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Suvir Saran
in the moment
Interests: music, travel, animals, entertaining, cooking, movies, reading, eating
Recent Activity
This weekend I share my fourth book, Instamatic in my column. I share the backstory to the book. A book that is equal parts Instasaying, Instapics, and Instawisdom. A deeper more thoughtful look into our Instaworld. As a teaser I share the brilliance of the sun and clouds as I learned at our farm in Hebron, NY. Also share what I learned while visiting the remarkable nation that is Rwanda. Read the column on Mail Today, or below. #Instamatic Sunday, May 17, 2020 marked the release of my fourth book. Not a cookbook this time. A book of pictures and... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2020 at Suvir
Suvir Saran captures people, places and flavors through the eye of his mind and his heart. Review of my 4th book, Instamatic, by Aasheesh Sharma for Mail Today by India Today. Here’s a contemporary counterpart of the renaissance man, a man of arts and letters; a Michelin star chef whose prowess with words and aesthetic with pictures is so artistically evolved you have difficulty deciding whether to first look at his photographs, mull over his musings or dig into his soulful food. As one begins to go through Saran’s word-paintings in Instamatic, (Milap Publications), it becomes clear that the author’s... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2020 at Suvir
My nephew, Karun Sagar, a student at Sara Lawrence College, is a musician, screenwriter and rebel with the world on his shoulders. His is a cool genius that makes magic wherever he applies himself. These are his thoughts when asked what inspiration a 20-year-old living in New York might have for the world. IT'S TIME TO FLY by Karun Sagar I like stories. I’d guess most people do. They’re the currency of meaning, the lights of our horizon, the why behind what we do. Or maybe they aren’t. Maybe they don’t mean sh*t. Whatever you think of stories, here’s mine.... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2020 at Suvir
Grateful to Dr. Shashi Tharoor for reading Instamatic when it was being compiled into book form. In his debt for having seen sense in it in that loose form. Overjoyed that he found the time and will to write the foreword for Instamatic. Today, Instamatic is being released to the world. The day my publisher/editor, my friend Yogi Suri (Milap Publications) and I had been looking forward to for the better part of this last year. Here, I share the words of Dr. Tharoor to launch the book into the world. Words that are gracing Hindustan Times' HT Brunch. Grateful... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2020 at Suvir
My May 16th, weekend column from Mail Today is out. Features my take on hope as I see it. My nephew, Karun Sagar was asked by me to write something inspiring. His writing flows as easily as water down a stream. Crispy Okra Salad, a recipe I came up with as a young young boy, that was the prize winning recipe at Devi, the one that was the only Sub-Continental recipe included in Food and Wine Magazine line up of the 40 Best Dishes of the Last 40 Years, is included here. Read full column below, or see it on... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2020 at Suvir
The lockdown has brought about some wonderful LIVE sessions. This conversation with Parul Kaul was one that kept me on my toes if you will. She had a wonderful energy and kept asking questions that flowed. Thanks Parul! Thanks Gourmet Passport! Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2020 at Suvir
This recipe was shared by visual artist extraordinaire, Aamir Rabbani. A dear friend. Also responsible for editing and digitizing the Corona recipes I have been sharing. Aamir is stuck home-alone in Delhi. He also has lost his cook to the lockdown. Instead of moping and complaining, Aamir has used this time to cook the dishes that he misses from back home in Muzaffarpur in Bihar. Egg Curry with green peas and potatoes is a dish his mother made often. His memories of it are rich. This version was made by him at home under quarantine. It is easy to make... Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2020 at Suvir
My Slice of Life column for the May 2nd weekend from Mail Today by India Today. Bonds of Joy Happiness comes when you have worked hard for something, when you are closer to your goals, and when you feel that you have arrived at a worthy place. Happiness always involves victory for the self. It is all about one’s accomplishments. Joy involves the transcending of yourself, when your heart is invested in another. Joy can come from years of changing diapers, worrying at night, dancing in the kitchen while cooking, or even just sitting with a friend or loved one... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2020 at Suvir
This is one of several western dishes that my mother made for us kids. Instead of drowning our French Toast in syrup, she would sprinkle coarse demerara sugar on the bread, so as it cooked on the grill, the sugar caramelized and pooled creating a sticky, sweet and crunchy built in coating that we found addictive. I use vanilla paste in this recipe as I feel it provides a gentler, richer vanilla flavor than vanilla extract. For an extra special touch, pulse some sugar cubes with lemon zest in your food processor and sprinkle over the French Toast before serving.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2020 at Suvir
Dhan-Saee is my take on what a baby born to a vegetarian marriage of Dhan Saak and Saee Bhaji would be. A nod to the Parsi and Sindhi food and forkways. A celebration of pulses and vegetables. Add more as you find in your refrigerator or the market. Switch them around to meet your fancy. The dish has wonderful heat that doesn’t bite the tongue the way green chiles (hot peppers) do, but a warmth that comes from the use of whole spices. A comforting discovery of tastes and flavors that build with each bite. That entertain beyond the bite... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2020 at Suvir
This dish is as ubiquitous to Northern Indian homes as roasted potatoes might be to homes in Northern Europe. It is everyday fare that is made across the different homes. Each adding their own signature to its preparation. Make it with frozen beans but cook them uncovered and make potatoes smaller to hasten their cooking and not getting the beans browner than they need to be. You can omit the turmeric if you want them not to be yellow in hue. Often the case at an Indian table. Fraaz Bean Aloo (French Bean and Potatoes) Serves 4-6 1/2 kg Fraaz... Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2020 at Suvir
Campari is one of those spirits that both Charlie and I love. A Negroni or even just Campari with orange is my go-to when not drinking Lillet with orange, on those rare occasions when I do drink. Not much of a drinker in the first place, it takes a delicious cocktail, a rather special wine, or a deeply delicious aperitif like Lillet or Cocchi Americano to convince me to stray. These are not easy to come by in most places. Even more difficult in quarantine and lockdowns. This cocktail that Charlie made in a jiffy, hit the spot, and is... Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2020 at Suvir
My Slice of Life column from Mail Today by India Today for April 18th, 2020. Read by following LINK here or keep reading below. What Will Be, Will Be As the birds chirp louder and happier than ever before, as the bark of the street dogs becomes more present and persistently so, we humans are left with gut-wrenching questions. It is left to us to fear the unknown, to worry about what will be tomorrow. The hows, whats and whys of the post-COVID-19 world and the new Corona world. Will the pandemic resurge? If it does, will I catch it?... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2020 at Suvir
This recipe comes my way from Raquel Pelzel, one of my closest friends and co-author of my books American Masala and Masala Farm. She got the recipe from Jenn Segal of Once Upon A Chef. It is an easy cake to make and a fun one to have one hand. Forgiving in its ease of baking and how it stays. While Jenn uses the batter to make muffins, I have used a strawberry red Emile Henry deep pie dish to make it into a cake. Enjoy! Raquel & Jenn’s Strawberry Cake Servings: 10-12 Prep Time: 20-30 Minutes Cook Time: 30-45... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2020 at Suvir
I was often called Kamla Bobo’s Chadi (walking stick to my paternal grandmother Kamla Bhatnagar). My grandma ran the house. My parents, siblings and I lived with her in New Delhi. This dish was one of the couple of potato dishes that she loved. This was mostly made in the evenings. She enjoyed it with Chapatis, pooris and parathas. Equally. On those days when we were observing festivals, this was the recipe that was followed to the tee. On rare occasions, the recipe could be made a tad bolder with the addition of some Garam Masala in the end. Sometimes... Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2020 at Suvir
A poori is a most beautiful edible treat to behold. In the kitchen as it is made and fried, and as it arrives on the table, to be consumed. Puffy and light, crisp outside and chewy in its bite, it is a miraculous invention and one that always pleases. We grew up eating pooris on tyauhaars (religious festivals) and at special dinners where a "fancy meal" was being served. Channas (chickpeas), rase waale aloo (potatoes), khatta meetha kaddu (sweet and sour pumpkin) and halwa (semolina pudding) are some of the dishes I associate with the making of pooris. They are... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2020 at Suvir
All three of my cookbooks have a recipe for Kaddu (pumpkin). In the US I love using butternut squash for the recipe. You can use green pumpkin or sweet ripe pumpkin. They are both used in India. This recipe/video is made using green kaddu (green pumpkin). Charlie and almost every friend that ever eats this, falls in love with it instantly. It is a dish that is made for special occasions when pooris (puffy bread) is served with special potato curry and channas (chickpeas). Also made to mark festivals. My father loved it and so it was made on a... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2020 at Suvir
Read my April 4th Slice of Life column in Mail Today, or continue here. Covid-19 Leading to Harsh Awakening Human behavior has shown an altricial manner that makes its actions and reactions more animalistic than those one would expect of mankind. Animals are more precocial, independent from birth, but we have ascribed greater intelligence and brilliance to man, whom we assume will be conditioned into performing at much higher levels of being than other creatures. But assumptions, like comparisons, are odious and mere hypotheses. If our behavior does not rise above that of the animals, we are hardly living up... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2020 at Suvir
Chanda Aloo cannot be made in enough quantities at our home. Two people can finish what a dozen people might eat at a fancier meal where everyone is being a tad more formal. Such is the beauty and comforting deliciousness of this simple potato dish. It goes back to my grandmother’s family’s table in Kurwaar. A recipe that has been passed down generationally. It now has fans across the continents. Friends and family members have taken it with them. Chanda Aloo Serves 4-6 You can add asafetida into the potatoes with the cumin if you want even more heft of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2020 at Suvir
It isn't every day that my friend Vani Tripathi Tikoo asks for something. Hers is a personality that gets glues to ones heart and being. She is what one calls "good people". Hers is an inclusive world in a world where we are all being torn apart into isms. She lives and loves with open arms and table. She gives herself with boundless empathy and a large heart. This biryani, a recipe from American Masala, is also bold, beautiful and soulfully flavorful. When Vani asked for its recipe just by looking at the photo, I had to oblige, and was... Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2020 at Suvir
This is a dish I saw at our table more often that I wished for it to be there. A favorite of my grandmother. It was made almost daily. It also grows in abundance. Is as local as local can be. It defines the epitome of what it means to be local and sustainable. Vegetables that grow together should stay together. Both bottlegourd and tomatoes grow in abundance. No wonder that this dish was abundant at our table. Make this your foundation and add to it as you wish. This is a basic form that is wonderful as a side... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2020 at Suvir
You can use whatever lentil you have at home, and in whatever mix you want. Today I used arhar, chana, dhuli moong and urad, and moong chilka. Dal is something most Indian homes eat in some way, shape or form daily. It is a staple in our homes. Inexpensive, nutritive and delicious. Serves 6 1.5 cups of lentils (mix of any and all that you wish), cleaned and soaked while you prepare all other ingredients 2 tablespoon ghee or vegetable oil Pinch of asafetida (heeng) 3 dried red chiles 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 3 onions (one minced fine and two... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2020 at Suvir
Locked in, with grim scenarios spelled out across television screens and mobile apps, no place to run or hide? Under these circumstances, it almost seems facetious to say, don't worry, so we won't. But what we can do is bring you a series of comfort food recipes put together by some of the most celebrated Indian chefs in the world. These may qualify as comfort food, but it's definitely not ordinary. Our star chefs will tell you the magic ingredient that will nudge it up a notch to qualify as gourmet. This recipe of mine is the first of a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2020 at Suvir
At The House Of Celeste, my restaurant in Gurugram, Haryana, we cannot make enough of these crispy, smooth, oozing with cheese beet balls. We serve them tossed in Tamarind chutney. At home you can serve them that way, or with the chutney at the side. I know friends who would devour them as is, and others who would dunk them in ketchup and be in comforting heaven. This is a recipe that is wonderful for those festivals/fasts when meat is forbidden, and onion and garlic are also restricted. While the recipe is vegetarian, it is far from shy in depth... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2020 at Suvir
Floyd Cardoz, an international restaurateur and the first chef to bring the sweep and balance of his native Indian cooking to fine dining in the United States, died on Tuesday at Mountainside Hospital in Montclair, N.J. He was 59. The cause was the coronavirus, his family said. Read full Obituary here from the NYT here. It was 1998 when I first heard of and tried Floyd Cardoz's food at Tabla in NYC. It was also about the time that I had begun my own career in the world of food. US News and World Report wanted to do a feature... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2020 at Suvir