Chennai

A dream come true

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PIONEERING HEALTH GURUS…DOMINIQUE AND HENRI CHENOT and their amazing gourmet vegan fare.

It’s the ultimate dream: to love food, enjoy it, and still remain fit and healthy and forever young. For most of us, that’s what it remains: a dream.

It’s doubly difficult for me, because as a food critic who has eaten her way through 37 books and countless columns, it don’t “eat to live”  “I live to eat” ( Literally too).

So its been a lifetime search for me to find the balance and the answer. Im on a continuous search… having written weekly health columns for 15 years and  scripted, directed, produced and anchored a weekly TV show on health blessed me with the opportunity to  spend time with brilliant experts in the medical field. From Deepak Chopra in LA to our Ayurvedacharyas at home.  I questioned them relentlessly, chewed on every single answer they gave and digested it. I continue to  zig zag the world in my quest…here’s the latest on the greatest…

EUREKA

It is here, in this  luxurious, historic Palace Merano, in the picturesque  Italian spa town of Merano that I get my answers. Here luxury combines with high-tech and scientific principles behind  this ultra-royal pampering deliver great health and energy.    It’s the dynamic and charming couple  and global pioneering health gurus Dominique and Henri Chenot ‘s Chenot Method  that hits the sweet spot. Having majored in Anthropology, Philosophy Chinese Medicine, as well as Bio-Energetic Psychology and Naturopathy (natural remedies to cure illnesses) Henri Chenot created the first of a series of phytocosmetics and phytotherapy laboratories.

In 1999 Henri Chenot created Biontology, a new concept for studying the evolution of psycho-physical ageing.It reconciles contradictions, takes within it’s sweep the union of Chinese and Western medicine and aims at achieving  balance between body, mind and soul.  This slows the ageing process, to eliminate toxins and tiredness at all levels: physical, sensory, emotional, mental and physiological. Food and digestion are at the heart of this.

FOOD BE THY MEDICINE

Unbelievable flavor and color, presentation and taste…hard to believe that it is calorie restricted, nutritious and vegan fare. Behind it is the brilliant and knowledgable Dominique Chenot.

Nutrition is at the heart of the experience with a mostly vegan diet being adhered to and with strict calorie control, between 800-1000kcals a day.  The chefs weave magic and instead of feeling deprived you feel pampered and coddled.

DOMINIQUE CHENOT’S TIPS

Eating and drinking for health

  • Fruit : ofcourse we all know about the importance of fruit and its  detoxifying effect. Its naturally rich in potassium and minerals. But did you know that fruit is best eaten before meals? digestion is much faster if the fruit is eaten on it’s own? If you eat it after a meal it will tend to stagnate in the stomach.
  • We all know sugary drinks are not good, but did you know that fruit juices are not either? It is beneficial to  the whole fruit. When eating cereals it is best to accompany them with water and lemon.
  • Be careful not to eat too many raw vegetables, because they tend to cause swelling. Go for vegetable soups, which moisturize the body and furnish a good supply of vitamins.
  • Breakfast is not optional. If you’re going to use your car you fill up with first to avoid being stranded…eat lighter at dinner.
  • Hold the salt! Try using herbs or spices, fresh if possible. Drink plenty of water!

DETOX BIRYANI TO YOGA MASSAGE

Its here, that for  the first time ever that I have the most flavorful detox biryani and the most relaxing, stretching yoga-massage. Over the decades, the super-luxurious Palace Merano has been magnetizing global royalty  to sportsmen, the super-stylish fashionistas to the those in need of healing…it also has a huge share of the well-known Indians. I personally know three of the leading industrialist families (who prefer not to be quoted) who come back twice a year.  Its an amazing experience …energy meridians are checked and energized, daily mud baths, jet-hose showers, celllular resonance therapy,  massages using the Chenot method and along with all this there’s a hi-tech laboratory for instant diagnostic results. And the most amazing gourmet vegan food, served in super-plush surrounding. A stay here helps you jettison kilos of weight and heavy psychological stress too. Helps you rejuvenate, celebrate…

P.S. I have specially got the detox biryani recipe and also Dominique Chenot’s favorite Agar-agar recipe. (you can also download plenty from Amazon) Should you need the recipes, please instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh emailrashmiudaysingh2016@gmail.com

South Indians Sparkle

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Stop press. Our very own Keralaites are making international headlines. They are being applauded and awarded. Celebrated and feted. I must confess that though I’m a North Indian, I’ve always had a big fat soft corner for South Indians and South India. It was during my tenure in the Indian Revenue Service (I resigned as commissioner of tax after working for 15 years) that I got to know South Indians closely. And since then have been a fan. So it is with great delight and pride that I write about the  three superstars…

2 MICHELIN STARS IN SAN FRANCISCO

He’s the only Indian chef in the world to receive two Michelin stars. Soft spoken, brilliant Keralite Chef Srijith Gopinathan grew up being influenced by his grandmothers cooking and the exotic spices in his Kerala home’s  backyard. From the perfumed kitchen of his family to culinary school and then working with  Raymond Blanc, the genius of cuisine in London gave Srijith a huge headstart.  For six years in a row, Chef Srijith earned a\Michelin star and it was just recently that he got the highly coveted two stars.

I had his most mindblowingoriginal Californian-Indian masterpieces in San Francisco’smost prominent century old, award-winning landmark hotel restaurant located in Campton Place, the throbbing heart of this beautiful city. Helmed by the dynamic and charming AshrafiMatcheswala who never ceases to amaze me with her prowess in hospitality but also as an award winning marathoner. It was with the two of them that I not only tripped out on an amazing dinner but also learnt more about the  Dungness crabs, famous over here. Infact Chef Srijith has shared his fabulous recipes of “Crab and peaches” but space constraint prevents me from including it here. Should you need it please mail, tweet or instagam @rashmiudaysingh

COOKING UP HISTORY IN NEW YORK

Making waves in New york city and getting rave reviews for his brand new Perineis  executive chef AshferBiju. This brilliant and friendly Keralite chef heads up NYC’s  85 year old iconic landmark which keeps reinventing itself.  Escoffier, the King of French chefs (and codifier of French cuisine,) did all the initial menus  at this magnificent  stately Pierre. Today,  AshferBiju is making history again. To bring back the era of celebration of food and dinind, he researched menus and recipes from 1930s 40s and 50s (when Pierre had opened its doors to public.  He found dishes / recipes that are classic which fell into three categories – New York Classic, French Classic & Pierre Classic – with several overlaps. While some classics are retained with its original recipe,  other dishes are made relevant using local produce from Upstate New York and Long Island.Interestingly there is a spice thread which runs through the menu and pays tribute to “The Pierre Grill” one of the first (or the first) fine dining Indian restaurant that existed at the hotel in 1950s. I not only taste history here but have many an amazing meal withJoint-degree holder from  the finest in America and France, the great wit and dynamo Francois Olivier Luigi. He helms this exquisite icon  andnot only ensures that it  retains it’s historic grandeur (handpainted murals et al) but also rocks ahead youthfully. Chef AshferBiju and Michael Mignano  share many a superb recipe with us, should you need it please mail, instagram or tweet @rashmiudaysingh

GOURMAND WORLD COOKBOOK AWARD WINNER

“Best Indian cookbook in the world” is her most recent award given by the numero uno Edourard Cointreau of the highly prestigious and coveted Gourmand World cookbook awards. These awards are the worlds most respected and sought after, global culinary awards. Nimi Sunil Kumar, Our very own Conoor resident, was given this honor in China recently.  She is a  highly accomplished author/culinary teacher/freelance writer / food photographer and a part time food blogger/ dietitian.  It is for her third cookbook “4 o’clock temptations of kerala” that she won the title “Best Indian cookbook in the world ” (209 countries competed for it)

She has written three books on authentic Kerala cooking. “Lip smacking dishes of Kerala”.The book bagged the third place for the “Best Local Cuisine Book in the world” in Beijing in 2014. She started “Nimi’s Lip Smacking Classes” in Jan 2012 for foreigners and for these is listed on international websites and books and has received many a certificate of excellence.

Congratulations to all three. You do not just South India but also India proud! Jai ho.

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GLOBAL AWARD WINNERS: Chef Srijith Gopinathan and Ashrafi Matcheswala ( Sanfrancisco, by the sea ). 2) chef Ashfer Biju and Francois Olivier Luigi ( NYC) 3) Edouard Cointreau awarding Nimi Sunil Kumar in Beijing.

The best of the best

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Top: Worlds best, Massimo Bottura, Gaggan of Gaggan. Manish Mehrotra and Rishabh Khattar of Indian Accent. Below Left: WORLDS 50 BEST DREAMTEAM: Standing Left-to-right: Laura Price, Stephanie Danvers, Tiago Restani, Tim Brooke-Webb, Charles Reed, Helene Pietrini, William Drew Kneeling: Vasu Read, Rikki Mudie, Emer Schlosser, Maria Olite Bottom Right: French Chef Yannick alleno.

This is it. The pinnacle and epicenter of global gastronomy, the guiding star for gastronomes the world over. The prestigious and highly coveted Worlds 50 best restaurant awards is the definitive “list maker” of the greatest restaurants and it is also the “tastemaker” for the world.This is also the worlds largest and most powerful gathering of superstar chefs. I write from the scene of action, from the bustling, cacophonic New York city.   In the historic, high-ceilinged Cipriani in Wall street, the awards are announced.. Featuring restaurants from 23 countries spread across six continents, the list provides an annual snapshot of the greatest gastronomic experiences across the globe. As chairperson of the Indian subcontinent, I have been attending these annual award ceremonies for over a decade.  This year, the awards got even more magnificent, they were hosted in New York for the first time as 50 Best begins a global tour of gastronomic destinations. Here are some quick snapshots…

THE WORLDS BEST RESTAURANT

On being crowned worlds best,  the tall, bespectacled passionate, inspired, philosopher genius Massimo Bottura received a standing ovation. Evocative, provocative and memorable! That was my 5 hour, 15 course mindblowing  meal at  his 50 seater restaurant which sits in a nondescript quiet back street of Modena, Italy. From the world-famous  theatrical dessert called ‘Oops! A broken lemon tart’ to the “beautiful spin painted beet” to the “lentil better than beluga caviar” flavors explode and textures are balanced.. Renowned for challenging the traditions of cuisine, using parody and ironic interpretations of food, Bottura keeps evolving  Italian food.

INDIANS MAKE THE CUT

In this rarefied gastronomic galaxy of superstars our very own Kolkatta boy Gaggan Anand (who is crowned Asias best) was given the 23 rd place. I am still not able to decide whether this pony tailed Gaggan is a mad scientist? A culinary rockstar? An impresario? Creative artist? Gaggan effortlessly reconciles contradictions.

He makes art and science copulate in his kitchen teases our mind caresses our intellect.

Our very own Delhi based Rohit and Rishabh Khattar and Manish Mehrotra’s “Indian Accent”, crowned best restaurant of India, 9th best in Asia was placed 72nd The brilliant and gifted Manish’s progressive Indian cuisine is inventive, adventurous and highly individual, yet respectful of India’s culinary legacy. The recently set up Indian Accent in New York, has been receiving rave reviews.

TASTEMAKER TALKS

Eye-opening and riveting talks organized by The Worlds 50 Best, are  an invaluable catalyst for all that is pioneering and path breaking in the gastronomic world. Brilliant French chef Yannick Alleno presented his fascinating talk on Cuisine Moderne,  as well as fermentation and extraction. Chef Mingoo of Mingles in Korea and Andre Chiang of Singapore gave their take on fermentation as a cutting edge culinary tool. And blew our minds with all the path breaking culinary work.

THE DRIVING FORCES…

Powering this gigantic and magnificent global operation is an amazing dream team.  Hailing from different parts of the world, each one is dynamic, creative, efficient and  empathetic. Helmed by Charles Reed,   Tim Brooke Webb,  Helene Pietrini  William Drew and Tiago Restani together with Laura Price, Maria Olite Stephanie Danvers, Vasu Read, Rikki Mudie and Emer Schlosser who keep the Worlds 50 best continuing be the Best of the best.

Deepak’s delicious perspectives

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Food for thought from Deepak Chopra the iconic fountain of youth and well-being.

It’s a treat to beat all treats: to be here with Deepak Chopra, the iconic fountain of youth and well-being, the repository of ancient wisdom and modern medical scientific knowledge. Over the years,  I’ve interviewed him for my TV show on health and many a column. Each time I’ve come away with many a nugget of wisdom, but this time I get the most eye-opening  perspectives of food.

Through my 36 books on food and countless columns, I’ve been on the constant quest to find out more about food, but  it’s Deepak Chopra interpretations of food, on the physical, gourmet, medical, spiritual and even genetic aspects  that are mind-blowing.

FOOD AND GENETICS

Here’s the mind-blowing great news: food  can actually alter our genetic makeup. Spearheading this research on Epigenetics, Deepak explains the complex scientific mechanisms of mind, brain, genome and microbiome.  Together with prof Rudy Tanzi, authority on genetics ( who discovered the Alzheimer gene)   their groundbreaking research, on the Super gene (and the role of the plant-based diet)  has been making global waves. For me its this cutting edge finding of how food interacts with our  genes that is thrilling.I talk to Prof Rudy. he is Vegetarian (loves indian food, paneer korma, in particular). Deepak is vegan. Both explain how we need not be at the mercy of our genetic inheritance.  Super genes. Super news indeed!

FOOD AND GOURMET 

It can’t get better than this. Would you have credited the thousands of years old Ayurveda with gourmet sensibilities? Deepak Chopra  points out… “If the meal isnt delicious it isn’t nourishing you. Enjoy your meal. If you are struggling with a diet that you think is good for you but you do not find it appetizing, it will ultimately not be nourishing and you will not be able to stay with it for long”.
According to Ayurveda. everything can be classified according to one or more of six basic tastes; sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. If you sample foods that correspond to these tastes your food will provide an assortment of health promoting nutrients. In fact Sweet:- Sweet is the taste of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. (Breads, grains, nuts, fruits, starchy vegetables, fruits, dairy, oils and animal products are considered sweet.) Sour:_ Any food that is mildly acidic is experienced as sour. Favor oranges, berries, tomatoes while reducing your intake of pickles alcohol and vinegar.

Salty:- Salt is the flavor of ion producing minerals on the tongue. In the right dose salt adds flavor and promotes digestion. Too much salt can aggravate high blood pressure and cause fluid retention.

Pungent;- Most pungent foods contain natural antioxidants and infection fighting chemicals Due in part to their anti-spoiling properties pungent spices have been valued for millenia. These include chilli peppers, black pepper, fresh and dry ginger, cloves, mustard, garlic cardamom. Adding spices and herbs will serve your palate and
your health.

Bitter;- Bitter is the taste of most green and yellow vegetables. Bitterness is due to natural plant chemicals known as phytochemicals which have detoxifying, disease preventing and healing properties.

Astringent;The last of the six tastes is more of an effect than an actual flavor.Astringent foods have a drying, compacting and puckering influence on your body. Beans, legumes, peas, pomegranates are all considered astringent.

FOOD AND EMOTIONS

Ofcourse, we are all aware of the connection between food and emotions, about how mothers express their love through food, romance blossoms over that candlelight dinner or families bond over the table. But I learn even more when I spend time in California’s sprawling and picturesque headquarters of The Chopra center, four hundred acres of lush, sun-dappled, palm-tree-lined beauty. Here I meditate,  attend talks and enjoy some superbly delicious vegetarian food. I explore the connection between our environment, physiology, food and emotions. Much as I wish to, I cannot compress all that in one column, Suffice it to say that the mind controls the body and even what we eat is metabolized depending on the state of mind we eat it in. I learn to eat mind fully and  in a calm state of mind.

FOOD AND BEAUTY

“Radical Beauty “   ………. is  what happens when two powerful, influential founts of knowledge and experience come together.  Deepak Chopra  and Kimberly Snyder serve up trailblazing solutions on “how to transform yourself from inside out”.  Kimberly is a nutritionist for the mind, body & soul, a yogini and the New York Times best-selling author of The Beauty Detox Solution and many other books and  nutritionist for many of the top celebrities.

Deepak brings his unique medical, spiritual perspective and together they share secrets everyone can use to experience extraordinary health, vitality and a radiant glow. How to transform yourself from inside out. And Deepak is an inspirational example of this!

 

HIGH ON THAI

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Is this real? Or is it a dream sequence?  Im on my way to Bangkok’s finest Thai restaurant. Time is standing still as I gently glide down the gleaming “River of Kings”. We do so in a beautiful wooden-carved long tail boat. At the other end of the bank an exquisite restaurant and authentic Thai food await me. It is here that I meet the brilliant chef   Uemporn Yuayaipong. Having trained in Saraburi Culinary school, she not only worked in  prestigious restaurants and hotels in Macao, Maldives.  Canada and Washington but also did many a Thai promotion in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, LA and many other cities. The charming Karn Puntuhong, a knowledgable foodie herself helps me by translating the chef’s explanations into English. They offer hands on, worth attending classes in Thai food. And through it all I go through some delicious learning.

CHEF Uemporn Yuayaipong and Karn Puntuhong with the vibrant Thai dips at Sala Rim Naam
CHEF Uemporn Yuayaipong and Karn Puntuhong with the vibrant Thai dips at Sala Rim Naam

WHAT IS THAI FOOD?

Im on a perpetual high on Thai! But what exactly is Thai food? It’s a trifle complicated. For, just like the world considers pizza and pasta to be quintessential Italian food (when actually they are the dishes of the southern region of Campania) and tandoori chicken and naan are perceived as Indian food (when they really belong to Punjab), similarly, much of what we wolf down as Thai food comes from the country’s central region, the area in and around Bangkok. Every region here has its own signature dishes. The food of the rugged, colder and mountainous North (watered by plenty of rivers) are distinct from those of the South. Steamed glutinous rice, local sausages (sai ua, and nham), steamed meat, roasted pork, pork resin, fried pork, fried chick- en and vegetables are some of the Northern staples. The pre- dominant taste is salty, almost to the exclusion of the sweet and sour. The influence of neighbouring Burma is strongly evident.

 

THAI FOOD & ENGLISH LITERATURE

It is here, that two of my passions come together in a sacred union…Thai food and English literature. And that too in the cacophonic, overcrowded, fascinating, exhausting Bangkok. Right there in this tumultuous city, there is a space which is not just  stunninglybeautiful and gracious but also a cocoon of comfort. Since over 140 years, this gorgeous Mandarin Oriental hotel has retained it’s essentially, stylishly Thai soul. I have been going back again and again past many decades and each time fall even more in love with it. Helmed by the dynamic Amanda Hyndman, it continues to breathe colonial charm and high end luxury. It is here that my most favorite authors, Somerset Maugham and Noël Coward regularly stayed. Suites, where they stayed areeloquent with memory and luxury . Once again, time stands still amid luscious silks and carved teak. I trip out on many of the dining options. I enjoy the classic British High tea, served in the Author’s Lounge (named after the many famous writers who have stayed at the hotel) as much as the Chinese and French specialty restaurants.But it’s the traditional Thai  with it’s tangy sweet-and-sour flavors  that ricochets on my taste buds, that I always make it a point to feast on. It’s the versatile palette of Thai dips that dazzle. I request the chef for the recipes. Here they are…

 


 

M.O. THAI DIPS

Versatile dips. Can sparkle your starters and salads and mains. Choice is yours.

NAAM PRIG OONG

 

Ingredients; for 2

6pc dried big red chili, seedless and soaked /100 gr hard tofu and chopped in small piece / 250g cherry tomato cut in half / 3g salt / 15g light soya sauce / 15g palm sugar

1tsp coriander root, chopped / 1/2tsp galangal, chopped / 1/4cup cooking oil / 10g       lime juice.

 

Method;

Pound dried red chili in the mortar or blander and add galangal and coriander root pound until they are mixing well then sit a side.

Heat a pan and add cooking oil brings the chili in the oil and stir until getting smell good.

And then add cherry tomato, salt, light soy sauce, palm sugar and lime juice, slowly cooked them and add tofu cook for another 5 minutes.

Remove and put in a serving cup. Then serve with fresh vegetables (Chinese cabbage, string bean, lettuce, cucumber etc.)

 

NAAM JIM A-JAD

Cucumber relish

Ingredients; for20

Sweet chili dips

500gr white sugar / 312gr white vinegar / 23gr salt / 200gr Thai big red chili de- seed and blend it.

-mix all ingredients together in the pot and heat them in medium heat, after they are boiled, turn heat to low and continue until color becomes light yellow.

-add chili in and heat in 5 minutes.

 

Cucumber relish

Ingredients; for2

100gr sweet chili dips / 76gr (1cup) cucumber, sliced / 20gr (¼ cup) ground peanut /

20gr big red chillies, cut into rings / Some coriander leaves.

 

Combine all ingredients together and serve.

CHILI DIP

Ingredients; for2

230gr grilled chilis and de-skin / 8gr grilled bird’s eye chili / 40gr light soya sauce /

40gr lime juice / 230gr grilled long eggplant, de-skinned / 10gr syrup.

 

Method;

Crush grilled  chili, bird’s eye chili and grilled long eggplant in the mortar.

Season with light soy sauce, lime juice and syrup

Served with boiled and fresh vegetables.

 

MANGO DIP

Ingredients; for 4

200 gr meat of ripe sweet mango / 3gr red small chili / 2gr mint stalk / 20gr lime juice /

To test salt.

 

Methods;

Peel sweet mango meat and mixed with red chili, mint stalk, lime juice and put a blender till smooth.

Add salt.

 

Chennai’s Chutney Magic

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CHENNAI’S CHUTNEY MAGIC

Found. Atlast. The most vibrant of chutneys and chutney recipes and that too here, at our “Whats hot tasting session” in Chennai. I like to call myself a “chutney champion”  and trawl the world looking for unique and yummy chutney recipes. Be it the fruit based ones of the Western cuisines or the spice infused ones of the Eastern ones.

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Whats Hot Tasting Session in Chennai

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HEALING & YUMMY

Joy of joys!  My latest “Whats Hot tasting session” not only served up delicious surprises but  an amazing range too. Home enterprises run by passionate foodies and look what they are upto. From anti-bacterial, anti-aging healthy fare to traditional, home made Muslim sweets.

 

SONYA’S SURPRISES

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SONYA SRINIVASAN ‘S AMAZING CREATIONS BEING TASTED BY CHEF JAFFAR ALI AND RAKESH RAGHUNATHAN

Age old flowers, forgotten recipes, organic fruits and vegetables…you name it. Sonya Srinivasan grows them in her own organic farm (be it Avarampu flowers or modakathan) and makes the most delicious Anti -inflamatory anti bacterial, anti-aging chutneys, decoctions et al. We do a tasting of the tasty and wholesome Aragarkovil dosa of Black urad dal. Delightfully vibrant and flavorful chutneys and more. Plenty more. Dual grained atta with a little twist,  wheat and oats spiced with dry ginger powder and a hint of fennel powder, wheat sprouted ragi powder with Jeera powder,  azhagar kovil dosa batter made of whole Urad with skin  and spiced and atta with powdered curry powder and corn flour too.

Sindhi food lovers delight: sweets and savories such as Singhar ki mithai ( made from non – salty sev of besan or gramflour), Tosho ( sweet flour rolls) , Seero Malpuro ( Malpua served with sooji halwa) and Sindhi khicha ( Tapioca). Loved the healthy yummy Peanuts and rock.ginger sweet too.

And all that wasn’t enough, Sonya grows and sells Indian pittu apple  to Dragon fruit  and avocado too.  Ph. 944444-2662

Can home deliver too.

 AZRA & SOBIAs SWEETS

KHANDANI SWEETS: SOBIA AND AZRA  WITH  AFZAL KHAN
KHANDANI SWEETS: SOBIA AND AZRA WITH AFZAL KHAN

I cant stop eating it. The purest and sweetest taste of the finest almonds in this “badam ke bhukath”.And to think that its  made of only almond and sugar. Making these traditional Muslim sweets are Azra Zafar and her daughter in law Sobia Habibunissa. These traditional Muslim sweets  are made during marriages. Making these sweets is a time consuming exercise and needs lot of hard work such as  Ande ki piyousi (eggs ,khoya ,saffron and ghee ), badam ke loaz ( pure badam and khoya and saffron). And they also make the humble pumpkin into a delight in their kaddu ke loaz ( pumpkin khoya and saffron ) and  dum ke puri ( puri stuffed with badam halwa and baked). When I request for the recipes I am told these are “fiercely guarded recipes, handed down over generations and cannot be shared with outsiders.” Atleast we can eat them, and that’s fabulous!

Call 98405-38889 or mail sobihabibunissa@gmail.com

 

A MILLION THANKS

I have to place on record my thanks to the ever helpful, knowledgable Foodies who helped me taste my way through this tasting session. Brilliant Executive chef Jaffar Ali who has honed his skills over the years, showcases them brilliantly be it in the Connemara’s  Oriental or the Chettinadu cuisine restaurants. Afzal Khan’s amazing knowledge and skills in food and beverage are well known.  Infact it’s thanks to the everhelpful Ahmar Siddiqui, that we hold this whats hot tasting session at the  Connemara hotel. Rakesh

Raghunathan, food entrepreneur, blogger and TV show host peppers the evening with his lively food comments and Anjali Sharma coordinates and puts it together. Thanks to all the participants and foodies our  Tasting session turns out to be a truly “Whats hot”  one!

#WhatsHotTastingSession in Chennai

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Your attention please! Superb surprises ahead. Please take a look at the photograph Ive shot under the trees. What you can see are Chennai’s talented homebakers and caterers. What you cannot see are the interesting and delicious food they brought along. All this for our “Whats hot Tasting session”. I ‘ve flown down from Mumbai for this and each time I conduct this session, I get surprised. Pleasantly. With the variety and vivacity.

CHUTNEYS R US

Unusual flavors tango on my tastebuds as I taste Sonya Srinivasan’s Avarampu flowers and leaves, Modakathanet al  made to forgotten recipes into healthful, anti inflamatory anti bacterial chutneys and preserves.  Bursting with flavor and texture are Chef Jaffar Ali’s superb repertoire of Chettinadu chutneys. Hand pounded and made of the finest ingredients by

Mani Megaly  and shanti from Kariakuddi, be it the  superb Ginger mango, or the unusual beetroot and broccoli. I taste these again at a memorable Chettinad meal in the Raintree and cant wait to lay my hands on the recipes and share these with you. Infact it’s thanks to the everhelpful Ahmar Siddiqui, Afzal khan, Sanjukthaa Roy and ofcourse Chef Jaffar Ali that we hold this whats hot tasting session at the Connemara hotel.

Fouziya’s line of organic pickles and preserves  is tongue ticklingly good. Especially her date n lime pickle.

 

THE PROOF OF THE PUDDING

How about some traditional Muslim Mithai? Made from the purest of almonds (Badam ke bukath

Badam le lauz)

sobia and noorie zafar  also make a superb Ande ki piyosi and more.

Velvetty creamy home made Casatta icecream made by Sadia gibran’s got top vote as did her Roat semolina cake Mamta ki Rasoi brought along delightful icecream made from natural mint and rose

And an unusual muesli butterscotch

Akshita Agarwal, a student baker’s c

akes in a jar (esp the Pineapple crunchy wit  Praline) was a big hit.

Shivangi Daga’s eggless  dessert classes are in demand. Susan is well known for her  Xmas cakes and Brownies. Cindana of Sugar Monkeys for her

Desserts in jars, especially the Red velvet and  Carrot cake.

Kashish Bathija has just started off and brought along Indian desserts.

 

 

SPECIALITIES & MORE

How would you like to cook and then party with all that you’ve cooked? All in a beautifully appointed recreational Food studio? Shree Periakaruppan’s Foodology with its many specialty chefs (F

Neelima vegan certified chef and stylist from Canada. Damyanti Paul

Srilankan food and more) is the answer. From 16 flavors in coated cashews to food for kiddies parties are Meena and Nisha chabbria’s specialty.

Ready to cook chapattis? Uma Srinivasan has them for you. She does catering too. Mansi of Foody Palace and her home chefs promote home cooked food and each one actually cooks in her own home kitchen.

 

WANT TO BE  PART OF THIS?

Are you  a home baker and caterer and want to be part of this? Or a passionate foodie like Rakesh

Raghunathan, food entrepreneur, blogger and TV show host then emailRashmiudaysingh2016@gmail.com, anjali —— instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh

 

WATCH THIS SPACEDue to space constraint Ive given you only a whiff of our tasting session. For more details (contacts etc) watch this column every other Friday

DESSERT MAKERS & HOME CATERERS #WHATSHOTTASTINGSESSION

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DESSERT MAKERS & CATERERS (WHO WORK OUT OF HOME)

I am thrilled! As the Times Food Guide 2015 goes to press, am setting up #Whats hot Tasting sessions (to include new talent in the books) Have discovered amazing home baking and catering talent.

HERES HOW I DID IT

Anyone  who bakes or caters professionally out of home can take part. For the past 20 years, I have been regularly  conducting these  sessions (in Mumbai and Chennai) in order to discover and encourage home talent and to include the talented ones  in The Times Food Guide.

I invite and encourage new talent to get in touch with me. For this session I was flooded with Instagrams, tweets and mail requests. I invited dessert makers and caterers  who came all the way from Colaba, Chembur,  and more. We conducted the Session at Andheri’s  Boveda.

HERE’S HOW YOU DO IT

Should you want to be included in the Times Food Guide 2015 please email your details (background, specialties, pricing, home delivery, contact details) to rashmiudaysingh2015@gmail.com or instagram or twitter @rashmiudaysingh.

IMPORTANT NOTE Please note that I do NOT have any one coordinating or assisting me so please mail your details directly only to me.

 

APOLOGY

Sorry for the brief one line note on each one of my talented group today. As you can see I am very short of space. Should you be interested do call and check with each one of the dessert makers and caterers for more details.

HOME DESSERT MAKERS

EXCEPTIONALLY TALENTED HOME DESSERT MAKERS
EXCEPTIONALLY TALENTED HOME DESSERT MAKERS

Odd Hour Kitchen’s Shivani has invented a yummy Brookie (brownie cum cookie)  which is a must try as are the  Yoghurt cake, Nut cookie cup cake

9820009500 (Chembur)

Onesta confections

Superb salted caramel  Gourmet Chocolates, cheesecakes from Neha Chowdary, a New York trained professional.

9820808412 (Juhu)

Sweet Bliss by Ravisha Sharma This Comerce student’s  Nutella cakepops come out tops. Cupcakes, marshmallows, cakes too.

9167155935 (Andheri E)

Cocoa love by harpriya ‘s Blueberry chocoloate mousse and carrot cake worth trying.

9819038623 (Santa Cruz)

Ask for Sweet Escape Nikita bokadia ‘s mango chocolates and flavoured brownies

9833041711 (Khetwadi)

Lakshmi Nambiars Bakery junction Banoffie cupcakes, sugarfree white chocolate butterfly are a must try.

9920211922 (Juhu)

Tooth Fairy by Rachana shah

The best semi-sweet gooey chocolate brownies in town. Oatmeal cookies, banana-chocolate loaf/muffins worth trying too.

9930044960 (Breach candy)

Cheesecakes republic by  Aishwarya Jalan & Shruti Jalan sure takes cheesecakes seriously and serve up seriously good Baked & No bake cheesecakes, tea time cake loaves,

9820302204 (Goregaon)

 

Bakers hut by Manali Modi specializes in designer cakes. Ask for her  black pepper and pineapple muffin

9619940706 (Parel)

EXCEPTIONALLY TALENTED HOME CATERERS
EXCEPTIONALLY TALENTED HOME CATERERS

 

CATERERS

Satvita Foods You name it and Mamta can dehydrate it.  Great for students going abroad too. The

mix vegetable and pav bhaji actually pack a punch.

9821136696 (Saki Naka)

Sama Ankolkar’s The Hungry Bunny’s Haleem and Biryani, Pepper chops are worth asking for. She also specialises in Italian food ( yum eggplant parmesan and pepper lamb chops )

9820028092 (Versova)

T’s Kitchen by Tejas

Looking for homestyle Goan fare? Go  Goan with Tejas’s Cafreal and succulent beef curry.

99203 16702 (Andheri)

Cherina Gamadia’s Mediteranean magic from her ‘Bhuke Plate’ kitchen offers delicious  Labneh Kishk, hummus, pumpkin pasta and more. 9920028472 (Colaba)

Hot Rocks BBQ by Srikar Shetty and Neville Patel

Burger buffs must try Srikar Shetty and Neville Patel’s peanut butter burger,  chicken burger too.

9833911474 (Andheri)

Food Biz by Amar Jog  has catered for Nita Ambani and Amitabh Bachchan, superb chingdi champ litchis stuffed with cheese mousse and firecracker mozzarella. 98196 95223 (Andheri)

Aditi’s Healthy Bowls crunchy home delivered salad packages (cottage cheese salads, barley salads, leafy salads and more)

91 67 157656 (Andheri)