FOOD TRAVEL TO KERALA – Gods own country

Posted on 29. Jan, 2008 by .

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Located along India’s southwestern coast, Kerala is home to gorgeous beaches and a pleasing tropical climate. The region is known for growing and exporting spices including pepper, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, ginger, chilies, and mustard, all of which are featured in local recipes.

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My recent visit to Kerala was a memorable one. The time i spent there was one of my best culinary experiences I ever had. What can I say about Kerala cuisine? It is something every person should experience at least once in a lifetime. This was my first time trying the traditional Syrian Christian Cooking in Kerala. It was explosion of flavors in my mouth. Try the one at the Grand Hotel’s restaurant in Cochi.

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The essential ingredients in Kerala’s flavorful cuisine include rice, coconuts and a variety of fresh bananas. Also prevalent is fresh seafood, including fish, prawns, shrimp, crabs, mussels and oysters, and fresh fruits and vegetables including jackfruits, pineapples, mangoes, cassava, yam and tapioca. Traditional dishes include appams, chutneys, biriyanis and Sadya, a Kerala feast of more than 14 vegetable dishes served on a large banana leaf. For dessert there are many kinds of payasam.

Banana Chips fried in Coconut oil ” a local snack ”

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I spent most of my time around Kochi (Cochin). We were filming for a TV series ” Food of India “.

Kochi is a gourmet’s delight and at all the cuisine is as diverse as it is remarkable. There is a huge variety in seafood, from shrimp, crisp-fried mussel, grilled prawn, lobster and squid done just so and, of course, soft-shelled crabs tossed Kerala-style. But the meen pollichathu, a delicious fish fillet coated with spice paste, wrapped in banana leaf and roasted should be a priority. There is the staple kappa kari, which is fish and tapioca, and puttu (steamed rice cakes) with beef roast. Again Grand Hotel’s restaurant comes top of my list.

Chinese fishing nets

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Fort Kochi’s ‘You buy, I cook’ beach side food stalls, not far from the Chinese fishing nets, offer good fresh seafood and beautiful views. You can also choose from fresh catch prawns, pomfret, snapper, shark or king fish. You can choose your own “catch of the day” from one of the fishmongers opposite the fishing nets. Then, take it to one of the nearby “fast food” shacks where they will cook it for you.

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Spice Market and Trading Areas

The region is known for growing and exporting spices including pepper, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, ginger, chilies, and mustard, all of which are featured in local recipes

kerala

Curious to learn more about the local cuisine!!

I recommend some hands on cooking experience, with Nimy Paul

Nimmy, a professional cookery instructor,conducts cookery classes. She teaches guests the nuances of traditional Kerala recipes. She offers food and hospitality to guests at her home. Nimmy and Paul belong to traditional Syrian Christian community in Kerala. In keeping with the tradition of their families they enjoy having guests and serving good food.

Enjoy!

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This week in Images

Posted on 24. Nov, 2007 by .

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Egypt 2009

Thanksgiving event 2008

chef hari

World Flavors Event Canada Nov 2008

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chef hari

MORE Images click here for slide show of the event

Diwali Festival of lights lunch @ Wyeth and Johnson and Johnson, PA Oct 2008

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Novartis – Diwali Celebration Event Nov 2008

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Boston Children Medical Hospital – Cooking demo for kids Oct 2008

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AMERICAN EXPRESS – World financial center Down Town NYC – book signing event Oct 2008

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Black Rock Cafe Chef Table at August 2008

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Fund raiser Event at St Bede’s in New Holland PA May 2008

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Spiced Burgers Video Taping Session April 2008

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EMC Locations, Boston – MA, Modern Indian Cooking Workshop & tasting, March 12th & 13th 2008

modern indian cooking workshop

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Vanguard Locations, Malvern – PA, Modern Indian Cooking Workshop & tasting, Feb 25th to 29th 2008

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Cook Book Club: Whole Foods Market , Saturday, February 16th 2008

hari nayak at whole foods

hari nayak at whole foods

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Behind the scenes of “Spice Travel” shoot in Cochin December 2007 Kerala India

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Hari Nayak at Barnes and Nobles Nov 2007

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Thanksgiving 2007

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Fosters, Philadelphia book event
Nov 17th 2007

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Padma Laxmi and Modern Indian Cooking

October 27th 2007

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Recipes

Posted on 27. Oct, 2007 by .

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Curry Corn Chowder with Roasted Poblanos

SERVES 4

* 2 poblano chiles
* 1 pound potatoes, peeled and diced into (1- inch) cubes
* 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* ¼ cup celery, diced
* ½ cup green pepper, diced
* Salt to taste
* 3 cups fresh corn kernels or frozen corn, thawed
* 2 cups vegetable stock or water
* 1 cup cream
* 1 tablespoon curry powder
* 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Pre heat the grill or a broiler. Grill or broil the chilies until the skin begins to blacken, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let steam until the skin loosens, about 10 minutes. Peel the chiles and chop coarsely, Set aside

In a small sauce pan, add the potatoes and enough water to cover and cook until tender. Drain and set aside.

In a large sauce pan, heat the oil, cumin, onion, celery and pepper and sauté until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add salt and corn and cook for 3 to 4 minutes longer. Stir in the roasted chiles, potatoes, stock, cream, curry powder and 1 tablespoon of cilantro and simmer until the soup thickens, 20 to 25 minutes.

Serve hot garnished with the remaining cilantro.


Grilled Chicken with Kokum Apple compote

SERVES 4

* 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
* 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
* 1 teaspoon cardamom pods
* 1 (1-inch) piece cinnamon stick
* 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
* 1 tablespoon ginger, chopped
* ½ teaspoon ground cloves
* 1 teaspoon cayenne
* 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
* Juice of 1 lemon
* Salt to taste
* 1 pound (4 breasts) trimmed boneless chicken breasts

Place a small frying pan over low heat and dry-roast the coriander, cumin, cardamom and cinnamon until aromatic. Grind the roasted spices to a fine powder using a spice grinder.

Place onion, ginger, cloves, cayenne, oil, lemon juice and salt in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add the roasted spice mixture to the onion paste.

Marinate the chicken with the spice paste. Cover and marinate for 2 to 4 hours.

Preheat the grill to 350 º F. Grill the chicken pieces for 5 minutes on each side on the grill, or until the chicken is tender and cooked.

Compote

* 2 tablespoons butter
* 2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
* ½ cup apple cider
* 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin, toasted and ground
* 2 tablespoons kokum, seeded and chopped

Cook the butter in small saucepan over high heat until golden brown. Add the apples and cook stirring until caramelized about 5 minutes. Add the apple cider and cook until the liquid had evaporated about 5 to 7 minutes. Mix in the coriander, cumin and kokum and cook for 1 minute. Set aside until ready to use.

Yellow Pear and Cherry Tomato Salad with Cumin

* Serves 4
* 2 tablespoons lemon juice
* 2 tablespoons red onion, minced
* 2 teaspoons honey
* 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
* Salt to taste
* ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
* 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and coarsely ground
* 2 cup yellow pear tomatoes, halved
* 1 cup red cherry tomatoes, halved
* 1 cup orange cherry tomatoes, halved
* 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped.

In a small bowl combine the lemon juice, red onion, honey, olive oil ,salt, red pepper flakes and cumin. Whisk until well blended.

In a large salad bowl, toss together all the tomatoes. Pour the dressing on top, add the chopped basil and toss gently to mix well. Serve immediately.

Black Tea Cinnamon Truffle

Makes 5 Dozen Truffles

* 1 pound semi sweet chocolate, finely chopped
* 2 cups heavy cream
* 1 cinnamon stick
* ½ cup tea leaves
* 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
* Cocoa powder, for dusting

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl and set aside

Using a small pot, bring the cream and cinnamon to boil. Remove from heat, add the tea and infuse for 5 minutes. Strain the hot cream through a fine sieve over the chocolate. Using the back of the spoon, press the tea leaves to extract as much flavor as possible. Allow the cream to soften the chocolate for 2 minutes. Using a whisk, stir the chocolate mixture slowly until smooth. Add the butter, stirring until mixed. Transfer the chocolate cream mixture into a flat pan and cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap touches the entire surface of the mixture. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until the chocolate is set.

Place the cocoa powder in a shallow plate. Using a teaspoon dipped in hot water, form ½ inch balls of the chocolate mixture. If the mixture gets too soft while working, refrigerate until set. Roll the truffles in cocoa powder and store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to three weeks.

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TRUFFLE AND TRUFFLE OIL

Posted on 27. Oct, 2007 by .

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Truffles – gold in soil

truffle truffle truffles

Truffles have fascinated people for thousands of years. Their attraction is a tantalizing taste and aroma which, once experienced, can never be forgotten. The taste and aroma of commercially collected truffles is so intense that they are used as a flavoring instead of a separate dish. Magical powers and virtues have even been attributed to truffles. They have been collected for at least 3600 years. Growing underground, they are difficult to find and very expensive as a result. Every Spring, truffle hunters in Europe take to the woods, hoping that the sensitive noses of their trained pigs and dogs will lead them to buried treasure. In 1994, black truffles sold for $350 to $500 a pound.

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The name “truffle” has been borrowed to describe small, fancy chocolate candies, another expensive and delicious food. Real truffles are roundish, brown, and dirty when they come out of the ground. They are the fruit of the truffle organism, like apples are the fruit of an apple tree.

Fresh truffles are difficult to come by, and expensive, especially the Italian white truffle . Fortunately, white truffle oil is available relatively cheaply on the market.

Truffle oil

slicing truffle

You can make your own truffle oil by storing pieces of fresh truffle in clean, sweet, mild tasting oil. The oil is first heated slightley then shaved truffles are added .The more finely chopped the truffle is, the more of its essence it will give up into the oil and the less flavor the pieces themselves will retain. Make sure all liquid is drained off from the truffles before adding them to the oil; reserve the liquid for later use. Any kind of truffle may be used to make truffle oil. Light olive oil and grapeseed oil are good.

Store truffle oil in a cool, dark place away from heat, light and oxygen. Some methods of excluding oxygen include sealing wax or plastic wrap on the surface of the oil as well as nitrogen gas dispensers, sold commercially for wine enthusiasts under the name Private Preserve.

Truffle oil that is kept very cold in your refrigerator will whiten and solidify, but this is not necessarily harmful to the flavor. Truffle oil is tolerant of cold, and can even be frozen, but like fine wine it is less tolerant of temperature fluctuations and may lose quality if it is allowed to solidify and liquefy repeatedly. Remove from cold storage only the amount you intend to immediately use, and leave the rest at temperature.

truffle oil

The best use for truffle oil is summed up in one word — drizzle. It is drizzled over mashed potatoes, slices of fresh bread, risottos, and flat breads, asparagus, bowls of pasta, gourmet salads , thick soups, and mushroom ragouts and sauces. Beyond the drizzle, it is used sparingly to make vinaigrettes for fancy salads or other vegetable dishes. Finally, once you get a handle on the taste, experiment by adding a little truffle oil to some of your favorite dishes. You may well find that the best use for your oil is one of your own creations.

Truffle n egg

Truffles and Fried Egg

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Where is Hari ?

Posted on 10. Oct, 2007 by .

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2011

JANUARY

20th- Guest Chef @ Sodexo cafe – Pfizer Madison NJ

27th – Guest Chef @ Sodexo Cafe – Merrill Lynch Down Town NYC


FEBRUARY

10th – Guest Chef @ Manhattan College NYC

3rd – Guest Chef @ Sodexo Cafe – Bank of America Towers – NYC

10th – Guest Chef @ Sodexo Cafe – World Financial Center Down Town NYC

28th – ACUI show – Chicago


MARCH


The Asia & India Odyssey
culinary travel director

APRIL

1st – Kuwait City – Marriott Hotel – Soul & Spice – Restaurant Opening

7th – Varli Indian Food Festival - NYC

12th – IFFLA awards (Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles)

SEPTEMBER

Sept 5th – 12th – 11th Annual World Gourmet Festival

OCTOBER

19th – Guest Chef @ Sodexo Cafe – Bapson college , Boston, MA

26th – Diwali festival Guest Chef @ Sodexo Cafe – Wake Forest Medical , Winston-Salem, NC

NOVEMBER

7th – 10th – Guest Chef & Diwali festival @ Sodexo Cafe – USAA – San Antonio, TX

14th to 15th – New York’s Indian Film Festival, MIACC

15th – Guest Chef @ Sodexo Cafe – Boeringher Ingelheim , Danbury, CT

16th – Guest Chef @ Sodexo Cafe – BMW North America HQ – NJ

17th – Guest Chef @ Sodexo Cafe – Guardian Life – NYC

DECEMBER

2th to 30th – Guest Chef aboard Seaborn Odessey

 

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