Connect with us

Food

‘Wazwaan’ with Pride of Kashmir Umesh Mattoo

Published

on

‘Wazwaan’ with Pride of Kashmir Umesh Mattoo, Corporate Chef (Facility Planner – Trainer Chef) Ascot Hotels Pvt. Ltd. & Legends of India

Chef Umesh Mattoo and Legends of India1. Tell us about yourself, your journey from the spicy lanes of Kashmir to Corporate Cooking?

Chef Mattoo: I am an Alumni of Institute of Hotel Management Pusa, New Delhi, India (1982 Batch).

I started my career as a Kitchen Management trainee with Centaur Group of hotels in New Delhi, Mumbai and Srinagar (Kashmir). It was only after I finished my program that I was appointed as Chef De Partir at Centaur Srinagar. I handled Kitchen & different cuisines and was responsible for the launch of Daawat Khana at Centaur Srinagar. It’s been a great journey of 35 years in the hospitality business. I now enjoy working on projects that are more of business collaborations.

2. Kashmiris are known to be either Doctor’s or Engineer’s. How challenging was your decision to be a Chef coming from a traditional Kashmiri family? Did you face questions like “Luk kya Wanan” (Sarcasm from Relatives)? And how did you face it all?

Chef Mattoo: My family was a lot liberal and gave me all the freedom I required. There was no pressure of academics, scores or grades. While I wanted to join an engineering college like my peers, the turning point came when I landed up joining a Hotel Management course instead, with the help of my childhood friend Mr.Tej Razdan (presently principal CIHM) and my brother in law Dr. R.K. Kaul. Both these gentlemen have been instrumental in laying the foundation of my career and my first love- Cooking.

Saloni Rampal with Chef Umesh Mattoo in Kashmir

3. What’s so good about Kashmiri cuisine and what are your favorite dishes?

Chef Mattoo: Kashmiri cuisine has a lavish spread of vegetarian and non-vegetarian Platte. The cuisine is rich in flavour & grand in appeal. Each recipe has a history of how and why it’s cooked? What’s most important is that nothing is wasted in this cuisine.

Chef Umesh Mattoo Talking about Kashmiri cuisine

Chef Umesh Mattoo Cooking with Earthen Pots

My personal favourite is ‘Gogj Siun’ (Turnip & Meat) cooked on simmering wood fire on earthen pots. It adds wonders to the whole eating experience especially during winters in Kashmir. I also relish ‘Hokhsuen’ (The sundried vegetables).

4. There is a myth about Kashmiri Cuisine that it’s mostly Non-vegetarian. Vegetarian Dishes are not very popular, what’s your take on it?

Chef Mattoo: True or False, I do not know, but it surely is a perception. There is no lack of vegetarian dishes in Kashmiri Hindu or Muslim Cuisine. Our homeland produces some unique varieties of vegetables like ‘Hakh’ (Green leaves on likes of spinach and Collard Greens), ‘Kangich’ (Morrels), Sauchal (kind of green weeds), Wostahakh (Greens), ‘Monj Hakh’ (Kohl Rabi) and many more. Non-vegetarian cuisine has been more popularised and is commercially suited well. As a chef, I only see a limitation in desserts as there isn’t much variety to offer.

Variety of Vegetables

5. Your wife is a non-Kashmiri, does she relish the cuisine and is it a part of your family food Platte?

Chef Mattoo: My wife hails from Goa. Food from both regions is a contrast in taste and preparation. I take immense pride in the fact that my wife Anita is an excellent cook and makes equally authentic Kashmiri Cuisine. When we were in Houston, she would cook Kashmiri food for social gatherings and also help me in the restaurant. Together, we catered to many important social occasions including Shivratri celebrations (Kashmir’s eminent festival) for Kashmir Association in Houston.

Yes undoubtedly, Kashmir cuisine is our regular food Platte and my wife’s preparation of Dumaloo (Potato In red gravy) is to die for.

6. With globalization and cross cultures entering our homes, how do you see the future of regional food flourishing in India?

Chef Mattoo: With Global Food Platte entering our homes, it’s evident that people today are looking at variety and authenticity. They are willing to try new cuisines and open to paying a premium. Today, you cannot take a “whole” potato, mix it in red gravy and call it Dum Aloo of Kashmir. Awareness on food and its origin is immense. Hence, I feel authentic regional food will get its due and at the same time, culturally cult & fusion food too will carve a niche for itself.

Beauty of Kashmir

7. Do you travel to Kashmir often? Tell us about your favorite destinations that a traveler- tourist must cover in his sojourn to the valley?

Chef Mattoo: Well, of late, I haven’t been to Kashmir owing to work commitments. But it’s on top of my travel list.

As far as places in Kashmir go, the main iconic places are well known, so I won’t talk about them. I am a foodie and what I would want your readers to know is about the Food of the valley and places known for those.

6 Must have places to eat in Kashmir

  • Luchi & Halwa at Kheer Bhavani.
  • Kanti & Toast at Ahdoos.
  • Seekh Kebab, Demina (stomach of the lamb) Pakmond (lamb trotters), Goshtaba, Rista, MethiMaz on Badshah Chowk.
  • Gadh Monj (Fish & Kohlrabi) at Habakadal
  • Bhutta (corn) on Cheshmashahi Road and Alchi Chutney.
  • Kashmir Breads delicacies Like Katlam, Telwor, Kulcha, Girda, Lavasaa and many others served warm and fresh from tandoors by the traditional Kandurs (Bakers) early in morning and evening.

Credits

Photography: Paramjit Chawla, Kanchen Ranjana
Inputs: Chef Umesh Mattoo
Editor: Saloni Kilam Rampal

Continue Reading
5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Priya

    March 8, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Such a mouth watering description of Kashmiri wazwaan by chef Umesh Mattoo! Superb!

  2. Shubham

    March 10, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    I have learnt a lot from you chef you gave me a direction in life Thankyou …..

  3. Sunil Tickoo

    March 11, 2017 at 3:18 am

    Yummiest Kashmiri Cravings , authentic spread of “Flavours Of Jannat ” By Chef Muttoo Wow Chef , It is not only being Kashmiri but also sharing in traditions and the memories that go into making the real flavours . Loved it !!

  4. Alka

    March 11, 2017 at 4:38 am

    Agar Firdaus Bar Roo e- Zameen Ast , Hameen Ast o Hameen Ast o Hameen Ast… Beauty of Kashmir .

    Wow chef u took us back to memory lane with Luchi at Kheer Bhawani / Gadh Monj to die for…..
    Looking forward for many more ……Mouth watering .

    • admin

      March 15, 2017 at 7:50 am

      thanks. We have Valley’s Food story part 2 coming up soon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Food

Culture on your Palate.

Published

on

By

Food is lens to one’s country’s culture. It is said very often that to know a place better, one must try its cuisine.

Phuket, one of the popular islands of Thailand was once primarily known to be a commercial hub that eventually led to invasion of multiple cultures and hence richness in its cuisine.

I was invited for yet another culinary extravaganza at Old Town Phuket  by A Chef Tours. Though I am pro at reviewing food but then I do have some dietary limitations. What impressed me the most was the design planning of the tour that takes care of your dietary requests and limitations.

Pema Juanjenkit was our group’s Culinary Guide. Just like Cook brings soul to a recipe, she brings in soul to the tours she conducts. She is a complete walking human library with so much information to offer about food and culture both. I have reviewed so many food tours but what’s really amazing is to feel her passion, energy and knowledge about history of place, culture and the food. The tour indeed is worth every penny spent as not only do you get to experience the dishes but those small details about ingredients, origin, history itself makes it worth indulging in.

Our Group had these two lovely ladies from Sydney, mom daughter duo and they were such good sport throughout the tour. This one tour taught me so much about people and culture that I am glad I did take this invitation.

Coming to the Food what makes this foodie experience interesting is the choice of places and the people behind the show. We had some interactive sessions with Restaurateur’s and chefs. Stories not just about food but about culture too.

The tour is said to be for about 4 hours but Pema tends to evaluate the interest levels of her group and is generous enough in letting the group enjoy each session. Our Tour turned out to be 6 hours session. Not that I am complaining.

What Does A Chef Tour Phuket Old Town Tour Offers.

The Phuketian food tour starts from Wet market in old town, one can see varied variety of fruits and vegetables, meat and local delicacies. Great food and contentment on people’s face’s selling their produce is humbling.

Next on the card was Backstreet Burmese Tea House serving some rich Burmese Beef Curry, Wood Fired nans, samosas and tea. Oh! that reminds me of our Desi Nan, samosa back home.

Learning about Zee Kwet (Owl Pairs) in Myanmar culture was so enriching.

Knom Jee nam Ya Ba – Bowl with herbal Kanom Jeen Noodles with vegetable Jungle curry was another interesting meal. Flavours of mild herbs and greens so well blended that it indeed is a relaxing and an energising bowl.

Phuketian Sticky Rice- This is not just the local speciality but has a great history behind it. Rice is so well marinated with meat and nuts that each bite lets you relish the flavours so well.

Hokkein Noodles –These silky noodles are so different than the regular noodles. Such gastronomy tours are indeed a must they open you up to so many unknown facts about food.

3rd Generation Sweets

After long day of spice around it was time to treat our sweet tooth with Thai Sweets prepared by 3rd generation family. It was a delight to watch this 3rd generation lady speak such profoundly about her passion of preparing these sweets. Variety on her table for us to taste. And what made this tasting session memorable was the dollop of her generosity showered on us when she handed us our favourite picks as giveaways. Such heart-warming hospitality is often hard to find.

Fresh Exotic Juices

These are juice’s being sold right in middle of the Old town green market. Fresh fruits around to choose from and the lady quickly churns them to offer you thirst quenchers.

Handmade Spring Rolls & Satay Chicken

Unlike Spring Rolls that we are accustomed too. It was a sight to see them live preparing the roll sheets and then the fillings.  The inside filling is of Thai greens and meat can be pork, chicken to one’s preference with dab of sauces to add flavours.

Satay Chicken; Popular dish of Thailand usually served with peanut sauce. The Chicken is tender and soft with well mix of spices.

Iced Dessert: Quite similar to Indian Ice Gola, the only difference is this iced dessert has pieces of traditional sweets at bottom. Simple and Sweet looking Lady busy making icy dessert from her small cart in one of the by lanes in Phuket Old Town is definitely a must try.

Crispy Roti & Southern Coffee

The last meal for tasting and the most interesting of the all  was a giant mug of frothy Southern Coffee & Crispy Roti at Arun, a local Muslim Restaurant.  The action is in watching the way coffee is made don’t forget to go to the kitchen and watch how it is made.

Coffees at this place are mind blowing. Must Try.

The place is also known for some amazing Crispy Roti served with beef curry.

This food tour was not just about the dishes that you will savour walking down the alleys of Old Town but witnessing history on roads, wall murals , and a  short visit to Blue Elephant Cooking School which was the surprise element for our over enthusiastic group.

I would rate 4/5 stars for this tour and 0.5 for Pema Extra Efforts  to make this tour an eye popping experience. Oops! Apologies… Effort Nah! Passion Yeah. Pema really loves doing what she does and she is awesome at that.

Must Do A Chef Tours- Phuket Old Town Food Tour. Book Now.

https://achefstour.com/tour/phuket-old-town-food-tour

Review also available on  TripAdvisor. Follow  Lady Gypsy Sal @Tripadvisor

Continue Reading

Food

Mumbai Secret Street Food; A Gastronomic Orgasm

Published

on

By

Foodie TravelerSometimes I think, it’s a boon to be a foodie traveller. I mean one gets to taste and relish a platter full of gastronomic delights from around the world. One such foodie tour by A Chefs Tour took me into by lanes of Mumbai gastronomy.

Mumbai popularly known for Indian Cinema is also famous for its street food gluttony. This city offers a concoction of various cuisines and their renditions are simply mouth-watering.

I am no different to city’s food delights but let me tell you what amazes me about Mumbai Street food is the culinary talent and illusion that they create with  food.  Mumbai’s Food is nothing but a sheer food orgasm.

I was invited by A Chef Tours, a company that believes essentially in “Taste to recommend” for a culinary Mumbai Street Food Tour. And I have to say this on records that I am glad I did this tour.  They offer various Food Tours to foodies, tourists and people who love to experience the world gastronomy at places they travel to.

What’s best about A chef Tours is that their team not only researches on the choice of food that would cut across all communities but also work on small details like weather during the tour- how to keep their clients hydrated if required; mode of transport and most important the selection of places to eat.

One of my observations about Food of any city is that there are plenty of places promoting regional tastes and flavours  but there are very less places where one gets to relish the authenticity and the heritage of food both. And A Chef tours has got their hands on just the right cords. So a big thumbs up for that.

This experience with A chef Tours in Mumbai leaves me super excited for my upcoming tours in Thailand with them.   

So here’s my review on “Mumbai Secret Street Eats”

As reviewed on Trip Advisor

Shri Saraswathi Samaj Thank you God for the Food we Eat.

Mumbai is definitely a food lover’s paradise. With a platter of local flavours from the diverse cultures that dwells in this city. Mumbai street food is indeed a gastronomical orgasm one must indulge in. 

The Mumbai CityI am a Mumbai resident for over 6 years now and as a food blogger have tried no. of joints, street food offerings in Mumbai but I take this opportunity to confess that the Mumbai City Food Tour by “A Chef’s Tour” was simply outstanding.

Shailesh - Food Tour GuideLady Gypsy Sal with Shailesh –Food Tour Guide – A Chefs Tour

Shailesh the food tour guide is warm, knows the nuances of the city and food as well.

Sancha Ice cream at Bhendi BazaarAt Taj Mahal HandMade Sancha Icecream outlet at Bhendi Bazaar

The selection of Food was amazing and so well laid. A total of about 12-13 delicacies. Though all were simply amazing. But here are my best picks; Sticky tamarind, Sweet Paan (betel leaf); Tawakkal Kebabs, Surmai Fry Fish, & Taj Mahal Handmade Sancha Icecream.

Mumbai's Secret Street FoodTo taste about 12 dishes in 3 hours across south Mumbai is an incredible planning; especially for the traffic that we survive 365 days a year.

Shailesh ensures one is not tired and dehydrated but enjoys food and the city stories as well. His knowledge about the right mix of dishes and the choice of places offering the same is excellent.

Shailesh comes out as one of those human library that keeps you engaged and engrossed with climax that is yet to come. Must Try #MumbaiStreetEats by #achefstours

You can book your tours on  www.achefstour.com

Mumbai Secret Street Eats Tour

  • 4-hour guided walk through 3 distinct areas of Mumbai
  • A ton of tastings at some of Mumbai’s oldest eateries
  • Learn about the history and culture of Indian cuisine
  • Great photo opportunities
  • Refreshing Indian drinks and bottled water
  • Fully licensed English speaking (foodie) guide
  • Limited to just 8 exclusive guests each day

Group Size: 1-8 People

Duration: 16h- 20h 30

Menu- 12-13 Tasting

Price: USD $55 per person

 

Continue Reading

Food

Eat Your Greens – National Spinach Day

Published

on

By

I’m Strong to the finich, cause I eats my spinach. I am Popeye the Sailor Man!
(From theme song of Popeye the Sailor Man).

Age old cartoon Popeye sailor man  gained huge popularity for munching Spinach way back in 1929 to amass bulging muscles.

Research and facts of Spinach state that spinach has nitrates that are energy puffers and help muscles stay active.

Spinach is inbred plant of Persia (Modern day Iran) was cultivated some 2000 years. It got introduced in China in the 7th century and till date it’s popularly known as “the Persian Green” in China, brought to Europe in 12th century and then was promoted in North America in 1806.

West & Northeast part of the world are high on consumption of Spinach. Spinach also has found its way into Asian kitchens.

On eve of National Spinach Day 26th March, Dr. Sarika Nair, well known Nutritionist & Dietitian from Mumbai, tells us why Spinach should be a part of our dietary intake.

High Powered Nutritional & health facts about spinach

Popeye loves spinach and we love what it does to Popeye! Right?

Everyone knows that green leafy vegetables are healthy and spinach is one of the most popular leafy vegetables. It is available most of the time throughout the year and it has a taste that blends well with anything, be it rice, roti, pizza, eggs, and salads anything.

Spinach is a nutrition powerhouse. It is high in niacin and zinc, pigments like beta carotene, fibre, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamine, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. It is also rich in flavonoids and antioxidants. This humble leafy vegetable helps you in many ways.

  • It improves blood glucose levels.
  • Lowers blood pressure.
  • Improves bone health.
  • Keeps the digestive tract healthy.
  • Improves iron levels.
  • Promotes weight loss.
  • Reduces the risk of cancer.
  • Promotes healthy cardiovascular health.
  • Healthy skin and hair.

Dt. Sarika Nair
Dt. Sarika Nair

Founder of Slim & Happy is an awardee of “The Most Promising Dietician in Mumbai” at International Healthcare awards 2017.

Pack more leafy goodness into your daily diets. For tailor-made diet plans and information on nutrition.

Visit www.slimnhappy.com

Facebook:www.facebook.com/slimnhappy

Mail:contact@slimnhappy.com

Chef Umesh Mattoo
Celebrating Greens on National Spinach Day, we bring you healthy recipes from the Kitchen of Celebrity Chef Umesh Mattoo.

Venue & Kitchen Partners: Mirasol Resorts, Nani Daman, UT of Daman & Diu

1. Recipe –Apple Spinach Lime & Honey Health Drink

 

Chef Umesh Mattoo's Recipe: Apple Spinach Lime & Honey Health Drink

2. Recipe – Spinach, Paneer & Corn Bhujia

 

Spinach, Paneer & Corn Bhujia

3. Pratish Tandel, MD, Mirasol Resort tasting Healthy “Apple Spinach lime & Honey Drink                 by Chef Umesh Mattoo

 

How to Celebrate National Spinach Day.

One can celebrate National Spinach day in many ways. Simply include lots of spinach in your daily diet today. And not just today ensure that Spinach should be ideally included in your diet daily in some or the other form, if not daily then minimum thrice a week. One can eat it with salads, in soups, omelettes or even shakes & smoothies. Spinach based beverages have become drinking fodder for lot of health conscious people. Its mild flavour, low in calories, high on protein makes it ideal healthy alternative against sugar based drinks. A lesser known fact about spinach is that it is a mild laxative. So say bye to constipation with this super food!

Do make children aware about benefits of Spinach, an interesting way to do that is watch Popeye cartoon with them and encourage them to eat Spinach in their daily diets.

Hope you enjoyed forgotten facts about Spinach. Thanks for reading the post. Do share your Spinach day stories with us on social media #Spinachday

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Recent Posts

Categories

Trending