Fortune Cookie

FORTUNE COOKIE: Priya Paul Dishes up a Chettinad Experience on Banana Leaves

Posted: August 28, 2014 at 3:05 pm   /   Fortune Cookie

IT IS NOT often that the Capital’s Stiletto Set eat out of banana leaves in a five-star hotel. Priya Paul made sure they did a couple of evenings ago. Those with manicured nails used cutlery; those without, including some of the city’s most influential people, from image makers to fashion designers, dug in with their […]

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FORTUNE COOKIE: No Freedom from Licence Raj for Our Restaurants

Posted: August 14, 2014 at 2:58 pm   /   Fortune Cookie

AS WE prepare to raise a toast to another Independence Day (so what if it’s a dry day!), the lords of our bureaucratic jungle need to seriously ask themselves if they are honestly prepared to liberate the economy from the shackles that stifle entrepreneurial spirit. India officially bid farewell to the licence-permit raj, but for […]

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FORTUNE COOKIE: How the ‘Food Safety’ Circus is Denying Us Our Daily Pleasures

Posted: July 31, 2014 at 2:52 pm   /   Fortune Cookie

IT’S BEEN less than a month since the government made the ill-advised move to ban foie gras (goose liver) imports on the ground that the delicacy is injurious to the birds because of the way they are force-fed to fatten their liver. Well, foie gras may not be the only sign of refined taste that […]

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FORTUNE COOKIE: A Bold New Avatar of Indian Cuisine 2,0

Posted: July 27, 2014 at 2:47 pm   /   Fortune Cookie

WHEN the Taj veteran, Arvind Saraswat, wrote The Gourmet Indian Cookbook in 2004, I could not stop admiring the beauty of each dish whose recipe was presented in the slim, glossy, hardcover volume. Saraswat would say that he had been inspired to devote many years working on the recipes because of a barb from the […]

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FORTUNE COOKIE: Sula Vineyards to Serve a Slice of Goa at its Destination Winery

Posted: July 3, 2014 at 2:42 pm   /   Fortune Cookie

I FIRST went to Nashik, India’s wine country, about a decade ago and spent a couple of nights at what was then Sula Vineyards founder-CEO Rajeev Samant‘s home in the winery he had launched with the promise to put what he described as “our own Napa Valley” on the world wine map. It was in […]

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FORTUNE COOKIE: How Delhi Became India’s Gourmet Capital

Posted: June 19, 2014 at 2:39 pm   /   Fortune Cookie

DELHI is experiencing an efflorescence of dining like it has never seen before. Today, it can lay claim with justification to the mantle of being the country’s ‘gourmet capital’ — a crown that Mumbai regarded as its birthright. I am using ‘gourmet’ not in the stuffy sense of the word, but to signify an informed […]

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FORTUNE COOKIE: One Man’s Journey Into The Secrets of Amritsar’s Iconic Dhabas

Posted: May 23, 2014 at 2:35 pm   /   Fortune Cookie

A shorter version of this column appeared in the May 22, 2014, edition of Mail Today.¬†Copyright: Mail Today Newspapers WHEN you ask Yashbir Sharma about the secret of the consistently unbeatable taste of Amritsar’s dhaba cuisine, he’ll tell that it’s the water blessed by the gurus. I can’t think of a more logical explanation, having […]

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FORTUNE COOKIE: The Long and Eventful Journey of Our Chaiwallahs

Posted: April 10, 2014 at 2:29 pm   /   Fortune Cookie

In the season of political chaiwallahs, a lavishly illustrated and meticulously researched book takes us back to the days of the pioneers who gave us our chai. This is my column, Fortune Cookie, which appeared in the Op-Ed page of Mail Today on April 10, 2014, Delhi’s election day. THIS IS the season of the […]

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FORTUNE COOKIE: Proud To Be Indian Yet Refusing To Be Stodgy

Posted: March 13, 2014 at 2:25 pm   /   Fortune Cookie

DELHI/NCR’S Indian restaurants, even after successive waves of liberalisation, have had a limpet-like tradition of looking like a half-witted Bollywood set designer’s bad dream. Oily furniture, formica-topped tables, slouchy waiters in fancy-dress costumes, Brian Silas’s repetitive renditions of Hindi movie classics on piano (or worse, live ghazals!) and boudoir art — these were (and still […]

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FORTUNE COOKIE: How Delhi Got Over Its Fear of Raw Fish

Posted: February 27, 2014 at 2:21 pm   /   Fortune Cookie

I STILL remember when Delhi/NCR’s first real Japanese restaurant, Sakura, opened in the year 2000 at what was then called The Metropolitan Hotel Nikko, even seasoned diners would shudder at the thought of having raw fish. They regarded sushi and sashimi with trepidation because the closest contact the city, outside the Bengali community, had with […]

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