The Oldie

Cookery Elisabeth Luard



Save your carbon offsets this bright new decade and take a virtual tour of Mumbai’s street food.

In Shamil Thakrar, Kavi Thakrar and Naved Nasir’s big, fat, photo-stuffed, bestsellin­g cookbook, Dishoom (Bloomsbury, £26), the authors pay exuberant tribute to their bustling, overcrowde­d, magnificen­tly architectu­red, poverty-stricken, food-loving native city. Dishoom, for the uninitiate­d – me too – is a trio of easy-going pit stops, serving mostly Parsi cooking in the savviest corners of London – King’s Cross, Carnaby Street and Shoreditch and now Manchester and Edinburgh. And dishoom is the whooshing sound made when the Bollywood hero lands a killer punch on the Bollywood villain, establishi­ng the victor’s right to ride into the sunset with the Bollywood heroine thrown over the saddlebags. ’Twas ever thus – Metoo notwithsta­nding.

Some 400 pages – about people, food and places – are punctuated with recipes reminding you what a proper plateful should look and taste like before someone got at it with the tweezers.

A day’s grazing is not for the faintheart­ed. Breakfast: bacon naan with

The Oldie

tomato chilli jam. Elevenses: masala chai with buttered-bun soldiers ( brun maska). Lunch: potato curry with puri and pickles. Afternoon refreshmen­ts: salted lassi or fresh lime soda (yes!). Sunset snacks: okra fries (my fave). First dinner (7 o’clock): garlic ginger crab. Second dinner (8 o’clock): jackfruit biryani cooked in a dum (double-handled copper pot). Third dinner (9 o’clock): lamb kabab with gunpowder potatoes. Pudding (10 o’clock): kulfi. The whole should be rounded off with a midnight tipple – rose-syrup and cardamom bellini, or a gimlet with dill and lime – at the Taj.

Irresistib­le. Here’s a little taste of what’s inside. For step-by-step recipes and fabulous traveller’s tales, you’ll have to buy the book.

Bacon naan roll: spread freshly-baked naan with full-fat cream cheese (Philadelph­ia does the trick), sprinkle with a few coriander leaves, top with very crisp bacon rashers, a pinch of finely chopped green chilli and a drizzle of tomato-chilli jam. Tomato-chilli jam: for a couple of jamjarsful, blitz 800g skinned and chopped fresh tomatoes (or good-quality canned, including the juice) with 60g fresh ginger, 3-4 garlic cloves and 2-3 fresh chillies – all finely chopped. When the mixture is reduced to a coarse purée, whizz in 125ml rice vinegar. Transfer to a heavy-based preserving pan, stir in 300g sugar and cook over a low heat till thick and jammy – about 30 minutes. Pot up in clean jamjars. Keeps for at least six months. Okra fries: the secret is in the coating. Quarter or halve topped okra pods vertically and toss with ginger paste, garlic paste and a pinch of chilli powder diluted with a little water. Mix gram flour and cornflour in proportion­s of three to two, sprinkle over the okra and toss gently to coat. Drop into hot oil in batches and fry till golden and crisp. Gunpowder potatoes: spread readycooke­d baby new potatoes in a baking tray, sprinkle with a little oil and roast or grill till the top is crisp and brown, then turn and crisp the other side. Meanwhile, in a dry pan, toast cumin, coriander and fennel seeds for a couple of minutes, then crush in a mortar and mix in a bowl with a little melted butter, chopped spring onion, coriander leaves and finely chopped green chilli. Add the hot, crisp potatoes roughly broken with a spoon, and turn to coat with the buttery spice mixture. Finish with sea salt, a squeeze of lime juice and a pinch or two of garam masala blitzed with dried, toasted fenugreek leaves.

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