Food

Review: Hitchki

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Missile pao, Pasta nashta, Mr Aloowalia…serving all this and more is one more restaurant which joins the new Tsunami of “Modern Indian” restaurants sweeping Mumbai. We check it out to find out which of it’s names it lives upto “Hitchki” as in the hiccup which connotes that some one is remembering or thinking of you? Or “hitchki” as in the hiccup, the glitch? the setback? Impediment? It turns out to be the first. Happily.

Read my detailed review on http://www.whatshot.in/mumbai/critic-review-hitchki-plays-with-indian-flavours/C2722

Healthy Gourmet

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Award winning SHA Wellness clinic with Alfredo Bataller Pineda. Chefs Carlos Garcia and Andres Moran.

I am feasting  non-stop. And I’m on a “controlled diet” in a state of the art wellness clinic in the stunningly beautiful Spanish Mediteranean coast. Not only is the food delicious and views delectable but I’m also devouring facts about food at a rapid pace.

Ancient wisdom is tangoing with the most advanced
western techniques. Here in the globally acknowledged SHA wellness clinic, nutrition and natural methods are the core. Healthy-Ageing and non-invasive Aesthetic Medicine completes this well-being of the mind and the body of the SHA method.

How amazing is this? SHA ‘s healthy and therapeutic  menu was awarded the Millesime ́s highest recognition for the Best Gastronomic Trend Grand. Healthy can be gourmet and this propelled me to take cooking lessons in their Mediterranean and Japanese Macrobiotic  traditions.

The SHA food pyramid upholds the recommendations from the World Health Organisation

Driving this award winning wellness clinic is the Battaler family, Not only did the father Alfredo Battaler set up this clinic because he found a natural and unique solution to his life threatening health problems but his three sons take an equally passionate interest in it. I’m thrilled to meet the dapper Alfredo Bataller Pineda and watch chefs Andres Moran    and Carlos Garcia     in action. I also attend a chefs studio class and get the recipe of the unique gluten free, sugar free, dairy free carrot cake which also has ginger and turmeric and lemon. Should you want the recipe please tweet Instagram @rashmiudaysingh email me rashmiudaysingh2017@gmail.com

Review: Indian Bistro

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A couple of weeks ago, I chanced upon such a highly enjoyable, moderately priced restaurant.  We drove to India Bistro in Chembur and I’m happy to report that the experience was enjoyable on almost every count.

Read my detailed review on http://www.whatshot.in/mumbai/critics-review-india-bistro-is-for-the-modern-indian/C2681

Best of the best

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SHA MAGIC: ALFREDO BATALLER PARIETTI AND CHEF ANDRES MORAN

East is meeting West. Ancient wisdom is tangoing with the most advanced
western techniques. Here in the globally acknowledged wellness clinic (aptly called SHA, which means luminosity or king of kings in Arabic) nutrition and natural methods form the core of the fabulous SHA Method. Healthy-Ageing and non-invasive Aesthetic Medicine completes this well-being of the mind and the body.

Here,  I am feasting on the amazing food, the knowledge and the brilliant sunshine and views. SHA wellness clinic sits like royalty  on a beautiful Spanish mountainside overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, part of the Sierra Helada Natural Park, by the picturesque ancient town of Villa de Altea. This mild micro-climate of the area guarantees fantastic temperatures all year around, the area recognized by the World Health Organization as having one of the World‟s best climates, this in itself being an important factor for the maintenance of optimum health.

INSPIRATIONAL EXAMPLE

Turn your stumbling blocks into stumbling stones seems to be the life mantra of the dapper and dynamic Alfredo Bataller Parietti. He suffered from serious life threatening health problems for over thirty years. He was lucky enough to meet a doctor who was a leading expert in nutrition and natural therapies, who is now a member of SHA medical team.  Mr Bataller experienced the body’s auto-healing power through a natural diet and natural therapies, And so was born  his desire to share this knowledge and well-being and health. And SHA wellness was set up in the very location of their family home.This is how SHA Wellness Clinic was born. The SHA Method combines the effective elements of healthy nutrition and the curative powers of natural therapies with SHA Academy, a dynamic and practical programme of educational activities.

HEALTHY GOURMET

How amazing is this? SHA ‘s healthy and therapeutic  menu was awarded the Millesime ́s highest recognition for the Best Gastronomic Trend Grand of 2009 and a Sun in the Repsol Guide 2011. Healthy can be gourmet and this propelled me to take cooking lessons and learn more about it. SHA‟s main restaurant, SHAMADI, offers the most select modern cuisine, fusing Mediterranean and Japanese Macrobiotic  traditions, and always prepared with natural organic ingredients.

The SHA food pyramid upholds the recommendations from the World Health Organisation and to a great extent it is in line with what the Harvard University of Medicine proposed as being the most suitable diet for humans.

Interestingly, the philosophy of macrobiotics goes back 1000s of years; and here they combine it with the Mediterranean Diet too. Most of the foods used at SHA have also been eaten by the world’s most healthy and long standing cultures including China, Japan, India, Middle East and the Mediterranean. SHA offers wholesome, honest food, grains, beans, vegetables, sea vegetables, nuts, and seeds,plus various seasonings, herbs, sugar-free desserts and fish. Most of the foods are living, local, organic, and seasonal which means they are full of energy, nutrition, and antioxidants. They help to keep us young and vital.  And chef Andres Moran, the patisseur extraordinaire’s desserts, be it the gianduja, the tiramisu, chocolate mousse dazzle with their taste and nutrition.

SHA RECIPE

GLUTENFREE, SUGARFREE, DAIRYFREE CARROT CAKE

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THE THERAPEUTIC SHA CARROT CAKE

Here im learning at a rapid pace, attending talks, yoga, tai-chi, chi-kung, relaxation, breathing and laughter therapy and take a lesson in cooking at the Chefs studio. Chef Raquel Rocha shows me a step by step method to bake a gluten free, sugar free, dairy free carrot cake. It also has ginger and curcumin (turmeric) and lemon zest. Its yum.

Ingredients for cake  12g Arrow root,130g Corn flour. 85g Rice flavor, 4g Bicarbonate

10g Baking powder.2g Salt

2g Ginger zest, 5g Lemon zest 3g Cinnamon powder.250g Agave syrup

100g Sunflower oil.150g Rice cream

300g Zest of carrot

Preparation

Mix all ingredients, the liquids first and then mix in the dry ones. Put this batter in a cake tray  in the oven for 30min in the temperature 160oC.

Ingredients for cream

800g Coconut milk,200g Rice syrup

15g Cinnamon sticks,15g Orange zest

1gr Curcuma, 8g Agar agar

Preparation

Mix all ingredients and  warm till boiling. Cover the pot and leave for 10min to infuse. Run through the strainer and leave for cooling.

Blend till reach creamy and smooth texture and layer onto the cake. Decorate with carrot crisps (optional)  and edible flowers (optional).

Enjoy! Guiltfree!

Surprise on the beach

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Zuma on the beach: Chef Wingtam, Fred. varnier, Onur secilmis Patrick Smekens

Foodies, here’s news for you. Zuma, the award-winning world renowned and my favourite contemporary Japanese Izakaya restaurant rocks in over ten cities, but what a happy surprise to find Arjun Waney’s highoctane restaurant on the beach in Phuket. Zuma is making waves (literally, too) in the superluxurious Anantara Layan. And last week in Phuket, I got to know about it, thanks to the dynamic Fred Varnier and got a taste of Chef Wingtam’s rendering of Zuma signature dishes. Miso black cod, spicy beef tenderloin with sesame to the yellowtail with ponzu.The fresh sea breeze added even more punch to Zuma’s zest. Cheers!

Review: Koko

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No two ways about it. The six-month-old Asian gastropub KOKO has hit the sweet spot. Many sweet spots, actually. Food. Drinks and Ambience.

Read my detailed review on http://www.whatshot.in/mumbai

Japan Wows

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Yuko and Yoshihiro Narisawa. The iconic live bread.

What you see in the photograph is a live wheat bread (decorated with leaves and tree branches) and it was cooked over hot stone on our table.  And it yielded two most delicious warm, slightly chewy bread balls, we  devoured with butter covered with black olive powder and green moss.

This was just the beginning of Michelin starred Maestro Yoshihiro Narisawa’s magic. “Essence Of the forest” and a parade of dishes inspired and dedicated to nature follow. Dining at the Best of the best, taking an hours bullet train ride (from Tokyo)to stay at the exquisite traditional Japanese Ryokan (inn) San Jyuan thanks to Chef Munidasa are some of the highlights.

In Kyoto, I bow in Reverence at the Buddhist temples, wear the Formal “Furisode” kimono and attend Zen meditation there. And dine on the pure vegetarian “shojin” temple cuisines. Im still savouring Did you know that till the 19th century, Japan was largely vegetarian due to the Buddhist influence? And awesome vegetarian at that. In Japan the wow never wavers…

Review: Mr. Baozi

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It was the interesting name”Mr Baozi” that propelled us to  Juhu’s new gastro-pub. It was also the fact that it has the same owners as my favourite and the hugely popular The Bar Stock Exchange.

Read my detailed review on http://www.whatshot.in/mumbai

A Taste of History & Health & Zen

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CHEF IRYO AND MAAYA ARAKAWA AT THE 12TH CENTURY POND GARDEN, KYOTO

I’m rejoicing. I’m surrounded by the exquisite 12th century pond garden, (ikeniwa, or Shakusuien garden) and getting a taste of maestro Tsuyoshi Iryo’s melt in the mouth home made tofu. And this in Kyoto, one of Japan’s best-preserved historic cities. Not only was it Japan’s capital for over a thousand years but most of what we consider the essence of Japan…from the art of the tea ceremony to Ikebana flower arranging…originated here. I attend an hour long Zen meditation in a Buddhist temple, chanting at another at the crack of dawn and Go on the Hozugawa River Boat Ride.

I  thrill to the fact that today, Kyoto is home to cutting-edge biotech, education and is  a forward-looking centre for art and design. Combining both the traditional and the modern is the magnificent Four Seasons hotel at the heart of which is this 12th century pond garden. A glass bridge takes me to our quaint tea house, Shakusui-tei. The essence of Japan alive in the interiors, with thewashi-paper lamps,fusuma screens and urushi lacquerware. This is meshed in with modern and hi-tech conveniences,  In the hi-cool Brasserie, modern cooking techniques and local Kyoto ingredients come together in seasonal and vibrant dishes.

It is here that maestro Tsuyoshi-san who has honed his skills internationally, conjures memorable dishes.  Tsuyoshi’s contemporary, chic and elegant cooking style fits perfectly with  the”hip and cool” modern Brasserie concept. The ever helpful and super efficient Maaya Arakawa guides me through the intricacies of Japanese culture (including wearing a kimono) history and cuisine.  My smattering of Japanese language lesson comes in handy to say “Japan I love you”

TERRIFIC TOFU

Vegetarians  and Vegan’s delight! Delicious and healthful are two words that usually do not combine together. Tofu is one of the few exceptions. Tsuyoshi san shares his recipe and some of the health benefits of… tofu

Tofu, or bean curd ( made by curdling fresh soya milk) which originated in China 2000 years ago, is an excellent source of protein and contains all eight essential amino acids. It is also an excellent source of iron and calcium and minerals.

Soya protein (from which tofu is derived) is believed to help lower levels of bad cholesterol . Interestingly, Tofu contains phytoestrogens called isoflavones – whichy help menopausal women reduce their symptoms.  However, it is important to remember that Tofu and all soya products contain large amounts of oxalate. So all those who  have a history of oxalate containing kidney stones should avoid over consuming soya products.

Chef Iryo’s Home-made tofu ginger sauce

Ingredients    

200cc Soy Milk

1g Brine

300cc dashi (seaweed)

2tsp Soy

1tsp Mirin

Pinch Salt

ginger (grated)

2g potato starch

spring leek (chopped)

edible flower

Method

①Mix soy milk and brine together and steam for 10 minutes in a steam proof bowl.

②Soak Kombu (kelp) in water over night.

③Combine the kelp dashi (step ②), soy sauce, mirin, salt and grated ginger into a pot and bring to a boil.

④Place the above mixture over a medium heat. Once it begins to simmer, gradually add the potato starch slurry, thickening the sauce. Stir well until glazed.

⑤Pour the sauce over the tofu and place the spring leek and flowers on top for garnish.

UNIQUELY KYOTO  

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Azusa Hosoya and Eiko Nakayama with Kyoto salt, tea and yuzu

I’m thrilling to a therapeutic  massage of my senses. Not only am I tasting, fragrancing …Kyoto ‘s famed salt and tea from Thamba and  Yuzu the famous Japanese fruit but also having a massage with them. Azusa Hosoya and Eiko Nakayama   skillfully explain and then soothe my senses in the serene and beautiful Four Seasons Spa.

The Japanese Yuzu ( a good source of antioxidants that can help replenish dead skin cells) is a unique blend of lime, lemon and grapefruit. It’s health benefits  are mainly from the vitamin C that can be found in it, which is a powerful antioxidant.It makes the skin smooth and silky and even fragrant.I love Yuzu’s tart flavor with overtones of mandarin orange, though it is rarely eaten as a fruit,  but in Japanese cuisine its aromatic zest (outer rind) is used to garnish some dishes, and its juice is commonly used as a seasoning.

Sure, it has a long tradition and is believed to ward off winter colds and flu. But right now what is delighting me is that it is rich in multivitamins and minerals,  and it is helping me to glow, reboot and rejuvenate.