Sunday, May 18, 2014


Checking out the Peace Pagoda to get the much publicised view over Phewa Lake with the Annapurna range in the background, paragliding over Sarangkot, going down the caves and the waterfall are the must do’s when in Pokhara the second largest city in Nepal says RUPALI DEAN

A Quick flight got us to Pokhara in barely half an hour and in ten minutes we were at our Hotel, which was a great start as one has to be transported to the Fish Tail lodge on its shuttle floats or boats.
The resort itself offered a blend of untouched natural beauty charm and contemporary ambience and made for the perfect base-luxurious, comfortable, with an idyllic location overlooking the Fewa Lake.  The reason I booked this place was also that all profits generated by this resort are donated to the Jayanti Memorial Trust to further its goals. The Trust is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to promote prevention of Cardiac ailments and provide accessible cardiac care to the less fortunate citizens of Nepal. 
After settling in we hired a boat out and paddled around on the lake for an hour, enjoying the peace and tranquillity of the stunning lake, the mountain views and the heat of the sun on our backs. We could see lots of par gliders hovering over the mountain and the Annapurna mountain range poking through the clouds, needless to add we booked one for the next morning straight away.

A bumpy, dusty road up to Sarangkot takes one to the drop off point before one is ready to go. The basic instructions are absolutely simple but can get you a bit nervous, ‘When I tell you to run, run as fast as you can down the slope’, and ‘Sit as soon as we take off’ and one is set.  To be honest there is nothing to get scared about; one is strapped in to a giant baby seat and to the pilot. My daughter Akanksha and I had Polish Pilots.  

When he said run, I got about 5 steps before the tension in the parachute prevented any further forward momentum and straining against the drag, we were immediately in the air and nowhere near where the slope became cliff. Quickly soaring 800 metres over Pokhara and rising.  The alto meter on my shoulder read that we were rising 4 metres per second and soon above the clouds at getting a bird’s eye view of Pokhara. My pilot was in complete control and I absolutely enjoyed circling around looking down the valley before I was steadily dropped down through the clouds.
There is lots you can do out here and it gets better with stunning views of snow-capped mountain peaks and timeless beauty. A good idea is to book a sightseeing tour of all the major sights, such as the Old Bazaar, Devi’s fall, Barahi Temple, and the Regional Mountain Museum. With superb views of the Himalayas, sail on Phewa Lake, and go to Seti Gandaki Gorge.
I loved exploring the deep-seated mysteries of the intriguing caves of Mahendra Gupha, a small hike to Davis waterfalls and my visit the Tibetan refugee camp.

Just a short walk from the Fish tail lodge was a large shopping alley with countless shops selling the famous local Pashmina, Yak, Jacquard and Cashmere shawls. It is more of a backpacker area wall to wall with cafes, restaurants, pubs, travel agents, foreign money exchange booths and budget hotels with tons of camping and mountaineering gear shops including pirated North Face products. A good idea is to end your day with a local meal at one of the restaurants offering Thakali cuisine post which you can hang out at one of the chill out places for a drink. Most of our evenings were spent at Boomerang and Club Amsterdam post dinner.

BEST WAY TO REACH: Pokhara is a neat 25 minutes by yeti Airlines from Kathmandu and only 4 and a half hour drive away from the capital of Nepal.
BEST PLACE TO STAY: Fish Tail Lodge, P.O. Box 10 Lakeside, Pokhara, Nepal 
Tel: +977 61 465071/460248/460258  E-mail: 
ACTIVITIES ON OFFER AROUND: Hiking, Fishing, Pony riding, Bird watching, Boating, Fishing, Paragliding, Ultra-light aircraft and Golfing.

 published in Statesman

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


‘Simply put Neurogastronomy is the play-field in the brain that initiates spatial patterns and stimulates flavour and taste for an individual’ says Chef Rishim Sachdeva, Executive Head Chef at Uzuri, New Delhi. ‘Chocolate soil is one such example he adds’.
Chef Rishim who has also worked at Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck in Bray near London has some amazing dishes on his menu at ‘Uzuri’ in GK. He shares two of his recipes in which he uses the KitchenAid stand mixer.


Egg yolks: 480gms; Butter: 2120gms; Icing sugar: 900gms; Water: 300gms
Flour: 3 kg
Mix butter and sugar in a KitchenAid Stand Mixer (don’t cream), Add eggs and water (not all the water, keep checking slowly), Mix gently, slowly, over mixing causes toughness and elasticity. Fold in the flour, Put in the mould, Ready to be used at 175c for 8 mins
Honey: 75gms; Liquid glucose: 140gms; Sugar: 400gms; Water: 75gms;
Bicarbonate soda: pinch
Heat everything in the pan, apart from the soda. Get to golden stage.
Set aside for 30 sec. Add soda, let it bubble and transfer it to a lined gastro. Rest it for few hours
Cocoa powder: 20gms; Dark Chocolate (70%): 25gms; Butter Unsalted: 30gms; Sugar: 50gms; Flour: 25gms
Mix all the ingredients together by obtaining a muddy texture in a KitchenAid Stand Mixture. Lay it out on a flat tray with Slip pad and bake in the oven for about 7 minutes at 160c. Use a fork and crumble the mixture when warm, store in an air tight container.


Egg yolks: 150gms; sugar: 150 gms; water: 95 ml; Peanut Butter: 150 gms;
Double cream: 400gms; Chopped Roasted Peanuts: 150 Gms
Make syrup up to 127c, Beat the Eggs in a KitchenAid Stand Mixer until a lot of air has been incorporated and it’s nearly 4 times its original volume. Add the Syrup and Peanut Butter in the Egg mixture whisking slowly in a KitchenAid Stand Mixer. Fold in the cream, roll in the cling film and freeze
Full fat milk: 1.5ltrs; Peanut butter: 300 gms; Stabilizers: 10 gms; Egg yolk: 15 nos; Sugar: 150 gms
Mix sugar and egg to creamy consistency in a KitchenAid stand mixer. Heat milk, stabilizers and peanut butter to a simmer, Whisk and pour the hot mixture over sabayon. Pour in a wide bottom pan. Bring up to 70c and hold for 10 mins. Mixture is better if held at 70c .Chill over ice. Put in tray and Freeze.
Put in a Paco Jet to Churn and Keep in freezer

Monday, May 5, 2014


By Chef Shaun Kenworthy (Chef, Restaurateur, F& B Consultant)

“Just the above ingredients strung together, gives you an idea that the idea for this soup has to come from the Middle East. It’s just a great combination of simple ingredients, serve with crusty bread and leave out the yogurt”.

2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
Pinch chilli flakes
600g carrots, washed, peeled and coarsely grated
140g split red lentils
1ltr hot vegetable stock (from a cube is fine)
125ml milk
Plain Yogurt, toasted cumin seeds, chopped mint and coriander to serve
Heat a large saucepan with the olive oil, throw in the cumin seeds and the chilli flakes, fry for a few seconds or until they start to release their aromas. Add the carrot, lentils, stock and milk to the pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 mins until the lentils have swollen and softened.
Whiz the soup in the KitchenAid cordless hand blender until smooth (or leave it chunky if you prefer). Season to taste and finish with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkling of toasted cumin seeds, chopped mint and coriander.

By Chef Sharad Dewan, Area Director Food Production, The Park Hotel

‘I have used molecular gastronomy in this shot, its fun, its different, give it a shot!’

Tomato juice: 90 Ml; Worcestershire: 3 ml; Tabasco: 2 ml; Vodka: 30 ml; Celery salt: 3 gms; Crushed Pepper: 3 gms; French Parsley: 3 gms; Grissini Sticks: 4 nos; Butter: 3 gms; Grated Parmesan: 3 gms
For the Parmesan Foam
Distilled Water: 180 ml; Parmesan Scrap: 200 gms; Lecite: 1 gm
Cut the parmesan scrap into smaller chunks.
Put in a sauce pan and pour over the measured quantity of water.
Keep stirring till the parmesan form an elastic mass.
 Take off the heat and leave to infuse for an hour.
Strain through a fine muslin and refrigerate. This is Parmesan whey
Over crushed ice, make a bloody Mary with vodka, tomato juice, celery salt, Tabasco, Worcestershire, crushed pepper. Best made using the KitchenAid Cordless Hand Blender, to mix properly.
Dunk the grissini sticks in butter and roll in finely chopped parsley and parmesan.
Heat the parmesan whey to 42degrees Celsius and add the lecite and Blend at an angle keeping the KitchenAid cordless hand Blender at a constant speed.
Allow to settle for a minute and slowly lift.
In the meantime, roll the grissini sticks in a mixture of finely grated parmesan cheese and finely chopped French parsley. 
Top the bloody Mary with parmesan foam and arrange the grissini sticks around.
Serve in a 3 glass holder, with the grissini sticks in the center and the 2 glasses with bloody Mary on either side.

Sunday, May 4, 2014


Using the natural taste and flavour of ingredients to advantage, what you get is a reawakening of sensory pleasures 

Few restaurants in Singapore have enjoyed years of steady business with a growing clientele that return loyally. Owing to this, more than 120 outlets (including fine dining restaurants, casual dining, bakeries and more), Crystal Jade covers 22 concepts spread over 21 cities in 10 countries. So when it came to Gurgaon, I had to go and check it out.
Easily accessible, it is spread across two floors with one entire floor dedicated to banquet facilities and comprises of a private dining area. By day it is fresh and washed with subtle sunlight and a spectacular view of the bustling road. At night it is romantic, quaint and dotted with lights and infused with a subtle aroma.  Browsing through the menu I began with a tea and I must say Chinese Teas here are a must try and my vote goes all out for Eight Treasure  which is supposed to be a signature tea of Mainland China, famous for its sweet taste and Florid nose. 

The wide range of Dimsums will surely will win hordes of followers as after trying a basket of ‘Multi flavoured Xiao Long Bao’ and the ‘Pan fried carrot cake with mushroom’, I can swear by its fine quality and exquisite flavours.  I also loved my hot and spicy soup; it worked up an appetite for more sumptuous dishes that followed. A must try here is the Peking Duck, a crisp succulent experience of the highest order served in two courses, first a rolled pancake with duck skin, cucumber and leeks and later the meat is  stir fried with a choice of the sauce you like, I went in for the black bean. The service of the Duck is an attraction of sorts as it involves the steward to carve the duck. Interestingly the history of Peking duck can be traced as far back as the Yuan Dynasty. By the time of the early 15th century it had become one of the favourite dishes of the Imperial Ming family. The piece de resistance for me was also the Braised Pork Belly served with a slightly sweet bun which was a cloud-like bundle of pure pillowy heaven; the fluffiest example I’ve eaten. And vegetarians don’t fret there is a separate menu for you guys; I had the stir-fried greens, crisp and perfect. 

Wonderful desserts like mango and sago and the mango pudding would keep you asking for more. Good wine list and the impeccable service make dining here a total experience; true refinement for the appreciative palate.
Crystal Jade is at G 01, Ground Floor, Central Plaza Mall, Golf Course Road, Gurgaon 
Timings: 11 Am to 11 Pm
Reservations: 0124-4001505, + 91- 9811474888.

published in Statesman