I hate change. As I reluctantly accept that we're in the midst of winter, I needed something to look forward to as we inch towards spring. For me, food is the answer. In fact, food is the answer to most questions. So as we move from one season to the next, I adapt by immersing in new discoveries, relentless failures and as a result, highly acclimatised taste buds. For few can match the warmth & comfort of a pretty plate of food.Read More
KYC [Kay. Vai. See] - Know.Your.Client. A common phrase in the Investment Banking world that refers to knowing detailed information about who you do business with. In our world, it is simply knowing who stirred the curry.
Last week, we launched the 29. KYC Dinner Series. A series of dinners focussed on learning, interacting, collaborating, sharing and of course...eating. Our first dinner was held with our favorites - the ever creative team at West Elm Market in Dumbo, Brooklyn - a spot that all food, condiments or table/dining ware fanatics like myself must must check out! Warning : it's hard to leave the store empty handed.Read More
It's been a while since I wrote about an event. I must be busy.
Someone asked me today whether my events are getting easier [and better] as I host more and more of them. It got me thinking about my first popup just a year ago. And boy (if I may say so myself), have I improved. From struggling to fill 10 seats, to 20 spots going off in a flash within 48 hours, I am inclined to think I must be doing something right. And learning. Still learning.Read More
Bun Omelette, true to it's name, is a soft bread roll smothered in butter and stuffed with the most delicious, spicy, omelette ever. It's a common street food in Northern India (although not the most hygienic!) and was a sporadic late night treat for us when my brother & I were home for the holidays from boarding school.Read More
The idea was born, the time came, and just as quickly, it was all over. But not for nothing.
Two months of hard work paid off last night, when 29. hosted it's first ever Supperclub dinner inside the West Elm Chelsea home-store in New York! 15 guests were treated to, apart from my non-stop banter, a tasting menu inspired by Indian cuisine. The story behind it all? What is 'home' to me. Oh, and if it's not already hard enough playing host + chef, I was also trying to be the event photographer!Read More
Ever since I can remember, I have disliked persimmons. What a way to start a recipe right? I know.
It's the classic tale of something I used to love as a child, probably overdosed on one season, and swore never to touch it again. It's amazing how memories remain embedded in your brain, enough to not want to taste that fruit/dish again, even though over time you forget why you disliked it in the first place. Such has been my relationship with this bright peach fruit - one of mysterious aversion.Read More
It's the 29th! What better a date than this to recap the 29. endeavors in 2014.
2014 was a special year for me. I completed my first full year as a chef. Yay! Swapping careers took a while, and despite the many times when I questioned the decision, I am happy to report that I am indeed exhilarated. This year was about growth, learning, accomplishments, partnerships and tiny milestones that mean a lot, yet keep me humble. The only drawback of being your own boss is that there is no team to throw a holiday party with! But I'd like to believe that I'm in part celebrating with hundreds of new friends I made in 2014. Wherever in the world they might be. (Are you listening folks?)Read More
“Like gulab jamuns, only not,
Like doughnut holes, not store bought.
A warm bite, with a dollop of cream
Life seems perfect, and not a wild dream.
Pop one in, before it rolls away
Drizzle with honey, on a warm Saturday.
Make them once, share a few
A recipe old, in avatar new..”
When life gives you Mascarpone, Tiramisu [however delicious!], is not all you need to make.
Staring at a bag of apples, a tub of mascarpone and a cupboard full of spices, I got thinking - spiced doughnuts! The only thing I did not want to use was cinnamon, since apple-cinnamon combo is such an overkill. So I went with cardamom - a favorite in every Indian pantry. Out popped these airy bite-sized donuts, with a warm crisp exterior, not too sweet, and subtle flavors of cardamom & apple. Almost like Kheer in a disguise. Mmmm...
The recipe is a keeper as you can make it with different flavors and serve with a variety of sprinkles & syrups to make it seasonal/suite the palate. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, they're so darn easy to make!
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 oz mascarpone, at room temperature
1 red apple, grated
4 green cardamoms, crushed
1 cup all purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp vanilla essence
1.5 tsp baking powder
¼ cup brown sugar
Coconut flakes/powdered sugar for sprinkling [optional]
1 teaspoon olive oil + Canola oil for deep frying
Heat a non-stick pan and add 1 teaspoon olive oil along with the apples, sugar and cardamom. Cook on medium-high flame till most of the liquid has evaporated, and the apples turn brown and pasty – about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Discard the cardamom skin.
Soften the mascarpone by mixing it slowly so it resembles whipped cream. Stir in the apple mixture and fold. Do not mix vigorously or over mix as the mascarpone might curdle. Mix enough just to combine. Refrigerate for 2 hours to let the cardamom infuse.
In a bowl, mix the flour and baking soda. Add the egg, essence and cardamom infused apple mascarpone prepared earlier. Mix until just combined. The batter will be quite thick & sticky, but don’t worry, that’s just how it’s supposed to be!
Heat oil for frying in a deep bottomed pan. Using a mini ice cream scoop, drop scoops of batter into the oil, and turn occasionally. Remove when golden brown. Drain on kitchen towels and sprinkle with powdered sugar or coconut flakes. Enjoy with a dollop of cream, chocolate syrup [yum!], jam or your favorite caramel!
"On the nineteenth day of June, we played it chic
In a space downtown, neat & slick
The table was laid, candles lit
Smiles were in, and frowns didn't fit
People twelve, came for 29.
Foodies at heart, and souls so fine,
They talked & laughed, over courses five
Left happy, with a little bag of spice
The night that started 2 months ago
Ended with pride, and much more
And after all the gratitude & love
All I want now, is to "pop" my feet up!"
The first of 29.'s PopUp dinners was a huge success! 12 people, 5 courses, and an experience that you can't put a number on.
The preps were grueling (specially for a single pair of hands!)
But the outcome? Well worth it all...
I did some rummaging around NYC for fresh off-the-tree (literally) berries & flowers, and I think the love showed on the plates! The food, bearing the usual 29. style, was well received by all the hungry guests. Phew...
Thank you to all who came, trusted me with their meal, and left with a smile that made me believe in myself just a little bit more. Here's to much more PopUp fun in the days to come!
"Egg oh egg, in all your might
Cook in seconds, and bind everything tight
Baked or fried, breakfast or lunch
You're pretty darn famous, that's my hunch!
Curries, salads & more, you have a special way
Asparagus might come & go, but you just stay.."
One of my biggest discoveries after moving to the US was how conscious people are about what they eat.
At first I thought it was a fad. But as I scanned grocery aisles, read unfamiliar brand names and suffered a few allergic reactions, I began to understand why people were so particular. Unlike Asia, where packaged food still has limited use in households and is very much limited to commercial dining, the US pretty much runs on it. And with that comes the safety associated with food labels. Thus, I'm always on a mission to create at home all that we see & love at restaurants - like these delectable mini taco shells!
Eggs, unfortunate for me as others say, have never been my favorite. Call it a grudge I carry from boarding school, or the sharp unique smell that has me staying miles away. But I do like experimenting with them - because they're so versatile, amazing in baking & can be adapted to taste. I noticed that if you sneak in a little masala into a regular egg recipe, it makes them much more [for me that is] palatable.
In the past I have baked a few brownie bites, scrambled some in my weekday fried rice, whipped up some quick macaroons, made my husband's favorite brunch frittata & even made a jar of mayonnaise, but these bite-sized appetizer with a filling of subtly spiced boiled egg salad made me reach for seconds. Yes, me!
You could just be lazy and use store-bought taco shells, but the marriage of slightly Indian [almost samosa like!] crust with a spiced eggs is one that, I believe, will make it through the tough times.
But hey, don't take my word for it. Try the recipe and decide for yourself!
For the Tacos [I made my own but you could just use store-bought]
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon carom seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Water to knead
Oil to fry
For the Egg filling
2 large eggs, boiled
1 teaspoon Sriracha
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
2 tablespoons fresh coriander, finely chopped
Salt & pepper
Make the Tacos
Mix the flour, salt, soda & carom seeds. Add the oil and mix with your fingers till it reaches the consistency of course sand. Add water, little at a time, and work into a smooth dough. Cover with a damp cloth and let it rest for 30 mins. Roll out the dough into a thin round and cut out 2-3" circles using a cookie cutter [the size depends on how large you'd like your tacos to be]. Coat with a little oil and line them up on a wire rack [see pic] so as to let them bake in a taco shape. Bake at 400 F for 10 minutes, till the shape is retained, and then drop into the hot oil for a quick fry. Drain on a paper towel and keep aside.
Make the filling
Mash the eggs well with a fork and mix with the remaining ingredients. Adjust seasoning and then add a dollop of the mixture into the taco shells. Sprinkle with paprika before serving.
A simple & delicate way to entertain a crowd. The recipe works so well for a canape brunch, or a simple cocktail party!
“Peeking from the leaves, looking as red as love,
They tempt me to be evil, and reach out to pluck.
Juicy & luscious, in my arms they lie,
Some I eat, some I save, for that oh-so-scrumptious pie!
But as I to my kitchen go, in pursuit of a treat mid-day,
I yearn to be creative, with my friends on the tray.
So I roll up my sleeves, and bring you this sweet,
That is just as much magic, as an apple on a tree…”
2 red apples, washed and grated
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
½ cup whole milk (optional)
½ cup water
1 teaspoon vegetable/coconut oil
1 teaspoon palm sugar, jaggery (shakkar/gud) or maple syrup (adjust to taste)
Heat oil in a deep-bottomed pan and add the grated apples. Cook stirring continuously till the apples become softer and most of the moisture has evaporated. Add the sweetener and cook for another 4-5 minutes till the sugar melts and apples soften further. They should start to get soft & pasty, almost like stewed apples. Now add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Continue to cook till the coconut milk has halved, and the apples are completely cooked. Now add the whole milk [optional] & water, and continue to cook on medium-low flame to bring to a second simmer. Let the mixture cook till it begins to thicken. Remove from heat, pour into serving dishes and chill for 1-2 hours. Sprinkle with cinnamon (or nuts) & serve chilled.
A gluten-free, sugar-free sweet treat that will make you wanting more!
Cook the apples only in coconut milk & water for a delicious vegan/paleo version!
Apples naturally contain a fair bit of sugar, so add less sweetener in the beginning, and adjust to your liking towards the end.
"Plates of bites savory, and those with spice
An echo of claps, or a room of smiles
Thank you notes, praises & song
Meeting strangers, bringing a friend along
Birthdays and reunions, food for thought
This is my life, the one I always sought..."
Working in the Investment Banking world was tiring. But only till the day I decided to swap it for a frying pan.
Running your own business, specially one related to food, is not child's play. From a multi-person corporate support system, you're suddenly down to being your own admin, sales, technician, social media specialist, event organizer, caterer and... dish washer. Hours of standing, less than plump pay checks, no public holidays and always having to smell of food are truly balanced by the little things my guests do. They don't know it, but every tiny gesture goes a hellafa long way. That request for a signed menu, laughing at my attempted jokes, an almost standing ovation, a flattering blog post or a simple gratifying smile - these are the things that make me do what I do. These are the things that make being a chef worthwhile!
And if it isn't already fun enough, along comes the visiting best friend who happens to also be a brilliant photographer. In a month that is swamped with dinners & events, I could think of no better way to show my love, than to make her work a little ;). Below is proof of the stunning genius that she is, a master of capturing every tasty moment! Oh, and she also makes a remarkable sous chef! Do give Gayatri Nair Photography a look, and for those about to get married, you should know that you need her there for your special day.
Some people call my work face serious. I call it focus for deliciousness. Happy Thursday!
Check out some recent reviews of my dining experiences via Sanura Weathers on her award winning blog: My Life Runs on Food & Ohneka Farm's most talented blogger: Navriti Sood. Contact Me to setup a private tasting or visit Events for upcoming dinners in NYC.