India once had a Minister for the Kitchen, and he reported directly to the Prime Minister.
This man with the fascinating job—actually it may have been a very demanding job; death was one punishment for failure—had a multinational staff. He had his own budget, an independent accounts department and ran an army of cooks, tasters, attendants, bearers and other sundry designations. Like the government’s Special Secretaries of today, there was a Special Officer for betel nut. Yes, paan. Read more
My brutally frank wife says it stinks. My in-laws are more polite. A wan smile and a firm “no thanks” is all I get when I offer the Sindhi part of my family that fragrant, crunchy coastal delicacy – sukat.
You know those iconic images of Mumbai you see in coffee table books: A wooden trawler and fishermen mending nets framed against fish strung out to dry on clothes lines? Those photos of shrimp being dried on pavements by fisherwomen in their colourful nine-yard saris? Read more
I am really quite reticent about my cooking.
No, really. I am.
My wife, friends and parents believe I’m more than a decent cook. “Oh, he’s a great cook,” they say with no great impartiality. Read more
Last week, I wrote out a recipe for a fish curry that combined ingredients from Kerala and Goa.
Since then, I’ve had many requests for a basic Goan fish-curry recipe. Here’s the quickest, easiest way to make a Goan fish curry at home.) Read more
Fish, to taste right, must swim three times—in water, in butter and in wine.
So says a Polish proverb. The problem, of course, is that Poles are not born on the Konkan or Coromandel coast, where fish, to taste right, must swim twice—in water and in coconut milk. Read more
Wow! That was HOT.
I just had a taste of the world’s hottest chilly, the Naga chilli, also called the Bhoot Jolokia in Assam (bhoot for ghost, perhaps a reference to its otherworldly fire). It was, with no exception, the hottest I have ever tasted. Read more