How Did Chickpea Flour, A Staple Of Indian Cuisine, Become A Health Food Sensation?

How Did Chickpea Flour, A Staple Of Indian Cuisine, Become A Health Food Sensation?

How Did Chickpea Flour, A Staple Of Indian Cuisine, Become A Health Food Sensation? By Priya Krishna • 10 hours ago Chickpea flour is gaining attention thanks to its gluten-free binding properties. But the ingredient has been a staple of cooking for Indians, Pakistanis and many others for centuries. Pinkybird / Getty Images
There’s a specific section of my family’s fridge that is reserved for the large, seemingly bottomless tub of chickpea flour — or as we and lots of other Indians who also rely on it call it, besan — that my parents keep on hand. We’re not gluten-free, nor do we do a lot of baking. Yet chickpea flour shows up everywhere in our food. It’s the nutty coating for my mom’s green beans spiced with earthy ajwain , the key ingredient in her creamy, tangy, yogurt-based soup, kadhi , and the base for our favorite variety of laddoos , sweet, fudge-like balls flavored with ghee, sugar and nuts.
Across the many regional cuisines in India, chickpea flour is a common denominator: Gujaratis turn it into pudla , thin, savory crepes laced with turmeric and chilies. In Karnataka and Maharashtra, it can be found in jhunka , a spicy porridge. And in Andhra Pradesh, it is the thickener in Senagapindi Kura , an onion-heavy stew. For the country’s large vegetarian population, where eggs are often considered non-vegetarian, chickpea flour mixed with water serves as a convincing omelet replacement.
Indians — along with the Nepalese, Pakistanis, Italians, the French, and many others — have been cooking with chickpea flour for centuries. Americans, on the other hand, only seem to have woken up to the ingredient in the last decade or so. And they’ve woken up in a big way.
It’s hard to trace the exact origin of chickpea flour’s sudden popularity in the U.S. Anna Stockwell, the senior food editor of the publications Epicurious and Bon Appétit , said she first started seeing chickpea flour around 2009 on gluten-free blogs. Stockwell is gluten-free herself, and was excited to find a recipe for savory chickpea pancakes.
She didn’t know much about chickpea flour’s culinary heritage, but she was immediately excited. “Its binding power was magic,” she recalls. “All you have to do is combine chickpea flour and water, and suddenly you can make flatbread, or fritters or vegetable pancakes.” Still, Stockwell saw it as a niche ingredient — something only gluten-free consumers cared about. She wasn’t even allowed to call for it in Epicurious recipes.
Slowly but surely, that started to change. In 2010, one of the more popular recipes from Plenty , Yotam Ottolenghi’s bestselling cookbook, was a chickpea flour pancake, or socca , as it’s known in France, layered with tomatoes and onions. In 2015, food and fitness writer Camilla Saulsbury wrote the popular book The Chickpea Flour Cookbook . That was followed a year later by Chickpea Flour Does It All , by blogger Lindsey Love.
Lani Halliday, the founder of Brutus Bakeshop, a gluten-free Brooklyn bakery, says she noticed a huge uptick in the number of chickpea flour-based, gluten-free sweets available about a decade ago. For baked goods, chickpea flour worked uniquely well, “as it can hold air bubbles and hold moisture,” she says. Plus, “it was cheap, it was accessible, and it was versatile.”
Halliday launched her bakery in 2015. One of her bestselling items among both gluten-free and non-gluten-free customers was a chocolate cupcake made with chickpea flour.
Stockwell believes the mainstreaming of chickpea flour is directly linked to one company in particular — Banza. The company started producing its chickpea flour-based pasta in 2014, and by 2017, it was in 8,000-plus grocery stores and had raised $8 million in funding. The key to the company’s success? It didn’t exclusively market itself as a gluten-free product. Instead, it was branded as health food. And it was one of the first alternative pastas that had a smooth, al dente texture, just like the real thing.
“I had friends who had never heard of chickpea flour, but now they eat Banza,” Stockwell says. “It’s not because they are trying to eat gluten-free but because it’s a delicious and higher-protein pasta. It’s a substitute for empty carbs.”
This year, Epicurious was finally allowed to publish recipes with chickpea flour. Dennis Vaughn, the CEO of Bob’s Red Mill, says that in the past five years, chickpea flour has become a clear bestseller among the company’s sundry flour options.
“My grocery store doesn’t even carry red meat,” Stockwell says, “but they carry Bob’s Red Mill” chickpea flour.
In many ways, it has been weird to watch this ingredient that has always felt so quotidian to me become so ubiquitous so quickly in the U.S. This is certainly not the first Indian ingredient or dish this has happened to. Consider turmeric, chai, or khichdi , which have all been claimed by the wellness community and food bloggers as their own, often times without giving due credit to Indian cuisine. It baffles me that the vast majority of people I talk to are shocked to hear that chickpea flour has long been a common ingredient in my family’s cooking.
On the other hand, it was important to me when I was writing my new cookbook, Indian-ish , that people could find the ingredients for the dishes in their average grocery store. Because chickpea flour is now so common, I could include recipes like those addictive chickpea flour green beans, and the silky, soupy kadhi .
I’m not against chickpea flour entering the mainstream. But I wish that more of the stories I read about it, or the recipes I saw that featured it, didn’t frame it as a brand-new discovery, and completely ignore its heritage.
No one culture can “own” an ingredient — I’m literally writing this with a box of Banza chickpea pasta in my kitchen cabinet — but let’s not treat food like it exists in a vacuum. There’s context for that chickpea flour flatbread you’re making for dinner. Don’t take it for granted.
Priya Krishna is a food writer who contributes to The New York Times, Bon Appétit , and others. She also serves as one of the hosts of Bon Appétit’s video series, From the Test Kitchen . She is the author of the cookbook Indian-ish: Recipes And Antics From A Modern American Family . Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @ PKgourmet Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. © 2019 Valley Public Radio

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This is the ultimate family guide to Muscat

Home » Great Reads » This is the ultimate family guide to Muscat This is the ultimate family guide to Muscat Posted on 10.05.19 by jane When it comes to nearby travel destinations, Oman’s capital Muscat is a popular one. Here’s a little primer to help with your trip planning.
While the UAE is home to grand attractions and a host of luxury hotels, sometimes it’s good to get away and experience something new. Thankfully, we don’t have to travel far to see natural wonders, experience a different culture or embark on exciting new adventures .
Whether you’re looking to trek through the mountains, feast on indigenous food or settle into a relaxing seaside retreat, the Omani capital is a great place to explore. Getting there
Driving to Oman is an affordable, relatively quick means of getting there, making it the perfect destination for a family road trip. It’s about a five-hour drive from Dubai to Muscat and aside from a full tank of petrol, you’ll need proof of ownership of the vehicle – or proof that you have permission to drive the vehicle in case it’s a rental – and insurance that covers the vehicle in both the UAE and Oman. If your UAE insurance does not extend to Oman, you can purchase a policy at the border.
If you prefer to fly, airlines do offer direct flights from to Muscat, including Oman Air, Fly Dubai and Emirates. You can even catch the bus – the journey should take six hours. Stay and play Millennium Resort Mussanah
Finding the right accommodation is the key to any great trip and self-contained properties like Millennium Resort Mussanah are ideal for families. Like most resorts, this property features award-winning restaurants, a swanky health and fitness club and Zayna Spa, all about 45 minutes’ drive from Muscat International Airport.
However, what makes it one of our favs is its big entertainment factor. There are tennis courts, an 18-hole mini-golf course, a dedicated family pool, zipline and Aqua Fun, a floating water park. Grown-ups can unwind with watersports, sailing or snorkelling along the resort’s private 54-berth marina. You can drop the youngest members of the family off at Kids’ Club too.
Room options including two-bedroom duplexes with fully stocked kitchens, so everyone can retreat to their own space to rejuvenate. Visit: www.millenniumhotels.com Cultural excursions Mutrah Souq
Whether you’re doing a quick pop over or staying a little longer, you’ve got to get out and experience Muscat. Oman is known for being a welcoming and family-friendly place and its capital is no different. Walkabout, interact with the Omani people and learn more about the country’s rich history by visiting cultural landmarks.
Al Alam Palace in Old Muscat is the ceremonial palace of Sultan Qaboos of Oman. As the official residence of the Sultan, this is where distinguished guests who are visiting the country are received. If the Omani flag at the main entrance of the palace is raised, Sultan Qaboos is home.
The palace is the centrepiece of a long pedestrian boulevard lined with manicured gardens and surrounding government buildings made from polished white marble. The front of the building is accented by four eye-catching gold and blue columns, adorned with ornate arches, tiling and carvings.
Although visitors are only allowed to view the palace from outside the gates, it’s well worth a visit to admire this beacon of modern Islamic architecture.
Opposite the Mutrah Corniche, Mutrah Souq has the old world charm of the traditional Arab market with breathtaking views of the ocean. The souq is well shaded beneath timber roofing and is set up along cobblestone pathways that splinter and give way to nooks and crannies filled with traditional Omani and Indian artefacts.
You can buy anything, from textiles to jewellery and fragrances, but be prepared to bargain. Cards are accepted in most shops, but cash gives you better leverage. Saturday-Thursday, 8am-1.30pm and 4pm-10pm, Friday 24 hours. (times may vary during Ramadan). Visit: omantourism.gov.om
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is a beautiful landmark with a stunning interior, exterior and surrounding gardens. It’s a great excursion for older children who may be eager to learn more about local religion and culture. Free. Sultan Qaboos Street. Saturday-Thursday 8.30am-11am (times may vary during Ramadan).
Want to explore the great outdoors? Muscat has some beautiful beaches, particularly Al Qurum Beach , where you can take a picnic, walk along the coast and let the kids play in the sand. You can also take a boat tour to go dolphin watching, snorkelling or swimming. Visit: viator.com
Bait Al Zubair offers a glimpse into traditional Omani life. The museum recreates houses with displays of clothing, frankincense and more, while a shop sells modern local trinkets. 2RO for adults, 1RO for children aged 10-15. Al Bahri Road. Saturday-Thursday, 9.30am-6pm (opening hours may differ during Ramadan). Visit: baitalzubair.com Book it Kempinski Hotel Muscat
Lodging can make or break your trip, so we’ve pulled together this list of places waiting to host you.
Find the Kempinski Hotel Muscat in the coastline community of Al Mouj, known as ‘the new heart of Muscat’. This five-star hotel features ten restaurants and bars, a kids’ club, tennis court, private bowling and entertainment centre, gym, spa and two pools, with one just for children. Plus, you can enjoy a variety of outdoor and watersport activities. Visit: www.kempinski.com
Downtown, near the central business district and prime shopping, the Radisson Blu Hotel, Muscat has a city vibe. This four-star hotel’s four restaurants and two bars offer a variety of cuisine, including Italian fine dining and an Irish pub. While here, you can sweat it out in the health club or take a dip in the outdoor, temperature-controlled pool. Visit: radissonblu.com/hotel-muscat
Positioned between the ocean and the Al Hajar Mountains, the opulent Al Bustan Palace offers an alluring blend of old and new. Set within a former palace , the resort features newly renovated guest rooms and suites with sea or garden views, five dining venues, a spa, private beach and four pools, including one dedicated to children. Visit: www.ritzcarlton.com Before you go
Oman has recently made changes to its visa process and here’s what you need to know to get across the border hassle-free.
• Two 4x6cm photographs• A copy of your passport, which must be valid at least six months• A copy of your visa and/or a letter from your sponsoring organisation (or spouse) granting permission for travel
Once the visit visa is granted, it will be valid for six months from the date it was issued. The visa is valid for staying in the Sultanate for three months from the date of entry.
*Please note timings and offerings may change during the Holy Month of Ramadan. Check directly with the venues listed for more information.
Related Posted in Great Reads , Travel | Tagged accommodation , AIRLINES , Al Alam Palace , Al Bustan Palace , al qurum beach , art gallery muscat , Bait Al Zubair , beaches in oman , budget , Budget travel Dubai , bus to Oman , capital of oman , cheap vacations from Dubai , driving to muscat from uae , driving to Oman , dubai long weekends , expat , family activities , family events , family guide to oman , family holidays Muscat , family hotel muscat , flights to Oman , gcc resident , getaways , getting there , getting to Oman , holidays , hotel , hotel deals in Muscat , how to get to Muscat , Kempinski Hotel Muscat , Millennium Resort Mussanah , Muscat , Muscat International Airport. , museum in muscat , Mutrah Souq , new bus service , oman , oman e-visa , oman to dubai , oman visa , oman visa rules , places to stay , places to stay Oman , Qurum Beach , Radisson Blu Hotel , radisson blu hotel muscat , RTA , self service apartments Oman , Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque , Sultanate of Oman , Things to Do , travel , visa for Oman , where can I fly to for a long weekend vacation from dubai , where can I go on holiday from dubai , zipline oman | Comments Off on This is the ultimate family guide to Muscat Discover more…

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Top 10 Vegan Restaurants: Sydney

0 And here we were thinking vegans in Sydney had it hard. It seems there’s no better place!
Australia is going bonkers for plant-based diets, and Sydney is leading the charge with many new restaurants going vegan entirely, while mixed restaurants conjure up sizeable side menus for our Earth-friendly fiends. The list of vegan restaurants is huge; so huge in fact that we’ve added a bonus 11th restaurant at the end. You’ll never guess who has embraced veganism lately… Lentil As Anything
Lentil As Anything opened their doors to Sydney in 2014, sharing a seasonal menu that changes daily. Check their Instagram out for the daily menu changes. Located in the bohemian world of Newtown, this place dishes up more than vegan dishes; they also play a stake in the local arts and crafts scene. Drop by and surprise yourself! 391 King St, Newtown Govindas Cinema and Restaurant
You read that right: a vegan/vegetarian buffet restaurant with a cinema on the side. And no, it’s not a recent creation. Welcome to Govindas, a plant-based Indian restaurant that has been operating in Sydney for over 40 years. It’s more like an institution, really. Earth-friendly dinner and a show? Yes, please! 112 Darlinghurst Rd, Darlinghurst Paperbark
Fine dining meets plant-based food – and this isn’t the only fine dining vegan restaurant on our list. Welcome to Paperbark, featuring a weekly-changing menu served as part of a three-course meal. Located in the vibrant inner suburb of Waterloo, their seasonal menu consists of fancy creations. Imagine a pumpkin tostada with carrot, wattleseed Paperbark mushrooms, macadamia and finger lime. 8/18 Danks St, Waterloo Bodhi Restaurant & Bar
Bodhi is a full-vegan restaurant, which also follows the Buddhist cooking philosophy of no onion, garlic, chives, leeks and spring onions. Head in for a Yum Cha lunch or tickle yourself fancy with a tapas-style dinner. How about some “chicken” sliders, with spicy Malay peanut sauce, cucumber & Asian herbs in a gua bao bun. Oh, they also have a beautiful bar serving some wild concoctions. 2-4 College St, Sydney The Golden Lotus
Saigon never tasted so good! Allow me to introduce The Golden Lotus, a 100% vegan restaurant that serves up classic Vietnamese cuisine with a healthy twist. Among the plant-based dishes are some imitation meat and poultry, using soybean protein to play a nice culinary trick. Pretend to be guilty, if you wish. How about a vegan vermicelli noodle with char-grilled “pork” skewer? 341-343 King St, Newtown Yulli’s
It sounds a bit like a gangsta name, but don’t expect any beef at this place. Yulli’s is both a dining establishment and a brewery, where both sides of the business are 100% vegan. Drink and eat without the exorbitant calories! We recommend keeping room for dessert too. Especially for the sweet potato doughnuts with coconut sabayon. The healthiness depends on how much sugar you add. 417 Crown St, Surry Hills Alibi Bar
It’s a watering hole, a high-end cafe and an a la carte kitchen all rolled into one! The kitchen is run by Matthew Kenney, a world-renowned plant-based chef. As the website states, Alibi is your hideout away from home. It’s your partner in crime. It’s the perfect excuse to live an Earthly lifestyle. And that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice on taste. Don’t fret, Matthew will see to that! 6 Cowper Wharf Roadway, Woolloomoolloo Ruby Lonesome
Escape the hustle and bustle of the raving city and find yourself planted firmly in Petersham. More exactly in Ruby Lonesome, an eclectic corner cafe serving The Little Marionette coffee and a meat-free menu. Order yourself something simple like avo on toast or go crazy on their cakes and treats, or even a brekky roll with kale and cauliflower vegan sausage, crispy baked kale, house-made tomato and whisky relish and a side of hash brown. Now that’s a great way to wake up! 253 Addison Rd, Marrickville Yellow
Fine dining is fine by us! Welcome to Yellow, a vegetarian/vegan establishment in Barangaroo. Their dining lists consist of a la carte dinners, weekend brunches, tapas-style share plates, and specialty tasting menus. They also host special event dinners and lunches. They even have a wine list to match with their vegetarian and vegan dishes. How fancy! 23 Barangaroo Ave, Barangaroo Shift Eatery
Welcome to Sydney’s first vegan deli cafe, dishing out a devilishly delicious menu that plays the devil’s advocate for veganism. If you don’t watch yourself, they might just convert you. Don’t expect healthy salads laced with kale and lettuce, they’ve got more cunning things to share. How about a No Whey José, featuring house-made Cuban “ham”, bbq pulled jackfruit, pickled gherkins, dijon mustard, house-made mojo sauce and cheddar “cheese” on toasted sourdough. Or even vegan waffles topped with sweet gelato… 4/241 Commonwealth St, Surry Hills Bonus: Maybe Frank Pizzeria
Perhaps your tastebuds are yearning for a guiltier plant-based pleasure. Maybe you need pizza? To be frank, we highly recommend Maybe Frank! While most Sydney vegans know that Gigi’s is the best plant-based pizza establishment, sometimes you need to give your meat-loving friends some options too. As well as vegan options, Maybe Frank also caters to coeliacs or those who have an aversion to gluten. Mind you, the Maybe Frank vegan options are only available at the Surry Hills establishment.

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Ramadan 101: Dubai’s Best Iftars and Suhours for 2019

Share Ramadan 101: Dubai’s Best Iftars and Suhours for 2019 THE HOLY MONTH IS UPON US AND DUBAI’S DINING SCENE IS GOING ALL OUT TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE THE BEST OF HOSPITALITY AND FOOD TO ENJOY THE TRADITIONAL SPIRIT OF THIS SPECIAL TIME. FACT HIGHLIGHTS SOME OF THE CITY’S TOP IFTAR AND SUHOUR OFFERINGS TO VISIT WITH YOUR NEAREST AND DEAREST… ADDRESS BOULEVARD
ELEGANT IFTAR AT THE RESTAURANT AT ADDRESS BOULEVARD Immerse in the traditions of Ramadan with a delectable Iftar buffet featuring live cooking stations that serve a myriad of local and global favourites, all complemented by flavoursome hubbly bubbly on the terrace. Daily, from sunset to 9pm. AED220 per person; complimentary for children aged five and under; 50% off for children aged between six and 11-years-old. For larger gatherings, the spirit of togetherness takes centre stage around a vast communal table in the Boulevard Ballroom for both Iftar and Suhour.
SUHOUR UNDER THE STARS AT THE RESTAURANT AT ADDRESS BOULEVARD Bask in the spirit of the Holy Month with a sumptuous al fresco Suhour. From the chef’s selection of appetisers to thelive cooking stations and mouth-watering side dishes, The Restaurant is the perfect venue to enjoy Suhour with friends, family and all those who are close to you. Enjoy hubbly bubbly on the terrace with glittering views of Burj Khalifa. Daily from 9pm onwards. AED220 per person; complimentary for children aged five and under; 50% off for children aged between six and11-years-old.
GO: CALL (0)4 888 3444 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION. LA VILLE HOTEL & SUITES CITY WALK IFTAR AT CHIVAL
La Ville Hotel & Suites’ homegrown social eatery Chival introduces a quintessentially Arabic menu with a focus on family-style sharing. In the true spirit of Ramadan, the menu concept is a great opportunity for families and friends to come together and create memorable moments while the food is brought to the table. Arabic Chef Kinan Ibrahim found inspiration in traditional homemade dishes from his childhood in Syria and has curated a sumptuous culinary journey of Middle Eastern cuisine.
Chival offers guests an alternative Iftar menu served directlyto the table for family-style sharing experience. Starting with a selection of traditional cold mezzeh, a variety of soups andhot mezzeh, including sumptuous Spinach Fatayer and wood- fired Manakish. Main dishes include a flavourful Chicken Biryani, Lamb Shish Barak and Iranian Mixed Grill. Ending off the experience with flavoursome Arabic sweets and a deliciouschocolate fountain pouring unique ruby and milk chocolate.AED239 per person including a selection of juices; children aged between six an 12 dine at 50% off. Extend the eveningfor Suhoor in the courtyard; with the option of hubbly-bubbly priced at AED60.
GO: CALL (0)4 403 3111 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION. JW MARRIOTT MARQUIS DUBAI AL FANOUS LOUNGE AT DUBAI BALLROOM
Indulge in a memorable Iftar experience with family and friends in Al Fanous, the opulent Ramadan lounge at the iconic Dubai Ballroom. From sunset to 8.30pm for AED199 per person.
INTERNATIONAL CUISINE AT KITCHEN6 For an international Iftar, step into the award-winning Kitchen6 restaurant, where six interactive cooking stations come to life creating an extraordinary selection of world cuisines.From sunset to 8.30pm for AED215 per person.
INDIAN IFTAR AT MASALA LIBRARY BY JIGGS KALRA For Iftar with a difference, join in at the newly-opened Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra which will host a unique Indian set-menu. From sunset to 8.30pm. Non-vegetarian menu: AED230 per person, including Ramadan juices. Vegetarian menu: AED 195 per person, including Ramadan juices.
GO: CALL (0)4 414 2000 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION. SOFITEL THE PALM DUBAI IFTAR AT MANAVA
During the Holy Month of Ramadan, revel in the spirit of compassion and generosity, and gather with your family and friends around an exceptional Iftar table at Manava restaurant.Break your fast with an array of authentic local and regional Arabic specialties, a wide selection of international savoury dishes, and scrumptious desserts featured on live stations and prepared exclusively throughout the month of Ramadan. Daily from 6.30pm to 10.30pm, priced at AED195 per person. Sofitel The Palm also has the following Iftar packages on offer: book an exclusive Iftar experience for a minimum of 80 guests starting from AED160 per person; book a minimum of 80 guests and win a complimentary dinner for two at Manava Restaurant; and book a minimum of 200 guests and win a complimentary one-night stay for two, inclusive of breakfast.
GO: CALL (0)4 455 5656 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION. THE RITZ-CARLTON DUBAI IFTAR AND SUHOUR AT AMASEENA MAJLIS
The 17-year legacy of the authentic Arabic restaurant, Amaseena, is expressed beautifully at The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai with the enchanting Amaseena Majlis. Experience sumptuous flavours while Arabesque aesthetics set the mood for generosity and sharing, all through the Holy Month of Ramadan.Blending traditional Arabic essences with contemporary refinement, Amaseena Majlis transforms the elegant Lou Lou’A Ballroom into an exquisite setting that will be serving both Iftar and Suhour during this special time of year. The meticulously designed interior takes inspiration from the seafaring heritage of the region, along with the resort’s location on the Arabian Gulf.
An intimate ambience with beautifully hung lanterns and luxury seating sets the stage for Chef Rami’s culinary art. From mandi-cooked lamb, traditional favourites and delicacies flavoured with hand-roasted spices, to tagine cooked in authentic clay cookware, guests will be spoilt for choice with a lavish spread across nine food stations highlighting the best of Middle Eastern cuisine with dishes from Morocco, Lebanon and Persia as well as international delicacies including Peruvian and Italian. Garnished with a medley of live music during Suhour, soothing mood-lighting and memories only familiar flavors can revive, it’s an experience guests will want to return to.
Guests can also choose to dine in one of the five bespokeprivate Majlis. This majestic private dining area can seat groups of six to 10 and is perfect for families, friends and intimate corporate gatherings. Celebrate the timeless allure of Arabian heritage and createmoments that matter through the special month. Iftar is fromsunset to 8.30pm; Suhour is 10pm to 2am for adults only. Iftar – AED205 per person inclusive of Ramadan juices andwater. Groups of 10 or more can avail an exclusive rate startingfrom AED195 per person. Children aged five and below dine complimentary, while children aged six to 12 dine at 50%. Suhour – a la carte menu with Arabic duo performing during every night.
GO: CALL (0)4 318 6150 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION. FAIRMONT THE PALM DUBAI FAIRUZ RAMADAN AND SUHOUR TENT
Whether you are looking for an intimate space or something of a grander affair to celebrate this blessed time of the year, the Fairuz Ramadan Tent at Fairmont The Palm is perfect to experience the true style of Middle Eastern food, entertainment and hospitality. Back for its third year running, Fairuz (meaning precious stone) is designed to surround you in the true spirit of Ramadan and will come alive during Iftar with a delectable buffet and traditional entertainment. Set within the extravagant Ballroom and seating over 350 guests, expect an insta-worthy experience with beautiful contemporary Arabian style, showcasing hues of white, blue, and purple with hints of turquoise.
A new addition this year is a fully air conditioned cosy Suhour Tent, offering shisha’s and Middle Eastern mezze delights until the early hours. Originally designed as an Arabian courtyard, the space will be transformed into a cosy and chic evening or early morning space to enjoy tea and delicious dishes with groups of friends and family.
Fairuz Ramadan Tent is open for Iftar from sunset to 9pm for AED215 per person inclusive of Ramadan juices. Children aged five and under dine complimentary and children aged six to 12 dine at a 50% discount. Suhour Tent will offer A la Carte Mezze Menu from 9pm to 2am. A choice of Shisha flavours is also available from AED90.
GO: CALL (0)4 457 3457 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION. RENAISSANCE DOWNTOWN HOTEL
IFTAR AT BHAR BHAR, the contemporary Middle Eastern style brasserie will be hosting a buffet style Iftar daily, from sunset to 9pm, to allow families and friends to come together to celebrate the meaningful traditions of the Holy Month. This daily Iftar, starting from AED195 per person, will offer traditional Middle Eastern cuisine all interpreted with Chef Mohanad’s modern twist.Guests are invited to break their fast with traditional Iftar dishes such as Dates, Fatoush, Tabouleh, Hummus and Lentil Soup, before indulging in the main course inclusive of Chargrilled Tiger Prawns, Grilled Marinated Poussin, Seven Spices Crispy Salmon and Wild Mushroom and Frekkah Risotto to name a few stand-out items from the menu.
For those craving something sweet, BHAR’s Iftar menu offers temping treats such as Om Ali, French Pastries, Kanafeh and a Selection of Fresh Fruits, completing this perfectly delicious Iftar spread at BHAR this Ramadan.
SUHOUR AT BHAR Continue the celebration of the Holy Month with loved ones at BHAR from 9pm to 1am by savouring Suhour alongside picturesque views of the Dubai Water Canal. BHAR’s A La Carte Suhoor menu features a variety of Middle Eastern favourites starting with Hot and Cold Mezze such as Saffron Chicken and Fried Calamari to Fattoush Salad and Baba Ganoush.
Indulge in BHAR’s Suhour favourites such as Vegetable Biryani, Mixed Grill, Chicken Moghrabieh and Vegetable Salona that are bound to satisfy all guests to this impressive Suhour spread. Round off the enjoyable evening with a variety of sweet delicacies from Lokma with Apricot and Chocolate Fudge Cake to Labneh Cheesecake and Chocolate Baklava Smash to ensure all sweet cravings are satisfied at Suhour.
GO: CALL (0)4 512 5511 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION. ANANTARA THE PALM DUBAI RESORT
IFTAR AT CRESCENDO This Ramadan, Crescendo at Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort invites you to celebrate in style! Discover a host of delicious feasting options to satisfy your every craving in a vibrant setting as you enjoy the live Kanoun entertainment. Take your pick from an array of options including classic Arabic dishes, traditional oriental mixed grill, a dim sum station, Beijing duck and noodles as well as Kunafa cheese and Umm Ali. Iftar is priced at AED199 per adult inclusive of water, Ramadan juices and Arabic coffee and AED100 for kids aged six to 11.
GO: CALL (0)4 567 8304 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION. RAFFLES DUBAI
IFTAR AT AZUR Make it a Ramadan to remember with a traditional Arabic feastat Azur. Indulge in a sumptuous array of Iftar favourites including hot and cold mezze, fresh salads, lamb ouzi and Arabic mixed grills. For dessert, sample an array of oriental sweet delicacies including Umm Ali, Kunafa and sticky date pudding. Iftar is served daily from sunset to 10.30pm at AED205 per person inclusive of Ramadan juices, soft drinks, coffee and tea. Children under the age of six dine for free (one per two paying adults)and AED95 for kids aged six to 12.
SUHOUR AT RAFFLES SALON During the Holy Month of Ramadan, Raffles Salon offers Arabian Sweet Temptations during Suhour hours. Indulge in an unlimited selection of fresh Arabic sweets such as Kunafa with cheese, Kellaj, Katayef with nuts, Sahlab including a choice of coffee or tea for just AED95 per person. The Arabian Sweet Temptations are available daily throughout the month of Ramadan at Raffles Salon from 8pm to midnight.
GO: CALL (0)4 324 8888 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION. THE H DUBAI
EAT AND MEAT Celebrate this time of reflection and giving with Eat and Meat at The H Dubai! This Holy Month of Ramadan, guests are invited to create memorable experiences as they indulge in an Unlimited Iftar offer. For the entire month of Ramadan, guests can avail the one-of-a-kind offer at the price of AED1999 inclusive of Ramadan beverages. The incredible offer allows you to savour the Iftar buffet every day for 30 days, while you save AED3500! Guests can also opt for a delicious daily Iftar buffet that includes an assortment of traditional Arabian delicacies for AED185 per person. Iftar will be served every day from sunset to 9pm.
GO: CALL (0)56 656 7311 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION. PALACE DOWNTOWN
EWAAN RAMADAN TENT Gather your friends and family and celebrate the true spirit of Ramadan at Ewaan Ramadan Tent in Palace Downtown. Revel in the stunning interiors of the much-anticipated Ewaan Ramadan Tent as you generous Middle Eastern and internationalbuffet while harmonious Oud music fill the air with a sense of enchantment. Iftar will be served for AED255 per person inclusive of buffet, Ramadan juices and water from sunset to 9pm. 25% off when dining/booking during the first week of Ramadan.
SUHOUR AT FAI Make your Suhour a whole lot tastier with Fai! Herald a newday with an Asian-inspired Suhour as you enjoy the glitteringviews of the water and the Burj Khalifa and tuck into some mouthwatering delicacies. Allow the ambience of Fai totransport you to a realm of sophistication and serenity. Suhourwill be served from 10pm to 2am (weekdays) and 10pm to 3am(weekends) a la carte including special Ramadan menu withhubbly bubbly and beverages. 25% off when dining/booking during the first week of Ramadan.
IFTAR AT ASADO Celebrate Iftar like never before with decadent South American flavours and generous hospitality at Asado. Envisioned as anhomage to Argentina, Asado is set to delight guests with a curated and unlimited menu of truly delicious dishes featuringwholesome ingredients prepared expertly. Iftar will be served from sunset to 9pm for AED225 per person including unlimited food and soft drinks. 25% off when dining/booking during the first week of Ramadan.
GO: CALL (0)4 888 3444 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION. MOVENPICK HOTEL JUMEIRAH LAKE TOWERS
IFTAR AT NOSH RESTAURANT Embrace the true spirit of Ramadan and treat yourself to an indulgent buffet at Nosh Restaurant. Blending style and tradition, the restaurant offers its diners a relaxed and warm setting as they feast on a delightful fare of Arabic and international delicacies. Take your pick from live cooking stations, Arabic mixed grills and shawarma, Kunafa, Umm Ali, Baklava, refreshing Ramadan juices and so much more! Iftar is served daily from sunset until 10.30pm at AED135 per person. 50% off for kids aged six to 12, while kids aged six and under dine for free.
GO: CALL (0)4 438 0000 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION. SWISSOTEL AL GHURAIR DUBAI
IFTAR AT LIWAN RESTAURANT Indulge in an all-you-can-eat Iftar option at Liwan Restaurant. Featuring a blend of Arabic, Mediterranean, Indian and international buffet selection, patrons feast on a selection of hot and cold mezzes, salads, a wide range of succulent meat cooked to perfection as well as all-time favourites such as Umm Ali and Mohalabia. Iftar will be served daily from sunset to 9pm for AED169 per person including Ramadan juices and water. Kids aged six to 12 dine at half price and kids aged five and below dine for free.
SUHOUR AT LIWAN RESTAURANT In the spirit of togetherness, gather your friends and family and head over to Liwan Restaurant for a fulfilling Suhour experience. Treat your senses to peace and tranquility as you enjoy Suhour inthe heart of Old Dubai and tuck into irresistible oriental cuisine, egg station and freshly prepared breads. Suhour will be served daily from 2am to 4am at AED69 per person. Kids aged six to 12 dine at half price and kids aged five and below dine for free. SHAYAN RESTAURANT Crafted by the resident culinary expert, Chef Sharif, Shayan Restaurant offers guests an authentic Persian Iftar buffet of sumptuous Iranian specialties. Enjoy a gastronomic treat including a selection of appetisers, freshly grilled succulent kebabs, an abundance of beverages and Iftar favourite juices. Iftar will be served daily from sunset to 9pm at AED199 per person including Ramadan juices and water. Kids aged six to 12 dine at half price and kids aged five and below dine for free. Shisha will be served 9pm onwards after Iftar at Liwan Terrace.
GO: CALL (0)4 293 3000 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION. HILTON DUBAI JUMEIRAH
IFTAR AT OCEANA RESTAURANT Reconnect this Ramadan and unwind with friends and family at Oceana Restaurant. Enjoy a wide buffet selection including hot and cold Arabic and international dishes, live cooking stations as well as decadent desserts. Iftar is served daily from sunset to 10pm for AED250 per person including soft beverages. 50% off for kids aged six to 12 and children aged five and under dine for free.
IFTAR AT BICE RESTAURANT Invite your loved ones to join for a feast and immerse yourself in the spirit of Ramadan at BiCE Restaurant. Indulge Ramadan with an Italian twist as you relish Italian inspired Iftar buffet featuring mouthwatering delicacies as well as live Arabic entertainment available on weekends. Iftar is served daily from sunset to 11pm at AED250 per person including soft beverages. 50% off for kids aged six to 12 and children aged five and under dine for free.
GO: CALL (0)4 318 2520 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION. DUKES THE PALM, A ROYAL HIDEAWAY
IFTAR AT THE GREAT BRITISH RESTAURANT For the entire month of Ramadan, enjoy an Iftar to remember at The Great British Restaurant. Enjoy an abundant selection of delicious traditional Middle Eastern cuisines accompanied by international favourites and live cooking stations prepared specially by the Chefs for the Holy Month. Families can enjoy the smooth sounds of the live Oud musician as they end the evening with aromatic teas and Arabic coffees. Iftar will beserved from sunset to 9pm for AED185 per person and AED95 per child.
IFTAR AT KHYBER Treat your senses to an opulent Iftar feast at Khyber! Where the Mughal era meets modern views, diners will be treated to a one-of-a-kind experience full of mouth-watering Indian delicacies. The talented chefs have prepared a selection of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes including samosa chaat and juicy keema seekh kababs, hearty mains and luscious desserts. Iftar is served from sunset until 9pm for AED185 perperson and AED95 per child.
GO: CALL (0)4 455 1111 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION. GRAND MILLENNIUM DUBAI
THE ATRIUM Enjoy a scrumptious Iftar feast as you give to a good cause with The Atrium at Grand Millennium Dubai. The hotel will be partnering with Al Jalila Foundation to support its “Basma” campaign that aims to provide life-saving treatments and transform the lives of children in the UAE. A portion of the spending of every Iftar guest will be allocated to support this campaign. Take your pick from over 60 mouthwatering options as well as live cooking stations that will be serving a wide variety of freshly prepared flavours. Iftar will be served for AED199 per person and AED89 for kids aged five to 10, while kids aged five and under dine for free.
GO: CALL (0)4 423 4170 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION. HYATT REGENCY DUBAI
AL DAWAAR Experience an Iftar experience like no other at Dubai’s only revolving restaurant! Al Dawaar at the Hyatt Regency Dubai will offer a lavish Iftar spread including traditional Ramadan favourites as well as freshly prepared dishes from the live kitchen. Enjoy the 360-degree panoramic views of the city skyline as you tuck into delicious salads, hot soups, Arabic mezze, biryani, kebabs, whole baked Hammour, rich desserts and so much more. Iftar is served daily from sunset to 11.30pm at AED190 per person including traditional Ramadan drinks and AED95 for kids aged five to 10.
GO: CALL (0)4 209 6887 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION. CAESARS BLUEWATERS DUBAI
HELL’S KITCHEN DUBAI Take a different approach to Ramadan this year with a lavish selection of local flavours at Hell’s Kitchen Dubai. Treat yourself to world-class cooking with an Emirati twist including an eclectic menu of sharing mezzes and a la carte mains featuring signature dishes and Middle Eastern favourites. For dessert, don’t forget to try out Hell’s Kitchen’s decadent peanut butter fudge cheesecake! Iftar will be served every day from sunset to 8.30pm for AED350 per person.
BACCHANAL Delivering a delectable buffet with a dedicated children’s corner, Bacchanal will be serving both Iftar and Suhour throughout the month of Ramadan. Indulge in a wealth of decadent classics such as lamb ouzi and bespoke mezzes including velvety hummus, sambousek, fatayar and tangy tabbouleh with Arabic bread. Round off the perfect evening with an alfresco Suhour along with an extensive shisha menu in the intimate Ramadan conservatory. Iftar will be served every day from sunset to 8.30pm for AED250 per person. Suhour will be served from 9.30pm to 1am for AED200 per person.
GO: CALL (0)4 556 6466 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION. PALAZZO VERSACE DUBAI
ENIGMA This Ramadan, head over to Enigma at the Palazzo Versace Dubai for a true Persian feast. Break your fast with the welcome display Sabzi Khordan, which includes a mesmerising variety of fresh herbs with walnuts and dates, delicious homemade Persian cheese, roasted Persian bread and more. Guests will then be able to choose from cold and warm starters followed by a soup, one main course and dessert. Iftar is served for AED230 per person.
GIARDINO Enjoy this auspicious time with an exquisite Iftar experience at Giardino. The jungle-themed international restaurant will offer a buffet with an array of luxurious enhanced Middle Eastern dishes. Families and friends will be able to feast on international cuisines while in a relaxed and comfortable fashion-inspired venue. Iftar is served for AED230 per person.
BANQUET With four different Iftar packages to choose from, Palazzo Versace Dubai offers their Gala Ballroom for the ultimate celebration. The set menus include bakery baskets, a range of Arabic cold and hot mezze, salads, soup as well as exquisite main courses followed by desserts. The lavishly decorated ballroom will be available for 80 or more corporate bookings. Prices range from AED195 to AED250.
GO: CALL (0)4 556 8888 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION. BURJ AL ARAB
AL IWAN Break your fast in style at the world’s tallest building as you savour delectable Arabic cuisine at Al Iwan. Enjoy the stunning views as you revel in the vibrant live music and the tastiest traditional fare. A delectable Arabic buffet rich in traditional flavour awaits you at AED350 per person.
SAHN EDDAR The ideal setting for a spectacular Suhour, Sahn Eddar provides gorgeous views and delectable cuisine for the perfect Suhour feast. For the last meal before dawn, indulge in sumptuous Suhour delicacies and a selection of Arabic coffees and Moroccan teas as you enjoy the live Arabic band playing in the background. Suhour is served a la carte at AED190 minimum spend. GO: CALL (0)4 301 7600 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION. PARK HYATT DUBAI
CAFE ARABESQUE Throughout the Holy Month of Ramadan, guests are welcome to dine at Café Arabesque and enjoy a special Iftar and Suhour meal with their loved ones. Dig into a piquant Iftar feast including an array of cold and hot mezze, live stations, a dedicated soup area and a luscious selection of desserts. For Suhour, guests can enjoy a variety of sumptuous dishes on display including grilled seafood platter, tiger prawns, lamb and so much more on the a la carte menu. Iftar is served daily from sunset until 9pm at AED220 per person including soft drinks and water. Suhour is served from 10pm to 2am (weekdays) and 10pm to 3am (weekends) starting at AED25 for starters and AED75 for mains. GO: CALL (0)4 602 1234 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION. MANZIL DOWNTOWN
IFTAR AT THE COURTYARD AND BOULEVARD KITCHEN SUHOUR AT THE COURTYARD In a history of trade routes that connects the East and West, Manzil Downtown takes you along The Silk route by land through an unforgettable Iftar. The Iftar featuring an inspiring spread of cuisines from across Europe, Asia and Africa will be on offer. Connect with different traditions and witness the influence of the routes on your Iftar table. Set in a contemporaryArabesque lounge and courtyard, enjoy an exquisite menu, parade along with live-cooking stops whilst the strings of the instrument plays to the sounds of your journey. From sunset to10pm. AED195 per adult and AED175 per person for groups of 20 people and more; children (aged six to 11): 50% off dining; children (aged five and below): dine complimentary.
SUHOUR AT THE COURTYARD Enjoy the open sky and a delightful Suhour that will transport you to The Silk Route. During this spiritual gathering withfamily, friends and all who are dear to you, taste the chef’sspecial creations of petit meals inspired by the legendary SilkRoad. From 10.30pm onwards. AED95 per adult; children (aged six to 11): 50% off dining; children (aged five and below): dine complimentary.
GO: CALL (0)4 888 3444 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION. COYA DUBAI
Multiple award-winning destinations COYA Dubai, located at Four Seasons Resort, Jumeirah Beach, will present an exquisite new menu for the forthcoming Holy Month. Diners visiting for Iftar will be treated to quintessentially Peruvian creations with a twist, including Charentais melon soup garnished with white almonds and olive oil; Peruvian beans with black truffle and a herby tomato and aji rocoto soup.
These can be paired with the wide selection of Latin American and international starters, including seabass croquettes; chicken tacos; beetroot causa – a dish of layered potato – grilled corn salad; and shitake and avocado maki rolls, reflecting Peru’s historic links with Japan. The menu also includes a choice of a main for a nutritious and balanced diet. Patrons can choose from succulent baby chicken; spicy short rib; salmon fillet; Chilean seabass; and dried potatoes with cauliflower with a side of green salad. Winding down from dinner, guests will be in for a treat with a delicious pistachio date cake or banana ice cream with puffed rice as dessert. COYA’s Iftar menu will be priced AED250 per person and will be served from sundown to 8.30pm.
GO: CALL (0)4 316 9600 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION. OPA DUBAI
Welcome the spirit of Ramadan with OPA’s Mediterranean flavours and prepare to be serenaded with its special set menu of culinary discoveries inspired from the Greek islands. Perfect for sharing with gatherings of friends and family, OPA offers an impeccable ambiance for those looking for a different take on the usual Iftar buffet feasts. Step inside OPA’s beautiful Greek setting and break your fast with its hearty Ramadan menu that begins with a selection of soups and dates followed by an assortment of breads and dips, cold and hot starters and delectable mains and ends with delicious desserts.Soup lovers can savour a different soup every day alongside a healthy selection of dates to begin their OPA experience. The Ramadan menu includes freshly bread soft breads served with traditional Greek dips of Tzatiki, the signature OPA Hummus, Fava dip and the Spicy Feta Dip. The cold appetisers include the refreshing Greek salad and the all-time favourite Tuna Tartare, while the hot starters include the Grilled Halloumi, Spinach Pie, and Lamb Kebab.Choose from an array of Greek inspired main dishes to choose from including the newly added Lamb Gyros, or the juicyAustralian Waygu Striploin with Oregano Jus served with crispy homemade potato chips. If you’re in the mood for a light and healthy meal, pick the Sea Bass Fillet served with Rice Pilaf or the Imam Bayildi made with aubergine in a rich tomato sauce and yogurt with a spicy twist. End your Iftar on a sweet note with desserts that include the Athenian Pie, Pistachio Cake, or the delectable and traditional Loukoumades. Priced at AED195 (excluding beverages), the Ramadan menu can be experienced from 7pm to 8.30pm at OPA, The Fairmont Dubai.
GO: CALL (0)4 357 0557 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION. LIMA DUBAI
LIMA Dubai, the Peruvian restaurant and bar concept from internationally acclaimed Chef Virgilio Martinez, presents a Peruvian inspired feast, offering an alternative way to break the fast this Ramadan. A carefully curated Iftar menu showcasing a selection of LIMA’s signature dishes will offer hearty, healthy and unique flavours, perfect to be savoured in LIMA’s calm yet livelyambience, the ideal location for family and friends to gather. The three-course feast priced at just AED199 welcomes guests with traditional dates and bread basket, served at the table, after which guest will be treated to seven delicious dishes designed to share. Highlights include Lamb Seco: Slow cooked lamb shoulder served with Peruvian pumpkin puree, and LIMA’s famous dessert Texture of Chocolate: A heady mix of dark chocolate mousse, white chocolate ice cream and crunch chocolate ‘soil’. Join LIMA Dubai to relax and be immersed inrich culture and diversity, while experiencing a true taste of Peruthis Ramadan. From sunset to 8.30pm
GO: CALL (0)56 500 4571 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION.
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Pasta Time!

A special treat: a freebie look at the Roman pasta overview in my app, Eat Everywhere (which guides you, on-the-fly, through meals in any type of restaurant; it’s like having an insider coach you through the cuisine): Roman kitchens remain obsessed with the city’s storied pasta magic tricks. Elsewhere, they might have faded into a tradition that only old folks remember, prepared uncompromisingly only in one certain restaurant. But I’d bet you could find bowling alleys in Rome making hyper-careful carbonara or arrabiata putting NYC’s finest to shame.
To pick the smallest nits, I’ll note that Rome whips up metric tons of every pasta shape and recipe you’ve ever heard of (up to and including beef chow fun), but while local chefs would opt for suppoku rather than produce a flawed version of the Roman classics, the rest is just…pasta. So if you’re craving more than the traditional meager handful of peasant recipes, you’re on potentially shaky ground. Unless you opt for the small but impressive local magic tricks, magic will not be assured.
I’d already had state-of-the-art spaghetti cacio e pepe in, of all places, Norwalk, Connecticut at Bar Sugo . Roman friends have pronounced these photos fully worthy:
Pepe Verdea
Viale Gorizia 38, 00198 Rome
Rigatoni alla gricia
I also tried a special, “Straccetti di pollo carciofi e testun al barolo”, strips of chicken and artichokes with extremely shavings of barolo wine-crusted hard cheese.
This struck me as the quintessential case of a chef coming up with a way to move excess provisions. Dude probably had a poultry backlog, and while the dish was good, it was simple, and without 1200 years of honing and perfection to inject magic into simplicity, the result tastes like it’s missing something. Pretty, though!
Osteria da Fortunata
Via del Pellegrino 11, 00186 Rome
Strozzapreti carbonara
These guys really put the “carb” in carbonara. Not sure this super thick and clunky pasta works for carbonara. I agree with my Roman friend Paola, who prefers strozzapreti with tomato, oil and basilico.
Also, a nice simple artichoke dish. It was the season.
Hostaria da Settimio
Via di Val Tellina 81, 00151 Rome
Bucatini all’Amatriciana
Sometimes when you try an authentic version of a dish hard to find good where you live, there’s a surreal deja vu. It reminds you of mediocre or even awful things you’ve tried that were influenced, way back, by the wonderful original creation you’re finally getting to try. So I’m going to do name-drop two culinary abominations prodded into my memory – junior high cafeteria spaghetti, and canned “Beefaroni” – but I need you to understand that I am not criticizing this dish .
The first time I tasted Memphis dry rub barbecue, I finally understood what Wise barbecue potato chips were referencing. Which is not to say that Memphis barbecue is as crappy as a mass-market potato chip. It’s just that I tasted it long only after I’d ingrained Wise’s dumbed-down version.
Similarly, amatriciana is great and conveys deep sentiments. But, through no fault of its own, it seems to be the spiritual grandfather of some of the worst culinary banes of my youth. None of them are called amatriciana, nor were they prepared with anyone who knew the word. But the connection is obvious. See this closeup for a better look that might jar similar associations: I’m glad I had this. It redeemed years of disgust and disappointment suffered in institutional lunchrooms. Also (further above): trippa ala Romana and the famous Jewish fried artichokes. This restaurant is considered quite a serious find for non-touristy, highly disciplined cooking in an informal setting at a fair price. But I found the food merely proper, and lacking soul.
Then on to Naples’ more free-wheeling pasta scene, unchained from Rome’s preoccupation with local classics.
Tandem Sedile di Porto
Via Sedile di Porto 51, 80134 Naples
Paccheri ragú alla Genovese
Tandem is an unpretentious little place with a short menu. They know what they’re good at, and excel at the house specialty. It’s essentially a two-trick pony, turning out configurations based around two varieties of ragú, Neopolitan and Genovese. A proper ragú is a hell few modern chefs would tackle, involving hours of braising. Tandem makes no shortcuts, and the result is calibration-level ragú. I chose Genovese, and it was properly melt-in-your-mouth and (authentically) almost embarrassingly oniony. Any North Indian customer would be moved to proclaim ” Dopiaza! “)
Also: a sturdy, smartly-prepared cut of maiale nero, the legendary Calabarian black pig (a fine deal at 18 euros).
Mimì alla Ferrovia
Via Alfonso D’Aragona 19, 80139 Naples
Spaghetti frutti di mare
Also: octopus.
This is an old-school, old-guard place, complete with waiters in tuxedos and snooty xenophobia toward sneaker-clad Americans. The cooking showed echoes of past grandeur, but it’s all gone a bit soft (at places in their prime, waiters have better things to do than study customer footwear). A friend urged me to try the linguine frutti di mare, and while it wasn’t on the menu the day I visited, the chef offered to whip it up if I was okay with spaghetti in place of linguini. It was the latest of many lessons that pasta shape is critical. This really needed linguini.

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How Did Chickpea Flour, A Staple Of Indian Cuisine, Become A Health Food Sensation?

How Did Chickpea Flour, A Staple Of Indian Cuisine, Become A Health Food Sensation? By Priya Krishna • 3 hours ago Chickpea flour is gaining attention thanks to its gluten-free binding properties. But the ingredient has been a staple of cooking for Indians, Pakistanis and many others for centuries. Pinkybird / Getty Images
There’s a specific section of my family’s fridge that is reserved for the large, seemingly bottomless tub of chickpea flour — or as we and lots of other Indians who also rely on it call it, besan — that my parents keep on hand. We’re not gluten-free, nor do we do a lot of baking. Yet chickpea flour shows up everywhere in our food. It’s the nutty coating for my mom’s green beans spiced with earthy ajwain , the key ingredient in her creamy, tangy, yogurt-based soup, kadhi , and the base for our favorite variety of laddoos , sweet, fudge-like balls flavored with ghee, sugar and nuts.
Across the many regional cuisines in India, chickpea flour is a common denominator: Gujaratis turn it into pudla , thin, savory crepes laced with turmeric and chilies. In Karnataka and Maharashtra, it can be found in jhunka , a spicy porridge. And in Andhra Pradesh, it is the thickener in Senagapindi Kura , an onion-heavy stew. For the country’s large vegetarian population, where eggs are often considered non-vegetarian, chickpea flour mixed with water serves as a convincing omelet replacement.
Indians — along with the Nepalese, Pakistanis, Italians, the French, and many others — have been cooking with chickpea flour for centuries. Americans, on the other hand, only seem to have woken up to the ingredient in the last decade or so. And they’ve woken up in a big way.
It’s hard to trace the exact origin of chickpea flour’s sudden popularity in the U.S. Anna Stockwell, the senior food editor of the publications Epicurious and Bon Appétit , said she first started seeing chickpea flour around 2009 on gluten-free blogs. Stockwell is gluten-free herself, and was excited to find a recipe for savory chickpea pancakes.
She didn’t know much about chickpea flour’s culinary heritage, but she was immediately excited. “Its binding power was magic,” she recalls. “All you have to do is combine chickpea flour and water, and suddenly you can make flatbread, or fritters or vegetable pancakes.” Still, Stockwell saw it as a niche ingredient — something only gluten-free consumers cared about. She wasn’t even allowed to call for it in Epicurious recipes.
Slowly but surely, that started to change. In 2010, one of the more popular recipes from Plenty , Yotam Ottolenghi’s bestselling cookbook, was a chickpea flour pancake, or socca , as it’s known in France, layered with tomatoes and onions. In 2015, food and fitness writer Camilla Saulsbury wrote the popular book The Chickpea Flour Cookbook . That was followed a year later by Chickpea Flour Does It All , by blogger Lindsey Love.
Lani Halliday, the founder of Brutus Bakeshop, a gluten-free Brooklyn bakery, says she noticed a huge uptick in the number of chickpea flour-based, gluten-free sweets available about a decade ago. For baked goods, chickpea flour worked uniquely well, “as it can hold air bubbles and hold moisture,” she says. Plus, “it was cheap, it was accessible, and it was versatile.”
Halliday launched her bakery in 2015. One of her bestselling items among both gluten-free and non-gluten-free customers was a chocolate cupcake made with chickpea flour.
Stockwell believes the mainstreaming of chickpea flour is directly linked to one company in particular — Banza. The company started producing its chickpea flour-based pasta in 2014, and by 2017, it was in 8,000-plus grocery stores and had raised $8 million in funding. The key to the company’s success? It didn’t exclusively market itself as a gluten-free product. Instead, it was branded as health food. And it was one of the first alternative pastas that had a smooth, al dente texture, just like the real thing.
“I had friends who had never heard of chickpea flour, but now they eat Banza,” Stockwell says. “It’s not because they are trying to eat gluten-free but because it’s a delicious and higher-protein pasta. It’s a substitute for empty carbs.”
This year, Epicurious was finally allowed to publish recipes with chickpea flour. Dennis Vaughn, the CEO of Bob’s Red Mill, says that in the past five years, chickpea flour has become a clear bestseller among the company’s sundry flour options.
“My grocery store doesn’t even carry red meat,” Stockwell says, “but they carry Bob’s Red Mill” chickpea flour.
In many ways, it has been weird to watch this ingredient that has always felt so quotidian to me become so ubiquitous so quickly in the U.S. This is certainly not the first Indian ingredient or dish this has happened to. Consider turmeric, chai, or khichdi , which have all been claimed by the wellness community and food bloggers as their own, often times without giving due credit to Indian cuisine. It baffles me that the vast majority of people I talk to are shocked to hear that chickpea flour has long been a common ingredient in my family’s cooking.
On the other hand, it was important to me when I was writing my new cookbook, Indian-ish , that people could find the ingredients for the dishes in their average grocery store. Because chickpea flour is now so common, I could include recipes like those addictive chickpea flour green beans, and the silky, soupy kadhi .
I’m not against chickpea flour entering the mainstream. But I wish that more of the stories I read about it, or the recipes I saw that featured it, didn’t frame it as a brand-new discovery, and completely ignore its heritage.
No one culture can “own” an ingredient — I’m literally writing this with a box of Banza chickpea pasta in my kitchen cabinet — but let’s not treat food like it exists in a vacuum. There’s context for that chickpea flour flatbread you’re making for dinner. Don’t take it for granted.
Priya Krishna is a food writer who contributes to The New York Times, Bon Appétit , and others. She also serves as one of the hosts of Bon Appétit’s video series, From the Test Kitchen . She is the author of the cookbook Indian-ish: Recipes And Antics From A Modern American Family . Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @ PKgourmet Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. © 2019 WFIT

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Taj Hotel Cape Town: Rooms with the best views facing the Table Mountain

by Thuymi Looking for somewhere to stay in Cape Town? We made sure we were staying at the most centrally located hotel, The Taj Hotel Cape Town with all the historical sights right on our doorstep. The Taj property is originally home to the South African Reserve Bank, Temple Chambers and then the Board of Executors (BoE). It gives it a classical appearance of grandeur and you can even take the stairs down into the haunted cellar. Where is Taj Cape Town Located The Taj Hotel Cape Town is located right in the cultural heart of Cape Town’s city centre, nearby Long Street, the main walking street of the city with bars, restaurants and tons of shops. Not far away by car is the bar street as well. It is quite vibrant at night if you are that way inclined. It is within walking distance of a park (Company’s Garden), Cape Town’s historic landmarks and attractions like museums, the Houses of Parliament, St. Georges Cathedral, St. Georges Mall and the Ou Kerk (Old Church). From our room, we were able to see the gardens and the church. Our favourite part about the location of The Taj Cape Town is the proximity to Bo-Kaap Museum and Bo-Kaap itself being walking distance. It is a neighborhood full of colourful houses. At the museum, you will find everything about the local Islamic culture, heritage, and history. The Bo-Kaap area became home to many Muslims and freed slaves after the abolition of slavery. The walking street behind the hotel is full of snacks, coffees, and souvenirs. How to get around the hotel In Cape Town, Uber is operating very well and actually quite fast compared to Dubai. If you book an Uber, make sure you are ready by the time to book it. Although, when staying at the Taj Cape Town, you get complimentary chauffeur service for a 10km radius from the hotel in a lush Jaguar SUV with still and sparkling water at your disposition. Not to mention the free wi-fi on board! Needless to say, it is a free airport transfer but you simply need to book it in advance so they know when to pick you up or know when is the right time for departure from the hotel for your flight. The system is very organized on the schedule sheet they manage so if you need to use it to go somewhere specific, book your car in advance. Last minute usage is only possible when the car is available and going nowhere, which we were lucky to grab one to get to the Cape Town Waterfront. Don’t miss the complimentary Taj Cape Town guided City walk tour. The card provides you with the number to call and reach the team to book your next lift. Dining at Taj Cape Town The Lobby Lounge The Taj Cape Town is home of many great restaurants and bars in the city. Starting with the impressive Lobby Lounge , right by the check-in area. It is dominated by a barrel-vaulted skylight which is supported by four big marble columns. Their guests enjoy breakfast, extended into Mint, or Afternoon Tea or even the perfect setting for drinks as it turns into a cocktail bar and cigar lounge. Mint, the Local Grill Mint is the casual all-day dining restaurant where you can have breakfast as well. We personally preferred sitting in the beautiful lobby area for breakfast. Mint has an outside terrace and indoor show kitchen. The menu is quite international including some South African local dishes. Mint, all-day dining restaurant at the Taj Cape Town Taj Cape Town popular Afternoon Tea in Cape Town Bombay Brasserie Bombay Brasserie is the signature specialty restaurant which offers fine-dining Indian gourmet cuisine with a menu created by world-renowned Chefs from India. We made sure to have our Indian cuisine fix by trying out the 6-course set menu. The restaurant’s atmosphere is very elegant with a classic feel which was perfect for us to make it a date night! Absolutely love our dinner. It was great to eat delicious Indian food again! Looks small but we were FULL The Twankey Bar Among the top bars in Cape Town, The Twankey Bar is an iconic bar known for its world-class bespoke cocktails. If you like to mingle, you sure have to spend some time here, as a guest or not of the Taj Cape Town! The Cigar Lounge If you are a cigar lover, you must stop by The Taj Cape Town Cigar Lounge for a few cocktails to accompany your cigar. Spa & Wellness at Taj Cape Town The award-winning Jiva Grande Spa at the Taj Cape Town is the premier spa destination for residents and travelers alike. It has 6 Treatment rooms, including a Double Massage Suite for couples which is huge with a beautiful tub! We were booked in for a good pampering session knowing after the stay we would begin our drive from Cape Town to Johannesburg, doing a loop to Namibia, Zambia, and Botswana. Our couples massage started with a leg and feet scrub followed by a dreamy but firm massage of 60-minutes before being redirected to the relaxation area with some tea and fresh fruits served. Gotta say, we really enjoyed the treatment as the therapists are really strong and firm and it feels like you are actually getting a strong massage, something we really value during a session. We always prefer firm and sports massages! The fitness centre is a fully equipped Technogym with everything you need to fit in a good exercise session to be completed with a plunge into the heated indoor pool. It is small but the length is perfect enough to fit in many laps as exercise as well. The Sauna, Steam room and Jacuzzi were not working and with no water in the tub considering the water draught Cape Town has been through. If guests really want them to function, the hotel will make it happen but this is an initiative to encourage guests to be aware of their water use during their journey in Cape Town. The heated pool was a bit chill to what we expected but still did a short swim haha! Rooms at Taj Cape Town Spread across two heritage buildings, The Taj Cape Town has 176 rooms and suites with either a spectacular city view or Table Mountain view. There is also a Presidential Suite and the Taj Club Rooms and lounge, where we were directed to lounge until our room was ready. During our stay, we were situated in the Luxury Heritage Room with a Table Mountain View. From our room, we had our own balcony and was able to see the mighty new 7 Natural Wonder of the World Table Mountain soar over us. It also gave us a unique opportunity to watch the weather roll in over the mountain which is very temperamental. Our room was large and we were able to spread all our bags over the room. View from our room… it’s Table mountain but it has been so foggy! Pretending to be cute, haha Note that guests with kids are well taken of as they are automatically enrolled in the [email protected] programme. To entertain them, there are complimentary gaming consoles and board games available on request if available. Babysitting service is also available but not for free. Sustainability at Taj Cape Town Glass bottles are used to offer guests complimentary water in the room. Water saving via reusing your linen is strongly encouraged as well. No plastic straws are distributed but hard paper starts are used if you need one for your drink. Water saving is quite important and the awareness is strong at the property considering the water drought in Cape Town since the last several years. As we mentioned earlier, they have turned off some of the luxuries to do their bit for their environment. Our experience at Taj Cape Town A stay at the historic building of the Taj Cape Town was extremely special, not to mention the incredible room view over Table Mountain and the St. George’s Cathedral. We were greeted to the room with a glass of delicious red wine and a platter of cheese, nuts and delicious biltong. What a great South African welcome which we made sure to enjoy standing on the balcony. The Taj Cape Town is so well situated we absolutely enjoyed walking around. We particularly really enjoyed the complimentary chauffeur service as it was really convenient for us to catch to get around town, in addition to having the WiFi during the ride. We got a lift to our helicopter experience as well in a Jag! We then made sure to request the Taj team to show us The Reserve, which is a historical building built in 1894, which occupied the old African Banking Corporation Building, to then later became home to the Standard Bank in 1927. There are a few ghost stories about this place so we absolutely had to see it! We forgot something at the hotel and sent an email a few hours after check-out to let them know about it but it took a bit longer to get back to us. It is unfortunate but the e-mail must’ve been lost amongst all the reservations e-mail as we sent it to that generic e-mail. The team was very apologetic and happy to fix the situation to turn it to a positive experience. We were very happy with the professionalism of how it was handled, exactly what would be expected from such quality of a hotel. Work spot of the day! Felt like room dining, it was an amazing dinner! Really was impressed by the menu and the quality for in-room dining. This is box title Have you ever visited Cape Town before? Let us know if you missed anything and d on’t forget to book your travel insurance before traveling. If you don’t have your flights, check out ways to book the cheapest fares here . If you like this article, follow our Adventures on Facebook , YouTube , Twitter , Instagram @adventurefaktory , but most importantly sign up to our E-mail list to keep up with updates and travel trends + deals!

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Dates: Ramadan traditions at Muslim iftar worldwide

Dates: Ramadan traditions at Muslim iftar worldwide – Daily News Egypt Sunday May 12, 2019 Jobzella Dates: Ramadan traditions at Muslim iftar worldwide The majority of Muslims break their fast with dates in different countries of the world because of its high nutritional value which is suitable for fasting and is considered one of the Sunnah (traditions) of the Prophet. You will find that Muslims buy dates in abundance before the month of Ramadan so that it is … Jobzella The majority of Muslims break their fast with dates in different countries of the world because of its high nutritional value which is suitable for fasting and is considered one of the Sunnah (traditions) of the Prophet. You will find that Muslims buy dates in abundance before the month of Ramadan so that it is also distributed to passers-by in the streets and at mosques. The most important dishes for iftar vary from one country to another. Egypt is famous for its various delicacies on the Ramadan table such as Al-Khoshaf (a mixture of dates, figs, apricots, and kamar-din juice), Molokhia with rabbits, okra with meat, grape leaves, mahshi, and soup. In the Sudan, they break fast on sweet and sour juice made from maize, wheat, boiled legumes, boiled wheat and porridge. The most important feature of the Sudanese is the communal iftar, where each family meets with its neighbours at a communal iftar in the street. The most important table dishes in Tunisia are called “haririya”, as well as the salad of grilled vegetables with olive oil and spices and the “Brik” dish, topping the tables in most homes, which is large pies stuffed with chicken and meat, and comes with Rafsya, made of rice cooked with dates, raisins, in addition to the famous couscous. Yemenis usually start with dates, water or coffee, then go to the mosque to pray the maghrib (sunset prayer) and return to the house. The table contains several items, including “shafut and soup”. The first is made of bread and yoghurt; the second is made of crushed wheat, mixed with milk and sugar or meat broth according to tastes. Desserts are a mixture of Yemeni and Indian sweets such as Bint Al-Sahan, Al-Rawani, Al-Kanafah, Katayef, Basbosa, and baklawa. In the month of Ramadan, the Turks do not differ from others in iftar on dates or olives, and cheese of all kinds. In Ramadan, bakeries bake a special bread that is only seen during the month of Ramadan. It is called “Bida,” a Persian word for a type of pies in different sizes. Children stand in long lines just before iftar time to get fresh pies. In Malaysia, the people of the countryside meet especially for iftar together every day. They make Fatri Mundi, a famous meal in the month of Ramadan, and the most important Malaysian custom is that every house in the village feeds all the village on one day. One of the most popular foods to be served at the iftar table during Ramadan is the Gatry Mundi meal, which is the most popular Malaysian dish, as well as the Badeq, which is made from flour. There is chicken and rice alongside dates, bananas and oranges. China’s Muslims begin iftar with dates and sweet tea. And in Pakistan, Bakora is made throughout the month composed of sweet potato mixed with spices, and the Roh Afza juice of a mixture of vegetable and fruit preparations. In India, they prepare a special dish called gingi, which is like soup, made of rice flour, a little meat and spices, and cooked in water. This is a liquid that is drunk at iftar. Indian iftar includes rice and a food called “Dahi Bhdi” similar to “falafel with yogurt” and “boiled lentils”. In Uzbekistan, Muslim families hold mass iftars and invite neighbours, relatives, and friends to attend. The number of invited guests is sometimes 100, and lamb is slaughtered, and bread is baked with oil and milk. Dates and black or green tea are served at iftar. In Japan, a group iftar is held in most mosques. Muslims go for iftar, usually milk and dates. One of the most popular meals is Kaiseki, a vegetable meal, with the famous juices and pickles known as Tsukimono, which are important landmarks for Japanese cuisine, along with fish dishes and marine species. And in Uganda, people gather every day in one of the selected houses. The people eat their iftar, which is often made up of soups, grilled bananas and bread, after performing the Maghrib prayer. The next day, another house is chosen for iftar. One of the strangest customs of the Ugandan Lango tribes in Ramadan, is the wives beating on their heads before iftar, after which the woman prepares the iftar. In Iraq, Iraqi dates, known as “dates of Basra” or “Al-Khastawi” and milk, are the most important dishes in Ramadan, along with a drink named “Nomi Basra,” a special drink which Iraqis drink during the Suhur (evening meal before fasting) and iftar, and is said to cure headaches. On the first day of Ramadan in Thailand, every Muslim family must slaughter a sacrifice to celebrate the month of Ramadan. Poor families even slaughter a bird. Before iftar, women leave their homes in groups, sit in front of a house, eat iftar together, and so do the men. In Thailand, Muslims are keen to eat fruits in Ramadan, and the Thai community bakes cakes made of rice and milk. Also on the first day of Ramadan, the family meets at the family home for iftar, usually the grandfather’s house. In the UAE and the GCC countries in general, dates are the most important element of Ramadan food, which is used in the preparation of various types of UAE sweets, such as the disk, which are small pieces of bread mixed with dates. In Afghanistan, there are many who take food to the mosque and break fast together; they begin to eat dates with water, and one of the most famous foods in Ramadan is the minto, the pulani and the Afghan rice, which are pastries mixed with rice and spices.

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How Did Chickpea Flour, A Staple Of Indian Cuisine, Become A Health Food Sensation?

How Did Chickpea Flour, A Staple Of Indian Cuisine, Become A Health Food Sensation? By Priya Krishna • 9 hours ago Chickpea flour is gaining attention thanks to its gluten-free binding properties. But the ingredient has been a staple of cooking for Indians, Pakistanis and many others for centuries. Pinkybird / Getty Images
There’s a specific section of my family’s fridge that is reserved for the large, seemingly bottomless tub of chickpea flour — or as we and lots of other Indians who also rely on it call it, besan — that my parents keep on hand. We’re not gluten-free, nor do we do a lot of baking. Yet chickpea flour shows up everywhere in our food. It’s the nutty coating for my mom’s green beans spiced with earthy ajwain , the key ingredient in her creamy, tangy, yogurt-based soup, kadhi , and the base for our favorite variety of laddoos , sweet, fudge-like balls flavored with ghee, sugar and nuts.
Across the many regional cuisines in India, chickpea flour is a common denominator: Gujaratis turn it into pudla , thin, savory crepes laced with turmeric and chilies. In Karnataka and Maharashtra, it can be found in jhunka , a spicy porridge. And in Andhra Pradesh, it is the thickener in Senagapindi Kura , an onion-heavy stew. For the country’s large vegetarian population, where eggs are often considered non-vegetarian, chickpea flour mixed with water serves as a convincing omelet replacement.
Indians — along with the Nepalese, Pakistanis, Italians, the French, and many others — have been cooking with chickpea flour for centuries. Americans, on the other hand, only seem to have woken up to the ingredient in the last decade or so. And they’ve woken up in a big way.
It’s hard to trace the exact origin of chickpea flour’s sudden popularity in the U.S. Anna Stockwell, the senior food editor of the publications Epicurious and Bon Appétit , said she first started seeing chickpea flour around 2009 on gluten-free blogs. Stockwell is gluten-free herself, and was excited to find a recipe for savory chickpea pancakes.
She didn’t know much about chickpea flour’s culinary heritage, but she was immediately excited. “Its binding power was magic,” she recalls. “All you have to do is combine chickpea flour and water, and suddenly you can make flatbread, or fritters or vegetable pancakes.” Still, Stockwell saw it as a niche ingredient — something only gluten-free consumers cared about. She wasn’t even allowed to call for it in Epicurious recipes.
Slowly but surely, that started to change. In 2010, one of the more popular recipes from Plenty , Yotam Ottolenghi’s bestselling cookbook, was a chickpea flour pancake, or socca , as it’s known in France, layered with tomatoes and onions. In 2015, food and fitness writer Camilla Saulsbury wrote the popular book The Chickpea Flour Cookbook . That was followed a year later by Chickpea Flour Does It All , by blogger Lindsey Love.
Lani Halliday, the founder of Brutus Bakeshop, a gluten-free Brooklyn bakery, says she noticed a huge uptick in the number of chickpea flour-based, gluten-free sweets available about a decade ago. For baked goods, chickpea flour worked uniquely well, “as it can hold air bubbles and hold moisture,” she says. Plus, “it was cheap, it was accessible, and it was versatile.”
Halliday launched her bakery in 2015. One of her bestselling items among both gluten-free and non-gluten-free customers was a chocolate cupcake made with chickpea flour.
Stockwell believes the mainstreaming of chickpea flour is directly linked to one company in particular — Banza. The company started producing its chickpea flour-based pasta in 2014, and by 2017, it was in 8,000-plus grocery stores and had raised $8 million in funding. The key to the company’s success? It didn’t exclusively market itself as a gluten-free product. Instead, it was branded as health food. And it was one of the first alternative pastas that had a smooth, al dente texture, just like the real thing.
“I had friends who had never heard of chickpea flour, but now they eat Banza,” Stockwell says. “It’s not because they are trying to eat gluten-free but because it’s a delicious and higher-protein pasta. It’s a substitute for empty carbs.”
This year, Epicurious was finally allowed to publish recipes with chickpea flour. Dennis Vaughn, the CEO of Bob’s Red Mill, says that in the past five years, chickpea flour has become a clear bestseller among the company’s sundry flour options.
“My grocery store doesn’t even carry red meat,” Stockwell says, “but they carry Bob’s Red Mill” chickpea flour.
In many ways, it has been weird to watch this ingredient that has always felt so quotidian to me become so ubiquitous so quickly in the U.S. This is certainly not the first Indian ingredient or dish this has happened to. Consider turmeric, chai, or khichdi , which have all been claimed by the wellness community and food bloggers as their own, often times without giving due credit to Indian cuisine. It baffles me that the vast majority of people I talk to are shocked to hear that chickpea flour has long been a common ingredient in my family’s cooking.
On the other hand, it was important to me when I was writing my new cookbook, Indian-ish , that people could find the ingredients for the dishes in their average grocery store. Because chickpea flour is now so common, I could include recipes like those addictive chickpea flour green beans, and the silky, soupy kadhi .
I’m not against chickpea flour entering the mainstream. But I wish that more of the stories I read about it, or the recipes I saw that featured it, didn’t frame it as a brand-new discovery, and completely ignore its heritage.
No one culture can “own” an ingredient — I’m literally writing this with a box of Banza chickpea pasta in my kitchen cabinet — but let’s not treat food like it exists in a vacuum. There’s context for that chickpea flour flatbread you’re making for dinner. Don’t take it for granted.
Priya Krishna is a food writer who contributes to The New York Times, Bon Appétit , and others. She also serves as one of the hosts of Bon Appétit’s video series, From the Test Kitchen . She is the author of the cookbook Indian-ish: Recipes And Antics From A Modern American Family . Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @ PKgourmet Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. © 2019 WLRN

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More than a garnish…

They look delicate, pretty and small. But don’t let their appearance fool you. These tiny leaves and shoots are known to be nutritional powerhouses. They’re said to have four-to-40 times more nutrients than their mature counterparts and deliver big on flavour. No wonder we have health gurus and fine dining chefs rooting for the mighty microgreens. And now, joining hands with them is the home-growers brigade.
Most of us would have sampled microgreens at an upscale restaurant where the food came garnished with itsy-bitsy sprigs. Or we’ve seen many a MasterChef contestant add drama to the plate with these tiny greens. But did you know myriad varieties of microgreens are also making their way into our homes and our everyday diet? From wheatgrass to watercress, beetroot to broccoli, radish to red cabbage, pak choi, peas and more, our plates are getting healthier and prettier than ever before.
High on nutrition
Microgreens are edible seedlings of vegetables and herbs that are usually harvested within one-three weeks after germination, just after the first true leaves have appeared. But what sets them apart from other leafy greens is their high nutritional content.
Shonali Sabherwal, celebrity macrobiotic nutritionist, author and chef, says, “Research has shown that microgreens are clearly more nutrient-dense, in that, more concentrated in vitamins and minerals.” For instance, red cabbage microgreens were found to have 40 times more vitamin E and six times more vitamin C than mature red cabbage, while cilantro microgreens had three times more beta-carotene than fully-grown cilantro plants.
Luke Coutinho, globally renowned holistic lifestyle coach and nutritionist, adds, “Microgreens are teeming with incredibly high levels of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, B, C, K, and minerals like manganese, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.” He adds, “Microgreens are super-alkaline and feed your immunity like magic. They are rich in live enzymes and are full of nutrition that is bioavailable because when the seeds germinate, the nutrition is heightened.”
Sabherwal adds, “Since in macrobiotics we look at the ‘energetic component’ of foods, microgreens, with their shorter growth period, bring in new ideas, growth and quick-moving energy in our thoughts and action. I consume microgreens, especially when I’m writing my books and preparing for something new; they’re also a great way to get kids used to greens, they’re attractive, and add an element of fun to food presentation.”
Grilled fish avocado and microgreens.
But the question that arises here is, can we eat enough of these tiny shoots to make a difference? Coutinho says, “Even a handful of freshly snipped microgreens is good enough to load up a plate with nutrition.” At the same time, he advises, “Eating more of these greens doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy… moderation is advised. One should also focus on their gut health so that microgreens are appropriately digested and assimilated.”
Microgreens not only score high on nutrition, looks and taste, but also require very little space to grow. They have a short crop cycle and yield profitable returns for the new breed of urban farmers.
New-age farmers
Six years ago, Hamsa V and Nithin Sagi broke away from their conventional careers to set up Growing Greens. They started with the space available on Sagi’s terrace at home and later moved to a farm on the outskirts of Bengaluru. Hamsa was an IT professional, while Sagi was a food photographer, with an IT background. A strong urge to start growing their own food, coupled with the lure of moving away from the humdrum of city life, led them to microgreens farming.
When they started off, Hamsa says, microgreens were not easily available in India. And thus, when they introduced the concept of live microgreens to the hospitality industry, it was instantly well received. “Besides the visual impact and nutritional value, chefs were able to snip it from a live tray just before serving the guests. This added an element of freshness to the dish, and brought about an opportunity to showcase microgreens in restaurant spaces,” she adds.
Currently, Hams and Sagi grow about 20 different varieties of microgreens including pea shoots, sunflower, mustard, red beet, purple radish, arugula and more. Their client base comprises star hotels all across India, some as far as Guwahati. They also cater to a few retail clients within the city. “The market is still limited to hotels and restaurants,” admits Hamsa, but she does add, “Due to the awareness of the nutritional benefits of microgreens, we should soon be able to see a more stable space in the retail sector as well.”
Akash K Sajith is another urban farmer in Bengaluru who believes, “We are what we eat.” Sajith had a successful career going as a customer experience strategist when his life took an unexpected turn. A health tragedy that struck both his parents led him to re-evaluate the food choices that we make. He realised that there was a dire need “to take control of our food production systems.” And in a bid to “provide food that we can trust,” the Living Food Company was born.
Unlike a traditional farm setup, Sajith, along with co-founders Niranjan and Shikha, designed a climate-controlled indoor farm within the city itself. To eliminate soil contamination they opted to grow microgreens using hydroponics — a soil-less farming technique.
With a subscription-based model in place, the Living Food Company delivers to some of the top hotels and restaurants in Bengaluru, and claims to have more than 1,000 subscribers in the city. “All our products are delivered alive with roots intact and our customers get to harvest and use them real time,” says Sajith.
One regular subscriber is food stylist, photographer and award-winning blogger Farrukh Aziz Ansari. She says, “I add microgreens to soups, snacks, salads and also make them part of my Indian breakfast/s like parathas, chillas, upma, and omelettes as well. But what she likes best is to simply grab a handful of greens and munch on them whenever possible. Ansari has opted for a monthly subscription where she gets to try two new varieties every week.
Chef’s best friend
The other name for microgreens is vegetable confetti. With their pretty colours and intense flavours microgreens have become a chef’s best friend in many a hotel kitchen. As a result, plenty of star hotels and restaurants have now started creating their own green zone.
“Food is sensory, and microgreens help us engage with several senses simultaneously whilst adding vibrancy to food,” says chef Balpreet Singh Chadha, director of culinary operations at AnnaMaya Andaz, Delhi, a Hyatt property. “We grow our own microgreens, so that our guests may enjoy these zero-mile greens at their freshest,” he adds.
Rajdeep Kapoor, executive chef at Sheraton, New Delhi, says, “The introduction of microgreens has brought about a dramatic improvement in the way India plates up. Today, a large number of ITC hotels grow microgreens out of seeds that are easily available in our kitchens, such as mustard, radish, chillies, amaranth, and beetroot.” More exotic varieties, however, are outsourced.
At Grand Hyatt, Kochi, microgreens are grown within the restaurant space at the rooftop grillroom. Guests get a chance to interact with the chefs and see how the tiny greens are nurtured. “We grow several varieties of microgreens, namely mustard, red amaranth, kohlrabi, beetroot, onion, radish, basil, peas, green gram sprouts and more,” says Prakash Sundaram, chef de cuisine at Colony Clubhouse & Grill.
“It has brought our guests closer to understanding the value of the food they consume and made us more conscious about food trends across the globe,” he adds.
Commenting on the shift in the global culinary scene, Shagun Mehra, celebrity chef, wine connoisseur and director, Food & Wine at Coco Shambhala, Goa, says, “There’s a massive trend all over the globe with conscious chefs who need to know what they’re feeding their guests. If I had my way, I would grow everything that I serve on my plate. I’m trying to do as much as possible to know the source of each and every ingredient that I serve, and microgreens were my first step towards learning this.” Mehra, who grows different varieties at the villa hotel property, adds, “Microgreens are the quickest, easiest and simplest to grow.”
At ITC hotels, among other dishes, microgreens are used to garnish open-faced avocado & bocconcini bruschettas, enoki & roasted pepper pizzas, charred broccoli & pine nut soup, and lemon & tender pea risotto. At Grand Hyatt, they have a signature dish using microgreens, called the tea-smoked tofu & sprouts salad.
Apart from that, microgreens also adorn the rack of lamb, smoked duck, ancient grain risotto and beef tenderloin.
As for Mehra, she pretty much uses microgreens in everything, including Indian mains, Asian dishes, cocktails, and juices. “I use them in my desserts as well,” she says. “I love the element of using something savoury in a dessert.” One of her favourites is caramelised pineapple with fennel and sesame seeds, presented beautifully on a bed of creamy coconut rice pudding, topped with mustard microgreens.
At AnnaMaya, most of their recipes use microgreens as an essential ingredient. A retail microgreens starter kit is also available for guests to take home and create their own little patch of green.
House projects
The only downside to microgreens, perhaps, is that they’re expensive. One can expect to shell out anything between Rs 150-400 for about 100-200 gm, depending on the variety and the city you buy it in. The good news, however, is growing them at home is a relatively easy task. And definitely works out cheaper.
Savio Souza, founder, Green Education Organisation (GEO), has spent the last five years conducting workshops across India to promote organic microgreens farming. He aims to encourage and empower people with the knowledge to grow their own food, which he feels has become a necessity today. “You have complete control over the elements that go into the growing of the crops, and you know for sure that there are no pesticides or chemical fertilisers added,” he says.
It was after attending one of Souza’s workshops in Mumbai that Anita Singh discovered the many benefits of this superfood. Singh has always been passionate about baking sourdough bread and today is equally enthusiastic about growing microgreens. Apart from sharing pictures of her harvest on social media, she often encourages students who come for bread baking classes to set up their own green corner.
Arugula Microgreens
Similarly, inspired by an online food network, Nidhi Aggarwal, in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, started growing microgreens on her windowsills and balconies. “I grow mustard and flaxseed hydroponically; I don’t use soil, instead I grow them on a bed of sterilised cotton,” she says. While for other varieties like fenugreek, peas, spinach, wheatgrass, chana, and moong, she uses a mixture of potting soil and coco-peat. By getting her children involved in nurturing the plants, Aggarwal has devised a perfect way to get them to start eating their greens. She regularly adds them to their sandwiches, salads, smoothies, vegetable juices, fruit chaat, bhel puri, and raitas.
Aggarwal’s enthusiasm doesn’t just end here. She also has a dedicated Facebook page where she often shares recipes and motivates her followers to grow microgreens along with her. “We post photos of our day-to-day progress and encourage others to embrace a healthy eating lifestyle.”
Microgreens have certainly caught the attention of home-growers across India, and it would be safe to say, this is one trend that is here to stay. Or as Souza puts it, this is a trend that gradually turns into a lifestyle choice. “That’s because a synergistic effect takes place when you start to grow your own greens and then slowly form a relationship with them. It becomes a meditative, mindful process, which helps your overall health.”
And with that, it’s evident that microgreens have everything going for them. All that’s left now is for you to exercise your green thumb and reap the benefits of growing your own food.

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