FOOD / Gastropod

MAKING a flying visit to the Indian sub- continent last week, the Gastropod was munching a curried mutton paratha in a Dhaka bazaar when his attention was drawn to a report in a local paper of the previous day's play in the Madras Test match. The Daily Star of Bangladesh reported: 'England, shorn by food poisoning of captain Graham Gooch and with two senior batsmen sick in bed, toiled gamely but lamely throughout a harrowing day.'

Although the Gastropod is barely conversant with the rules of cricket (aren't batsmen supposed to get the runs?), he is no stranger to exploding bowel syndrome and at first found it easy to empathise with Mr Gooch. When confronted by exotic delicacies, it is sometimes hard for even the most safety-conscious gastronaut to say no.

The Star had little sympathy, recalling the New Zealand team's troubles on their tour of 1989-90 and remarking: 'Although England are unlikely to have to follow the Kiwis' example and use journalists as substitute fielders, they are paying dearly for taking one gastronomic risk too many . . .

'On the eve of the game, Gooch and several other players ate prawns in their hotel's Chinese restaurant,' the report went on, reprovingly. 'Shellfish is generally regarded as a risky proposition in India for people accustomed to Western diets. Less than an hour before the start Gooch, ravaged by stomach pains, gave in to the inevitable and pulled out.'

Put that way, one does wonder what Mr Gooch was playing at. Madras boasts a diverse and sophisticated restaurant culture that ranges from simple snack bars, such as Dasa, serving masala dosas in myriad permutations, to ultra-posh restaurants, such as the Raintree, which specialises in rich and meaty Chetinaad dishes. The vegetarian Brahmins of Madras regard eating as a sacred activity, 'a sacrifice to the gastric juices', and are obsessed with cleanliness. In the circumstances, only a fool or a philistine would fall for dodgy prawns.

THE Gastropod was not in India for the cricket, but for the culinary experience. There he met the chefs who are coming to London to cook at the Red Fort restaurant in Soho, which is commemorating its 10th anniversary in March with a food festival. Even with the chefs, the talk was of cricket.

From Dhaka we went to Delhi to meet chef Gurjit Singh Kochar and to eat with him at the superb Pakwan restaurant at Le Meridien Hotel. Chef Kochar, aka the Kebab King, will be taking over the tandoor at the Red Fort for the first fortnight of March to demonstrate Punjabi cookery. Over dinner, the Gastropod sampled murgh zafrani (chicken marinated with saffron), noorani seekh kebabs (a combination of chicken and lamb) and maas ke sholay (marinated leg of baby lamb), while the kindly Sikh went on at some length about the deficiency of the England team's dietary strategy.

WHILE in Delhi, the Gastropod was delighted to meet one of India's foremost food personalities, Manjit Gill, who presents a television cookery programme and who was asked by the Maharani of Jaipur to cater for the Prince and Princess of Wales during their visit last year. Apparently, the Princess was keen to know how he makes his kulfi so creamy. 'Patience,' the wise Sikh told her, 'and Temper.'

Mr Gill escorted the Gastropod to the spice market at Khari Baoli to visit the Pickle Prince, Tavinder Kumar, and stock up on his Mango Chatney and Ginger Gilroy. We found the prince in his customary position, sitting cross-legged at the entrance to his tiny shop. Like everyone else, however, he was preoccupied by the postcard-sized pictures of the Test match he was watching on a tiny television set.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Recruitment Genius: Centre Manager

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Guru Careers: Accountant

    £28 - 45k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Accountant is needed to take control of the ...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Assistant Manager

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This hotel in Chadderton is a p...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living