We stayed at the ITC Maratha in Mumbai. It is one of the most beautiful and cosmopolitan hotels in India. The photo at the right is of the lobby dining room in which we ate breakfast each morning. The buffet was wonderful with a mix of Indian and western cuisine.

 

One of the Indian restaurants in the ITC Maratha Hotel in Mumbai.

One of the Indian restaurants in the ITC Maratha Hotel in Mumbai.

 

We had dinner at two of the restaurants on site. The first one we tried was called Peshawri which specializes in the cuisine of the north-west frontier of India. It is known for the kebabs of seafood, chicken and meat that are prepared in a tandoor. My son tried the chicken kebabs and my husband and I demolished the sampler of vegetarian and non-vegetarian kebabs. It included cauliflower bhajia and two different paneer kebabs along with the meats. The other specialty of the house was the Dal Peshawri which had small red beans in a thick and creamy curry. Cooking this dish for over 24 hours gives it the rich aromatic flavor. I absolutely loved it!


The second restaurant we tried is Dum Pukht which specializes in the 200 year old cuisine of the Nawabs of Awadh. The first dish we tried was the Kakori kebab which is made of a moistened mixture of finely ground lamb onions, cashews and spices. The lamb biryani we had was prepared in the ‘Dum’ style. This means that it was cooked in a clay pot, called a handi, that was tightly sealed to keep all of the flavors and moisture inside while it is cooked over a slow fire. This preparation was very simple without too many spices or ingredients that one finds in a standard recipe. It was absolutely fantastic in flavor and texture! I will look for a handi when I get home so I can work on creating my own recipe.

Dining at such fine restaurants with such exquisite food and service has definitely spoiled me for the rest of my trip.



Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.

 

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I recently heard several people say they don’t know how to start making Indian food. My answer to them is simple: just pick a recipe that you might like and make it, but pay attention to the amount of chilies or chili powder you add. If you make a dish too hot, you won’t like it and won’t try this delicious cuisine again.

Here are my suggestions as to tricks to make it easier:

  • Verify you have all of the ingredients first.
  • Read all of the steps of the recipe before starting.
  • Chop all of the vegetables and fresh herbs before starting.
  • Set out all of the spices that you will need.
  • If you don’t like the amount of oil, salt or chili powder stated in the recipe, reduce it. You can always add more but you can’t undo it if you start out using too much. 
  • Prepare the dish before you need it to be done. One of the most important lessons I learned from Kachi was to cook in the morning and just reheat the food before eating. That way you can spend more time with your family after work. 
  • Remember that Indian cooking is a multi-step process starting with heating the spices in oil to bring out their flavor, cooking the ingredients then seasoning the final dish.
  • If the recipe calls for an ingredient you don’t have at home, look it up in tables provided in Kachi’s Kitchen for a description and a picture. It may help to take the book with you to the local Indian grocery to facilitate finding the ingredient.
  • Weekends are the best time to experiment with new recipes, including Indian ones, since people have more time and fewer deadlines.
  • Have fun with cooking!

Suggested first recipes include:

Yogurt – Onion Raita or Tomato Raita
Vegetable – Vegetable Koorma
Rice – Vegetable Pulau
Lentil – Chenna Masala
Seafood – Kerala Cheemen (Shrimp) Curry
Chicken – Kozhi (Chicken) Fry

 

 Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.

All text and photographic content are property of KachisKitchen.com and are not to be used without permission of the author.