Last Saturday I had the absolute pleasure of dining at the much talked about Masala Library. Founded by culinary legend Jiggs Kalra who is fondly referred to as the Czar of Indian cuisine, my expectations were literally sky-high.
Jiggs Kalra is a living Indian culinary legend who has penned
11 books including ‘Prashad’ which is considered to be a chef’s bible for
Indian cuisine. He is credited for reviving several lost cooking styles of
ancient India including the introduction of age-old kebab recipes that were
prized within the royal kitchens of yesteryears.
Masala Library is an award-winning restaurant in Delhi, the
capital of India. It has been an inspiration behind many a successful restaurant
and has finally opened doors in JW Marriott Marquis Dubai.
Turmeric, the bright orange herb that is best known for adding brightness to Indian curries, offers a plethora of health-enhancing benefits making it a prized culinary addition across India, China and the Far East for centuries.
Perhaps you already have an ample stock of turmeric powder in your kitchen ammunition but like all things powdered, a fresh stalk of turmeric far outshines the nutritional benefits. Here’s 3 reasons why:
I spent my Eid week off in the hustle bustle of Delhi, the capital city of India. Delhi is brimming with old-world charm, and I was last here over a decade ago to shop for my wedding trousseau.
Apart from the chaotic markets clamored with colorful, exotic ware and bargain steals, Delhi is also known as a foodie destination. One of the landmarks of the city is Karim’s of Delhi, located in the heart of Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi and at a walkable distance from iconic Jama Masjid (one of India’s largest mosques built between 1644 to 1656 by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan).
When legendary Chef Satish Arora was advised that 13th July marks ‘World Kebab Day’, he was ready with an enticing new menu from pre-starters to dessert in under 24 hours. Mahec by Satish Arora, located in the gastronomic hub of Le Meridien Village (Airport Road Dubai) is hosting a Kebab Festival from 12th to 27th July, 7pm to 11 pm daily.
The special menu features a total of 11 brand new kebabs, not to mention an entire array of starters and dessert.
I had the pleasure of dining at Mahec last night, and had the honor of meeting Chef Satish Arora in person once again. How did he manage to come up with an entire menu in a day? Humble as he is talented, he tells us that over 50 years in the business makes it come naturally to him.
Cracked wheat comes in various forms. Bulghur (or Burghul) is the most popularly used variant in Middle eastern cooking. Bulghar is essentially parboiled whole grain wheat, and the Indian variation is called Dalia.
Dalia is very similar to Bulghur, but I find it to be far softer in texture. Bulghur is used for all courses of the day, whereas in India, dalia is predominantly a breakfast staple.
This is not to be confused with Couscous. Unlike bulgur, couscous is not whole grain, and comes from a husked and crushed wheat called semolina. Couscous was originally made from millet, not wheat.
Coming back to Dalia, I love the versatility of this grain. You can replace it with Bulghur when not available, but do keep in mind that bulghur is more al dente.
Rongali Bihu will be celebrated the world over by the Assamese community on Sunday 15th April. Rongali Bihu is one of three major cultural festivals from Assam, the North Eastern state of India from where my family originates. This festival marks the beginning of spring and celebrates the harvest season with a wide range of festive treats including Til’or Pitha and Narikol’or Laru (do try out the recipes for these by clicking here).
But today’s post is not going into depth about Bihu. Proudly Assamese, I wanted to take advantage of this upcoming special occasion and share a beautiful piece of Assamese folklore with you. Every culture has treasured ‘hand me down’ fairytales that have been whispered down generations, and the Cinderella-style struggle story that has a prominent part in Assamese story-telling is that of Tejimola.
Indian cuisine arguably has an even stronger fan following across the globe than does the glitzy world of Bollywood. Butter Chicken has also been considered the national dish of the UK, and Indian Chefs today are enjoying celebrity status thanks to the reach of social media.
Well before the likes of Zee TV star Chef Sanjeev Kapoor and Master Chef stars Vikas Khanna and Kunal Kapoor, Chef Satish Arora took humble Indian dishes to fine-dining status. With a career expanding 50 years which was catapulted by his success as the world’s youngest Executive Chef of a five-star kitchen at a mere 26 years of age, he has been the inspiration for many in his industry, and has also been a role model for his kin.
I had the immense pleasure of meeting the legend in person at Mahec (Le Meridian, Airport Road Dubai) which he has recently taken over. Here is an except on Chef Arora’s trailblazing career, his undying passion for food, and advice for the next generation.
Last Friday I had the honor of meeting a real legend of the Indian culinary world. Chef Satish Arora has a career expanding over 50 years. He started his career with the Taj Group of hotels in India, wherein he became the world’s youngest Executive Chef of a five-star kitchen at a mere 26 years of age. His trailblazing career has won him many accolades including being listed among ‘the world’s 20 best chefs’ in 1991, receiving the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ from Curry Club of England in 2007, Star Group in 2016, Hospitality Leaders Choice UK in 2016, and Food Food TV Channel in 2017.
The secret to his success is his undying passion for simple, authentic Indian cuisine and this has won him a very prestigious lineup of fans including Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Amitabh Bacchan, John Major… and the list goes on.
Still going strong, Chef Satish Arora has recently taken over the menu at Mahec, the fine-dining Indian restaurant in Le Meridian, Airport Road Dubai. The menu has been renovated by the culinary legend from 20th Feb this year, and he is adding more of his magic in the coming few weeks.
Chef Sameer who is heading the kitchen and the overall operations of newly opened Roti Rollers, is a walking, talking encyclopedia on all things food. His insightful knowledge on the vast varieties of cuisines within India itself had us as awestruck as did the innovative dishes that came out of his kitchen.
Here are snippets from our conversations with him. And look out for more blog posts with his insightful food gems, coming soon!
For the longest time I’ve come to believe that washing my face with soap is a big skincare no-no. Commercial soaps tend to be harsh on delicate facial skin, stripping it of precious oils.
However, I was recently introduced to the concept of hand-made soaps, free of nasty parabans and SLS, and loaded with skin-loving ingredients that are good enough even for tender baby skin. Just look at the gorgeous hamper I received from home-grown brand SoulPure Soaps!