Coming out of a temple in Mumbai that is close to the Kamala Nehru Park on Malabar Hill, a young girl of about 8 came up to sell me some inexpensive bangles. What struck me was the poise of this young girl. She spoke English fluently with hardly any accent at all. She was absolutely beautiful. I didn’t buy any bangles from her because I don’t like to promote selling on the street. After I told her she was beautiful she ran off and told her mother what I had said. She then introduced me to her mother (Fortunately she wasn’t out alone selling the bangles). I wish I had taken a picture of this lovely young girl with the glowing smile. Her beautiful face and personality will stay with me for a long time. (I have to add that my husband gave her a few rupees.)
 
 

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.

We spent one afternoon checking out the Gateway of India and the wonderful Taj Hotel (the one that was the target of a terrorist attack a few years ago). Around the Gateway is a large open area where people from all around the world congregate. At one time it was the point where passengers would alight from their boats. It was built to celebrate the first visit to India by King George V and Queen Mary in 1911. Vendors sell roasted nuts, roasted corn on the cob, ice cold bottles of soda and hot Indian coffee to the tourists.


We were drawn into the Asian Arts Emporium, located adjacent to the Taj, because of the colorful displays in the window. We ended up buying a silk Kashmiri rug to put in our living room. I wasn’t thinking about buying one when we planned our trip. I didn’t realize that I needed one. (When we get home, our old carpet and tiles will be ripped up and replaced with real hardwood floors. It will be a huge undertaking but more about that later.) Suhail Mir pulled out many designs and colors. It was a lot of fun.

 

Entrance to the Asian Arts Emporium in Mumbai, India.

Entrance to the Asian Arts Emporium in Mumbai, India.

When I started becoming overwhelmed, he served me a cup of Kashmiri tea called Kawa so we could take a break. This is a delightfully simple drink that infuses 2 strands of saffron, 1 large green cardamom pod and 1 cinnamon stick into each cup of hot water. Sugar is optional. It is a nice drink with the benefit of no caffeine.

 

Asian Arts Emporium sells beautiful silk rugs from Kashmir.

Asian Arts Emporium sells beautiful silk rugs from Kashmir.

 

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.

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.

 

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

I am traveling with my family to India this summer to collect new recipe ideas for my next book, try out new restaurants and dishes, and take more pictures of the sites. I have decided to work on a second cookbook but need to define its scope. I have a couple of ideas but want to ensure I have enough material available to be able to select the best set of recipes. Through this trip I hope to have an initial direction identified.


The first stop on the trip is Mumbai. We arrived late in the evening and I was stunned at how contemporary the airport looked compared to the one I saw 24 years ago. As I exited the terminal, gone are the masses of humanity that pressured you into allowing them to carry your bags or drive you to your destination. Just outside the building is a large landscaped square around which drivers and friends wait. I didn’t feel hassled at all. It was just like any European airport. What a pleasant way to start a trip.


On the way to our hotel, our driver showed us the huge construction lot where a brand new terminal is being built. He told us that the terminal at which we arrived is only three years old and will be torn down after the new one opens. And I was impressed with the existing one.


Over the next few months I will be sharing my experiences and impressions of India with you. I hope you enjoy them!

 

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.