Summer is all about cool drinks. From bubbles to lemonades, everyone brings out their A game to create their own versions of the best thirst-quenching, throat soothing, ice crackling jugs of flavour. Summer is also about outdoor activities, public spaces, and germs. Lots of germs. So for this recipe, I decided to fuse the ever popular Indian Nimbu Pani (sweet & salty lemonade) with a touch of health. After all, what could be better than having your lemonade and drinking health too ;)Read More
My earliest memories of chai are not of drinking it, but dunking in it. As a child, we weren’t allowed to indulge in this adult-only staple of most Indian households. However, when our parents felt generous, we did get to occasionally dip our biscuits in their morning cuppa. Or even let a couple of almonds soak at the bottom, while they read those boring newspapers, only to have the nuts warm and chai-spice blanched by the time they got through their cups. We had a system, I used mom’s cup and my brother got dads’. And such days were special. For not only were we allowed a taste of tradition, but also got to sit beside them, like adults, in this morning routine – a routine we often considered so secret that we were convinced it was this very time all discussions barred from our tiny ears took place. It was when the parents plotted our punishments, reviewed our school performances, criticized those friends they didn’t approve of, and in our case, contemplated if we should be sent to boarding school. And here we were, dunking our Parle-G biscuits in their tea, getting an opportunity to eavesdrop. Oh, bliss.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
Did you know beetroot leaves are edible? Yes sir! The young ones can be eaten raw, and as they get older it is advisable to cook/sauté them as you would do with spinach. Packed with vitamins and other nutrients, 1 medium beetroot – leaf, stalk & root et all helps boost immunity, fight infections, lower blood pressure and increase red blood cells. Aren’t those enough reasons to add it to your next meal?
And if you cook it like I did, you won’t care how healthy it is. You’ll just want more.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
Soup - people love it or hate it. But given the ease and practically no-recipe for coming up with these concoctions (not to mention the health factor!), I had to put this recipe up.
I was waiting for a cousin to come home for dinner. She had been on a vacation, and I wanted to give her something healthy to eat after all the junk on the road. At the same time, I wanted to empty my refrigerator before I left for holiday [chuckle!]. That combination, my friends, turned out to be pretty magical. I pulled out everything from my vegetable tray and created this recipe as I went along. The music definitely helped ;). With bold Indian flavors, a hint of spice & all the 'green' from the veggies, this bowl of deliciousness was too tempting to pass on while I worked on the photos. Honestly, I didn't expect it turn out as good! Slurp.Read More
"Grapes are a favorite, and not only as wine,
I love them as a snack, natural & fine
Sweet as Fall, they create a soup swell
Raw, vegan, glutenfree, and sugar-free as well!
Just blend it all up, with spices favorite few
Leave it to chill, and there's a recipe new
Not complicated, doesn't take all your time free
Delicious & easy, as easy as cooking can be!"
1 pound seedless green grapes
1 inch piece of fresh ginger
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
6-8 fresh mint leaves
1/4 teaspoon paprika/chili powder (adjust to taste)
1/4 teaspoon black salt/rock salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Pinch of salt
Wash the grapes and remove from stem. Put in a blender along with ginger, lemon juice & mint. Blend till smooth. Stir in all the dry spices (adjust seasoning to taste) and refrigerate for 2-4 hours. Serve chilled.
Yes, that's it!
A refreshing, raw and uber healthy soup to accompany your fall table.
“I love biting into a ripe peach
That smells of summer, and the beach,
With juices that trickle down the chin
As I bend over the kitchen sink.
I eat one, then two, then three
And wish I had a peach tree,
I’d then dip them in syrup, bake a pie
Blend into a smoothie, or try in chai
Make chutney, perhaps pickle a few
Brew up this rasam, and serve to you!”
4 ripe peaches - peeled, de-seeded and quartered
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes or paprika
½ teaspoon roasted cumin powder
½ teaspoon dry mango powder
¼ teaspoon black/rock salt
Pinch of salt
Sugar to taste (only if the peaches are not sweet enough)
2-3 mint leaves, roughly torn
Blend the peaches with ½ cup water.
Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and cook till they begin to splutter. Stir in all the dry spices, mint leaves and peach puree. Bring to a slight simmer & remove from heat immediately. Adjust sugar/seasoning and refrigerate overnight. Serve chilled.
“Oh how I love summer, it’s sun & swings
The chime of the truck, when ice-cream vendors’ sing
A lick of flavor, as it drips down my elbow
That treat I get, for every finished chore
Red, yellow, green, a flavor for every color I know
But mummy says, she can make many many more..
So this fall, I’ll keep the warmth in my heart
With a freezer full of popsicles, sweet, spicy and tart!”
Popsicles - a chef's way of preserving summer.
Fall is on it's way. And before you know it, all the colors around us will fade into brown. A beautiful brown. But nevertheless, brown. So this year I have decided to keep my warm fuzzy memories of summer in frozen treats!
There are a million ways to make popsicles. And most too-easy-to-need-a-recipe. Take a drink you like, and freeze it. Seriously. But then you can get fancy, without making it too complicated, and here are some of the lickingly-delish combinations I tried this season.
A classic combination, with a little twist. One of my favorites!
Banana, Coconut & Burnt Sugar
2 bananas, cut into pieces
½ cup whole milk
2 teaspoons burnt sugar, palm sugar or thick caramel
2 tablespoons coconut flakes
Throw everything into a blender and pulse till smooth. Put into moulds and freeze for 6-8 hours or overnight.
For those who like a kick, even in their iced treats!
Mango Paprika & Lime
1 large mango (more ripe the better)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon sugar (or to taste) – only if the mango isn’t sweet enough.
Throw everything into a blender and pulse till smooth. Put into moulds and freeze for 6-8 hours or overnight.
The tartness of red cherries with cream is a match made in heaven. Oh, and it creates such a beautiful color!
Red Cherry & Cream
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted
½ cup whipping cream
¼ cup whole milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons brown sugar (more if the cherries are sour)
Blend the cherries, maple syrup & sugar till smooth. Add a few teaspoons of water if required. Add the milk and give it a few more pulses.
Whip the cream till soft peaks form. Fold the cream into the cherry mixture till smooth. Don’t over mix or the cherries might curdle the cream. Put into moulds and freeze for 6-8 hours or overnight.
Too hot to drink your chai? Well you can lick on it instead.
½ cup heavy whipping cream
2 green cardamom pods
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
2 teaspoons black tea leaves
¼ cup water
2 teaspoons sugar (or more – depends how sweet you like your tea!)
Crush the cardamom, cloves & fennel coarsely in a grinder (you can also do with a mortar & pestle). Mix the cream, milk & water and bring to a simmer – do not let it boil or the cream might curdle. Add the tea leaves, crushed spices and sugar and simmer for a few minutes till you get a golden brown color. Remove from heat and cool the mixture a little. Stir in the ginger and bring to a second simmer. Adjust sweetness and strain into moulds. Freeze for 6-8 hours or overnight.
Every summer has a story. Mine is soaked in spice, color & laughter.
Yes, it may not be over, but the end of warm months is nigh. And before I go on holiday, I want to leave you with glimpses of some of my past dinners. The flowers, berries, sunny days and sweet compliments sure inspired me to roll out one event after another. And with that came many a new dish. Some good, some amazing and those that just got by. But each plate was a learning experience.
"It starts with the lists, grueling with many a slip...
On to the little wins, that welcome the guests as they step in...
I might be the host of the night, but it's the food that steals the show at every bite
And sometimes I am caught in a moment deep, or a note that makes me weep!
And when the sweet does come into sight, you gotta see the guest's plight!
Hopeful, happy or just hungry, whatever your emotional yearning may be
Don't wait for a friend or two, come join my table already will you!"
"I sink my teeth in, spit out the seeds black
Happiness in all it's glory, oh gee summer is back!
Juice it, eat it, mix in salad or freeze for fun
All the things I can do, to beat the cruel sun.
And it's healthy, oh boy the nutrition within
The juice that drips with each bite, keeps away all sin!
Filling, refreshing, a delicious snack of choice
Love thy watermelon, says my inner voice...."
Watermelon is summer.
Crisp, juice & full of nutrition, it is not only a thirst quencher, but also an excellent cocktail mixer, hors d'oeuvre bite and 1-ingredient popsicle! Not convinced? Go ahead and try it for yourself....
1 medium watermelon
1 small cucumber
6-8 mint fresh leaves
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 bottle of a light, crisp & fruity white wine (sauvignon blanc / pinot grigio)
A pinch of rock salt
Cut 1/2 the watermelon into small 2-3" cubes and freeze in an ice tray for 5-6 hours. These, in itself, makes pretty delicious popsicles, so make sure you save some for the cocktail! Cut the remaining watermelon into larger pieces and keep aside.
Slice the cucumber in half, discard the seeds and cut into smaller pieces. Blend the cucumber together with 6-8 frozen watermelon cubes, bigger watermelon pieces, mint leaves & lemon juice. Pass through a sieve to discard any solids, and season with a pinch or two of rock salt.
When ready to serve, fill your flutes 1/2 way with white wine, top with the watermelon juice and finish it off with a splash of soda. Garnish with mint leaves and a couple of watermelon cubes - this not only keeps your drink chilled for longer, but also is quite a satisfying bite in the end.
There it is, summer in your mouth!
"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!
Bunny Chow at The Grove, Chatsworth Centre: Bunny chow! Where do I even start. Legend has it when Indians first migrated to South Africa, as laborers in the sugarcane plantations, they required a meal that was not only wholesome & flavorful (yes, we Indians have very strict palates), but also easy enough to carry to the field. Think grains, meat, bread etc. That's when the ladies decided to hollow a loaf of bread, and package the curry inside for them to carry. Pretty brilliant if you ask me. And definitely delicious! Anyway, Bunny Chow is somewhat of a culture in Durban. With each spot vouching to serve the 'hottest curry in town', there are a handful that the locals love. The Grove, situated in the old Indian area of Durban, is one such place. Don't expect an ambience when you go here. Walk in, take your pick from the extensive menu, wait with bated breath for it to arrive and then devour it with all your might. You might need a few bottles of water and a handful of wet wipes on the side. But the feeling in the end of it all will make you float. Spice lovers, your satisfaction is guaranteed.
If you just promise to eat...."
Check our upcoming events or contact us to book a private tasting today!
Come join me in my next culinary adventure. You will leave fascinated, full and with a range of new ideas you never thought you needed!