Friday, November 17, 2017

#26GlobalDishesPact-Armenian Lamb Casserole

A is for Armenian Lamb Casserole (Armenia)

The 26 traditional Indian dishes predictably hovered around spicy curries, finally leaving me with too much spice to handle at times. That is when global cuisines come to the rescue. Yet one didn't want to go too far yet, in terms of taste and flavour. This Armenian casserole is full of flavours such as garlic and cumin and allspice, yet is not hot at all, using only black pepper. Tomato puree gives it a familiarity of colour and taste and one has a perfect weekend winner here! 

Armenian cuisine belongs to the family of Caucasian cuisines, and has strong ties with Turkish cuisine, Georgian cuisine, Persian cuisine, and Levantine cuisine in general. Historically, there have been mutual influences with all of the above-listed cuisines, though the exact nature of the influences is nebulous due to the dearth of research, political and nationalistic tensions, and the close co-habitation of the Armenian, Turkish, and Iranian people during the past seven centuries. I followed this recipe which was easy and uncomplicated. You can have it with rice or your choice of bread and its a satisfying meal.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Wasabi by Morimoto Brings Alive Secrets of Sake

In its constant endeavor to present guests with unmatched culinary experiences, Wasabi by Morimoto, the award winning contemporary Japanese restaurant at the Taj Mahal Hotel brings to Indian shores for the first time ever, eight masters of Sake, Japan’s traditional drink for the past 2,000 years.  

Supported by the Embassy of Japan in India and the Sake Samurai Association, the specially curated experience is a continuation of the celebrations of the 10thanniversary of Wasabi by Morimoto

The experts at the Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi are bringing alive the contemporary flavours and traditional tastes of Japan along with the Sake experts from Japan. Led by Rie Yoshitake from the Sake Samurai Association UK, the experts will introduce guests to Sakes such as Junmai GinjoUrakasumi’s Ume-shu, Nishinoseki Cube, Nishinoseki 1988, Junmai Ginjo Sparkling Akashi-Tai and Genmai Yamadanisiki Akash-Tai

To accompany the hand-picked sake offerings, the Hotel’s team of culinary experts will also curate a special menu, featuring Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’ssignature dishes such as Rock shrimp tempura, Rock corn tempura, Teppanyaki Sea bass and Teppanyaki tofu sauté amongst others. 

  • Dates: 22nd November 2017
  • Time: 7:00 pm onwards 
  • Price: INR 6000 per person (plus taxes)
  • Venue: Wasabi by Morimoto, The Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi, Number One, Mansingh Road

For reservations call Wasabi by Morimoto at 011-6651 3585/84

Thursday, November 9, 2017

HYATT Presents the 2017 Edition of the Hyatt Culinary Challenge

Hyatt Hotels India along with SMILE Foundation organized and hosted the 4th edition of the Hyatt Culinary Challenge at Hyatt Hyderabad, Gachibowli, recently. This culinary challenge saw participants from the city’s corporate & social circuit coming together to compete in a cook-off where they were assisted by children from the SMILE Foundation.
Hyatt Hyderabad Gachibowli hosted the semi-finals for the city of Hyderabad on behalf of both the Hyatt hotels in Hyderabad; Park Hyatt Hyderabad and Hyatt Hyderabad Gachibowli followed by the plating and award ceremony.

Falguni Shah, HR head of a leading MNC firm in Hyderabad impressed the judges with her cooking skills and bagged the winner’s trophy of the Hyatt Culinary Challenge 2017, Hyderabad prelims. Ms Shah will compete with the HCC 2017 winners from other cities in the grand finale in Hyatt Regency Chennai this December 2017.

Speaking on the occasion, Harleen Mehta, Vice President Sales Operations, Hyatt South Asia said, The Hyatt Culinary Challenge is an endeavor to bring together people to celebrate their passion for food and make a difference to the community while doing so. We are delighted with the overwhelming response from the participants both offline and online, and look forward to doing more such events over the years.”

Mr. Gopinath Gopalan, the General Manager of Hyatt Hyderabad Gachibowli mentions “Hyatt Hyderabad Gachibowli is looking forward to this very invigorating evening. We are eagerly waiting to see the creativity, innovation and hidden talents of our corporate participants and at the same time supporting and partnering with the SMILE foundation.”

Commenting on the occasion, Thomas Abraham, General Manager, Park Hyatt Hyderabad, said, “We are extremely excited about the 4th edition of Hyatt Culinary Challenge and we are certain that this event will bring together people to celebrate their passion for food & cooking and also to bring smiles to the faces of the children from SMILE Foundation,”

To emphasize Hyatt’s focus on its rich culinary heritage, Hyatt Hotels in India introduced the “Hyatt Culinary Challenge --people cooking for people” in 2014.  

The Hyatt Culinary Challenge was conceptualized as a unique event that will bring together individuals from the corporate realm on a common platform; where they could showcase their culinary expertise and passion for food in an interactive culinary event. Each participant will be paired with a child from the SMILE foundation, Hyatt’s partner NGO in India and they will execute a recipe of their choice for the judges. The corporate winner from each city will compete at the grand finale in Hyatt Regency Chennai this December 2017.

Hyatt India Culinary Challenge preliminary rounds were held across Hyatt Hotels in Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune, today.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris Launches Taj Wedding Studio

The Taj Wedding Studio is the ultimate destination to create memorable wedding experiences; showcasing the latest trends in cuisine, innovation in banqueting, destination planning and wedding curation.

Resplendent venues at picturesque locations, sumptuous culinary experiences, bespoke wardrobes, and expert planners, the perfect wedding is a blend of grand gestures and intricate detail. Since its establishment, Taj has always been synonymous with signature wedding celebrations at exotic destinations. To infuse creativity into weddings, Taj Hotels launched the Taj Wedding Studio today that brings to life the art of planning a dream wedding, inspired from the very best in the industry. The Taj Wedding Studio is the insider’s guide to designing the best weddings and unparalleled events; it provides loyal guests across cities exclusive access to the very best elements that makes a wedding or celebration a lifelong memory.

While expert series and panel discussions with industry experts were prominent attractions at the launch of the Taj Wedding Studio, the pièce de résistance was the Grand Finale Fashion Show, “Tarkanna – The Bridal and Occasion Wear 2017/18 Collection” by Tarun Tahiliani, with his show-stopper ensemble finding resonance with Tajness, the overarching philosophy of hospitality at the Taj. In keeping with the philosophy that transcends time and space, Mr Tahiliani’s creation draws inspiration from the signature Florentine dome of The Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai. The hand-painted, printed lehenga uses lotuses and classic ojee jaals while its printed Tajness-inspired cape drape, sketched with illustrations of the dome and lightly dusted with Swarovski crystals, gota flowers and mirrors, paid tribute to the ‘new voice of tradition’. 

Participating along with Tarun Tahiliani for the Taj Wedding Studio are WeddingSutra, India’s leading bridal media brand; Ermenegildo Zegna, providing sartorial elegance, excellent service and innovation in fabrics with the ceremonial Made to Measure experience; and Zoya, the luxury jewellery brand from the house of Tata will be offering their bespoke bridal experience for the first time at the Taj Wedding Studio.

Commenting on the launch of the Taj Wedding Studio, Mr. Chinmai Sharma, Chief Revenue Officer, Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris, said, “Taj Hotels has always been a pioneer in hosting memorable weddings. The launch of the Taj Wedding Studio as the ultimate destination to create unforgettable wedding experiences will offer our guests exclusive access to experts in the industry and a variety of services that are designed to address all their wishes for their big day. In doing so, the Taj Wedding Studio will address the growing need for customization of weddings and live up to the Taj promise of inspiring creativity in every aspect of celebration.”
Engaging a select audience at the Taj Wedding Studio launch, the Taj hosted panel discussions on The Art and Curation of a Wedding - Essentials of Planning, Managing Aspirations and Exceeding Expectations and The Quintessential Indian Wedding: Celebrations that Reflect Heritage and Culture with doyens of industry, celebrities, stylists, fashion icons, philanthropists and patrons who deliberated on the essentials of what makes a wedding perfect.

Guests also had an opportunity to attend the expert series and master classes that threw the spotlight on Food Pairing and Cuisine Trends as well as innovation in banqueting. Celebrity chefs including Chef Amit Chowdhury, Executive Chef - The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai; Chef Sajesh Nair, Executive Chef - Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad; and Mr. Abhas Saxena, Chief Sommelier - The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, focused on current cuisine trends and food and wine pairings. Adding international flavour was Mr. William Spinner, Director of Catering - The Pierre, A Taj Hotel, New York. An icon of the hospitality industry in New York City, Mr. Spinner has worked with celebrities, socialites, heads of state and CEOs, and is the last word on hosting weddings and banquets at The Pierre.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Vitamin Splash From Pepsico's Aquafina to Hydrate You

First vitamin fortified water from PepsiCo India

  • Launches Aquafina Vitamin Splash-the lowest ever vitamin fortified water @ 35 calories (per serve-250ml)
  • Aquafina Vitamin Splash comes with added vitamins and minerals which are known to support the immune function (Kiwi Lime flavour) or known to act as antioxidants (Raspberry Mint flavour)

PepsiCo India announced its foray into the vitamin fortified water category with the launch of Aquafina Vitamin Splash. This is the first ever vitamin fortified water from PepsiCo in India. The introduction of Aquafina Vitamin Splash marks yet another milestone in PepsiCo’s effort of increasing the availability of convenient, affordable and enjoyable nutrition.
At 35 calories per serve (250ml) - approx., Aquafina Vitamin Splash is the lowest calorie vitamin fortified water to be introduced for consumers in India. The launch reiterates PepsiCo India’s commitment to introducing new beverage products, only if they contain 100 calories or fewer from added sugar per serve (355ml), in line with PepsiCo’s global Performance with Purpose agenda.

Aquafina Vitamin Splash celebrates ‘water’ as the age-old wellness essential with added vitamins and minerals. It is available in 2 different flavours. Aquafina Vitamin Splash Kiwi Lime Flavour contains a Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Zinc, and Selenium nutrients which are known to support the immune function. Aquafina Vitamin Splash Raspberry Mint flavour contains Vitamin E & Selenium nutrients that are known to act as anti-oxidants, all within a great tasting product.

Speaking on the occasion, Vipul Prakash, Senior Vice President, Beverage Category, PepsiCo India said, “We continue to transform our portfolio to offer healthier options and meet consumers’ increasing interest in health and wellness. Over the past few years, we have diligently worked on bringing in new products that demonstrate our ability to deliver great taste, but with less added sugars. Our entry into the vitamin fortified water space in India with Aquafina Vitamin Splash is a significant launch in that direction.”

The move also marks the first ever expansion of the Aquafina trademark in India into newer spaces within the Hydration category and is reflective of the Company’s strategy of supporting global brands. Aquafina is one of the eight scale brands in PepsiCo India’s portfolio, each of which bring in over INR 1000 crore in annual retail sales.

Aquafina Vitamin Splash Kiwi Lime Flavour has approximately 5 times the amount of Minerals-Zinc and Selenium as in a medium sized apple. Aquafina Vitamin Splash Raspberry Mint Flavour has nearly twice the Vitamin E & Selenium as in a medium sized apple/guava.

Aquafina Vitamin Splash will be available in Kiwi Lime and Raspberry Mint flavours across top 15 cities and various e-commerce platforms at INR 30 for 300 ml and INR 50 for 500ML.

Aquafina Vitamin Splash will be sampled across 100 salons in the country, with leading chains.

PepsiCo India has always prided itself in being committed to driving the company’s global portfolio transformation agenda, expansion of more functional beverages like 7UP ReviveGatorade and Himalayan Orchards, which demonstrate the company’s commitment to provide options for all of consumers’ beverage needs and wants. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Satiate your taste buds with Amritsari cuisine at Vivanta by Taj-Dwarka

~Discover quintessential flavours from the state of five rivers-Punjab~

Indian culinary tradition boasts of exquisite and authentic recipes that are bound to satiate every palate. Punjabi food is earthy, simple and soul satisfying. Taj as a brand has constantly worked towards bringing culinary intelligence to the forefront. Seizing the real essence of our diverse cuisine, this October Vivanta By Taj-Dwarka brings to you the much awaited Amritsari food festival, a fantastic medley of finger-licking delights to indulge in.

The dishes are specially curated by their renowned and expert Chef Amarjot who has travelled all the way from Taj Swarna, Amritsar to showcase his signature dishes. The delectable menu consists of Murg Makhanwala, Bhunna Gosht, Harikewali MachhiMasaledar KhumbanPunjabi Kadhi PakodiAmritsari DalKulchey CholeyKesari Phirni.  To tantalize your taste buds, the team of chefs will also offer scrumptious delicacies like Nalli Kharore Shorba, Kadhai Sabzi, Bhunna Ghosht, Amritsari Machhi and more. With so much in store, this food festival is a must visit for all you Food Connoisseurs. 
Date: 3rd October 2017 - 20th October 2017
Time: Dinner, 07:00 to 11:30 pm
Venue: Indus Express, Vivanta by Taj, Dwarka
      Price: A La carte menu
(price for two- 2500 plus taxes approx.)

Monday, October 2, 2017

Moonstruck in Gachibowli

Over the Moon Brew Company is a splendid new place to chill out in Gachibowli, Hyderabad. The original Over the Moon in Jubilee Hills has been known over the years as one of the coolest places, popular with youngsters. It was the perfect place to unwind and party especially through Junoon, a party club that belts out groovy global music, powered with a massive OHM sound system, the place hosts nights featuring various international DJs/Artistes. 

Now this is another edition of Over The Moon but with a whole different style. One can say it is the same soul with a new avatar. Gachibowli has been wanting for a fine bar & brew place. With an ever growing corporate crowd that needs the perfect and sophisticated place to unwind after office hours, grab a drink and shake a leg. This is one place which will make you forget even if you have a bad day at office!

Spread over two floors, the ground floor is done up in vibrant exposed brick work, wood and wrought iron. There is a very nice open patio where there is Al Fresco seating and an impressive bar and a cute little food truck that functions only in the evenings with a special snacky menu. Inside there is a huge island bar and comfortable seating options with a stage cum DJ console at one end. 

On the first floor, the décor is all white with colourful touches in yellow and blue, where a lunch buffet is laid out on weekdays. The huge beer tanks of the microbrewery on one side add the right touch. This floor has a colourful Mediterranean feel. There is a huge pink piano on one side which is actually another DJ console!


Settling downstairs, we finally embark upon a culinary adventure. The menu looks exciting. For drinks we try the beer samplers-there is the light Ale, a dark caramelized Stout and Wheat Beer. But then I finally settle for a Cosmopolitan which is very well blended.

Peri Peri Prawns with Wasabi Mayo

For starters we tried the Peri Peri Prawns with Wasabi Mayo and Madras Curry Powder Flavoured Fish both of which are excellent. I personally loved the prawns served very aesthetically in shot glasses. For vegetarian starter we tried Crispy Fried Water Chestnut and Lotus Stem which is crunchy and perfectly cooked. The Burmese Packets are also pretty neat with a stuffing of soft corn and cheese.

Burmese Packets

For main course we try a complete contrast of dishes. The menu itself is very vast and varied and there is something for everybody, which is what works in Hyderabad. They have a very good Lunch Platter deal of Rs 300 AI with which you get a mug of beer free! 

Butter Chicken with Tandoori Roti

So we order Bengali Macher Jhol with Steamed Rice, Butter Chicken with Tandoori Roti, Phad Thai Noodles with Chicken and Chili Basil Fried Rice. The Butter Chicken certainly made one nostalgic about Delhi, so good and authentic was the taste. This is the first place in Hyderabad I saw where the tandoori roti was made of atta or whole wheat flour, just the way I love it and not maida or refined flour. The Macher Jhol was average. The Phad Thai noodles were delicious as was the Chili Basil Fried Rice. All in all, this is a fantastic deal for corporates looking to have a team lunch or ladies who want to organize a kitty party.

We were too full to have dessert although there are good choices such as Baileys Shahi Tukda and Salted Caramel Tart. We just tasted the Double ka Meetha from the buffet and it was excellent.

Over the Moon is very clubby at evening with live music and DJs and a section that becomes the dance floor. Great place for lounging with friends in the evening with a nice selection of drinks. It is a place that lives up to its name. Do visit soon for that ‘over the moon’ feeling!