Rediscovering Indian foodBy Sandy Daza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The very first time I tried Indian cuisine was in New York City. It was bursting with flavors I had never come across with, and which I found very interesting. But that evening, I got sick and decided to stay away from Indian food for a long time.
I once tried a very good Indian restaurant on Pasay Road, Makati City, that had an authentic Tandoori oven. The chef showed us how he would mold the bread, then slap it on the side of the heated oven until the bread ballooned and was ready to be served. Dishes were good and one of the things that stood out was a multicolored rice. Sarap!
Another very popular Indian restaurant is Kashmir. The last time I ate there was over a decade ago. I remember it also had very good authentic food.
I am a regular visitor of Kashmir’s outlet on Saturdays at Salcedo Street. There, I have the spicy chicken shawarma and the delicious vegetable and chicken samosas. I put the latter in a freezer, to be taken out any moment a family member gets hungry.
Just last week, I was invited to an Indian festival at Oakwood Premier Joy-Nostalg Center in Ortigas. There were two Indian guest chefs doing the cooking.
Executive chef Ashutosh Nerlekar flew in just for this festival with his partner. The food was different from what I was used to, but nonetheless delicious.
We were served a Kebab tasting platter consisting of Chicken Tikka, Fish Amritsari and Galouti Kebab—all very good and new. Then came the Tomato Rasam or South Indian Tomato and Lentil Broth served with fritters. It was an acquired taste, but in the end, I thought was also quite good.
The main course was Thati made of Methi Murgh, Alleppy Prawn Curry and Lasooni Dal served with Paratha and Basmati rice. Feasting on dishes whose names sounded strange to me added mystery and intrigue to the dining experience. I like to be surprised.
I cleaned out each plate. With some pita bread and a crusty, flaky and spiced laced flat bread, it was heaven. I loved the flavored Basmati rice.
The main dishes came with creamy sauces.
For dessert, we had a platter consisting of Gulab Jamun, Carrot Hulwa and Bebinca. The carrot sounds weird for a dessert, but trust me, it is a tasty and different kind of dessert. Everything was worth gaining a few pounds for.
There were other interesting-looking items on the menu, such as the Minced Lamb Kebab. The items will surprise anyone not familiar with Indian cuisine. Problem is, it can only be experienced today and tomorrow. Call 6377888, 7191160, 9108888 ext. 8118.
Many years back, someone was courting a relative. Coming from Davao, this nice guy would send fruits from his province. His pomelo was totally different from what we had in Manila. Somehow Davao pomelo is a lot juicier and tastier.
It is no wonder most vendors selling pomelo in Manila put up signs saying “Davao Pomelo” even if, in truth, they’re not. They have beautiful, peeled displays but as soon as you peel one, you discover it is so dry. I have since stayed away from it.
Last week, however, I found a source of good, juicy pomelo or suha, this time really grown in Davao. You can get them here in Manila. Call 0917-6292778 and tell me what you think.