Utensils up: The Varli Food Festival


I can’t even count the number of times people ask me, “Where do you go to get good Indian food in New York?” My response: “My mom’s.” Well after tonight, I’ll hopefully have some better answers. I’m headed to the Varli Food Festival, an annual foodie affair where the best Indian chefs from all over the world — and Manhattan of course — showcase their culinary creations. There’ll be food tastings, cooking demonstrations, a (free!) spice market, and cocktails and desserts galore, all created by famous chefs such as Sanjeev Kapoor, Vikas Khanna, Suvir Saran, Jehangir Mehta and many others. Never heard of them? It’s OK —  the idea behind Varli is to bring the Indian cooking scene to the mainstream. Did I mention Padma Lakshmi is hosting? For those not attending try a little Indian cooking demo in your own kitchen with this recipe by Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor.

Courtesy of Sanjeev Kapoor


1½ cups basmati rice                       
7-8 saffron (kesar) strands                           
7-8 mussels                         
Salt to taste
15-20 prawns (jheenga), shelled, deveined                    
2 large pomfret fillets, cut into 1 inch pieces       
¾ cup yogurt, whisked                   
2 teaspoons ginger paste                       
2 teaspoons garlic paste                       
1 teaspoon green chilli paste                   
Oil to deep fry
4 medium onions, sliced                   
2½ tablespoons pure ghee                           
1 bay leaf (tej patta)                       
6-8 black peppercorns (kali mirch)                       
2 black cardamoms (badi elaichi)                   
3-4 green cardamoms   (chhoti elaichi)               
1 star anise (phool chakri / badiyan)                       
2 inch stick cinnamon (dalchini)                         
½ teaspoon turmeric (haldi) powder                   
1¼ teaspoons red chilli powder                   
2 teaspoons garam masala powder               
1 tablespoon coriander (dhania) powder                    
1 tablespoon lemon juice                       
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves (hara dhania)           
10-12 fresh mint leaves (pudina), hand torn               

1.   Soak rice in three cups of water for half an hour. Drain and set aside.
2.   Wash mussels and cook in salted boiling water for two minutes. Drain and set aside unshelled. Reserve the water.
3.   Take yogurt in a bowl, add half the ginger paste, half the garlic paste, half the green chilli paste and salt to taste. Mix well and marinate prawns and pomfret pieces in it.
4.   Heat sufficient oil in a kadai or wok and deep-fry half the sliced onions till brown and crisp. Drain and place on absorbent paper.
5.   Heat ghee in a pan and add bay leaf, black peppercorns, black cardamoms, green cardamoms, star anise, cinnamon and the remaining half of the sliced onions. Sauté for two minutes.
6.   Add remaining ginger paste, garlic paste, green chilli paste. Stir well and add rice. Sauté for two minutes and add water in which mussels were boiled.
7.   Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, garam masala powder, coriander powder and saffron strands. Mix well, add marinated prawns, fish and boiled mussels.
8.   Add salt, lemon juice, coriander and mint leaves. Stir and add fried onions.
9.   Cover and cook on low heat for ten minutes. Remove from heat and allow to rest, covered, for five to ten minutes. Serve directly from the cooking pan at the dining table in order to retain maximum flavor.


Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…


Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…


Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…


China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

The Word

The Word: Jennifer Lawrence among victims of massive…

It's been a while since there was a celebrity nude photo leak, so some industrious and not-at-all-creepy hackers got together to unleash one doozy of…


Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…


What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…


3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.


NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.


Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.


This Week in Health: Lesbians, men most likely…

Lesbians, men most likely to achieve orgasm Location: U.S. Study subjects: 2,850 people Results: Whether you find it shocking or not, a new study reports that…


VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…


Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…


Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.