Already marching into March? Much as I can’t Adam & Eve it, yeah we are; and the longer days mean you’ll need more to do and more spice to sustain your culinary adventures. For the hottest Indian food and culture edit, go below…
THE RESTAURANT: Not Your Average Curry Nights at Trishna
The Michelin-starred fine diner has announced a new edition of it’s sell-out Not Your Average Curry Nights to celebrate even more of India’s endlessly-diverse regional cuisines and explore explosive Champagne, wine and sherry pairings under sommelier Sunaina Sethi’s expert steer. On 15 March, things kick off with Kerala; head chef Rohit Ghai’s menu including saucy King Prawn Muringa, Travancore-style Goat Roast, and Palada Pradhaman – a fine finale of sweetly-spiced rice with cashew nuts and candied bananas.
19 April: Refined Indo-French flavours at A Taste of Pondicherry
10 May: Med-influenced, chilli-rich fare at A Taste of Goa
20 September: Metropolitan melting-pot morsels at A Taste of Bombay
- Tickets for the five-course ‘A Taste of Kerala’ Not Your Average Curry Night’ cost £120 per person, including Sunaina Sethi’s drink pairings. To book, click here
THE SUPPERCLUB: Spice Deli’s ‘Spiced’
Supported by hot up-and-coming pop-up platform Tabl, this is host Kim’s first supperclub. The evening’s taste-full menu includes 20 spices, promising big, bold flavours as well as a taste of what’s to come at Spice Deli – the gastronomic emporium Kim’s aiming to open up.
What will you eat?
Red Lentil Soup
Salt & Pepper Quail
Sprout Salad with Pomegranate
Butternut Squash & Baby Spinach with Feta
Yoghurt with dill
Blood Orange Ice Cream with Hazelnut Crumb
- Spice Deli’s ‘Spiced’ supperclub takes place at 7.30pm on 12 March and costs £22 per person. Book via Tabl by clicking here.
THE PRODUCT: Chin’s Kitchen’s Rose & Cardamom Nankhatai
Short of crumb and long of flavour, Chin’s nankhatai are textbook examples of the shortbread-like Indian biscuits. Her crumbly little cookies come in all sorts of flavours from classic Almond & Pistachio to contemporary Peanut Butter, but these faintly-floral, nutty numbers are extra-alluring. Handmade to order, two, four or even the full packet is the ideal accompaniment to a cuppa – especially when it’s one that’s brimful of masala chai.
- Chin’s Kitchen’s Rose & Cardamom nankhatai cost £15, available from Chin’s Kitchen
THE GIFT: Hey Holla’s ‘Namaste Or Should I Go Now?’ Yoga Bag
Yoga, schmoga – stuff this Clash-song-referencing tote full of incredible edibles and give it to your funkiest, punkiest friend.
- Hello Holla’s ‘Namaste or Should I Go Now?’ yoga bag costs £18, available from Not On The High Street
THE HERO: Asma Khan
She’s reaching the the end of her residency at Sun & 13 Cantons and starting the next chapter of Darjeeling Express’s journey. From at-home supperclub to star of Soho, it’s been a triumphant ride – Asma’s renditions of her family’s royally-rooted recipes and traditional Calcutta cuisine earning firm fans in every critic who sampled her papri chaat, puchkas, prawn malaikari, and the most banging biryani you could hope to encounter.
So where now for the woman who couldn’t even boil an egg on arrival in England 25 years ago? Both we and she are unsure quite what lies in store, but what is certain is she’s got everyone hungry for more.
What the critics said…
“Calcutta chicken kathi roll is… spotted with scorch marks in a wholly alluring way. With the casserole of earthy black chickpeas, Asma sends out light-as-air puris.”
– Fay Maschler in the Evening Standard
“Perfectly balanced and well-flavoured. Vindaloo zealots will loathe Darjeeling Express; food lovers will adore it.”
– Bill Knott in the Financial Times
“Just like every other dish, spices sing, gambol and frolic, unrestrained by bourgeois British sensibilities. There’s heft and fire where needed, but also restraint. Most of all, there’s a fundamental understanding of regional Indian cooking.”
– Tom Parker Bowles in the Daily Mail
“The food is excellent…A whole meal here would scarcely buy you a single dish at Gymkhana, and the food here is arguably better.”
– Andy Hayler on AndyHayler.com
- Follow Asma Khan on Twitter @asmakhancooks
THE RECIPE: Darjeeling Express’s Aloo Dum
Try new-season Jersey Royals in this much-loved classic comfort dish, whose subtle Bengali five-seed spicing compliments rather than masks the prized potatoes’ own deliciously-earthy flavour.
- 1kg new-season Jersey Royal potatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 6 cloves garlic, puréed
- ½ tsp red chilli powder
- 2 tbsp groundnut oil
- ½ tsp panch phoran (Bengali five spice blend)
- salt, to taste
- a handful of chopped coriander leaves, to garnish
- Bring a large saucepan of well-salted water to the boil, add the Jersey Royals, and boil until the potatoes are tender.
- Meanwhile, combine the tomato purée, puréed garlic and chilli powder in a small bowl and set aside.
- Drain the cooked potatoes, allow to cool enough to handle, peel by hand, and cut into 1-inch cubes.
- Heat the oil in a large, lidded saucepan set over medium heat. Add the panch phoran and, when the seeds splutter, add the garlic mixture.
- Cook, stirring, for a few minutes until this masala has darkened and oil appears on the surface. Add the potato cubes, and stir to thoroughly coat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook for 5 minutes, adjusting seasoning to taste.
- Serve hot, garnished with coriander leaves.
- For more of Darjeeling Express’s authentic Indian heritage recipes, click here