At his new cafe Matt & Meera in Hoboken, NJ, noted chef Hari Nayak has Indianized American comfort foods with spices and ingredients. Here he shares his recipes for the Matt & Meera Lamb Burgers and masala chips, which are baked, not fried. Ah, the little bonuses in life!
There are not too many chefs who can cook for humans and the gods with equal panache but New York chef Vikas Khanna is certainly one of them. He has helped cook langar at the Golden Temple, exchanged hugs with Amma and also created gourmet dishes at the high-end New York restaurant, Junoon. Not to mention cooking a Satvic meal at the White House!
Yet this celebrity chef started out unsung and unknown in a simple, middle-class family in Amritsar. Growing up, Vikas’ life was different from that of other kids who would be running around, playing cricket and climbing trees. He had a disability as his feet were not aligned.
“Where I found my shelter was in the kitchen. Simple, home-cooked meals became like prasad for me, and Biji, my grandmother, my priest. She didn’t teach me recipes, she taught me the power of food to heal, to connect people.”
Summer is here and it’s a great time to indulge in the beauty of Central Park or just window shop in the dream stores down Fifth Avenue. There’s also a delightful place, a hidden gem, to sit down and rest your tired feet, chat with friends and grab a drink. The place is the Two E Bar and lounge at the Pierre, which is part of the Taj Group. Few people know of this intimate spot in the city where you can enjoy cocktails away from the madding crowd. Now every Tuesday you get to hear Jazz and drink cocktails inspired by Mad Men.
Foodies, there’s yet another new Indian restaurant in Manhattan – Benares, a cool, contemporary space where you can indulge in regional specialties from many parts of India. In a preview peek at the new eatery which seats 89 diners, one is struck by the sleek, haldi-yellow interiors highlighted by multicolored lamps and beautiful old Benarsi saris framed on the walls.
Peter Beck, who’s previously cooked up a storm in the kitchens of New York restaurants Chola and Tamarind, is the chef at Benares. The name Benares gets you slightly off-kilter – isn’t that city supposed to be a vegetarian paradise? This Benares has everything from seafood to Cornish hens to red meat in abundance, besides meatless fare.
“The Nowruz dinner is especially meaningful to me, as I am a practicing Zoroastrian and grew up relishing this fare. Today, my love for ingredients and spices is largely influenced by this cuisine, and I look forward to sharing these wonderful gastronomic delights,” says Jehangir Mehta, chef at Mehtaphor and Graffiti, who is recreating those tastes for New Yorkers with a celebration of Nowruz, the Persian New Year tomorrow.
If someone had told me that by lunch time I’d be sitting in a houseboat on the backwaters of Kerala, eating from a banana leaf, I’d have been highly skeptical. After all, I was right in the middle of Delhi’s buzzing mall culture. Well, that’s where Zambar is located, landlocked in the middle of retail heaven. It is one of the fun and innovative eating spots in the burgeoning mall culture of Indian cities.
And if you thought that food from the South means just dosa, idli, and sambar, Zambar is a delicious eye-opener. This fine dining spot celebrates the Southern coastal cuisine of four states – Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka.
Zambar, a restaurant in Vasant Kunj in New Delhi, is an exploration into South Indian coastal cuisine, highlighting the catch of the seas – prawns, fish and crab with authentic recipes from the four southern states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka. The dishes are a union between fresh seafood and pungent spices and ingredients including lime, tamarind, chilies, peppers and coconut milk. So till you can get to go and try Zambar yourself, here are two recipes for you from the chef to try at home.
Inundated with new cuisines, new restaurants and new foods? Then you need an antidote to the craziness of the Delhi food scene where new eateries crop up all the time. You need to take a walk back into time. You need to visit Embassy, around since 1948.
Haven’t heard of it? Well, if you are a Delhite, you surely know it. It’s the ancient gastronomic heaven where you go to binge on food that is delicious, is reasonably priced – and also invokes memories with each spoonful. After all, the restaurant has been around for six decades with its curious blend of dishes. Where else would you get Bomb de Moscova, Amritsari Macchi, Chicken Strognoff and unmatchable chole bhature and chicken chaat – all on the same table?