Advertisements
  • Travel,  Tuck In

    A Newbie’s Guide to Azeri Cuisine #Chapter1

    There is a lot of food culture that goes on in the home and in the community in non-traditional ways. Food is a lot more than restaurants. – Eddie Huang (American chef, food personality) For me, home is where food becomes an expression of love, a comforting hug, a celebration, a new tradition, an experience, making it an extension of traditions that have been reshaped. So imagine my delight when I realised that a large number of my meals in Azerbaijan were to be homemade or a mix of homemade/store-bought, each meal planned with the intent of sharing more about the culture and traditions of a country and a family.…

  • Travel,  Tuck In

    Chai, halva & Azeri hospitality

    One of the most beautiful memories that I have brought back from Azerbaijan has been the Azeri passion for food and the warmth they extend to those who appreciate this passion. The warmth that envelopes you as the food bearers — be it the lady of the house or the restaurant server — place the food on the table and serve it makes you feel like a king about to feast! I promise to make your mouths salivate and ensure that you dream about the wealth that is the Azerbaijani cuisine soon but before that, I do need to touch upon and introduce you to a fascinating experience that is part of…

  • Tuck In

    Chatpata (Tangy) Stir-fried Chicken

    I ‘celebrated’ a nine-year friendship anniversary with my first cousin a few days ago. Considering she’s been a part of my life as far as my memory stretches, this friend-anniversary reminder by Facebook was rather amusing. As someone who was smack in the middle of the Bhaumick sisters – three years younger to my elder sister and three and a half years older to me – she has been someone close to both of us. Ask our parents and they will entertain you for hours with tales of these three musketeers. I was the rebellious younger sister who had to pull out all the stops when the two older sisters…

  • Tuck In

    ‘Chilli’-ng with the Potatoes

    I adore chilli chicken – give me chilli chicken for breakfast, lunch, dinner and I would be a happy soul. Methinks, that can be said for chilli potato too now. Chilli chicken is an Indo-Chinese dish popular among the masses. Found at street-side food joints being served on flimsy plastic plates or at a fine dining restaurant, looking too pretty to be eaten, the chilli chicken is everyone’s heartthrob. Much to my surprise, and the delight of vegetarian friends, I found out chilli chicken has a cousin, the chilli potato. Manu, the owner of our accommodation in Munnar, served his version of the chilli potato on a cool summer evening, paired with a glass of wine. My taste buds did the jiggy-whiggy as I savoured the crispy piece of potato, coated with the sauces, the flavours of garlic and ginger taking me to taste heaven. True to myself, I demanded he share the recipe. I might have scared the gentle chap, but he…

  • Tuck In

    Lau Chingri | Bottle Gourd & Prawns Mishmash

    Did you know Bengalis are pretty much obsessed with food, especially dishes that include fish? I remember my maternal grandfather going to the market every morning to buy fresh vegetables and fish. There is a distinct memory of my parents enthusiastically joining him, or other family members, for this morning ritual. “There are so many fruits, vegetables and types of fish that we’ve grown up eating but miss now,” my parents would often say. True that. There are some products native to the region that my parents – among those who moved away from their roots for a better life – miss a lot. To a limited extent, my parents…

  • Tuck In

    Payesh & Goodwill to Usher in the New Year

    It’s that time of the year! I’ve been waiting for Poila Boishakh, the first day of the Bengali calendar, for some time now. Celebrations aside, the best part of this day is the aroma of traditional food that wafts out of the kitchen. This year, Poila Boishakh is on Sunday, April 15. The food and rituals, I feel, are a testimony to the synergy that Bengalis have towards their traditions. Not just Bengalis. Peep into the homes in your neighbourhood (not literally!) and you will see the Assamese, Malayali, Sikh, Tamil households busy cleaning house, prepping to greet guests and cooking up a storm. A sign of the earnest desire…

  • Maangsho Jhol (Bengali Mutton Curry), from the corner table, #fromthecornertable
    Tuck In

    Maangsho Jhol | Bengali Mutton Curry

    Several people, when asked about a mutton curry, have described it as “a gravy of meat, potatoes and/or vegetables” depending on their location on the world map. For a Bengali, however, there is nothing ‘simple’ about the maangsho jhol (Bengali style mutton curry). This is a curry that is usually reserved for the Sunday lunch or made to add that extra oomph to a meal made to impress. A Bengali can regale you with tales of incidents and heated discussions that have taken place during the Sunday lunch of maangsho jhol and bhaat (rice). There is an emotional connect with this curry. Such is the robust personality of the maangsho jhol…

  • Bengali Dum Aloo & Begun Bhaaja (Bengali potato curry & fried brinjal), from the corner table, #fromthecornertable
    Tuck In

    Dum Aloo & Begun Bhaaja | Bengali Potato Curry & Fried Brinjal

    What’s the weather like in your part of the world? Down here, the temperature has touched 42°C in what is just the beginning of summer. Local newspapers have reported this to be a heatwave that will likely continue until next week. I can vouch for the heat – I was felled by a heat stroke on Friday (or was it Saturday?) that saw me moaning and groaning through the weekend. Baking a birthday cake for my father – he completed a glorious 73 years on March 25 – was nothing short of a challenge. It took two botched attempts before I could produce a Lemon Cake with Chocolate Filling &…

  • Carrot Kheer, Gaajar ka Kheer, from the corner table, #fromthecornertable
    Tuck In

    Gaajar ka Kheer | Carrot & Milk Pudding

    I love Bugs Bunny and I love his favourite food. I always have. Maa often jokes that as a kid, one of the easiest ways to shut me up was to hand me a carrot – I would be too happy munching on the carrot. Over the years, the munching dwindled significantly but my love for carrots did not. The traditional Indian dessert gaajar ka halwa (carrot based sweet dessert) remains an all-time favourite. But it’s not something I’ve endeavoured to learn yet because it takes a lot of time – a lot – to make. The amount of stirring it requires would probably equal a day’s arm workout. And…

  • Doi Chicken, From the corner table, #fromthecornertable
    Tuck In

    Doi Chicken | Chicken in Yogurt Sauce

    Snippets of conversations tend to leave a mark on our thoughts, often popping up in our psyche at different stages of life. “As an individual, I have always wanted to create a legacy…,” a desire expressed by the founder of Readomania had struck a chord with me, leading to several moments of introspection about the notion of legacy and its various forms. Over the past two months, the family has seen mortality up close with the demise of family members and close friends. It has been especially difficult for my parents who had a special bond with each of these individuals. But the loss of my sister’s mother-in-law has shaken…