Food & Wine

Saveur August - September 2014

This magazine is edited for people interested in food. It explores the authentic cuisines of the world, tracks recipes and ingredients to their places of origin and illuminates their history, traditions and local flavors. It includes all aspects of the world of food including eating, cooking and reading. In addition, it contains informative news about the latest in culinary trends, kitchen tips and techniques and a calendar of culinary events.

United States
Bonnier Corporation
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6 Issues

in this issue

2 min.

18From remote tribal villages to frenzied capital cities, in India, food is life's organizing principle. For this issue, we traverse the massive subcontinent, from east to west, from south to north and northeast, along the way dipping into restaurants and morning markets, the home of a nomadic herdsman and the palace of a raja, a wedding and a glossy movie set. In these culinary microcosms, discover the chutneys, flatbreads, and a legion of dishes—Goa's pork vindaloo (page 56), the sweet rice pudding of a Tamil festival (page 74)—that are part and parcel to the cultures there, as well as definitive guides to ingredients and tools. The journey into India can start with just one curry, one dal, or one lassi. Come along with us. 14FirstHow I fell in love with India.…

1 min.
finding india

I'm not going to lie. My first encounter with India was inauspicious. It was 1998, and after a month-long journey through Southeast Asia, I wound up in Chennai, a mega-city in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Unprepared for its intensity, I found it cacophonous and chaotic. And while I'd long been enamored of Indian cuisine—my first bites courtesy of Madhur Jaffrey cookbook's An Invitation to Indian Cooking (Knopf, 1975), which I'd fallen in love with as a teenager—the foods I ate there felt texturally odd and alarmingly spicy. Determined to give India another shot, I pulled out a map of the country, closed my eyes, and decided that wherever my finger landed, I would go. That place, it turned out, was the village of Gingee, 90 miles southwest of…

1 min.

INDIA, HOME TO TOWERING snow-covered ranges in the north, deserts in its center, and a network of tropical waterways lacing through the south, is the birthplace of dozens of cuisines. India's food reflects its geographical variation—the north eats wheat, the south consumes rice, and the coasts thrive on coconut milk and fish—as well as its religious diversity. Muslims may eat beef, but most Hindus would never kill a cow; Parsis, heirs to a Persian ancestry, pair meats with sweet, dried fruits, while the Assamese, descended from Tibetans and Burmese, favor pungent, fermented flavors. Everywhere in India, however, there is one common element: the masterful use of spices. Indians know when to cook spices whole, flash-frying them in blistering oil to release caramelized aromas. They know when to roast spices to bring…

1 min.

The eastern Indian states of West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh are home to fruitful plains riddled with waterways and lakes. After monsoon season, fields are blanketed with mustard flowers, whose seeds are crushed to yield pungent cooking oil; gardens burst with vegetables of all kinds. Where the Ganges flows into the Bay of Bengal, it fans out into the world's largest delta. There, freshwater fish and rice are at the foundation of the cuisine, while farther south, hundreds of miles of coastline yield shrimp and other seafood. More than anything, though, eastern India is renowned for its sweets. The date palms that thrive in the tropical climate provide a delicate sugar called nolen gur that's used to create the many milk-based desserts that are the pride of the…

2 min.
the school of small bites

Wherever my 80-year-old father, Amartya Sen, travels in India, a scrum of students encircle him, eager to shake his hand. As popular as a Bollywood star or pop singer, he came to his fame through his work as an economist: He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1998. But he was not always a dutiful student, he told me when I joined him on a recent visit to his alma mater, Presidency College, in Calcutta. In fact, he spent most of his college years playing hooky at a café across the street. My father started his studies back in 1951, four years after India won its sovereignty. He was on his way to register for classes when a friend, Sukhamoy Chakravarty, stopped him. “Forget that,” Chakravarty said. “I'm taking you to the…

1 min.
lovely lassis

Traveling in India as spring was lapsing into torpid summer, I was grateful to find creamy chilled lassis everywhere to sip in the heat. On city streets and in village shops, in homes palatial and humble, people rolled the wooden handles of star-shaped churners between their palms, frothing glasses of milk- or water-thinned yogurt to mix with flavorings for the cooling drink. At a canteen in Delhi, I indulged in a sugary lassi that was milkshake-thick with mango purée and a thinner one drizzled with Rooh Afza, a scarlet syrup fragrant with rose and screw pine. In Lucknow, a savory version was briny with black salt and pungent with cumin. And in the Himalayan foothills, mulberries were blended into a sweet-tart elixir topped with a layer of cream. Indeed, lassis…