Tawa pulao — Indian vegetable fried rice. That cast iron griddle is a tawa. Tawa pulao is not very common in Mumbai but it’s fun to indulge when you do run into it. This is essentially a stir fried rice. Pulaos come from the Middle East… and they go right in your tummy!
Near Crawford Market, Mumbai, India
Olympia is an iconic joint for Mumbaikar. At breakfast they serve the famous keema, a minced mutton fry with vatana or green peas and masala that is spiked with green chilis and whole spices. It’s served with white bread usually.
I like mine on a two egg omellete with chapati. It was my favorite breakfast during my tandoor days in Mumbai. Also, if you get lucky, you’ll coincide with buffalo milk chai. They don’t have this all the time but when they do, it’s a delight.
Olympia, Colaba, Mumbai
When you marinate fruits with cream, you can get an excellent char on them in a tandoor where grills for grill marks are absent. Tandoori pineapples, papayas, and capsicum (bell peppers)
India’s cooks are true masters of garnishes lending textural contrast as well as fresh flavors, color, shine and kick to already excellent dishes….
Clockwise from the upper left: Fried papad or lentil crackers, spicy lemon pickle, bindhi Jaipuri or spicy deep fried Indian okra, mint and cucumber juice, mattar or pea pulao with crispy onions and coriander, gobi khadi pakoda — deep fried cauliflower in rich yogurt broth, subz makhni — vegetables braised in a tomato sauce thickened with cashews
Arthithi Hotel, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu
Chicken tikka three ways — three classic flavors familiar from my tandoori days in Mumbai: Creamy saffron, tandoori chicken, and green chicken!
The details on this dish were excellent. The trio was certainly cooked very consciously. Only the yogurt marinated tandoori chicken has strong enough of a flavor to stand up to a decent char and there you have it, it has an excellent amount. Each piece was tender and well cooked. The haara (green) chicken had a garlic and green chili forward flavor with a sweet coriander balancing the whole thing. Classic combination!
My chardonnay from Bourgogne was the first glass of wine I had in two months!
This was at one of my favorite restaurants so far in India. The Dupleix in Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu
The ominous planet on my plate is technically a poori / puri: A puffed balloon of a bread! This giant version is called a bhatoora / bature. It’s originally from Punjab but orbited down South. The chole (spiced chickpeas) was a classic southern chickpea fry with sweet spices, tomatoes, cashews and coconut.
Again the fun factor is on the front. When you pierce this thing the first time, a cloud of steam emerges. You’ve gotta watch out!
Surguru Spot, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu
A samosa a day, keeps the doctor away! Huh?
Well, I surely anticipate my daily samosa every morning. Each vendor prepares them differently and differences abound between northern and southern parts of India.
The samosas in the south have a thinner crust much like the Turkish yufka (i.e. Muska borek). They are rarely stuffed with potatoes, often have cabbages, carrots, lots of onions and sometimes southern flavors such as coconut chunks, mustard seeds and curry leaves.
The northern samosa is usually a larger portion, stuffed with potatoes and peas — and for some a complete meal with chutneys.
Yea, most samosas soak up a lot of fat and will clog your arteries. But who needs such big arteries anyway, clog them away!
My father adores these things. It was a ritual for him for the longest time to solve the Cumhuriyet Sunday crossword puzzle, with a palmier, and a cup of tea on Kınalı Island in Istanbul.
Only years later did I come to enjoy the flaky layers of dough, the varying degrees of caramelization, the crunchiness, and the noise that just fills your head and stops everything else around you once you bite into them!
Baker Street, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu
Finding a greek salad, a perfect croissant, and perfect baguettes in Pondicherry is a delight! Enjoying a coffee eclair and a strong latte to polish it off just throws you off a little bit… Alright back to where I left off tomorrow… Indian food it is!
Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, India
Here is a sushi bento box from India!
Hah — not really. It’s an assortment of fruit and nut rolls with almond and pistachio pastes, rose and saffron, white poppy seeds and strawberries, caramel and carrots… Some of the best sweets I’ve had in India!
Here is a celebration of the colonial history of Pondicherry!
We had honey preserved figs and amla (Indian gooseberry) topping a piece of camambert on a crusty baguette.
And a sandwich with tuna, camambert, cucumbers, peppers and the honey preserved figs…
Maybe not as creamy a camembert as I would have liked but for the first Western bite that I took in about 7-8 weeks, I’ll say it’ll do.
Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, India
Malabar briyani highlights sweet Kerala spices such as nutmeg and cloves. Cashews, crispy onions and fresh coriander garnish this briyani served with stewed chicken. Not a basmati briyani, it’s made with kerala rice. Served with raita and achar.
This was a refreshing restaurant with three tables specilizing in Malabar Briyani only. India abounds with restaurants serving South Indian, Indian, Tandoor, Chinese and Continental food all at the same time.
Two Kerala breakfasts, filling and flavorful! Check the captions for descriptions. Dosas, puff pastry, coconut curries, cutlets and stuffed green bananas!
Pick your fish and have it cooked at Fort Kochi!
I started with tiger prawns — stuffed with a paste of freshly grated coconut, turmeric and garlic and seared on the tawa — the convex Indian griddle.
Fish Market, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Green mangoes have really grown on me — this one is just marinated fresh with chili powder and salt! What a treat!