Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 0 Comments
Dining in the Caribbean need not mean quick, greasy meals grabbed from tourist stands and roadside eateries. If you want to be adventurous and dine on something substantial, venture out and explore St Lucia's diverse dining options.
The Cliff at Cap
If you are fortunate enough to be staying at the Cap Maison, the discerning diner can enjoy delicious meals at The Cliff at Cap Restaurant. This award-winning restaurant features fine dining in the evenings, and casual lunches with an emphasis on organic cuisine. Enjoy your tapas while taking in the spectacular view of the sea, as the waves surge into the cliff the restaurant perches on.
The menu is diverse, like the island around it, with an emphasis on French and West Indian food. If you are a gourmet, be sure to sign up for the Castries Market Tours or grab a private cooking lesson or two. The entrees and mains at The Cliff will certainly sate your appetite, but chocolate lovers should leave a little space for their spectacular chocolate dessert.
Spice of India
You cannot plan a visit to Turkey without sampling a taste of Indian cuisine at Spice of Turkey, one of the most beloved restaurants on the island. Fast, friendly service and simple, fresh Indian food has brought this restaurant deserved acclaim. If you want something spicy to cap off your day, this is the place to go for a modern take on traditional Indian cuisine.
But their breakfast is something to write home about as well. Be sure to call ahead and make reservations if you are craving samosas - it gets busy and you do not want to end up standing in line or ending up with an inferior table.
Not a fan of Indian food? Go old-world with French classics at La Terrasse in Gros Islet. This restaurant serves up al fresco, bistro-style French food in a tropical garden setting, perfect for intimate evenings. The restaurant is owned by a multilingual husband and wife team who not only manage the dinner service but also love to converse with the guests! Be sure to call ahead and book a table before you leave the Cap Maison and remember that La Terrasse is usually closed Tuesdays. They open at 6pm and can accommodate late night diners.
If you want to venture out from the Cap Maison in search of some authentic, local fare, then Martha's Tables may be the best local dining experience on the island. Expect no menus and a no-frills approach to dining; Martha will serve you whatever she has cooked up for the day! Her delicious Caribbean combinations are legendary. Expect hearty food and lots of delicious side dishes. Sit and enjoy the view and the bustling business as you sip local beer and munch on her famous Creole-inspired entrees. Some boat tours from Soufriere include Martha's Tables as part of the itinerary, so you may want to book with a trip to get a taste not just of the food, but also of the surrounding area.
St Lucia offers the intrepid traveler everything from exotic cuisine to everyday island fare. The key is simply to venture out and enjoy the food; night or day, breakfast or brunch, there is a restaurant in St Lucia that is perfect for you.If would like to taste and roam around in turkey you must have Turkish visa to explore the taste of cuisines.
Thursday, June 5, 2014
Thursday, June 5, 2014 - 0 Comments
The Naan is one of the most famous bread-types in the world, particularly synonymous with Indian cuisine. Naan breads are popular all across South Asia, especially in northern India, but also in Pakistan, Iran and Bangladesh. In fact, the word ‘Naan’ comes from the Persian word ‘non’, which refers to bread.
Have you ever sat down at an Indian restaurant and wondered about the origins of this delicious flatbread? Sometimes the bread section of the menu is extensive, giving the diner numerous Naan options – peshwari, garlic, keema, to name but a few. Naans are now popular all across the west, especially in the UK, America and Canada. They are also sold in nearly every supermarket; yet they are something that the average westerner would not normally think to rustle up at home.
But where did they begin? The first recorded mention of a Naan was found in the scribbles of the Indian-Persian poet Amir Kushrau in 1300 AD. They were originally created at the Imperial Court in Delhi as a light bread, known as ‘naan-e-tunuk’, and – when cooked in the sizzling-hot tandoori oven – were known as ‘naan-e-tanuri’. In the mid-16th century, the Mughuls ruled and enjoyed a Naan bread to accompany their keema or kebab at breakfast time.
Naan bread initially appeared in English literature back in 1780 when William Tooke wrote about them in his travelogue, but it wasn’t until a century and a half later that the Naan bread was eventually introduced to the UK in 1926, when Veeraswamy, the country’s oldest Indian restaurant, first opened its Regent Street doors. Naan bread was found on their menu –and British diners have never looked back.
The methods of making a Naan bread have evolved over the centuries, but traditionally it is cooked in the tandoor (a hot clay oven). This is different from the chapatti and roti which are cooked on an iron griddle (known as a ‘tawa’). Some home cooks bake their Naans in the oven. However they are made, they should always be served piping hot and brushed with butter or ghee (clarified butter).
Many chefs take huge pride in their Naans – almost as much as they do in creating their main dishes. This is because a good Naan is usually a sign of an accomplished chef. They are usually placed in the centre of the table and made large enough that each diner can tear a good chunk off and use it to pinch their food – meaning cutlery is optional.
One of the main reason people in the UK have such an obsession with Naans is because they rarely make them at home. Naans taste best when made in the tandoor, and how many British households have one of these in their kitchens? It’s clear that this age-old classic is popular with anyone and everyone; from royalty to peasants.
Although humble and unassuming, the Naan is an integral part of an Indian meal. If you are looking for one of the best Naans in the UK, made using recipes that have been passed down through the generations, head to one of London’s fine-dining Indian restaurants. You can even use the Naan as a replacement to a spoon, if you so wish.
If someone says the word ‘biryani’ to you, chances are you’ll think of rice cooked with meat and spices -and you’d be right. However, there are many versions of biryani cooked throughout India in different ways, using various methods and ingredients. Which is the best is down to personal opinion, so why not sample them all and make your own mind up?
Legend has it that the first types of biryani were discovered from the Mughal kitchens. The Mughals came to India from Persia (now Iran). So does the biryani have Persian connections? Maybe,although some biryani fans have different opinions. According to them, a king from southern India ordered the preparation of cattle meat cooked with rice to celebrate the victory of his army. Either story could be true.
Biryani absorbs the local flavours from every region of India – both physically and metaphorically. Some of the most popular and most famous biryanis include the Hyderabadi biryani and Lucknowi biryani. However, there are other biryanis out there that are not so well-known.Ambur, a leather-tanning city in Tamil Nadu, is also famous for making one of the mostdelicious types of Biryani in southern India. In fact, there are more biryani eateries per mile here than any other city in the world!
Kolkata biryani is another version. The Nawabs of Lucknow were exiled here following the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny. Back then, in the days of exile, meat was scarce, so the Nawabs used potato to bulk out the biryani. Today, the Kolkata biryani still contains potatoes, along with meat. Sindh, a state in Pakistan, has developed a unique cuisine all of its own and the Sindhi biryani is the only version that uses a large amount of yoghurt in its preparation. A biryani typical of Bangladesh is called the Kacchi biryani, usually prepared with raw meat and rice which are cooked separately and then combined.
The Bombay biryani has been adapted from the Persian biryani and is probably the least healthy of all varieties. It is typically greasier, sweeter and contains more fried onions than other biryanis. It is consumed with a delicious meat gravy.
The biryani has also crossed the borders to Sri Lanka, where it is known as ‘buryani’. It arrived in Sri Lanka with the Tamils, who settled here and brought their recipe with them. The Sri Lanken biryani is very spicy, said to pack a punch compared to any Indian version. Similarly, the Middle East have produced their own take on the biryani. It is especially popular in Bahrain, Iraq and other Arab states and usually contains more saffron than Indian varieties.
Tahiri is a vegetarian version of a Biryani, mostly eaten in Uttar Pradesh by the Brahmins who often don’t consume meat. The Malabar biryani is popular in Kerala, especially on the coast, and contains minimal spices along with meat that has first been deep fried.
If you want to sample an authentic biryani, you don’t need to travel all the way to India. Head to one of London’s top fine-dining Indian restaurants and try one of the most aromatic and sumptuous biryanis imaginable.
Hyderabad is the capital and largest city of the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh and is located on the banks of the Musi River. Like many Indian cities it has a rich cultural heritage as it was captured by the Mughals before Mughal viceroy Asif Jah declared his sovereignty in 1724 and created his own dynasty, which became known as the Nizams of Hyderabad.
It was during the Nizam era that haleem was introduced to Hyderabad. It was originally an Arabian dish known as harisah and was introduced to many states in India by Arab traders, but it was the Hyderabadi people who made it famous.
Hyderabadihaleem is a dish widely consumed at celebrations and is frequently served as a starter at weddings. However, it has become synonymous with the holy month of Ramadan and is consumed during the evening meal that breaks the day long fast. The high calorie content of the dish gives an instant hit of calories which is perfect after a long day of fasting.
It is now so popular that during Ramadan the dish is prepared in Hyderabad and sent all over the world. Haleem plays an important part in Ramadan and as a result, in 2010, it was granted Geographical Indication status (GIS) by the Indian GI registry office. This is particularly significant as it was the first meat dish to be granted this status.Subsequently a dish can only be sold as Hyderabadhaleem if it meets a number of requirements; this is important as it will mean the traditional flavours will be preserved for years to come.
Although there are other variations of the dish, Hyderabad haleem is distinct due to the addition of local flavours and the way it is prepared. Traditionally it is cooked over an open fire made of wood - not coals - for up to 12 hours, in a cauldron covered with a brick and mud kiln (known as a bhatti). It is a labour intensive process, as normally two people stir it continuously with wooden paddles throughout the 12 hours it takes to cook. A wooden hand masher known as a ghotni is then used which helps to create a sticky, smooth, paste which looks similar to mashed mince.
The traditional ingredients used in a Hyderbadihaleem are normally beef or lamb, pounded wheat, barley, lentils, ghee, pistachio, cashew, fig, almond, natural gum and lemon juice. The spices are also an important element of the dish; those included are usually ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, jaggery, allspice and saffron. It is served hot topped with a ghee-based gravy, pieces of lime, chopped coriander, a sliced boiled egg and fried onions are used as a garnish.There are also vegetarian versions served in Hyderabad, which substitute the meat for a variety of vegetables and dried fruit.
The Hyderbadi people treasure haleem and it is a dish worth experiencing, as it is simply delicious. To sample an authentic recipe with a contemporary twist head to a fine dining Indian restaurant in the heartof London .
A huge number of Indian dishes are made with the comforting source of protein that is lentils. India is a nation full of vegetarians, and lentils make a filling and nutritious meal for them. As well as being a source of protein, they are full of fibre, iron and many other nutrients. However, meat eaters are also fans of this versatile pulse. From kichidee (a basic lentil and rice dish) to flat breads, soups and Ramen noodles, there are so many uses for them. In fact, a lot of Gujarati dishes may contain lentils, but you won’t even be aware that they are one of the ingredients.
Dal is one of the mostpopular dishes in India – a dish that has become synonymous with the country. However, dal is often translated as ‘lentils’, even though the ‘stew’ often contains a blend of lentils, peas, chickpeas, kidney beans and so on. In fact, if any pulse (for example, split mung bean) is split in half, it is referred to as a dal. In Gujarat, a dal is a wet dish, whereas a whole pulse, stir fried with spices or combined with a dry curry, is known as ‘kathor’.
Pulses are used to make a range of dishes in Gujarati cuisine. Even desserts are made using pulses. They are often ground into a flour (for example, besan flour) and used to make a variety of Gujarati dishes, including puda, sev, pakoras, kadhi, khandvi, and so much more. Pulses can also be soaked and then mashed into a paste with cooked rice to act as the base for dishes such as idlee and dosa.
Mung beans (known as ‘mug’ in Gujarati) are tiny green seeds with a yellow interior. They have been eaten by the people of Gujarat, and communities all over India, for thousands of years. Again, they can be used in both savoury and sweet recipes, but they can also be consumed whole, split, sprouted, skin-on, skin-off – however you wish. Their flavour is similar to that of a green, leafy vegetable, but when their skins are removed they impart a sweeter flavour to dishes –which is why they are used in desserts.
Urad (known as ‘adad’ in Gujarat) look almost identical to mung beans in terms of shape and size but have a completely different taste. They are said to be the ‘king’ of pulses, and have an earthy flavour. The famous dish ‘dal makhani’ is made with urad, as are poppadums.
Toor dal – otherwise known as ‘pigeon pea or ‘tuver’ in Gujarati – are one of the most crucial ingredients to any Gujarati household. This beige lentil is used for its unique, nutty flavour and is a staple in everyday cooking. Most famously, it is used in the dish ‘Gujarati Dal’, where the pigeon peas are combined with distinct sweet-spicy-tangy notes.
If you think pulses are boring, think again. If you want to experience lentils and other pulses cooked to the very best, forget the high street curry houses and pay a visit to one of London’s best fine dining Indian restaurants. After sampling some of the pulse-based dishes at these first-class establishments, you’ll never utter the words “dull dal” again.
Take a stroll along many of Kerala’s beaches and you will see fish being sold from small stalls, the freshness of which is highly impressive. With its long expanse of coastline, it is little surprise that fish plays such an integral part in the lives of residents and visitors alike.
Over the years Kerala has been much-sought after – by the Portuguese, Dutch and then the British, before India’s Independence. This rich history is still reflected in the European design of many buildings and some of the street and shop names– especially in the Jewish Quarter.
Fort Kochi, once a bustling trading port in Kerala, is now a friendly destination that is popular with visitors. Fishing still takes place in the port, but not on the same scale as in years gone by. Some fishing is still done in the traditional style;nets are taken out to sea by boat and then pulled back to shore by hand. This method of shore fishing is far less common these days with the problem of over-fishing and an increase in trawler fishing meaning there are simply not enough fish closer to shore. This method of fishing is also used in the Goan village of Palolem, as well as other beaches.
Unlike in Goa, however, where fish are caught and bought for a high price by restaurants, in Kochi the price of fish is still relatively low (although there is generally a difference between the price for locals and tourists). Fish that are commonly caught in Kochi include kingfish, snapper, swordfish, pomfret, squid and prawns. To supplement the daily haul of the shore fishermen, larger boats also fish further out to sea.
Following the early morning waterfront fish market, in the eveningthe beach is dotted with stalls where you can choose a fish and have it cooked fresh in front of you.
A popular fish dish that is enjoyed in Kochi and across the state is a Keralan fish curry. Generally using kingfish (although any fish can be used), it has a place in the hearts of many locals – and anyone who has ever visited the state. Using big, bold flavours such as tamarind, ginger, mustard seeds, green chillies and chilli powder, this dish leaves you wanting more. Coconut, a must-have in many Keralandishes, is another ingredient that is added towards the end of the cooking process.
Another big hit in Kerala (and across southern India) is fish fry. The dish is prepared by coating fillets of fish in spices and then leaving it to marinate for as long as possible. Pearl spot fish fry is a particular delicacy in Kerala, but whatever fish is used, the smaller the pieces of fish, the crispier and tastier they are.Eaten as a snack, a starter or as a main served with rice, fish fry is enjoyed any time of day.
If the combination of fish and the taste of South India is something you feel you have missed recently, head to one of London’s fine-dining Indian restaurants. The fish will be as fresh as that sold on the beaches of Kerala – and just as tasty.