A journey across India – A Taste of India Supperclub
When I previewed Asma Khan’s recent Supper Club Series I was genuinely excited to see my friend Manjiri listed as the co-host of ‘A Taste of India’. She’s been threatening to start her own supper club for some time and TheBombayKitchen, her new venture, is something I genuinely believe will be a roaring success. She has such a passion for good, authentic Indian food I can’t see how she can fail. I was even more thrilled to be invited along.
There are quite a few challenges though, in writing up about this kind of event. Very intimate, rather dark surroundings and tables shared with strangers who don’t necessarily expect you to be taking photos of your food for a start. And, just the fact that once they’ve happened, you can’t encourage people to go along. So, gentle reader, please forgive me for the quality of some of the photos and for the tardiness in offering any kind of review.
We did get a chance to sample the mini poppadums with chutneys before anyone else arrived. And to take photos! The green chutney in particular (coriander, ginger and garlic) was a particular favourite and I seem to remember my companion ended up with a takeaway pot!
The main plate of starters to share comprised Batata vada with mango relish, Chevda Chaat with date and tamarind chutney and Begun Pora (aubergine roasted over an open flame then tossed with red onions, coriander, chilli and mustard oil). Despite having demolished far too many poppadums already, we somehow managed to polish off the lot in lightening time
Our table filled up again with a whole range of main courses. Masoori daal was lighter and more citrussy than my normal Indian restaurant order of Daal Makhani. The Gujerati Undhiyu was a fragrant vegetable and fenugreek dumpling curry with paneer and roasted peanuts. I honestly wouldn’t have missed the meat if this had been the only dish served.
My favourite dish, though not my favourite photograph was the Daab Chingri – a dish of prawns in a coconut gravy served in a coconut. It was stunning and I am slightly annoyed that my photo really doesn’t do it justice.
Kolhapuri Mutton Curry is Manjiri’s signature dish. Delicious and comforting, it’s a meal in itself with a little chappati or basmati rice. I’d like to fill my freezer with individual portions of this – ready to bring out on a chilly winter night. Once again, my photo does little for what was a stunning dish.
By dessert, our table had emptied a little and it was easier to take a good photograph.
I’m no expert on Indian food, especially on the dessert – but these were delicious. The Strawberry and Chocolate Gol Guppa was a kind of dessert version of a savoury street food with filled puffed crispy wheat balls. Caramelized coconut and banana was a wickedly moreish mixture of sweet mini bananas and grated coconut caramelised in a cardamom flavour sauce. And, my favourite of the trio was a fusion dish, a spiced white chocolate, pistachio and lemon posset served with a piece of spiced Indian shortbread, Nankhatai.
All three chefs for the night run their own supperclubs and events. You’ll find more about Raastawalla on twitter as @raastawala. Chin’s Kitchen specialises in handmade Indian baked goods. And Manjiri blogs at Travels for Taste . I’m sure they’ll be back soon – and hope that they work together again – a kind of Indian magic that needs to be experienced.