June marks midsummer, and mango madness is still rife in London. Prices soar, yet fans still want more of Alphonso and Kesar (the latter variety proving itself superior to the former this year); buying fragrant, fruity beauties by the boxload to use in aamras, shrikhand, lassis and, best of all, to eat unadulterated, juices dripping down chin and forearm.
And that’s not the only delicious treat for Desi food fans this month. From Sri Lankan short eats at the capital’s most prestigious festival to a hot cookbook from a very cool chef, summer just got spicier.
The pop-up: Darjeeling Express’s Ramadan residency
Missing Asma Khan’s cuisine now her Sun & 13 Cantons pop-up has popped down? Then pop down to Bermondsey’s Druid Street Market, where Darjeeling Express will be in residence for four glorious Saturdays. Themed around Asma’s Ramadan favourites, the takeaway menu will major in fast month foods like pakoras, kheer and – hurrah! – Hyderabadi haleem. Need more reason to part with your cash? Part of that cash will support children affected by the war in Syria.
The cookbook: ‘Mr. Todiwala’s Spice Box’ by Cyrus Todiwala
Wave a copy of this cookbook in the face of any sceptic who says Indian cooking is over-complex, because Cyrus’s latest falsifies that fable once and for all. Just 10 spices are used to create 120 recipes; some classic, some contemporary; not at all exclusively Indian, every last one delicious.
Psst > The Todiwalas have a special fondness for Filipino cuisine, and in this cookbook, you’ll find the late, great Des Rodriguez Torres’s recipe for Philippine belly of pork with shrimp paste and coconut cream.
- ‘Mr Todiwala’s Spice Box’ by Cyrus Todiwala is published on 2 June by Mitchell Beazley, RRP £25, For more information and to order, click here
The campaign: Curry For Change
Help a tiny team make a massive difference this summer and far beyond. Find Your Feet doesn’t do handouts; instead, it provides a hand up – working with its partnered communities in Africa and Asia to help put an end to food poverty.
And, whether you choose to dine at one of the many London restaurants donating to the cause, attend a supperclub by notable names like Asma Khan and Selina Periampillai, or host your very own at-home event, getting involved with the charity’s annual #CurryForChange campaign is pretty damn delicious. What are you waiting for?
- For more information on #CurryForChange, its partnered restaurants, and to request your free event hosting pack, click here
The new venue: Talli Joe
Ex-Benares chef Sameer Taneja’s new venue might be inspired by Indian dive bars but it doesn’t lower the tone – in fact, it raises the bar for innovative and well-executed modern regional fare. It’s an informal, quirky affair; offering ‘half plates and full drinks’ – the ‘Talli’ (tipsy) in the title indicating the state in which you might well depart.
The menu covers the whole country, with just a few of the delicious Desi delicacies include Andhra-style ‘messy thokku’, sorpotel & sanna, and gol baari kosha mangsho. Wash it all down with something strong from a cocktail list intriguingly sub-headed by region; or go for gin with one of four tonics infused in-house.
- Talli Joe is at 152-156 Shaftesbury Ave, London WC2H 8HL. For more information, click here
The Desi hipster snack: Rawlicious’s Indian Spice Twist Kale Chips
Plain old kale pales in comparison when you can earn extra hipster points with these crunchy munchy snacks. Almost too trendy for their own good, the organic chips are free from all nasties, slow-dehydrated at below 40°C to preserve the maximum number of nutrients, and seasoned with curry powder and selected spices. Don’t let the healthy hype put you off: they taste good too, voted ‘Best New Food Product’ at April’s Natural & Organic Europe Awards.
- £2.99 per pack from The Food Market
The supperclub: Sonali – Taste of Sri Lanka
A welcome tipple, a four-course feast and music throughout – those are the parts that sum up this supperclub. Host Sylvia’s 20 years experience in the catering industry ensure the food will be fine, and the event is BYOB – providing the perfect opportunity to try your hand at pairing wine or craft beer to Sri Lankan spicing.