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thnkart

London Indian Restaurants

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I would agree with most of that. But for "top posh money no object" I would say that AMAYA wins hands down. It is the most modern and forward thinking Indian restaurant in London, but thats not to say the Indian flavours are in any way diluted down. Its a place more for grills/tandoori food and biryiani rather than for curries, but is a fabulous and unique to London Indian eating experience, and one that I would highly recommend.

Raj, do you really think that Amaya has better food and is more forward thinking than the surprisingly unmentioned Rasoi Vineet Bhatia? I like both restaurants but certainly feel that RVB is a better high-end restaurant although I haven't been for a while.


"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Hmm...I am torn between two different ideas of an Indian restaurant in comparing Rasoi Vineet Bhatia and Amaya.

In fairness to your comments, Matthew, yes, I would have to agree that RVB is indeed more modern and forward thinking. And in terms of fitting the description of a high end meal, again, it works better, both as a room, and an eating experience.

However...in terms of the dishes....well, let me think about them in terms of conception and then in terms of cooking skill etc. I think, in terms of concept, while it is encouraging to see Indian food being taken down a Tom Aikens-y slightly molecular gastronomy type route, for me, the marriage wasnt entirely successful. Its a good trick, but to my mind, which admittedly is probably somewhat staid when it comes to Indian food and cooking, I felt like someone was trying too hard.

In terms of cooking, everything was spiced and cooked well, no complaints. Maybe a bit too much ginger in the lobster, but thats either a blip or my personal taste. But I am still ambivalent about whether I personally enjoy Indian food cooked in this way.

To make things clearer: my favourite Indian restaurant in the world is Bukhara in Delhi. Its a fancy restaurant serving simple food: its all about the grills. This is what I love cos I eat, or ate, "curry" at home, and to me, grills and biryanis are the treats of eating out. This perhaps why I am such an Amaya fan.

Let me further say, that taking the Indian "curry" concept forwards is, to my mind, something very difficult to do. The combinations we have in "traditional" curries (I would really prefer to avoid a discussion about "authenticity") are, arguably, a slow rooting out process of what spices go with what meats/veg in whatever gravies. They work. Substituting certain meats or vegetables may make a change, but its rarely something mind blowing that results from it (chocolate samosa etc). And does it move Indian cuisine forwards?

What Zaika etc started in London, using Western cooking styles with Indian ingredients, is a fantastic idea and has certainly "raised the profile" of Indian food (Bonjour, Monsieur Michelin Man) and allowed it to appeal to the sort of diner that wouldnt want to have to go to the local curry house or order take away to eat an Indian meal. But its not as big a development of Indian food as what Ferran Adria et al have done wtih European food (or is it just food in general?). So, getting back to RVB and Amaya. I think that Amaya has added a small but noticeable dimension to a relatively old concept of Indian food, but succeeded in keeping everything very Indian (whether thats good or bad is arguable). RVB has taken an Indian base and married it, to my mind forcefully and with measured success, to a very much more modern, established style of cooking. I dont think its necessarily a step forward for Indian cooking, but a possible new development in the London restaurant world. Its success will be determined I suppose by how many imitators pop up now.

That was a long answer, apologies! Hope my point wasnt too confused.

Raj

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That was a long answer, apologies! Hope my point wasnt too confused.

Not in the slightest; actually rather fascinating.

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It's nice to have the all these options, out in the sticks we either get your standard British curry house (Which can be very nice, don't get me wrong) or a 'Modern Indian' restaurant, which is basically the same, except they charge more, give smaller portions and put coriander in everything.

Although there is a new south indian place opened in Southampton which looks like it might be a bit more interesting.


I love animals.

They are delicious.

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Chowki is cheap and handy if you're stuck in the tourist hell around Eros.

That seems about right: I ate at Chowki in mid-May, and liked it quite a lot. It's not a destination restaurant by any means, but as mentioned, if you're stuck in that neighborhood and hungry, it's simple, inexpensive, but certainly more upscale than a basic curry house.


"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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Thanks so much for all the input!!

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To make things clearer: my favourite Indian restaurant in the world is Bukhara in Delhi. Its a fancy restaurant serving simple food: its all about the grills. This is what I love cos I eat, or ate, "curry" at home, and to me, grills and biryanis are the treats of eating out. This perhaps why I am such an Amaya fan.

Let me further say, that taking the Indian "curry" concept forwards is, to my mind, something very difficult to do. The combinations we have in "traditional" curries (I would really prefer to avoid a discussion about "authenticity") are, arguably, a slow rooting out process of what spices go with what meats/veg in whatever gravies. They work. Substituting certain meats or vegetables may make a change, but its rarely something mind blowing that results from it (chocolate samosa etc). And does it move Indian cuisine forwards?

That was a long answer, apologies! Hope my point wasnt too confused.

Raj

No problem about the long answer and I'm sure you'll be glad to know that Bukhara is my favourite Indian restaurant as well although I'm not sure that anywhere that has their menu printed up on a wooden chopping board can be described as fancy even though the hotel it is in maybe :raz:

gallery_895_1953_137366.jpg

gallery_895_1953_6107.jpg


"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Haha...very true...!!

What I meant of course was the hotel, as you say, and its pricing - definitely in the 'fancy' price range of restaurants, even in Delhi! The bibs also do nothing to raise its fancy status!

Showing those pictures is just cruel...I was stuck in transit thru Delhi over Xmas cos of the fog (on my way to Jammu & Kashmir). However, as I spent all day in the airport hoping beyond hope that my flight would take off, I never got to go to Bukhara...so close, yet so far...but managed on my way back.

Raj

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The other posh Indians to go to would be Cinnamon Club (fab room, havent eaten there for over a year now tho, but its not as 'traditional' Indian as Tamarind) and Benares. This is another fab room, and altho its likely to be busier than normal owing to the chef/owners outing on Great British Menu, still provides very decent cooking, altho not as traditional as Tamarind (where Kochar used to work) but not as modern as Cinnamon Club. The cooking here overall I would say is better than Tamarind or Cinnamon Club. Having said that, Tamarind's lamb chops are one of my fave dishes in London!

Had lunch at Benares today. There was a £20 three course lunch menu, which offered two choices at each course and looked very acceptable. However, we were tempted away by the a la carte.

Starters (£12.95 each) were hit & miss; soft shell crab salad had subtle spicing, but scallop and tiger prawn salad was terrible; just two scallops and two prawns for £12.95, and the scallops did not taste particuarly fresh.

Service was also chaotic (though friendly) at this point; breads didn't arrive but rice did (not ideal with salads...), and despite several requests to desist the waiters kept trying to fill our glasses. I was being entertained by a wine merchant who found this quite infuriating.

Then everything improved rapidly. The lamb chops (£24) were about the best thing I've ever eaten in an Indian restaurant, and are apparently much favoured by Gordon Ramsay. They were very tender, beautifully marinaded and cooked on charcoal, served with a pomegranate, green bean and feta salad. The pulao rice came back from the kitchen and proved to be perfect. The wine merchant had lamb rump with chickpeas, which he said was excellent but a little spicy for his taste.

Breads (plain nan and potato & herb nan) were as you would expect at a top-end Indian restaurant.

Puddings were a yogurt cheesecake (dense, but the yogurt stopped it from being cloying) and a duo of kulfis (mango and pistachio) - and I passed on the chocolate sauce which was meant to accompany these. Good, but overpriced at £7.50.

We drank a Riesling Kabinett from the Rheingau which worked with the whole meal. Interestingly, the lady (ex-Roast) who does the wine list told us that until she arrived there was no Alsasce, German or Austrian wine on the list, which seems crazy given the cuisine.

The bill was just under £160 for two including service, which I thought was high given that we had only had one bottle of wine, but you could have lunch here for half that. I'd go back, but at these prices I'd stick to the lunch menu.

There were very few other people lunching, so it was bad luck to be near a dreadful couple who didn't jsut talk on a mobile but even put their daughter on speaker phone so that they could share a lenghy conversation with their daughter and the whole restaurant.

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i am need of an Indian fix during my visit to London in a few weeks. I live in florida and good Indian does not exist.I have tried Amaya in Mayfair but it is only is a Hakkasan imitation in Indian ,see my review at www.gagit.net.

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i am need of an Indian fix during my visit to London in a few weeks. I live in florida and  good Indian does not exist.I have tried Amaya in Mayfair but it is only is a Hakkasan imitation in Indian ,see my review at www.gagit.net.

What an enormous subject, have you any idea how many 'Indian' restaurants there are in London? We could discuss 'best' or 'authentic' until HTML became extinct.

If I were you I would just wander down Brick Lane and simply go in whichever place took your fancy from the scores on offer. I personally like the restaurant with the massive airbrushed mural of Princess Di on the wall. The food's as ok as anywhere else in the area but the mural makes it for me. It's eye-poppingly terrible and yet fascinating, especially if like me you deliberately sit opposite her dinner plate sized eyes and tombstone teeth.

It's definitely not Amaya, that's for sure and I've never had any cause for complaint.

S

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have a search for tayyabs on here, fair to say it remains the favourite in the authentic category, book though or go at 6pm

www.tayyabs.co.uk


you don't win friends with salad

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If you are in the west end - Mela is fantastic


"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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See what I mean? You'll never get a consensus :biggrin:

Apart from that Brick Lane is uniformly poor.

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i am need of an Indian fix during my visit to London in a few weeks. I live in florida and  good Indian does not exist.I have tried Amaya in Mayfair but it is only is a Hakkasan imitation in Indian ,see my review at www.gagit.net.

anybody been to Cinammon Club

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I was at Tayyabs last night and while not really Indian (the owner is Pakistani I believe), the flavors are familiar and similar. This is on par with what you'd get at Shalimar over in the Bay Area.

Good stuff that's reasonably priced.

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See what I mean? You'll never get a consensus :biggrin:

Apart from that Brick Lane is uniformly poor.

You must have put many dedicated hours in to come to that unequivocal and rather dismissive conclusion and become rather jaded in the process. I've eaten in Tamarind and Benares and many, many others of course, but I still vastly prefer a Brick Lane curry for a 'fix'. It's not simply about the food on the plate. If I was an expat it would be Brick Lane or Southall I'd hurry for when the plane landed me back in Blighty. Taste is also memories rekindled.

S

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Brick Lane is uniformly poor.

Dismissing the whole of Brick Lane makes me a bit uncomfortable. There are, no doubt, quite a few places where your £6-a-head, BYO meal may not be of the highest quality. But the street also supports one of London's biggest Bengali communities, as evidenced by the twin menus in places like Gram Bangla and Cafe Naz Express. This whole "Brick Lane is all just touts and watery curry" stereotype is playing into the hands of those who want to see it become the next Starbucks frontier.

Anyway, Mr Gagit ... having read your online savagings of places I'd previously considered rather good, such as Gaig and elBulli, I'm not overly keen to direct you towards any Indian restaurants in London (or indeed in India). If my recommendation did not meet your criteria, you would see me as a failure. And if it did, I would consider myself to have failed. It's a no-win, basically.

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i am need of an Indian fix during my visit to London in a few weeks. I live in florida and  good Indian does not exist.I have tried Amaya in Mayfair but it is only is a Hakkasan imitation in Indian ,see my review at www.gagit.net.

You are right that the lighting in Amaya is darkened to a subterranean level. I too find it most annoying, especially if I am in a restaurant on my own and trying to read the paper or a book. Worse, how are you meant to read a wine? In fact Amaya in this respect is particularly bad as there are no white table cloths either.

There is probably a good reason that Amaya is so dark: many of the clientele are most definitely conducting illicit liasons there, when they're not busy chatting away on their cell phones. I will never forget seeing one oriental 'lady' in there with one Arab gentleman old enough to be her grandfather one night, and again in Gavroche the very next night with another different although similarly senior chap.

If it's Amaya's level of cooking you're interested in, rather than a Brick Lane ruby, Rasoi Veenit Bhatia in Chelsea and Zaika in High St Ken spring to mind.

Cheers, Howard

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Brick Lane is uniformly poor.

Dismissing the whole of Brick Lane makes me a bit uncomfortable. There are, no doubt, quite a few places where your £6-a-head, BYO meal may not be of the highest quality. But the street also supports one of London's biggest Bengali communities, as evidenced by the twin menus in places like Gram Bangla and Cafe Naz Express. This whole "Brick Lane is all just touts and watery curry" stereotype is playing into the hands of those who want to see it become the next Starbucks frontier.

You're probably right - I was just kneejerking to Sunbeam's

I would just wander down Brick Lane and simply go in whichever place took your fancy

I have had good meals in Sweet and Spicy (the cafe at the bottom end - Pakistani rather than Bangladeshi I think) but nothing great elsewhere and certainly nothing to touch Tayyabs or even East is East on the Commercial Rd (our hangout since Tayyabs got too busy). And you've got to admit the touts are irritating.

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I live quite close to Brick Lane, and agreed until recently, that it was uniformly poor. However, some persistance has been rewarded and I am a regular at The Raj in Hanway Street. No touts, and its well-patronize by the locals.

Ma'ida on Bethnal Green Road also deserves an honourable mention.


Y o l a n d a

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Ragam in Cleveland St (nearest tube: Goodge St) is good, cheap southern Indian food. Just make sure you only order from the specials on the left side of the menu (especially the Masala Dosai and Uppatham) otherwise you'll wonder why you bothered.

Salaam Namaste in Millman Street, Bloomsbury employs the former head chef of the Sheraton, Mumbai and is excellent, great value and has a range of dishes from across India. Just dont try the crab vindaloo which was a shocker. Everything else is usually spot on.

Neither are restaurants you would pick for the decor, just in case you're trying to impress someone on non food basis.

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i am need of an Indian fix during my visit to London in a few weeks. I live in florida and  good Indian does not exist.I have tried Amaya in Mayfair but it is only is a Hakkasan imitation in Indian ,see my review at www.gagit.net.

Personally I have been disappointed with the Michelin-starred ones such as Amaya, especially when considering value for money. I would suggest one of the following:

Haandi in Knightsbridge - authentic Punajbi cooking

Rasa Samudra in Charlotte Street - Keralan

or take a trip to one of the areas where a lot of Asian families live e.g. in Southall (near Heathrow) both the Brilliant and Madhus are excellent. In South London Kastoori in Tooting does very good South Indian food. All the above are reasonably priced, and a lot better than the Brick Lane/Westbourne Grove places in my view.

For details and reviews of these see www.andyhayler.com


Andy Hayler

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      Post your questions here -->> Q&A
      A Sampling of North Indian Breads
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      Indian Bread Stuffed With Spicy Potatoes (Aloo Ka Paratha)
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      Roll the flattened ball again on a lightly floured surface until about 5 - 6 inches in diameter.


      Heat a griddle on medium heat. Brush it lightly with butter and add the paratha. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the bottom of the paratha begins to blister. Brush the top lightly with butter and flip over. Cook for 2 minutes.

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      Sheermal
      A sweet bread, it is one of the few Indian breads that uses yeast. Keep the dough in a warm place to ensure that it rises. You can increase the amount of sugar if you like a sweeter taste.

      • 1 packet dry yeast
      • 1 teaspoon sugar
      • ¼ cup water
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      • ¼ teaspoon salt
      • 2 tablespoons sugar
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      • 2 tablespoons melted clarified butter or butter
      • Extra flour for dusting
      • Pitted cherries/raisins for garnish
      Mix yeast with the sugar and 1/4 cup water. Set aside until frothy, about 5 - 10 minutes.
      Combine the flour, salt and sugar. Add the clarified butter, egg and yeast mixture. Knead until a smooth dough is formed. (You may need more warm water.) Set aside to rise until the dough doubles in size.
      Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a large, heavy baking tray and set aside. Lightly dust the rolling surface and rolling pin with flour.
      Knead the dough again on the floured surface for about 5 minutes. Divide it into 6 equal pieces and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap.
      Roll each piece into a ball and flatten it with your hands. Using a rolling pin, roll it out into a disc. Continue until you have made 6 discs.
      Beat the reserved egg yolk and brush a little on each sheermal. Place a few cherries on the sheermal for garnish. Place the discs on the baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes.

      Turn on the broiler and broil for an additional 3 minutes, or until golden brown.

      Tandoori Roti
      We wanted to show how the tandoor is used to prepare breads. These pictures are of a special roti or bread, called Tandoori Roti, being prepared in the hot tandoor or clay oven.
      The basic recipe entails preparing a dough of whole-wheat flour. (See the paratha dough prepared earlier.) The flattened rolled out discs are then cooked in the tandoor until the dark spots begin appearing on the surface of the bread.




      Post your questions here -->> Q&A
    • By rajsuman
      Inspired by a similar thread under 'General Food Topics', I wanted to know how many Indian cookbooks we collectively own on this forum. I have 43 right now, but I'm sure more will turn up from under the bed etc. I'm particularly curious about your collection Vikram, because you seem to own every Indian cookbook under the sun. Here's a picture of my very modest collection (a few on the left haven't come in the shot)

      This is in the kitchen, although there are not that many Indian books here ('Indian Everyday' is from the library) except the small booklets at the end.

    • By Suvir Saran
      What role do they play in your Indian kitchen?
      Do you use it in other dishes you prepare? Maybe even outside of the Indian food realm.
      Do you find it easy to find Cilantro?
      What parts of cilantro do you use?
      How do you keep it fresh?
    • By bague25
      Which are the pickles you have in your pantry right now?
      Which are the ones you dream of?
      Any recipes? Any secrets? Any reading material?
      Please share - as Monica says Inquiring minds want to know...
    • By Bhukhhad
      Breakfast in India vs Breakfast in our homes outside India
      My breakfasts have varied from the time I started to cook for myself instead of just enjoying my Mother’s cooking. At first they were a mix-match of meal fixings, or just dinner leftovers. Or the good old breakfast cereal and milk. But as the years passed and I was more organized, the meals I enjoyed in my Mother’s home began to swim in my memories. And I began to prepare those for my family. However, I am no amazonian chef, so depending on  the hectic nature of the days plans, I switched back and forth from convenience with taste, to elaborate and of course tasty breakfasts. We do have both vegetarian and non vegetarian foods but Indian breakfasts will mostly be vegetarian. 
      So here are some of the things I might make: 
       
      1. Poha as in mostly ‘kande pohe’.
      2. Cheela/ Pudla
      3. Masala toast
      4. Indian Omelette
      5. Handwo piece
      6. Thepla
      7. Vaghareli rotli
      8. Dhokla chutney
      9. Idli sambhar
      10. Leftover sabji
      11. Muthiya
      12. Khakhra
      13. Upma
      14. Paratha
       
      1. Kande Pohe: 
      The dish derives its name from Maharashtra where the Kande Pohe are celebrated as breakfast. They can of course like any breakfast, be eaten at any time. 
      Pohe/ Poha are steamed rice grains that have been beaten flat and then again redried. So they are like Rice flakes. Except they are hand pounded, so have a knobbly texture. 
      You get several varieties in the market. I prefer the thick white variety. 
       
      1 cup dry poha per person
      1 medium onion sliced
      1/2 jalapeno deseeded
      1 sprig curry leaves
      2 small garlic cloves
      1/4 t cumin seeds
      1/2 lemon 
      1/8 t asafoetida
      1/4 t turmeric
      small handful of cilantro leaves
      1T fresh grated coconut
      2 T Peanut oil 
      salt to taste
      sugar to taste
       
      In a pan heat some oil and add cumin seeds. When the seeds sputter, add sliced onions and stir. Saute on medium heat till they turn slightly browned here and there. Do not burn the onions. 
      Meanwhile wash the Poha in a colander and drain. Do this two or three times to get rid of any dirt and also to allow them to rehydrate. They do not need soaking. Fluff the poha with a fork. Add salt sugar turmeric asafoetida and chopped cilantro. Mix and set aside. 
      Once the onions are ready add minced garlic and chopped jalapeno along with the curry leaf sprig. 
      Turn the heat to low and add the poha mixture. Stir to coat and to allow the turmeric and asafoetida to cook. The poha will turn mildly yellow and start giving a wonderful fragrance. 
      Turn off the heat. Fluff gently and plate. Garnish with fresh grated coconut and a squeeze of lemon juice. 
      Finger licking good!! 
      Now when I make this next I will post a picture. 
      Update: Ok I felt the urge to have Kande Pohe for tonight’s dinner. So here is a picture. I am certain to enjoy it for breakfast as well. The measurement of 1 cup poha per person is too much for one meal. But carried over to another meal thats super good! I will also have some stir fried bok choy greens made in the same kadhai after the poha was done, and some cooked and sliced beetroot for salad. My family will add some haldiram sev on the poha for extra crunch! And we will all have some chaas to round off this meal. 
      *************
       
      2. Cheela/ Pudla
       
      These are essentially crepes but in the Indian style. 
      1/2 cup sieved garbanzo bean (Besan) flour. 
      Water to form a thin batter
      1T plain yogurt 
      1/2 t ginger garlic paste 
      1/4 or less green chili crushed
      2 t heated oil *
      pinch asafoetida
      pinch turmeric 
      salt to taste
      chopped cilantro (two sprigs)
      some ‘masala’ from a readymade pickle
       
       
      Method:
       
      mix the ingredients together except oil. Heat oil in a separate pan and add about 1 to 2 t of the hot oil onto the batter. It will sizzle. Use a whisk to stir thoroughly. The batter should be pouring consistency. 
      Let the batter soak for about half an hour if possible. 
      On a hot griddle, pour a ladle full of the batter. Turn the griddle with your wrist to spread the batter around. Cook on moderate to high flame. Flip the crepe when all the sides look like they are ready. You can add a little oil to the sides of the frying pan to make the edges crispy. 
       
      In my home we usually have a Besan cheela with some yogurt its a quick and filling breakfast. You can have a small salad or fruit with it to make it more complete. Or fill the center of the cheela with some cottage cheese and fold for added creaminess! 
      ****************
      3. Masala Toast : 
       
      1 slice of bread (your choice) toasted
      1/2 small red onion minced
      1 medium roma tomato diced (or whatever you have)
      cilantro (few leaves)
      1/8 t cumin (optional)
      1/4 t chaat masala ( available in stores)
      1 inch cube paneer
      1 T peanut oil
      pinch turmeric (optional)
       
      Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onions. Add the tomato and cook down to mush. Crumble the paneer and add the dry spices. Stir for a few seconds to warm the paneer. Add the cilantro and though I have not written it as an ingredient, I like a few drops of lemon juice. Do not overcook paneer.
      I started this topic because someone asked for Indian recipes on the new forum. I don’t think they have seen any yet. I hope they find this useful. I am enjoying it. 
      **************************
       
      I will add recipes to the list slowly. I have to however add that after a certain ‘age’ I have now resorted to having to make sure I have three things for breakfast besides coffee: a glass of water, a small portion of fruit and a small portion of some protein not necessarily meat. 
      Bhukkhad
       

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