In Mumbai. On a whirlwind three day trip. Internationally celebrated as the worlds finest, highly awarded, three Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura is in town. Not only is he the global leader of gastronomy but along with his vibrant wife is spearheading social change, with their NGO “food for soul” (where, in London, I was privileged to volunteer as a waitress). Forever etched in my taste bud memory is my five-hour, 15 course mind-blowing meal at Massimo’s Osteria Francescana in Italy where the genius’s thoughts became deliciously edible.
And now, it’s an exhilarating joy to give the lovable power couple a taste of Indian flavours and most of all to observe their responses and reactions. The sheer bliss on his face when the delicate fragrance of biryani at the finest Indian K and K seduced. Kerman Lalkaka, Chef Sunil Gadihoke had fittingly laid out a feast for an emperor. Lara tripped out on the sweet tangy spicy pani puri in Pinky Dixit’s Soam. Hay strewn cacophonic Crawford market to the serene, stylish Ensemble
to the iconic Taj where chef Amit Chaudhari served up regional flavors. Prateek Sadhu and Aditi Duggar’s cutting edge Masque, Floyd Cardoz and Chef Zachariah’s Bombay Canteen delighted them.
“Indian food is an encyclopedia of overlapping landscapes, cultures, religions and people” says Massimo. “our small sampling has opened our eyes to a world of flavors… strong and delicate, powerful and submissive, fun and serious… Eating is the best way to learn!”
P.S. And even as you read this we will have lunched in Shree Thakker Bhojnalay and they will have landed back home in Italy.
THIS MAIDEN TOUCHES THE HEART
I had no idea that “dimsum” translates to “touch the heart”. All I knew is that over the years Ive loved the little steamed, parcels of Chinese delight. And on my recent visit to China I completely tripped out on dimsum. Of all kinds. On returning from China I was hankering for authentic Chinese food. Here’s the delicious ironiy: It happened again and again. My heart was touched. And that too in Dubai. It wasn’t just the superb dimsum and authentic Chinese food that did it but even the stunning views and the evolutionary designs that represent Chinese culture over the generations. Making waves in Dubai, this sexily glamorous, three floored Maiden Shanghai is strategically located in the cutting edge, Five Palm Jumeirah Dubai. And here I am on a perpetual feast, from the moment I enter the sparkling glass-clad jewel soaring directly over the Arabian Gulf, and walk into the pioneering design and trailblazing, amphitheatre inspired architectural masterpiece .
Within the timeless interiors a
hexagonal pattern runs throughout, complemented by a carefully chosen mix of contemporary
furniture. And Im thrilling to it all as I find my way to Maiden Shanghai.
CHINA CHARMS FIVE TIMES OVER
And then wham! the sheer seductive energy of the three floored Maiden Shanghai takes over. It is an exploration of authentic Chinese cooking there is a fresh and imaginative vibe. it invigorates traditional recipes for a modern audience.
It is set in the heart of the Five Palm Jumeirah and it lets in dramatic views across the marina from everywhere, its outdoor terraces, indoor bar, private dining rooms and an opulent rooftop bar. I love the décor which playfully fuses the traditional with the boldly modern, creating spaces that feel open yet connected.
It is here that the brilliant Executive Chef Luo Bing revitalises Chinese culinary tradition. Drawing from Cantonese, Sichuan, Shanghai and Beijing influences, he marries age-old techniques and flavours with imagination and refinement. Flavourful masterpieces result. Luo Bing honed his skills in Barcelona and Hong Kong, and as Executive Chef at Time Out’s 100 Best Restaurants In London.
He offers plenty of Signature dishes including traditional, hand-prepared Peking Duck and his take on the Sichuan Kung Pao dish. But what delightful dimsum…his dim sum bar selection offers exciting flavour combinations beautifully prepared in delicate parcels. From tiger prawn dumplings with luxurious black truffle to pan fried Wagyu beef buns.
It is here that the dynamic and dapper Aloki Batra who helms this hot happening landmark tells me all about the uniqueness of this haute hot Five. From the cutting edge design, artistic work here by Joe Ngai to the amazing Chinese food.
In the cool of the November night, while nibbling on dimsum on one of the stunning terraces I learn all about Aloki Batra’s over 16 years’ experience in equity financial markets. Formidable business and financial skills as well a flair for masterminding the hospitality industry shine through.
DIM SUM AND THEN SOME
This delightful dimsun is not unique to Cantonese cuisine. Shanghai has xiao long bao (steamed pork dumplings), and there is chao shou (Sichuan wontons) in Sichuan. However What sets Cantonese dim sums apart, other than the extraordinary variety of dishes is that it takes years to learn the
finer points of making dim sum take years to learn, which is why it is important to have a demanding “sifu” [“master”). Chef Luo Bing has obviously mastered the art and on my request shares his chicken dimsum recipe
MAIDEN SHANGHAI DIMSUM
– Flour 200g
– 1 egg
– Water 30g
– Salt 1g
-Mix all the ingredients together until smooth.
– Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into 1mm thin pastry.
– Use diameter 3/5 cutter to cut into individual pastries.
– Minced chicken thigh or breast 150g
– 1 egg
– finely chopped fresh ginger 20g
– finely chopped onion 30g
– salt to season
– soya sauce 15g
– Sesame oil 3g
– cooking oil 2g
Method: Mix all ingredients together and put in chiller until filing.
– put a tablespoon of each filling into the pastry and pinch close
– boil for five minutes
Today, I send you the most delicious, queen of a traditional recipe which is versatile and reigns supreme. I also send you the recipe for good cheer by the global cocktail king. I taste the very traditional Spanish Salsa verde and watch the cocktail king stir the original Martini in the most iconic Maria Cristina in the stunningly beautiful san Sebastian by the sea. The luxurious iconic century old San Sebastian landmark is named after Queen Maria Cristina. It is the superstar hotel of superstars. Not only was it a beloved of Liz Taylor, Bette Davis and others but even today the charming and dapper Ned Capeleris ensures that it magnetises the best. Chef Miguel Piniero distils delicious Spain on our plates. And somewhere through my gourmet meal here, I get to know that Shah Rukh Khan stayed and loved it here too. History and luxury waltz in the elegant, high ceilinged marbled interiors. Since 1912 it has been magnetising the whos who of the world. And with good reason. Not only does it boast of amazing gourmet fare, superlative service, glamorously elegant surroundings but also has the world famous Dry bar and a cooking school (Mimo food, where I attend a cooking lesson) in it’s premises.
GREEN GOURMET QUEEN
Over the years and through my travels, I have been tasting this green-sauce in different countries. Ive been told that the basic recipe is probably 2,000 years old and has an Italian origin. But there is no documentary evidence. Sure! In Piemonte, I dipped the boiled meats (bolito misto) in it and I loved the cold Italian salsa verde. Rich with coarsely chopped parsley, vinegar, capers, garlic, onion, anchovies, olive oil, and mustard. In France the
So I was pleasantly bowled over when the Spanish version turned out to be the most memorable.
Also the most sparkling. In every way. We dined, under the shimmering chandeliers of the stunningly beautiful restaurant with it’s mirrored tables. The talented young chef’s masterpieces were served up one after the other. The pintxos (Basque tapas) delighted with their varied textures and flavors. The well traveled and well informed Ned Capeleris’s knowledge of the local and global cuisines had me riveted. Beans from.Tolosa, Hake and asparagus and the most amazing cloud of sweet bliss…Basque curd with honey followed by petitfours. Everhelpful Bryan Owen paired the finest wines, the local txakoli and champagnes
Ned Capeleris and Chef Miguel share the easy to make recipe
- 2 gloves of very finely chopped garlic
- Extra Virgen olive oil to wet the pan
- A pinch of Salt to taste add
- 100 ml of White wine or
- 200 ml of fish stock (optional) and then the parsley.
- Parsley very finely chopped in abundance stir in the
- 10g (soup spoon) of flour to give the salsa more body. Keep stirring till it has a pouring consistency.
Use it as a dip, a sauce or even spread. Yum!
Here im privileged to watch the maestro himself stir the most perfect dry martini. The World famous entrepreneur author charming cocktail maestro Javier de las Meulas founder of the iconic dry martini concept world over and a fab one in Maria Cristina also shares the perfect recipe.
From James Bond’s “shaken not stirred” martini to Ernest Hemingway’s quote “I’ve never tasted anything so cool and clean…They make me feel civilized,” this gin-based beverage is an iconic one. And fittingly enough, it finds its home in the iconic hotel in the “Dry bar”
FROM THE MARTINI MAESTRO
2-3 dashes of dry vermouth
l glass at Bombay
Optional: a twist of lemon
Garnish: a green olive
Type of glass
l Pour the vermouth and the gin into the mixing glass togethr
with plenty of ice
2 Stir tor l5 s
3 Serve in a cocktail glass
4 Garnish with a green olive
5 Optionally add a twist of lemon
#Homebakers & #HomeCaterers, I am thrilled with the response! Here’s where you can taste the creations of some talented Home Bakers and Caterers. Do share your experience in the comments below and I will try your favourites and recommendations soon. Should you want to be listed here, write to me on firstname.lastname@example.org along with your menu, contact details, pictures & social media handles.
1. Kavita’s Delicasies
Company Name: Kavita’s Delicasies
Contact No: +91 8010878000
Company Name: Chocasm
Contact: +91 9820744934
3. Sugar Trail
Company Name: Sugar Trail
Contact No. : 9167068950
4. My Yummy Spatula
Company Name: My Yummy Spatula
Our hunt for home bakers and caterers continues. And everytime I think that our Times Food guide has them all, I get pleasantly surprised. Like the new age, stylishly modern vegetarian gourmet catering by Harsh Shodhan, which I taste in the hostess with the mostest, Sonal Pakvasa’s elegant dinner in the garden. Pesto khandvi, hummus on edible spoons, mini handvo with chilli jam delight, and enjoying these is the uncrowned queen, Mumbai’s doyenne of vegetarian catering and food, vivacious Jayshree Thacker. Her iconic restaurant and catering has magnetized Mumbaikars for decades. Double veggiewow indeed!
I confess, I am a millet-fan. Millet rotis (made yummy with finely chopped onions and mint, and soft with ghee) are my staple diet.Not only is this a gluten free grain but also has magical healthful properties (more about that later in this column). I am also an idli fan…those soft, fluffy, pillows of steamed delight. So imagine my joy when I chanced upon “millet-idlis”.
This at my latest “whats hot tasting session”
Millet idlis by Phokkisham
Millet fans, this is your mecca. The gifted Nandini Gopinath of Phokisham is obviously not only a millet fan herself but also aware of it’s many health benefits too. She makes the most unique Millet icecream and millet idlis and dosas too. And here’s the best part, she sells idli dosa batters in packets too. And it gets even better for us millet-buffs, Nandini makes millet based milagai podi, millet based chapatti atta and millet based dosa flour with herbs like methi leaves and mudakathan keerai too. Please make a note: all millet based dosa batters are made to order except for red rice and bajra batters which are readily available.Along with the millet based batters, Nandini also makes the traditional rice based idly and dosai wet batter made from pure, traditional rice varieties like red rice, kambu, thinai kudhirai vaali etc. Nandini has pure mountain honey for sale and also prepares tomato chutney.
Nandini Gopinath from Phokkisham at 4202 89 89. Address: #1-A, Mangadu Samy St, Nungambakkam (opposite Perumal temple).
Did you know? Magic Millet
Did you know that millet is extremely heart-healthy? It’s a good source of magnesium, which is known to reduce the severity of asthma and to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. Magnesium has also been shown to lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack, especially in people with atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease.
Did you know that phosphorus provided by millet plays a role in the structure of every cell in the body?
Did you know that the magnesium in millet can also reduces risk of type 2 diabetes? And studies have shown that eating millet (high in insoluble fiber,) helps avoid gallstones. Millet is rich in iron, calcium and B vitamins. I love millet’s taste and texture too, is it any wonder
I’m a confirmed millet-fan?
La Vita Buono
Balance. I believe in that magic word “balance”. So when Elizabeth, the talented passionate young IT professional changes careers to bake cakes, its time to revel in them..
Elizabeth from La Vita Buono lives in Mogappair West, takes orders for cakes Barbie cakes, brownies. She specialises in Baked dishes and Italian food, especially veg and non – veg pastas, lasagna, white sauce etc . Can home deliver. Call 89 39 45 07 42
It’s all thanks to “Foodline” that I am able to get plugged into the magnificent foodie network of Chennai. When you write in to Foodline, I not only include your details in this column but also invite you to our “whats hot tasting session” .
What follows that tasting session is a write up (like in the column above) . So please do keep in touch.
Mamta Ki Rasoi
From 2 nd cross street lakshman Road ,CBI colony Khandanchavadi Omr is having a workshop on chocolate making, wrapping, packing, storing and n bouquets on 3rd Jan, professional Baking workshop on different types of cakes & cup cakes, different types of icing n cake decoration ,Muffins,Brownies, doughnuts, tarts,Cookies, Breads, buns, puffs,Pizzas,burgers etc on 4 & 5 Jan. call 98407-24819. visit mamtakirasoi.blogspot.com
Narayani is a home baker specializing in brownies and also takes baking classes. She has conducted 30 episodes of cookery shows in Captain TV and won numerous competitions. Ph. 8056014246
Baked Delightss by home baker Smitha Kuttayya and Global Theeni by Smitha Kuttayya has an offer for new year that you can’t miss!! Order the new year meal for 2 that includes a veg quiche, 4 pieces of roast chicken, herbed baked rice, cheesecake and Irish cream. The package is priced at Rs.2000 and is valid from the 1st to the 10th of January 2017. Ph. Do call at 9444385425 to book your order.
Home caterer Deepika from AUMly is now offering the following items:
- Marinated feta in thyme and extra virgin olive oil which is perfect for salads or on your cheese platters. Rs 262.50
- Organic tea from Makaibari estate
- Bai Mu Dan Darjeeling peony white tea. Ra 249 for 25 gms
- Darjeeling oolong tea Rs 331 for 100 gms
- Summer solstice muscatel Darjeeling second flush black tea. Rs 578 for 100 gms
- Silver green tea. Rs 605 for 100 gms
- Lime pie Made from organic farm limes. A buttery crust with tangy lime curd filling. Rs 126 per slice.
- Lime Ginger Syrup. Farm-grown limes are used to make this syrup. No chemicals, no preservatives. No extra sugar necessary. Perfect thirst quencher for our warm days.Rs.315/- for a 500ml bottle. (Makes approx. 20 glasses)
- Organic Rajma from Uttrakhand (Mix of 4 varieties of rajma, Rs.37/- for 100gms)
- Organic Raw Rice (Farm-grown, unpolished rice for everyday eating. Rs.221/- for a 3kg bag)
- Bread Crumbs (Made on the farm, with no added preservatives Rs.52.50 for 300gms). Order by Wednesday for delivery on Friday. Ph. 89 39 77 43 19. Address: 12-Z, Rutland Gate, 4th St, Aroshree Kailash, Ground Floor. 48 hours notice required.
Its been my passion! Past three decades I’ve been collecting deliciously useful and usable information which you can’t get for love or for money.In Chennai and in Mumbai. I’ve compiled many a Times Food Guide of these home caterers and bakers. From ordering cakes from chefs who work out of home, health tiffin dabbas fabulous seafood to more.
HOW I GOT TO THIS PRICELESS INFO
I did this through word of mouth, through readers calling and writing to me, through my Foodline, and the latest through email and twitter too. Now I know what Columbus must’ve felt like. Except that he, the compulsive explorer, did not have the benefit of twitter… like I do! Here’s how I went on my voyage of discovery: I tweet requested for recommendations of favourite caterers, dessert makers, tiffin dabbawallahs and shops.
HERE’S HOW I DID IT…WHATS HOT TASTING SESSIONS
Anyone who bakes or caters professionally out of home can take part. For the past 3 decades, I have been regularly conducting these sessions (in Mumbai and Chennai) in order to discover and encourage home talent. I get flooded with instagrams, tweets and mail requests. We hold “tasting sessions” where we invite all those who had gotten in touch with us. They brought along their goodies and we try, taste and test each one.
HERE’S HOW YOU DO IT…
Should you want to be be part of this “whats hot tasting session” please email your details (background, specialities, pricing, home delivery, contact details) email@example.com or instagram or twitter @rashmiudaysingh email firstname.lastname@example.org Call 9884065010.
It was in my latest “Whats hot Tasting session: that I got a taste of Chennai’s amazing home bakers and caterers.
Fabulous fusions. All home made. Creative, innovative and yum. Be it one where Italy tangoes with Kolkatta street food or whisky infused icecream. We loved the Innovative string spaghetti sparkled with spice and with Kolkatta’s popular street food, jhal moodi. As also the unique and tasty North India meets South India Kozambu parota sandwich. The Black label infused icecream was deliciously heady. Helping me with the tasting was Leela Palace’s brilliant executive chef Dharmen Makwana. We sampled it all Badam halwa cup to Rice kesari moghlai malai kofta and it was a delight to meet her fashion desinger daughter Richa Goenka too.
It’s not just all this that the creative Dipika Agarwal conjures up but also many a healthy and organic option. organic rice flour for Rs 63/- a kilo, homemade and preservative free chocolate and hazelnut spread at Rs 210/- a jar, coconut macaroons made from organic coconuts from her farm and baked in a wood fired oven for Rs 84/- for a pack of 6, multi-grain pao buns which go well with vada and bhaji for Rs 15.75/- a piece.
Order by Wednesday to pick up by Friday.
Ph. 89 39 77 43 19. Address: 12-Z, Rutland Gate, 4th St, Aroshree Kailash, Ground Floor. 48 hours notice required.
Looking for delicious salted caramel sauce? extra fudgy hot fudge sauce ? and that too home made and preservative free? The dedicated and talented Aparna Philip from “Oh Myy” has them all for you. These are great any which way you like them, lick them, slather them on bread, on a biscuit or top up your sundae. She also makes a rich, lemony and tangy lemon curd which goes well with a hot buttered toast or as a filling for tarts, crepes, cakes or meringues. Check out Oh Myy’s honey roasted peanut butter which can also be give a savoury twist by adding some spices to make an exotic satay sauce.
Contact Aparna from Oh Myy! @ 98410-29931.
I can’t stop smiling. Discovering Mumbai’s talented home chefs at our #Whatshottastingsession has this effect on me. Organised specifically for our very own “Times Food guide 2017” at the city’s landmark, sixty year old Gaylord, where the ever helpful team plays host to taste magicians (from Powaii, Chembur to Colaba) who present their sweet and savory magic…
The Bohri Kitchen (TBK), Colaba, 9819908095
Superb Raan, Mutton Samosas, Dum Biryani and other Bohri specials by the brilliant mother and son team of Nafisa Kapadia and Munaf. This exciting home dining concept hosts 12 guests once-a-week. They also deliver across Mumbai, at a day’s notice. If you live between Mahim to Colaba, give TBK two hours’ notice for home delivery.
The Mad Batter, Walkeshwar, 9619117601
Baking since she was 10, Dimple Sanghvi offers all kinds of eggless bakes – cakes, whoopee pies, Glitterati Cookie Tower, brookies… The 21-year-old’s home baking venture is popular for its boozy treats (Jack Daniels Dessert Jar and Cookie Shots).
B.O.H. (Back of House), Nepean Sea Road, 9867199994
For dips, small eats and all kinds of vegetarian fun fare for home parties for upto 40 people, call Mansi Koradia. Rosemary Mushroom on Toasties, Lebanese and Italian starters and maincourse, and kiddie specials, Jain specials… she does them all!
Simple Bakes, Chembur (E), 9820433391
Nothing simple about the baking adventures sisters Poornima and KavithaBalasubramanian undertake. Ask them for brookies, bespoke fondant cakes and especially the fusion cakes. My favourite, the Paan-flavoured cake.
Ambrosia, Powai, 9820968751
Call Rachna Prasad, for Mughlai, Rajasthani, Goan, and Bengali specials, non-vegetarian dishes being her speciality. A dedicated menu for kids (pasta, cutlets, kebabs, and her popular creamy cup potatoes) too.
Ashey’s, Bandra (W), 8828403690
Eggless macarons? Student and homebakerAshima Chawla’s Sesame and Pistachio macarons will never have you go looking elsewhere. Interesting combos of jar and fusion desserts too.
Baked With Love By Annie, Matunga (E), 9819363304
Hazelnut Truffle Decadence, Vanilla and White Chocolate Torte, Philadelphia Cheesecake, 23-year-old AnneitaaBhambani does them all and does them well. Customised, eggless cheesecakes, brownies, cakes and cupcakes on a day’s notice too.
Love & Flour, Nariman Point, 9930152303
A Hotel Management graduate, Sarah Patka honed her skills in the Taj and Oberoi kitchens before she set up her home bakery that specialises in custom made cakes (fondant and non-fondant), cookie pizzas and brownies.
Nosh, Worli, 9833104829
Commercial artist, product designer Karishma Mehta moonlights as a home chef with her newly set up catering business Nosh. Ask for dips like the Pizza Dip, bite-sized party food, and desserts ( in glass jars and ready-to-eat containers.)
Icekreamskee, Andheri (W), 9321129029
Looking for freshly made, preservative-free ice creams in a variety of Indian and international flavours? Give mother-daughter duo Asha and Sucheta Thakur 24 hours’ notice. Asha has been making ice creams at home for 17 years now. Must-ty flavours, Masala Chai Biscuit, Thandai, Fresh Orange, Rose Pista and more. Vegan ice creams. Home delivery too!
That’s The Story, Malad (W), 9619946134
Have eggless macarons, pana cotta, crème brulee, gelatin-free cakes and desserts delivered at your doorstep. Premium ingredients and experience in commercial kitchens ensure that 25-year-old Swati Soni’s desserts offer just the right kind of a sensory treat. Try the Deconstructed Lemon and Basil Tarts with Pistachio Shortbread and Saffron and Pistachio Nankhatai!
I’m excited and thrilled about our Whats Hot tasting session, which took place yesterday. Many a home baker and caterer attended,. at the Hotel Leela Palace. Its fabulous to be able discover talent like this and then to write about it in this column, instagram and tweet it and share it with all. Should you wish to be included in the next Whats Hot Tasting session, please instagram/tweet @rashmiudaysingh, email email@example.com