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REVIEW: PLUM BY BENT CHAIR

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Questions: Is this a home décor store which serves food? Or is it a restaurant which sells home décor? 

Ans: Yes to both. In the intriguigingly named “Plum by Bent  chair” it’s possible to  eat your salad and buy not o that funky plate  (a skull wearing headphones) it is served on and also the chair youre sitting on. 

Read my detailed review on whatshot.in

shop and dine: Behman and Lynne Homjee at PLUM BY BENT CHAIR
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REVIEW: SOI 69

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Good news! Breach Candy  got it’s own Thai sidestreet (Soi). It perches on the fourth floor and has chef co-owners Seefah  and Karan (who wowed with their  no-frills erstwhile “The Blue” in Bandra).  Bringing them in is celebrity restaurant- nightclub tycoon Rishi Acharya. Read my detailed review on whatshot.in

Review: House of Daaruwala

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I admit. I have a big fat soft spot for  Irani cafes. And I mourn their dwindling numbers as also the lack of  good Parsi food restaurants in our city. So when I hear about Andheri’s brand new Irani café lookalike “House of Daaruwala” I dash across the city with big hopes through equally big traffic jams.

Read my full review in today’s Bombay Times.

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House of Daaruwala : with  gorgeous actor producer foodie Neetu Chandra.

Recipe: Kimchi

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MAGICAL KIMCHI

This  ain’t a bowl of mere fermented vegetables. It’s Kimchi. It’s magical. It’s origin is centuries old. But it was sent to space on board Soyuz with South-Korean astronaut Yi So yeon.

It was declared ” vitally important to the morale of Korean troops” (President Park Chung Hee).It’s been cited by Health Magazine as one of the world’s five “healthiest foods” and it dates back to the period of the  Three Kingdoms (37 BC‒7 AD.

Till today, it’s a very central part of the Korean meal. It is served as “Banchan” a collective name for small side dishes served along with cooked rice.

On my very first trip to Korea, I’m fortunate to not only taste kimchi in the finest three Michelin starred Korean cuisine restaurant but also blessed to get a taste of “vegan” kimchi in  a monastic meal ritual cooked by a monk in the mountains. And finally actually got to make the kimchi myself, in the finest kimchi making class of Korea…with Master Lee and two other brilliant chefs.

IN KOREAS BEST RESTAURANT

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At the best of the best La yeon withChef Sung il Kim and Yaeeji Kim. 

I’m on top of the world. In every sense of the term. I’m dining in three Michelin starred Layeon perched on the rooftop of  Shilla Seoul, the luxury powerhouse.

The gracious and stately Shilla stands behind Seoul’s  medieval city walls but continues to  reign supreme. La Yeon interprets Korean cuisine with great care and sophistication. Balanced flavors and textures explode …from mellow flavors of  Pinenut porridge to the perfect Bulgogi and bibimbap with  banchan and the most addictive umami rich kimchi.

I’m  not just feasting on the brilliant Chef Sung il Kim’s refined and sublime Korean food but also learning about the basics and evolution of Korean food. Translating for me is the everhelpful Yaeeji Kim.Highest quality ingredients, authentic flavors and creativity infuse the dishes… from mellow and soothing to royal-cuisine Hot Pot here.

BLISSED TEMPLE MEAL

 I m in  heaven and didn’t even have to die to get here… Just drove four hours in snow to reach the beautiful Naejang mountains. Can spiritual vegetarian meditative monk s food  be so seductively gourmet and varied? It sure is  I’m Tasting blessings… literally too.  All this at  the fabulous formal multicourse  monastic meal ceremony (barugongyang) The  lovable loving and friendly monk.

At Cheongjinam Temple.  We  sit on the floor with empty bowls baru in front of us. And as if by magic the silent servers glide in and fill them up. Making food and partaking in it is part of the meditative process in the temple and here, they eat only what they farm and make on site. Amazingly gentle and vibrant flavors and textures seduce . We wash the dishes after the meal with the water in each bowl and walk out in a single file.

We move in to the dining area and our eyes and taste buds are luxuriously  memorably  pampered. After that  lunch, monk Jung Kwan takes us on a fascinating walk to see her storage facilities where her “jangs”, sauces and kimchi are being fermented. Since garlic, onions are not used it is these fermented pastes that add a zing to her  vegetarian masterpieces.

lovable inspirational monk for delicious blessings which we tasted too. If this isn’t heaven what is?

Note:  A unique and blissed out treat. And to be lunching with Koreas finest gourmet chefs, Mingoo Kang ( chef Michelinstarred Mingles)

 Hyunseok Choi (chef of ever popular Choi)

Jinpyo Kim, CEO Plating Company

All this made possible thanks to the lovely  Editor in chief of Tasty Cookbook,Eunsil Jang.

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Jinpyo Kim 
Hyunseok Choi 
Monk Jeongkwan 
Mingoo Kang 
Eunsil Jang 

KIMCHI MAKING CLASS

Its  a dream come true. Not only to learn   kimchi making from Master Soyoung lee,but to do so with my own hands and then to have the privilege of a home-cooked lunch by  her. Kimchi making is done in winter (when the ingredients are available) and its all about bonding and a wonderful family feeling as we chop the vegetables and massage the spices into them. All this with Chef Choi who’s doing pathbreaking research in fermenting and Chef Heesuk Cho a  professor in Korean cuisine. Not only have most of the great Korean chefs trained under her but her restaurant (I had an amazing meal here) continues to inspire many others.

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Learning from the maestros Master Lee, JungYoon Choi (centre)  and chef Heesuk Cho.

It’s all thanks to the super helpful and amazing JungYoon Choi, a chef with 20 years of experience working in Spain, Australia and Korea. Trained at Alicia Foundation and El Bulli and is now executive chef of the Sempio Korean Fermentation Culinary Research Center in Korea. with top chefs and gastronomy-related professionals to research on Korea’s fermentation food culture. She very generously shares the authentic recipe for the kimchi.

 Kimchi

Kimchi
 Magical kimchi.

Main ingredients

     -Cabbage 5ea

     – Coarse Salt 7cups

Side ingredients

– Chives 200g (Cut 4cm)

     – Leeks 200g(Cut diagonally)

     – Red Brassica juncea 100g (Cut 3cm)

– Chopped raw shrimps 100g

– Chopped Sea staghorn 100g

– Radish 2kg (Cut 5cm)

Spices

– Crushed Chili pepper 6cups

– Chopped Garlic 1 1/2 cups

– Chopped Ginger 1/2 cups

– Salted shrimps 1cups

– Anchovy liqueur 1cups

– Sugar 1/2cups

– Coarse Salt 1/2 cups

Recipe

  1. Mixed all the spices and ingredients. (Let this ripen for 30 minutes.)
  2. Rinse pickled cabbage in cold water to remove moisture.
  3. Ready to the seasonings between the prepared cabbage.
  4. Store prepared Kimchi in a container.

The best tasting kimchi is stored in room temperature for an average of six months to reach its full flavor.

After that delicious home style lunch, we all get the fabulous kimchi to take home. As Choi says “my mother will be thrilled with this kimchi, for her and all of us, it is more valuable to receive this than an Italian designer handbag” That’s how magical kimchi is!!!

KOREA’S BEST

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Here in Seoul’s three Michelin starred  Layeon I’m not just feasting on the brilliant Chef Sung il Kim’s refined and sublime Korean food but also learning about the basics and evolution of Korean food. Translating for me is the ever helpful 

Yaeeji Kim. Balanced flavors and textures explode …from mellow flavors of  Pinenut porridge to the perfect Bulgogi and bibimbap with  banchan,. I do  it all… beef tasting restaurant “ Born and bred” , fried chicken and beer (Chimac) eatery, Korean palace cuisine Hansikgonggan , Modern Korean “Mingles” European influenced Korean “Toc Toc”. Pure vegetarian temple cuisine in the mountains, a foodie blind date in “Balwoo Gongyang” but that is another story.

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At three Michelin starred Layeon with Chef Sung il Kim and  
Yaeeji Kim.

Recipe: SUN & MOON

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Sometimes a restaurant experience extends to  more than just the food.  It’s drawbacks become it’s charms… its tiny home-style space, its one man service,  generous portions of the Korean owner-chef Sun’s (not sure if I’ve got her name right) blazing lustily spiced food.

Read my review in today’s Bombay Times.

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Checking out SUN AND MOON with Ashmit Patel, Nina and Prakash Vasa.

SEOUL FOOD

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Lights. Camera.Eat. So what if its    minus two degrees in the Korean capital of Seoul. Here, on the TV set, under the bright lights, its sizzling hot. And what better way to learn about Korean food than  from the maestro,  70 year young, legendary actress and chef Soomi Kim? And to be invited to cook and shoot on the sets of her hugely popular TV show. Superstar chef Hyun Seok Choi  teaches me more fundamentals as does Jin Pyo Kim the mover and shaker of Seoul’s restaurant scene. All thanks to Jung Yum Choi Im  learning how to make “kimchi” the traditional way. And tomorrow driving four hours to the mountains to the celebrated Buddhist monks monastery. To get her blessings and to eat her vegetarian food. Cant wait to learn from her how to make vegetarian kimchi. Need recipes? Please email rashmiudaysingh18@gmail.com

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Filming and tasting: Korean superstarchefs, Soomi Kim,  Chef Hyun Seok Choi  and Jin Pyo Kim. 

Review: BOMBAY VINTAGE

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“… yeh hai Bombay meri jaan”the old hindi song echoed in my ears, when I lunched at Bombay Vintage. It did so  not just because I was lunching at a restaurant which serves up Bombay’s melting pot cuisines but even more because of my lovable guests (one was my #foodieblinddate) .

Read my full review in today’s Bombay Times.

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FAB FOODIES Aaditya Bhatt, flanked by Utkarsha Kesarkar and Jumana Hufeza Electricwala.

 

HEALTHY SECRETS

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It’s been my lifelong quest…to find the secret of how to to dine non-stop gourmet and yet stay healthy. To continue to enjoy all tastes and flavours, to be able to digest it all and then go back for more. I wrote a weekly health column for a national daily for fifteen years. Produced, scripted, directed, presented 52 episodes of a health show on TV and through it all spent lots of time with doctors, specialists, ayurvedacharyas, nutritionists and more. And it was a common consensus, the source of health and energy was the digestive system. And to keep this system working in top form, it was essential to eat healthy (of course) but also to have probiotics. Not too fond of popping pills (even if they are probiotics in a pill) I was thrilled to find the answer. Right here. In Chennai. A home-made solution…Read on to know more

DID YOU KNOW?

Of course, we  all know about probiotics and how essential they are to supply the much needed good bacteria into the system. But did you know…?

They have positive effects on the body like improving immunity, detoxifying the system, reducing inflammation, improving digestion, and providing the body with bio- available nutrients, vitamins and enzymes?  Energy improves, stress, joint pains, allergies reduce?

 Did you know that probiotics are found in delicious edible drinkable forms?

Ginger ale,  Kombucha, Milk Kefir, Beet Kvass,  Sauerkraut, Korean Kimchi, Hummus to name some.

And here’s the good news, these yummies are being made at home, right here in Chennai by the entrepreneurial Abha Appasamy  “I  started this for our own family to keep them in good health and we found that we were not catching colds and infections as long as we were taking them”. She explains.

that ginger ale is her latest and most popular product, and has had dramatic effects on some of her friends’ digestive issues. It is fermented with the natural bacteria present in organic ginger.

Abha’s Probiotics includes traditional fermented foods and drinks that have originated in countries around the world and

She personally make all the products and bottle them too to ensure high quality and food safety.

She ensures that all her products are 100% vegetarian and vegan (except for milk kefir.. )Natural, with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.

and made from organic ingredients bought from reliable sources (  not exposed to chemical fertilizers, pesticides or hormones.)

 All packaged in eco-friendly, recyclable glass bottles too.

Lets raise a toast with a glass of probiotic ginger ale!

abhasprobiotics@gmail.com WhatsApp: 9962575684

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Abha Appasamy and her home made power packed probiotics.

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HEALTHY SNACKING  

If you love to munch and snack…but feel the need to do so healthily then Pratima Manikandan’s ingenious bars and crackers are the answer, as her quinoa Digestive Biscuits and Naan Khatai.

Go for the  energy bars, made of natural sugars with  a low glycemic index… made of seeds, nuts and dryfruits.

Energy Bars made of Millet and walnut seeds, nuts, berries, millets and natural sugars to bring together a nutritious snack on the go. Ask for   Millet and Orange,

 Vanilla and cinnamon flavors. All sweetened with the super healthy dates.

I love biting into the wafer thin, savory seed crackers made entirely of seeds and nuts.

That theyre a powerhouse of Omega 3 and 6 is a bonus.

Naan Khatai, made of wheat flour and brown sugar make them extra healthy and thankfully extra yummy too.  Quinoa Digestive Biscuits- Packed with the essential amino acids  are a must try.

Prathima Manikandan

A-218, Bhaggyam Urban Ville,

Industrial Estate Road,

Thoraipakkam,

ph: 7358306633/044 48536641

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Prathima Manikandan s unique home made seed crackers and energy bars.

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WHATSHOT HOME-BAKER TASTING SESSIONS

I maybe traveling the world but I always circle back to Chennai. Ive been flying in from Mumbai and setting up “whats hot tasting sessions” past 15 years. And with each session I get even more impressed

Infact, in EACH AND EVERY COLUMN there is a local “Foodline” with the latest on Chennai’s home catering and baking as my Chennai based assistant Anjali keeps a tab and has been doing so for over 15 years. We held the last one in ITC Grand Chola , which is where I tasted the probiotics and seedcrackers made by Abha and Prathima. Should you wish to take part in the next whatshot tasting session please mail rashmiudaysingh18@gmail.com, anjalisharma966@gmail.com