Tuesday, December 8, 2015


For those who do not know, eras ago, countless trading Arabs holidaying at Kerala stayed back, marrying native women. The food this community cooks is what is known these days as Moplah cuisine. Moplah is derived from the Tamil word ‘maappillai’ or new groom.
The food festival at Fire at The Park Hotel Celebrates these flavours of Calicut with Chef Begum Abida Rasheed, and I would definitely recommend taking out time to enjoy this spread of Moplah delicacies flavoured with Kerala spices, braised by Calicut’s cooking guru herself (she also has a rocking textile business by the way) and I say this after sampling a taster’s portion of many mouth-watering dishes.
We enjoyed the lively company of our host, the Begum and Executive Chef Abhishek Basu who churned out a feast of homely Malabari food, sprinkled with sprightly conversation and anecdotes. “We never use anything non-natural to augment the flavour of our dishes, but allow the regular flavours of the elements to come out”, says superstar Moplah chef Begum Abida Rasheed, who had once held a live breakfast show encompassing seventy two Malabari items. Fondly known as the envoy of Moplah cuisine, she always voyages with her cooking containers such as the uruli (brass cooking pot) and cheena chetty (frying pan) when she curates food festivals.
While Abida fills us in on the intricacies of Moplah cuisine, our food arrives. We sampled her mutton biryani, Mutton Ishtu, chakara choru, delicious snacks and the softest puttu with kadala curry. The Malabari biryani, especially in Thalassery, is subtler and not heavily flavoured like its North Indian counterpart. 
Our lively table- Chef Bakshish Dean, Sourish Bhattacharya, Nafisa, Chef Abhishek Basu, Myself & the Begum
‘In our biryanis, we only use small-grained Bengal rice, usually from a windswept valley and infused with an aroma’, shares Nafisa Rasheed (Abida’s youngest daughter (22)), a communication graduate, is set to make her mark in this domain. The mutton chops in the mutton biryani are cooked in ghee and marinated just the accurate amount. With an almost milky consistency, the lamb curry is a great accessory to the tenderised chunks of lamb. The menu also includes what Abida trusts to be the only known non-vegetarian dessert. “Aleesa is a porridge mixed with wheat, coconut milk, fried onion, ghee, meat, served with sugar”, she explains, while the desserts make their way to our table. There’s a lot we haven’t tasted.  But then again, after this food trail, we were so full, that we actually skipped dinner. 


This festival showcases handpicked dishes of Chef Begum Abida Rasheed. So head to FIRE, The Park New Delhi for a rich and royal Malabar Feast -4TH  – 13th December, Dinners only.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Executive Pastry Chef Le Meridien Gurgaon, Anil Kumar has one of the most impressive resume spanning over 15 years across national and international properties. An acclaimed award winning pastry artist, Chef Anil’s style is a combination of versatility and innovation. He loves working with chocolates and everything around it.While, he dishes out the perfect classic desserts, you can always hope to expect an element of surprise in his creations. Chef’s special recommendations include Le Meridien’s signature Éclairs, The Tiramisu, Baked Anzac Apple Crumble and Irish Baileys. Come, be a part of his sweet obsession.
Let me share a Christmas recipe that he has specially created for KitchenAid

6 Egg yolks; 80 Gms sugar; 15 Gr. Ginger chips; 2 leaves of Gelatine sheet; 300 Gr. Whipped cream; 80 Gms Ginger biscuits ;30 ML fresh Orange juice
110 gm icing sugar; 60 ml Orange juice; 30 Gms flour; 60 Gm Almond Powder
60 Gm butter; 7 Gm Ginger powders
Gradually, mix all the ingredients together. Pour the mass on the prepared baking tray by using a mould. Bake the tuile in the pre-heated oven at 190* c until golden in colour.
Soak the ginger biscuits in orange juice.
Whip the cream slowly until it gets thicker in the KitchenAid hand mixer
Beat the egg yolk with sugar till ribbon-like consistency in KitchenAid stand mixer
Add the soaked ginger biscuits mixture into the egg mixture. Fold the melted gelatine & chopped ginger chips.
Finally fold the whipped cream, pipe the mixture into silicon dome shaped mould & freeze it overnight.
Glaze it with dark chocolate glaze & decorate with fresh raspberry, ginger tuile & gold leaves.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


One of the great joys of Kingdom of Dreams lays in watching arts organizations rediscovering old classics and polishing off under-appreciated gems. This time round has presented the opportunity to revisit one of the most powerful musicals ever created, and to experience an old Mythology classic in a newly revised form.
 A few people are over Nrityashree Pt. Sandeep Mahavir, who has produced and directed the show along with Monty Shah of AMS Events.(Sandeep belongs to a traditional family of musicians and vocalists from the Jaipur Gharana); and what they consider to be his ‘gimmick’ of having the actors dance to kathak and hip hop. To me, it’s just another way of staging a show, no more or less valid than having actors sing, dance, and act in the same show. The question is, does it work for the piece at hand? 

With ‘ Abhimanyu …the fastest feet’, which is currently playing at the Nautanki Mahal the actor/musician conceit makes the metaphorical title of the show resonant in a way that it never has before; some called it preachy and dull, others called it daring and innovative. Sandeep has cut the show down to a lean 3 hours with a 20 minute break, finding the heart of the piece and removing the pretence. Sandeep also demonstrates a sensitive touch in crafting moments and shaping characterizations, which reduces the stilted nature of the original as well as its stuffy self-importance.
The Hello Rama score feels fresh and intimate with the new pared-down orchestrations ( won't share much about this as it's a great surprise). Another highlight is the 'Tandav' ! The cast here is more than up to the task, particularly an extremely appealing and sympathetic Abhimanyu. By the end of the show, I was both in tears and grinning like a fool. Sandeep has taken a truly difficult piece and made it achingly beautiful.  

This heart-warming tale of the turbulent journey of an Indian classical dancer who loses himself, his heartbreaks, shattered hopes and final redemption, Abhimanyu, The Fastest Feet will showcase on stage in the opulent Nautanki Mahal at Kingdom of Dreams every day in the months to come. Tickets to the show are available on www.kingdomofdreams.in and bookmyshow. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


From weekly farmers markets offering fresh breads, organic cheeses and recently plucked vegetables to stalls vending fragrant street foods these food markets are trending and how…take a vigorous desire for food and a sense of adventure, and this may be the high-point of your Vacation!!!
The farm-to-table drive is a rage across the world, fetching fresh, local produce, meat and other food items to restaurants led by celebrated chefs and shops with local culinary specialties. Food markets across the globe now offer the most pulsating colours, aromas and visions that will drag you from stand to stand across. These Markets are expected lures for hungry tourists; a rich, entertaining experience of sparkly local cuisine, arts and lifestyle. There is adequate room for interface with locals, the casual to try out dubious language skills and the appeal of a fresh, inexpensive lunch too. Wherever they are, markets can offer a frenzied walking tour of local cuisine and culture, and a delightful way to mark the varying seasons.
For those who do not know ‘Lyon’ is not only the food capital of France but the world as well and its legendary enclosed ‘Les Halles’ a food shrine brought in by perhaps one of the most prominent chefs Paul Bocuse (the father of Nouvelle cuisine);has approximately five dozen booths peddling myriad of epicurean delights. At les Halles there is even a section to learn cooking or you can simply enjoy a sit-down lunch of local produce with some delicious French wine. 
Owing to Noma and The New Nordic cuisine, Copenhagen is definitely on tops for its food trends and ‘Torvehallerne’ is a Gourmet’s delight , rather than Never-ending clamours of stalls flogging the same stuff, they have gone for variety than volume. The multitudes can transport amid the two glass and steel market halls on opposite sides of the square to grab cheese, candies organic sausage, artisanal honey, herring, tapas bars, rye bread, and other bounty, both local and international. And not to forget fortes of diverse areas of Denmark, like the tiny island of Bornholm’s delicacies are very attractively represented. 
At ‘ la Bouqueria’ in Barcelona, a swarm of selling posts, occupied of beaming stalls run by resident merchants you will treasure fresh produce from proximate, there are energetic seafood restaurants and flourishing street food stands, inspirational fresh juices and alluring tapas bars all around
At the outskirts of Paris, Rungis has typical clients and only the freshest, superlative quality foodstuffs are sold here. This makes it a very remarkable place to visit for a travelling Chef or a foodie. That said, entering Rungis is not so easy, and even if you do you requisite a card (And Rungis works between midnight until the wee hours of the morning); but not unmanageable, you could opt for a tour from any company devoted to Gastronomic Tourism that deals tailored tours by Market experts including a Rungis-style breakfast. The tour begins after slipping on the plastic butcher coats and the chic caps. After a dekho of the Fish Pavilion you move onto the Tripe where you would be bizarrely spellbound by the plentiful innards and animal body parts on display.  From Poultry to Meat, tiny animals to enormous ones, the Meat Pavilion has various carcasses. Immediately after the Meat is the Cheese and Dairy. There are fruit, then the vegetables then the flowers pavilions. Before you finally stop for breakfast which is as fresh as fresh can be. Of course, all around Rungis, you will not only observe the market in action, you will also see proof of the sheer size of the place. Fancy this; the roads in the market have street signs. 


published in HT city

Thursday, November 5, 2015


Hines India celebrates Diwali with Food Trucks at One Horizon
In the movie “Chef,” the head cook at a Los Angeles restaurant quits his job and starts off a food truck – which aids him revive his hunger for cooking. It’s that urge that makes us such big fans of food trucks, and an answer to why the food truck festival at One Horizon Center in Gurgaon (a joint venture between Hines and DLF) at its premises has become a hot spot for its tenants these two days on the festive occasion of Diwali during office hours! It isn't a wonder why Hines has been rated as one of the Top 3 commercial buildings in the country!
Some of the food trucks featured at the Truck fest include Drifter’s Café which has on offer oriental favorites and box meals, Frugurpop with fruity and cream flavored popsicles (The Triple Berry, Frutilicious and Oreo and Cookies Cream Bar are selling like hot cakes), Something Saucy and What the Truck which is serving up sliders and fast food
‘Frugurpop only aims to get greater and enhanced and being encircled with the largest multinationals at One Horizon Center developed by Hines certainly gives the brand an exciting push! The coolness of the Popsicles echoes in the employees, who consume this revitalizing delight during their hectic day at work! The association surely lives up to our motto ‘Let Joy Take Over and reaches the highest floor of the tower,’ says Pallavi Kuchroo, Founder, Frugurpop
‘Ever since we started our business we have been considering prospects to step into corporate parks and residential communities as we have intended our product for people on the go, nonetheless only Hines India gave us an chance as they saw food trucks being able to fill an instant prerequisite of food and beverage offerings to their occupants who look for hygienic, delicious and budget options,’ shares Ankur Gupta, Founder, Drifters Café candidly.
A food truck festival in my office or residential area...I would love that..wouldn't you?


At Cilantro tables are large and well-spaced, covered with crisp linen tablecloths and voluminous napkins. Executive Chef Sandeep Klara is in attendance, as he always is and is ably assisting Chef Fabrizzio Renda and Chef Silvano Pintonello who have specially been flown in from the famed Badrutt’s Palace Hotel in St. Moritz. Going by the food history of Switzerland, the cuisine is vastly influenced by various regions like Spain, France, and Italy to speak of few.
I go for the tasting menu; I found a traditional dish from the Graubünden region on the menu ‘capuns’ (Yay!) , essentially a dumpling wrapped in Swiss chard the dish looks a bit small at first mind you, but it is actually really dense and quite heavy, smothered in a creamy cheese sauce. 
The Swiss Polenta
Next was the Swiss Polenta, what makes it unique is addition of Buckwheat to the corn starch, topped with the cheese fondue and a hint of truffle….simply divine!
My favourite dish of the meal was one of Engadina style sliced pork, resting in a meadow mushroom jus thickened with wine, accompanied with Taglierini. The pork was superb and the mushrooms lovely, but the star was the sauce. This had stunningly deep mushroom flavour, creamy and perfectly seasoned.
I would have been entirely happy if they stopped the meal at this point and left me with a saucepan of this and some plain bread. It was one of the finest sauces that I can recall eating, but of course the best dish was on its way!
Cheese figures prominently in many Swiss dishes, so for the cheese lovers, the fondue is enough to make you weep with joy. Here the fondue is ever so authentic, Gruyere, Emmental and parmesan cheese are melted with Kirsch a bit of dry white wine and some garlic flavour in an enamel pot in which you dip chunks of bread, chorizo, olives or whatever you fancy from the gamut of options offered.
Indeed the fondue conjures images of alpine ambience and resonant yodeling and is practically an Institution in Switzerland. At this point the Apple strudel is brought to the table accompanied by a perfect quenelle shaped chocolate mousse topped with fresh red currants. 
Ingredient quality here is impeccable, culinary technique faultless; service was, just as at my last visit, terrific. Basics like topping up of water, wine and bread happens effortlessly, but despite the traditional style of food for the Swiss food promotion the service was not overly formal, the stewards being friendly and enthusiastic. 
Cilantro, Trident Gurgaon. 443, Udyog Vihar, Phase V, Gurgaon 122 016.
Tel: 0124 412 4307
Timings: Lunch - 12:30pm - 3:00 pm. Dinner - 7:30 pm to 11:30 pm.
Swiss Cuisine Promotion is on till the 6th November 2015…but the chef has promised to keep some of the dishes like the ‘Barley soup prepared Grison style’ on the winter menu

Thursday, October 15, 2015


Being a free spirit, I enjoy going to restaurants that are enthusiastic to go out of the ‘box’ and not troubled to go off the beaten track. Zorawar Kalra who started Farzi Cafe has been famed as a dynamic restaurateur for a good reason. His Indian cuisine is an extreme art form and modern interpretation of traditional Indian food with engineering precision. Though Farzi Café has many vegetarian options but this time round they have come up with a spectacular ‘Navratri special’ chef’s menu! All I want to say is it was a unique and sensational experience that not many restaurants are able to create. Food should be art, whether it’s vegetarian or not.

You could probably put the Buckwheat Tacos Twist in front of anyone, and 9 out of 10 of them would have no idea that it was a ‘Navratri special’. It tastes so good with the pumpkin filling and an exciting crunch from the water chestnuts and it does the one thing that so many dishes fail at–get the texture right. Even the presentation was impressive – very fresh and tasty.
The Sabudana Risotto topped with water chestnut crisps was great. I was a little worried with this strange nomenclature, but I shouldn’t have been–this is the best Risotto I have ever had made with sago. Despite my mother’s accolades, I would have no idea how to make sago taste so good, but theirs was incredible – creamy, flavourful and satisfying.
Would I recommend? The food was delicious, I have learned to love when vegetarian food is done well, and outside of your home kitchen, this has been the best ‘Navratri special meal’, I have had in Delhi. Also, mission matters to me and I have a lot of respect for the this place, for their dedication to serving wholesome and delicious food with a twist at affordable prices especially considering that they’re located in a neighbourhood with an abundance of food chains. If you go (and I hope you do), just keep in mind that this is a Limited menu and is only available during the Navratras.
This warm lauki ka halwa is to die for..replete with panjiri like Nitrogen chilled Singhara and dry fruit crumble

P.S. I do hope the chef retains the ‘Sabudana Risotto’ and the ‘Lauki Ka Halwa’ on its regular menu too!
If this generation ( That's my mom) is happy with the menu....it's obviously damn good

Sunday, October 11, 2015


To most of us, ‘social gaming’ equals online multiplayer sessions in Destiny, or chasing the leader boards on candy-coloured mobile games. At SMAASH, it’s more like a ‘Virtual reality theme park’ come live which might beckon images of roller coasters, digital carousels etc but here it is this and much more, a fusion of the best interactive games ever and obviously it is very unlike stay-at-home experiences, visitors enter the physical location of one of their Virtual Entertainment Centres and don top-of-the-line headsets, programmed to match up any number of digital worlds to the structures this 47,000 sq. feet center is occupying.
I would highly recommend the world’s first 360 degree cricket simulator where one can experience first-hand facing cricket legends like Dale Steyn, Wasim Akram and of course the master blaster Sachin Tendulkar ( who was also in attendance at the launch of this  sports-centric immersive and interactive entertainment and gaming center  at DLF Cyber Hub, Gurgaon ). We also liked the ability to use real equipment (i.e. bat and ball) while playing in an immersive simulated environment. In addition, this simulator is so robust and full featured that I feel it could even be used as a training solution for serious cricket players.
Then there are games like walk the Plank, Finger Coaster, Fly Max, Face Ronaldo and Vulcan Force wherein the technology creates the illusion that the player is exploring miles of terrain or incredibly tall structures or probably some other mind illusion without ever leaving the game pod. The end result is a physical connection to the virtual world and a sense of exploration never before possible.

If you are a Football fan you must absolutely challenge the Super-Sonic Goalkeeper while playing Football Super Keeper and other interesting football games.
The thrill of the G-force by trying the X2 Racing is another good bet or alternatively you could just enjoy pleasant banter at the arcade games or at Ten Pin Bowling. After or in between all the sporting excitement, one can chill out at ‘Unforked Café & Bar’, the multi-cuisine restaurant and bar over some exciting cocktails, food (The Pizzas here are delicious) and yes…there’s also a huge screen here where you can indulge in watching more sports.
So when I went there with my family we decided we are going to try everything and anything we can think of to make it fun and memorable and sure enough we did. Truly I can’t think of a greater mistake than trying to integrate smartphones with sports just because you can. The last thing I want is someone thinking that it’s a good idea to disconnect from the unique elements of a game to look at replays or update their fantasy standings or concentrate on trying to predict what will happen next in the game. It’s so much more fun when as a family you collectively hold your breath during a replay, or respond to a great game. That’s not to say that smartphones don’t have a place in other sports, but games on a hand held just doesn’t work for me.
WHERE? Smaaash, Dlf Cyber Hub, Cyber City, Phase 2, NH 8, Gurgaon 

The first interactive multi-sports simulator was originally pioneered for coin-operated applications. With those systems, the commercial side of virtual entertainment was revolutionized. With some of the highest operator revenues to date, virtual sports have proven to be a winner for all kinds of establishments.

Friday, October 9, 2015


A show which is an exceptional amalgamation of magical and mentalism’ 

Behold, ‘Magic by Tejas’ just launched by Kingdom of Dreams and Crossbow Entertainment launched is a spectacular show now playing at ShowShaa Theatre for the next three months.  A matchless mishmash of some of the best mentalist acts and exhilarating magic trickeries Behold enthralls and leaves the adults and the children alike captivated by the performances and utter creativity of the Magic artist Tejas.

The show not only brings alive an stimulating merger of mind baffling sequences and showbiz for the audience experience but also live in a world altered with fantasy. The 75 minutes long show builds up inquisitiveness in the minds of the spectators keeping them on the ends of their seats waiting with bated breath to know what the next minute will bring. Full of wonders and wow instants the show charms with its foot rhythm music and pizzazz and allure of the dancers escorting Tejas on stage, tickling and engaging the attention of the viewers, keeping them glued to their seats. Two times national award winner Tejas builds up the interest levels of the onlookers to a passion pitch and keeps them predicting till the last minute and brings each piece to a close with an overwhelming and grand flourish. With a substantial brew of dance, music and magic the charismatic exhibitions of spectacular acts and a chance at adventure, Behold takes the watchers on a fun roller coaster ride which makes bewitching memories. The show is on every Thursday at 3pm and every weekend at 3pm and 6pm for the next three months. As they say ‘Yeh Nahin Dekh Toh Kuchch Nahin Dekha’.  

Sunday, October 4, 2015


pic courtesy media center- Visit Sweden
Cinnamon buns basically a long string of pastry dough enfolded into a ball and wedged together with sticky-sweet cinnamon buttery syrup; are an almost every day feature of Swedish life, If you are invited to someone’s home for coffee, you always get a cinnamon bun with it and these buns are even a classic at coffee parties, but they still have a distinct day on 4th October. A relatively new tradition established in 1999 when the staff at Sweden’s Hembakningsrådet (the Home Baking Council) now run by Danish sugar company ‘Dansukker’ were considering a way to rejoice their 40th anniversary.
The inkling behind the conception of the day was to revel in Sweden’s home baking customs by emphasizing this much-loved pastry across the country. The autumn harvest is great season for baking in Swedish homes, so it was a perfect time of the year for a merry day with a baking theme. Very much in keeping with Swedish culture, it was well-thought-out that the tradition should be something that everybody can partake in – an objective which has easily been reached: go into any bakery in Sweden today and you will treasure Cinnamon buns in abundance; hence each year on October 4th cafes, restaurants and convenience stores across Sweden sell these spiced Swedish buns.

Apparently, the average Swede eats cakes and pastry equivalent to 316 cinnamon buns per year – and that’s not counting the home-baked ones.

Celebrate - kanelbullens dag – with the swedes …try making some Cinnamon buns with your KitchenAid stand mixer
Wheat dough:
25g (0, 9 oz) yeast ; 75g (2¾ oz) butter; 2,5dl (1¼ cups) milk ; ½dl (¼ cup) granulated sugar; 1 pinch salt; 1 teaspoon ground cardamom; 7dl (3½ cups) wheat flour
100g (3½ oz) butter; 1dl (½ cup) sugar; 2 teaspoons cinnamon
Time 10 minutes
1 egg; 2 tablespoons water; pearl sugar
Oven 250°C/480°F
Disintegrate the yeast in a container and stir in a few tablespoons of milk.
Liquefy the butter and decant the milk on it.
Add the remaining ingredients and knead the dough in a KitchenAid stand mixer for 10–15 minutes.
Let the dough escalate while enclosed at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Roll out the dough; about 3 mm (1/8 in) thick and 30 cm (12 in) wide. Spread the room-temperature butter on top.
Make a combination of sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle it over the dough.
Roll the dough the long way and cut the roll into about 25 slices.
Place them with the cut edge upward in paper moulds.
Place on a baking sheet and let rise under a towel for until the buns have doubled in size (approx. 60 minutes).
Beat together the egg and water, brush the mixture carefully on the buns and sprinkle pearl sugar on top.
Bake in the oven for 6-8 minutes.
Allow to cool on a rack

Recipe inspired from sweden.se/culture-traditions/cinnamom-buns

Friday, October 2, 2015

Return of the Nobles ‘Noble House’ @ WOKS, the Lalit New Delhi

Do you remember the ‘Noble House’ which was quite an icon by itself for one of the best Chinese food in its heydays?  In fact had even won many accolades and was installed by the then Ambassador of Singapore in 1989, saw who’s who and expats from all around the globe. So when I got an invitation to get nostalgic at The Lalit as it brings back the legend back at its restaurant ‘ Woks’ by offering the dishes from the Menu of Noble House….obviously I couldn’t resist as I remember going there many a times with my parents. 
To begin with as part of the ‘return of the Noble House experience’ the Chinese influence is reflected with the five Nobles Fu (for prosperity), Lu (for wealth), Shou (for Health), Sui Sing (for Long Life) and Mei Lei (Lord Buddha for Eternal Bliss) that are placed in Woks to add to the ambience, which anyways gives a remarkable view of the city from the 28th Floor.
Chinese Teas here are a must try and my vote goes all out for ‘Long Jing’, which is supposed to be the best tea of Mainland China, famous for its sweet taste and Florid nose. Coming to the food, the chef concentrates on a menu (the star dishes from Noble House) that retains the Chinese authenticity and caters to the Indian palette; the ambience reproduces the authenticity of the ‘Noble House’ experience reflected in the cuisine at the restaurant.
To start with the ‘onion cake’ is highly recommended – decadent to the core. The Dim Sums here are a must try, they are a good representation of the quality that the kitchen upkeeps. Most dim sum dishes indeed revolve around the usual ingredients - pork and seafood, especially prawns, however it is the creative use of these ingredients by the chef and his team that lends the element of surprise, breaks the taste and beckons you to try more. The menu also includes the old time favourites like ‘chilli chicken’ and ‘Manchurian’ (my mother loved her Manchurian with Hakka noodles). 
The menu has it all, from the Signature Noble House Steam Boat Soup to sumptuous Dragon Boat Dim Sum Platter, Cauliflower in Garlic Butter Sauce and desserts like Date Pancakes with Ice Cream and Creme Caramel. So if you want to bring back memories….a visit is a must for ‘old times sake’!

The Noble House menu is on from 24th Sep’ 15 to 24th Oct’ 15
Timings: Lunch- 12noon to 3:30pm / Dinner- 7pm to 11:30pm
Where? WOKS, 28th Floor, The Lalit New Delhi