Anandway: Blog

Roadmaps to joy!

Vaishnav Bengali cuisine - Thakurbari bhoj

Vaishnav cuisine in Bengali food - Thakurbari bhoj

Bengalis value their own cultural cuisine, especially Thakurbari bhoj cooking...

BarunMallick, scion of the Posta based Mallick family, whose household puja celebrates its 155th year in 2008, shares, 'Heritage demands that puja cuisine is completely vegetarian, comprising largely of bhog (prasad) that is handed out to devotees, daily.'

This vegetarian fare bears the imprint of a glorious past. 'Thakurbari cuisine comprises the best of West Bengal's food tradition - mildly flavoured and soft textured,' says Anjan Chatterjee who owns speciality restaurant Oh! Calcutta. More...

Taking a Tea tour in the Himalayas

Makaibari tea estate, Kurseong

Matt Gross finds his way around tea estates in the Himalayas to recommend a visit:

Flying to a remote corner of India and braving the long drive into the Himalayas may seem like an awful lot of effort for a good cup of tea, but Darjeeling tea isn't simply good. It's about the best in the world, fetching record prices at auctions in Calcutta and Shanghai, and kick-starting the salivary glands of tea lovers from London to Manhattan.

In fact, Darjeeling is so synonymous with high-quality black tea that few non-connoisseurs realize it's not one beverage but many: 87 tea estates operate in the Darjeeling district, a region that sprawls across several towns (including its namesake) in a mountainous corner of India that sticks up between Nepal and Bhutan, with Tibet not far to the north.

Each has its own approach to growing tea, and in a nod to increasingly savvy and adventurous consumers, a few have converted bungalows into tourist lodging, while others are accepting day visitors keen to learn the production process, compare styles and improve their palates — a teetotaler's version of a Napa Valley wine tour, but with no crowds.

The men who run the estates are royalty — and they know it. When visiting their domains, you are at their disposal, not the other way around. At times, this can be frustrating; at others, delightfully frustrating.

I had my first such encounter — the latter sort — at Makaibari, an estate just south of the town of Kurseong, around 4,500 feet above sea level. More...

Cheers to Grape juice for health

Grape juice can help avert heart disease. While red wine in moderation is said to relax blood vessels and increase HDL levels, the ‘good cholesterol. Grape juice also has resveratrol and flavonoids which make red wine therapeutic. Especially the juice from red and purple Concord grapes. Ayurvedic wines like Draksha-aristha use grape juice as their base. More...

Discovering Thailand

On my first day in Thailand an array of colors, sounds, sights, textures, and most particular of all, tastes, bombarded my senses. I remember we sat around a circle at a neighborhood park to practice our Thai and for snacks we had a delicious assortment of fried worms, ants, maggots, and other local delicacies. More @ Matador.com

 

Ayurvedic wines?

Rajiv Kaushik, son of an Ayurvedic doctor, has taken to winemaking as a career. When the debate is hot about differences between Old-world and New-world wines, we notice that Ayurvedic wines, such as in Arishtha and Asava prepartaions have been around for over five millenia! They have recorded health benefits and are still used as patent medicine.

Son of an Ayurvedic doctor, he uses Vedas as the back ground for the history and formulation of wine. 'I had been studying various processes to make a wine that would go well with spicy Indian food and did research for 4 years.'
Ayurvedic Wines are an Indian entity. Have always been so. There alcohol content is restricted to about four percent, and they are all highly potent medicines, says Ayurvedic practitioner Dr Sharath Kumar.

Ayurvedic wines for good health

Why is it that while the Indian wine industry is busy bringing in French and Italian technology, winemakers and grape varietals to India, the treasure of Ayurvedic wines is quite lost to them?

Rajiv Koushik may be a one off case, but the big names such as Chateau Indage, Grovers, United Breweries, and even the upcoming names such as Vintage Wines, Indus Wines, Chateau D'Ori and others in the industry have yet to explore the potential of Ayurvedic wines for true health benefits, and showcase India's ancient wisdom to wine enthusiasts.

The Indian Paan bazaar, Old Delhi

From Banarsi to Maghai to Awadhi, all kinds of betel leaf preparation as in the Indian paan are enjoyed for equally varied reasons. Like wine connoisseurs know their wines, paan connoisseurs know what their favourite paan is all about.

Paan preparation

Paan bazaar, an alley market in Sadar Bazaar, offers a glimpse of Indian culture in Old Delhi. In India, paan has been playing an important role in the social life and customs of people for hundreds of years. In the court of the Mughal kings and others rulers, the betel leaf or paan was offered as a part of hospitality, friendship and love. This bazaar is well known for paan and its products that attract a large number of customers from across the city.

The bazaar has more than 100 paan shops. There are at least 50 varieties of paan available at paan bazaar from rupees two to rupees 400 per doli. A doli contains 200-250 paan. You can get a Golta Madrasi paan, Bangal paan, Banarasi paan, Jagatnathi Desi paan, Dholak Pakistani paan, Hydrabadi paan or Afsana paan on the spot. The best betel leaf is the ’Magahi’ variety (from the Magadha region) grown near Patna, in Bihar.

Every paan-lover in India has personal favourites. Maghai pan being the most famous among them. Amitabh Bacchan's rendition of Khai ke paan banaras wala, khul jaye band akal ka tala, is exactly how paan-lovers praise their favourite chew. It refreshes the mind, they say.

Paan is such a hot favourite, and cultivation of betel leaves such a tedious affair that one needs to watch out for quality. Paan, however is available all over India, in all its regional avatars.

For authentic and mouth-watering taste, they use sachi paan leaves, chuna, gulkand, clove, cherry, flavoured saunf, masala cherry, sugar, artificial sweetener, menthol, date, saffron, condiments, sada bahar, dilkush, white gold, Tan Sen, pistachio, rose katri, anis, raisin, coconut, chaman bahar, coriander powder, jaggery, permitted food colours, cardamom and different flavours in different proportion and in different varieties as ingredients.

A visit to any region in India is incomplete without a taste of the local paan-beera. And top of the list is Paan Bazaar in Old Delhi. Must visit! Read More

Tag Cloud