An Indian Feast Fit for Kings: The Best Of Bombay East Indian Cuisine

Samaira has created an Indian Feast that takes one through the stories and history of Indian, colonisation, trade and the vast variety of spices.

I’m so proud of my friend Samaira for getting the show on the road. She’s one of the best home cooks I know and a wealth of information for Indian cuisine. Her mum used to run a Dabbawala (tiffin meals) business in Bombay and naturally she grew up in the kitchen. For years, we’ve been invited to her house where she cooks up an Indian feast- everything homemade from scratch.

Indian Feast Popup At Test Kitchen Hong Kong

Khakra with 2 types of chutney (mango, and sesame nuts with spices)

Taking the name from the British East Indian Company during the colonial times, Samaira’s family culinary heritage is an intoxicating mix of Indian Portuguese and Creole recipes, and safely guarded tried and tested family recipes.

Bombay East Indian Cuisine

Samaira has set out to change the perception of Indian cuisine. “It’s more than curries and butter chicken.” So what is Bombay East Indian Cuisine? It’s a vibrant and diverse culinary repertoire from the city of Mumbai that reflects the city’s multi-cultural history and influences from various communities: Maharashtian, Gujarati, Parsi, Goan, and the British – with India’s history as a former colony.

Like many of the world’s great cuisines (French/Italian/Chinese etc), Indian food is regional, rich and complex and it’s impossible to quantify the depth and breadth of flavours and recipes, without taking into account seasons, terroir, colonialism, shipping trade routes and geographical borders.

Beetroot puri (the base) and Chole Chaat (chickpeas)
East Indian Lamb Potato chop (reminds me of shepard’s pie with all the colonial influence) with green pea chutney and Chachumber (Indian rendition of salsa)

My knowledge of Indian food is skint and being a creature of habit, I always order my favourites. It’s only through knowing Samaira and navigating her kitchen that I’ve discovered a new universe of flavours and spices – even then it’s just scratching the surface.

East Indian Fish Kujit in Banana leaf
wonderful curry spices on this pomfret fillet

I’ve been so fortunate to be able to eat the original butter chicken in Dehli at Moti Mahal and enjoy the creamy rich gravies and cuisine of Northern India.

this is a soft “dosa” i’ve only ever even the thin crispy one. This has the texture of English crumpets, mop up the fish curry gravy with this.

Her first popup at Test Kitchen Hong Kong has sold out and there’s another upcoming plant-based wine dinner August 4 at a private kitchen – book your spots as they are going fast!

Perfectly balanced masala sous vide chicken with curry leaf spiced tadka, khuddi sauce and cumin flavoured rice with cashews. (my favourite of the evening)
The Bombay East Indian Girl Aamrakhand Twist

Samaira loves mangoes so it’s not a surprise the fruit was the feature of her dessert – served with saffron and pistachios.

I didn’t do the wine pairing but it was interesting to hear from Ada at Wine Friends how she went about the wine menu and shining a light on Indian cuisine and clearing any misconception and stereotypes that Indian food is best served with beer because of the rich complexity of spices in the cuisine.

If you’re interested to attempt some recipes, Samaira has shared a couple with me. Butter Chicken, biryani, chapati (which she effortlessly whips up every time!)

And if you’re interested what it’s like visiting Incredible India when all this Covid madness is over, here are some of my fondest memories of experiencing the colourful poetic chaos that India has to offer. I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since I last visited.

Love the typography and traditional shops
Amritsar Golden Sikh temple kitchen
sari shopping – can’t get enough of the burst of colours and bling.
Amritsar Golden Sikh Temple

Taj Mahal – you must see it in your lifetime. More images here

You May Also Like