My Paradise Peru

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Dining at the most Romantic South American resort, with Thomas Moons and Tula Casteneda.

I write from foodie Paradise.  And what a magnificent gigantic one.  From the frozen peaks of the Andes to the roaring Pacific ocean, the deepest jungles of the Amazon, sand dunes, ancient Inca civilizations, Machu Picchu and the bustling gastronomic capital of Lima. Each region produces a staggering wealth of produce, vegetables, fruit, herbs, grains…you name it. And this great geographic and cultural diversity has brought ingredients ranging from highland tubers to tropical jungle fruits to a complex cuisine of Spanish, indigenous, African and Asian influence. For sure this vast country translates to paradise for us foodies. Ceviche with slivers of fiery chili and corn, slow-simmered stews, velvety Amazonian chocolate. I explore the bounty of food markets, sample grilled anticuchos (beef skewers) on the street corners  and (thanks to my co-chairperson of the Worlds 50 Best Restaurant Academy,   Diego Salazar) dine at the finest restaurants of Lima. But most excitingly, I check out Peru for Vegetarians (ably guided by Maria Jose, Sabrina Chaves, Elda Cantu) It’s a deliciously gourmet Vegetarian paradise too.


Lunching in the Sacred Valley with Chef Cesare Landau and Cesare Chiara

Please take a look at the accompanying photograph shot in the  globally awarded “Most Romantic resort of South America”. Im feasting not just on the superb Peruvian food but also on the stunning views. Dining on this luxurious rooftop with the glorious coastline of the Pacific ocean below,  is one of the many  memorable experiences that Belmond Miraflores Park serves up.  Helming it is the dynamic Thomas Moons with global experience and training as a chef too.  Lima born Tula Castaneda delights with her knowledge of  Peruvian cuisine. I lunch with them at their renowned  Tragaluz restaurant, chef Jean Paul Barbier’s quinoa tabouleh with  beetroot, mushrooms, watercress, makes a masterpiece out of potatoes with the Peruvian Yellow chilli,porcon mushrooms with truffle sauce and more. August Baert’s Tragaluz delights. Not only is the finest Peruvian chocolate used here, but their superb spa gives me a Chocolate massage too. This is definitely my idea of having my chocolate and eating it too.

In the Sacred valley ( an hour’s flight away from the bustling city of Lima) nature preens in all her magnificence. And it is here in the Belmond Rio Segredo,  that I lunch by the shimmering River Urubamba with the brilliant chef Cesar Landau. In the mellow sunshine of the Sacred valley, Chef Cesar’s creative cuisine with Peruvian ingredients delights, be it the tomato tree with water melon gazpacho, vegetarian ceviche with asparagus, mushroom and seaweed from the lake or the quinoa risotto.

I also get a superb Pisco tasting session from the knowledgable Cesar Chiara.

This award winning national drink is the purest brandy, and from the 8 grapes, two types of Piscos (aromatic and non aromatic)are made. I learn all about that famous  lemon, sugar and white of egg based cocktail Pisco sour. All this in the beautiful glassed in bar and restaurant overlooking the stunning gardens of the Rio Segredo. Close by the salt mines of Maras produce the delicious Maras salt from the ancient  times of the Incas. I can taste this vibrant salt in all my food and when it is used as a scrub in the Willka spa, it revitalizes me and Im ready to feast on Rio Segredo’s banquet again.


Veggie Peru on a plate: Quinoa and avocado in the sacred valley’s Rio Segredo.

Here’s Chef Cesar Landau’s recipe . A delicious creamy way to  cook  the healthy, protein rich, gluten free quinoa. You can add or omit the vegetables.


70 gr quinoa/40 gr mushrooms/20 gr zucchini

50 gr cream of milk/30 ml broth of vegetables/ 30 gr parmesan cheese/

2 gr chopped garlic/3 spears of asparagus/ 1  cherry tomato/

20 ml olive oil/5 ml truffle oil/Salt

Black pepper


Boil water with rosemary in a pan. When the water is boiling add the quinoa. Cook for 20 minutes. Rinse the quinoa and let cool

In a frying pan, add olive oil, garlic and let cook till garlic turns golden. Then add the mushrooms, the zucchini and sauté. Then add the quinoa and the cream and let it reduce.

At the end check the salt and the parmesan cheese.Before serving, drizzle with  truffle oil.Grill the asparagus and served on  top.

My delicious discoveries

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Whoa ! What talent! What creativity and what a variety! Each time I conduct our “whats hot tasting session”  for home chefs, caterers and bakers in Chennai I get delighted …and impressed. We conduct this just before the iconic grand  dame, The Connemara went under revamp to emerge more beautiful than ever. Today, I serve up three yummy options…from eggless desserts and cakes to ready to cook chapattis and a culinary recreation school too.


Looking for  eggless (strictly) cakes and desserts? Cake pop bouquets, dessert cups, cupcakes, brownies and more? 100%veg mousse cups and dessert cups

The forever helpful Afzal Khan not only organises everything but also helps me with the tastings. He points out that their themed cake pops and cupcakes are delicious and sure-fire kiddie favourites.

Call the talented  Ayushi & Akshita Agarwal of  Sprinkles. Both are student entrepreneurs, use only the finest ingredients and take great pains to take ensure that their patisserie delights their clients. They take a minimum Order: for mini cupcakes and cake pops minimum order is 10 pieces while for brownies its 6 pcs

Aminjikarai, near Ampa Skywalk

Phone: 9840277690



How about celebrating and learning and eating…all at the same time? Unique and interesting food classes?  Mom/Dad& Me, Couples Date Night, Kids Parties, Mom & me, Dad& me etc. Go check out this creative recreational culinary studio.

A great way to have kiddie parties and spend quality time with your kids. Entertaining and Educational Cooking Experience for Toddlers to Teens.

A delicious way to celebrate! Couples that cook together, stay together! Create a meal that will be memorable and romantic!

Take a look the fun group photograph of the founder Shree Periakaruppan as well as a few of her culinary team. From Bee Bee Martinet’s Malaysian fare to, Tasneem Ayub’s Moghlai to Neelima Sriram’s vegan and vegetarian offerings.

Damayanthi Paul, teaches Sri Lankan cuisine. Kamalika Krishmy. Winner of Superfchef is sought after for desserts, baking and Indian Food!Sumi Shroff specialises in punjabi, fusion and kids menuPreethi  Venkatramani ,Baker Shyamala Sivaraman  and ChefNaren specialises in  Arabic  and international cuisine.  The founder Shree Periakaruppan a dynamic IT professional having lived for over a decade in Washington (and honed her cooking skills) set up Foodology two years ago. Since then, she has had Chennai eating out of her hands.

3A, Second Main Road, Kasturibai Nagar, Adyar. Landline: +91 24454885 and 900 305 4885.


Here’s an amazing success story built around ready to eat chapattis.  S. Srinivasan  left his successful corporate career and his wife Uma also quit her job  to take care of the production where two other women help her knead, roll out and seal chapattis. She continues to be a foodblogger.   Giving me his expert palatte opinion, is The Conemmara’s brilliant executive chef Jaffer Ali. We conducted this Whatshottasting session The couple began by supplying 350 ready-to-eat chappatis a day. Today, on an average, the unit at Madipakkam rolls out 3,000 every day.

Ofcourse, they did not stop there.  Snacks, healthy options and more. Chapatis, Pooris, Methi Chapatis and Ragi Chapatis, made with hygienic manufacturing and packing process ensures that the  freshness of the Chapati is retained.  High quality whole wheat flour, oil, salt and mineral water are used. Organic food including samosa, ragi rolls and short eats and podis. Bulk orders, snacks for Events are all part of their repertoire.

Plot No 3032, 1st Floor, 6th Main Road, Ramnagar South, Madipakkam, Chennai 600091

Phone: 9500021540 / 9962530871 / 044-22580049


Are you a home chef? Conduct any foodie services out of home? Would you like to be part of our next “Whatshottasting session’? Please mail your details of work and contact to,  instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh Please put “Chennai whatshottasting in the subject line.

An Open Invitation

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Sure dining at restaurants is exciting but tracking professional  home chefs has been my overriding passion for the past three decades.And I continue to do this in Mumbai and Chennai. Are you a professional home chef ? Do you conduct any foodie services out of home? Then what you are holding in your hands is an open invitation to be part of our next  #whatshottastingsession and of the Times Food guide. All you need to do is send us details about your work and  contact details instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh

Talent Unlimited

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I am rejoicing! I am celebrating! Chennai’s talented home chefs have this effect on me. Each time I visit Chennai and organise our #Whatshottasting session, I get blown away by the range of talent, by the sheer choice there is. Today, I write about two ends of the spectrum…from the deliciously healthy to the deliciously sweet.


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Yes! Healthy can be tasty. Nutritious can be delicious. Handmade, natural, healthy, safe and tasty…that’s what Fouziya Kutty  (a self-taught home chef) and husband Abdul Taher (an advertising professional) create and innovate. Pickles to jams…not only are they handmade, but also free from any kind of preservatives. They are also  made from only the freshest and the best organic fruits and vegetables. To be sure only organic brown sugar and organic salt is used. And ofcourse, as they point our “ the secret to our jams & sauces being yummier, is the actual “content” of the main fruit”. For example, their strawberry Jam has an actual fresh fruit content of not less than “65” % and in their tomato sauce fresh tomato content is almost “80%”.

Take your pick from Lime Date Pickle Chutney /Tomato Sauce / Schezwan  Sauce /  Birds Eye Chili Sauce . For Rs 150 each. For those with a sweet tooth, Strawberry Jam / Orange Marmalade/ Apple Fig jam /Mango jam  and even the unusual (5) Banana Jam

Sheik abdul  taher – 9841063408

Fouziya’s Cooking products are handmade and marketed by Fouziya’s Cooking
# 5, Raja Garden, Kottivakkam, Chennai -41


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A winner right through…International tennis champion, turned Public Relations expert turned  ace patisseur. Cindana Manickavel’s ‘Sugar Monkey’ has a huge following for it’s cakes, cupcakes, cookies and dessert jars. Why the name “SugarMonkey? “When I first started baking, my mother always said the kitchen looked like it had been ransacked by a monkey!” explains Cindana. But that’s where the monkey analogy ends, because Cindana specialises in sophisticated and elegant patisserie. For those looking for healthy options, Cindana also makes eggless and vegan cakes. Ofcourse, the super-indulgent whisky and rum  and chocolate options are all there. But most of all,  it’s the dessert jars which are magnetising attention. Not only are they unique and handy and easy to carry but deliciously creamy too. They make for Sweet finales too!

Ph. 98848-57156.


Would you like to featured in this column? What you are holding in your hands is an open invitation to do so. Be  a part of our “Whats Hot Tasting session”. Mail details of your work,  your signature dishes, a bit about your background and contact details. Contact me on instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh mail,

Waitingly yours.

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…


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.


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.


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!


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

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…


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


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


“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.

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…


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


“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!



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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


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.



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…




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



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.



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.)



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.


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.



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.



Ingredients; for 4

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

To test salt.



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

Add salt.