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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.