Indian Food at it’s best at the Varli Food Festival.

I was recently asked along to the Varli Food Festival in New York by my good friend Bhavna Junja of Jammu Style as she knows how much I enjoy Indian Food. Little did I know just how big this festival was going to be. The mission of the Varli food festival is to educate, motivate and inspire people to explore, cook and most importantly, enjoy Indian food. Well on that point they really have their work cut out, as here in New York I really believe that the American’s do not understand the delights of Indian Food. I think as a nation, only my opinion and I await the roars of replies on this one, they do not like spicy food. Why? I have no idea and when I lived in the UK I made very good friends with a top Indian Chef called RAFI, who has written many books and she taught me how to cook Indian food so I am addicted, lock, stock and barrel.

If only you could smell the picture!

There must have been over 60 Top Indian Chefs from allover the place including Canada and the UK all demonstrating their talents, even Padma  Lakshmi was there. The smell in the Met Pavilion was just wonderful, the aroma of cumin, coriander, garlic and hot chilli made me think of RAFI. So many people I got to speak to Maneet Chauhan, Jehangir Mehta who is a huge New York Star Chef, Gobi Takatin known as the Tandoor master, Chef Hari Nayak  who can make the best Chai Creme Brulee.

So I met with Chef Vikas Khanna, an internationally recognized Chef, restaurant owner, food writer and filmmaker, certainly a force in the culinary world. He told me about a recipe for Piri Piri Shrimp a favorite at restaurant Junoon..Delightful is all I can say.

One of the Chefs I really wanted to meet was Shipra khanna who was the winner of Master Chef India, who really inspired me and she was demonstrating there and then how to make great Indian Food. Very lovely lady or should I say Chef !

With Chef Shipra Khanna & Sony Heron

I am all about girl power and the next chef I met was Romy Hardeep Gill  who is no exception to the rule. She is a fellow Brit and deserves a huge Shout out. Romy’s family are from West Bengal, am assuming this i where those wonderful Tigers come from? anyway her family drew traditional flavors from around the area in their cooking. Romy told me that she would cook from a very young age with her mother and try to incorporate all areas of the country into the food.Romy has also always been very aware of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, founded on a nutritious, balanced diet and wishes to pass her knowledge on to others. So here is a recipe that she gave to me and the outcome believe me is awesome….Try this one at home.

Pomegranate Srikhand

Ingredients

2 Small fresh Pomegranate

500 gm Low fat Natural Yogurt

1tsp Saffron

6 tsp White Caster sugar.

3 green cardamom

3tsp Balsamic Vinegar ·

Take out seeds from the pomegranates in a bowl and sprinkle 2 tsp of white caster sugar and 3 tsp of Balsamic vinegar. Cover the dish and leave it for 30 minutes.Soak the saffron in 15 ml of hot water in a dish, keep aside if you soak saffron in hot water you get the amazing yellow colour.Crush the green cardamom seeds.Add 4 tsp of caster sugar to the yogurt whisk it well, Add the crushed cardamom seeds to yogurt.Add few tablespoons of pomegranate seeds to each serving dish, top up with few tablespoons of yogurt and decorate with few drops of liquid from the pomegranate dish. ENJOY!

Curry without Calories

My evening was complete, I met so many nice people and I want to help them spread the word, Indian food can be as mild or as chili hot as you like, do not have the misconception that everything is fuelled to burn your lips. I wish oh I wish that my American friends will come to dinner and I will cook them some of my favorites and hopefully convert them!

Watch out for the invitation, it’s coming your way…….