summer foods

Some folks are picky eaters. And, summers are the worst times for them. There are less vegetables, as the common refrain goes. But is that wholly true? We are a tropical country after all. Summers can’t be that good. Though, these days, we get most vegetables round the year, most are seasonal. Only idiots eat cauliflowers in summer. Anyway, summers are a bounty if you are not a difficult person. Let’s count – jackfruit, gourds (ash, bitter, snake, bottle, pointed), squash, pumpkin, cucumber, papaya, okra…Continue Reading “Summer food”

pakhala

Odias were a prosperous people. You know, Kalinga, Utkala, shipping prowess, java, sumatra and all that. They also invented head transplant before Ganesha’s doctors did and aeroplanes before Ravana did. Then, some jealous race planted this dude insidious character among Odias. The character created something called Pakhala. Within a generation, Odias stopped all shipping bullshit. Within five, they stopped going out of Odisha. By twentieth century, Odias were used to sleeping 12 hours a day, rarely stepping out of the house and generally being lazy…Continue Reading “The story of pakhala and Odia decline”

misti doi

Misti doi. Say that in your head, now move slowly move to the tip of your tongue. Say it silently on your lips. Now, say it loudly. Mubarak ho, aap baangaaali ban giya ho. This is the conversion ritual that bongs use to convert others. The moment you say misti the way they say it, that sensuous halt on the S, like a skid mark on the road, sssss, coming to a sudden stop, you are half a bong. Doi. There is no h. They…Continue Reading “Misti doi and Bengali conversion ritual”

kulath dal

We called it Kolatha in Odia. As I came to know only recently, it is also known in North India, Kulath, it is called. I was surprised, I thought this dal was eaten only in Odisha, rather only in my village, in our sai, there is no equivalent term in English, may be clan. Anyway, the point being it is a very unglamorous dal. Moong was used in puja and on special days, arhar was, even then, a prized dal. Chana was the hardworking common…Continue Reading “Kulath Dal”

jasmine pulao forktales

We do these pop ups under the name Forktales. The latest one was on 5000 years of Indian food history and tracking each influence via a food item. This post is based on the latest event.  The mughals had flower pulaos. Nothing can do more damage to their image than this one sentence with 29 characters with spaces. I eat flowers too. Pumpkin flowers, deep fried in rice batter. Love it. You can’t see the flower and what you eat is so delicious that you…Continue Reading “Eating flowers”

defence bakery

I was never much of a bakery guy. Bhubaneswar had only one reasonable one – the cake shop. So, like 67% of life was spent without any exposure to baked breads. Bread meant sliced bread, white, paunroti in Odia. Never knew the paun much like the pav can mean feet and the name came from the fact the dough was kneaded by feet. I don’t know the authenticity of this scandal, the foodies debate on. Anyway, coming to bakeries, most of my years in delhi…Continue Reading “Defence Bakery, Defence Colony”

salad

Salad. No other food is as classist as salad. When I was young it was saalaad, when I moved to Delhi, it became salaaad and now it is a very crisp accent saaladd. Salad for a long time meant onion, tomato and cucumber in summers and carrots were added in winters. You could arrange that in rows or grate or pile as you wished but that was it. That was all there was to salad. I felt like a chef the day I added pepper…Continue Reading “Salad. Saalaad. Salaaad. Saaladd.”

lingaraj lassi bhubaneswar

My first Punjabi lassi was in Delhi in 2001. It was that shop under the tree in Ber Sarai. We had just landed in Delhi a couple of days before, I was to join Dschool and a friend had to join IIMC. We were looking for a place for him. Anyway, the lassi. It came for 15 bucks, a tall steel glass, all white with froth at top. He kept it on the counter. I waited. I had paid 15 in advance, he was not…Continue Reading “Lingaraj Lassi, Bhubaneswar”

jom jom malay

Okay, I don’t think I have been so wowed by a place lately, the last I can remember was Guppy. There were three of us, three hardcore, best of the world, eaten pluto out of planethood foodies. And, all three agreed on the same. Jom Jom Malay in Ansal Plaza is how those serious about food should go about their job. In the city of Priyank Sukhijas, there is someone who is sincere. The place is small, there is no fuss, staff is courteous and…Continue Reading “Jom Jom Malay – Malaysian food in Delhi”

bel

There is only finite love in one’s life. How do I know? Whatever I hated as a child, I love now. I love banana flowers and stem, I love arbi, parval, radish, neem ka saag. And, I love bel. I used to hate the smell of it, I would go wander around in the village streets if I saw that grandpa is making the kids drink bel. The only time I remember drinking it is when it was mixed with all fruits and bhaang. That…Continue Reading “Bel and finite love”

hotel maurya pinetop

On top of Nandi Hills, there is this government run restaurant. It has mixed reviews at best. It is really cheap and has brilliant views and most said it’s only the view that is good. But either my taste buds are bad or those guys are snooty. Let’s settle for them being snooty. The place is right at the top of the hill, in front of Nehru Nilaya. The food was cheap. It seems breakfast is served only on weekends and govt holidays, the menu…Continue Reading “Food at Hotel Maurya Pinetop, Nandi Hills”

benne dosa mtr 1924

I had a list of some 15 must eats in Bangalore. A curated list as the cultured would say. A list that I had begged, bullied and whatsapped at odd hours to compile. But then, it was good to wander off the list at times, in fact, we did that a lot. This place, MTR 1924, on St Mark’s Street, had mixed reviews. Not a place to sit and chat. We chatted with a friend for close to three hours. Decent food, not as good…Continue Reading “MTR 1924, St. Marks Road, Bangalore”

rasgula chaat vv puram

V V Puram. Most of the blogs and magazines had this listed as a must visit place. It’s a must visit for sure, not sure if it can be listed as must-eat. Anyway, the locals calls it the Khau Gali, everyone online calls it food street. That makes it quite hard to find. Also autowallahs everywhere are the same, I learnt it the hard way that it’s so much better stick to Ola. And, Ola in Bangalore is awesome, the drivers are super polite, don’t…Continue Reading “VV Puram khau gali, Bangalore”

I said this when I came back from Pondicherry and Chennai. I am saying the same after Bangalore. The Delhi food scene needs to crash and burn before anything comes out it. In Pondicherry, the lanes around promenade have restaurants that are known for something – creole food, French food in an old villa, drinks with a view of the sea etc etc. In Bangalore, I ate 4 meals a day for 4 days in order to just cover as many places as I can….Continue Reading “What’s killing Delhi food scene?”

moradabadi biryani nizamuddin

Moradabadi biryani. As someone on twitter said when I posted one of these photos – there are more people selling moradabadi biryani in Delhi than there are people in Moradabad. Now, that is a little exaggerated, but just a little. Suddenly, there are so many of them in Delhi that it seems less like a trend and more like a conspiracy. Anyway, the distinct markers of a Moradabadi biryani are shah jeera, yellow chilli and lemon. I always had some confusion about saunf but that…Continue Reading “Moradabadi Biryani, Nizamuddin”

When I peel garlic, I wonder what the hell was the plant thinking all through the evolution? That it will fly and build a colony on Jupiter? For god’s sake, the pods are shrink wrapped, tied at both ends and then they hug each other like it’s a tribal dance inside a clean film and then there is extra packaging on top so that they can last ten cataclysmic events. It is the Hilsa of condiments. I can still understand some human misbehaved with a…Continue Reading “Peeling garlic, thinking Hilsa, evolution and tribal dances”

Industry experts and watchers wield a massive amount of influence when it comes to determining outsider’s view of the sector. That’s why, while we need those who support and promote nascent sectors, we also need dispassionate journalists who can evaluate facts, write with a global perspective; and state things as they are so everyone is wiser. Against this background, you will notice a massive void in Indian wine writing. Though I have never been much interested reading about wines and must confess that have not…Continue Reading “About wines”

dwarka market spice

Okay, I think I am getting into the food walk space. Only one walk – Dwarka haat one. Yesterday, I wrote about the cupcakes and then we got these spices. Then, you get everything else from the east and south that you get nowhere else, not even in CR Park. Banana stem, banana blossom, gondhoraj lemon, moringa flowers, some ten types of grasses that I had never seen before (calling them grass, will be saag once we eat them), unknown tubers, pumpkin flowers and leaves,…Continue Reading “Weekly haat in Dwarka Sector 23”

banana flowers

Coconut is called the tree of life because every part of it is used. What should we call Banana tree, whose every part is eaten? Apart from the stem and the flower and fruit, the leaf is used in cooking. A friend from Nagaland once told me that they let the banana trees rot and eat the fatty worms that grow inside. I can’t think of a part that’s my favorite, I love them all, depending on the recipe. One part that i have not…Continue Reading “Eating the banana tree”

murugan idli shop chennai

People wake up differently. Some struggle to down a toast and tea, some are hungry enough to eat the world. I wanted to eat the universe. Staying in T.Nagar, Chennai, in a small hotel opposite Grand by GRT, there were a lot of options to choose from. So, we got down, chose the green coconut over the yellow one and marched ahead towards Murugan Idli shop that a friend had recommended. I remain puzzled about the yellow one till date, some say it is from…Continue Reading “Murugan Idli Shop, T. Nagar, Chennai”