We,The Masala People

We celebrated Masala Day (20th May) at the Sodabottleopenerwala at Phoenix Mills,the creative brainchild of Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal who has formed a calendar of Indian Food Observance Days.Masalas are a reflection of our culture and our values.I am not just talking of the myriad ingredients that go into each spice blend that make each community's signature masala unique.I am talking about the way we are, as Indians.A mix of various states and diverse cultures yet the focus of all is more on the family rather than the individual,on togetherness and not the self.Somewhere one's identity may get a bit blurred in the greater mosaic but it's well worth it.Like our masalas.They are about a whole lot of spices and herbs together, in contrast to the simple spices of Western cuisine (which are nice in their own subtle way). We create a whole new dimension of flavors,colors and textures with our Masalas.We are like this only!!

The evening was exciting.Rushina set the ball rolling…

Food From God's Own Country

It was our Sourdough Bread class with Sujit Sumitran that got us thinking on the possibility of a class on Kerala cuisine.The lunch was prepared by his wife Sudha and was so different and flavorsome that many of us wanted to learn how to make the dishes.So one fine day,we embarked on our journey of making appams and some wonderful dishes to accompany them at the Eighth Studio by Anurita Ghoshal at Bandra.Fish curry-rice is the staple of most Kerala homes while some have sambhar and rasam.Appam and Istew and Puttu-kadala (rice cake with coconut with chickpea curry) are also commonly eaten.

To make appams,rice has to be soaked and fermented (with yeast and sugar) and made into a batter.Some people add toddy.Appams have a soft thick centre and a thin periphery.My first one was at the Konkan Cafe at Taj President which used to have an excellent Seafood Thali.for just Rs 500! Haven't been there in years.They have an open kitchen and we would watch the chef make appams with wonder in o…

Archaeobroma: Back to Summer School

Food fascinates me and a whole lot of people!! No wonder then that the University of Mumbai had its first All India Conference on Food as Culture "Archaebroma".The United Nations recognizes three cuisines for their cultural significance: French,Mexican and Japanese.Why not Indian? We do have a really long food history.Exactly what the conference seemed to stress upon.We need to take food more seriously,have more research and more literature.The traditional of oral history is not enough.We need to document, else it will be lost forever!
           The India Study Centre (Instucen) and Centre for Extra Mural Studies (University of Mumbai) organized a two day event which started off with an introduction by Ms Mugdha Karnik who is Managing Trustee of Instucen and one of the organizers along with Kurush Dalal and Raamesh G.R.She pointed out that food needs to have an academic touch and is an important tool for global unity.

The first day of the conference was on  Concepts in Foo…

Getting to know Japanese Cuisine

I have been intrigued by the name of  Magazine Street Kitchen,ever since I read about it.Turns out Magazine Street is the street in Byculla it is on.

The Kitchen is beautiful and spacious,2500 sq feet to be precise! Something one finds hard to find in Mumbai.We were seated above in the dining area as we waited for everyone to arrive.This is where top chefs from around the world serve their fare.Their bakery sends its goods to the weekend sale at Colaba and Bandra

Ten of us gathered to learn about Japanese cuisine,beyond sushi.Some of the people in our group had already visited Japan and though Chef Divesh Aswani hadn't,it didn't stop him from taking us on an interesting journey of making Gyozas,Tempura,Teriyaki and Ramen. We discovered a world of new ingredients: Seaweed,Shitake Mushrooms,Bonito (Tuna) Flakes,Soy,Yuzu and Sake.Both seaweed and shitake mushrooms are a good source of glutamic acid,as  Chef Divesh enlightened us.Glutamic acid is important for brain development a…