fromthecornertable, from the corner table, tuck in, mangsho ghughni, streetfood

Mangsho Ghughni | Mutton & Peas Curry

I’m still staggering under the number of sweets I’ve gorged on in the past few days. Diwali season was literally a ‘mithai season’ (sweets season) for me with sweets made at home, others’ homes and store-bought making their merry way into my system. I won’t insult your intelligence by insisting ‘I couldn’t say no’. Nope, I could have but I am a greedy…

from the corner table, #fromthecornertable, Maida Pakoda, #indiansnacks

Maida Pakoda | Flour Fritters

It was a gloomy monsoon evening, the skies overcast with thick clouds as raindrops lashed the glass panes, the howling winds a reminder of nature’s force. The parents were slumped before the television set, sipping on chai, as I sat on a sofa, struggling to concentrate on work. The sound of the doorbell jarred the gloom, the loud sound rousing us from…

Azeri KyuKyu | Herb-ed Omelette

There is something magical in the way eggs, whisked thoroughly, seasoned with a pinch of salt and cooked in a pat of butter or oil, can produce something as deceptively simple like an omelette. And I speak of the basic omelette. Type in the word ‘omelette’ in the search engine of your choice and it will throw up variants enough…

Aloo Posto | Potatoes in Creamy Poppy Seed Paste

“I’m about to board the flight/train. See you soon.”“Okay. By the way, what do you want for lunch/dinner?”“You know Maa! Moshuri daal, bhaat, ghee maakha aloo sheddo (red lentil soup, steamed rice, mashed potato seasoned with ghee and salt)” This conversation, or a version of it, is repeated each time I am on the way home after travelling for days/weeks/months.…

Aam Dal | Red Lentil & Raw Mango Soup

A news alert two days ago declared that the western part of India will experience monsoon “in 2-3 days”. This means me, along with scores of others, have joined a thousand others sending prayers to the rain gods! But until the rains arrive, I am busy enjoying the last of the mango rush. Like almost every Gujarati household – we…

A Newbie’s Guide to Azeri Cuisine #Chapter2

Did you know?# The process of making Azeri specialities dolma and flatbreads (lavash, katyrma, jupka, yufka) are inscribed in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.# Azerbaijan cuisine boasts of more than 30 types of soups.# Black caviar from the Caspian Sea is among the most sought after in the world. Azerbaijan boasts of human settlements dating…

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…

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 the Azeri social fabric. This is the drinking of chai or tea, served with some local or homemade fruit preserve that they call ‘jam’.

The mention of tea and jam in the same breadth will probably remind you of the famous Do-Re-Mi song from the classic movie The Sound of Music. Which might make you feel I’ve forgotten to write ‘bread’. But rest assured I have not!

The first time I was served tea and jam was on day one, after a gut bursting lunch. As the little crystal glass filled with the dark golden liquid floated towards me, I couldn’t help but think that the Gods and Goddesses of tea are working overtime to woo me over to their side. How else do you explain a coffee lover stumbling upon tea recipes (and trying them as you’ll read in Tale of Three Teas), venturing to the southern part of India to walk through the tea estates in Munnar (read Tales from Munnar) and then have a heart-to-heart with tea sommelier and artisan Snigdha (read Tea Time tête-à-tête)!

IMG_E4763, fromthecornertable, from the corner table, water chestnut halva, photo: gautam chakravarty

Singhade ka halva | Water Chestnut Halva

As the loved up ones make plans for Valentine’s Day, several households in India will be preparing for celebrations of a different kind. On February 13/14, devotees of Lord Shiva across the world will be observing Maha Shivaratri (the Great Night of Shiva). For ardent devotees, this means staying awake through the night chanting prayers, meditating and fasting. If there…