and boisterousness is not relegated to either the urban or the rural areas â€“ its spans across every corner of the country, uniting classes, castes and clans alike. Legends about Holi Many stories abound about the origin of Holi. The most popular is the Gujias for Holi legend that Prahlad, son of Asura 66
Image courtesy: Radisson Blu New Delhi Paschim Vihar
oli is a festival of abundance and abandon. You drink in abundance, you dance with abandon and you eat like there is no tomorrow. And it is probably the only time you can drench people around you and smear them till they look like a multi-hued alien from outer space and only get happy grins in reciprocation. Yes, sir, that is Holi â€“ where almost everything goes, and with no hard feelings attached.
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The invariable result after a strenuous Holi
Image courtesy: Wikipedia
Gujia Ingredients: • 500 gms maida • 6 tbsp cooking oil, extra for frying • 200 ml water • 1 kg khoya
• 200 gms almonds, chopped • 500 gms sugar • 3 tbsp raisins
Method: 1. Combine maida with 6 tbsp of oil using your fingers. Knead lightly to make a soft dough. Add water if needed. Cover with a wet cloth and leave aside. 2. In a frying pan, sauté the khoya until it turns light brown in color. 3. Add chopped almonds, sugar and raisins and mix well. Fry again for few minutes. Allow the mixture to cool. 4. Prepare a small and thick chapatti from the kneaded dough. 5. Spoon the khoya mixture into the center of this chapatti. 6. Fold one end of the chapatti over the other, to resemble a semi-circular shape. Press the edges and roll it inwards to close. 7. Heat a frying pan on low flame and pour the cooking oil in it. When heated, lower the flame and deep-fry the gujias until they are golden brown. 8. Take out using a sieve and drain the oil properly. 9. Store them in an airtight container. Recipe courtesy: Chef Hayat Singh of Bellagio Restaurants, New Delhi
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king Hiranyakashyap was a great believer of Lord Vishnu, much to his father’s annoyance. When Prahlad refused to forsake his belief in Lord Vishnu, Hiranyakashyap asked his sister Holika to sit on a burning pyre with Prahlad on her lap. Holika was blessed with a boon that fire could not hurt her. However, she was burnt while Prahlad emerged unscathed from the pyre. This symbolizes the classic victory of good over evil intents. Even today, bonfires are lit on the eve of Holi and people offer coconuts and sweets to the fire, as their submission to the gods. In other parts of India, Holi also marks the beginning of spring, and is celebrated on the first full moon night of the Hindu month of Falgun. It is a time to shed old misgivings and forge new friendships, shedding formalities and greeting each other with some gulal and splashing colored water on friends and foes alike. In fact, Holi is probably the only time when gender lines can be gracefully crossed. Take the case of the highly patriarchal town of Barsana. Armed with wooden lathis, the women playfully hit the menfolk who come to smear color on them in a tradition called Latmaar Holi – all this while keeping their faces covered coyly. In parts of Haryana, sisters-inlaw get dibs to daub their naughty brothers-in-law with pichkaris filled with vermillion for the mischief they cause throughout the year, in a ritual called Duledi. The boys then have to sheepishly ask for the ladies’ forgiveness before they can do some tomfoolery the next day onwards. 67
Food, Fun and Frolic Holi is also the time when food takes center stage as is the case with most Indian celebrations. And as with most festivals, this is an occasion when people prefer to prepare the special delicacies at home rather than buy it. After all, cooking in often results in entire families coming together and helping out in the kitchen, fostering a sense of togetherness. “I remember as a kid, our aunts would argue about who had turned the edges of the gujjias perfectly and the fragrance of these gujias being deep fried in ghee pervading the house,” reminisces Pradeep Khanna, who spent his childhood in the crowded gullies of Chandni Chowk, Delhi. Based in Bahrain now, where Holi is hardly celebrated, he misses these small trivia associated with Holi.
Ingredients: • 2 cups sugar • 1 ½ liter water • 1 tbsp almonds • 1 tbsp watermelon seeds, skinned • ½ tbsp khuskhus (poppy seeds)
½ tbsp saunf (aniseed) ½ tsp cardamom powder ½ tsp rosewater 1 tsp whole peppercorns ¼ cup dried or fresh rose petals
Method: 1. Soak the sugar in ½ liter of the water used. Keep aside. 2. Wash and clean all dry ingredients, except cardamom powder. Soak them in 2 cups water. Keep aside. 3. Allow all soaked items to stand for at least 2 hours. Grind all soaked ingredients to a very fine paste, preferably using a stone grinder. When ground to a fine paste, mix the remaining water. Place a muslin cloth over the mouth of a large deep vessel to act as a strainer, 4. Press the paste through the muslin gently to extract the liquid into vessel. Add a little more water over the paste and press again to extract some more liquid. 5. Repeat this process till the residue becomes dry and husk like. 6. Mix cardamom with the milk. Then add milk, sugar and rosewater to the extracted liquid. 7. Mix well. Chill for an hour or two before serving. Recipe courtesy: Chef Hayat Singh of Bellagio Restaurants, New Delhi
Asarpota. “Of course, my concerned aunt doled out double my share of the rice and also gave me lots of cold rabri to soothe my tongue.” It is not just food but drinks too that make Holi such a fun affair. Cool Thandai is gulped down by the glass, He is not the only one who has fond while the elders surreptitiously enjoy and not as fond memories of food some bhaang, or ground cannabis during Holi. “As a kid, I burned my leaves, with flavored milk. Manish tongue in my eagerness to eat the Gupta recalls how as a teenager sweet saffron rice that is traditional- he was curious about the drink ly prepared during Holi. My house and snuck in a couple of glasses of would be overrun with cousins and bhang-infused milk. “I hurriedly relatives and I always worried that drank both glasses in my fear of getI would not get to get this rice to ting caught by my father and could my heart’s content,” laughs Mala recall nothing else. A day later, when 68
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Image courtesy: Hina Gujral
In Bengal, boys and girls masquerade as Radha and Krishna and are carried in bedecked palanquins throughout the city bylanes while their friends sing and dance as gopis. Holi is probably the only festival when the tourist town of Manali in Himachal Pradesh comes to a standstill since everyone is busy in the revelry that takes places. Tourists and locals come together to coat each other with colors and no one seems to mind.
my senses finally returned, I got the spanking of my life from my father. But I must say, it was quite a thrill,” he notes. Eat, play, frolic – that is what Holi signifies and those are the memories that are evoked when one thinks of this festival. So go on, and add a dash of color to your life and palate, taking inspiration from these lovely recipes from Chef Hayat Singh of Bellagio Restaurants. After all, that is what Holi is all about! ■ Vinita Bhatia CaLDRON March 2014
GROWING UP ON A DIET OF LOVE, CARE AND MENTORING
At Angel Xpress Foundation, we believe that that children are best nourished whenwhen they are heavyheavy doses of At Angel Xpress Foundation, we believe children are best nourished theygiven are given caredoses and guidance to shape theirto lives. Wetheir provide a platform for educated adults to fill theadults education of care and guidance shape lives. We provide a platform for educated to fillneeds the of underprivileged children, to nurture a better futureto where educated children make responsible choices. education needs of underprivileged children, nurture a better futurecan where educated children can To joinmake us, you can: responsible choices. To join us, you can: • Teach English, Math, Art, Art, Craft, Dance etc at of our centres for just 2 hours / week. • Teach English, Math, Craft, Dance etcone at one of our centres for just 2 hours / week. • Sponsor a child – Rs. 5500 a year enables us to alter the childhood experience for afor slum kid.kid. • Sponsor a child – Rs. 5500 a year enables us to alter the childhood experience a slum • Donate clothes, shoes andand toys. • Donate clothes, shoes toys. • Sponsor trips to picnics, movies, malls etc,etc, andand much more. • Sponsor trips to picnics, movies, malls much more. We operate out of our centers in: We operate out of our centers in: Bandra Bandstand Promenade | Rajesh Khanna Garden, Santacruz | Rotary Park, Juhu | In-school programs for select vernacular BMC schools. Bandra Bandstand Promenade | Rajesh Khanna Garden, Santacruz | Rotary Park, Juhu | In-school programs for select vernacular BMC For contributions, please contact: Anubha Sharma, Founder: 9930070086/ anubha.sharma9@angel xpress.org or schools. Beenaa Advani, Co Founder: 982024456 / Beenaa.Advani@angel xpress.org, For contributions, please contact: Anubha Sharma, Founder: 9930070086/ anubha.sharma9@angel xpress.org or Like us on http://www.facebook.com/AngelXpressFoundation Beenaa Advani, Co Founder: 982024456 / Beenaa.Advani@angel xpress.org, Like us on http://www.facebook.com/AngelXpressFoundation
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Drink Up, Holi Hai! SOMRAS This spicy and savory cocktail is a homage to the drinks of the Gods and you will realize why mythological wars were fought over it. Ingredients: • 60 ml vodka • 3 full sprigs of fresh coriander • 10 mint leaves • 1/2 tsp cumin powder • 2-3 thin ginger slices
• • • •
10 ml Mojito mix 90 ml water 15 ml lime juice 50 ml Aam Panna
Method: 1. Take a Rocks glass. Muddle all the coriander, mint, ginger, cumin powder with lime juice. 2. Mix all the ingredients in a shaker and shake well. 3. Strain into the rocks glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint.
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Ruhani Lassi Why should adults have all the fun this Holi? Whip up this drink for the kiddie gang that they can sip on while dousing each other in different colors.
Ingredients: • 180 gms yoghurt • 30 ml raspberry puree • 30 ml strawberry puree
• 15 ml peach syrup • 15 ml passion fruit syrup • 30 ml water
Method: 1. Blend all the ingredients in a processor for a couple of minutes. 2. Pour the drink into a Pilsner glass. 3. Garnish with some chopped strawberries.
Recipes and images courtesy: Dhaba by Claridges CaLDRON March 2014
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POINT OF VIEW
The Indian Food Snob The two facets of the Indian Food Snob as seen by Sid Khullar.
ost articles I’ve read that refer to food snobs tend to describe well read people who are obsessed about the quality of the words they speak, the ingredients they use and the food they eat. Is that bad? I don’t think so. I’d call them gourmets really. My lifelong affair with food saw me turning into an obsessed stalker about ten years ago; a fortunately legal exercise that still continues as there’s no end to how much one can learn on the subject. Getting into bed with food is simple, but performing becomes rather difficult for those who’re really interested. Foreplay begins with rice, quickly gets heavier with Biryani and turns all steamy when you try and distinguish the origins of a Biryani from that of a Pulao. You finally end up four hundred years in the past, flipping through heavy texts, utterly past the desired intellectual climax because of the vast number of topics covered. Limp, you pass out without any sort of satisfaction vowing to try harder the next day.
The food snob is a different creature, largely of social origin, for whom food is a means to a socially ambitious end. Dedicated food snobs usually choose either international cuisine or local street food after which they look down upon every other food that is unfortunate enough to be placed in front of them or talked about in their immediate vicinity.
patron. International food snobs aren’t really interested in the origin or composition of what they’re eating as long as it’s fashionable, expensive and preferably hard to find. Some, however, do keep tidbits of knowledge handy to maintain conversational superiority.
An international food snob’s kitchen is a great place to visit. It’s usually stocked with all manner of gadgets The International Food Snob and knives, carefully displayed for "The last time I was in Marseilles..." maximum effect and little utility. is one of the many favourite conver- You’ll find gleaming blocks of wood sation starters for most international with expensive, blunt knives embedfood snobs. It not only highlights ded within, egg slicers, apple corers, their trip to France, but also gently an array of non-stick, ultra-light fryhints at their financial wherewithing pans, slim and shiny chopping al in affording a trip to Marseilles boards with colourful patterns, a top more than once. Indian wines are of the line microwave with a built in rebuked or condescended upon in oven, an electric can opener, a food short course, and their monologue processor with a zillion attachments, usually ends with how they adore a four-burner induction cooking Heston’s cooking. Using last names range and the rest of it. for celebrities is a definite no-no and is meant to paint a picture in the You’ll also find the family cook dolistener’s head, clearly showing Mr. ing all the work with his or her own Blumenthal rushing out of his kitch- equipment and using little if any of en, arms outstretched and apron all those expensive tools. Disclaimflying, to greet his Number One er: Enthusiasts may possess some of CaLDRON March 2014
vention. The street food junkie will quickly tear your statement apart into threadbare little syllables and probably rightly so. Street food snobs on the other hand practice reverse snobbery. They patronize street food because it’s fashionable to do so. They’ll visit and indeed lavish praise on overpriced, shoddily run joints peddling unrecognizable, inedible crap simply because the decor is rustic and hey, it’s fashionable because everyone is talking about the place. Others tend to give the impression they’re doing street food vendors a favour by patting them on their backs and saying ‘Photo photo. Internet pe aayega!’ (photo, photo. It’ll come on the Internet) or ‘Pichlee baar aayaa tha... picture liya thaa, yaad hai?’ (I came last time, took your photo, remember?). The vendor, who sees a thousand faces a day, predictably responds with a toothy grin. Mollified, the street food snob wannabe grins in a satisfied manner to his retinue as if to say, "He recognizes me, see? I’m famous around here". It isn’t a crime to like stuff that comes out of bottles or not know food junkie from a street food snob. wine from vinegar. What is of conthe above too... but please, not the sequence however, is the pointless block of useless knives or those I’ll admit to being fond of street criticism of the stuff that comes out food junkies as I believe their love ridiculous chopping boards. for food is genuine. Most street food of bottles or the pretense of knowing wine from vinegar. All of this talk reminds me of an junkies I know tend to delve into the history of what they’re eating, urban legend about a person who, Good food is simple, honestly after sniffing the cork, inhaling the wade through streams of sweating cooked with quality ingredients. humanity for their platters and bouquet, gargling, analyzing and Can’t we just like it for what it is? ■ otherwise waxing eloquent, was told usually know what they’re talking it was a bottle of wine vinegar. Wine about . They can easily engage you in a conversation on the origins of 101: Read the Label. different types of food and can just Sid Khullar The Street Food Snob as easily talk dirty (read ‘technical’) The street food snob has the same about what goes into their food and social objectives as the internation- why. Praise the wrong street food al food snob, though you’ll have vendor for the wrong reasons and to look hard to distinguish a street you may soon wish for divine interCaLDRON March 2014
KOREAN FOOD Bibimbap is one of the dishes held dearest by Koreans and holds what can reasonably be called, iconic status
Venue Courtesy: Gung the Palace, Gurgaon Photos: Sid Khullar 74
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Blood sausage with rice cakes and noodles.
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Deep fried prawns smeared with mayonnaise.
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Smoked pork with noodles, shrimp and cabbage.
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Healthy Banchan, the side dishes that accompany every Korean meal.
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Donkkaseu Omeurice, Crispy fried pork with a soft omelette, stuffed with rice and the whole topped with mayonnaise!
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Byeongeo-jorim, Braised Silver Pomfret. CaLDRON March 2014
Yang Galbi, Spicy, lamb ribs in a very delicious sauce.
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Yangjangpi, Spicy Mustard Seafood Prawn, Squid, Sea Cucumber and Veg Salad.
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Who needs actress Kareena Kapoor to be the face of the newly-launched Magnum icecreams in India, when we have folks who evocatively express how they relished this premium icecream? Expressions like these can give any affected imagery a run for its money!
Chef Siddhanth,Vee and Sailesh, all packing Magnums! 90
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SELFIE OF THE MONTH
Rhea Mitra-Dalal with a Magnum. :) CaLDRON March 2014
LISTINGS - INTERNATIONAL
Easter at The Address Dubai Mall Celebrate Easter with the quirky yet lively spirit of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ at The Address Dubai Mall on Friday and Saturday this March. The buffet features a stunning selection of food from the dedicated carving and live cooking stations. Walk in anytime between 12.30pm to 4pm, select from the premium raw meat and sushi counters or opt for the traditional desserts that are given a unique twist. Kids will also have the opportunity to win big through their very own dedicated ‘Easter Egg Hunt.’ The buffet is priced AED 295 per person, including soft beverages and AED 380 per person, including selected house beverages.
Jumeirah at Etihad Towers launches mixology master classes Jumeirah at Etihad Towers has launched a master class at Ray’s Bar for budding mixologists. Gatis Ozols, Ray’s Bar Manager, also named ‘Russian Standard’s Best Bartender Middle East 2013’ will conduct these classes. Costing AED 1,000 (plus 10% Service Charge and 6% Tourism Fee) the sessions are held every Friday evening at 5pm and conclude with a dinner for two at the hotel’s restaurant, Quest. DFW Airport aiming to be the ‘World's Healthiest Airport’ Passengers traveling through Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport can avoid diet turbulence and fuel their bodies with the right nutrients thanks to the healthy offerings available at any DFW restaurant. The Airport has launched a marketing campaign entitled ‘Eat Healthy at DFW’ to support the effort of DFW concessionaires in providing healthy eating options. In February, many restaurants participated in a menu tasting campaign, offering at least one low-calorie, low-fat, low-sodium, cholesterol-free, plant-based, or highin-fiber entree or menu item. Ken Buchannan, Executive VP-Revenue Management at DFW Airport said, “Providing our customers with healthy, diverse and nutritious dining options is another sign of our commitment to making our customer experience exceptional and supporting those who strive to maintain a healthy lifestyle, even while traveling.”
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LISTINGS - INTERNATIONAL
Auris Plaza Hotel launches ‘Chic Cuisine’ dining concept Auris Plaza has launched the ‘Chic Cuisine’ culinary concept at its Zuri restaurant. The à la carte menu of 15 signature dishes and 5 desserts are presented in an allinclusive format, allowing guests to choose from the menu as many of each dish as they would like for the one inclusive price.
Mila Kunis is the brand ambassador for Jim Beam Mila Kunis has joined the Jim Beam family as a global partner and spokesperson, and will be part of the company’s new ‘Make History’ multi-media brand campaign. This is the first-ever global marketing campaign for the iconic American brand, which traces its history to 1795. The television campaign featuring Kunis will premiere in the next few months in the brand's largest markets, including the U.S., Australia and Germany. "Jim Beam has been making history by producing the world's finest bourbon through seven generations of family distillers, and this partnership truly signifies a new era for the brand – an era in which we push boundaries even further, attracting new fans across the globe and continuing the great growth we've enjoyed on the brand," said Kevin George, Senior VP and Chief Marketing Officer at Beam Inc. "Mila's love of bourbon, her appreciation for the authenticity of our brand, her warm personality and her global relevance to our Make History campaign make her the perfect partner."
This concept is the brainchild of Executive Chef De Wet and Chef Abdul Aziz, who along with a culinary team of professionals from seven different nationalities, spent over 3 months creating, improving and evolving the cuisine to its modern contemporary reflection of Dubai that it is today. Says Executive Chef De Wet, “Eastern flavours and techniques have been introduced to Western ingredients to present a fresh dining experience that is stylish, confident and harmonious despite the underlying complexity – just like Dubai itself!” One of the most recommended dish is the ‘Short Ribs Tamarind Peanut Teriyaki Purple Yam Jasmine Sweet Potato’ that takes over 72 hours of slowly cooking the short ribs with a tamarind, peanut, teriyaki glaze, and is served with a purple yam cake infused with jasmine tea, and accompanied by sweet potato chips. Another musttry is the ‘Beef Cheek Risotto Green Bean Garlic’ that sees beef cheeks braised in a Tom Yam broth and served with a coconut risotto, sautéed green beans and garlic chips. Says Chef De Wet reveals that each dish went through 25 to 30 tastings before being added to the menu. “We also made the sizing of each dish smaller than a regular main so that guests can try as many of the unique flavour combinations as possible,” he added. This dining experience costs AED 225 per person and is all-inclusive of all food dishes, mocktails, teas and water.
Gourmet getaway with Amari Doha Inspired by the Qatar International Food Festival, Amari Doha has created a special rejuvenate and dine package that offers visitors a one-hour traditional Thai massage at the hotel’s Breeze Spa followed by a three-course Thai lunch served at Musheireb restaurant. Located just a 10 minute drive away from the international food festival, and 15 minutes from Doha International Airport, Amari Doha is ideally placed to provide foodies from around the region convenient access to the main events, while ensuring the epicurean adventure is continued while at the hotel. The hotel’s rooftop pool lounge also provides stunning panoramic views of Doha’s skyline and the Corniche. CaLDRON March 2014
LISTINGS - INTERNATIONAL
Courvoisier Introduces L'Essence Year of the Horse Courvoisier has released L'Essence Year of the Horse, an exclusive limited edition, collectable release of L'Essence de Courvoisier Cognac. Launched in 2010, this premium cognac is the lasting legacy of Courvoisier's fifth Master Blender, Jean-Marc Olivier, is a result of blends combined with the rare eaux-de-vie from the centuries old Courvoisier Paradis cellar. As the cognac of Napoleon, the signature decanter is complete with an ornate crystal stopper, inspired by Napoleon's signet ring, which he bestowed upon commanders in his military to commemorate noble acts of power and bravery. Each bottle will be showcased in a wooden trunk and sold in an exclusive, individually numbered series. Encompassing the true essence of Courvoisier, the horse symbolizes power, resolve and adventure, perfectly representing the heritage and history of the renowned cognac house. L'Essence Year of the Horse will be released in limited quantities in select U.S. and international markets with a SRP of $3,500.
Foodpanda and OpenRice partner up Foodpanda, a leading online marketplace for food delivery, and OpenRice, leading food and restaurant review website announced a new strategic partnership across the South East Asian region. The new partnership is expected to integrate key elements of both websites for a more enhanced consumer experience in Singapore, India and Thailand in the first phase, and will subsequently be followed in Malaysia, Taiwan and Indonesia. Foodpanda will display food reviews from OpenRice on each restaurant profile to give their customers access to more in-depth recommendations and user feedback. OpenRice will display a Foodpanda delivery widget on each restaurant profile’s overview tab, so its users can now order food directly from their preferred local restaurant. Global Managing Director of Foodpanda, Ralf Wenzel, said “We firmly believe that our partnership will help in creating more choice, more transparency and more convenience for our mutual customers.” Foodpanda and its affiliated brand, hellofood, offer food delivery from over 22,000 restaurants around the globe. Customers now benefit from over 1.6 million OpenRice-reviews to choose their favorite delivery restaurant. “We’re very excited to be working with foodpanda, which has seen exponential growth in Asia since it started in 2012. OpenRice believes in bettering the food and restaurant experience for anyone who loves food, and we can’t think of a better addition to our suite of partnerships,” said Managing Director of OpenRice, Jan Wong. Award-winning Pierchic launches Friday brunch The multi-award-winning Pierchic at Madinat Jumeirah has launched an elegant gourmet brunch. Held every Friday between 12:30pm and 15:30pm on the wooden pier, the brunch includes a buffet selection of starters, salads and desserts, with the option of a chilled seafood ice bar, and stations offering Foie Gras, scallops and ice cream. Guests can select their main course from a wide range of à la carte main dishes including Australian lamb rack, sautéed tiger prawns, pan-fired sea bass and stockyard beef tenderloin. Guests can choose from al fresco or interior seating and three brunch options: AED 695 per person inclusive of bubbly, cocktails, beverages, juices and soft drinks, AED 550 per person inclusive of non-alcoholic beverages and AED 275 for children between four and 12 years old. Children aged below four dine for free.
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LISTINGS - NATIONAL
Parle's new Hide and Seek Black Bourbon Crème Sandwich Parle Products rolled out a renewed version of the popular Bourbon with ‘Hide and Seek Black Bourbon Crème Sandwich’. Available in vanilla and chocolate flavors, the biscuits come in attractive dark coco shells that pack in rich creams. The packaging complements these rich flavors with its contemporary design, simple and clean graphics in regal purple for the vanilla and rich brown for the chocolate. Commenting on the launch, Shalin Desai, Group Product Manager, Parle Products said, “We have strategically worked on innovating the Bourbon category, which has been relatively dormant, to suit the tastes of our discerning consumers. ‘Black Bourbon’, with dark coco shells and centered with rich cream is premium in its category and ensures a rich experience to consumers.” Hide and Seek Black Bourbon Crème Sandwich is available across India in pack size of 100 grams and is priced at Rs 25.
Southern Spice comes to Taj Lands End in March From 10th to 23rd March, 2014, embark on a southward culinary journey as ‘Masala Bay’ brings the iconic restaurant ‘Southern Spice’ to Mumbai. Join Chef Shanmugam, a ‘Southern Spice’ veteran, who has been with the iconic restaurant since its inception will treat guests to some appetizing south Indian fare. With hints of traditional cuisine from the districts of Udipi, Mangalore and Coorg in Karnataka to Calicut and Thalasseri from Kerala, enjoy Chef Shanmugam’s signature dishes like ‘Thalaserry Neimeen Biriyani’, and ‘Pachakari Stew’. Start your meal with ‘Mysore Rasam’ or ‘Kozhi Kurmilagu Chaaru’ followed by starters like ‘Denji Rawa Fry’, ‘Kori Kempu’ or ‘More Kali Uppu Urundai’. The main course selection includes a delectable spread of ‘Urlai Vathakal’, ‘Asparagus Paruppu Usili’, ‘Pachakari Ishtew’, ‘Allepey Fish Curry’, ‘Mangalore Yetti Pulimunchi’, “Usilampatti Kari Kozhambu’, among others. Conclude your culinary sojourn on a sweet note with desserts such as ‘Elaneer Payasam’, ‘Godhi Bella Ice Cream’ or ‘Ada Pradhaman’
Chocolat Frey makes its Indian foray Swiss chocolate brand, Chocolat Frey, launched its premium products in India in February 2014. Founded in 1887 by two brothers, Max and Robert Frey, the company’s chocolates are manufactured in Switzerland using the finest cocoa beans and pure Swiss milk. United Distributors Inc (UDI) is the exclusive distributor for the brand in India. Initially, an assortment of 13 chocolates will be available at premium outlets including multi-brand stores, hypermarkets, gourmet stores and chocolate boutiques in key metros and cities of India. Marc Balsiger, Export Manager of Brand Frey said, “We believe that the mature Indian consumer will accept our brand, which continues to evolve its product range without compromising on the Swiss-made quality.” Nilesh Hada, Executive Director, UDI, added, “Chocolat Frey is a very prestigious brand. We will ensure that its products are available in all major cities at outlets that align appropriately with the brand image.” CaLDRON March 2014
KFC launches Rockin’ Burgers QSR brand KFC introduced Rockin’ Burgers, a range of mid-priced burgers, to create wider menu options. It features KFC’s signature crispy, crunchy and juicy chicken fillet, served in a soft sesame bun along with fresh lettuce and the kick of three pepper mayo sauce with tangy lemon and mixed spices. The accompanying sauces were developed specially for the local palate catering to Indian preference for spicy and tangy food. 95
LISTINGS - NATIONAL
Mövenpick launches first outlet in Delhi Mövenpick launched its first ice cream boutique at Select City Walk, New Delhi. The brand is already present in Kolkata and Chennai in India. Commenting on the launch, Dennis Koorey, Country Business, Mövenpick Australia said, “We are excited about our first boutique in Delhi. The city has a certain flair and passion for the best that suits our brand and target audience.” Tarun Sikka, MD, Star Foods Speciality, the distributor of the brand in India, said, “We have plans to open around 50 ice cream boutiques in the next three years. The Indian super premium ice cream category is growing rapidly, and our brand and offering is perfectly positioned to capitalise on this.” All Mövenpick products are made in Switzerland without artificial additives, flavourings or colours. For example, the mango sorbet is created using the finest mangoes in the world, Alfonso magpies from India. The Swiss chocolate ice cream uses cocoa sourced from the finest cocoa plantation in Venezuela.
CMJ Breweries launches Kaltenberg beer in India CMJ Breweries in association with Konig Ludwig International is introducing ‘Kaltenberg’ German beer in India. The first beer to be launched through this association will be Kaltenberg Royal Lager and this will be followed by Kaltenberg Royal Strong within few months. The product will be available across 1,000 outlets in Maharashtra, Goa, Daman, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Delhi, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
Nokia partners with Foodpanda to launch food delivery app Nokia has signed up online food ordering portal Foodpanda.in and its affiliated brand, Hellofood, to launch a food delivery app. Called 'foodpanda/hellofood', this app will be available across the Nokia Asha, Lumia and X family of mobile phone devices. Foodpanda helps around 3,000 restaurants in India to increase delivery sales through online and mobile platforms and provides them with evolving technology and analytics.
Quiznos partners with Hotel Polo Towers Quiznos International has signed a master franchisee agreement to develop multiple units in East India with Polo Foods, a part of the Polo Towers Group. The Polo Towers Group is in the process of finalising multiple locations for Quiznos stores in the region. Ken Cutshaw, President, Quiznos International, said, "Quiznos is already present in other parts of India and we feel we have found the right partners for East India and believe that the Polo Towers Group is best suited to drive the brand forward. Our products have been greatly appreciated throughout the world and we have seen a lot of interest from consumers from this part of India, and now everyone can enjoy them.” Deval Tibrewalla, CEO, Polo Towers Group added, "We are excited about this opportunity and plan on opening multiple outlets in Eastern India. The stores will be a combination of both the company owned and franchised outlets.” 96
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The Absolut Originality collection features four million individually designed bottles, each made into a one-of-a-kind work of art with a drop of cobalt blue infused into the molten glass during production. CaLDRON March 2014
“Absolut Originality presents our iconic bottle in its most classy form to date,” says Mathias Westphal, Global Brand Director at Absolut.“We took inspiration from traditional Swedish glass craft, and made it available to the world. 98
CaLDRON March 2014
Releasing a drop of cobalt blue into the glass only takes a millisecond. Itâ€™s added just as the molten glass goes into the mould at 1100Â°C. At that temperature, the cobalt is invisible, but as the glass cools off, a beautiful and unique blue infusion appears inside the glass of each bottle. CaLDRON March 2014
Chef at Large
CaLDRON March 2014
Published on Mar 14, 2014
This month, we have a collection of finger food, cocktails, mocktails and spicy recipes to jazz up your Holi party. We've also spoken to two...