I don’t just eat great Indian food and write about it, ya know. Yes, there’s a lot of that in my life and for that I am grateful, but another ball I have in the air is editing luxury food and travel magazine Good Things. And, as the title champions cuisines and cultures the world over, I get to pen many pieces on incredible South Asian edibles – and spotlight some of the many men and women doing wonderful stuff to spice up culinary life in Britain and beyond.
It’s been nine months since I took the role – in that same space, I could have hastily hatched a child, but instead, the team and I turned the title into one baby we’re very happy to part-parent. I thought it was high time to share some of the highlights (all, of course, with a delicious Desi twist)…
There are few who are so keen to champion fellow chefs as Cyrus Todiwala. So when I founded my ‘Food Chain’ feature as a platform for chefs to praise their contemporaries, he was my go-to guy. So successful was Cyrus’ contribution that we went a step further and appointed him Good Things’ Guest Editor, with the power to pass on the position to a chef of his choice. That man was Green Papaya’s Wyn Ma, whose Vietnamese food wooed Cyrus so well that he created his own Indo-Oriental recipe inspired by the cuisine.
Read the Food Chain Feature here.
Get the recipe for Prawns with tamarind and cashew nuts here
The Guest Editor process is organic, steered by the chefs themselves, but I was over the moon when Duck & Waffle’s Dan Doherty nominated the ultra-amiable Alfred Prasad as the man for March’s Guest Editor, sharing his hara bhara lamb chop recipe as he did so. Meanwhile, Alfred’s original recipe for tuna bhel, inspired by SushiSamba’s Claudio Cardoso’s fusion flavours, became Good Things’ first ever interactive front cover – revealing a recipe video when ‘Blipped’ with a smartphone.
Read Dan Doherty’s ode to Alfred here
Relishing a ride through Rajasthan
Alfred had already appeared in Good Things, as part of the team who cycled clean across Rajasthan in aid of Action Against Hunger, and who shared their thoughts, training tips and recipes in a piece called ‘Cycling for Life’. Along with Alfred’s Keema mutter shepherd’s pie, Anjali Pathak passed on a super, spicy shakshuka, and Jamsheed Todiwala, manager of The Park Cafe in Victoria Park, offered up a hearty, healthy pasta.
Read Cycling For Life here
Cracking cocktails and spicy Saints’ Days
Handily, Jamsheed’s also rather canny with a cocktail recipe or few – like the Twisted Talisker he made for my ‘modern UK Saints’ Days’ feature. For the feast itself, I called upon Cyrus and fellow Incredible Spiceman Tony Singh to bring the ‘Indian’ to ‘Brindian’, fitting me out with a feast fit for any and indeed all Saints whilst sharing tips on their top British producers.
To read Feasting With All The Saints, featuring recipes for Cyrus’s St. David’s Day Crab a la Goa with Caerphilly; Cyrus’s St. Patrick’s Day Potato and leek soup; St. George’s Day Cyrus’s Country Captain; and Tony Singh’s St. Andrew’s Day Clootie samosas, click here
Dilly dallying with dal
As someone quite mental for the not-so-humble lentil, I was delighted to devote a full feature to dal in all its incarnations, including information on pulse-packed preparations around the world, hints, tips and best buys, a glossary, and an explanation of expressions to do with dal. An octet of regional recipes from top chefs rounded the whole shebang out – dal-icious!
Read The Diversity Of Dal here
Click the dal, get the recipe: Vineet Bhatia’s Tadka dal; Cyrus Todiwala’s Parsi Dhan daar nay vaghaar; Mallika Basu’s Bengali Cholar dal; Kanthi Thamma Andhra Pappu charu; Alfred Prasad’s Punjabi dal makhni;Deepak Kapoor’s Goan Daali thoy; Karam Sethi’s Hyderabadi dal; Gautham Karthik’s Tamilian paruppu kari
Discovering how India gets its game on
No matter how wild for game we go in Britain (viz goat’s newly-trendy status), India’s traditional ways with less-common animal proteins are under-understood. In Game For Change, I explored Indian chef’s tips for cooking with game, shared where to source and sample it, and challenged chef (and keen culinary anthropologist) Ashish Bhatia to come up with a quality quartet of recipes – with splendid and spicy results.
To read Game For Change, including Ashish’s recipes for Resham ka kabootar (Succulent, spiced pigeon), Ambade ka hiran (Venison with sorrel leaves), Safed maas (Goat in ‘white’ gravy), Dum ka khargosht (Hare in a rich nut gravy), click here
A decadent, delicious Diwali dinner
I also enlisted Ashish to sort out a sumptuous spread for a decadent Diwali dinner. It couldn’t be a big fat Indian festival without a big fat feast, and Ash duly formulated a full four course menu for the ‘Festival of Light’, along with enlightenment on essential sweets and snacks. Diwali customs, regional and international traditions, and symbolism were just a few further Good Things my guide comprised.
Read The True Roots of Diwali here
Meeting Mowgli’s mother (and her mum)
As soon as I encountered Nisha Katona cooking and bickering with her mother in the ‘Two Brown Ladies‘ Youtube videos, I knew the beautifully-bonkers Bengali ex-barrister had not only star quality but a plan for world domination – or, at very least, a plan to educate ‘curry-lovers’ about honest, authentic Indian food; starting with her Liverpool restaurant, Mowgli. In our interview, Nisha and I nattered about her Mowgli, her mission, and, of course, her mum.
To read Nisha’s My Life On A Plate, click here
Even more Indian-tinged Good Things
- Abundant Harvests introducing Onam (Kerala’s Harvest festival), and featuring Meera Sodha’s Beetroot pachadi
- My multiculti festive feast featuring Kanthi Thamma’s Kerala beef fry and Tony Singh’s Cauliflower pakoras
- The hottest guide to chillies around the world featuring Andy Varma’s Mirchi ka salan
- A guide to Indian grilling featuring The Cheeky Indian’s Freekie tikkie
- Chefs’ summer holiday food memories featuring Palash Mitra’s Tamilian lamb liver stew with coconut and vinegar
Coming up in April’s Good Things…
- Anjali Pathak in My Life on a Plate
- Tony Singh‘s Brindian fish supper for St. George’s Day
- Cyrus Todiwala on his trusty Thermomix
So, reckon Good Things is a good thing and want more?
- Purchase in print here
- Ogle online here
- Come dine with us! Good Things’ first set of London supperclubs takes place 17-19th March. Look and book here