Dashain Pop-up and Nepali Food at Gitika’s Pakghor

I grew up in a city – Gorakhpur – that practically shares its border with Nepal. I have visited Nepal a couple of times as a kid and recently with family, but it was in Mumbai at an Assamese house that I had my first taste of real Nepalese food.

Gitika Saikia’s latest pop-up brings to the fore the food eaten by Nepalese during 15 day long festival of Dashain or Durga Puja. Divided into 5 courses, the meal include traditional festive food along with staple Nepali food. I attended the first pop-up yesterday and here’s what you can expect in the next pop-up which Gitika will host on the 15th of October. Tickets are available on www.insider.in

Dashain Meal at Gitika's Pakghor

Dashain Meal at Gitika’s Pakghor

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Whole Wheat Bread – Crumbs: The Literary Kitchen #8 – Blogversary Giveaway

“Remember, the bread you meet each day is still rising. Don’t scare the dough.”
– Macrina Wiederkehr

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Update on the Giveaway Contest – This contest is closed now and the lucky winner to get Saee’s book Crumbs is Raghav Modi. Congratulations!

I don’t remember exactly when I fell in love with baking breads. I have been making my own pizza for quite some time now and had baked my first Challah (Jewish Sabbath bread) a few years ago. But, it wasn’t until I baked my first multigrain loaf that I started to understand the science and technique behind bread baking. Still, using a convection microwave would just not end in satisfactory results. My baker friends would keep talking about the upsides of using an OTG (Oven Toaster Griller) and I would end up hating the microwave oven a bit more every day. A few weeks ago, after moving into a new house, I invested in a Morphy Richards OTG and inaugurated it with a whole wheat focaccia from Saee Koranne-Khandekar’s book Crumbs. It’s a gem of a book for perfect baking in Indian conditions; read more about it here. Continue reading

A real Koli meal in Versova’s Koli Village with Authenticook

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon a bunch of enthusiastic people who run a food-based start-up that promotes regional Indian cuisine. Authenticook – launched sometime in late 2015 by bankers Ameya Deshpande and Priyanka Deshpande, advertising professional Sai Ghatpande and consultant Aneesh Dhairyawan – focuses on the cuisines of various communities through home dining experiences. The meals are hosted at the homes of people from various communities like the Koli, Pathare Prabhu, Bohri Muslim or Tulu Nadu Mangaloreans, so the food that you get to taste is 100 per cent true to that community or region.

I attended the Koli pop-up hosted by home chef Rajini who stays deep inside the Versoval Koli village. We met the Authenticook crew at the entrance of the village and walked through the tiny by lanes, colourful houses and wedding preparations (yep, there were two happening simultaneously) to our host’s house. The aroma of fried fish and hot bhakris filled our nostrils even before we entered the house which had a kitchen as big as my living room.

Fish thali at Koli lunch with Authenticook

Fish thali at Koli lunch with Authenticook

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Andhra Thali at Gonguura, Juhu

Andhra thali at Gonguura

I have tremendous respect for people who work towards making regional food more popular, and that’s what keeps taking me to Gitika Saikia’s Assamese pop-ups or at Rushina’s APB Cook Studio (you should check out her Culinary Legacy series). Recently, I met another such passionate foodie who gave Mumbai its first Andhra restaurant.

Srividya, the owner of Gonguura in Juhu, is extremely soft-spoken and talks about her cuisine with a glint in her eyes. I had a long chat with her over an Andhra thali, where she introduced me to the vegetarian Andhra food. Continue reading

Inside Bombay’s Trendier Canteen

As the nostalgia-evoking restaurant turns one, we get inside its head.

Yash Bhanage and Sameer Seth of The Bombay Canteen

Yash Bhanage and Sameer Seth of The Bombay Canteen


It’s been a year since the team of two young friends – Sameer Seth and Yash Bhanage – along with a younger chef – Thomas Zacharias – and the world renowned chef Floyd Cardoz, gave us The Bombay Canteen. If you love Indian regional food, you’d take certain pride in what the restaurant has done with it. Picking up local vegetables (the ones you wouldn’t take a second look at) and re-creating them in a way that you would stop, take a look, try and go for seconds.

The Lower Parel restaurant, which celebrates its first anniversary on 11th February, took nostalgia as its cue and built from there. The old-bungalow-meets-canteen theme – inspiration for which comes from a blue bungalow on Bandra’s Turner Road – was an instant hit among the local diners. They put pulled pork on theplas (no Gujaratis were offended there, thankfully) to create Desi Tacos and worked with guava to make a fine tart. Continue reading