Uncorking the secret of the Bottle Masala

By our Tammie, Anjali Tolani

While Mumbai does not form part of the coveted Golden Triangle or beckon like the beaches of Goa or backwaters of Kerala, its history and cultural ethos are no less fascinating than that of better-known tourist destinations in India. While many are aware that the erstwhile Bombay comprised seven islands initially occupied by the Portuguese and later gifted to the British as part of the dowry bestowed upon Charles II, not too many know about the indigenous East Indian community.

Continue reading “Uncorking the secret of the Bottle Masala”

The Uttar Pradesh Special

On The Spice Trail with Tamarind Global

The cuisine of Uttar Pradesh is as diverse as its history and geography. The sheer diversity prevalent across the length and breadth of this vast territory covers everything from kachoris, chat, jalebis and samosas of Varanasi and the local litti chokha to a mouthwatering variety of Mughlai and Awadhi kababs, biryanis and desserts.

Continue reading “The Uttar Pradesh Special”

The Goa Special

On The Spice Trail with Tamarind Global

Goa, an Indian state located along India’s west coast on the shore of the Arabian Sea, is a haven of delicious food – not surprisingly, seafood and coconut are very high on the ingredients list! A variety of vegetables, meat, pork and local spices are used, and the Goan cashewnut. The cuisine of Goa originated from its Hindu Saraswat roots, and was later influenced by the 451 years of Portuguese colonisation. Many Catholic dishes are either similar to or variants of their Portuguese counterparts.

Continue reading “The Goa Special”

The Rajasthan Special

On The Spice Trail with Tamarind Global

Rajasthani cuisine is influenced by its extreme climatic conditions and scarcity of water and vegetation. The Rajasthanis have evolved their culinary styles in such a way that many of their dishes can be preserved for several days and served without heating. A few common ingredients are beans, lentils, gram flour, corn, barley, millet, bajra, bread and plenty of dairy products, especially ghee. Although predominantly a vegetarian region, the influence of the Rajputs who relished non-vegetarian dishes, including game meat, saw the evolution of several lip-smacking non-vegetarian dishes such as laal maas (red meat), jungli maas (wild meat), khad khargosh (spiced rabbit) and safed maas (white meat).

Continue reading “The Rajasthan Special”

The Punjab Special

On The Spice Trail with Tamarind Global

Punjabi cuisine is perhaps India’s best known, with the ubiquitous tandoori chicken, butter chicken and chicken tikka masala making the cut on every second Indian restaurant’s menu! Punjabis are known for their exuberance and zest for life, which is reflected in their music, festivals, dances and of course, their hearty cuisine. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not all about chicken! There is plenty of vegetarian fare. Wheat is a staple part of the diet, along with a variety of lentils, beans and vegetables. The curries and dals (lentils) are rich, laced with ghee, butter, cottage cheese and cream, and meals are accompanied by a thick, sweetened yogurt drink called Lassi. Vegetables are seasonal – Aloo Gobhi (cauliflower and potato) and Sarson ka Saag (mustard and other greens) are eaten in winters, and Bharwan Bhindi (stuffed okra) in summers. Flatbreads are varied and many, and a popular dish is the stuffed paratha. This is an unleavened wholewheat flatbread, stuffed with anything from potatoes, peas and cauliflower to white radish, minced meat and cottage cheese, and lathered with homemade white butter. Rotis, kulchas, naan and parathas are made of all-purpose flour, gram flour, makka (cornmeal) and Bajra (millet), flavoured with nigella, sesame, mint, fenugreek and spinach. Deep fried bhaturas are served with that most popular of dishes, Chole (spiced chickpea curry). The bhatti or tandoor is a clay oven which is frequently used for cooking meats and bread. The Punjabi Dhaba concept originated as a truckers stop on highways across India, but these dhabas can now be found in cities as well. They serve typical Punjabi dishes like Chicken Tikka, Chole Bhature, Palak Paneer (spinach and cottage cheese), meat curries, lentils, parathas, naans, vegetables and more. Popular dishes made at home include Punjabi Kadhi with Pakoras (yogurt curry with fried dumplings), Rajma Chawal (kidney beans curry with rice) and Kali Daal (curried black gram) and Baingan Bharta (roasted brinjals). Common desserts include Gajar Halwa (carrot halwa), Gulab Jamum, Jalebi, Rasmalai, Phirni and Kulfi.

Continue reading “The Punjab Special”

The Kerala Special

 

On The Spice Trail with Tamarind Global

In these strangely housebound times, our lockdown blues appear to be considerably alleviated by experimentation in the kitchen. At Tamarind Global, we are exploring local cuisines statewise, and will bring you a meal plan with recipes each week to share our culinary travels.
This week, we begin with one of our favourites, Kerala. Not for nothing is this state known as God’s Own Country . Did you know that Kerala translates as ‘Land of Coconuts’? The word ‘keram’ in Malayalam means ‘coconut tree’, and the land came to be known as Keralam. When you fly into Cochin, you can see miles and miles of coconut plantations, and naturally, the cuisine is packed with the goodness of this fruit.

Continue reading “The Kerala Special”

The Maharashtra Special

 

On The Spice Trail with Tamarind Global

From the world-famous pav bhaji to the delicious coastal curries, Maharashtra has a lot to offer food lovers. Maharashtrian cuisine can be broadly classified into two styles – Konkan and Varadi. Konkan being from the coastal region has influences from Goan, Saraswat, Gaud and Malvani regions. Varadi cuisine, on the other hand, belongs to the Vidarbha region. Some spices like goda masala, kokum, tamarind and coconut are essential ingredients in the Maharashtrian kitchen. Wheat, rice, jowar, bajri, vegetables, lentils and fruit are dietary staples. Peanuts and cashews are often served with vegetables.

Continue reading “The Maharashtra Special”

The Tamil Nadu Special

 

On The Spice Trail with Tamarind Global

Indian food lovers across the world eat numerous varieties of idlis, uttapams, paniyarams and dosas, served with sambar and a mind-boggling variety of chutneys, pickles and podis (powders). Naturally, this is the only food commonly associated with Tamil Nadu. But the cuisine of this southern state is so much more than it’s Udipi restaurant specialties. Whether it is Kongunadu or Arcot, the Chettiars or the Iyengars, food takes on different avatars across communities. Traditional Tamilian Brahmin food is pure vegetarian fare served on banana leaves and is called Ilai Sappadu, meaning a full course meal that accommodates all the six tastes – sweet, sour, bitter, salty, pungent and astringent. It consists of a never-ending array of dishes such as poriyal, rice, varuval, pachadi, idli, payasam, sambar, thokku, vadai and kuzambu, amongst others. Contrary to popular belief, non vegetarian food is part of the Tamilian repertoire. Chettinad chicken, prawns kuzhambu, fried fish and kola urundai (meat balls) and some lip-smacking seafood from the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu are among the popular dishes.

Continue reading “The Tamil Nadu Special”

The Gujarat Special

 

On The Spice Trail with Tamarind Global

Gujarat’s cuisine is heavily influenced by the geography, history, and culture of the region. There have been a multitude of rulers here from Marathas, Rajputs to the Mughals and other Islamic invaders, but in recent times, Jain influence has made the cuisine largely vegetarian. Different areas like Kathiyawad, Kutch, Surat and Ahmedabad developed their own distinct flavours, while the Gujarati Muslims and Parsis enjoy their own unique non-vegetarian dishes.

Continue reading “The Gujarat Special”