This evening will be attending the Varli Food Festival. This will be one of the final events before I start out for home. It has been a pleasant and exploratory experience for me – all these days I have been on the move and extremely motivated by the love, people have for Indian food and how intrigued they are with the recipes….my book How to Cook Indian has hit the right spot! Sending some pictures of the enjoyable evening at Indique Heights with Chef KN Vinod being the most gracious host. I had a very nice time with recipes from the book being presented by Indique Heights chefs, Abraham Varghese and Sivaraman Balamurugan. Chef Vinod made the food more delectable by passing around his inhouse specialties of Tamarind Margarita and Hot Passion. He also used this opportunity to introduce some elegant Nasik wines from India. The restaurant had a lot of enthusiastic guests who not only relished the food but also loved some photo ops with me!
Most people don’t know that Chef Vinod is not only my friend but has also been my boss some 25 years ago! I had just got out of catering school in Delhi and came to the Ashok Hotel group. We cooked for thousands of people, for weddings and conferences. He was amazing, intelligent and caring – at a time when chefs weren’t sharing information with each other, he did so. Chef Vinod introduced me to food writer and cookbook author Monica Bhide about five years ago. She was quite helpful in advising us about what would and wouldn’t work in US with regard to ingredients and all. I told her I didn’t want to tone down the Indian-ness of these recipes. The result is a book that is progressive, yet authentic.
With Chef Vinod
Take for example, a recipe called Tender Coconut and Cashew Curry. This recipes calls for tender green cashews as well as tender green coconut. Now, both these are not readily available in the States. So, I made a Kolambi Cashew Curry. This particular recipe is substantially different from its original incarnation. But I couldn’t do this book and not include this dish! So, I got the suggestion that I use shrimps instead of coconut. To approximate the texture of Indian cashews that are soft and almost creamy, we used soaked raw cashews in very warm water, then drained them. I cooked this dish for Bonnie S Benwick of Washington DC in the kitchens of Indique Heights over a short Q and A session.
Cooking Kolambi Cashew Curry for Washinton Post
Book Signing at Indique Hieghts.
While I am writing this, a confirmation has come in. My section with Rachael Ray will be aired Thursday, April 14th at 10:00 am on ABC in NYC. Catch it! Also, How to Cook Indian is available online:
Order your copies now!
In the meantime enjoy these…
Till I write again.