‘What Does Diwali Mean to Us This Year?’ We Asked 8 Food Pros.

Figuratively and literally the most lit festival that exists, the word derives from the Sanskrit word “deepavali,” translating to “a row of lamps.” Mythology explains that it was first celebrated when after 14 years in exile, Lord Rama came home to Ayo…

Figuratively and literally the most lit festival that exists, the word derives from the Sanskrit word "deepavali," translating to "a row of lamps." Mythology explains that it was first celebrated when after 14 years in exile, Lord Rama came home to Ayodhya in northern India and the entire village was lit up in his honor. Even today, Indians all over the world celebrate the five days that fall in the Kartik month of the Hindu calendar.

In a year different than any other Diwali before it, I checked in with chefs and food professionals—both in India and part of the diaspora—about what Diwali means to them, both generally and in 2020. One thing shone brighter than the warq on my kaju katli: While we may all have our cultural take and sui generis rituals, what accompanies the covey of sweets is a nostalgia-filled culinary narrative that is common to every Indian no matter where they are.

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The Splendor of Raj Kachori, India’s Most Kingly Snack

Just like eating a salsa-dripping taco off a truck in L.A., eating a raj kachori should not be done with a white shirt on. The chaat wallas don’t hand out a bib like crab curry places, and eating it is a fairly messy affair. But several rehearsals late…

Just like eating a salsa-dripping taco off a truck in L.A., eating a raj kachori should not be done with a white shirt on. The chaat wallas don't hand out a bib like crab curry places, and eating it is a fairly messy affair. But several rehearsals later, you usually get deft at picking the right ratio of crunchy poori, sprouts, chutney, and garnish—all in the tiny bowl of your spoon. But still, please just keep those ivories away.

The concept of a poori—deep-fried flour-based bread—finds a mention in few of India’s oldest scriptures like Manasollasa and Mahabharata. But it wasn’t until the Mughal invasions in the 17th century that the concept of chaat is believed to have been introduced to the subcontinent. A relatively newer style of dish, chaat, which literally translates to “lick” in Hindi, suggesting that the category of dishes is so good, you’ll want to polish every one of them clean.

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Why Pasta Is an Essential Part of Indian Regional Cuisine

When I visited Leh, a dusty Himalayan town and the erstwhile capital of the kingdom of Ladakh, it was at the onset of winter. Tiny cafes serving Himalayan meals to weary trekkers had begun wrapping up for the season. On my last night after an arduous p…

When I visited Leh, a dusty Himalayan town and the erstwhile capital of the kingdom of Ladakh, it was at the onset of winter. Tiny cafes serving Himalayan meals to weary trekkers had begun wrapping up for the season. On my last night after an arduous pine forest walk, when I couldn’t be bothered about what to get for dinner (I just want something hot and spicy!, I thought to myself) I spotted a three-letter dish called kev.

Resembling strozzapreti, a Tuscan pasta variety that looks like chopped pieces of a thin rope, a bowl of kev is just that, except it’s made of whole wheat flour and tempered with a handful of Indian spices and mountain beans. And this is just one example of the range of Himalayan pastas that are common in this part of the country. Their skyu is an orecchiette look-alike; chutagi feels like a distant cousin of minestrone; and bhatsa marku, a Tibetan version of mac and cheese comes topped with dri (female yak) cheese.

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