Food Photography

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Chilies, Shallots, ginger, "kodampuli' & curry leaves cooked in a traditional earthern ware container called "chatti" or "Mann chatti"


Paneer Shashlik - Vegetarian


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The Washington Post food editor Joe Yonan has turned a Vegetarian. So here is a recipe dedicated to Joe and to all my vegetarian friends. This is a very simple recipe which can be made quickly and easily. 

Ingredients                                             Serves - 4 - 6

1.5 lbs of Paneer - cut into 1" cubes*
1 large onion
1 large tomato or 12 whole grape tomatoes
1 green pepper
21/2 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp Veg. Oil
2 Tbsp Ginger/Garlic paste or ginger and garlic powder
1/4 tsp - Red Chili powder
1/4 tsp.Cumin powder
1/4 tsp Amchur powder*
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
4 Tbsp plain hung yogurt *
1 Tbsp - Kasoori Methi
1 tsp - Salt


1. Cut Paneer into 1" cubes

2. Cut green pepper, onions and whole tomatoes into 1" squares. Alternatively you can substitute whole grape tomato or cherry tomato instead of cutting whole tomatoes. 

3. In a medium size mixing bowl, make a marinade with all the ingredients from lemon juice to salt. 

4. Soak the cut cubes of Paneer, pepper,onions and tomatoes in the marinade for about half an hour.

4. Soak bamboo skewers in water for a few minutes. Then, thread the cubes of paneer, onions, tomatoes and green pepper on to bamboo skewer.

5. Cook on a flat top grill for a few minutes on each side till it gets a nice golden brown color

6. Serve with chutney of your choice.

* Hung yogurt - Plain yogurt which is hung in a muslin cloth so as to remove some excess whey from the yogurt. Alternatively some sour cream can be incorporated to the plain yogurt to make it thick.  

 * "Paneer"- is home made cheese. It is readily available in Indian grocery stores. How to make Paneer at    home will be a future post.

* Amchur Powder  - available in Indian grocery stores - Usually made from dried unripe green mangoes.



A new term, new Restaurants to try - Mr.President


Heartiest Congratulations Mr. President on your re-election! Thank you for your invitation to the Presidential Inauguration.




 Above : with Mrs. Nisha Vinod at the Inaugural Ball.

I had the privelege and honor to visit the White House during your first term. It was Easter day and I missed  you Mr. President. I look forward to meeting you and serving you some delicious Indian food during your second term.


Above : With Celebrated Chefs Sanjeev Kapoor and Bill Yosses at the White House. 

 The dining landscape in Washington DC has changed tremendously in the last few years! You think of any cuisine of the world and we have them in Washington DC. By now you must have already received various recommendations for your dining in the second term. My humble suggestion is for you to start with the Cleveland Park neightborhood of Washington DC

The historic Cleveland Park in North West Washington DC awaits your arrival Mr. President.  Just to familiarize you with this Washington neighborhood, - Cleveland Park, named after the former President Grover Cleveland, is a historic neighborhood with an old theater – UPTOWN, and in my opinion has some of the best restaurants in town.


 'President Cleveland and Mrs. Cleveland' at the Cleveland Park day in front of Indique. (The President of the Cleveland Park Association dressed as President Cleveland)

When the economy was going south a few years back, this thriving neighborhood took a severe beating; the whole area began to deteriorate. A 100 year old grocery store – Magruders and smal businesses/restaurants like Yenching Palace and Yannis shut their doors; there were ‘To rent signs ‘ all over the place and  businesses began to notice a large drop in their sales.Corporate entertaining was reduced, office/holiday parties disappeared or were downsized and clearly the recession had set in.To confirm that further the ‘groupons’ and ‘living socials had come in a big way and everybody was looking for deals, deals and only deals.

Now hopefully with the worst behind us,and with the economy slowly improving, the empty stores are filling up and some new and exciting changes have come up. Palena restaurant, run by a former White House chef Frank Ruta, has taken over the Magruders, a new steak place - Medium Rare,has opened up. Veteran restaurateur Ashok Bajaj combined his two restaurants( Ardeo + Bardeo) making it larger. In anticipation of uptick in business, Restaurants like Dino and indique added a lot of new dishes to their menus.

Cleveland Park today offers almost every cuisine that you can think of Italian, Indian,Thai, Vietnamese, Modern American, Asian, Tapas, Steaks, French, Pizzas, you name it.

In my opinion, Palena, run by a former White House Chef Frank Ruta is one of the best restaurants in the area. It serves modern American. Palena has both a fine dining restaurant and a café. Here you can try Frank’s amazing three or four course menu or a burger next door.

  If you are in a mood for Indian – then there is no doubt that you have to try Indique, Mr. President. 

  (Full disclosure – Indique is co-owned by my business partner Surfy Rahman and me)

I am not recommending Indique, just because I co-own it Mr. President. I am recommending this because I feel it is one of the most beautiful restaurants in Cleveland Park in terms of its ambiance, quality and variety of food it has to offer.Indique showcases modern Indian cuisine.The name Indique is derived from India and Unique.


Below : The main dining hall located in the second level has two sections with beautiful marble railings from India.



Your family can explore modern Indian Cuisine. We offer small plates;It will be a chance for Sasha and Malia to be exposed to a variety of foods. First lady Michelle Obama would probably appreciate – simple, nutritious options as well as some healthy desserts.

Your choice of Indique has already been endorsed by your cabinet. Ms. Hillary Clinton, Ms. Janet Napolitano, Mr. Lawrence Summers, Mr. David Plouffe, and other dignitaries like the former President of India, the Ambassador of India have all eaten here. 

Let us take a few examples of the dishes mentioned. Our Salmon Slider is a very popular. It is both tasty and healthy. The salmon cake is sandwiched between "oothapam" - a savory lentil and rice pancake,"yogurt tartare" and grilled onions. 


 Above : Salmon slider


Above : Crab Papad Cones

CRAB PAPAD CONES -  are served in a cone made of baked lentils. Mr. President, you get the crunch from the papad, the heat from the spices, and little sweetness from the coconut. 

 Last but not the least we also have a healthy dessert Mr. President - Shreekandh brûlée

You find Creme brûlée at every other restaurant. Here is our version with yogurt..

Shreekandh - torching


Mr. Presdient again I invite you and your family to visit Cleveland Park and try unique Indian cuisine at Indique. Given your very busy schedule, I will be happy to bring the cuisine of Indique to you.


A Culinary Journey through India - les Dames d'Escoffier event at Indique Heights



WHEN : MONDAY MAY 21, 2012

TIME : 6.30 PM



           $ 65.00 NON MEMBERS

TICKETS :202 973 6178 OR for more info click here

Welcome Drink:

Kokum Margarita/Tamarind Margarita/A glass of wine




DHOKLA ((Gujarat)

steamed - Lentil, mustard, ginger, chili


Cauliflower, chili, yogurt, curry leaves

Crab Papad Roll (Kerala)

Maryland crab, shallots,green chili, coconut



Fish of the day, tamarind, fenugreek


Chicken, coconut, ginger, spices


Chili, vinegar, garlic & spices

BHARLI BHANGI (Maharashtra)

Baby egg plant, tomato, cumin, spices


Spinach, lentils, garlic, chili &spices

DAL BATI (Rajasthan)

Lentils, flour, & spices

DUM ALOO (Kashmir)

Stuffed baby potaotes,home made cheese 


Pilaf rice with dried fruits & nuts



RASMALAI (West Bengal)

Cheese patties, cardamom, pistachio, milk

GAJAR HALWA   (  New Delhi )

Carrots, Cardamom, Milk, Pistachio

Executive chefs : S.Balamurugan and Abraham Varghese.


Superbowl 2012 - Eats at Indique

See what we are serving for the Superbowl 2012 at Indique.

Picnik collage  Kokum martini                                    

                                                             KOKUM MARTINI

You may also want to check out my Chickpea hush Puppies recipe for Super Bowl watching on Washington Post site :


Restaurant Week - Extended at Indique, Cleveland park.

The Restaurant Week at Indique has been extended for another week till Jan 21, 2012. Please come and check out some of the new dishes on the Menu.

 Pork Belly, Veal cheeks, Achari 'Taco', Kokum Margarita and more....


DC Restaurant Week - January 2012


Folks, this is the time of the year, when holidays are over and people are slowly getting back to work. Our bi-annual Restaurant Week begins tomorrow. At Indique, we have spruced up our menu and have many new dishes!  Come and join us  for dinner - January 9 - 15, 2012.

The Restaurant Week Menu is available at -



Curry leaf drink on NPR

 Thanks to Monica Bhide for featuring my curry leaf drink on NPR. Here is the article :

September 28, 2011

 This savory beverage is wonderfully refreshing.

Khas chas

Makes 4 to 6 servings

1 sprig fresh curry leaves

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 ounce peeled fresh ginger (about 1/2 inch)

1/2 serrano green chili, seeded (optional)

2 cups plain low-fat yogurt

2 1/2 cups water


Ice cubes, for serving

Cut the curry leaves into fine shreds. Toast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet until fragrant. Let cool and crush to a coarse powder in a spice grinder. Cut the ginger into fine shreds. Coarsely chop the chili, if using.

Combine the curry leaves, cumin, ginger, chili (if using), yogurt and water in a blender and mix well. Blend in salt to taste. Serve with ice cubes.


For a milder-flavored drink, lightly crush the curry leaves, ginger and green chili, stir them into the yogurt and water along with the crushed cumin, and refrigerate. Strain out the solids and season with salt before serving over ice.

If you do not want your drink to be spicy hot, omit the green chili.

for more on the article and curry leaf recipes:


Kerala style Cornish hen/ Chicken - Kozhi Varatha Curry

We were expecting some guests at home. My wife Nisha and my mom had  made all the dishes for the evening. Most of the dishes were Vegetarian, so I decided to supplement the Menu by making a quick preparation of a Kerala style Cornish hen/chicken curry. 

It was a challenge to cook and handle the camera at the same time !  I will look forward to your comments. Happy cooking! 

Kerala Style Cornish Hen/Chicken  (Serves 10 - 12) 


Cornish hen or small chicken – 5lbs

Red Onions (chopped) – 3 cups

Cardamom (small) – 10-12

Cardamom (black) – 2

Cloves – a few

Bay leaves - a few

Cinnamon - 2 pieces

Star anise – a few

Cumin seeds – 1 tsp.

Red chili powder – 3 tablespoons

Coriander powder – 5 tablespoons

Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon

Chopped garlic – 1 tablespoon

Curry leaves - a few sprigs

Fresh ginger – 1 small piece cut into julienne or ginger powder – 1 tablespoon

Plain yogurt – 4 ounces

Vegetable oil – ½ cup


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  1. Remove the skin, cut into small pieces, rinse, dry with a paper towel and set aside in a mixing bowl.

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   2. Set aside the whole spices like small cardamom, black cardamom, cumin seeds, cloves, bay leaves, star anise, cinnamon on a small plate.

  3. On another plate set asdie ground spices - red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder.

  4. Chop onions( preferably red onions).

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 5. Add the ground spices like red chili powder, turmeric and coriander powder on to a skillet and warm them up for a minute or two with a few drops of oil, making sure not burn the spices.

 6. Add the warmed up spices on to the cornish hen/chicken along with the plain yogurt, and a few sprig of curry leaves. Mix well and set aside in the refrigerator for about an hour. 

 7. In a thick bottom pan, heat oil add the whole spices - cumin, cardamom(small), black cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, bayleaves,chopped garlic, ginger add chopped onions. When the onions are kind of translucent, add curry leaves and continue to fry the onions till they get a nice dark color as shown ( do not burn the onions)

8. Now add the marinated cornish hen/chicken and continue to stir for a few minutes. Cover and cook on a slow fire, occasionally stirring till the cornish hen/chicken is done. 

Note : if you like gravy in this dish, you can add some water. My personal preference is to cook without any water. 


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