CaLDRON February 2014 - Valentine's Day Special

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Feb 2014

Monthly Blogazine

there’s always something cooking

COOKING with wine

Page 28

24 romantic recipes


Sevilla, The Claridges Zerruco by Zilli Cafe Uno Pondicherry Cafe Emperor's Court JW Marriott, Mumbai

Kitchen Kin Aditya Bal

Roaming Rover in Clark's Amer, Jaipur


24 food and drink recipes, Including recipes from chefs, readers and loads more to read as always.

Guardians of Exquisite CaLDRON February 2014



Valentine’s Day Menus We asked Chef at Large members if the largely media and industry driven perception, that food related to Valentine's Day ought to be red or pink. We also asked if most special menus should be advertised as containing cliched aphrodisiacs such as chocolate, chilies and vanilla. The results were overwhelmingly negative and appear to hold lessons for some of us. A whopping 71% said they didn't care for the red and pink advertising or food, while a relatively smaller 21 % said they did.



Original question: Do you think Valentine's Day food should be largely red/pink in color and contain cliched aphrodisiacs like chocolate, chilies and vanilla? Respondents: Ninety Eight (98) Link to Poll: 2

CaLDRON February 2014


We're reaching out faster than we thought, with the last issue too raking in over 100,000 reads, which sounds like we ought to be aiming at a million plus in the course of the coming year. Keep your fingers crossed folks. You'll find this issue to include recipes from international chefs, which brings in a new level of education for us in terms of exposure to different cultures. We also have an awesome chef and person in Ranveer Brar, from Boston, USA who kindly consented to answer our readers' questions. Especially heartwarming this month, were the stories and recipes sent in, about the first dish cooked by readers for their partners. If you have a similar story to share, please do write in. For February, we showcased the legendary fare from Matia Mahal, the street food destination opposite Jama Masjid in New Delhi as well as explored an interesting format in the piece on plant based milk, which by the way, was new to me. Had you heard of it before? Also, watch out for the little hearts on some restaurant reviews and recipes. That means, they're recommended for your Valentine's Day dinner.


As always, please do keep writing in. Your comments and suggestions keep us going and help us improve. Stay well. Sid CHEF AT LARGE WEBSITE






OTHER CREDITS Cover photo courtesy: Michael Swamy

Photo Relief pictures: Sid Khullar All other recipe photos used are from the sources mentioned in the article.


Alka Keswani, Chef Audrey Pravata (Maybury), Chef Gurpreet Singh (Punjab Grill), Chef Johnson Manjooran (Rainbow Steakhouse), Chef Michael Swamy, Chef Ranveer Brar (BanQ), Chef Sandeep Pande (Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre), Chef Vicky Ratnani (Aurus), Dhanya Samuel, Dr. Manisha Sharma, Grey Goose Vodka, Hrishikesh Thakkar, Karen C. Le Calvez, Karishma Pais-Kim, McCain Foods India, Minnie Gupta, Mohammed Shadab Ansari, Niti Agni, Priya Shiva, Shirisha Sharma, Shobha Keshwani, Tassy Gillitwala.

CaLDRON February 2014


Valentine's Cupcakes, by Maybury, Dubai


CaLDRON February 2014

CONTENTS Snippets Poll: Your Take on cliched Valentine's Day food, 2 Born this Month: Paul Bocuse, 6 Mailbox, 7 Ask the Experts, 80 Featured Members, 99 Listings - National and International, 100 Reviews A Touch of Spain at Sevilla, 8 Zerruco by Zilli: Elegant Simplicity, 12 Daawat-e-Awadh at Cafe Uno, 14 Patriotic Indulgence at Pondicherry Cafe, 16 Chi De K達ixin, 18 Wah Wazwan!, 20 Specials In Wine There's Truth, 28 Hearty Dishes for a Chilly Winter, 42 Photo Feature: Roadside Culinary Heaven, Matia Mahal Food Fads Instant Gratification at Your Fingertips, 34 Vikas Mittal, MD, McCain Foods India, 38 Flavors of India Food, Religion and Tranquility, 40


Salad with White Wine Dressing, 30 Pan Grilled Scallops in White Wine Sauce, 31 Muddled Seasonal Fruits, 32 McCain Potato Wrap, 35 Penne with Creamy Chicken, Mushrooms and Broccoli, 36 Kaale Gaajar ki Kanji, 43 Chukunder ke Kebab, 44 Kharode ka Shorba, 46 Punjab Grill Deg Hot Pot, 48 Gurh wale Chawal, 50 Seyun Patata, 53 Manglorean Sweet Pulao, 54 Mor Kachiyatu, 55 Paneer Makhani, 56 Dal Fry, 57 Strawberry Cupcakes, 58 Srikhand, 59 Gulab Jamun, 59 Lobster Bisque, 67 Salmon en Croute, 68 Butter Fried Scampi, 78

Mix Up

Parfait Amour, 61 French Tiramisu, 62 South of France, 63

Valentine's Day Specials Love Bites, 52 Mixup - L'Amore, 60 A Feast Called Love, 66 Point Blank and Counter Point Critiquing the Critics, 70 Food Bloggers are a Media in Themselves, 72 Face Off Yogurt from Plant Milk Kitchen Kin Aditya Bal: We can't Fathom Molecular Gastronomy in Indian Cuisine, 76 Spirit-ual The Guardians of Exquisite, 64 Roaming Rover Clark's Amer Jaipur: Service with a Sigh, 24 CaLDRON February 2014



Paul Bocuse (born February 11, 1926) is a French chef based in Lyon who is famous for the high quality of his restaurants and his innovative approaches to cuisine. He is one of the most prominent chefs associated with the nouvelle cuisine, which is less opulent and calorific than the traditional cuisine classique, and stresses the importance of fresh ingredients of the highest quality. The recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Commandeur de la LĂŠgion d'honneur, Paul Bocuse runs multiple restaurants, including a Three Star Michelin establishment. Information courtesy: Wikipedia, Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia


CaLDRON February 2014

MAILBOX I saw the January 2014 issue of CaLDRON and the moment I saw the cover, I wanted to read it in hard copy form with a nice cup of coffee, snuggled in a quilt. I hope that will come to pass soon. - Priyanka Mitra, New Delhi Congratulations to the entire Chef at Large team for the December 2013 edition of CaLDRON magazine. I loved it. It has superb topics and fantastic photography! It is more like a journey rather than just flipping or going through an e-magazine! Kudos and well done! - Anamika Singh Founder, Anandini Himalaya Tea I went through the December 2013 issue of CaLDRON e-magazine. It looks good and appealing. But you might want to consider making it shorter than its current 100 pages avatar. - Homiyar Sachinwalla, Mumbai

and the quality of the whole thing! Kudos, Siddharth and the rest of the team, I can’t stop exclaiming in delight! - Ayeda Ravindran, Bangalore

Letter of the Month CaLDRON is a super duper magazine. It will be a lovely read. Where do I collect a copy Thank you so much for the information on from? Chinese cooking and teas in the last edition - Anu Gupta, Gurgaon of CaLDRON magazine. I have developed a liking for Chinese teas now. The best ones The December 2013 issue is one of the best issues of CaLDRON so far. What a fabulous are the one I get from Fujian Province, which grows the finest Chinese tea. - Nitin spread of Chinese food! Keep up the good Anand, New Delhi work! - Rhea Mitra-Dalal, Mumbai I saw CaLDRON’s December issue online. Where can I get this magazine? - Jeanette Lartius, Bangalore

Click of the Month

I have been reading CaLDRON since its first issue and I have seen a marked improvement in the quality of its articles and its layout. I showed it to some of my colleagues in I am a fan of CaLDRON. You guys have Bahrain and they were surprised that such a done an absolutely fantastic job and photos beautiful magazine was created by a group are speechless! of passionate food lovers rather than a media - Sarandeep Singh, Gurgaon company. In fact, a few of them immediately subscribed to the online edition within a The December 2013 issue of CaLDRON mag- week. azine is a foodies’ absolute delight! I intend to read it page by page, savoring each topic. It I look forward to reading the future issues of is my treat for the holidays! Great going, Sid CaLDRON magazine. More power to you the Seen here, Chef at Large group member, Sailesh Mehra, reading the December issue, Khullar and team. Chef at Large team. after having taken a printout of the whole - Ruchi Airen, New York - Mala Javeri, Bahrain e-zine. Thank you Sailesh!

Thank you for the lovely article that you created about me. - Chef Ajay Chopra The Westin Mumbai Garden City

I love reading CaLDRON during breaks at work. It is nice to finally see a magazine on food and drinks, because I think there is none in India right now. And this is such a visually pleasing magazine too. But over the past I read the December issue of CaLDRON for two issues, I noticed one thing. The magazine the first time and really loved it! Where can I has a lot for meat lovers, but very little for find older issues? I want to read those too. vegetarians. Can you keep a balance between - Anandi Iyer, Mumbai these two, especially when it comes to your recipes? I am sure many folks like me will The December 2013 CaLDRON issue is such appreciate CaLDRON more, if you do so. a super edition! This is the first I have read, - Shivani Gupta, Kolkata and I am amazed at the production quality CaLDRON February 2014

We are always interested in knowing what you think about CaLDRON. Complaints, compliments, censure – go right ahead and email us your opinions at editor@ Missed reading the earlier issues of CaLDRON magazine? They're all on this link Receive notifications of future issues, by filling in the the subscribe box on the website.




Genestra chose spend his vacations at Sevilla. Born in Inca, Majorca in evilla at The Claridges re1983, Chef Andreu started his culiminds one of mountainnary career washing at an Iberostar side homes in faraway places like Hotel and at 16, he already knew he Chakrata near Kalimpong, where wanted to be a chef. After studying pretty, white wooden homes dot the at the Hotel School of the University rocky sides of the Himalayas. I preof the Balearic Islands, he landed a fer it at night with the fairy lights, stint at Ferran Adrià’s Bulli in 2008 the cobblestone walkway and the and 2009. Today he has own restaucoves of 2-3 tables set at levels, with rant, Andreu Genestra in the Hotel a clear view of the stone oven, the Predi Son Jaumell in Capdepera, bar and the general camaraderie of Majorca. those eating alfresco. The menu is typically Mediterranean Food, Indians and with strong Spanish influences, so Tasting Menus it was no wonder that Chef Andreu Chef Andreu speaks about food in a Spanish-tinted accent and gets quite passionate about his ideas and dishes! He rightly pointed out that Indians aren’t too For a Spanish style meal in a rarefied keen on tasting menus and atmosphere, head to Sevilla at The watch price points closely, Claridges. It’s unlikely you will regret while in Europe it’s quite common to enjoy a tastit. ing menu when one tries a restaurant for the first time.

a touch of spain at


further fortified with slices of truffle. I enjoyed the earthiness of the broth, the sudden spice of the Chorizo with the break in flavour from the cooling goat cheese. Having eaten Catalonian and Andalusian cuisine, this touch of Italian to the meal was welcome. Then came the Andreu version of Risotto, the ‘Arroz de coco, buey de mar, anchoa y limón negro Kuwaity’ (1995), which is coconut rice with crab, anchovy and Kuwait black lemon. This was a wonderful dish with fluffy, coconut rice cooked in crab broth, flavoured with anchovy paste and served with black lemon jam on the side. I loved how well the enormous pieces of crabmeat were cooked, almost woody roasted and propped prettily over the white, creamy, rice.

Since the portions are so well dictated, we had plenty of space for the main course of ‘Cochinillo confitado, patató a la sal con espuma de tomate seco’ (1,895); suckling pig roasted potato in salt and dried toI was more than happy mato foam. This traditional version with a tasting menu, which of suckling pig with a modern preconsisted handpicked sentation of accompanying wrinkled courses from his extenpotatoes with a dried tomato foam sive menu for Sevilla. We and onion juice concentrate was a started with the ‘Sopas revelation and I found it be a dish Mallorquinas De Invierno worthy of inclusion in my Top 10 of 2013’, ‘Gnoquis De Queso 2014! De Cabra, Panceta Confitada y Trufa Negra (895), We finished the food courses with ‘Mallorquin 2013’ – winter ‘Lubina salvaje a la mallorquina soup, goat cheese gnocchi, con parmentier de piñones y setas’ bacon confit and black (2,295); sea bass with Mallorcan truffle. This was a dewith parmentier of pine nuts and lightful portion of a spicy mushrooms. This grilled sea bass vegetable broth with a with pistachio and cardamom sauce, demi-glace style reduction, served with creamy mashed potatwo gnocchi filled with toes, sautéed spinach with onions, goat cheese and two with raisins and pine nuts and sautéed Spanish chorizo confit, CaLDRON February 2014

Tomato Gazpacho. CaLDRON February 2014


Sevilla entices with its fairy lights, the cobblestone walkway and the coves of 2-3 tables set at levels, with a clear view of the stone oven, the bar and the general camaraderie of those eating al fresco.

Chef Andreu Genestra pointed out that Indians aren’t too keen on tasting menus and watch price points closely, while in Europe it’s quite common to enjoy a tasting menu when one tries a restaurant for the first time.


mushrooms was pretty close to home with nutty, spiced flavours over a slab of perfectly grilled fish. It was like eating by the sea and the inclusion of raisins got us talking about rare it is to see raisins with seafood once you step out of the Gulf region. This may not be a dish I order again and again but kudos to method. Perfection in Presentation and Taste Everything on the menu was cooked to perfection and balanced beautifully. Our dessert for the evening was off the regular menu, but still Chef Andreu’s recipe of a lightly seasoned carrot cake served with vanilla gelato and what seemed like berries but turned out to be ganache coated chocolate truffles! If you visit with kids, try

the Pepperoni Pizza and don’t miss the house special Gelato; make it mango! Sevilla has an excellent selection of wines and some perfectly matched a meal like this the one we enjoyed. I suggest you enjoy a wine paired lunch or dinner of this menu. Come closer to the legendary kitchens you only read or hear about – here is a pretty good opportunity! ■ Parul Pratap Shirazi Rating: 4 out of 5 Price: INR 5000++ (meal for two) Address: Claridges Hotel, Tees January Marg, Motilal Nehru Marg Area, New Delhi, DL 110001 Phones: 011-41335133 CaLDRON February 2014


Lamb chops with winter slaw - a part of the Valentine's Day menu at Le Circque, The Leela Palace Hotel, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi CaLDRON February 2014



zerruco by zilli



Given the cliched Italian doing the rounds all over the country, Zerruco by Zilli comes as a breath of fresh air. A visit is highly recommended.

he Italian food I’ve tasted in this country has in most cases, been timid and cast from the same mould that churned out a thousand menus across the nation. The overuse of cheese, an abundance of pizza-sachet-class spices used in every possible place, from the pizza sauce to the glutinous, red liquid used to drown good pasta and the same tired ‘extra’ dishes every restaurant uses in an attempt to create a difference; to illustrate that they too, are capable of going beyond the red/white pasta and pizzas that constitute Italian food in India. Zerruco by Zilli, an Italian restaurant that drawns on Chef Aldo Zilli’s decades of experience and penchant for well rounded flavors. My lunch there, at a time when the restaurant was still being set up (I don’t think I liked the decor; confused), was a wonderful surprise. I ate the most delightful, vegetarian Minestrone ever, with the secret being, the underlying vegetable stock, which most kitchens tend to overlook. “Herbs”, was Chef Zilli’s answer, when asked how he managed to bring such flavors into a vegetable stock, which are notoriously hard to make. Let’s give the man his due, not grudge 12

him his secrets; slurping his soups ought to be reward enough.

Another memorable dish was the Sea Bass Carpaccio, with mushrooms, rocket, olive oil, truffles and Melanzane alla Parmigiana – litpepper, a linear dish with multiple tle medallions of aubergine, batter flavor profiles. I tend to assign a fried, stacked with mozzarella, with mental picture of a place, where I’d a dollop of chunky tomato sauce best enjoy a dish, the previous pasta over, my next, was served with crisp for example, in a dimly lit room, rocket leaves sprinkled with grated sitting in front of a roaring fire, with Parmesan cheese; too little cheese, I the muffled sounds of a winter gale thought, for its name to be included raging without. The only place I can in the title. A lovely starter nonedeem right for this dish is, despite its theless, followed by a bowl of Con- fine dining appearance and heritage, chiglie pasta with Lamb Ragu. This, in a shorts and t-shirt, legs outmy friend, was the dish that left me stretched, under a shaded canopy of a verandah, looking out at the sea, while breathing in the salty breezEvery dish is flavorful es and watching people walking and utterly delicious. along a wooden pier. Okay, so I’m a dreamer. looking blank; a look that stopped my lunch companion mid-sentence, as it was obvious I’d stopped listening to anything from this material world, choosing instead to concentrate on the divine, homely and subtle flavors of the pasta, pausing only to chew on the juicy pieces of lamb scattered throughout. Anyone can create a passable dish, given a hundred components to work with. A handful however, is a different story; a tale Chef Zilli transformed into an epic.

I cannot speak for the quality of food in the absence of Chef Zilli. What I ate when he was there however, was incomparable and the work of a master. ■ Sid Khullar Rating: 4 out of 5 Price: INR 3500++ (meal for two) Address: The Ashok, 50-B, Kautilya Marg, Diplomatic Enclave, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi Phones: +91 8800399950/53 CaLDRON February 2014

Melanzane alla Parmigiana. CaLDRON February 2014





A fine Awadh feast awaited diners during the festival at Cafe Uno.


Chef, the dessert section of the Cafe My history with Awadhi cuisine Uno breakfast is exceptional as of goes back to my mother’s kitcht featured as part of a convertoday. en. She spent her growing years in sation a month ago. We were Lucknow and it was not unusual at the ‘Asia’s 50 Best Round Table An Illuminating Meal for mutton to be cooked in fat and Luncheon’, a conclave of food proWe had the pleasure of a conversa- not ghee or oil in our home. It also fessionals talking about cuisines, tion with Chefs Abhinandan Singh helped us appreciate subtle flavours fusion and innovation, and a leading and individual attributes of spices hotelier said that no matter how and meats in particular. much she innovated in her kitchens Going back to spices and across her hotels, it was always started with a round of appewithout being spicy, We Indian food that people reacted tizers, of which the ‘Khasta Murgh best to. She believed this applied to this meal did ample Tikka’ really stood out. The chicken international travelers andIndians. perfectly cooked and the baljustice. Now that is was Honestly, for me it has to be specifance of spices was very palatable. I ic regional cuisine that’s the draw the new way to prodidn’t miss the ‘mirchi’ part of the and the preferred ones are Awadh, duce quality regional masala at all! Konkani and Kashmiri.

cuisines – give pungency where it’s due or else leave it be!

Though fish isn’t a very common component of this cuisine as compared to say lamb or mutton, the ‘Mahi Malai’ was much appreciated as well. Here’s what I have noticed lately, the quality of ‘Veg Galouti’ and Anwar Ahmed, the curators and across kitchens has become a delicreators of this festival. Chef Singh cately spiced, vegetable cutlet that In fact, I have rarely had the same traveled to Lucknow with his team taste so much like meat, or is that dish twice, unless I order a la carte. the meat gets so fine and so proand spent a week observing the Cafe Uno is a favourite with expats nuances of this fantastic and rather cessed, it’s all about the essential and business folk from the heart of fine cuisine. I love that about veteran flavour? Delhi and Chef Darren Conole has professionals, they are always keen done a fair job of balancing a menu to learn. He actually sat through our Tucked in a warm corner with the that has something for everyone. banter about Awadhi food, consid- sun flooding in from the French With the addition of a French Pastry windows, we relished our main ering he knew way more than us. So when I heard about the Daawate-Awadh food fest at Cafe Uno, Shangri-La, I had to drop in. I like Cafe Uno – it’s not gigantic and impersonal, it’s centrally located, and they innovate through the year.


CaLDRON February 2014

REVIEWS - DELHI course. I’m more for mains when it comes to food from Lucknow; good biryani, good curries and believe it or not, good lentils too. I remember growing up on ‘Dal Gosht’ to the point where I wondered why was dal cooked without meat at all! The ‘Taar Korma’ graced our plates first. ‘Taar’, said like tar, is sticky gravy, stewed overnight, usually in mutton fat, where the pieces of mutton korma are so delightfully fun to eat. The grease will make your fingers stick together, but stay unswayed. Going back to spices without being spicy, this meal did ample justice. Now that is the new way to produce quality regional cuisines – give pungency where it’s due or else leave it be! Out of the ‘Subz Diwani Handi’ and ‘Naqab Lagi Biryani’ biryani, I loved the latter more for being meaty, rich and super aromatic. I prefer to enjoy Awadhi dals as is, with a crisp, plain naan and slivers of raw onions, maybe a touch of lime. All this worked very well for the ‘Dal Sultani’ and despite being made with Arhar or Toor dal, it was warm, soupy and soothing. We completed the meal with an epic Paan Kulfi, something I never tire of – the perfect combination of a digestive and a dessert. Awadhi cuisine is served all over the town, but it takes time and know-how to really put out a worthy spread. Cafe Uno has gotten their hands on some key recipes and have done a great job of reproducing them in a city that loves its chicken and mutton sheekh and biryani. ■

A part of the large spread on offer.

Parul Pratap Shirazi

CaLDRON February 2014

Rating: 4 out of 5 Price: INR 2100++ (meal for two) Address: Eros’ Shangri-La Hotel, Ashoka Rd, Janpath, Connaught Place, New Delhi - 110001 Phones: 011-41191010 15




When the Republic Day falls on a Sunday, restaurants are hard-pressed to finds ways to include an element of patriotism in their brunch offering. Pondichery Café at Sofitel BKC Mumbai manages to pull this feat off by paying resolute attention to the presentation of their food.

to tread this tightrope walk fairly well with their Republic Day Sunday chef ’s job is sometimes brunch. The spread was extravagant that of a conjurer. He has – something that its brunches are to keep reinventing the same dish renowned for. And there were some to make it appear and taste different elements of Indian-ness too, if you every time. Take Sunday brunch, for paid close attention to your surinstance at a premium restaurant. roundings instead of diving straight There are counters after counters into the food. laden with food, but the chef needs to present the same fare differently Partisanship on your Plate week after week. It’s not an easy task. At the restaurant’s entrance, you are welcomed with the sight of a tradiThis is especially so if you have to tional brass lamp standing upon a prepare a Sunday brunch menu that tri-color flower rangoli. Each table will meld well with the 65th Repubhas wine glasses layered with flower lic Day of the nation. On one hand, petals, again in the tri-color scheme. you want to include enough Indian-ness without going overboard. The brunch menu was inspired by On the other, you have to tone down dishes from seven regions of the the over-indulgence that brunches country – Andhra Pradesh, Tamil are famous for, because it is a time Nadu, Goa, Punjab, Maharashtra, when patriotic Indians are apt to Bengal and parts of Central India. rant about the diminishing moral So one could choose ‘Bhendakai values of a mature nation. Pulusu’ from Andhra Pradesh, ‘Sopa De Camaro E Batata’ from Goa, The chefs at Pondichery Café at Sofi‘Kalyan Paneeri’ from Central India, tel BKC Mumbai, however, managed 16

‘Kumror Chechki’ from Bengal, ‘Nandu Masala’ from Tamil Nadu or ‘Oondhyu’ from Gujarat, amongst other foods. The chefs had smartly included popular dishes from these regions and mixed-n-matched it well to satiate the palates of vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Folks looking for a boozy brunch could choose from the freshly made sangrias and fresh fruit cocktails made-to-order. We settled for the non-alcoholic meal and enjoyed a glass of fresh watermelon juice with a dash of lime juice – a refreshing choice to accompany what turned out to be an indolent meal. Sweet Everythings Most people usually head to the dessert counter at the end of a brunch. But having brunched at Pondichery Café before, we knew that it’s best to make a beeline to this section before we became a sluggish mess after eating the appetizers and the main CaLDRON February 2014


If overindulgence is not your thing, then you are best advised to steer clear from the Sunday brunch at Pondichery Café.

course. And are we glad that we stuck to this course of action. Pastry Chef Marzban Avari pulled all stops when it came to creativity and came up delicacies like ‘Gaajar Halwa Tart’, ‘Gulab Jamun Pie’, ‘Gulkand Puree with cream’, ‘Tri-colored Falooda’ and ‘Rabri with Fresh Fruits’. This was in addition to the assortments of pastries, macaroons, flans and cakes.

have Kolkata’s famed ‘Baida Roti’, which was average; ‘Pesarutu’ with chutney and sambhar; and the live chaat counter. Our bulging tummies reminded us that sitting down for a proper meal with some main course was a fanciful notion. Yet, we could not resist reaching out for the Goan ‘Sannas’ with some pork ‘Sorpotel’ and were we glad we did – the fluffy sannas were perfect to mop up the vinegar-laden spicy gravy.

After pandering to our sweet tooth, we moved to the live counters to try We then tried the ‘Jhinga Dum Suneri’ with some ‘Nimakai Annam’. The brunch menu was The marriage of the northern style prawns cooked on dum in capsicum, inspired by dishes tomato and garlic gravy, with the from seven regions of south Indian spiced lime rice was the stuff of romantic novellas – it’s the country – Andhra when love transcends all borders Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, to merge seamless into one divine union. And it was the perfect note Goa, Punjab, Maha- on which to end an unhurried rashtra, Bengal and brunch.

parts of Central India. CaLDRON February 2014

If overindulgence is not your thing

then you are best advised to steer clear from the Sunday brunch at Pondichery Café. You need a super-sized appetite if you intend to do nothing but nibble at the variety of food on offer. Because you will be tempted, and sorely at that, since there is plenty on the menu for you to play the choosing game with! ■

Vinita Bhatia Rating: 4 out of 5 Price: INR 2200++ (w/o Alcohol), 2200++ Address: Sofitel Hotel, C 57, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra East, Mumbai Phones: 022- 61175115



Chi De Kãixin… … that is ‘Happy Eating’ in Chinese. And that is precisely what guests at the Emperor’s Court at Renaissance Mumbai Convention Center Hotel did to herald the Chinese New Year in January.


of three diverse dishes – a ‘Radish Cake’, ‘Cottage Cheese and Spinach he year of the horse pranced Dumpling’ and a ‘Mixed Vegetable into 2014 with fanfare at Bao’. The bao was ordinary, but the Renaissance Mumbai Convention radish cake attracted our curiosity Center Hotel. Dim-lit lanterns while the dumplings got our undecorated the spacious Emperor's divided attention! The flavors of Court restaurant, while traditional spinach and cheese filling in the Chinese folk melodies lent a Candumpling balanced to tasty perfectonese feel. The set menu created tion, making it rather creamy with a to celebrate the week-long Chinese melt-in-your-mouth consistency. New Year comprised a soup, three appetizers, four main courses and The non-vegetarian entrées included three desserts. Though these dishes ‘Chicken Jiaozi’, ‘Prawn and Crabwere included in the à la carte menu meat Sui Mai’ and ‘Spicy Pork Sautoo, the set menu takes care of the sage’. The Sichuan-style pork sausage decision-making out of your hand, was a knockout dish. The juicy sauwhich is welcome. sages were tossed in a sharp sauce that was spicy with the right hint of After a warm personal welcome tartness. The wonton wrapping on by Chef Sandeep Pande, we bethe Jiaozi was a little thick making it gan our Chinese expedition with a tad chewy, but its unostentatious the ‘MockingBird’, a slightly tangy filling was a simple pureed mix of orangey-lemony mocktail. Now this chicken with greens. Dip it into is one snappy and refreshing mocksome dark rice wine vinegar and it ingbird that we would go to lengths transform into a great snack. Simito protect! Our meal parade flagged larly, if you want some sock-knockoff with an interesting appetizer tray 18

ing experience with the Sui Mai, try it with a liberal amount of the red chilli sauce served alongside. Soupy Wonder While we give full points to the generous serving of noodles, greens and shiitake mushrooms in the ‘Flat Noodle Soup’, the onslaught of the same noodles and mushrooms overshadowed the broth’s buttery flavor. The ‘Lemon Coriander Chicken Soup’, however, has to be the stuff that inspired the famous 'Chicken Soup for the Soul' book series. It is what you hanker for when you are unwell, hungry and just want a simple meal sans fanfare. While the soups and entrées hit a high note, the mains could do with some hard-hitting, spice-infused notes. Chef Sandeep mentioned that the menu was inspired by Cantonese (read, tangy) and Sichuan (read, spicy) cuisines, but the vegetarian preparations seemed to CaLDRON February 2014


The onslaught of the noodles and mushrooms overshadowed simple buttery flavor of the Flat Noodle Soup

have brushed lightly on the latter province.The deceptive-looking 'Wok Tossed Kai in Malta Sauce' had a spicy, all lights flashing, red sauce that instead hit sweet notes, while you awaited a searing tang. The surprise element caught us off guard, but we considered it a triumph over other vegetarian options, which could be classified into three sections – bland, blander, blandest! The bland ‘Buddha's Delight’ would have tasted better if it attained some flavorsome enlightenment. And we figured the butter and garlic in the ‘Mixed Vegetables in Butter Garlic Sauce' were playing peek-a-boo because we couldn’t locate them. The 'Burnt Garlic Fried Rice and Noodles' again lacked some spicy elements and offered minimal garlic-ky flavor. But we really appreciated the enthusiastic inclusion of several Chinese greens in all dishes! Generous with Greens In the non-vegetarian section, the good thing about the ‘Yeoung Chow Fried Rice’ was that the Chef didn’t scrimp while tossing in shrimps, chicken or scrambled eggs. It’s the classic Chinese fried rice you would find in any restaurant, and is a safe CaLDRON February 2014

choice for those who don’t like experimenting while dining out. The rice vermicelli noodles in the ‘Chicken Singapore Noodles’ was a nice departure from the thicker flour noodles one is usually served. The significant aspect about Singapore noodles is its bright yellow color and

The ‘Lemon Coriander Chicken Soup’, however, has to be the stuff that inspired the famous 'Chicken Soup for the Soul' book series. It is what you hanker for when you are unwell, hungry and just want a simple meal sans fanfare. the preparation at Emperor's Court did not depart from this norm. The ‘Crispy Chicken in Orange Sauce’ has batter-fried chicken chunks tossed in a sweet and sour sauce

with some orange zest. Though more sweet than sour, is a perfect epitome of Cantonese cuisine, down to its bright orange colour. Desserts help end most meals on a high note, but sometimes they leave you cold. This was sadly one of those instances. The ‘Nian Gao Cake’ was literally unwilling to part from the plate and we were unsure if the ‘Peanut Banana Roll’ was meant to be served cold because that did not impart any magic to the fried filo pastry stuffed with banana. The ice cream was the saving grace, with its simple flavours melding perfectly with the chunks of fresh fruits. Although the Mandarin spread was meant to be a celebration, the fireworks didn't manage to light up our culinary night But a few did manage to sparkle and light up our eyes! ■ Hrishikesh Thakkar Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Price: INR 2200++ (meal for two) Address: Emperor’s Court, Renaissance Hotel & Convention Center, Powai, Mumbai - 400087 Phones: 022-66927777 19



The traditional Wazwan meal is a feast to behold for the eyes and the palate, with rich meat dishes unfolding one after another. Luckily, the food at the Wazwan festival organized by JW Marriott, Mumbai was a simpler affair, and didn’t weigh down heavily on the stomach.


What’s Wazwan all About? Wazwan is the area where food is served to large groups of people and is cooked by a specialized cook CaLDRON February 2014

Chef Abbas Bhat


JW Marriott decided to hold this he very thought of Wazfood festival in January because the wan invokes pictures of a languorous meal of rich meat The secret to great dishes served course after course, until you are unable to move and gostaba lies in the need to be escorted to your bed to texture of the meat, grab a much-needed siesta. Not a very cheery thought if one planned which is pounded to dine at JW Marriott Mumbai’s with to a paste-like ‘Wazwan Kashmiri Food Festival’ between 17th January and 2nd consistency. February, 2014. Surprisingly, and mercifully, the food served during spiciness of Wazwan food is perfectthe festival was not opulent. Instead, ly suited for Mumbai’s blink-andit was simple food, simply served. miss-it winter. However, chefs Fayaz

Ahmad and Mohammed Abbas Bhat, who were hosting this fest, faced an unusual dilemma. The Srinagar-based duo was stumped when it came to including vegetarian dishes in what is largely a meat-laden spread! They rustled up ‘Nadir Yakhni’ and ‘Noorani Gobi’, which is not strictly Wazwan fare, but at least their vegetarian guests could savor a slice of Kashmiri on their plate.


The meat virtually melted off the Rogan Josh.

called Vastawaza and his team of wazas, revealed Chef Abbas, who is also the Executive Chef at RK Sarovar Portico in Srinagar. Since this is often organized during weddings, people wrongly presume that Wazwan cooking is limited to marriages alone.

is rarely revealed to anyone beyond blood relations. This has made certain waza families very prominent within and outside Kashmir,” Chef Abbas added.

these mildly spiced tiny patties because the minced mutton meat did not overpower the chana dal. The subtle flavors of the mint enhanced this combination.

A Meal from Heaven on Earth Before we embarked on our culinary journey, Chef Himanshu Taneja, Executive Chef of JW Marriott Mumbai warned us that the food would be extremely spicy and added that Kashmiri food had three major ingredients – ghee, ghee and more ghee! Concerned about our digestive tract, we decided to just nibble on the food and drink a lot of the ‘Rose Milk Sherbet’.

The ‘Fried Rainbow Trout’, a fish native to Kashmir’s cold rivers, was butterflied and marinated in ground mustard seeds and later shallow fried. The fish had a crispy exterior but the meat inside was perfectly flaky. Served without any fanfare or accompaniments, this would go best with an ice-cold beer.

During a Wazwan banquet, guests sit in groups of four and the meal begins with a symbolic washing of hands with water poured from tasht-nari jug. A large dish called trami is heaped with rice and quartered by ‘Seekh Kebab’. Traditionally, 36 dishes are served during a Wazwan meal, while guests drink copious amount of steaming kahwa, to cleanse their palate.“The culinary art of Wazas is The first dish we hesitatingly tasted was ‘Shammi Kebab’. We enjoyed passed down the generations and CaLDRON February 2014

The ‘Lyodar Chaman’ was an afterthought that the chef whipped up for vegetarians on our table. Though we enjoyed the soft, creamy and slightly fiery tikka immensely, its 21


The simplistically prepared Nadir Yakhni was yet another mild gravy, with none of that fieriness that Himanshu had cautioned us about.

Kaliya’ had fried chunks of cottage ly that the wazas can’t create anycheese in subtly-spiced gravy, but by thing else to top this culinary gem! this time we were looking forward So blissfully happy were we with to the famed ‘Rista’ and ‘Gostaba’. its taste that we decided to skip the Not as Fiery as Expected The saffron-based ‘Rista’ gravy with ‘Phirni’ served in earthen bowls, A Wazwan meal usually has varieven though the aroma of saffron mutton meatballs had a slightly ous meat gravies that go best with steamed rice, though one can equal- higher potency than the ones served and pistachio beckoned tantalizingly. We were content to relax in ly savor it with some flatbreads. The earlier. However, the crowning yoghurt-based ‘Noorani Gobi’ was glory of the meal was definitely the the elation wrought by the simple, redolent with the fragrance of spices ‘Gostaba’. The secret to great gostaba homely Kashmiri food and conjure images of picnicking on the green lies in the texture of the meat that like cumin, cardamom, cloves and glades of Kashmir while snowturmeric, while the cauliflower flo- is pounded with a wooden mallet, while the flesh is still warm, until it capped mountains smiled down rets simply melted in the mouth. benignly at us. ■ reaches a paste-like consistency. The simplistically prepared ‘Nadir Vinita Bhatia Yakhni’ was yet another mild gravy, The only way to savor these perfectly with none of that fieriness that Chef cooked balls of mutton meatballs Himanshu had cautioned us about. is to close your eyes and ears to Rating: 4 out of 5 Price: INR 1700++ (meal for two) By this time, we suspected that the everything around you and simply focus on the flavors bursting in your good chef has pulled a fast one on Address: Lotus Café, JW Marriott mouth. The Gostaba, incidentally, us, since none of the dishes were Mumbai, Juhu Tara Road, Vile Parle, truly heavy on the stomach nor as signals the end of a Wazwan meal Mumbai - 400049 fiery as we anticipated. The ‘Chaman and it is easy to see why. It is unlike- Phones: 022-6693 3000 Kashmiri origins were unclear. Could this finally be a herald of spicier things to come? Well, no.


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Cheesy Gnocchi with Basil - a part of the Valentine's Day menu at Le Circque, The Leela Palace Hotel, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi CaLDRON February 2014




larks Amer in Jaipur claims to be India's first ISO 9001:2000 accredited hotel as judged by QSI, USA. This Jaipur business hotel has also attained ISO 14001:2004. When you are planning a trip to Jaipur and figuring out the best hotels to stay in, statements like the ones above literally cinch the deal. In layman terms you presume that the business hotel is top-notch. Well, Clarks Amer definitely has the credentials to make such claim.

The entrance to Clark’s Amer, Jaipur

clark’s amer



First looks can be deceptive. That is how we would best sum up our stay at Hotel Clarks Amer in Jaipur.


This 40-year old hotel is part of the Clarks group that manages a chain of four business hotels in non-metro cities of India. Clarks Amer is located close to Jaipur airport and rubs shoulders with Marriott and Radisson hotels located nearby. Spread across 9-odd acres, the hotel has 211 rooms including 14 duplex penthouses, 3 restaurants, a spa, gym and around 5 convention centers. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? But there is one thing that Clarks Amer lacks, which is the most important aspect of any hospitality establishment; especially one which is entirely service-oriented. The customer service is deplorable. Before I related a series of scenarios that led to this conclusion, perhaps a tour of the property is in order. Rooms without a View Clarks Amer offers three types of rooms – Superior, Privilege and Penthouse. We stayed in a Privilege room, which had facilities like STD/ ISD phone calls from the rooms, Internet port, multi-channel TV, safety locker, hairdryer, etc. The refrigerator was strangely empty. That the hotel has not seen a major CaLDRON February 2014


A Penthouse suite at the property. INSET: Privilege and Superior rooms

revamp in years is evident from the old-fashioned tiles in the bathroom and the cracks in the ceramic bathtub. We were told that our rooms would have a spectacular view of Jaipur city. But the windows had metal netting to keep pigeons out, and the view went out of the window too, literally.

Clarks Amer has two shops, unimaginatively called ‘Jaipur Shop’ in the lobby. These sell the typical Rajasthani artifacts and souvenirs that you would want to pick up in a rush, if you missed out shopping on the streets of Jaipur. If you want to impress someone with some gilded cutlery and knicks knacks, check out ‘Coated Silver’. It has silver jewelry, candelabras, serving bowls, key chains, photo frames, etc.

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honeymooning couples. According to sources, patrons at the spa are usually guests from Japan and China, who come seeking the Ayurvedic treatments offered here.

Business & Conferences The Clarks Brij Convention Centre, named in honor of Brij Pal Das, founder of Clarks Group of Hotel, the Clarks Brij Convention Center All the Penthouses were booked has a capacity of hosting 1200 to when we visited, so we could not know for sure if they were as depict- 1500 people. A few months ago, it was the venue for Jaipur mayor’s ed in the photos. daughter wedding. Health and Wellness The cozy gym is split into two levels. Clarks Amer has a couple of other venues for smaller gatherings The natural sunlight streaming in through the French windows and the or events, like a sangeet ceremony unhindered view of the pool, make or birthday parties. These include working out in this gym a welcome Baithak, Kanchan, Roots Hall, the lawn as well as the poolside area. We affair. were told that lot of functions in the summer are often held near the pool, The spa has two rooms with single while the lawn is in great demand spa stations, while one room with two spa stations is usually booked by for winter weddings, that usually see 25


The dining area at Dhola Maru.

The Business Centre has a boardroom within, which is is ideal for smaller, intimate conferences for business people. Some facilities extended to people who book the boardroom include refreshments, photocopying of documents, phone and fax connectivity as well as access to Wi-Fi wireless internet. Guests can also avail any of these facilities in the business center as well.


a great deal of pomp and show as is of the Indian food. This fine dining restaurant opens at 6pm and we the norm at Rajasthani weddings. suggest that you try to grab a window seat to get a view of Jaipur from Restaurants the stained glass windows. There is Clarks Amer has three restaurants – Durbar, Asthan and Dhola Maru. a miniature fountain in the center of the restaurant while the light from Asthan is a coffee shop but sometimes doubles up a buffet breakfast the stained glass chandeliers above restaurant if fewer guests need to be will play hopscotch on your table. Try their fiery ‘Lal Maas’ if you can accommodated. stomach spicy food, and the subtly Durbar is the multi-cuisine restau- flavored ‘Paneer Kofta’. rant that serves buffet meals and Ta Blu is a café and an outdoor bar. can seat 150 guests. The well-lit restaurant has Mughal murals on the Instead of a cheery café, the indoor walls showing royalty figures cavort- section of Ta Blu looks more like ing and frolicking in abandon. The a yuppie royal’s boudoir given the breakfast buffet we partook of lacked bright pink, orange and teal green any international staples like sausag- cushions that dominate the decor, es, baked beans in tomato sauce or a each emblazoned with tiny gold stars bread counter with multiple opto boot. tions. Several non-Indians appeared The outdoor area has a mosaic-tiled to visibly struggle with the largely Indian fare on offer. Dhola Maru, the bar and wrought iron chairs painted rooftop hotel, specializes in offering in bright colors. There is a marble Rajasthani cuisine with a smattering fountain smack in the middle of this CaLDRON February 2014

ROAMING ROVER Scenario Four: At the largely vegetarian buffet breakfast, a guest asked for any Jain dish, but is brusquely told that none is available. That a Jain dish wasn't on the menu is acceptable. But any manager at a service-oriented restaurant would have politely inform the guest that Below Average Service they'd try to whip something up, Finally, as promised, our experience rather than literally telling the guest of the service at this property. off rudely. tiny rooftop lounge, while cooing pigeons roosting within the stained glass lanterns gaze at you languidly as you sip your drink. Well, they do make pleasurable drinking companions, if silence is what you crave!

Scenario One: A group of 29 people enters the well-appointed lobby of Clarks Amer after a long journey and has to wait for 25 minutes to check in; despite being the only guests checking in at the time and despite making advance reservations. This delay was possibly because of the three people manning the front desk, only one was checking the guests in, while the others hung around waiting to be ordered about. Scenario Two: A family with two kids and an infant request an extra bed in the morning and then step out for sightseeing. When they return late into the night, a collapsible mattress is left outside their room, instead of being placed within. After frantically calling the front desk for 20 minutes, and getting no response, the hotel finally sends a housekeeping staff member to arrange the bed – by which times the three cranky kids had managed to raise quite a ruckus.

The property sports quaintly decorated seating areas. CaLDRON February 2014

Scenario Five: At the same breakfast, we ask the person making eggsto-order whether he would please send our omelet to our table. His not-very-polite and sulky reply was, "If I find someone, I'll see." We were stumped by his blunt and callous tone. Suffice it to say, we skipped our eggs that morning. These scenarios would not be acceptable in a 3-star hotel or any hospitality establishment. But encountering it in a 5-star property takes one’s frustration to an entirely different level.

Strangely, though, we saw non-Indian guests receiving better treatment. Does this mean that the smiles of Clarks Amer’s staff are reserved exclusively for guests from Europe, Iran, China and Japan who come in large groups and are housed in Clarks Amer as part of their India travel package? Could it be that the personnel at Clarks Amer feel that these guests would be more liberal in their tips and therefore prefer to Scenario Three: We call room ser- focus their energies only on them? vice and ask for two bottles of water. We hope not, and would rather The person who knocks on our door blame the lassitude in Clark Amer’s brings only one. When we tell him staff on the December cold. Let’s we would need one more, he comtrust that with the winter chill wearplains grumpily why we hadn’t asked ing off, the workforce at the hotel for two the onset and that he’d have will thaw off their stupor as well. ■ to go down to get us another bottle! Vinita Bhatia 27



ou are flipping through the pages of a food magazine and you come across a interesting recipe and think about trying it out. You peruse the list of ingredients, read that it includes Chardonnay wine and decide to give this recipe a pass. All because you are unsure if cooking with wine is as simple as it is made out to be? WC Fields once said, “I cook with wine. Sometimes, I even add it to the food!” Jokes apart, cooking with wine might come across as a daunting task, mostly because people are apprehensive about investing time and a nice bottle of premium wine; and then ending up with some culinary gobbledygook. That need not be the case. After all, early Romans used to cook with wine regularly since it was a great preservative to store their meats, especially when their troops trudged to war. This is apart from mulling wine with spices and citrus fruits as their beverage of choice. And all this by just following their nose for what worked in a dish, and what didn’t. So what’s stopping you?

Cooking with wine gained popularity with various European cultures, because it was abundantly available and could replace vinegar in some dishes too. Besides acting as a preservative, wine elevated the taste of various meat dishes and soon became a staple medium in cooking.

In TW’ine TRUTH here s

…or so said Pliny, The Elder, a Roman philosopher. So let’s raise a toast to cooking with wine and adding this epitome of truthfulness into your culinary experiments!

“Wine to Europe is what spices are to India – helpful in most recipes and but essential in a few,” explains Chef Stephane Mathonneau, former Head Chef of Delhi’s Le Bistro Du Parc. “In some cases, wine is used to lend colour to a dish like 28

CaLDRON February 2014

Cooking with Wine Myth Buster Myth: I will get tipsy if I eat food cooked in wine. Truth: A large part of the alcohol in wine evaporates when cooked with food, depending on the method of cooking. To avoid getting tipsy, skip that glass of wine during your mealtime, instead! Myth: If you have some leftover wine, toss it into a dish. Truth: If you have some wine left over, store it in an airtight bottle, refrigerate and use within 4 days. Leftover wine that has been sitting open for a while will oxidize and using this could alter the taste of your dish. Myth: The more the wine in a dish, the better it will taste. Truth: Excess of any ingredient will spoil the taste of a dish. The same logic applies to wine as well. Ideally, pour small quantities of the wine gradually to the dish while cooking. Keep tasting the dish to see if it has imparted the right flavor and adjust the wine portion accordingly. Adding more wine won’t necessarily transform your dish to a gourmet creation.

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Salad with White Wine Dressing Ingredients: • 1/3 cup Seagram’s Nine Hills Chenin Blanc • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice • 1 teaspoon honey • Pinch of black pepper • Salt, to taste • ¾ cup of extra virgin olive oil Method: 1. In a clean bowl whisk, wine lemon juice, honey, black pepper and salt. 2. Gradually whisk in the oil to this mix. 3. Drizzle this vinaigrette mix over freshly tossed mixed greens

“Wine to Europe is what spices are to India – helpful in most recipes and but essential in a few.” Chef Stephane Mathonneau


wine. “Ultimately cooking is not a the beef bourguignon; while wine reduction will give the sauce of meat scientific experiment. You can follow the outline of a recipe, but use your dishes a velvety touch.” judgment and individualistic panache to make your dish a success,” Making the Right Choice adds Chef Michael Swamy. Wine’s natural sugars, tanins and acids help accentuate the aroma and taste of a dish, irrespective whether Now, don’t take this as a blanket it is used in the sauce, marinade or allowance to hoard wines during the as a medium for sautéing. Chefs ad- annual sale at your local wine shop! vise that a light-flavored white wine Instead, pick only those that will lend itself best to the recipe on hand. is apt for delicately flavored foods Before you buy a bottle, or use one like chicken, turkey, fish or dishes that include apples, citrus, olives and in a dish, preferably taste the wine. mushrooms. Dark-colored meat like “Besides understanding the taste of beef will go best with a dark, coarse the wine, this exercise will give you a good idea about what will go best red wine; lamb tastes better with a with it. Different people like differlight red, while pork can be easient flavors in their food. My advice ly married to a fruity red or white CaLDRON February 2014

COVER FEATURE Pondicherry-Style Pan- Grilled Scallops in Saffron Sauce Ingredients: • 8 large scallops • ¼ teaspoon sea salt • 1 teaspoon Madras curry powder • 1 tablespoon coconut oil • ½ teaspoon green peppercorns, crushed
 • 2 tablespoons Seagram’s Nine Hills Chenin Blanc white wine Sauce: • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads • 2 tablespoons hot milk • 1 tablespoon butter
 • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped • 1 large onion, finely chopped • ½ cup Seagram’s Nine Hills White Wine
 • 1 sprig fresh curry leaves
 • 2 stalks fresh lemon grass, lightly crushed
 • ½ teaspoon
freshly ground pepper
 • ½ cup coconut milk
 • ½ cup fresh cream Method: 1. Wash the scallops and pat dry. 2. Sprinkle sea salt, curry powder, coconut oil, green peppercorns and white wine. 3. Toss to mix and set aside. 4. For the sauce, combine saffron with hot milk. Stir well to release its colour and set aside. 5. Heat butter in a pan; add chopped garlic and sauté for a few seconds on low heat. 6. Add the onions and cook, till translucent. 7. Add wine and cook, till reduced. 8. Add the curry leaves, lemon grass, saffron milk, and pepper. 9. Bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring constantly. Cook till the sauce turns glossy. 10. Turn off the heat, and stir in the cream and coconut milk. Return to the heat for a few seconds. 11. In a separate pan, lightly pan-grill the marinated scallops for about 2 minutes till golden on both sides. 12. Serve the scallops with saffron sauce on the side.

All photographs and recipes by Michael Swamy CaLDRON February 2014


COVER FEATURE Muddled Seasonal Fruits Ingredients: • 1 cup Rose wine (Seagram’s Nine Hills Shiraz Rose used in this recipe) • ¼ cup sugar • 1-inch cinnamon stick • 2-3 cloves • 1 stick of vanilla • 1 cup of seasonal fruits (raspberries, strawberries, figs, melon, pears) Garnish: • Baby mint leaves • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper • Whipped cream • Biscotti or sponge Method: 1. In a pan, heat the wine and sugar with the spices and let the flavours infuse. 2. Do not bring the liquid to a boil. 3. Remove from the flame and pour into a clean bowl. Add the prepared fruit and let the fruit soak for a few minutes. 4. Plate the fruit into a soup plate. 5. Garnish with a quenelle of cream and mint and a dash of pepper. 6. Place the sponge or biscotti triangle down the centre

is that you first find the right wine shop, discuss the wine with the people at the shop and buy one bottle to test it,” suggests Chef Michael. “Once you know what you like and dislike, you can start using the wine in your cooking more regularly.” Does Premium make a Difference? Your better half might not be as excited about you using the cherished bottle of Penfolds Grange Hermitage 1951 wine for your cooking purposes. So which wine should you use? Cooking wine is economical, because it often has a shorter maturing period and is therefore less complex. Not all chefs, however, contend to using cooking wine. Chef Deepak Ballaney of International Chicken Wings Factory in New York puts it bluntly, “If you won’t drink it, then 32

don’t cook with it. Cooking wines often have high quantities of salt and food coloring and can wreck havoc if you are cooking a delicate meat like shellfish. Instead, invest in a better quality, though not necessarily expensive, wine for your cooking purposes.” So tread the middle path here and invest in a good-quality wine, which is likely to give the same flavor to a dish as an expensive one. Better still, buy two bottles of the wine – use one for cooking and the second for serving with the meal!

vignon Blanc. The results will differ depending on the type of wine you use, and always pleasantly at that. Using leftover wine is another nono. Having an opened bottle of wine lying in your pantry is no excuse to use while cooking lamb shanks. Refrigerate the wine and use it within a couple of days. Any older than this and you had best toss it in the trash.

Ultimately, there is no rulebook about cooking with wine. It is all about experimenting, inventing and arriving at your own recipe. Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from dabbling with wine in your dishes. The other alternative is to read the Just use your imagination and cook recipe of a dish carefully to see what like no one is watching – that is the the kind of wine mentioned. For right attitude to creating magic in example, if a recipe asks for a crisp the kitchen. ■ dry white wine or Pinot Grigio, then Vinita Bhatia stick to this than opting for a SauCaLDRON February 2014


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 or schools. Beenaa Advani, Co Founder: 982024456 / Beenaa.Advani@angel, For contributions, please contact: Anubha Sharma, Founder: 9930070086/ anubha.sharma9@angel or Like us on Beenaa Advani, Co Founder: 982024456 / Beenaa.Advani@angel, Like us on

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INSTANT gratification at your fingertips

Frozen ready-to-cook foods offer the dual benefits of convenience and variety. Following the launch of three new chicken toppings from Godrej Yummiez, we take a closer look at this new eating culture and how Indians are beginning to embrace it, albeit guardedly.


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FOOD FAD McCain Potato Wrap Ingredients: • 1 McCain Burger Patty • 1 Tortilla • 1 tbsp tomato mayonnaise • 20 gm onions, shredded finely • Lettuce, as required

McCain Potato Wrap


f you are amongst those who gets thrown into a tizzy every time unannounced guests drop in, then this article is meant for you. All you need to do is pick up a pack of ready-to-cook packages from various brands like Godrej Yummiez, McCain or MTR, fry the contents and serve them. Incidentally, the tribe of people who are doing exactly this at increasingly regularity is growing. It is especially finding favor amongst the working professionals who can’t muster the energy to cook something interesting for dinner. “There are times when I just make dal and rice and fry a pack of chicken sheekh kababs for the family. They eat their meal without the usual fuss,” says Seema Gupta, a chartered account from Mumbai, who is also a mother of two. A Growing Market Ready-to-eat or ready-to-cook food, as the names suggest, are pre-cooked food that is refrigerated, until one is ready to use them. It is quite a popular concept in many developed countries and in recent times, the acceptance for these foods has increased in India as well. That proba-

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bly explains why a growing number of retail outlets now stock read-tocook and ready-to-eat packs. Just chew on these figures, for starters! Talking about the convenience these packs offer, Bangalore’s Chef Siddhanth Sawkar says that if he gets his hands on a pack of nuggets, he tries to twist it up by sautéing with some sweet ‘n spicy chilli. Duru Jassal from Chennai prefers adding some chopped onions, peppers and sauces to these foodstuff and stuff them in kathi rolls for dinner. The frozen food market is estimated to be at Rs 800 crore, which includes both vegetarian and non-vegetarian snacks. This market posted a healthy CAGR of about 18% between 2005 to 2010, and is growing at this pace currently as well, according to sources in Godrej Tyson Foods Ltd (GTFL), or the company that manages Real Good Yummiez. Bouyed by these numbers, the GTFL recently launched three new chicken toppings – Barbecue, Classic and Hot and Spicy – under its Real Good Yummiez brand. But why three options in chicken alone, you may ask. Well, according to GTFL, chicken forms a quintessential part of the diet of non-vegetarians in India. “It is considered one of the best sources of protein as it contains essential

Method: 1. Take the McCain Burger Patty from the freezer and fry for 3 minutes until golden brown. 2. Heat tortilla on a hot plate. 3. Cut the fried burger patty into 3 long strips. 4. Tear the lettuce leaves and place on the tortilla. 5. Arrange the patty strips on the leaves and top with onion. 6. Pour the tomato mayonnaise on this and wrap the tortilla into a roll. 7. Secure in a butter paper and serve. Recipe courtesy: McCain Foods India

amino acids in good proportion,” said Arabind Das, Chief Operating Officer, GTFL. “The new Yummiez Chicken toppings enable homemakers to recreate many tempting international culinary experiences at home and add zing to their everyday meals.” With these Yummiez Chicken toppings, homemakers can assemble an assortment of soups, salads, wraps, pizzas, chicken tarts or pastas at home! Chef Vicky Ratnani, Executive Chef of Aurus in Mumbai was there to demonstrate how, at the launch of these new products. He said, “It’s amazing how easy it is to rustle up any cuisine you fancy. You don’t need to be a MasterChef nor go restaurant hunting. Just pick up Yummiez from retail store and eat in the comfort of your home. The ready-to-cook format allows you to assemble a fabulous and entertaining spread with ease anytime. The 35

FOOD FAD Penne with Creamy Chicken, Mushrooms and Broccoli Ingredients: • 400g penne pasta • 2 tbsp onion, chopped • 1 tsp garlic, chopped • 3 tbsp, olive oil • ½ tsp chilli flakes • 1 cup button mushrooms, sliced • 1 cup cooked Godrej Yummiez Hot & Spicy Chicken • 1 cup broccoli florets, small • 1 cup cream • Salt and pepper, to taste • 2 basil leaves • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated Method: 1. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for 9 minutes. Drain and set aside 2. Sauté some onions, garlic and chilli flakes in olive oil. 3. Add the sliced mushrooms and chicken. Sauté for 3 minutes until the mushrooms are soft. 4. Add the broccoli florets, salt, pepper and cream. Simmer for around 4 minutes. Add the pasta and herbs into the sauce. 5. Toss well, finish with grated parmesan cheese. Recipe courtesy: Chef Vicky Ratnani, Head Chef, Aurus

best part of it is that you can tweak the recipe to your palate, add to that little bit of creativity and voila! You can flaunt your very own signature dish!” Frozen Reality Arabind Das of GTFL believes that home makers and other people who are starved of time can now easily create excitement to the daily meals with these new introductions, and also add proteins to their daily diet. However, other companies that had introduced ready-to-eat and readyto-cook meals are adopting a waitand-watch policy, because they feel that Indians, especially those who are not from urban cities, still do not 36

Penne with Creamy Chicken, Mushrooms and Broccoli prefer to eat frozen food, especially wonders why people eat frozen and when they have the option of dining ready-to-fry foodstuff and they visit doctors complaining that they out or ordering food in. have allergies and digestive problems. “I do not support using frozen Interestingly, in 2009, US-based Heinz had introduced Kitchen Klas- and packaged food. Fresh is fresh. sics in 2009 with meals like Amrit- There are many fresh vegetables sari Chole, Awadhi Dal Fry, Jammu everywhere in India available and it is cheaper than frozen stuff,” she Wale Rajma and Peshawari Dal emphatically states. Manju Sood, a Makhani. But these are no longer Faridabad-based homemaker, also available. Similarly, in 2001, Hinbelieves that one should never offer dustan Unilever Ltd announced it would launch ready-to-eat chapattis such ready-to-cook foods to kids under its Annapurna brand, but that since they contain too many preserproduct has vanished from shelves vatives and stabilising agents. in departmental stores. Frozen ready-to-cook food might not be everybody’s idea of a meal While some believe that ready-toand would rather eat cold leftovers cook frozen packs are becoming part of a new eating culture, there instead. However, there is no denying that they have emerged as a are those who still swear by the traditional mode of cooking their boon for a growing number of busy urbanites who look at it as a way to food with fresh ingredients, or if really pressed for time, they would zing up their lackluster meal. ■ prefer ordering in. Michaela SaVinita Bhatia mant, a mother of two from Nellore, CaLDRON February 2014


Glorious Seafood with pan tossed Vegetables - a part of the Valentine's Day menu at Le Circque, The Leela Palace Hotel, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi CaLDRON February 2014



V ikas M ittal ,MD

McCain Foods India providing products that are “better for you” and “fun to eat”!

When you order for fries or potato smileys at a pizza parlor, there is a good chance that restaurant has simply opted to fry the contents of a McCain Foods pack. After all, it’s quicker, more convenient and economical to use the frozen fare than cook the potato marvels from scratch. McCain Foods India is banking on this convenience to hold on to its market share in the Rs 1,000 crore large market of organized frozen food market in India. Besides hospitality establishments, it has pegged its hopes on individual homeowners too. Vikas Mittal, MD of McCain Foods India tells Vinita Bhatia exactly how his company plans to do it.

Mr. Vikas Mittal, MD, McCain Foods India

VM: McCain strives to provide products that are 'better for you' and 'fun to eat'. We use advanced Individual Quick Freezing technology for food preservation, which helps lock the freshness and nutrition. This method increases the shelf life of perishable foods by subjecting them to temperatures of -18°C to inhibit the oxidative, enzymatic and microbial changes, which are responsible for the changes in the flavour and colours of foods. We also strive to use superior quality potatoes (high solid content, low on sugar and moisture) that are The organized frozen food market in India is estimated produced by making the use of best agronomy practices. These are seat over Rs 1,000 crore, consisting of non-vegetarian and lected at their peak of nutrition and flavour, quickly precooked and frozen, vegetarian options, and it Vinita Bhatia (VB): An increasing before there is any deterioration of is growing at a double digit number of people are reaching out CAGR for the period of 2013 to 2017. the food quality. to frozen food in Indian supermarkets. What is driving this accepWe use only 100% vegetable oils VB: The perception about readytance? in our formulations. These oils are to-eat/fry food is that it is unhealthy and loaded with chemicals. neither hydrogenated nor partially Vikas Mittal (VM): In the last few To what extent is this true? hydrogenated resulting in potato years, the lifestyle of Indian conproducts that are trans-fat free. 38

sumers have gone through a dramatic transformation shifting towards convenience food products, thus leading to growth in the consumption of frozen snacks. Today, consumers appreciate the benefit of creating a freshly made hot snack, in a matter of minutes (from the freezer to the plate), in addition to the convenience of refrigerating them for anytime use.

CaLDRON February 2014


VB: It’s interesting that over the past few years, companies like ITC, Heinz and Hindustan Lever introduced frozen food but exited the market soon, while McCain survived. What’s the secret to your success?

the fact that the Indian F&B market is influenced heavily by uncertain weather conditions, which greatly affected the quality and availability of basic food ingredients. Being a labor intensive industry, it also faced a challenge of shifting manpower or inadequate resources. To meet these needs, we offered ‘FroVM: The frozen foods market in zen Foods’ as a quick solution which India is at a nascent stage, and promises round-the-year availability, typical of any market in its early consistent product quality and even development stages, it has fewer products, lower consumer awareness reduces overhead costs for the operaand inadequate cold chain network. tor (perfect portions, high piece count When we entered India in 1998, the and no wastage). With passage of only frozen foods were peas, vegeta- time and efforts towards generating bles, meat and ice cream. The concept trial and experience of frozen foods, this category has considerably imof using pre-prepared frozen snacks proved over the years. was virtually unknown in Indian market. It was a challenge for us to convince customers to choose ‘frozen VB: But don’t you think that Inover fresh’ ingredients. We decided to dia’s cold chain networks are not as first understand their needs and offer well equipped to maintain quality standards required for frozen food solutions that worked for buyers. packs? Our industry research brought out CaLDRON February 2014

VM: Frozen food penetration in any country is fully dependent on the support from cold supply chain facilities. It is an efficient cold chain that transports frozen products in stipulated time frame while maintaining the required temperature. The cold chain segment in India is dominated by unreliable suppliers and small businesses with poor networks. As their services are not integrated, it leads to wastage and damage to food due to frequent handling and transfer. We have worked closely with third party cold chain operators to implement the latest technology in infrastructure and cold chain refrigerated transport. ■

Vinita Bhatia 39

FOOD, RELIGION & TRANQUILITY Palanpuri cuisine is a confluence of the sweet-ish Gujarati fare and its spicier Rajasthani cousin. What sets it apart is its simplicity in preparation and presentation – typical of ghar ka khaana.


CaLDRON February 2014



n the way to Rani Ki Vav, an architectural miracle in Gujarat, one passes through the small state of Palanpur. This place is an important pilgrimage destination for Jains since it houses the Motu Derasar and Nanu Derasar; while devout Hindus halt here to pay their respects at the Lakhman Tekri Temple, Pataleshwar Mahadev Temple and Ambaji Temple.The population of the state largely comprises Jains and Gujaratis with a smattering of Marwaris, given its proximity to Rajasthan. And the thread that binds these communities together in communal harmony, besides religious tolerance, is food. Predominantly vegetarian, the Palanpuri cuisine is a confluence of the sweet-ish Gujarati fare and the spicier Rajasthani preparation. Its striking aspect is its simplicity in terms of preparation and presentation. Usually, a meal is served simply in various katoris on a thali sans fanfare. An old saying in Palanpur claims that if the food tastes good it will speak for itself; irrespective of whether it is served on a gold thali or a dried leaf plate.

Palanpuri Dessert

Exploring Palanpuri Cuisine Chef Jankidas Vaishnav, the Vegetarian Specialty Chef at Sofitel BKC Mumbai is conversant with Palanpuri fare, since he is from Chittorgarh located close to Palanpur. He recently helped Sofitel put together a food festival focusing on this cuisine at Tuskers, the hotel’s all-vegetarian restaurant, which targets the Gujarati and Jain jewelry traders from the diamond market in Bandra, Mumbai. He informed that dairy products always accompany every Palanpuri meal, whether in the form of smoked buttermilk, raita or kadi. Every meal also has an assortment of farsan like ‘Methi Bhajia’, ‘Vatana Nu Ghugru’, ‘Moong Dal Kachori’ or ‘Dhokla’.

That said, Palanpuri food is not for the faint hearted or weight-watchers, since the food more often than not fried in ghee or includes lot of sugar. However, the food festival at Sofitel tried to keep both these ingredients to the minimum, since most Mumbaikars, irrespective of their origins, are health conscious.

This was the only departure from the otherwise rich cuisine and it seems to have paid off for Sofitel. “During food festivals, restaurants try to cook and present food differently, but we stuck to the simple taste and presentation of the Palanpuri fare. We also ensured it was The kitchen is the place of pride in light on the stomach since guests in any Palanpuri home, and homeMumbai would drop in for a quick owners first inspect the kitchen For the food festival, he added lunch and then head off to their thoroughly before buying a house. those items on the menu that is offices – unlike in Palanpur where This is where most women spend often found at a regular meal in any afternoon siestas are the norm,” a majority of their waking hours. Palanpur household. It featured Chef Jankidas noted. Meals are a family affair where simplistic creations like ‘Sev Taparents discuss children, youngsters share secrets, while elders talk about matar Nu Shaak’ – a sweet and tangy Having sampled the food, we would gravy comprising tomatoes and sev; agree that it was not snooze-induchappenings in the extended fami‘Saragami Nu Besan’ – a thick and ing. Yet, it was exactly what a homely and community; while digging creamy drumstick kadi, which was sick Gujarati gent would crave for into their food. Everyone chips in when he’s away from home. We can the meal preparation, whether it is served with ‘Thepla’, ‘Bajri Bhakri’ definitely say that in this case, the drying ‘Moong Dal Vadi’ in the sun, and ‘Gatte Nu Pulav’. Dessert consisted of ‘Badam Nu Sheeru’ and food didn’t speak for itself; it sang a pounding spices with a pestle or ‘Besan Nu Churma’ – delicacies that melody all the way! ■ making papad and pickles. are regularly prepared by the women Vinita Bhatia of the Palanpuri state. CaLDRON February 2014



hearty DISHES for a

CHILLY WINTER Winter is that wonderful time of the year when everyone wants to snuggle into warm clothes and tuck into some homely dishes made from the fresh produce that is available in abundance. Chef Gurpreet Singh of Punjab Grill shares some nourishing recipes infused with classic flavors and hot spices of Punjab that you can whip up at home. 42

CaLDRON February 2014


Kaale Gaajar ki Kanji The trick to this fermented drink is letting it mature for at least 72 hours in an earthen pot. Its tangy taste is worth every minute it takes to develop. Servings: 4 glasses Preparation time: 15 minutes Fermentation time: 72 hours Ingredients: • 3 kaali gajar or purple carrots • 1 ltr water • 2 tbsp ground brown mustard seeds • 3 whole dried red chilies • 3 tsp black salt • 1 tsp regular salt

Method: 1. Clean and peel the carrots. Cut them into 3-4cm long batons. 2. Fill an earthen pot with the water. Add the spices, salt and carrots. Stir well. 3. Cover the pot with a muslin cloth and tie the ends of that cloth around the rim. 4. Let this water rest in the sun for 3 days. 5. Remove the dried red chillies from the water and serve chilled with the pickled carrots. Chef’s Tip: This drink can get over-matured quickly, so add mustard paste as per your taste. If you can’t getkaali gajar, opt for beetroots.

CaLDRON February 2014



Chukunder ke Kebab This is a very nutritious appetizer, made healthier with the inclusion of hung curd and pine nuts. Preparation time: 40 minutes Servings: 6 Ingredients: • 4 medium sized beetroots • 1 carrot • 1 tbsp oil • 5 tsp cumin seeds • 1 tsp ginger, chopped • 1 tsp green chilli, chopped • 1 tbsp tomato puree • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder • 5 tsp garam masala • Salt to taste • Oil, to fry

Stuffing • 4 tsp hung yoghurt • 1tsp coriander leaves, chopped • 1 tsp ginger, chopped • 2 tsp pine nuts, toasted • 1 tsp sultana • 5 tsp roasted cumin powder • 1 green chilli, slit Crumbing • 2 tbsp corn flour • 4 tbsp refined flour • 1 small bowl of bread crumbs

Method: 1. Parboil beetroots and carrots. Cool and grate it. 2. Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin, ginger and green chilli and cook for a minute. Add tomato puree with the Kashmiri chilli powder. Cook for another minute. 3. Add the grated beetroot and carrots and cook till the mix turns dry. Add salt and garam masala and take it off the heat to cool. 4. Make six equal size balls. Stuffing 1. Mix all the ingredients. Divide it into six portions. 2. Stuff one portion into the beetroot balls. Flatten to make tikkis. Crumbing 1. Make a butter of corn flour, refined flour and water, till it has a pouring consistency. 2. Dip the tikkis in the batter and roll it in crumbs. 3. Deep fry in hot oil till the crust turns brown.

Chef’s Tip: Avoid over-cooking the beetroot as this will kill its texture and color. Increase the quantity of carrots if the beetroots are too sweet, as the spicy stuffing will complement the dish. 44

CaLDRON February 2014

CaLDRON February 2014



Kharode ka Shorba This is a delicious lamb trotter soup where meat is simmered slowly to release its natural flavors. And it tastes best when you have it a day after preparing it. Preparation time: 5 hours Servings: 6 Ingredients: • 6 kharode (goat trotters) • 10 cups water • 3 green cardamom • 1 bay leaf • 100 ml oil • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds • 2 one-inch cinnamon sticks • 1 tsp garlic paste • 1 tsp ginger paste • 1 tsp turmeric powder • 1 tbsp coriander powder • 1 tsp chilli powder • 4-5 sprigs coriander leaves, finely chopped • Salt, to taste Method: The Stock 1. Wash the trotters. Boil for a minute and drain the water. 2. Add 10 cups of water in a stockpot. Add green cardamom, bay leaves and trotters. 3. Cook it on low fire for 4-5 hours. The Tempering Heat the oil in a pan. Add fenugreek seeds and let it brown slightly. Add cinnamon, ginger and garlic paste along with turmeric and coriander powder until the mix turns golden brown. Keep stirring it, then sitting it. Add the stock with the bones and cook until the soup thickens. Add salt and garnish with coriander leaves.

Chef’s Tip: Ask your butcher for roasted, flamed and cleaned trotters. If you are inclined to, avoid using too much fenugreek as it will make the soup bitter. 46

CaLDRON February 2014

CaLDRON February 2014



Punjab Grill Deg Hot Pot Nothing thaws the winter chill like this stew of mutton kofta, mutton jus and winter vegetables, which is a signature dish at Punjab Grill. Preparation Time: 1 hour 30 minutes Servings: 4 Ingredients: • 100gm ground meat • 1 green chili, chopped • 1 tsp garam masala ​ • Salt, to taste • 1 tsp turmeric powder ​​ • 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste ​​ • 2 tsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped • 2 tsp fresh mint leaves, chopped • 2 tbsp ghee ​​​ • 4 mutton shanks, cleaned • 1-inch cinnamon ​​​ • 5 cloves

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

7 green cardamom ​​ 2 bay leaves 100gm onions, sliced ​​​ 1 tbsp coriander powder​​ 1 tbsp deghi mirch powder​​​ 1 tbsp cumin powder ​​​ 50gm yoghurt ​​​​ 50ml mutton stock ​​​ 4 baby carrots, chopped 1 turnip, chopped 4 small red radish, chopped 5 dried apricots, soaked 2tsp orange glaze

Method: The Koftas 1. Clean the ground meat in cold running water and drain. 2. Add half of the green chilli, ½ tsp garam masala, salt, turmeric powder, 1tsp ginger garlic paste, and half the coriander leaves and mind leaves to the meat. 3. Mix these ingredients well and grind to blend to a thick paste. Remove and prepare small lemon sized balls Mutton Shanks and Jus 1. Heat 1 tbsp of ghee and add all the whole spices. When they start crackling, add the sliced onions and fry till it turns golden brown. 2. Add the mutton shanks and cook it until the onions break down. Add the turmeric and all the powdered spices with the yoghurt. Remove the shanks when cooked, and keep aside. 3. Remove the yoghurt gravy from the heat and cool it down. Blend to make a fine paste. 4. Heat the remainder ghee in a deep, heavy-bottomed pan. Add the yoghurt paste and cook for a few minutes until it turns brown. Add salt and combine well. 5. Add mutton stock and let it come to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 4 minutes. 6. Add the koftas to this gravy and cooked it, covered, on low flame for 5 minutes. 7. Add the chopped vegetables, apricots and mutton shanks to the koftas and continue to cook for 15 minutes. 8. Transfer the gravy into a deep serving bowl and glaze it with orange juice. Chef’s Tip: You can include any seasonal vegetables besides the ones mentioned in this recipe. Avoid overcooking the vegetables as they need to be crisp for the unique flavor of the hot pot. 48

CaLDRON February 2014

CaLDRON February 2014



Gurh Wale Chawal This jaggery-sweetened basmati flavored with black cardamom, fennel and coconut chips is the best way to enjoy a home-cooked meal. Complement it with some homemade vanilla ice cream to really savor its simple taste. Servings: 4 Ingredients: • 1 cup parboiled basmati rice; cleaned, washed and soaked for a hour • 300 gm jaggery • 4 cups water • ½ tsp cinnamon powder • 3 black cardamom seeds • 4 green cardamom seeds • ¼ cup desi ghee

Method: 1. Pour the water in a deep, thick bottomed pan and bring it to a boil. Add the drained rice. 2. When it comes to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until the rice is cooked. 3. Drain the rice in a colander and let it rest there. 4. In another pan, heat the ghee and add green and black cardamom seeds. 5. Lower the heat, mix in the jiggery and add 50 ml water. Bring the mix to a boil. 6. Add the rice and cook it dum style for 10-15 minutes.

Chef’s Tip: Adding a pinch of salt to the jaggery syrup will work wonders on the dish. Enhance this dessert by adding chopped dates, dry fruits and dried coconut slivers while finishing the dish.

Chef Gurpreet Singh commenced his professional journey at 19 years, assisting some well-known chefs in New Delhi. Having worked with hotel chains such as Radisson Hotels, The Park Hotel and Raffles, Dubai, he grasped the finer nuances of Indian and international cuisine within a decade of his professional life. After taking over as Brand Chef of Punjab Grill, he utilised his experience to interpret Indian cuisine with a keen focus on molecular gastronomy. He has been responsible for maintaining the culinary standards across all Punjab Grill restaurants in conjunction with his team of specialty chefs.

Chef Gurpreet Singh 50

CaLDRON February 2014

CaLDRON February 2014


Love Bites Do you remember the first time you tried to show your cooking skills to your beloved? You could have been a culinary novice or a cooking whiz. But, more than showing off your skills in the kitchen, what you hankered for was that soft spoken compliment from your beloved about how every morsel was nothing short of ambrosia. We asked some of our readers to share the first dish they cooked for their darlings. What emerged were some really quaint love stories! We are sure some of them with resonate with your own lives. 52

CaLDRON February 2014


Seyun Patata The first dish I cooked for my husband was ‘Seyun Patata’, which is sweet vermicelli served with spicy fried potatoes. This traditional Sindhi breakfast was his favourite and even I had pleasant childhood memories attached to it because coincidentally it was my father’s much-loved dish too. The first time I cooked it for my father, it got burnt a little. Yet, my father relished it because his special little daughter had made it. I had mastered this dish by the time my husband’s turn came. It was a perfect choice as I was supposed to cook something sweet for the first time in my in-law's home.

Ingredients: For vermicelli • 2-3 tbsp ghee • 3-4 green cardamoms • 2 cups vermicelli • 4 cups hot water • Tiny pinch of salt • A pinch of saffron • 1 cup sugar • 10-15 almonds, blanched and peeled

by Shobha Keshwani

• 10-15 pistachios, crushed For fried potatoes • ½ kg potatoes • Salt, to taste • ¼ tsp turmeric powder • ½ tsp cumin powder • ½ black pepper powder • ½ tsp amchur powder • ¼ tsp red chilli powder • Oil, to fry

Method: For Vermicelli 1. Heat the ghee in a pan and put in the crushed cardamoms. 2. Add the vermicelli and stir fry it stirring continuously, taking care to get an even colour. 3. When the colour is brown, add 4 cups of hot water. If you are using the fine, thin vermicelli, 3 cups of water will be sufficient. 4. Add a pinch of salt and saffron. Cover the pan and simmer to cook. 5. When the vermicelli is almost done, add the sugar and mix well. Simmer it until the water from the sugar is absorbed. Thin vermicelli cooks faster than the normal variety. 6. Garnish with crushed pistachios and almonds. 7. Serve with fried potatoes. For Fried Potatoes 1. Cut the potatoes into cubes and put them in the salt water for 15-20 minutes. Drain the water and deep fry the potatoes. 2. Remove from the oil and sprinkle salt and other spice powders immediately. Mix well.

CaLDRON February 2014



Mangalorean Sweet Pulao The first time I cooked for my husband (then, friend) was in 2001 at a dinner buffet for 30, where I prepared were ‘Kharam’, ‘Manglorean Sweet Pulao’, ‘Beef Mince with Potatoes’, ‘Chicken Jeere Miri’, ‘Pork Indad’ and some vegetables among others. These were some of my favourite Manglorean dishes and some of my invited friends insisted I cook Manglorean fare.

Ingredients: • 4 cups water • 2-3 tbsp ghee • 3 medium onions, thinly sliced • 1 bay leaf • 4-5 cloves • 1-2 green cardamoms • 2-inch cinnamon • 1 star anise

by Karishma Pais-Kim

• Handful of cashewnuts, almonds and raisins • 500gm Basmati rice, washed and soaked for 15 minutes, then drained • 2 tbsp sugar • Salt, to taste

Method: 1. Warm the water in a separate vessel. Don’t let it bubble too much before adding to the rice, else you will lose volume to evaporation. 2. Melt the ghee in a pressure cooker. Fry the slices of two onions till it turns brown. Remove and keep aside. 3. In the same ghee, add the bay leaf, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and star anise. Add the nuts and raisins and roast lightly. Remove some of these nuts and raisins and reserve for garnishing. 4. Add the remaining sliced onion and sauté for a minute or two. 5. Add the drained rice and fry for a couple of minutes until the rice releases its fragrance. 6. Then add hot water, salt and sugar and mix well gently, so you don’t break the rice grains. 7. If you want a richer fragrance, slowly add 1/2 tsp of ghee on top of the water, but don’t stir after adding the ghee. Close the pressure cooker and cook until done, which is usually three whistles. 8. Let the pressure escape by itself. Open and transfer to a serving dish. 9. Garnish with the reserved fried onions, nuts and raisins.


CaLDRON February 2014


Mor Kachiyathu Since I had been my mum’s kitchen helper, I knew a few basic recipes to get by after my marriage. This spiced buttermilk curry was one of those. It was a regular feature on the dining table, since it is a traditional fare from Kerala’s Central Travancore district, which is my father’s origin. In fact, I learnt to cook this from my dad and later refined my technique after watching my mum prepare it. I wanted to cook something delicious for my hubby to get his smile of approval, which means so much when you are newly married, and decided this was a safe bet! I was nerve-wracked about my in-laws reaction to it, but they loved it too, so it was double-whammy! Over the years, ‘Mor Kachiyathu’ became one of my husband’s favourite dishes and has become my signature dish too.

Ingredients: • 2 cups thick curd • 2-3 green chillies • 1 tbsp grated coconut (optional) • 2-3 tbsp coconut oil • ½ tsp mustard seeds • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds • 2 dried red chillies

• • • • • •

by Dhanya Samuel

A handful curry leaves 4-5 shallots, sliced finely ½ inch ginger, chopped finely 3 garlic cloves, chopped ½ tsp turmeric powder Salt, to taste

Method: 1. Blend the curd with green chillies, grated coconut and a little water. Adding the grated coconut is optional, but it enhances the flavor and also helps to thicken the curry. Add very little water or the gravy will become runny. 2. In a pot, heat coconut oil and crackle mustard seeds. Add fenugreek seeds, dry red chilli and curry leaves. 3. Add the shallots, ginger and garlic and sauté till golden brown. 4. Add turmeric powder and mix well. 5. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the beaten curd mixture. Stir well and place back on low heat. If the pan is too hot, the curd will split. 6. Season with salt. Add more water, if necessary. 7. Stir well and continue cooking on a low flame till you can notice small bubbles at the outer rim of the pot. 8. Remove from heat immediately. It is important not to let the curd split or the dish is ruined. 9. Serve hot with steamed rice.

CaLDRON February 2014



Paneer Makhani I met my spouse through During our first meeting, he told me that he craved for home cooked food since he lived overseas for over eight years. So, when he came home to meet my parents, I decided to cook something special for him – ‘Paneer Makhani’. He liked this dish a lot and that was the beginning of our love story!

Ingredients: • 1 tbsp butter • 1 tbsp ghee • 3 green cardamoms • 1 inch cinnamon stick • 4 cloves • 1 tsp cumin seeds • 1 inch ginger, ground to paste • 6 garlic cloves, ground to paste • 3 green chilies (remove stem and slit lengthwise) • 1 ½ cup tomato puree • 1 tbsp kasoori methi

by Niti Agni

• • • • • • • •

½ tsp turmeric powder 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder 1 tsp coriander powder Pinch of black pepper powder ½ tsp cumin powder Salt, to taste ½ tsp garam masala 250 gm paneer, cut into small pieces • 1 cup milk • 2 tbsp fresh cream • Some coriander leaves, chopped

Method: 1. Heat ghee and butter in a pan. Add cardamom, cinnamon and cloves to it. Sauté for 10 seconds. 2. Reduce the flame to medium and add cumin seeds. When they start crackling, add the ginger-garlic paste. Fry for few seconds until the raw flavours are gone. 3. Add the green chillies and the tomato puree. Stir and cover the pan with a lid. Cook on low flame for 20 minutes. 4. Remove lid, and raise the flame to medium flame. Crush the kasoori methi using your palms and add it to the gravy. 5. Add Kashmiri chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric, black pepper powder, cumin powder, salt and garam masala. Cook on medium heat for another 5 minutes. 6. Now add the paneer pieces to the gravy and cook for 5 minutes. 7. Remove from gas and let the gravy cool completely. Add 1 cup milk and cook on low heat till the gravy starts boiling. Keep the gravy consistency as per your requirement. 8. Just before serving, add fresh cream and garnish with coriander leaves.


CaLDRON February 2014


Dal Fry This is what I had cooked for my wife, Farrukh Shadab Ansari, the first time after marriage. It was good enough to prove her that I at least knew the ABCD-ALs of cooking! I recently cooked it again to revive our old moments where we had all the time to cook together, without the worries of chores and a busy life.

Ingredients: • 1 cup moong dal • 2 tbsp oil • 1 tsp cumin seeds • 3 green chillies, slit • 1 medium onion, finely sliced • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped • ½ tsp turmeric powder • ½ tsp red chili powder • Water, as required • 1 tsp garam masala powder • Juice of 1 lemon • Salt, as per taste

by Mohammed Shadab Ansari

• ½ tsp Kasuri Methi Tempering: • 1 tbsp ghee • ½ tsp cumin seeds • 5 garlic cloves, crushed Garnish: • Coriander leaves

Method: 1. Wash the dal and cook it in a pressure cooker with enough water till it’s well cooked, but not mushy. 2. In a pan, heat oil. Add cumin seeds and allow it to crackle. 3. Add green chillies and fry for few seconds. Add sliced onion and fry till slightly brown. 4. Add tomatoes, mix, cover and cook till the tomatoes are soft and water from the tomatoes dries up. 5. Add turmeric, red chilli powder, boiled dal and water (as per your preferred consistency for the dal). 6. Mix well and simmer for 5 to 6 mins. 7. Add garam masala powder, lemon juice and salt. 8. Mix and simmer for another 5 to 6 mins. Finally add kasuri methi and mix. 9. For Tempering: Heat ghee in a small pan. Add cumin seeds and allow it to crackle, add crushed garlic and fry till brown, then pour this tempering over the cooked dal.

CaLDRON February 2014



Strawberry cup cakes It is a tradition in Indian households that the daughter-in-law cooks something sweet as her first dish. When I entered my in-law’s kitchen the first time, I was under immense pressure because everything was new around me and I knew that my mother-in-law is a wonderful cook. We had invited some friends and relatives who could not attend the wedding for dinner and the only responsibility I was given was to make a good dessert. I saw a bottle of Hershey’s chocolate sauce and a box of strawberries in the refrigerator and decided to bake a cupcake to impress everyone. It turned out to be a runaway hit with all our relatives praising it.

by Priya Shiva

Ingredients: • 1 cup, fresh strawberries, cleaned and chopped • 1 ½ cup whole wheat flour • 1 cup sugar • 1/3 cup unsalted butter • 1 cup milk • ¾ cup milk powder • 1 tsp vanilla essence • ¼ tsp salt • 1 ½ tsp baking powder • 1 tsp baking soda Method: 1. Preheat oven at 180°C. 2. Pulse the strawberries in food processor until you get a smooth puree. 3. Sieve wheat flour and keep it aside. 4. Mix sugar and butter in a bowl until the sugar completely dissolves. Add milk and blend it well. 5. Add wheat flour and milk powder slowly to the mix and blend it well. Make sure there are no lumps in the batter. Add baking powder, baking soda, vanilla essence and salt and mix it well. Add strawberry pulp and blend it well. 6. Grease some cupcake moulds or cupcake liners evenly with oil and pour the batter in it. Fill each cup halfway. 7. Bake for 20 minutes. Insert a toothpick at the center of the cupcake to see if it comes clean. If the batter sticks to the toothpick, continue baking for another 5 minutes. 8. Cool on a wire rack and demould the cupcakes. 9. Serve with lot of Hershey chocolate sauce and chopped fresh strawberries.


CaLDRON February 2014



by Alka Keswani

Almost 17 years ago, Deepak and I were invited to his Maharashtrian friend’s wedding. I was astonished to see my better half relishing the food, especially the ‘Puri Shrikhand’, because he is an unfussy and uninterested eater. For the first time, I saw him really enjoy his food and was happy that I had finally found something he would savor. I asked my Maharashtrian neighbour for the recipe of ‘Shrikhand’, purchased all the ingredients and headed straight to Deepak’s home. His younger brother and I worked hard all day, tasting and adjusting the flavors, till the ‘Shrikhand’ tasted like the one we enjoyed the day before. When Deepak returned, he was surprised but sportingly tasted my effort. No, he didn’t jump with joy or flatter me with praises, but that little twinkle in his eyes and a simple ‘’Thank you’’ said it all!

Ingredients: • 1 ½ cup thick curd • 1 cup powdered sugar • 4-6 strands saffron, soaked in 2 tbsp milk • ¼ tsp cardamom powder • Chopped pistachios, for garnish Method: 1. Take a muslin cloth and pour the curd over it. 2. Gather the ends of cloth to make a potli. 3. Hang it in a way that the whey from curd drains out. 4. Hang it in a place that is not too hot or else the curd will sour. 5. After two to three hours, strain/sieve the curd through the muslin cloth to get a smooth creamy curd. 6. Add remaining ingredients and whip the mixture well. 7. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving. 8. Garnish with chopped pistachios. Goes well with Puris.

Gulab Jamun

Photo, text and recipe by Shirisha Sharma

A few days before my engagement, I proudly told my husband that I would cook this sweet dish for him. I only knew how to cook Kheer and Gulab Jamun from the ready-made packs available in the market back then, but I could not figure when to cook it for him as my house was full of relatives, preparing for my engagement, and we were expecting many guests from my in-law’s family too. I only knew to cook this in small quantities and finally managed to cook some for my fiancé. After the engagement ceremony ended and while everyone was getting ready to eat lunch, I asked him to taste the Gulab Jamun. He said that they tasted wonderful! Since then, I make this sweet dish whenever we want to rewind our sweet memories.

Ingredients: • 4 cups water • 4 cups sugar • 1 tsp cardamom powder Method: 1. Pour 4 cups of water in a pan, place it on medium heat. Add sugar and mix for 10 minutes on low heat, till dissolved. 2. Add cardamom powder. Knead the gulab jamun mix with warm water or milk till it is a soft dough. Make small smooth balls, preferably half the size of the final jamuns. Ensure there are no cracks in the balls. CaLDRON February 2014

• 1 packet gulab jamun mix • ½ cup warm water/milk • Ghee, for frying 3. I prefer frying the jamuns in the ghee as they smell and taste great. Fry them on low heat till they are golden brown in color. 4. Put the fried balls in the sugar syrup, while it is still warm. 5. Garnish with some slivered almonds or even with vanilla ice cream, if you prefer.



mixup presents


French is the preferred language for love and romanticism, and this month, we could not think of a better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than raise a toast to your beloved’ with some cocktails by Grey Goose Vodka, that will blow their minds away.


CaLDRON February 2014


Parfait Amour Ingredients: • 45 ml Grey Goose • 15 ml Triple Sec • 5 ml Fresh lemon juice * • 60 ml Cranberry juice • 20 ml Monin Violet ** • 2 dash Angostura bitter Method: 1. Shake all ingredients in a chilled shaker. 2. Double strain into a chilled martini glass. 3. Garnish with an orchid. * Or substitute with 10 ml sweet lime juice ** Or substitute with Parfait Amour Liqueur

CaLDRON February 2014

This cocktail has freshness of sweet lime and floral notes of violet. Serve it with a beautiful orchid on the side to make your special one feel very cherished.



French Tiramisu Coffee and chocolate together are an irresistible combination, as in the much loved Tiramisu. The French Tiramisu is a cocktail from mixologists of Grey Goose for your after-meal chocolate cravings. Ingredients: • 45 ml Grey Goose • 30 ml Coffee ice cream * • 30 ml Espresso • 15ml fresh cream Method: 1. Shake all ingredients with some crushed ice. 2. Pour into a chilled martini glass. 3. Garnish with coffee beans on top * Or substitute with Chocolate ice cream


CaLDRON February 2014


South of France Southern France is home to one of most beautiful scenery including French Riviera, Midi, and Corsica. This place is hence one of the most desired location for lovers of all ages. Grey Goose pays a tribute to this romantic location by naming their signature cocktail after it. This sparkling wine cocktail should be a good companion on a Valentine’s date.

Ingredients: • 30 ml Grey Goose L’Poire • 15 ml Strawberry Puree* • 5 ml lime juice • 90 ml sparkling wine Method: 1. Shake the Grey Goose, strawberry/raspberry puree and lime juice. 2. Pour into a champagne flute or Collin’s. 3. Top up with sparkling wine or champagne. (And a proposal ring, if you please!) * Or substitute with Raspberry puree

All photos and drink recipe by Grey Goose Vodka CaLDRON February 2014




EXQUISITE Ian Logan, International Brand Ambassador of Chivas Brothers was in India recently to ask a select group of whiskey connoisseurs about which was the best whiskey that could be bottled as the Glenlivet Special Edition for 2014. And he tells us why he thinks Scotch is seen as a far more aspirational drink than wine.


CaLDRON February 2014

SPIRIT-UAL When Ian Logan first stepped into the realm of the whiskey cellar some 26 years ago, little did he know he would become the torchbearers for one of the biggest brands of scotch whiskey ever known to mankind. For ten years, he has been the brand ambassador for Glenlivet, a job that entails traveling across the world, getting off the plane at odd hours, walking through countless airports and amassing countless frequent flyer miles.

a dram of whisky from Speyside by name and the entire town of Speyside and all the distilleries started calling themselves Glenlivet.

After a prolonged battle for trademark, John Grant Smith, son of George Smith, the maker of Glenlivet who literally had to battle bootleggers and smugglers to keep his distillery running, got the exclusive rights to call his creation The Glenlivet. There was the prohibition, I’m still not clear who conceptualtwo world wars that The Glenlivet ized the idea, whether it was Ian or not only survived, but thrived in Master Distiller Alan Winchester, and came out a winner. Towards but what they are out to do right the end of prohibition in the continow has probably never been done nental United States, The Glenlivet in the history of scotch whiskey. They accounted for nearly 50 per cent of are creating history by asking conthe Scottish single malt market. We noisseurs what they think is the best must be doing something right in whiskey made by Glenlivet for 2014 carrying on the traditions to have release. Jaswinder Singh got a chance won the Distillery Of The Year to speak to Ian Logan when he was in award 5 years in a row out of the Delhi doing just that. past 7 years. Jaswinder Singh (JS): I’ve heard many stories of whiskey labels and the families that brought those drinks to life with their steadfast dedication to perfection. Some stories seem fantastic, but nonetheless evoke a great sense of belonging towards the particular brand. What is the The Glenlivet story that sets it apart? Ian Logan (IL): Glenlivet is a Speyside distillery established in the year 1822. Back then, the lore of the whiskey being brewed at the distillery was such that King George IV, on a state visit to Scotland asked for

JS: A lot of wine makers are bringing in their produce to the Indian shores more recently. The Glenlivet, as you said, has survived many battles in its past. In this battle with the wines of the old world and the new, who do you think will come on top to be the winner, wine or whisky? IL: France, you will be amazed to hear, happens to be the biggest consumer of Scotch whisky. India, Canada and Japan are the other large consumers. The numbers are sheer phenomenal when compared to wines. I think whisky, especially Tasting the whiskeys

Scotch is seen as a far more aspirational drink than wine. And I do believe whisky will be the winner in this battle to capture the markets from wines. JS: Tell us a bit more about the tasting session you were part of in Delhi. IL: It was a lot of fun and whisky for sure. And then we asked the gathered dignitaries to taste and tell us which whisky they liked the most out of the three. That one will be bottled as a special edition, The Glenlivet Guardians Chapter whisky, to be released in 2014. We are doing these tastings all over the world with the three whiskeys that Alan Winchester, our Master Distiller has chosen, reaching out to the true aficionados of The Glenlivet - people who really enjoy a dram of the pure, as we call it in Gaelic, and then Alan will decide which one to bottle. JS: Which is your favorite in The Glenlivet line up? IL: I have a few bottles at home, but I must say I have a particular affinity to the 18 year old. That one was just the way I like it, not too spicy on the nose, but firm and robust on the palate. I’m looking for my next one and I’m hoping you will tell me tonight which one is it going to be. ■ Jaswinder Singh

Classic: Aged in American oak; notes of honey, caramel, toffee and almonds on the nose and mild hint of citrus fruits on the palate. Long, tangy finish with spicier notes of nutmeg, cinnamon and mild peppercorn. Revival: Aged in bourbon casks with notes of vanilla, fresh honey, pears and apples on the nose and spicy hints on palate comprising of cinnamon, cloves, star anise and nutmeg. Long, rich, warm finish with hints of fresh fruits and crème brülèe Exotic: Aged in sherry casks gives this one a deeper flavor and color with notes of honeydew, cinnamon, dark chocolate and orange marmalade on the nose and a lingering, long, dry finish with warm spices. CaLDRON February 2014



Did you forget to make dinner reservations at your darling’s favorite restaurant this Valentine’s Day? Are you lacking inspiration on how to impress your parner? Why not cook up a meal that will blow their minds away? Our experts advise you how to create a stress-free fancy meal that will have your Valentine asking for more.


Audrey Pravata, Head Chef of Maybury in Dubai



is not setting on which legendary love stories are built! So why not ulia Child once stated, “I think rekindle your romance by cooking careful cooking is love, don't a meal for your beloved and enyou? The loveliest thing you can joying it in the intimate setting of cook for someone who is close to your home, where you have eyes you is about as nicest Valentine you only for each other? It need not be can give.” When the woman who something fanciful, but who said is often regarded as America’s first you can’t give a celebratory and inlady of cooking says something so dulgent spin to a classic meal? Even candidly, one cannot help but take chefs who toss up delectable meals her words seriously. for you on Valentine’s Day prefer Making dinner reservations at a dining in with their loved ones fancy restaurant to celebrate your rather than eating in a restaurant. love is passé. After all, you will be in a sea of diners in an over-packed Chef Varun Inamdar, Chocolatier restaurant trying to whisper sweet at Chocolate Factory explains this nothings, while being constantsuccinctly when he says, “When it ly disturbed by over-enthusiastic comes to surprising a loved one and stewards and servers. Surely, this showing how much you care, CaLDRON February 2014


Lobster Bisque Ingredients: • 300 gms lobster meat • 1 cup of hot lobster stock • 1/2 cups tomato paste • 1/2 cups chopped onion • 1 1/2 cups chopped celery, including leaves • 1 1/2 cups chopped carrot • 1 pinch thyme • Parsley, for garnish • 1/2 teaspoon saffron • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper • 1/4 cup cornstarch • Cooking cream for finishing

Lobster Bisque, as prepared by Chef Johnson Manjooran, Rainbow Steak House, Dubai.

Some Love Served Warm One reason why people shy from cooking a meal for their Valentine Method: is because they think that putting 1. Fill large stockpot with water and together a spectacular spread will bring to a boil. There should be be a stressful affair. Audrey Pravata, enough water to cover lobsters. 2. Place the lobster meat in boiling wa- Head Chef of Maybury in Dubai adter, after the meat is cooked, remove it vises that the most important thing from the water. Keep aside the lobster is to make what you know and avoid stock. venturing into unknown dishes, 3. Sauté onions, celery, carrots, thyme, especially for Valentine's Day. “The parsley and saffron in another pan. best meals at home are often the Add the remaining lobster stock, ½ cup of tomato paste.and bring to boil. ones made with lot of tasty items, Let this simmer. Meanwhile, add the so choose good quality ingredients remaining ingredients. to be sure of success. Plan a meal 4. Stir for another 5 minutes in a slow that you can prepare in advance so flame so that the bisque thickens. you don't spend the evening in the 5. Add cornstarch to thicken the consiskitchen,” she suggests. tency and add salt to taste. When asked how she would plan 6. Finally, finish with cream and parsley and the chunks of boiled lobster meat. her Valentine’s meals, she would 7. Secure in a butter paper and serve. prefer preparing a Carpaccio of red tuna in advance, covering it in cling Recipe courtesy: Chef Johnson Manjooran, film and keeping in the fridge. One Rainbow Steak House, Dubai. would only have to add the garnish to serve.

at 200°Celsius and decorate with a scoop of vanilla ice cream,” she adds. Besides food, also pay close attention on the kind of drinks that will accompany the meal. Don’t be shy to experiment with different types of cocktails. “Traditionally, margaritas are all about orange, lemon, salt and lemon white colours. But go ahead and make your margaritas with Cointreau, lemon and or fresh strawberries,” recommends Chef Chef Sandeep Pande, Executive Chef of Renaissance Mumbai Convention Center. And why stop at just the food and drinks? Accentuate the romance with some lemon and orange scented candles to carry the Margherita flavours in the air, the chef mischievously adds. Ultimately, it is not about the stylishness of the way you present your food, or the complexities of the flavors that will make your meal a hit. Like Sandeep Pande notes, it is the coming together of ingredients, harmony of efforts and it is more pleasurable to create “For the main dish, prepare chicken the symphony in creating something a meal with personal touches. A in a tangy sauce with some wild rice, together, which is more important. It little surprise in the form of special which can be reheated in minutes is about a meal cooked with passion ingredients, hidden signals, favour- and be ready to serve. For dessert, that makes food fit for Gods. And if ite menu items and other elements you can't beat a chocolate fondant the Gods are pleased then can your of culinary ecstasy – all this can be with forest fruits. These can be loved one be far away? ■ chalked out around a meal cooked made in advance and then you can Vinita Bhatia together, without it being a stressful pop it in the oven for eight minutes affair.” CaLDRON February 2014


A MEAL TO REMEMBER A Meal to Surprise your Valentine Plan, prepare, execute: Avoid leaving things for the last minute. Plan the menu carefully with some creative thinking. For instance, prepare a simple Caprese salad. Buy some Burrata, Pilati sundried tomatoes, good quality Portuguese olive oil, 21 year old aged Modena Trebbiano balsamic vinegar, sea salt and fresh basil leaves. Use your imagination and mix these to put together a salad that will wow. Serve it with some chilled Baileys shots that masquerade as petit fours and you are well on your way on a no-fuss Romantic sojourn. Keep it simple, silly: Avoid putting Salmon en Crute, as prepared by Chef Johnson Manjooran, Rainbow Steak House, Dubai together a menu so overwhelming that your date is intimidated. Try to keep it fun and easy to eat. For instance, avoid a soup that is so thick that your partner has to slurp it noiselessly. Or plate the ‘Singapore Chicken Noodles’ with chopIngredients: sticks, when your beloved is famous for • 2 X 350g Skinned Salmon Fillets their butter fingers. It is not about show- • 3 tbsp olive oil • 2 Finely Chopped Onions • 1 Egg Yolk, Beaten ing your gourmet prowess here, but about • 3 or 4 Garlic Cloves, Chopped • Plain Flour, to dust making the other person feel at ease and • Pastry Sheets • Salt and Pepper have a pleasurable time.

Salmon En Croute

Save the sweets for the last: There is nothing like ending your meal on a high sweet note to seal your love affair. And no, we are not talking about store-bought chocolate bars or ice creams. Instead try for something different, like Passion Fruit Flan with Gulab Jamun, or Rose Flavored Cupcakes. It’s different, and could be a signal of better things to come, post the meal! Have fun, no matter what: Remember that you are cooking for a day of love. So, don’t slog it out so much in the kitchen that you are out of energy when the fun actually begins post-meal. Dress up in your fancy togs, spray on your favorite perfume and keep that smile on your face. the fanciest meal can fail if the person presenting it is sweaty and harried looking.

Method: 1. Roll out the pastry sheets evenly. 2. For the filling, heat about 2 tbsp of oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add finely chopped onions, fresh whole spinach and tip in green pesto sauce mix along with basil, garlic, olive oil. Add zest of one lemon and cheese. Season well with salt and pepper. 3. Preheat the oven to 200 C and line in a baking sheet on the tray. 4. Skin and bone salmon fillet thoroughly. Pat dry the fillets and season accordingly. 5. Spread herb butter on one side of the salmon fillet and spread whole grain mustard on other. Sandwich the fillets and place it on the centre of the pastry. 6. After placing the fillets on the pastry, brush the pastry thoroughly with egg yolk and season according to your taste. 7. To make the parcel, trim away the excess pastry. Tuck the edges neatly as you fold the pastry and turn upside down. 8. Place the parcel on a non-stick baking tray. Again, brush the parcel with egg white and season. 9. Bake the dish for about 30 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Check thoroughly while it cooks. Remove from the oven and let the salmon sit for about 2-3 minutes before serving. Recipe courtesy: Chef Johnson Manjooran, Rainbow Steak House, Dubai

- With inputs from Chef Sandeep Pande, Executive Chef of Renaissance Mumbai Convention Center.


CaLDRON February 2014


Did fish ever look that good? CaLDRON February 2014




CRITICS Chef Michael Swamy is dismissive about food bloggers who moonlight as critics, because their culinary knowledge is often gleaned from the internet. He challenges them to stand in a hot kitchen for 16 hours daily, to consistently churn out meal after meal, and then let someone review their preparations. He doubts most blogger can face this ordeal for more than a month!


tensively about a chef ’s skill while reviewing a restaurant, acknowledgike any craft, reaching a level ing his role in the establishment’s of perfection in the kitchen success. Unfortunately, homegrown takes years of hands-on experience. Indian guides are mediocre and Everyone considers themselves to rarely give an educated assessment be a good cook. But not every good of a restaurant.Usually, this is becook is a great chef, and vice versa. cause they lack critics who know what it means to write a proper Given that dining out is a rage these critique. days, chefs in India are finally getting their place in the limelight and Who's a Food Critic are getting mentioned in restaurant Critics and food guides fall into two reviews and food guides. Notable categories – those who know food food guides like those from Micheand write well; and others who write lin, Gault-Millau, Zagat, American well but have little understanding Automobile Association, Fodor’s about food or restaurant practices. Restaurant Guide, Egon Ronay’s Food critics from Michelin’s Guide Food Guide, etc, often write exvisit restaurants incognito – some-


times visiting the same restaurant several times. They never ask for a particular table, drop hints to the waiter about their background or ask to meet the chef. They eat, drink, pay the bill and leave. Even when invited by establishments for a review, they remain objective critics, unswayed by the attention lavished on them at the restaurant. Sadly, one can’t say the same about the legion of food bloggers who masquerade as food critics these days. This genre gives the art of restaurant critiquing a bad name. Some hospitality establishments dismiss them as people out to score a free meal and few have even started blacklisting some bloggers! CaLDRON February 2014

POINT BLANK What works against these food bloggers is that they think they know everything about food and cooking based on their search results from Google. I challenge them to work in a hot kitchen for 16 hours daily, turning out meal after meal and then let someone criticize their preparations. If you read the reviews of these bloggers, one often comes across statements like ‘This dish was not the way my mother/ aunt/grandmother made it’. How can one compare food cooked in a kitchen on a mass scale by a professional chef to something a lady would cook for her family in her kitchen? The produce, the quantity, the time taken,the number of people involved in both these scenarios are so diverse that their outcomes can’t be weighed against each other. The Rise of a Legion If bloggers have been elevated to demigod status, it is probably because of PR managers of restaurants who encourage them review restaurants. Most food bloggers take their role of ‘critic’ literally – they think they are playing that role well only if they run down a restaurant. If a meal was mediocre,why not revisit the place before writing it off? One meal is insufficient to judge a restaurant. Give the place and the chef another chance.

a professional kitchen. So who gave them the right to deride a restaurant’s menu?

and your wife’s haircut and said all your opinions were stupid, how would you feel?” This is what Marco Pierre White famously asked in his Recently, I was working on a TV book,‘White Heat’. In my opinion, food show where one of the chefs a ‘good’ food critic should idealis a young chap who won a food ly have worked in the hospitality competition and now calls himself a industry for a while and should ‘chef ’. To my horror, forget cooking, know the challenges of working with finite produce within a fixed span of time and delivering food that is consistent in taste, presentation and quality. A ‘true’ critic doesn’t run down an establishment but suggests areas where the establishment can Most food bloggers improve. The ‘best’ critic is ultimately the paying diner, who will give the take their role of best word-of-mouth publicity for a ‘critic’ literally – they restaurant.

think they are playing that role well only if they run down a restaurant.

My advice to bloggers is to imagine writing in a hot, muggy room with lot of noise and then ask a chef to critique your writing. Will you be willing to accept their criticism about your writing the way you expect them to handle your censure about their food?

Reviewing a restaurant or dinner is not about enjoying a free meal he couldn’t even chop vegetables or showcasing your writing skills. properly! Yet, he calls himself a It’s about being honest to yourself celebrity chef. Another blogger, who and the people who will read your earlier worked for a wine magazine, articles, and by extension, the exiscalls herself a wine expert. This, tence of the establishment you have despite never working in a winery or reviewed. ■ creating wines!

The other culprit behind this disturbing trend is the popularity of A Real Critic television chefs and food show “If I came to your house for dinwinners. Most have never worked in ner, criticized all your furniture

Michael Swamy

A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in London, Chef Michael Swamy has worked at Taj Group of Hotels in Mumbai, Bombay Brasserie in London, Boutique Hotel Te Aroha in Danachuli, The Bowl House chain of restaurants in India and Kuwait Airways. He writes on food and travel for Yahoo! India and his book ‘The East Indian Kitchen’ won the Gourmand award in 2012. As food consultant, he managed the food team food for Master Chef India’s Seasons 1 and 2. He also managed food shows like ‘Twist of Taste’ and ‘Ravinder’s Kitchen’ for international TV channels. CaLDRON February 2014




MEDIA in themselves �

Sameer Malkani, Co-founder of Food Bloggers Association of India believes that restaurants and food bloggers in India are aware that blogging is a powerful media. While he accepts that a couple of bloggers may have misused their power by being over-critical, he believes these are rare instances.


CaLDRON February 2014

COUNTER-POINT CaLDRON: How would you define trained chefs. Despite this, do you a food blogger and a food critic, think they can objectively evaluate respectively? a restaurant’s menu and find flaws in the way a dish is prepared? Sameer Malkani (SM): There is no perfect definition for a food blogger. SM: There are different categories of However, a food blogger does not food bloggers . Some only do restaunecessarily qualify as a food critic. rant reviews while others have recipe Food critics are normally associated blogs. Some food bloggers have a with restaurants. A food blogger may culinary travel blog, while others have have just a recipe blog experimenting a mixed blog. It clearly depends on with his/her cuisine at home. Or, if the kind of bloggers one looks at. the food blog is only about restaurant By and large, a food blogger is exreviews, then the blogger through posed to and has the quest for all experience may cross the fine line, on things food. From restaurant tastings, occasions. recipes, cooking in their kitchen, reading about food, watching food shows CaLDRON: Do you think all food on the TV to blogger meets, the expobloggers qualify as food critics or sure is high. This enables a particular reviewers? kind of food blogger to evaluate a dish or food and judge it according to SM: No, all of them do not. Food him/her. bloggers love their food. It is a passion for most of them, who very often Evaluation in food is subjective, alhave regular day jobs and normally ways. It differs from person to person blog on weekends. Again, as I said unless there is something drastically above there are varied kinds of food wrong with a dish then most bloggers bloggers, some who cross the line may might concur on an opinion. A blog qualify as food critics or reviewers. post by a blogger is clearly their opinion on a dish. CaLDRON: Do people who have trained in the hospitality industry CaLDRON: Do you think most make for good food critics and food bloggers are unnecessarily reviewers? critical of restaurants? SM: Not at all! In fact, most food critics or reviewers are not necessarily formally trained in the hospitality industry. Most learn from expe rience. Some have a background in culinary arts. The love for food and the quest for knowledge drives them. Food critics and reviewers could be from any background. However the driving factor is food, its taste and their knowledge of it, besides the experience one gains in his/her journey.

SM: No. Food blogging is a powerful media and tool today in the industry. Restaurants are aware of this and so are food bloggers. In India, the hospitality industry is still growing. Restaurants have yet to understand the nuances between different type of food bloggers, reviewers and critics.

A couple of food bloggers may have misused their power in being over critical. This happens unknowingly or without an in-depth understanding of CaLDRON: Most food bloggers are the repercussions to that restaurant. home cooks and not professionally But, it's very rare. CaLDRON February 2014

CaLDRON: Do you think that food bloggers are unbiased in their reviews of cuisines and restaurants, as compared to the food reviewer from a media company? SM: Food bloggers are a media in themselves. They are most definitely unbiased about the food. The blogger community is very strong and we at FBAI plan to build relationships with the community across India over time. We also hone new talent and are instrumental in kickstarting and seeding over 12 food blogs in the past month. This number will grow. CaLDRON: Have you come across instances where restaurants paid food bloggers for favorable reviews? SM: At FBAI, we haven't come across any instances so far. However, that is not to say that they don't. Also if a review is particularly negative, very often the PR agency or the restaurant management connects with the food blogger to 'request' for a change in negativity.

Vinita Bhatia Sameer Malkani is the co-founder of Food Bloggers Association of India (FBAI), a community where food bloggers can promote their products and services, review restaurants, disseminate news and information, hold local blogging events, meet other Indian food bloggers, and promote their own blog.





We ask two individuals their opinions about whether they would opt for this non-dairy milk and this is what they had to say.

Researchers at the Universitat Politecnica de Valencia in Spain and colleagues used plant-based 'milks' to create products fermented with probiotic bacteria from grains and nuts. The alternative products are specially designed for people with allergies to cow's milk, lactose or gluten intolerance, as well as children and pregnant women. The team has worked with almonds, oats and hazelnuts and will soon evaluate the use of walnuts and chestnuts as raw material for these new products. These plant 'milks' have healthy fatty acids and carbohydrates with low glycaemic index, which makes it suitable for diabetics. Moreover, they include vitamins B and E, antioxidant compounds and dietary fibre that improve intestinal health. They are also rich in potassium and very low in sodium. In January 2014, TCBY announced the launch of Silk Vanilla Almond Fro-Yo, which it created in partnership with Silk Almondmilk. The dairy-free dessert will be launching in stores in January. According to Silk, working with TCBY is part of their overarching goal to create accessibility to all kinds of foods, treats, and indulgences for those with dietary restrictions. "Sometimes having a restricted diet can feel like a daily exercise of little sacrifices and amended cravings," says Craig Shiesley, Senior Vice President, Plant-Based Food and Beverages. "It makes us happy to know that consumers can enjoy a dairy-free treat at TCBY to further fuel the passion for plant-based foods." 74

CaLDRON February 2014

FACE OFF People with gluten and lactose intolerance as well as vegans, often miss out the healthiness of dairy products like animal milk. Not to mention the glorious taste of freshly churned butter or the benefits of probiotics in yogurt. However, there is hope for them. Scientists recently developed plant-based milk, which can be used to make yogurt. Close on the heels of this announcement, a frozen yogurt company, TCBY, partnered with Silk Almondmilk to create the vegan Silk Vanilla Almond Fro-Yo. Tassy Gillitwala: Since I moved to Sydney from India in 2013, I started reading the ingredients of every product I purchased and saw that companies mention the presence of any allergen, like gluten, sulphites, nuts, lactose or crustaceans, on every product pack. It made me realize that food allergy is a serious issue and could pose health risks in certain individuals. So, if dairy milk can be substituted by healthier options like plant-based milk or non-dairy milks depending on one's nutritional need and dietary restrictions, then it is a great idea.

Tassy Gillitwala: I am not lactose-intolerant, nor am I a vegan, neither am I trying to shed weight. Yet, I tried soy milk a couple of years ago out of sheer curiosity. I did not quite like its taste and therefore I did not make a habit of having it regularly. Tassy Gillitwala: As long as there is no risk attached, I think there will be takers for such products. These could include vegans or people who don’t have dairy products, are lactose intolerant, want to lower their cholesterol or who like to make healthy life choices. Though there are many alternatives like soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk and other flavoured and unsweetened varieties on the market shelves, there is still a long way to go before these products become really popular.

Would you go for plant based milk?

Have you tried any similar kind of lab-grown food product?

Do you think plant based milk is a fad, nothing more?

Tassy Gillitwala lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband, where she is busy absorbing the flavors of the local cuisine and culture.

Dr Manisha Sharma, Mumbai: Some non-dairy milk are rich sources of vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates with low glycaemic index, antioxidant compounds and dietary fiber. In terms of calories, these products have less than 1 percent of the fat found in cow’s milk. Despite these health benefits, I would still not want to try this out. This is also because I am not lactose-intolerant.

Dr Manisha Sharma, Mumbai: I once tried almond milk and hazelnut milk. Probably because I am a cow milk drinker, I did not like the flavor of this plant-based milk. I found them too grainy and unnatural tasting. I never had it after that. Dr Manisha Sharma: It depends. Right now, the number of consumers who will opt for alternative milk is low. But they are still there. If they convert to regular buyers of these products then plant-based milk might just become a trend. Otherwise, it will be a fad, much like how mock meat was.

A homeopathic doctor, Mumbai’s Dr Manisha Sharma believes in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and advices the same to her patients as well.

Vinita Bhatia CaLDRON February 2014




rowing up in a family that ran a hotel in Kashmir, Aditya Bal watched his maternal grandmother rustle up delicious meals with passion. After a successful modeling career spanning eight years and a short stint in Bollywood, he decided to head to Goa to pursue what he did best: cooking. A chance meeting with NDTV Good Times gave his culinary skills a new direction and today he is the channel’s anchor-chef on ‘Chakh Le India’.

" we CAN'T

Aditya’s wanderlust for local and most celebrated cuisines from across India took him to places including the bustling Punjab towns, the cultural Bengal hubs and the bohemian Goa spots. The mouth-watering results were ‘Amritsari Paneer Bhurji’, ‘Kosha Mangsho’, ‘Goan Prawn and Mango Ambotik’, ‘Malabari Prawn Curry’ and ‘Moru Sambhar’. His book, ‘Chakh Le India’ has simple recipes that promise to celebrate a delectable feast that is wonderfully Indian. He spoke to Parul Pratap Shirazi about his unapologetic love for food and his eagerness to explore this wonderful space. Parul Pratap Shirazi (PPS): Is there any specific cuisine you veer towards? Aditya Bal (AB): At present, I’m going through a confused phase, because I cook different things. Personally, I like to keep things simple, but sometimes I tend to get into the complexities as well. Food can be very complex, especially when there are many flavours and myriad combinations of those flavours. I like simple food and regular Indian cuisine is perfect for me.

fathom molecular gastronomy in INDIAN cuisine !" Model-turned-foodie-turned-chef, Aditya Bal has worn many hats. His introduction to his book ‘Chakh Le India’ is an endearing synopsis of a man who loves food so much that he decided he might as well make a career out of it! 76

PPS: So is Kashmiri food, the cuisine you grew up eating, very complex or simple? AB: People presume Kashmiri food is simple in flavours but complex to create. I disagree. It needs the right CaLDRON February 2014

stand what he can do. PPS: Do you appreciate the innovation that is taking place in traditional style of cooking? AB: I think it is great and necessary. The fact that there is so much innovation in the spectrum of Indian cooking guarantees that our cuisine will keep improving in certain ways. There is so much stuff that’s rooted in tradition but we haven’t documented it. Also, innovating with Indian cooking takes a lot more skill than we realise. It’s great to talk about tradition, but when people say that a particular dish isn’t authentic, I tell them to find me authentic. I get many emails saying that was not the right way to cook a dish and I reply that it was my way to do it. I get information from various sources, books, the internet and then I cook a dish in my own way.

Aditya's book, Chakh le India

ingredients – for instance, Kashmiri chillies or hing or cockscomb flower – to do it the right way. Folks think that the food is generally very heavy and always swimming in mustard oil. But, at home we eat very simple Kashmiri fare, which is lighter. I’m planning to start my own Kashmiri catering operations in the next few months and that is the kind of light food I want to put out. PPS: Which chefs do you enjoy reading about or watching on TV? AB: I love Jamie Oliver and I’ve learnt so much from him. I don’t have formal training in cooking, so I have piles of cookbooks from Jamie Oliver, Thomas Keller, Escoffier, to cookbooks that go back 200 years. I also enjoy watching Gary Rhodes because he’s another chap who explains food very well. CaLDRON February 2014

PPS: AB: I’m not a big fan of molecular gastronomy and I don’t know how it will work with Indian food. But I am happy for those who are doing it. What I don’t understand, though, is whether one can sustain the whole molecular gastronomy aspect in our country, from the business perspective. People tried it with ‘Smokehouse Room’ and ‘Azimuth’. They had good stuff, but they bombed. We can’t fathom molecular gastronomy PPS: Talking about TV chefs, what new in Indian cuisine. We need time! roles will we be seeing you in this year? AB: There is stuff happening with The first mainstream Italian restauNDTV and beyond NDTV as well. I’m rant came up some 20 years ago and now we’re already onto the molecular now looking for different cookery-regastronomy trend? Where is the chance lated things to do. My main focus is getting down to the business front of to understand the movement and the cooking because I get very edgy if I’m growth that the West has had? Countries like Italy, France, Australia, Spain, not cooking all the time. etc, have seen years with the growth of a PPS: When you are in Delhi, where do certain set of chefs. We don’t even have you enjoy eating? that chef culture here as yet; we don’t AB: Indian Accent is one place, because nurture chefs. Where is the growth or learning for a cook under a chef? I’m totally fascinated by Chef Mehrotra’s work. Sadly, he won’t give me a stint in his kitchen (chuckles). I have At many places that I have visited, no visited them a couple of times and it’s one has the time to teach the cooks to been really fantastic to try and under- reach a better place in the system and 77

by the kilo! I’ll sell 20 kilos in a day and see them grow. It’s all about growth be done. of the establishment and not the 50 individuals involved in the kitchen. The PPS: But there are some establishments whole scene is a bit hollow. like that, even now, in Purani Dilli! AB: Sure they are. This is what I would PPS: So does that mean that a finelike to do with Kashmiri food persondine experience is still better in a standalone than a 5 star, because chefs ally. I have a repertoire of 300 regional have better control there, rather than recipes to draw from, but that is why I said that I am confused. I want to select giving into purchase managers? AB: Absolutely! See in Indian cuisine, some of these dishes and then add a few there are no shortcuts. The best food I pahari dishes in my catering business. have eaten was cooked on wood and in I have some handwritten recipes that I jotted down when I watched people big handis from start to finish. This is what I find fundamentally wrong with cook for me. And I am tempted to add those to my repertoire too. But I am the Indian restaurant system. Most places have the 4-gravy system includ- trying to resist this temptation because if I put them all out there, I would not ing Makhanwala, Jalfriezi and Kolhabe able to focus on quality. Maybe I puri on their menu. If I see these on a menu, I won’t eat in that restaurant. The will just have 100 odd dishes at a time, best food I have eaten is where time has and prepare them on a rotation basis. I seriously have not decided on out that been taken to think, plan and prepare part yet. it. I’d like to do that – find some space in Gurgaon where I cook in handis on wood for a couple of hours. I just need PPS: Sounds good! that open space and I will sell the food AB: I have been contemplating that

one should have a menu every week and keep it cyclic. I’m planning to evolve slowly and do different things. Globally, everyone is returning to traditional cuisine and is culling out forgotten recipes. Look at Masterchef Australia; it is all so simple and gorgeous, but still natural looking. PPS: So besides Masterchef Australia, which other cooking shows do you enjoy watching on the TV? AB: I enjoy watching Kylie Kwong, Jamie at Home and Jamie’s 15 minute meals. Cooking for me is not about ‘not having time’; it’s about using the time you have well. I suggest that we should cook at home often; not just because it’s healthier but because it’s more reasonable.

Butter Fried Scampi / Prawns flavoured with a homemade spice paste, baked in butter with a squeeze of lime. Ingredients: For berry burry masala • 2 onions julienned • 12 cloves of garlic • 1 stick of cinnamon • 1 ½ tsp cumin • 1 ½ tsp peppercorns

• • • • •

For the butter fried scampi • 4 tiger prawns • Berry burry masala

• 4 dollops of butter • 1 lemon, squeezed

1 ½ tsp coriander seeds 1 star anise 2 cloves ½ tsp fennel seeds Salt, to taste

Method: For berry burry masala: and sauté the spices. 1. Heat a pan. Add onion and garlic and sweat them a little. Add red chillies, cin- 2. Add salt and roast it all together. namon, cumin, peppercorns, coriander 3. Transfer the mixture into a blender and seeds, star anise, cloves and fennel seeds add turmeric and chili powder. Drizzle For butter fried scampi: 4. Preheat the oven to 180°C. and expose the flesh. 5. Cut the tiger prawns from the middle 7. Flavour the prawns with berry burry and take out the tail end. masala and place in an oven dish. 6. Cut the back shell, remove the intestine 8. Add butter and squeeze half a lemon.

• • • • •

1 tsp chili powder 1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder 1 cup red wine vinegar 3 Tbsp sugar 50 ml oil

• Handful of coriander leaves, chopped

red wine vinegar, sugar and 3 tbsp of oil and grind it to a fine paste.

Cook it preheated oven for 7-8 minutes. 9. Take it out and garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve warm.

Recipe courtesy: Aditya Bal 78

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When was the last time you saw such delicious vegetables? CaLDRON February 2014






Stumped about a dish that did not turn out right? Let our expert chefs guide you through all your cooking dilemmas so that you can create the dish of your dreams.

I want to get a tried and tested recipe for Kaya paste. This is a green pandan bread spread that is very famous in Singapore and I would love to cook it. Rahul Arora Kolkata

Chef Ranveer Brar: To make Kaya paste, you need 10 eggs, 450g sugar, 20g freshly pressed pandan juice or leaves and 500 ml coconut milk. Whisk the eggs and sugar together, mix in the coconut milk and add in the pandan juice or leaves. Next, fill the base unit of a double boiler with water and bring to a boil. Add the mixture you have prepared into the top unit of the double boiler, stirring every 10 minutes until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency. After a hour, take the pandan leaves out from the mixture. Your Kaya paste is ready! Cool it and refrigerate, and use for up to two months. I need ideas on dinner for a party that will have the participation of a bunch of 16-year olds. Last time, for a similar occasion, I cooked pizza, which was a hit and was very easily adaptable to everyone's tastes and dietary restrictions. This time, I would like to make something that they can 80

help prepare or eat communally. I had thought of tacos, fondue or Sloppy Joes. This won't be for a party but more like a bonding or hangout session so the food has to be relaxed too.

casia leaves, for instance, or make Tangra Sui Mai. You can find the recipes for these on

I realized that I have lot of black grapes at home. Please give me some ideas on what I can do with them, other than making wine. Chef Ranveer Brar: Why not have Can I add sugar and reduce it your own Mac’N’Cheese party? and then use the mixture for cake Alternately, you can serve baked frosting? pasta with different toppings, for Liz Alice instance, lobster, clams, smoked Mumbai chicken, crisp bacon, etc. You can also prepare a couple of sauces on Chef Ranveer Brar: I suggest you the side, like peppered cheese and make either a black grape chutney classic sauce, which will go with or a compote, and you can even the baked dishes. The youngsters use the compote as a topping for can pick and mix in their meal and cakes. The recipe for both is almost it will give them a chance to catch similar – boil the sugar, drop the on school gossip as well. chopped grapes and cook. You can add some spices as well as vinegar. I would like to make some guilt- To make a chutney, simply purée free snacks that can be munched the mixture. on, without worrying about piling on weight. Can I get some I keep reading about whipped easy recipes for tasty munchies? cream frosting and whipped Heena Kausar topping cream in the recipes for Bangalore cakes. I am confused. What exactly is the difference between the Chef Ranveer Brar: As a general two? And which one should I buy rule, avoid fried and high carbohy- for icing cake? Better still, how drates food. Instead, try steaming do I make both of them at home? or poaching the food. Try making Priti Gupta dhokla stuffed with patra or colo- Charlotte Maria Charles Boston

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Chef Ranveer Brar: Both are the same thing. Here is a simple way to make whipped frosting cream at home. Chill the bowl and whisk attachment of a stand mixer for 20 minutes in refrigerator or for 5 minutes in the freezer. Remove and pour 3 cups of heavy cream or whipping cream in the cold bowl. Whisk it till it thickens, and then gradually pour in 5 tbsp granulated sugar. Continue to whisk till it forms soft peaks. If you want to use vanilla essence, add a couple of drop and then whisk some more until the cream is smooth and stiff peaks form (the cream will stand up straight when the whisk is raised). You are now ready to use this on your cakes.

both cream frosting and chocolate ganache on cake decorations together? If yes, then what will go first and how?

generally made from whole wheat, rice flour or moong bean starch. Egg, Iye and cereals are added to noodles made from wheat flour in order to give noodles different flavor and colour.

Chef Ranveer Brar: The ganache always goes first on the cake. You could apply it evenly with a palette knife or melt it and pour over the cake for a shiny glaze. The whipped cream can be used either in layering the cake or could be piped as rosettes on the border of chocolate frosted cake.

I want to try my hand at making ghee at home. My last attempt resulted in me getting a very cloudy liquid that did not taste like ghee at all. What did I do wrong? What is a foolproof way to make ghee with minimal efforts at home?

Kavita Dhayal Bangalore

I am planning to make some thupka with the assistance of my help who is from Sikkim. I think the noodles that are used in this Since peas are in season, I wanted dish are called Tibetan noodles, but I am not sure. What is the to store them. What is the best right name of these noodles? method of preserving peas, in way that their colour and sweet- I want to know how are these noodles different from the reguness is retained? lar noodles one uses for Chinese Padma Modi Singhal Indore dishes?

Lata Sharma Bhivani

Chef Ranveer Brar: You were doing the right thing, however, you didn't cook it for long enough. Cook it some more and you will get ghee.

There are two simple ways of making ghee. The first is to collect fullfat cream or malai for a few days. Blend this in the mixer and then Anuja Kamra Balasubramanian heat it on a slow flame in a vessel. Gurgaon Chef Ranveer Brar: The best Eventually the ghee will come to way to preserve peas at home is the top and solid will brown at the Chef Ranveer Brar: You can make to blanch them in boiling water bottom. thukpa using any kind of noodles. before freezing them. This ensures that they retain their bright green But traditionally, they are made The second method is to make from 'Gutsi Nithuk' or 'Bhatsa' color and don’t turn to mush when ghee from the butter. Heat the butnoodles that look like the Italian ter on a very slow flame till all the cook them. gnocchi. You can use Chinese noo- water evaporates and only some I want to know whether I can use dles as well in a thupka. These are clear liquid is left. Strain and keep.

Our Expert Chef this month: Chef Ranveer Brar Lucknow-born Chef Ranveer Brar’s first tutor was Munir Ahmed, a kebab seller who taught him the art of making perfect kebabs. Having found his calling, he enrolled at Lucknow’s Institute of Hotel Management and began his career at Hotel Taj in Delhi. Later he opened three restaurants at Taj’s Fort Aguada property. He moved on to open the award-winning Sevilla at Delhi’s Calridges Hotel as the executive chef – all when he was just 25 years old. He is currently the executive chef of BanQ in Boston, where he has also hung some of his own paintings! He also hosts a TV show on Zee TV’s Khana Khazana. CaLDRON February 2014



roadside culinary heaven


Matia Mahal, a road perpendicular to Jama Masjid has long been known as a destination for adventurous carnivores looking for bites of spicy kebabs of all sorts and an equal number of gravies. We bring you a glimpse into the essence of Jama Masjid, one of the few areas that dishes out some of the tastiest roadside food ever.


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This is the essence of Matia Mahal. You're always served with a smile.

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Start light with some grilled chicken topped with butter and cream. CaLDRON February 2014


Continue with delicious grilled buffalo boti and seekh kebabs. 86

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Some crispy, deep fried chicken if you're in the mood?

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Finding friendly people is never a problem at Matia Mahal. 90

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The Seekh Warrior will ensure you get enough to eat... but do you know the right one? CaLDRON February 2014


If you're done with the starters, perhaps some buffalo Qorma would interest you?


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Continue your main courses with some rich Qeema Aloo.

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Return to some flame grilled buffalo seekh kebabs to round off the meal.

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Finish your meal with some rich and sweet rabri.


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Roasted Patatas by Karen C. Le Calvez

Steamed Pok Choy with Sesame Oil and Soy Sauce by Minnie Gupta CaLDRON February 2014



Taste of romance in a cabana

Valentine’s is a day of love and romance. So why not relish your love story in a private cabana with elegant décor, where you can feast on an exceptional six-course tasting menu? This is the Address at Dubai Mall brings to you on 14th February. Enjoy this special experience at the Cabana which offers you discreet privacy, a unique setting and wonderful cuisine. Begin your meal with ‘Oeuf a L’Arpege’, a slow-cooked organic farm egg, maple syrup, Jiménez vinegar and the try the composition of young vegetables with Manchego cheese, olive licorice and warm potato. Pamper your palate with the ‘DC Foie Gras’ which sets the tone for the ‘Sirloin of Beef ’. Polish this up with some ‘Frozen Watermelon’ and end your dinner with ‘Warm Valrhona Chocolate for Two’. Because lovers who eat together, stay together.

Let a Rainbow Steak light up your Valentine’s Day

This February, Rainbow Steak House in Dubai brings a menu of over 150 multinational delicacies comprising soups, appetizers, salads, grills, seafood, lamb, steaks, chicken and vegetarian dishes. And you get to choose how you would like your meat to be cooked at a live cooking station. The menu highlights for Valentine's Day include ‘Lobster Thermidor’, ‘Salmon En Crute’, ‘Seafood Paella’ and ‘Pan Fried Trout with Sautéed Tomato Basil’. Guests visiting the restaurant on 14th February will be offered a complimentary red velvet cake to end their meal on a sweet note. If you would rather pick your dishes, then go choose from the elaborate à la carte menu. The Valentine's Day Specials will be served in addition to the daily buffet from 1st to 15th February, 2014. The average price of a meal is around AED 84 per adult and AED 42 per child, without beverages.

Romance in The Courtyard of Al Manzil Downtown Dubai

Keep the romance in your life alive by celebrating the month of love at The Courtyard of Al Manzil Downtown Dubai. Choose from one of two packages featuring a four-course set menu, tailored to exude togetherness and warmth. At AED 850 per couple, enjoy a delectable selection of the best food from Al Manzil Dubai and unlimited select beverages; while couples paying AED 650 can enjoy unlimited soft drinks. All guests will receive roses and boxes of chocolates. After all, the joy of love should linger on and on.

Up the cuteness quotient with Candelite’s Chocolate Cupcake Rose Bouquet It is that time of the year again when young people – and the young at heart - gear up to wear their hearts on their sleeves. This Valentine’s Day, Candelite invites you to get right into the mood to celebrate love with a selection of exciting new personalised gift hampers and tempting cupcake bouquets. What’s more, Candelite gives you the option to mix and match and create your personalised bouquet for just AED200.


CaLDRON February 2014


Enjoy the Benelux Food Trail in Holland and Belgium

Balance Café revamps menu to include wholesome, grab-andgo meals Landmark Group's specialty restaurant, Balance Café has revamped its menu to accommodate the needs of busy executives and families looking for wholesome quick meal options like sandwiches, wraps, soups and salads. Its new menu offers fresh ad nutritious from an international cuisine including ‘Homestyle Chicken Leek and Potato Soup’, ‘Butternut Squash Salad’, ‘Spicy Bean Bites in Ciabatta Bread’, and ‘Poached Tuna in Focaccia Bread’. The organic salad options include combinations like ‘Quinoa and Chickpea Salad’ and ‘Bulgar and Chicken’, while the main course includes the likes of ‘Vegetarian Pad Thai Noodles’ and ‘Moroccan Style Lamb Stew’.Also on offer is meal plan delivery, whereby the café will deliver regular meals on a monthly basis. These meals will not only conform to customer preferences, but also customized to digestive capabilities as well as individual body types based on the principles of Ayurveda.

The Benelux Food trail, organized by the Travel Attache, is a seven-day gourmet getaway that begins in Amsterdam, with a day spent discovering the city with the aid of a private guide. From here, you will take a train to Maastricht for a city tour and sumptuous dinner at a Michelin starred property before moving on to Brussels. After a guided city tour and degustation of local specialties, you will have the opportunity to visit the National Jewish Museum and Kazerne Dossin Museum before returning to Amsterdam. Your journey will end with an innovative canal cruise and dinner. The Benelux food trail is priced at USD $ 12578 based on two people sharing excluding flights that can be arranged through The Travel Attaché

Grand Friday brunch La Piscina Meliá Dubai has created their unique ‘La Piscina’ Friday brunch where patrons are welcomed to sample delights from the hotel’s vast gourmet offering as it is transformed into one grand restaurant. Choose from the lavish international buffet of ‘Azalya’, the delectable sushi and oysters of ‘Alfonso’ and the delicate Indian cuisine of award-winning restaurant ‘Signature By Sanjeev Kapoor’. You can enjoy your meal to the accompaniment of a popular singer’s dulcet tones. The ‘La Piscina’ Grand Friday Brunch is priced at AED 199, including soft drinks, and AED 299, including house beverages.

Knightsbridge London Café opens in Dubai London’s Knightsbridge Café has arrived in Dubai. Located on Beach Road opposite to the Jumeirah Beach Park, it stands out with its open space with the glass door, which allows an interplay of natural light into this trendy café. Mohammed Jaber, Knightsbridge Café’s owner said, “We wanted to introduce a French café culture in a chic environment."

Brunch as you like it If you wish to enjoy French cuisine while ensconced in an elegant setting, then you are bound to enjoy brunching at Madeleine Café & Boulangerie at The Address in Dubai Mall. This Parisian themed restaurant now offers à la carte brunch every Friday on the terrace at Madeleine. This brunch, held between 12.30pm to 4pm, is ideal for entertaining family and friends in a charming brasserie-style setting with a choice of food prepared à la minute. Additionally, you get to admire the outstanding views of Burj Khalifa, which will only make your brunch an all-round winner CaLDRON February 2014



Serafina Mumbai presents Festa San Valentino

Fall back in love at Otto Infinito

Serafina Mumbai brings a mélange of gourmet dishes from 10th to 16th February, 2014 to win your beloved’s heart. Its special Valentine’s menu priced at Rs 2,000 (exclusive of taxes) has a selection of 3-course meals of special Northern Italian delicacies with two glasses of Sula Rose Brut Sparkling wine. Swoop your valentine away with the ‘La Pizza pieno di Amore’, a heart shaped pizza with fresh plump tomato, mozzarella and seasonal greens. Sign this off with the ‘Amanti Dolci Assortiti’, a decadent dessert platter of passion fruit éclair, mini pannacota with strawberry coulie and chocolate orange torte.

Tempt all your senses with Otto Infinito’s set menu for Valentine’s Day set menu, at Rs 2,500 per couple. Raise a toast to your special someone with a glass of strawberry sangria and follow it with ‘Watermelon Feta Cups’, ‘Red Onion and Thyme Consommi’ or ‘Fresh Cherry Tomatoes Oyster Chicken’. Entree choices include ‘Kumquats Risotto with Water Chesnut’, ‘Blue Cheese, Parmesan, Walnut Chikki’ and ‘Oven Baked Free Range Chicken Medallions’. For dessert, spoil your sweetheart with ‘Strawberry and Fig Chocolate Fondue’.

Bespoke cocktails at Copa So you think you know your beloved’s tastes well? Then share their traits and preferences with Copa 72 hours before you visit the bar, and they will craft a cocktail that is named after your darling. Besides this bespoke cocktail, you can also pair a dish of their choice by just informing the restaurant’s kitchen in advance. Isn’t that a thoughtful way to celebrate the day of love?


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The new Seamless cup range by arttd’inox

Sundays get a Dim Sum spin at Yauatcha

This winter, enjoy the warmness of your tea and coffee with arttd’inox’s Seamless range of cups sets and green tea cups. The design and shapes of this collection are inspired from traditional Indian motifs are carved onto the surface through engraving technique to lend it to a royal look. The subtle, yet sophisticated, shine of the etched motifs makes these pieces stand apart. The products are double-walled with reflection of the motif falling on stainless steel that makes these pieces look remarkable use after use. The collection includes ‘Seamless’ Cups and saucer priced at Rs 1,990 and Green Tea Cup in Belly design priced at Rs 1,500. These are available at arttd’inox flagship stores are in Delhi, Mumbai and Gurgaon.

Want to spend a well-deserved Sunday with a hearty brunch spent with your close ones? Head to Yauatcha at Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore to for ‘Dim sum Sundays’. This Dim Sum tea house has introduced the ‘Classic Menu’ priced at Rs 2,000 with a choice of a cocktail and the ‘Signature Menu’ priced at Rs 2,500 with a choice of two cocktails and endless cups of tea. The menu for ‘Dim Sum Sundays’ includes dishes like ‘Mixed Salad with Lotus Root’, ‘Chicken and Prawn Shui Mai’, ‘Chinese Chive Dumpling’, ‘Chicken Char Sui Bun’, ‘Vegetable Crystal Dumpling’, ‘Shiitake Mushroom Dumpling’, ‘Crispy Duck Roll’. ‘Raspberry Delice’, ‘Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse’ and many more to give you more than your Sunday’s fill.

Sheraton Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway offers free WiFi in hotel cars Sheraton Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway launched a wireless service with high-speed internet access on the road, becoming the first hotel in the city to offer this service. All guests using the transportation services of the hotel can enjoy access to internet services free of charge.

Singaporean bar chain Harry’s is now in Delhi Harry’s a chain of trendy bars across Singapore has opened its first outlet in Delhi at Select Citywalk. In addition to an extensive beverage menu, the food specialties of Harry’s include its signature ‘Harry’s Jazz Burger’, which is fully loaded with a juicy mutton patty, sautéed onions, mushrooms, bacon and cheese served with fries and pickled vegetables. Then there is ‘Harry’s Club’, a triple layered sandwich with bacon, egg, chicken, cheese, ham; and many more such classics. CaLDRON February 2014

Notty now available in 1-liter tetrapacks Greenways Foods and Beverages presents a 1-liter tetra pack of Notty, a readyto-drink fruit drink. Already available in 200 ml packs, the 1-liter pack is much easier to handle and smooth to pour while entertaining large groups of children. Dr Sachin Chopda CMD, Greenways Foods and Beverages, said, “The 1-liter product will satisfy our consumer’s need for a larger quantity, shelfstable beverage, which offers the convenience of an easyto-serve drink.” Notty is currently available in two flavors – pink guava and mango. Greenway Foods and Beverages claims that the fruit drink contains vegetarian DHA and vitamins A, C, E, and does not contain any kind of synthetic ingredients or stimulants in its formulation.


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CaLDRON February 2014

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