My Food Is My Identity: Is It True?

Most Indians love a hot cup of masala tea; it may be the one drink that connects our nation. In many cities, guests get the tea as the welcome drink irrespective of whether you want or not. But when I see tea, I see age-old colonialism, British rule, coercion, and the rise of opium and…

Reliving History: In Defense of Game Meat

Food, essential for existence and survival. What we eat and how we eat are secondary. The ever-growing ‘chant’ to go vegetarian as if the non-vegetarians are doing something morally wrong and must be punished, but it is in common knowledge that in the beginning we ate simply ate food, vegetables or meat, to endure on…

Churpi Cheese: An age-old local cheese of the Himalayan Region

India is popular for its spicy food, the chicken and other bird dishes, red meat and fish but hardly we talk about our local cheese beyond paneer. If when we talk about paneer, it gets an English name, cottage cheese which has its controversy. I think we should stick to the name “paneer”, simply because…

How does 18th century no-knead bread taste?

A few days back I saw a post on bread in one of the food groups I follow on Facebook. This post was very specific in collecting more information about Sour Dough bread (which is one of my favorites). The fellow members were quick to jump and help the information seeker. This post is dedicated…

Authentic Food: Does it matter?

Yesterday morning when I woke up, I found a platter on my dining table laden with delicious stuffed parathas along with some homemade mango pickle complemented with regular juice and boiled eggs. These parathas were quite thick, unlike that of the parathas made by my mother. My mother was eagerly waiting for me to wake…

Gharana-E-Rampur- A Look Inside Tehzib and Cuisine Of Rampur

History is full of stories of war and conflict that remind us of the control that rulers and governments have always tried to enforce on the inhabitants of a land. It was one such conflict in 1774 AD between Nawab Faizullah Khan of Rohilla Dynasty and Nawab Shujauddaula of Oudh, and the English troops of…

Between Breads: Ramcharitamanas, Mughals and Age-Old History of Breads

“Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough, A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse – and Thou Beside me singing in the Wilderness – And Wilderness is Paradise enow.”  ― Omar Khayyám, Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam Bread, the quintessential side dish that goes with most the dishes we eat, from Pasta to Vada Pav,…

Popcorn Dates Back Thousands of Years: History and Facts

Biblical accounts of “corn” stored in the pyramids of Egypt are misunderstood. The “corn” from the bible was probably barley. The mistake comes from a changed use of the word “corn,” which used to signify the most-used grain of a specific place. In England, “corn” was wheat, and in Scotland and Ireland, the word referred…

Samosa Does Not Have An Indian Origin: History Of The Samosa

Lala Ji was my friend who used to sit in the neighbourhood, a few hundred metres away from our house in Ramgarh (Jharkhand) selling Samosa or as we used to call Singhara along with Jalebi and chai. He was, in fact, quite popular in the neighbourhood. Kids will go to him after school and all…

A different story of Dosa and Sambaar

On a hot Sunday morning in July 1998, my brother and I sat on the back seat of father’s aqua blue scooter to head off to the sabzi mandi for our weekly foraging for vegetables. It was scorching heat in my hometown in Jharkhand and which inevitably made me wear my half shorts and a…

Culinary history: A journey called Daulat Ki Chaat

Imagine a bite made of a layer of light foam covered with sweet, fresh mawa and snow-like sugar, sprinkled with a generous layer of slivers of pistachio and almonds, awashed with the fragrant juice of saffron. Now imagine that bite hit the warmth of your tongue and suddenly disappears leaving behind a trail of sweet…

Story of an Infidel Drink: Origin of Coffee

O Coffee! Thou dost dispel all care, thou are the object of desire to the scholar. This is the beverage of the friends of God.” – An Arabic poem form 1511 AD Almost everyone around the globe sips a cup of coffee to kick-start their day. But my love for coffee goes all the way…