Cooking Challenge in Dubai

Returned last night from a good business trip to Georgia – had a great time exploring a new country as well!

Thought I might as well relax a bit because just after this is my next trip.  I am flying out to Dubai tonight with Alyona and a few of my team mates.  While in Dubai, I will be addressing the Press Conference of Sadia UAE Ramadan Cooking Challenge 2012 that will be aired, prime time, during Ramadan and Eid exclusively on Etisalat’s emasala, emasala+2 channels and my channel FoodFood.
Here’s the gist about the show – the Sadia UAE Ramadan Cooking Challenge 2012, co-presented and judged by Saba Wahid, a prominent TV personality and culinary expert, will be shot at Meydan Hotel, the exclusive venue for the world’s richest horse race – The Dubai World Cup. The show will comprise 30 episodes where the contestants will be challenged to bring out the hidden flavours of the Middle East, South Asia and other regions. The Grand Finale is scheduled to be aired on the day of Eid and the final contestants will be judged by me, along with Master Chefs from The Meydan Hotel and Gaurav Tandon, one of the most celebrated Asian food critics in the Middle East. The grand finale will be wrapped up with an evening filled with food festivities.
I have a soft spot for Dubai, for sure. Fifteen years ago, my first restaurant came into this world, that is, in Dubai. Now my TV channel FoodFood, which is just over a year old, is doing its first big international collaboration in the form of Sadia UAE Ramadan Cooking Challenge 2012! UAE and its residents have a special place in my heart and this association is just the beginning of a long journey. I am greatly looking forward to this event with excitement and enthusiasm!
There’s more! In office the photoshoot for the upcoming book on Chocolates has begun. Photographer Bharat Bhirangi alongwith his team are working on creating some beautiful shots with the chocolate recipes. Just got a nice shot of ‘Death by Chocolate.’ Looks absolutely sinful, so sharing with you all as well!
As the mood is too Middle Eastern, let me share some recipes from that part of the world…

Lebanese Kibbeh

Till I write again
Sanjeev Kapoor.

Let’s go to Goa!

How can one overlook beautiful Goa when in search of Indian food recipes? Close to Mumbai, Goa is a tourist’s paradise which becomes more verdant in the rainy season. When it rains in Goa, the rivers become bubblier than before, the leaves on the trees are sparkling clean and the wind chimes through them musically. To a new visitor,   monsoon in Goa is full of surprises – it can mean sudden bursts of torrential downpours that usually last for a short time, although there are occasional periods when it rains for hours on end. These sudden bursts are always succeeded by bright sunshine that lights up the countryside in brilliant colours.
Being close to Arabian Sea, Goa boasts of excellent seafood which add an excellent list toIndian food recipes. The fresh supply of seafood and coconuts dominate delicacies of Goa. During the monsoon, from mid June till end September, fresh fish is scarce and people have to be satisfied with fish caught in the rivers and creeks. During this season, it is salted shrimps and mackerels (prepared in numerous mouth watering ways) that find their way to the family table. It’s ‘no-fishing’ time during the months of rain and the fish loving locals are well prepared. They dry, salt and store seafood to use when there is no fresh catch of the day.
The requisites for authentic Goan cooking are certain ingredients peculiar to it like triphala and kokum. Hardly any Goan dish is complete without coconut as one of its main flavouring agents. Fresh coconut, in one form or other is added. Fish ambotik served with rice is one of my favourite combinations.
A Goan wedding is a many splendoured affair. The wedding ceremony comprises of a number of rituals and the end of which the guests and the hosts partake of a sumptuous meal the menu of which is more or less fixed.  It comprises of lonche (pickle), papad, coconut chutney, koshimbir, muga gathi (a gravied dish of whole green gram), batata bhaji, bhajee (vegetable fritters), panchamrut (a sweet sour chutney of coconut and dry fruits), varan bhaatmasale bhaat, jalebi, shrikhand and finally rounded off with tival (kokum extract tempered with mustard, asafoetida and curry leaves).
 The various influences have made the Goan cuisine an interesting blend of tastes as a result of which it has a phenomenal repertoire of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies.  Though the recipes and techniques of the two major communities – Hindu and Christian – are different but as a rule the cuisine that comes under the umbrella of Goan is simple but chilli hot and spicy. Traditionally the food is cooked on wood fires in clay pots that are fired by the village potter.  Though in the modern times, quite a few Goans have had to leave their land in search of greener pastures, they still get homesick for the smoky flavor of the fish curry and rice that get their distinct taste being cooked in crowded sweaty, smoky kitchens in earthenware pots over wood fires, a tribute to the legacy of Indian food recipes.

It’s travel time again!

Finally the rains have arrived big time! The weather has just become marvelous with the continuous downpour since two days, and I’m back to my normal travel routine…
Left for Georgia last night, with Alyona and a few associates for business purposes and explore new avenues in it. Hoping to discover the country as well besides the work schedule as I will be staying there for this week. Just after I come back to Mumbai on July 10, 2012, immediately the next day, will be my trip to Dubai for my channel FoodFood’s event.
Other things – had a great time with my brother and his family as they were in town last weekend. I cooked up Laksa for the Sunday lunch and we all enjoyed it together. The weather was also just perfect to accompany with it.
Monday began with a puja for the new office as Indian Cookery Private Limited (ICPL) shifted in our premises. I was there with some of my team members and we relished some delectable snacks that were served with the high-tea. Then, in the night I had a delicious Sindhi dinner at one of my close friend’s house. All-in-all a good time!
More to come as the days pass by, but for now let’s enjoy some piping hot soups perfectly suited for the rainy season…

Balinese Vegetable Soup
Chicken Noodle Soup
Gajar Shorba with Crisp Spinach and Toasted Sesame 

Till I write again
Sanjeev Kapoor.