History of the California roll and its possible inventor, Hidekazu Tojo.
History of the California roll and its possible inventor, Hidekazu Tojo.
The Best Movies and TV Shows Coming to Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime, and Hulu in May Hidekazu Tojo came to Vancouver from Osaka, Japan in 1971. Young, ambitious, and classically trained in sushi arts, he was a perfect match for Shigeru Hirai, who was looking for a young chef to work with. Hirai offered Tojo a two-year contract at his small sushi restaurant, Maneki, in Vancouver’s Japantown. There weren’t many Japanese restaurants in Vancouver at the time, and even fewer still that served raw fish. Japanese diners raved about Tojo’s sushi. The local Canadians, on the other hand, only favored the cooked dishes. “I watched them eat spinach salad, tempura, and teriyaki chicken very, very quickly,” Tojo tells me over hot tea at his current restaurant, Tojo’s. “But the sushi they refused before they tasted. They didn’t eat raw crab and tuna … raw they didn’t eat.” Given the popularity and ubiquity of sushi today, it’s hard to imagine a time when we weren’t eating raw fish, but such was the case in 1970s North America. For Tojo, a trained sushi chef, watching his customers forgo his pièce de résistance, day in and day out, motivated him to make his sushi better.
Tojo on a trip to Alberta (Banff, Jasper, Calgary, Edmonton). Rocky Mountains, c. 1972 or 1973.
Momoko, Tojo’s Daughter But first, he needed to figure out why they didn’t want to try it in the first place. Eventually, Tojo moved outside of the familiarity of Japantown and became the head chef at a new spot, Jinya, on the highly trafficked and diverse West Broadway. He struck up a relationship with one of his regulars, a young flight attendant named Mami Yamaguchi, at the now-defunct CPA Airlines. Unlike most of the local Canadians who came to eat at Tojo’s restaurant, Mami was Japanese herself; she spoke multiple languages and didn’t shy away from trying Tojo’s sushi, which quickly endeared her to Tojo. She became, in a sense, his cultural translator, taking him to the popular French restaurants at the time, like William Tell, where Tojo noticed Canadians did in fact enjoy seafood, especially local Dungeness crab—when it was boiled. With Mami’s guidance, Tojo started to explore the local fish markets in pursuit of his most pressing question, “Why don’t Canadians like raw fish?” Tojo wandered the seafood aisles of Safeway and the local market on Granville Island to see where Canadians were shopping for fish. In contrast to the Japanese suppliers he was buying from, the Canadian markets, it turned out, served their fish with less presentation. “No decoration, very bad smell. Fish smell,” Tojo recounted. “In my training when you go to the market, seafood smells just like watermelon, fresh watermelon, or cucumber smell. Big difference. Over there, Safeway? Ah! Stinky! That’s why.” Suddenly the driving question to Tojo’s sushi conundrum had an answer: smelly fish. Tojo decided to create a sushi that Canadians would like, one that didn’t require the use of the local supply. It wasn’t so much a concession as a vestige of his training in Osaka, where he was known for his omakase creations, i.e. serving the customers’ needs with what was fresh and available. Omakase in Japanese loosely translates to “I’ll leave it up to you.” It’s more than just a menu; it’s a ritual built on the ever-changing ingredients in the chef’s kitchen, while still considering the desires of the customer. Many omakase chefs don’t have a predetermined menu in mind; rather, they build the menu as it unfolds, relying on a sense of what works and what doesn’t for each individual customer. It necessitates, in other words, a certain type of trust between the customer and the chef. What made Tojo’s style of omakase different was that he didn’t feel bound by his locale, North America. Take, for instance, his favorite dish unagi , or barbecued eel, which simply wasn’t available as an ingredient in Vancouver. In order to offer it as a menu item, he instead used the skin of a fish that came to Canada in droves, salmon, seasoning it with the classic sauce used on traditional unagi. This was, in effect, the way Tojo’s California roll was born: by mixing what was available and accessible to him, with what people in his restaurant actually wanted to eat. Nothing more or less elaborate than that. Tojo doesn’t remember the exact day or circumstance that led to the roll. He does, however, remember many customers complaining about eating seaweed. So one day, he replaced the raw fish with avocado and boiled local crab, inspired by what he saw at William Tell. Then, he hid the nori behind a veil of rice by rolling the sushi inside out. Finally, to really make the roll sing, he added a little mayonnaise. “We were born very poor,” he said. “That time after the war, no food. We put mayonnaise and greens from the garden. That is kind of like Western food, little bit fancy. Before they put only soy sauce. But when we discovered mayonnaise, we put in lettuce, tomato, cucumber—put mayo, I love it!” To be clear, the California roll on the menu at Tojo’s restaurant is called the Tojo Maki, not the California roll. Tojo had never even been to California at that point in time (a detail he has impressed on me several times). While the name “Tojo Maki” enjoys significantly less notoriety than “California roll,” Tojo insists that he was the first to come up with it. Asked why I should believe his version of the California roll’s origin story, he replied simply, “In Japan you have pride. Good chef never copies. Never.” The competing theory is that the California roll was, in fact, invented in California’s Little Tokyo in the 1970s. According to this version of events, a man named Kanai Noritoshi, who owned a Japanese food import company called Mutual Trading Company, started what was considered the first sushi counter, Kawafuku, and it was there that he invented the “California” maki. Kawafuku’s head chef, Ichiro Mashita, also claimed credit after starting his own restaurant, Tokyo Kaikan. As for Tojo’s attempts at solidifying his place in California roll history, he did try to trademark his roll in the early ‘90s, after the fact. For this he called on his lawyer, Barry Joe, who has been working with Tojo for 40 years. Unfortunately, for the progenitors of all things wacky maki, trademarking a recipe is extremely difficult to enforce, and extremely costly, at close to several thousand dollars a year for a patent on something like the Tojo Maki. For the rest of us, the who of who can legitimately claim credit for the California roll feels besides the point. The idea that people want to claim credit for its invention at all is a testament to its ubiquity, and to its ultimate commercial success. The California roll’s rise didn’t occur without its critics, like chef Hiroko Shimbo, author of The Sushi Experience . “The California roll is not Japanese sushi because it was created for the convenience of American diners,” she said. “We call it ‘sushi,’ but that’s another dish.” I asked Shimbo whether she thought it was authentic. “No,” she explained. “Why is it not authentic is simply the nori, when we make rolls in Japan, is always outside. And of course there is a reason nori is on the outside: to keep the sushi rice moist and juicy (and the nori gets a little chewy), and that’s how rolls are made in Japan.” As Shimbo speaks, I can’t help but wonder: Is authenticity not chimerical? Cross-cultural remakes of culinary classics date back to globalization itself. The English soup mulligatawny originated from the Indian dish molo tunny; L.A. galbi came from Korean immigrants in California who made use of a cheaper cut newly available to them; and even tempura exists thanks to the Portuguese (although now it seems so steeped in authentic Japanese tradition that considering it anything else seems preposterous). “Whenever some new dish comes to one’s country from another country, that food is always transformed into a slightly different form in order to appeal to the people in that new country,” Shimbo explained. “In Japan they like soft-textured bagels, so a few companies came up with a soft bagel, kind of a fluffy bagel, and that’s ‘bagel’ to the Japanese. And here in America no one can accept that soft bagel.” Maybe that’s what gave the California roll its staying power. Japanese sushi made a small adjustment: a piece of cooked fish in place of raw, a bit of extra sauce and some nori hidden from view. But what is authentic sushi? Even if it’s created for Americans, is it not still sushi? Maybe not what Shimbo grew up associating with sushi, but sushi nonetheless—without which some of Tojo’s most valued regulars may not have come back for a second or third taste. But what sushi needs in order to be authentic, Shimbo continued, is “respect of each flavor in each ingredient. When we cook something, we don’t add spices or something to mask. Using oil masks the flavor of ingredients, so the chefs or cooks, whenever they make some dish, try to use a method to keep the true flavor of the ingredients at the end of the preparation. So that when you eat chicken you enjoy the flavor of the chicken, not the sauce.” Some would say that the California roll, at least a good one, does just that. The balanced combination of ingredients, the subtleties of the rice’s temperature, the freshness of the nori, the perfect amount of mayo—all of these are what make a California roll sing. According to Shimbo’s definition, then, maybe there is a version of the California roll that’s “authentic” and another that’s not.
Tojo at Jinya, holding a takeout order for restaurant regular, Paul Belserene.
Momoko, Tojo’s Daughter Tojo’s creative approach to omakase has led to many other types of adaptations, like the Golden Roll, which does away with nori by wrapping sushi fillings in a thin egg crepe. Or his take on tuna sashimi, which comes pre-marinated to avoid the chance of a customer getting the wrong balance of fish to wasabi to soy. Visible in all of Tojo’s menu items is this well-worn habit of “tricking” his customers into trying more and more of his sushi—what may appear to be sushi gimmicks, but which clearly are clever maneuvers to appeal to the palette he’s catering to. One of Tojo’s most valued regulars, Paul Belserene, couldn’t stomach uni until he tried Tojo’s preparation of it, which now has him hooked. As Belserene remembers it, Tojo “saw his hesitation with uni,” so he made him an uni shiso temaki, placing the sea urchin on top of a shiso leaf so its slippery texture would be masked. “The bitterness of the shiso leaf, the crunch of the nori, and the softness and deep umami of the urchin,” as Belserene described it, was his “gateway drug into uni.” Thanks to Tojo, you can’t go a mile in any direction in Vancouver today without hitting a sushi restaurant. In 2016, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries honored Tojo as the Goodwill Ambassador for Japanese Cuisine, recognizing his work as a chef even as he pushed the boundaries of what’s accepted as “sushi.” I asked Tojo if he thought he would have received this award had he not invented the California roll. “You know, I don’t know,” he said wistfully. “I put the American palette and Japanese old-fashioned cooking together, little bit. That’s my cooking. Because otherwise, people no understand.” More from Food52 :How These Crispy Sheet-Pan Pork Chops Made It on My All-Star Dinners ListThis Chickpea Pot Pie Is So Good, You’ll Be Like ‘Chicken, Who?’Our 10 Most-Popular Recipes Right NowBanana Bread-Chocolate Chunk CookiesFilipino Chicken Porridge (Arroz Caldo)
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A new cookbook cracks the code: Good Indian food needn’t be authentic, it just has to be Indian-ish
Indian-ish is prefaced with a warning: this is not a cookbook for traditional Indian food. Far from it. But what it does, and does well, is preserve the flavour principles of Indian food – particularly North Indian food – and help the novice cook recreate that magic at home.
To that end, Priya Krishna’s book is an excellent introduction to Indian cuisine. The flavours are recognisably Indian, even if they are packaged in new forms. The book tries to take Indian food from intimidating and complicated to easy and intuitive, and this is evident in both the recipes and the casual, enthusiastic, best-friend-holding-your-hand-in-the-kitchen tone that Krishna adopts. Indian-ish makes Indian cuisine accessible to someone cooking in a modern kitchen with fitted microwaves, instant pots, a limited spice rack and at best, a half-stocked pantry.
While the book is clearly written for someone cooking in an American kitchen, Krishna believes it will find an audience in India as well. “I was recently in India, and I was surprised to see that there were a lot of kids my age who love the food they grew up eating but never actually learned how to make it,” said Krishna, who lives in New York. “Also, India is so…
Momofukus chef Michael Rubinstein shares his favorite Las Vegas restaurants – Eater Vegas
Flipboard Sin City is home to a lot of restaurants and bars, but there are tons of hidden gems that the majority of Las Vegans aren’t unearthing. To help guide readers to these potential discoveries, Eater Vegas enlisted some of the city’s food players to share their recommendations for a feature dubbed Dining Confidential . Michael Rubinstein, whose friends call him Ruby, took over as chef de cuisine at Momofuku , David Chang’s Korean restaurant at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The Vegas native started his career working the breakfast buffet shift at Buffalo Bills Casino before he attended culinary school at the College of Southern Nevada. His career led him through stints a RM Seafood at Mandalay Place, Michael Mina at the Bellagio, and Twist at the Waldorf Astoria . He also opened The Goodwich with its roster of sandwiches. Here he shares some of his favorite places to dine in Las Vegas. What made you decide to stay in Las Vegas? I was born and raised here in Las Vegas and came up through its restaurant community, so this place means the world to me. I used to hate it when I was in high school, but I found a true home in the kitchens here. I’ve been tempted to leave a few times, but Vegas keeps getting better and better in a lot of ways, so I’ve decided to stay, and I love every minute of watching the city grow. Where do you like to eat breakfast in Las Vegas? I’m a huge fan of The Omelet House on Charleston. I’ve been going there since I was a kid, so I’ve had a lot of memories there, a lot of seriously massive omelets, and later in life, a share of soothed hangovers. It’s an old-school greasy-spoon in all the right ways, including the incredible wait staff — a real classic. What about lunch? For lunch, I’d grab a sandwich or a salad at The Goodwich . The patty melt, the falafel, and the Cobb-ish are hard to beat. Or I’d head to Bajamar for a ceviche tostada and an octopus taco. I think they serve some of the best and freshest mariscos in Las Vegas. If you’re going out for dinner, which restaurants do you like to frequent? What makes them special? Any dishes you can recommend? I’m always trying new spots for dinner so I’m not exactly a regular anywhere, but recently I’ve become obsessed with Chengdu Taste on Spring Mountain. They set the standard for Sichuan food here with the toothpick lamb, red chili wontons, and boiled fish in green chili sauce. Other than that, I love Mt. Everest for Indian food and Other Mama for a great cocktail and a serious sashimi plate. Where do you like to dine for a special occasion? I still think Raku might hold the crown as the best overall restaurant in town, and it’s got a unique vibe; so small and intimate, and they just keep bringing you these tiny plates of perfect food, one after the other. The hot and cold tofu may be the two best plates of food in the city. It truly takes you away from Vegas while you’re there, and that makes it perfect for a special dinner. I also recently went back to Twist by Pierre Gagnaire at the Waldorf for the first time after cooking there for years, and chefs John Miranda and Rob Meistrell are doing some incredible stuff in what’s probably the prettiest dining room in town. Do you have any favorite brunches in twon? For brunch, I keep it simple and you can probably find me somewhere low key like the Omelet House or the Coffee Pub on Sahara, but If I had to go somewhere fancy, I’d grab a coffee at Vesta Coffee Roasters and walk around the corner for brunch at Esther’s Kitchen. Both places are run by incredibly passionate crews that are producing something special in the Arts District. Let’s say you want to hang out with your friends after work. Where do you like to go? After work I’ll usually head down Main Street to Jammyland. Never really thought I’d become a regular at a Jamaican-style reggae bar, but they’ve put together a bar with incredible cocktails, uniquely delicious food, a patio where I can hang out with my dog, and it’s run by the best people: Danielle and Alan. It’s a perfect place to relax after a long week. But if it’s been a really long week I’ll be at Frankie’s Tiki Room, nursing a drink or two with the best jukebox in town.
Top 9 Places to Visit in Kumarakom With Family
8. Ettumanoor Mahadevar, Thirunakkara Mahadevar and Vaikom Mahadeva Temples
9. Kumarakom Backwaters
1. Vembanad Lake
The city of Kumarakom sits right on the shore of Vembanad Lake, so it is practically impossible to visit Kumarakom and not visit the lake! The largest lake in Kerala and the convergence point of 10 rivers, Vembanad Lake is the pride of Kumarakom and Kerala Tourism. Besides being the venue for the annual Nehru Trophy boat race, Vembanad Lake also houses some of the best houseboats that cater exclusively to tourists. You will get a special insight into the serene beauty of Kerala by signing up to stay in one. One of the primary attractions in Kumarakom, these houseboats can be rented for a cruise for a few hours, a half day or an entire 24-hour period, with all meals included. The experience is customisable depending on what the guest is looking for. Available in different sizes, you can pick between tiny boats with just a single bedroom and bigger ones that have as many as 10 or more rooms. Fresh, hot food is cooked and served on the houseboat itself, giving you a chance to relish some of the best of Kumarakom food while enjoying scenic views. In fact, the meals served on the boats are authentic Kerala cuisine and generally include the prevalent fish of Kerala. With prices ranging from as low as INR 2500 that can go up to even INR 50,000 per night, Kumarakom offers various houseboat options to choose from. While one should definitely enjoy the backwaters from the houseboats, there are plenty of resorts lining the lake as well in Kumarakom, offering you the best of both worlds–the freedom to walk around the land enjoying the lush landscape and enjoying the serene, glistening waters of the lake at the same time.
If you are visiting Kumarakom during the Onam festivities in August, you may be lucky enough to catch the two local clubs that participate in the boat festival, practising for the tournament.
2. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
Looking for places to visit in Kumarakom? This lush green forest cover on the banks of the Kumarakom Lake is a must visit for all bird lovers, nature lovers, and photographers. Home to kingfishers, egrets, cuckoos, woodpeckers, parrots and Siberian cranes, this sanctuary– spread across 14 acres of land in Kumarakom– is also a paradise for many migratory birds between November to February.
It is open round the year from 6:30 AM to 5:00 PM This park enjoys excellent weather all year round and can be visited any time you wish. However, if you wish to see many species of birds, June to August is the best time to visit the sanctuary. Tickets are priced at around INR 50 for Indians and INR 100 for foreign nationals. This Kumarakom Bird sanctuary on the Kerala Backwaters is a must-visit no matter how old or young you are. Once here, do remember to take a canoe ride to the small island in the middle of the sanctuary to experience the best of these tranquil backwaters. Home to over 180 species of birds, this sanctuary also has the distinction of being the first scientifically preserved bird sanctuary in India. Be sure to take a walk down the one-kilometre trail to enjoy some fresh air. While on your walk you will get to see wood beetles, teals and darters, too. A number of buses that ply from Kollam and Cochin stop right at the entrance of the sanctuary, making it one of the most accessible places to visit in Kerala.
3. Aruvikkuzhi Waterfall and the Surrounding Rubber Plantation
A great destination for photographers in Kumarakom is the Aruvikkuzhi Waterfall and its surrounding rubber plantations. Though not as majestic and gigantic as the Athirampalli waterfalls, this site has water cascading from over 100 feet. It is a paradise for backpackers and families alike. Surrounded by lush green on all sides, one can’t help but feel like one is being hugged by nature itself. With a delightful climate and cool breeze thanks to the water droplets from the falls, the waterfalls certainly top the list of the ten best destinations to visit while in Kumarakom. There are a lot of Kumarakom resorts within a ten-kilometre radius of the falls if you wish to stay overnight. The best time to visit the Kumarakom falls is immediately after monsoon when everything is green and beautiful. Having said that, the waters here are inviting all through the year, thanks to the tropical climate in Kerala.
4. Bay Island Drift Museum
By far one of the most unique concepts for a museum- and definitely the first of its kind in India- the Bay Island Drift Museum in Kumarakom is one of the most frequented museums in Kumarakom. A gem of Kerala Tourism and in Kumarakom purview, this museum showcases some of the most creative driftwood sculptures.
Open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM from Tuesday till Saturday and from 11:30 AM to 5:00 PM on Sundays, this museum was first started by a retired school teacher–Ms. Raji Punnoose. Today, it is home to some of the best driftwood artefacts that were created and sustained by waves, before being recovered and improvised n. It was founded and run by an all-women team and offers all tourists free entry, today. Winner of various prestigious awards in India, this museum is the pride of Kerala tourism and displays hundreds of exhibits that were recovered directly from the Andaman Sea by the proprietor of the museum while she was posted there as a teacher. The sculptures include artefacts made from driftwood and various roots of trees and plants. The holder of numerous national records including a mention in the Limca Book of Records, this museum also features in the Lonely Planet as a must-visit destination while touring Kumarakom.
5. Thanneermukkom Bund
The Thanneermukkom Bund in Kumarakom, originally constructed as a part of the Kuttanad Development Scheme is popular with photographers and tourists looking for a serene experience.
Constructed in 1974 and functional since 1976, this bund is the largest mud regulator in India. While it has proved to be a blessing for farmers of Kuttanad who farm on low-lying lands, the bund has had its adverse effects on the natural balance of the area as well. With the access of the backwaters entering the sea blocked, not only has this bund affected the sea level here but the salt water used to cleanse the waters here has also been stopped from entering the fresh waters, resulting in a decrease in the number of fish and the sudden rise of water hyacinths. This lack of salt water has also led to pollution in the waters and the surrounding lands.
That said, it is certainly a popular attraction that sees several hundred tourists every day. Built across the Vembanad Lake in Kumarakom, connecting Allapuzha and Kottayam, there are frequent buses available from Cherthala, Alappuzha, and Kottayam to this destination in Kumarakom.
6. Pathiramanal Island
Located right in the middle of the Vembanad Lake in Kumarakom, Pathiramanal Island is a tranquil destination for trekkers, picnickers, and bird watchers. This island exudes a quaint and rustic vibe and offers a picture-perfect break with experiences very different from other parts of Kerala.
Also called Ananda Padmanabha Thoppu and Pathira Thoppu, and home to some of the many mangroves of Kumarakom, this island has been inhabited for centuries now and is accessible only by boats. A little detour while on a backwater cruise will take you to this beautiful island that is sure to leave you spellbound.
Recognising the potential this destination offers, Kerala Tourism along with the Kerala Government has even introduced the Pathiramanal Biodiversity Conservation and Responsible Eco-tourism Development Project on this island. Known not only for its breath-taking natural beauty, this island is also home to several species of birds. Talk to the locals here and you will hear the story of how the island was named so.
Pathiramanal, when translated, means ‘midnight sand’. Legend has it that the place got its name when it was magically created by an ancient saint while he was sailing through the Vembanad Lake at midnight and had the urge to relieve himself. Home to some of the rarest flora and fauna, this island today has several exotic plants which cannot be found anywhere else. You will also get to see dozens of mussels breeding in the waters near this island.
Known best for its dense vegetation and diverse bio-diversity, the Vembanad Lake, truly gives visitors a glimpse of why Kerala is called God’s Own Country.
PS: Do visit the small mysterious temple located in the midst of the dense vegetation- it sits right in the middle of this idyllic island in Kumarakom.
7. Jatayu Rock
Straight from the Ramayana, this 65-acre land is considered to be the land where Jatayu, the mythological bird, fell after being injured trying to rescue Sita from Ravana when he was flying back to Lanka on his Golden Chariot. You will see a large stone sculpture of Jatayu here.
This destination is a must-visit for tourists who love a spot that offers wonderful photography opportunities. Surrounded by forest lands all around, this rock attracts many travellers and is open all seven days a week.
Known to house the world’s largest bird sculpture, this park also holds the distinction of being the first PPP tourism initiative in Kerala. A cable car ride here is priced at INR 400 and is a fun activity that you must not miss.
The park also has an adventure zone your kids are sure to love. Still under construction, this adventure zone is already a major attraction for tourists travelling to Kerala, especially Kumarakom. One can only wonder how busy the place will be once all the phases are functional.
The park is also known as the Jatayu Nature Park or Jatayu Earth’s Centre and is easily accessible by road from all major cities of Kerala. With facilities that include a cable car ride, Helipads, and local flying services, 12D cinema, digital museums, and Ayurvedic and Siddha Cave Resort, there is plenty to experience here at Jatayu Rock. The first of its kind, Jatayu Rock is a joint venture between Kerala Tourism, Mr Rajiv Achal and a host of private equity holders. A cluster of four hills, the place offers different experiences in each of the four hills, promising to be a great entertainer for tourists of all kinds. Jatayu Rock is a classic example of one of the most wondrous places to visit in Kumarakom.
8. Ettumanoor Mahadevar, Thirunakkara Mahadevar and Vaikom Mahadeva Temples
Deriving its name from the word ‘Manoor’ meaning ‘land of the deer’, this ancient temple of Lord Shiva is one of the oldest and most renowned temples of Kerala. If the locals are to be believed, this temple dates back to a time before the Mahabharata was written. It is believed that the Pandavas and Maharishi Vyasa stopped by this temple on their long journey to pray. One of the oldest temples of Kerala, this temple houses art from ancient times, including that from the Dravidian times. You will get to see beautiful murals and paintings on the walls inside the temple. The wall painting in the fresco of the temple of Lord Shiva is considered as one of the best wall paintings in India.
So popular is this temple among locals, tourists, and pilgrims alike that it features as one of the 108 Shiva temples that pilgrims must visit across the country to attain moksha. This temple is not just famous for its divine Shiva statue and its many beautiful paintings, but also is known to house Ezhara Ponnana, which when translated, means the ‘seven and a half golden elephants’. Legend states that these eight golden elephants, seven of which were two feet high and the eighth which was a foot high, were presented to the temple by the then king of Travancore, Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma. These elephants are kept in a safe in the temple and are brought out for the devotees to see once every year. Made of Jackfruit tree wood, these elephants are said to be covered with over 13 kilograms of gold plates. Open every morning and evening, don’t miss out on visiting this temple on your trip to Kumarakom.
Also, part of the 108 Shiva temples are the Thirunakkara Madevar and Vaikom Mahadeva Temples, also worthy of a quick pit stop. Over 500 years old, these temples are immersed in history and hold great reverence among locals. The temples were built by various kings that ruled Kerala back then. Legend has it that the Shiva linga housed in the Thirunakkara Mahadevar Temple was installed by Sage Parashurama himself. The Vaikom Mahadeva Temple offers a calm and meditative ambience for pilgrims who travel long distances to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva. Within the temple is an oil lamp that burns all day and all night! The doors of these temples in Kumarakom open for pilgrims every day from 4:00 AM to noon and again in the evening from 5:00 PM till 8:30 PM.
9. Kumarakom Backwaters:
Last, but definitely not the least, while in Kumarakom, or while touring Kerala for that matter, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the backwaters of Kumarakom that links back to the Vembanad Lake. One of the most breathtaking experiences of Kerala Tourism, these backwaters are undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Kumarakom. There are plenty of houseboats sailing on these backwaters waiting to ferry and entertain tourists visiting Kumarakom. If you book a luxury resort on the waterfront, it is likely that they will offer a sunset cruise on these Kumarakom backwaters as a part of their tariff. Tourists who have been on a backwater cruise rate this experience as one of the best experiences of their lives. Originally a cluster of islands around Vembanad Lake, it is these backwaters that form the lifeline of Kumarakom.
One of the major attractions in Kumarakom, these backwaters are known for their boat and houseboat cruises. Your options are endless, ranging from single roomed houseboat to even multi-room luxury houseboats. You will find canoes and vessels of all sizes floating in these waters, either transporting people, fishing or just moving from one island to another. This in itself is quite a breathtaking sight! You will also get to see a bunch of floating shops bringing you various curios right to where you are. Watching the sun setting in the west from one of the houseboats is one of the most spellbinding experiences one you can enjoy in God’s Own Country. A perfect vacation for all, you can sail around the waters through the day and experience fishing in the waters in the evening around sunset. In short, Kumarakom is simply magical!
Named after the deity of its oldest temple Kumaran, Kumarakom is the Akam, or home, to lord Kumaran. Home to fertile soil and an abundant source of fresh waters, Kumarakom prides itself in being one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in Kerala. One of the best locations for honeymooners as well as for families or solo travellers, Kumarakom is the torch bearer for Kerala tourism and a real example of why Kerala is called the ‘God’s Own Country’. With an abundance of flora, fauna and natural resources, Kumarakom is truly a paradise for man, animals and birds alike.
If our list of the ten best places to visit in Kumarakom has intrigued you enough to plan a visit to this nature-kissed destination, be sure to book your accommodation in Club Mahindra Kumarakom resort in Kerala. This Kumarakom resort is like no other resort and offers a myriad of modern amenities at half the price of a 5-star hotel. Several Club Mahindra reviews are a testimony to the hospitality you will enjoy at this resort in Kumarakom. Offer
Top 10 Honeymoon Destinations in The USA
America is a majestic country that annually attracts millions upon millions of tourists to its borders. The country is big, and, because of its importance to our modern history, it is absolutely filled with things to see. For a regular middle-class person that isn’t a citizen of the beautiful United States of America, it may be quite financially challenging to visit all the places that are out there to see. However, what can you do when your honeymoon is approaching, and you want to make it as memorable and entertaining as possible? We are here to help you with that.
This is a country of temptations, prestige, romance and exciting traveling. There is a place not only for office skyscrapers, gigantic shopping centers but also for endless deserts, cloud-reaching mountains and lots of unusual sights.
As we’ve said, the US is completely stacked with things to see; it is the ultimate blend of cultures from all around the world, their interactions and coexistence create a truly unforgettable experience. But you should not let your guard down. You have to get prepared.
Before we begin with our list, let’s discuss some things that are worth knowing before booking your tickets to the land of opportunities.
Things you may need in your traveling: Electrical outlet adapter; Cigarettes, because American ones are too expensive; Binoculars, trust me, you are going to need them. Credit card, it is better to keep all of your funds on it, since pocket theft is flourishing in the country. When going to America, you should know some of the rules and regulations of the country: Do not try to care for a woman in a public place, things that may be considered as simple gallantry may come off as being creepy or sexist. When you are in a restaurant you cannot leave anything on a table: everything you paid for will be given to you to eat it later. Drinking alcohol and smoking in public places is prohibited. In Ohio, it is not customary to wear patent leather shoes. In one of the regions of the state of New York, it is forbidden to wear colored trousers and jackets. If you are in a serious rush, then here is the short list of all the main attractions of the United States: National Mall . This is a park of 4 thousand square meters, and it is absolutely stacked with all sorts of free museums and monuments.
Times Square . It is considered to be the main place for shopping and entertainment in Manhattan, which is visited annually by about 30 million tourists. The street got its name thanks to the New York Times editorial office located there.
Grand Canyon . One of the most interesting places in America, every year hundreds of thousands of tourists come here to see the unique natural monument formed by the Colorado River. Despite its solid age, it still continues to get deeper.
Niagara Falls . This water beauty is located on the junction of two lakes – Ontario and Erie. The name of the waterfall was given by the Indians living there: it means “dividing in half” or “booming water”.
Walk of Fame in Hollywood . The main attraction of Los Angeles, it annually hosts thousands of stars and millions of tourists. The idea to create such a place appeared in 1953 in order to not only popularize creativity but also to perpetuate the memory of famous people.
Disneyland – this is the best place for children in the world, created by Walt Disney, it not only includes film studios, but also a whole network of parks.
With that out of the way, here is our list of the top 10 honeymoon destinations in the USA. Maui, Hawaii Hawaii is the most popular place for a romantic getaway among Americans. Maui is a small island of paradise for newlyweds! There is no other more suitable way to start a life together than to escape to this charming island.
Be sure to go hiking in Haleakala, which is known as the highest peak of Maui. Drive through Hana to enjoy the view of the majestic waterfalls and bask in the white sands of the island of Maui.
Kauai, Hawaii Kauai is the second most popular island in Hawaii. You can have lots of fun and adventures in Hawaiian style by kayaking across the Wailua river, zip lining through lush and beautiful rainforests along the paths of Koki National Park. It was here, on Kauai, that episodes of many popular TV shows and films were filmed, including Jurassic Park.
You should definitely make a gift for yourself, dine at one of the best restaurants in Kauai and enjoy a relaxing massage at the beach.
Key West, Florida There is one romantic place in the US for adventure and fun right under the sun, and that is Key West in Florida. The best way to get here is by car from Miami. Here you will find many things that you can entertain yourself with during your honeymoon.
If you and your partner love exploring the underwater world, Key West is the perfect place to travel to! We recommend you to go snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters of Key West. You can also swim with dolphins, visit local museums and try various water activities, such as scuba diving, parasailing, and kiteboarding.
Lake Tahoe, California A cozy and romantic holiday for lovers in the United States can be spent on Lake Tahoe. Here you are sure to find suitable accommodation for your needs ranging from luxury hotels to small village apartments. In winter, you can go skiing or snowboarding at the Lake Tahoe ski resort, which offers stunning views and memorable sights. And in the summer it is worth playing golf, go cycling and fishing.
Lake Tahoe offers relaxation with the most beautiful of landscapes around and the opportunity to relax with your loved one alone with nature by your side. You should definitely spend this time with a person you love, if you don’t have one, then be sure to visit this dating website where you will be able to meet single women online .
Las Vegas, Nevada Do you and your loved ones like parties and night clubs? In this case, you should go on your honeymoon trip to Las Vegas without any hesitation or second thoughts! There you can enjoy a truly fantastic atmosphere that this city has, the best parties, nightclubs, and entertainment for everyone.
By the way, my wife and I had our wedding in one of the famous Las Vegas chapels.
You can stroll around the legendary Bellagio fountains and watch one of the incredible performances of Cirque du Soleil, explore the best art collections in the Donna Art Gallery, enjoy live music and dancing on the Planet Hollywood, go shopping in the Forum Shops mall at Caesar’s Palace Hotel.
Napa Valley, California Napa Valley is known as one of the best places for secluded holidays in the United States. For you and your partner, it will be a cozy, quiet place to escape from the noise of city life.
Do you consider yourself to be a wine connoisseur? If so, then you can take a tasting tour of one of the best wineries in the country. If you like fine cuisine, then go to Napa Valley, where you can arrange a real holiday for your stomach! You can also enjoy the fresh air by cycling or hiking in the Napa Valley.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts This is 880 square kilometers of pure pleasure! While staying at one of the cozy resorts of Cape Cod, you can enjoy stunning views of the bay and the peaceful atmosphere around. And if you’re bored, then you can go on a whale watching tour, go deep-sea fishing, or take a boat ride. Be sure to take the time to go for a walk along the Cape Cod coastal promenade, view antique shops, and art studios. And at the end of the day, return to your cozy apartment to unwind and relax.
Aspen, Colorado It is not necessary to go on a honeymoon to exotic and expensive resorts to enjoy the romance. All of it can be found in Aspen, one of the most stunningly beautiful honeymoon spots. Thanks to the internationally recognized Aspen ski resorts, you and your loved one can enjoy skiing or snowboarding from the mountains in winter. In summer, you can enjoy cycling and hiking through the beauty of Aspen.
Cape May, NJ Cape May has some of the best beaches in the United States, where you can relax, unwind, swim and just bask in the gentle New Jersey sunshine. This is a small corner of paradise, where you and your loved one can spend the best honeymoon ever. In Cape May everyone will be able to find something they like: swim with aqualungs, visit museums, admire lighthouses, go to the brewery and enjoy some wine tasting. Believe me, your friends will definitely not spend their time on the Maldives as good as you will on Cape May.
Savannah, Georgia A wonderful romantic holiday can be spent walking along the pages of the country’s history in Savannah. If you like history – then Savannah is the pick for you! You will be able to visit museums and exhibitions that showcase the city’s culture, history, and art. You can make friends with dolphins on the “Delphic Wizard Tours” and canoe in the Outside Hilton Head. You can explore the city on board the ships on the Savannah River. And be sure to take a photo of the magnificent lighthouses, monuments of the civil war and other historical places.
Honorable Mentions: Perhaps you have noticed that the main megacities of the country have been excluded from the list above. That is because we wanted to highlight the best and the most romantic destinations in the US, not the biggest cities, but still, depending on what you are looking for in your honeymoon, you might as well enjoy them more than all the destinations that we’ve listed above. We won’t leave you hanging.
We are sure that a lot of you came here to get to know these cities better, so, here is our list of the most famous US cities and which of their sights and destinations should you visit.
New York – the city of great opportunities New York is the unofficial capital of the United States. The city is one of the largest in the world, as well as the economic and cultural center of the United States. The city is made up of five districts: Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and Manhattan, where the main attractions are located at. About 50 million tourists come to New York each year. Rest here is expensive, but it is interesting. The average cost of hotel accommodation per day is about $ 300, but if you prepare for the trip in advance, you can find cheap guesthouses for $150-200 per day. Tasty and cheap food in New York is hard to find, but mobile kiosks with food are in great demand among travelers. In general, hot dogs, fast foods and Coca-Cola are the main companions of the average tourist. Much more interesting is the case with local attractions: Broadway theaters, the Metropolitan Museum, famous Times Square, Central Park (the most visited park in the US) and, of course, the Statue of Liberty. In addition, New York is a paradise for everyone who enjoys fashion trends, here, on the Fifth Avenue, there is a huge number of brand boutiques, and the whole world has heard about their Christmas and summer sales. So, everyone should visit this metropolis at least once in their lives; there is no other city in the world like New York.
Los Angeles – the city of entertainment Los Angeles is a major global entertainment center. The city is relatively young, so there are no world-famous architectural monuments there, but it has a well-developed film industry, and it is quite easy to meet celebrities on the beaches of Los Angeles. Millions of tourists come to Los Angeles to see the “happiest place on earth” for themselves, that being Disneyland, as well as enjoy the beaches of Malibu and Long Beach under the light breeze of the ocean and visit the main attraction of the city – Universal Studios. There are always many tourists here because everyone wants to see firsthand how cool Hollywood action films are. There is yet another mandatory tourist destination: it is a visit to the famous “Walk of Fame,” located on Hollywood Boulevard. Tourists always visit Beverly Hills, where many movie stars live. Be sure to visit the main street of the city – Sunset Boulevard, where the old Warner Brothers Studio and the Sunset Strip are located, it is here that you can taste all the beauty of Los Angeles’ nightlife.
Beverly Hills – the city of wealth The California city of Beverly Hills is familiar to many thanks to the legendary series called “Beverly Hills”. It was there that they glorified the golden youth and the luxurious life in Beverly. If you walk through the streets of Beverly Hills, you will see a lot of interesting things. The houses are cozy, the people are carefree, and the cars are expensive. And although it is said that the wealth of Beverly is rather far-fetched and exaggerated by the media, it isn’t a rare thing to see convertible S-class Mercedes cars riding the streets of Beverly Hills. Surprisingly, people here are good-natured, they do not hide their houses behind a high fence, and their yards are always green and well-groomed. For those who want to enjoy shopping, be sure to visit Rodeo Drive – here you can find boutiques of world-famous brands and expensive restaurants where you can taste the delights of the local cuisine.
Miami – the city of beaches When we talk about Miami, we mean Miami Beach – one of the most prestigious resorts in the world. Here are the mansions of the richest people in the world, world stars, and financial magnates. This is a small paradise on earth with white beaches, a total length of which is 16 kilometers, with huge palm trees lined up right by the ocean. Holidays in Miami is luxurious: everything works for your comfort. Along the beach, you can find a hotel for every taste and budget. Nightlife on the island is in full swing – there are numerous nightclubs, bars, and other entertainment venues. Due to the fact that people come to Miami mainly for new sensations and acquaintances, the beaches are practically free until lunchtime. Bright and friendly atmosphere reigns in the city all year round, so those who are tired of noise should definitely come here. Life in Miami is an endless holiday; it makes the city a great alternative to business-oriented New York.
San Francisco – the city of freedom The city is named in honor of the Catholic St. Francis of Assisi. The standard of living in San Francisco is high, and housing is expensive. Even in poor neighborhoods, the standard of living has improved significantly. The economy of San Francisco is based on tourism: the city is the fifth largest in the United States in terms of the number of foreign visitors and is among the top ten cities in the world, and just a hundred years ago, it was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake. San Francisco is very multifaceted, here on the streets you can meet the poor, hippies and sex minorities, who make up about 15% of the city’s population. Among the main attractions are the famous hills (there are more than 50 of them in San Francisco), Chinatown with its exotic shops and the Golden Gate Park, which is even larger than Central Park in New York.
Washington – the main city Washington is the capital of the United States; it is not part of any state and was named in honor of George Washington, the first American president. Here are all the US federal authorities. It is said that this city is not at all like the American megacities. Perhaps this is due to the fact that its construction in the distant 1790 was occupied by French architect Pierre Charles L’Enfant. The main attraction for every tourist is, of course, the White House. However, it is almost impossible to get there with an excursion, unless, if the President himself invites you. There are practically no skyscrapers in Washington. But there are many historical, cultural and museum monuments (the Capitol, the White House, the Aerospace Museum, the Lincoln, Jefferson and Roosevelt memorials) located relatively close to each other and they are absolutely free to visit, which is undoubtedly a plus. Well, and, of course, there is a Chinatown in Washington. Compared with the similar one in San Francisco, they say, it is very boring and monotonous, but it is very easy to fill your stomach there. If you are planning a trip to Washington, do not forget about the high crime rate. When going for a walk, leave all the valuables in a hotel.
Chicago – the city of skyscrapers Chicago is the third most populated city of the US (after New York and Los Angeles) and is referred to as the “Big Chicago”. It is the largest economic and political center of the world. Chicago is located on the shores of Lake Michigan. The city is famous for a huge number of skyscrapers: five of the ten tallest buildings in the USA are located here. And its Sears Tower skyscraper exceeded the famous twin towers in New York by its height. On the 103rd floor (there are 110 of them), there is a glass observation deck with an amazing view of the panorama of the city. Tourists come here to admire the legendary Water Tower, built in 1867; it is the only one that survived the fire in 1871. It still provides water to almost 400 thousand people in the northern part of the city. The beaches, stretching near Lake Michigan. The attention of tourists is attracted by all of the picturesque parks that are located along the business districts.
Houston – the city of cowboys Houston is the largest city in the state of Texas. According to the results of numerous studies, it was included in the rating of the most convenient cities for living in the world. Houston is a multicultural city, many Mexicans live here (due to the proximity to the south of the border with Mexico) and Asians. First of all, for tourists, this city is interesting mainly for its world-famous Rodeo festival. About 2 million tourists visit the wild bull race every year. This sport is very dangerous, but the earnings of the most courageous and famous cowboys sometimes reach 100 thousand dollars. True, most of this money is often spent on hospital checks after the races. Houston is famous not only for its Rodeo – every year the city hosts the largest gay night festival, as well as a parade of art cars. For those who prefer a more relaxing holiday, we recommend visiting the Texas shopping center, Houston Zoo or water park.
A 200-Year-Old Recipe from the Tamil Muslims of Tirunelveli
thakkadi , tirunelveli , dumplings and meat Comment Zarine Mohideen writes about a classic Tamil Muslim dish of meat with dumplings that is served to close family and newly-weds. Over generations, Muslim communities in India have made many contributions to the culinary landscape of the country; kebabs, biryanis, meat gravies, chicken in countless variations, and sweetmeats drenched in ghee. Biryani, without doubt, is the most popular of these dishes, and holds prime spot on the list of special-occasion food. We Muslims are also guilty of feeding into this stereotype by serving it every chance we get — Biryani is served on Eid, leftovers carried over to the next day; served at weddings, and on just about any given day of the week. We make it often, eat so much of it that we can’t bear to think of it again, only to attend the next wedding and make a beeline for the biryani counter. While biryani remains the crowd puller in my community, the Tamil Muslims, we also have a repertoire of traditional recipes that are reserved for family gatherings. One such dish is thakkadi, a meat and dumplings dish that is served to close family and newly-weds. Tamil Muslims are a community made up of almost 4 million people, residing primarily in the state of Tamil Nadu. Contrary to popular belief, we do not speak Urdu or Hindi. Instead, we are a Tamil-speaking people that practice Islam. The community has become largely urban, and while many have settled overseas, they trace their roots back to the districts of Tirunelveli, Madurai and Trichy. Traditional Tamil Muslim cuisine has received little to no attention, despite being rich and colourful. Thakkadi is one of our most colourful and interesting dishes. In this spicy, comforting Tamil Muslim classic, tender pieces of meat are cooked with plump dumplings, to create a thick mutton gravy. I have fond memories of summer vacations in Tirunelveli, hanging about the kitchen while the women in my family stirred large pots of food, telling stories and laughing. I grew up with the smell of ginger-garlic paste in the air, the sound of onions sizzling as they hit the heavy bottom of the pressure cooker, signalling the start of something wonderful. My grand aunts, with whom we spent our summer vacations, showered us with love and food; food that wasn’t just delicious, but were culinary heirlooms, passed down through generations. As unique as thakkadi is to the district of Tirunelveli, I have found that it holds equal, if not more popularity with Muslims in Sri Lanka. A cursory search on Google will reveal recipes of thakkadi — a popular Sri Lankan dish. With a few variations in the preparation of gravy and dumplings, the Sri Lankan thakkadi and Tamil thakkadi could be cousins. My family has been making thakkadi for over 200 years. Generations of men from Tirunelveli and other southern districts, travelled to Burma (now Myanmar), Sri Lanka and the Gulf, in search of prosperity. My great-great grandfather was one of these men, travelling often to Sri Lanka on work. Perhaps it was during one of these trips that he brought back home the tales of thakkadi. The combination of meat and dumplings is not the most original — every culture in the world has a version of it. Dumplings are comfort food, and given the simple ingredients, it is no surprise that many cultures all over the world have experimented with and perfected variations of this combination. Round, square, stuffed with meat or vegetables, these delicate, pillowy cushions comfort the hungry and satisfy the gourmands. From Asian gyozas and dim sums, South American empanadas, Afghan mantis, Polish pierogis and Nepalese momos, they are found the world over. In each variation, they bear clear similarities: flour is mixed with, or wrapped around, herbs, vegetables, meat, and is steamed or cooked in a sauce. Dumplings in broth is an easy way to use leftovers, to create a dish that is both flavourful and thrifty. To make thakkadi, balls of dough — a mixture of rice flour with flecks of coconut — are cooked in a meat gravy. As the dumplings cook, they soak up the gravy to become soft and squishy, and the gravy in turn slowly turns thicker as the dumplings melt to become one with the gravy. The ‘original’ thakkadi recipe from Tirunelveli is made with fist-sized dumplings. The districts of Madurai make a variant called thikkadi that use smaller, lime-sized balls. The variations don’t end here; some recipes call for the dough to be rolled out and cut into bite-sized pieces akin to Italian gnocchi. In Tirunelveli, a mix of rice flour and coconut flakes is used to make dumplings, while others use only rice flour, adding coconut milk instead, to the gravy. But no matter which recipe you follow, the dumplings, meat and gravy, form a holy trinity of deliciousness that is guaranteed to soothe the soul. Zarine Mohideen is an Indian writer based in the Bay Area.
The Lowdown: The Samhaji
Related tags: Indian cuisine , QSR , Trademark , Restaurant Indian fast casual group Rola Wala says it has begun the process of trademarking the recipe for its samosa/onion bhaji hybrid, the Samhaji.
So it’s a samosa crossed with an onion bhaji? Hardly sounds innovative, in fact it sounds a bit dhal… It may not be the most exciting addition to the Indian food scene, but these Samhajis have proved popular with consumers since Rola Wala launched them as a Deliveroo-exclusive in early April. During National Samosa Week they were said to be selling out within just a few hours of the orders opening.
Why so popular? According to Deliveroo – which is pushing this story – samosas and onion bhajis are the two most ordered appetisers in the UK, so it apparently makes sense to combine them into one tasty treat. It’s described by Rola Wala as being a “modern take on the traditional samosa and onion bhaji”, with crispy onions, chilli, turmeric and lamb, parcelled in a classic samosa pastry. There’s also a vegan version that’s loaded with lentils, beetroot, and a secret seven spice masala.
And now Rola Wala want to trademark the dish? Apparently so, the team says they have decided they want to protect the recipe, as it is assumed that copy cats will soon start emerge. Although trying to trademark a recipe isn’t exactly a straightforward process . They would probably have more success if it just settled for trademarking the name.
Explain? According to the law firm Cripps Pemberton Greenish, to be patentable “a recipe or technique would have to be new, and not obvious to a skilled chef” , and given that Samhajis ostensibly just tinker with the filling of a classic samosa, it hardly seems novel. As we’ve seen before, though, trademarking the name of a new foodstuff is very possible. Take the Cronut (™), for example, which one can find for sale in various forms in bakeries and street food markets across London and beyond, but only Dominique Ansel can actually call it a Cronut.
What would happen if someone else did choose to start selling Samhajis too? If the trademark is in place, then there would be grounds for a legal argy bhaji and Rola Wala would be able to prevent others from selling the dish under that name. At the moment, though, there’s very little they could do. Although the individual ripping off the recipe may face some bad korma as a result…
Don’t you mean karma? Exactly. Copyright – Unless otherwise stated all contents of this web site are © 2019 – William Reed Business Media Ltd – All Rights Reserved – Full details for the use of materials on this site can be found in the Terms & Conditions Subscribe to our FREE newsletter Subscribe
I came here to tout Samaithu Paar, but peacheater already did it.
So I will add:
Cooking at Home with Pedatha for Andhra Brahmin cooking.
Lord Krishna’s Cuisine by Yamuna Devi (The so called Hare Krishna cookbook) for comprehensive Vaishnav cooking. This is more based on the Vaishnav community cooking from all over India, not just one region. But it does follow the Vaishnav cooking restrictions (basically No Onions and No Garlic 🙂 ).
Southern Flavors by Chandra Padmanabhan . This is a comprehensive collection of Vegetarian South Indian food from all the states there (Kerala, Andhra, TN and Karnataka). Her book Dakshin is like a greatest hits version of Samaithu Paar. It also has gorgeous photos of every dish so you know what they are supposed to look like. I personally prefer Dakshin as the recipes are easier to make.
Raghavan Iyer’s 660 Curries is a fantastic compendium of recipes from all over India. This is my favorite Indian cookbook. It is pretty comprehensive.
Eileen Lo’s book on Buddhist Vegetarian cooking from China, From the Earth ; is a fantastic collection.
Pushpesh Pant’s India:The Cookbook , is a massive, massive compendium. But the recipes are not well edited.
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Kanishka to serve flavours of Northeast in London
May 02, 2019 15:33 17:51 IST more-in Enough of the curries, chicken tikka masala and naan, Chef Atul Kochhar celebrates the flavours of Northeast India at his new UK restaurant, Kanishka
After making curries for Londoners for years, Chef Atul Kochhar has opened his new signature eatery to serve food featuring the cuisine of northeastern India. His new restaurant will focus on the food of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim — the reason being to introduce people to the distinct cuisine and flavours of the region.
According to him, the flavours here are so unique that it cannot be compared with the cuisines of the rest of the country.
Kochhar gushes about the fermentation techniques, air drying of meat and use of extremely subtle flavours to create a unique taste profile. However, he also says that he won’t use bhut jolokia , or ghost chilli. “Personally, I would love to use bhut jolokia, but it will be impossible for Europeans to go through the intense flavour of the chilli,” he says. Edited excerpts from an interview: What is the idea behind Kanishka?
The idea behind Kanishka is to explore the food of the lesser-known regions of India, in particular the Northeast. This cuisine has not been given the recognition it deserves, particularly in the UK. I’ve explored various regional Indian cuisines at my restaurants, so for Kanishka I wanted to challenge myself by exploring something new and different to what Londoners are familiar with. The cuisine of the Northeast is not well-explored. How would you hope to educate diners to try the cuisine?
I think London’s diners are increasingly interested in trying regional Indian cuisine — they’re becoming more aware that India is a huge country and our food doesn’t simply consist of what they know from a British curry house. I think guests will be surprised at how familiar a lot of the food from the Northeast is, though — the influence of bordering countries such as Nepal, China and Bangladesh can be seen in the use of ingredients like soya and raw meat. In your opinion, is the food from the Northeast bland?
Not at all! The food of the Northeast is incredibly flavoursome, combining tastes from bordering countries with beautiful results.
Because the states are so remote and mountainous, techniques such as salting, smoking and fermenting are necessary — all of which result in unique and powerful flavours. How did you get a chance to learn and understand the cuisine?
By travelling — I have travelled to the region and some of my family are living there currently. I was also born and raised in East India, so I can connect quite easily. The ingredients used, especially the herbs, are not easily available. How do you plan to meet the requirements?
I’ve always primarily used British, seasonal ingredients in my cooking — there’s no point importing all our ingredients because they’re never going to taste as fresh or delicious as they do at the source. Instead, it’s about making the most of the premium produce we have on our doorstep and adapting accordingly. What is your most preferred dish from the region?
Anything that is made with bamboo shoot. This flavour is one of my favourites from that region.