By July, in theory at least, we should have said ‘hi’ to high summer and ‘goodbye’ to bad weather. But last weekend, the deluges that sluiced the streets in my neck of the woods lent a Mumbai monsoon vibe to London; putting kichuri, chai and pakoras in mind and on menu.
But a box of velvet-fleshed Pakistani honey mangoes brought sunshine to my life and my kitchen, inducing optimism as the ripe fruits’ juice dribbled down arms and chin. Whatever the weather, it’s time to seize summer with both hands and explore all the sensational South Asian stuff coming up this month…
Throughout summer: #CurryForChange Supperclub at YOUR OWN HOME
Yes, you read that right! This summer it’s all about finding your feet as an at-home host and helping Find Your Feet raise vital funds for their anti-food poverty campaign, #CurryForChange. The menu, venue and attendees are up to you – just make it a spicy supperclub to remember.
To sign up for a great event pack packed with goodies and inspiration, click here
Throughout summer: Seasonal menu at Curry Leaf Cafe
Chef Kanthi Kiran Thamma and Curry Leaf co-owner Euan Sey are welcoming the warm weather with a very cool menu indeed. Roving India’s regions, it features fruit chaat, Karnataka-style chatambade fritters, Guntur chilli-spiked seabass, delightful Keralite chicken curry, and a thoroughly modern Mysore pak.
Until March 2016: Darjeeling Express pop-up at The Sun & 13 Cantons
London supperclub legend Asma Khan returns to reprise her residency at The Sun & 13 Cantons this summer, bringing her royally-accented (and royally-authentic) heritage cuisine to Soho. The tempting menu is made up of well-loved Darjeeling Express classics, and a few new dishes and specials will spice things up further.
1st July: The Stag Hunt Inn’s Indian Summer Roast
In picturesque Ponsanooth you’ll find Usha James cooking heavenly homestyle Indian cuisine. Her big fat summer banquet night promises to be an abundant affair, with lamb raan, Indian roast chicken, and spiced salmon all vying for your attention and appetite ahead of some seriously tempting puds.
3rd July: Sareta’s Kitchen’s Supperclub for Nepal
Not many of us can say ‘no, no’ to a momo – especially when it’s raising money for aid following the two devastating earthquakes in Nepal. Host Sareta’s recipes are learnt from her Himalayas-born chef father, and her menu comprises momos and lentil fritters, a tempting thali, and a traditional sweet to try with chai.
Films + food = a feast for all the senses. This BYO bash is inspired by the wonderful works of Bengali director Satyajit Ray – kicking off with Kolkata classics like puchkas, jhalmuri, and kati rolls; proceeding to pau bhaji and samosas; and ending sweetly with masala chai brownies, meetha paan. and a good old cuppa.
Think you can still spring into summer after a seasonal feast featuring a welcome drink, four starters, six to seven main dishes, three desserts AND masala chai? Then SSS’s seasonal supper is for you. Items like watermelon granita and mango shrikhand speak of sunshine – no matter what the weather brings.
9th & 16th July: That Hungry Chef’s The Great British-Indian Summer
Join Pratap Chahal’s garden gang as he dishes up the best of British … all with an inimitable Indian-ish twist. ‘Ish’ because That Hungry Chef has also incorporated elements from elsewhere into his alfresco feast: think Patchouli-steamed sea bass, potato pancakes, coriander & ginger crème fraîche, and fennel & kohlrabi marmalade.
12th July: That Hungry Chef’s Secret Garden Barbecue
If you want a great example of how to hold an incredible Indian barbecue, look no further. After a pre-prandial Pimm’s in host That Hungry Chef’s garden, you’ll dig into lime leaf and coriander chicken, sweet potato chaat, corn muffins and roti, summer berry, elderflower and ginger trifle and much, much more.
13th July: Atul Kochhar Supperclub at Kew Gardens
As part of the Kew Garden Spice Season supperclub series, Atul Kochhar will bring a bit of Benares to West London. The chef’s spice-sprinkled tasting menu will showcase his modish modern Indian cuisine, paired perfectly with the elegant environment offered by the gardens’ own Orangery.
14-25th July : Ravinder Bhogal’s Residency at Carousel
Ravishing Ravinder is no stranger to residencies, having popped up previously at Trishna, South Place Hotel and Café Anglais. Her cuisine is inspired by travels and heritage alike, so expect the likes of crab and coconut paan, green chutney and mamra; Keralan goat stew, lemon idli and crispy bhindi; and saffron and mango kulfi sandwiches.
15th July: Mira Manek’s Sweet Savasana & Summer Supper
The yogic stretches that precede this candlelit dinner will help you limber up for the feast to follow. Handy, because it’s not just Indian wellness expert Mira’s ultra-nutritious Indian fare you’ll be indulging in, but also hosting venue Plenty Cafe’s signature Lebanese mezze. Be sure to bring a ‘healthy’ appetite.
Various dates throughout July: The Spice Angel’s cookery classes
Whether you’re determined to master street eats like Bombay frankies and batata vada, Brindian curryhouse classics, or the art of home-made paneer to use in traditional vegetable dishes, ‘Spice Angel’ Rani has a class to suit and something devilishly good up her sleeve – catering amply to both veg and non-veg students.
4th July: Ren’s Kitchen’s Curry-in-a-Hurry class
This intimate North London half-day crash course is small on numbers and big on hands-on participation. Starting with a Spice Masterclass, you’ll also cook kebabs, bhuna chicken, and Goan fish – and learn to make rice to really entice. Love what you’ve learned? Good, because you’ll head home with enough food for two.
11th July: Ren’s Kitchen’s Dinner Party Delights class
Master the contents of a masala dabba with Ren’s renowned whistlestop tour through an Indian spice box before commencing the cooking part of this half-day course. Along with the host’s chicken-curry-with-the-most, you’ll get to savour saag aloo, vegetable pakoras, and chapattis – all created with your own fair hands and hard labour.
Worry curry’s not conducive to a well-whittled waistline? This slimline Subcontinental spread from Leicester’s Chutney Ivy, U Fit Studio and Niche magazine will allay your fears as it sates your appetite. Expect an introduction to inventive, Indian-style clean eating; and, accordingly, expect to have your eyes opened.
24th July: Jenius Social’s Indian Street Food class
Street food is social by its very nature, as are Jenius Social’s cooking classes. Led by the resident expert head chef, you’ll learn to handle knives (and yourself) in the kitchen, marinate meat like a master, and bring balance to your flavour combinations. The evening ends with a shared-feast-cum-spicy-social-mixer.
25th July: Curry Cuisine’s Indian Masterclass
This day-long masterclass from Yorkshire-based cook school founder and tutor Prett Tejura might well make you into a masterchef, commencing with an in-depth ingredient introduction before moving on to masala-blending, stylish serving suggestions, and hands-on cooking ahead of a final feast on the fruits of your labour
Fine food, fine tea in fine china, and fine chocolate – sounds like a splendid way to spend a Sunday. At this event, boutique luxury tea specialists Lalani & Co. London will introduce guests to a selection of superb small-batch teas before a delicious Trishna feast culminating in a creation from The Chocolatier,
29th July: Prasad’s The Secrets of Indian Cookery
Prashad has earned a solid reputation for showcasing Indian vegetarian cuisine to eager eaters countrywide. In this demonstration, founding chef Kaushy Patl and Head Chef Minal will welcome you with a cup of ginger chai then hit the kitchen to show you how they put together the lunch that you’ll ultimately munch.
SEE & DO
3rd – 5th July: Buddhist Thangka Paintings for Nepal at The Bhavan Centre
Working with artists from across Nepal, SS Lama Handicrafts has curated a beautiful and unique collection of Buddhist artwork for this show. Comprising Tibetan scrolls paintings known as Thangkas alongside decorative Mandalas and Paubas, it promises to be an aesthetically-arresting affair.
15 – 19th July: Dharma Festival in Dorset
The Dorset countryside is the beautiful is unlikely setting for a gathering of Kathakali and the Tashi Lhunpo Monks. All-comers will be welcomed to a five-day festival of workshops, Buddhist teachings, Indian music and performance, and ancient rituals including England’s first ever floor powder painting and destruction ritual.
16th July: Book Launch: ‘Desi Girls’ at Nehru Centre
Produced by Indian women living abroad, Desi Girls brings together voices from across the world through a shared link to the subcontinent. This launch celebrates a compelling compilation of short stories from twenty two female writers, with celebrated journalist and author Yasmin Alibhai-Brown the guest of honour.
16th – 23rd July London Indian Film Festival
The much-loved LIFF returns for its sixth edition with a bang – or rather, with Umrika, a Sundance award-winning movie, and will feature a diverse and packed programme of South Asian cinema right through to its closing night. This year, LIFF is expanding its reach beyond the capital, and highlight screenings will also hit Birmingham.
Bengal is known for its rich arts culture, and RadhaRaman Society’s folky fest provides an introduction and celebration alike. Centred on the Theo-philosophical movement of Vaishnavism, it features music from prominent artists and traditional Dhamail dance, with the opportunity for much musing over philosophical topics.
Did you know that East Ham is home to an ornate South Indian temple? Shared City’s guide Manju will reveal all as she introduces you to the area’s street life. The tour includes plenty of snacking and shopping stops and culminates in a traditional thali feast at one of the host’s favourite local restaurants.
27th – 31st July The Bhavan Centre’s Techniques of Indian Miniature Paintings
Looking to pick up some serious skills this summer? Then spend ten days mastering the ancient craft that goes into the creation of Indian miniature paintings. After a series of sessions working alongside master of the artform, Ramu Ramdev, you might just discover you’re the next big thing in the South Asian discipline.
- To read more about Curry For Change and Find Your Feet, click here, here, here and here
- To read about how to host an incredible Indian barbecue bash this summer, click here
- To read where to get the best Indian brunches in town this summer, click here
- To read an interview with That Hungry Chef, click here