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Culture in India

Indian cuisines and Independence Day musings

Unity in diversity may sound cliched, but it is exactly that defined Indid’s culinary heritage By Anoothi Vishal If you happened to be in Hyderabad and decided to go on a biryani crawl—a hopping expedition across restaurants and clubs, big fat wedding dinners (where indeed some of the best is to be had) and small [...]

Contemporarise, don’t cardboardise!

Why are chefs at Amarata, the Oberoi’s contemporary coastal restaurant shying away from the soul of Indian cooking? By Anoothi Vishal What is the future of Indian food in India? This is a question that is often debated by chefs, restaurateurs and foodies. And clearly, looking at the spate of big launches in the last [...]

Buddhist New Year, Hindu New Year and songs of spring

Discovering a little bit of India in Thailand By Anoothi Vishal At Khao San Road, Bangkok, backpacker-paradise, buckets are in big demand. “Buy a bucket…***” say placards, and not necessarily in polite terms, even as you jostle through the impossible crowd, boisterous and high-spirited. It’s the spirit of Songkran, you soon realize, rather like Holi [...]

The Hyderabad Eatathon: It’s not just about biryani

By Anoothi Vishal An old immersion myth tells the story of Narada asking to be shown “maya”, that illusory, creative force driving life, according to Hindu philosophy. It’s not an easy concept to understand — much less to accept. But the sage gets a “test drive” one day when he takes a dip in the [...]

Monsoon cuisines of India

Curating a monsoon food and art festival at The Park New Delhi has been fun and a good learning experience. I discovered the importance of seasonal foods in our cooking traditions… Seasonal diets have always been an intrinsic part of Indian regional cuisine(s). While we may not have had codified “kitchen literature”, and recipes and [...]

Mathur food festival at Fire, The Park, New Delhi

Often labeled “sharabi-kebabi” or “adhe Mussalman” (half Muslim) because of their gastronomic adventurousness, the Mathur-Kayasthas have always considered themselves to be sophisticates, well versed in matters cultural—and culinary. Often, in a household, the passion for music (or dramatics and urdu poetry) would only be overshadowed by an interest in food, with dining room conversations routinely [...]

Paya, paella and some omlette talk

How to serve up trotters… and the best of eggs… By Anoothi Vishal “By the way, Chandra can now cook the perfect paya,” said uncle-in-law, who can be quite the intimidating editor with a fondness for all things food and French. Chandra is his cook, an affable pahari lady who has withstood perfection in the [...]

How to plan your trip to Ladakh

Most seasoned travelers would swear by a road trip to Ladakh via Rohtang or Kashmir as the ultimate in biking expedition in India. But for those suffering from back problems, time constraints or simply a less adventurous streak, there is an ultimate in flying experience too offered by most private and government airlines: This is [...]

Cuisine of the Mughals: Akbar (1542-1605)

Akbar (1542-1605) Akbar’s childhood was spent in present day Afghanistan. From his Persian mother, he inherited princely manners, his love for literature and the arts. And from his Turkish father came his fierce energy, his love for war and his ability to command. Later, he learned to absorb what was genuinely Indian. The Ain-i-Akbari, a [...]

Cuisine of the Mughals: Humayun (1508-1556)

Humayun (1508-1556) Humayun, the beloved father of Akbar, ascended the throne amidst great festivities in 1530. He had acquired proficiency in the arts and science in his early years. He was very fond of poetry and had great skill in that. He was also adept at astronomy and in geography. Persian craftsmen, especially painters of [...]