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docsconz

A Culinary Journey in India

137 posts in this topic

Doc, you are pretty much my favorite eGullet-er, I must say. Another beautiful, beautiful thread. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

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Doc, you are pretty much my favorite eGullet-er, I must say.  Another beautiful, beautiful thread.  Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

:blush: Thanks!

Plenty more to go, though it might take some time. :smile:


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Elephant Squash

Goodness, I thought they were mud-covered rocks. I'm still not sure I've matched the caption to the correct photo. Do you by any chance have a picture of these cut open? (This is a great tour, BTW, thanks!)

Edit: oh, it's the stuff in back. (I was looking at the stuff in front of him!) :biggrin:

I believe that you were right the first time! I never did get to try this delicacy nor did I see the inside. :sad:

It has lovely pinky/ yellowy flesh and tastes similar to potatoes. The way my grandma usually prepared it was as a dry curry, like potatoes sometimes are.

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Elephant Squash

Goodness, I thought they were mud-covered rocks. I'm still not sure I've matched the caption to the correct photo. Do you by any chance have a picture of these cut open? (This is a great tour, BTW, thanks!)

Edit: oh, it's the stuff in back. (I was looking at the stuff in front of him!) :biggrin:

I believe that you were right the first time! I never did get to try this delicacy nor did I see the inside. :sad:

It has lovely pinky/ yellowy flesh and tastes similar to potatoes. The way my grandma usually prepared it was as a dry curry, like potatoes sometimes are.

Sounds good. Thanks for filling us in. I would love to try it sometime.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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My sweetie would like to go to India - if I could go like this (so far!) I might be willing to join him. I'm frightened to see what is coming, but assume you survived, along with your photos. Really beautiful.

Have you eaten any Indian food since you arrived home?

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My sweetie would like to go to India - if I could go like this (so far!) I might be willing to join him. I'm frightened to see what is coming, but assume you survived, along with your photos. Really beautiful.

Have you eaten any Indian food since you arrived home?

I would say that India is absolutely worth visiting. It is a totally fascinating country from so many different angles, not the least of which is the food. The issues I had were not such that made me wish I hadn't gone. I have quite a bit to go, though, before I get to relate what happened at the end. :wink:

I have had Indian food since I have returned. My thoughts on the quality of what I had here were not as positive as they were before I went there. I am now spoiled. :biggrin: I did have Indian Alphonso mango this past weekend, which was marvelous.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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DAY SIX: Friday March 7

This was my best night’s sleep to date on the trip, though I still got up early. Breakfast at the Oberoi Delhi was something to behold. In addition to typical buffet fare, though of very high quality, one could order dishes prepared from a menu. I had Indian Masala Scrambled eggs, which contained tomatoes, mushrooms, and Indian spices. It was excellent, however, the most impressive part of the breakfast was the outstanding croissants, They were crisp, flaky and intricately layered affairs with wonderful, buttery flavor - truly world class.

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Images of the Oberoi Breakfast Buffet

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Indian Masala Scrambled Eggs. Unfortunately I did not photograph the magnificent croissants. :sad:


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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New Delhi Traffic

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We were scheduled to visit India’s top cooking school, at the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering & Nutrition - Pusa. We arrived to a lovely greeting of the traditional “tikka” forehead paint that had three components - sandalwood, vermilion and rice and a flower garland or “mala” placed over our heads to signify us as honored guests. The motto of the Indian tourism board is taken from Indian tradition of hospitality - “The guest is God.”

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The cooking program at the school covers three years. The first deals with basic techniques and theory. The second, techniques of mass production banquet catering and the third, International cooking. Other programs at the school cover all aspects of the hospitality industry. For such a prestigious school, I was surprised to find the physical plant to be in such poor condition. Nevertheless, the students learn to perform well in less than ideal conditions.

We were taken on a tour of the school, visiting various classes in session.

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Spice Grinder

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Making Papadams

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Indoor Tandoor

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Julie Sahni chats with first year students

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Pastry Instructor S. Bose

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Students observing the pastry master

More to come on this school visit...


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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After a tour of the facilities, we were brought to a demonstration classroom led by Chef Mamta Ghugtyal, where 8 dishes representative of the Delhi area were prepared in front of us. These included poori, stuffed paratha, various chaats such as a papdi chaat with papadam, yogurt, tamarind, potato, mint chutney and pomegranate seeds, tandoori cooked “Murg malai“ or “Butter” chicken, Pomfret Amritsai and others. We were able to taste a number of them before proceeding to lunch. They were all amazing. I particularly enjoyed the papdi chaat, the pomfret, the paratha and the chicken. We still had a full lunch to go!

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Mis-en-place

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Stirring milk to make Kesari Kheer

Murg Malai - Butter Chicken

First Tandoori Chicken must be made.

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The chicken is skinned and scored...

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then marinated in garlic, ginger, cumin, cardamom, ghee and yogurt with the addition of Keshmiri chili powder or not depending on a desire for red coloration

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Skewering Murg

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Potatoes are used to keep the chicken from sliding off the skewer

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Chicken cooking in the tandoor

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Basting with butter

The finished tandoori chicken was blended with a sauce that included butter, ginger, garlic paste, tomatoes, salt, green chilies, cashew paste, Keshmiri chili powder, cream and coriander.


Edited by docsconz (log)

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Papdi Chaat

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The ingredients are assembled These include crumbled papdi, potatoes, cholle - a chickpea preparation, yogurt, mint chutney, saunth - tamarind chutney, salt, red chili powder, roasted cumin powder and pomegranate seeds.

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The papdi are crumbled on the bottom of a serving plate and the cholle are placed over them

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Boiled potatoes are layered over the chickpeas and the papdi

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Yogurt that had been whisked and hung goes on next

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...followed by the tamarind and mint chutneys

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...salt, red chili powder and roasted cumin powder

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...before finishing with the pomegranate seeds

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This colorful dish was amongst the most delicious things we ate over the entire trip!


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Fish Amritsari

This fried fish dish originated in the Punjab and can use any firm white-fleshed fish.

The fish fillets are initially marinated for at least 25 minutes in malt vinegar and salt and then pressed gently between napkins or paper towels to remove excess moisture.

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A second marination with ginger and garlic pastes, red chilies, turmeric, S&P, gram flour and water is done for at least twenty minutes.

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The battered fish are deep-fried in ghee

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They are served with chaat masala and lemon wedges

Delicious!


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Doc, my mouth is watering at the sight of that scrumptious looking fish. And it's 11:00 pm here and there's absolutely no Indian restaurant where I am located at. *whimper*


Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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Doc, my mouth is watering at the sight of that scrumptious looking fish. And it's 11:00 pm here and there's absolutely no Indian restaurant where I am located at. *whimper*

Doddie, that fish was wonderful, especially when we had it fresh and hot!


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Fantastic report and pictures! The Papdi Chaat makes me think of the Indian version of nachos :biggrin:


Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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thank you Doc, this thread has been inspirational...one question.. the second marinade for the fish, when you say water, I presume it is to make a paste, was it quite thick? (2 marinades, what a great idea!)

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thank you Doc, this thread has been inspirational...one question.. the second marinade for the fish, when you say water, I presume it is to make a paste, was it quite thick? (2 marinades, what a great idea!)

Thanks! The first photo of the student preparing the fish gives the best visual indication of the thickness. Approximately 100ml of water are added to 50 grams each of garlic and ginger paste, 5 grams of red chili powder, 3 gr of turmeric and 150 gr of gram flour. My recollection is that while it wasn't soupy, it was fairly moist, but dry enough for the batter to adhere to the fish.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Fantastic report and pictures! The Papdi Chaat makes me think of the Indian version of nachos  :biggrin:

Thank you. That chaat was sensational. It was addictive!


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Aloo Paratha

The breads were delicious as they were throughout our trip. This was fun to watch.

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Heating up the "tawa" pans

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Filling the wholewheat flour based dough The filling was composed of potatoes, ginger, green chilies, coriander, pomegranate seeds, red chili powder and salt.

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Folding over the filling

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Flattening the paratha

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Cooking the parathas on the hot griddles

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Cooked paratha with ghee on top This was cut into triangles and served hot - delicious!


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Poori

Poori are deep fried breads. These were made with whole wheat flour or atta, water and salt. They were fried in nut oil.

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Rolling balls of dough before rolling them flat

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Frying the poori

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Amazing puffed poori


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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The lunch was a buffet affair prepared by the students. The food was good though less spectacular than what we had freshly made in the demonstration kitchen. The true highlight of the visit was the demonstrations, the interaction with the professors and students and sampling the various dishes prepared in front of us.

Some Dishes from the Buffet Lunch:

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Moti Pulao This was a colorful and flavorful rice pilaf.

gallery_8158_6039_61954.jpgRed Bean and Sprout Salad Unfortunately, I did not catch its Indian name.

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Boondi Raita Boondi, made from chickpea flour is a typical snack of the Punjab. This raita is typical for festive occasions.

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Pomfret Amritsari

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Paneer Dil-e-bahar

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Chole Pindi. Spicy chickpeas.

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Gobi Dumpukht Cauliflower slow cooked in a dough-sealed earthenware pot called a handi.

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From the school we boarded the bus for a quick city tour. The most interesting sights we breezed by on the bus were the Red Fort, a truly impressive and beautiful structure built by the Moghuls out of red sandstone, a pass through Old Delhi and the Chowdry Chowk market and a quick stop at The India Gate. I did not get the impression that Delhi, Old, New or otherwise was all that spectacularly beautiful as cities go. Unfortunately our guide was pretty bad, presenting us with little information of value and in a very monotonous style. He didn't do much more than tell us about which organizations inhabited the various buildings we passed. He would prove to be the only poor guide of the trip.

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John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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The evening’s dinner took us to the famous restaurant Bukhara located in the Maurya Sheraton, an interesting building in its own right. Our dinner at Bukhara, rated by Restaurant Magazine as the top restaurant in all of India and one of the top fifty in the world , consisted of Delhi style tandoori and other cooking. Highlights included tandoori cauliflower, chicken, dal, and the breads. The drinks including wine were extremely expensive. I declined to order any.

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Tandoor Cauliflower This was the dish of the evening.

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Raita

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Dal

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Naan

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Tandoori Chicken Surprisingly dry and the biggest disappointment of the evening.

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Pistachio Kulfi Served with noodles made from corn starch and rose syrup.

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Ras Malai These cheese dumplings were textured in such a way that a member of the group compared eating it to eating a loofah. We had these a number of times on the trip subsequent to this. Each time they seemed to get better.

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Kheer Rice Pudding.

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Gulab Jamun Condensed milk dumplings in rose syrup.

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Pan Spiced betel nut chew as an after dinner palate cleanser.

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Bukhara Kitchen

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Chef J.P. Singh speaks with our group.

While the food was very good, I wasn’t blown away by it. In addition I wore a jacket and tie unnecessarily, clothing items that I could have avoided bringing. I am glad that we went, but I don’t think the restaurant provided particularly great value.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Thanks, Doc. As always, great reporting.


-- Jeff

"I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members." -- Groucho Marx

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We got last-minute reservations at Bukhara in February, through a friend who pulled some strings. We were both very disappointed in the food and service (and prices as well). My pomfret (can't remember now exactly how it was cooked) was overcooked & underseasoned & my husband's meat platter was just undistinguished. The food wasn't bad, but after all the hype, it was a great disappointment.

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We got last-minute reservations at Bukhara in February, through a friend who pulled some strings.  We were both very disappointed in the food and service (and prices as well).  My pomfret (can't remember now exactly how it was cooked) was overcooked & underseasoned & my husband's meat platter was just undistinguished.  The food wasn't bad, but after all the hype, it was a great disappointment.

Although overpriced, I can't say that my meal was bad, but no way can it be the best restaurant in India let alone all of Asia as Restaurant Magazine would have us believe. Frankly, I would be shocked it it is the best restaurant in Delhi!


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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How was the tandoor cauliflower prepared? It looks almost like a samosa--was it wrapped in something and then put in the tandoor?

You don't by chance have any pictures of sari shops, do you? I love the vibrant colours and billowing fabrics. And given your photography skills, I'd love to see what you could do with the subject. :smile:

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