26/11 Anniversary

We were not to know what lay ahead on 26 November 2008.

We never know what the day ahead will have in store for us anyway. We always hope to have a nice day and get things done, push the goals, and live life to the best.

But last year, this date’s night was horrendous. The terrorists had a master plan with five major targets in South Mumbai – two of them being important and landmark buildings of the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel and the Oberoi (Trident) Hotel. These are not mere buildings. They are historic icons not only for Mumbai but for the entire nation. This was the reason why these were chosen as the targets. Amongst the people at the receiving end of the terrorists’ bullets, there were my professional colleagues. And if you remember, the entire staff of Taj and Oberoi faced the challenge of safeguarding the lives of their guests first, before theirs, and in doing so many brethren lost their lives. Chef Banja, Chef Borris and Chef Kaizad known to me are not with us anymore. My heart goes to their families and everyone else who died facing bullets.

We all love life. That is why I would like to say do not nurse any hatred for those who have done these dastardly acts. Instead, use your energies to pray – pray that better sense prevails. In such a troubled time, how I wish Mahatma Gandhi was amongst us to guide us. Leaders like him become more relevant in such situations. What are the lessons for us? That though such a situation may rise again, however much is the security and the preparation, the difference has to be in reaction and in response time. Let’s make our contribution, however small, instead of showing complacency and complaining.

Sanjeev Kapoor.

In Jakarta for the Food Festival, enjoyed some Indonesian food, launch of ‘Flavours of the Orient’

Local time here and IST has only a difference of 90 minutes (Jakarta is ahead!). This morning began with a cup of the world’s most unusual and expensive coffee called Kopi Luwak. It has a strong coffee taste with a hint of caramel.

Yesterday had regular Indonesian food that uses potatoes with as much enthusiasm as Indian food. Check out the simple and tasty Indonesian Potatoes. As it is ‘fruit’ season in Mumbai, there is a lot of pineapple available. I am recommending this Indonesian Pineapple Curry for you. Coconut looms large in almost all the food here but I thoroughly enjoyed the Pancakes with sweet coconut.

My recently launched book Flavours of the Orient will be able to help you out with more pan-Asian recipes. Tonight am demonstrating the Fish Roll Ghassi which will entail rolling up marinated prawns in fish fillet, wrapping them in foil, steaming them and then immersing them in ghassi. Nice? I think it will be a delight to make for a live audience!

More later. Still haven’t been able to tell you much about the Texas food from my Dallas trip!

Sanjeev Kapoor

Zee TV Little Champs; New Book – Flavours of the Orient

After a long time I can say that I had a nice eased out weekend. Friday night I attended the Zee TV Little Champs Finale at Andheri Sports Complex. If I were to write about the traffic jams, I could fill up this space! But no complaints, because the programme and talented kids were worth all the effort.

Tried a flavourful mushroom and chicken biryani on Sunday and as it was created as I chopped and cleaned, I have yet to document the recipe! Talking of documentation, my latest book Flavours of the Orient is ready for its launch in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Going to these places end of this month.

My new book is all about Pan-Asian cuisine being a delicious fusion of flavours from all over Asia including Thai, Japanese, Malaysian, Chinese, Vietnamese and Indian dishes. It is not for nothing that these countries are collectively nicknamed the Exotic East. All spices and indigenous ingredients come together in woks and pans to create unique dishes that have no match in any other cuisine. Here I would like to mention that I have not included Indian dishes under the pan Asian realm. Though it is correct to say that India is to be counted as a part of pan-Asian but the contents of these pages emphasise on countries that are our neighbours as I have written numerous special books on Indian cuisine.

Well, there is more in store for you! Catch you later.

Sanjeev Kapoor