Sunday, October 3, 2010

Review of Battle for Bittora by Anuja Chauhan matched with a recipe for Halwa

For those of you who only know my food side, I LOVE to read in general, in fact I devour non food books as well. No matter how late I go to bed, I HAVE to read before I sleep. Occasionally The Cook - shelf talks about non food books as well. Zoya Factor was one such... And now it is Battle for Bittora by the smae author - Anuja Chauhan.

I resisted Zoya Factor (Anuja Chauhan's first book) for a long time because it had a cricket theme. But I finally gave in and bought it in a fey moment because the back cover snuck up on me. I loved it! So much so that I actually took to accosting innocent UNKNOWN people that even looked at the book in passing at bookstores, and made them buy it! So when I heard she was working on her next book, I was really looking forward to it.

I almost missed that the book was out! In fact if I hadn’t seen a listing in Times of India I would not have known it had been published! Anyways to cut a long story short, I did what I had to, to get my hands on the book, rushed home, forgot everything else I had to do (ALOT) and begun reading!

The story starts out engagingly with 25 year old Jinni (Sarojini to her eternal disgust) who lives and works in Mumbai as a Kitaanu animator (who dreams of animating superheroes). She is perfectly happy doing so and exchanging clever repartee with her gay and rather colourful colleague Rumi until the arrival of her grandmother, at her office in Mumbai in the middle of said repartee, at midnight, demanding in broken English that Jinni “campaign for her and her Pragati party in Bittora. Here is about when the reader realises that daal mein kush kala hai, this is not just an era gera story.

Jinni ditches haute couture for frumpy khadi and accompanies her granny home - at which point the reader needs to set aside questions like “Just like that?” and leave their brains at the proverbial door - arrives in Bittora. Only to literally run slap bang into the lean, taut chiselled, honey gold chest (and this is where female readers begun to be reeled in) of Zak aka Zain Altaf Khan (to our eternal lust) who is an ex-Royal of Bittora that has converted his family seat into a Heritage hotel in partnership with the Taj AND most importantly is Jinni’s childhood friend and love interrupted.

And here is where the twist happen. It turns out that Jinni is not to be a frumpy salwar suit clad campaigner for her grandmother but a cotton sari clad wannabe MP CANDIDATE for the Pragati party in Bittora. AND her rival in the election is none other than her friend from childhood Zain Altaf Khan who is a candidate of the opposing IJP, a pro-hindu party, that by fielding him, a Muslim candidate, is trying to signal a change of its party ideologies.

For the first 150-60 pages things move along engagingly, around page 80 or so the reader lets out her first chuckle when Our Pappu makes an appearance and by about page 125, when Jinni is served Bhainscafe, coffee made with “straight-from-the-tit-bhains-ka-doodh” because homogenised milk has not made it to Bittora, the reader realises that there are good books, great books, even memorable books. But there are few books that make you laugh do hard that the bed shakes and your sleeping husband sits up and gives you a blearily disgusted look!

And so Jinni dons her armour of cotton saris and frumpy blouses and prepares to uphold the illustrious Pande dynasty of Pavit Pradesh battling prickly heat, accusations of nymphomania and corruption even as Zain distracts her with glimpses of lean, taut, chiselled, honey gold flesh from chest his array of kurtas and cool tshirts and his oh so rock-solid, knight-in-shinig-armour personality that Jinni keeps disregarding. And so ensues a battle royale that plays backdrop to a steamy love story that plays itself out over facebook and chance meetings on rural backroads.

Peppered with hinglish and hindi words like kitaanu animator, Saakshaat fart, with Ammaji’s philosophies delivered in typical Pavit Pradesh accent and no marks for guessing the place that Pavit Pradesh refers to or which parties are being spoofed as Pragati and IJP. B4B - as the book is being affectionately referred to already - is a laughathon through and through that this reader did not stop reading till the end (which came at about 4 am in the morning, by which time her husband had turned away, covered his head with a blanket and resigned himself to fate).

Thank you Anuja Chauhan, you set the mark high with Zoya Factor, and more than met it with Battle for Bittora! And now to get back to the pile of work I have been shirking!

Halwa (Time: 30-45 mins, Serves 2-4)

While their origins are lost in time Halwas, are sticky sweets that would be classified as puddings in the West and are made from one predominant ingredient like a flour, lentil, fruit or vegetable that is cooked with Ghee (clarified butter) and Sugar. Halwa cooked further could also be set, cut into shapes and served. Come the winter and all over the North of India one is tempted by the aroma of Gajjar ka Halwa, (Carrot Halwa) lingering as it does on the cold winter air. Heavy monsoon rains will often have my North Indian husband asking for Atte Ka Halwa (Halwa made from unbleached flour) a treat his mother used to cook up for him and his siblings when the rain cooped them indoors but that is a home-style preparation, rarely served to guests. The Halwa that is served to guests and cooked for Poojas as offerings to the Gods all over India is the Suji/Sooji or Semolina Halwa. Halwa Puri is a popular offering throughout the book so I thought it would be a great accompaniment to the book when you read it.

Suji/Sooji ka Halwa

1 c Sooji (semolina)
1 c Sugar
2.5 c water
2 tsp ghee
Lots of Raisins (you can add other dry fruit, I like my Halwa with just raisins)
2-3 Cardamom, coarsely powdered

Add the sugar to the water mix well a d bring to a boil. Reserve. In a Kadai or wok add the ghee and sooji and cook, stirring constantly for 15-20 minutes till the sooji darkens to a light brown. Add Cardamom powder and mix well. Add still warm water-sugar solution slowly, stirring with a spoon. Allow to cook stirring constantly until all the water has been absorbed (about 5-10 minutes). Garnish with chopped nuts and serve hot.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Launch of book The Food Trail of Punjab by Yashbir Sharma (a food travelogue).

The Cookshelf from A Perfect Bite was proud to host the launch of Yashbir Sharma’s new book The Food trails of Punjab on the 27th of September over a fabulous dinner of Punjabi food generously catered by the Legacy of Punjab restaurant. We were also honored to have some of the foodiest of foodies of Mumbai join us for the happy occasion.
I started Cookshelf  because, thanks to my friend foodwriter Vikram Doctor I have acquired an addiction to books on food and I wanted to create a repository of information of foodwriting and food books from around the world but most specifically from Indian. It is a work in progress, that I am adding to slowly. An objective of this blog is also to help good food books get attention. Having tried, rather unsuccessfully to sell my book on Uttaranchali cuisine to publishers for the last five years, I know how frustrating it is to have a good book and not find a publisher. And there are many brave foodwriters out there who believe in their books enough to put their money behind their passion and self publish books. One such man is Yashbir Sharma.
Yashbir Sharma
I first heard about Yashbir uncle and his first book The Dhabas of Amritsar through one of Vikram’s columns on restaurant cookbooks in ET, but never actually found a copy to look at. And then as serendipity would have it, I happened to meet his nephew, Manish. After that it was just a matter of me nagging Manish until he introduced me! When I finally met Yashbir Sharma, at his home in Delhi a few months ago  I was disappointed to hear that he did not have any copies of his book left BUT was quickly heartened to hear that he was soon to release a new book! I even got to see the dummy version of the book that he was self publishing; The Food Trail of Punjab. 
The Book - The food trail of Punjab
I decided right there that I would do whatever I could to help spread the word on the book. And when Yashbir Uuncle called last week to say he was bringing me some of the first copies of the book, I was thrilled. I worked against time, (even emailing from my phone of the deck of a houseboat on Kerela’s backwaters) to pull together the launch. Before I go on about the evening and the book, I would like to thank Varun Dhingra of the Legacy of Punjab restaurant, without which this evening could not have been as delicious. To launch a food book you need good food at the event and my big concern was what to serve for dinner. I am a good cook but for a book on Punjab I needed good Punjabi food, an area in which my repertoire is small. But luck favoured me again and as I was discussing things with my friend Pooja of Le 15 Patisserie, she told me that her brother Varun ran a Punjabi restaurant that had Amritsari cooks in the kitchen and would be happy to help with this. And so the table was set for The food Trail of Punjab to take off.
Varun Dhingra of the Legacy of Punjab restaurant
Amritsari Tikkis from Legacy of Punjab
As we dug into Amritsari Tikkis slathered in lashings of chutneys and Mooli salad, Yashbir Uncle told us about this book that was two years and several trips to Punjab in the making. 

"It all started when I was in Amritsar, I had an upset stomach  and decided to have some Trotters soup in Amritsar. Before you know it I was fine. The water of Amritsar is very good for the digestion. It allows one to eat the local food without getting sick." he said and the thought struck him to document the food of Punjab. And so he embarked on a happy trip through the state, pen and camera at the ready. 

“I have travelled the length and breadth of Punjab and found its people amazingly simple in their eating habits. Yet, they don’t compromise on their food. It is nutritious and delicious, with no frills attached to it. The recipes are simple, the Masallas do not number more than 7-8” 

The fertile state of Punjab in North India has always been considered the “bread basket” of the country. Famous for its vast rolling plains, endless fields of wheat, corn, millet and rice and the food! For the hardworking people of Punjab, every meal is little celebration and wherever you eat in this part of India, be it at restaurant, a roadside dhabba (as local street-side food vending stalls are referred to) or in a Punjabi home, quantity is definitely a measure of quality partly because Punjabis like to eat well but also because they love to lay a laden table.

And it is this legacy that the Food trail of Punjab brings us through recipes and the unforgettable stories behind them, culled from the owners of iconic eateries across Punjab. Featured in it’s pages are such hearty iconic delights as Kara Prasad, Dal Makhani, Amritsar Da Mutton, Gajjar da Murraba Meen Punjabi-Chinni Ishtyle Chicken and winding its way between these recipes, in the best tradition of the food travelogue are stories, vignettes of history, stories of iconic establishments and the people that run them. Full of candid photographs, charming commentary impassioned memories of the people and food of Punjab. The Food Trail of Punjab is a delicious romp of a book guaranteed to get you craving for a Punjabi meal.

It is a book that any food lover - but especially those who are afficionados of indian food and Indian culinary history - should aspire to own, because it celebrates an era of food - the kind that loved simple flavours, oodles of ghee and lots of deep frying - that is an iconic part of Indian cuisine and needs to preserved. 

Fabulous stuffed Kulchas!

Tandoori Rotis
Shanky and Lotsoffood!

Feast of Food and friends

The French connection? Food writer Mangal Dalal and Pooja Dhingra of Le 15
Mini Rasmalai
The book and the food!  

The Food Trail of Punjab is widely available at bookstores all over India. For more information you can get in touch with Mr. Sharma at mryashbirsharma(at)gmail(dot)com. 

‘Legacy of Punjab’ Asli Punjab Da Tashan as a grade 1 restaurant on the Mumbai – Nashik / Shirdi highway, 3km from Shangrila Waterpark. A spacious restaurant, that recreates the ambiance of a Punjabi farm house, Legacy of Punjab, uses solar energy fas its primary power source and growis most of ithe produce it uses on the 10,000 sq feet farm attached to the restaurant where vegetables like cauliflower, okra, brinjals, sugar cane, corn, papayas, radish flourish. For further enquiries please call +91 93231 07555 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +91 93231 07555      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or email, or look for them Facebook under Legacy of Punjab.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Book review - Modern Spice

I have known Monica Bhide, almost as long as I have been a food writer. In fact she was kind enough to guide me on many early queries on aspects of food writing. I was always curious to get a look at her cookbooks (she has two previous cookbooks to her name; The Spice is Right and The Everything Indian Cookbook) but I never got my hands on one because they did not make it to India. So I was determined to change that when I heard that about her latest offering 'Modern Spice' and had asked someone in the US to pick up one. But it turned out I did not need to however, because Random House released an Indian edition and were kind enough to send me a copy. A lot of cookbooks wash up on my doorstep, but very few pass the test that gets them through to this blog. Modern Spice did.

Indian cooking is a classic example of fusion going right. And anyone that scoffs about that or about fusion is too full of themselves and needs to get a good dose of Chopsuey Dosa in Mumbai! That is a story for another post however. The point I am trying to make is that Indian cuisine is a classic example of fusion. The roots of Indian cuisine were put down millennia ago when the geographical borders of the sub continent of India were drawn. Indigenous ingredients were harvested by ancient civilizations of India and the resultant cuisine formed the base of Indian Cuisine as we know it. However, the sub continent of India spans many climates zones and is home to a variety of flora and fauna. So as civilizations spread out over the subcontinent with time, they took with them the food ways they practiced but adapted them to suit locally available ingredients.

And today the world is a much smaller place. Indians have moved all over the world taking their cuisine with them and adapting it to what is locally available. In a modern day evolution, Monica has adapted the culinary knowledge she inherited, to the foods she has found in America. The difference is that where expat accounts of food cooked abroad once read as an account of traditional curries and Indian food cooked painstakingly from scratch by mothers and grandmothers to recreate the flavours of home and carried melancholy undertones, Monica’s book reflects a more refreshing positive evolution, a reflection of the lives of Indians living abroad today, easy, fun, intensely flavourful and inclusive! This is food to welcome, become a PART of a world that is coming closer, evolving together not exclude, by saying – you would not understand Indian spices.....

In the forward, Monica says “Just because we have always done something in one way, it does not make it the only way to do it” and that to this cook who like to experiment with ingredients and push them to their limits is what appeals. Monica Bhide’s book Modern spice gives the world a small taste of what you can do with a little Indian spice and exotica such as Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli we have only just begun to experiment with in dishes other than salads and Chinese food!

I look at a cookbook for inspiration and Modern Spice offered lots of new ideas I especially loved the drinks section that sexed up homely classics such as ROOH AFZA (of all things) into a sultry Rum and roses and spiked a plain old Pineapple juice with chillies to make Hot Passion. But that said my biggest grouse is that there are no pictures. A lot of pain has been taken to lay out pages and add breaks in text with innovative touches of colour and graphics but it would have been nice to actually see what some of the more unusual recipes looked like when I was trying to decide what to make!

All eaten and tasted however, I think this is a great book to invest in, as a gift for non Indians wanting to try their hand at Indian influenced cooking; it keeps a western audience in mind, using ingredients found in most western supermarkets. But (and this is even while I am aware that some of the ingredients used are not available in India) it is also a great book for the modern Indian cook who likes a little adventure. The recipes are designed with the modern sensibilities of health in mind: lighter than most traditional Indian recipes and easy to cook in spite of frantic schedules we have these days.

Shrimp in Green Mango Butter Sauce
Serves: 4
Prep/Cook Time: 20 mintues
Green mangoes cooked in a sweet butter sauce add a delightfully different tart, tangy, and sweet touch to this shrimp curry. Serve this with steamed basmati rice.
3½ tablespoons unsalted butter
½ teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
10 fresh curry leaves
2 large or 4 to 6 small shallots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon table salt to start
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
¼ cup chicken stock
1½ pounds or about 650 grams jumbo
shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup diced, peeled green (unripe) mango
1 teaspoon sugar
½ cup water
Half a fresh lemon
1. Heat two and a half tablespoons of the butter and the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until the foam subsides. Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves and sauté just until the mustard seeds pop.
2. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté for two to three minutes until aromatic and golden.
3. Add the turmeric, salt, pepper, broth, and shrimp and simmer for a few minutes until the shrimp is almost cooked through. Remove from the heat.
4. In a medium pan, melt the remaining one tablespoon of butter on medium heat. Add the mango and sugar and sauté for a minute. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cook for five to seven minutes until the mango starts to soften.
5. Transfer the mango mixture to the saucepan containing the shrimp. Mix well, then reheat gently. Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice.

GYAAN and legend
Priced at Rs. 499, Modern Spice is published by Random House India. Monica Bhide is a cookery writer and blogger whose articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economic Times, Femina, Bon Appetit and eGullet. In addition to her writing, Monica owns and operates her own cooking school which has been featured in Bon Appetit.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Perfect Bite...: VIRTUAL BIRTHDAY POTLUCK WEEK. - What will you cook for me on my birthday?

A Perfect Bite...: VIRTUAL BIRTHDAY POTLUCK WEEK. - What will you cook for me on my birthday?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Author Interview - Bulbul Mankani, Bollywood Cookbook .

Bulbul Mankani is a gem of a person I have the good fortune to count amongst foodie friends. Born in Delhi, Bulbul grew up in many countries and cities and recently moved north to look after her mom.  Just prior to that she was teaching at a film school- whistling woods international. Trained in food at IHM, New Delhi Bulbul  only really cooked for the first time at college and then everyday for three years after. Over the years she has worked in the hotel industry and in media (television and advertising), having directed a 39 part TV series on food called Shahi Dawat, a show on the royal cuisine of India..... A while ago I interviewed her on her cookbook for an article. Thought I would share it here! 

RMG: Why the Bolly wood Cookbook? What inspired you? Why did you choose the subject you did to write about?

BM: Funnily, there was no inspiration, my publishers wanted a book that combined Bollywood and food - as both are favourites in Europe presently - and they asked me to come up with a book... So I would say the subject chose me! And my training in food and film helped

RMG: How did you become interested in cooking? When and how did food and its exploration become important?
BM: I come from a foodie family- in good, bad, rich, poor times there was a lot of great food cooked and eaten.... One side of my family are Sardars from Rawalpindi and they enjoy this full blooded meaty cuisine.... the other side is Sindhi with their highly disciplined eating... I used to watch some cooking as a kid but the first time I really cooked was at college and boy did we cook- almost 8 hrs everyday!!

RMG: How did you set about working on this book?  Did you travel, meet the celebrities whose favourites you featured, actually cook with them in their own kitchens?

BM: The toughest part was to get the celebrities to participate! Once they agreed I would interview them, the ones I knew from before actually cooked and showed me their skills but the others shared their food stories and told me about their favourite dishes. I then took the recipe from their mom's/ uncles/ aunts/ khansamas (cooks), tested them and wrote the chapter on each of them.

RMG: Would you share some of your most pleasurable moments during your
research, interactions with celebrities, tastings?
BM: Most of the actors were great to meet and talk to. I think one of the fun things was meeting them in their make up vans on film sets and talking about food for hours.... it was really such a heady mix.  I love food and films and they came together in a great way... I travelled to Amravati to meet Nandita Das and I remember the lush orange trees for miles and she was such an easy natural person.... I think each one of them was a pleasure. Most were very passionate about food despite the need for fit bodies.  Not all cooked themselves but they all knew their food.  I discovered Manisha Koirala is a great cook and hostess. I tasted her Italian cooking and it is good.  Shabana Azmi is articulate and funny - a great raconteur... as is Rahul Bose.... both do not cook at all but know their dals! 
RMG: What's your favorite recipe from your book?
BM: If I have to choose just one it has to be Junglee Mutton, the recipe shared by Rishi and Neetu Kapoor - it was unusual and truly represents food born by necessity. 

RMG: What's next on the menu? What can we, look forward to next from
your kitchen/pen? I know it is a little soon, but do give us a hint...
BM: I had written a film script set in the food world and am turning that into a novel.  Plus working on two cook books- one on Ayurvedic cuisine and another is a food travelogue....
RMG: What do you have to say about the lack of food representation in Indian Movies?
BM: True, our cinema misses out on this aspect completely- except for the odd dinner table sequence- even a film like Bawarchi did not create enough food moments.   

RMG: Favourite foodie movie? Why?
BM: Like water for chocolate- its sensual and had that premise that food carries our emotions 

RMG: What were some of the things you were uncompromising about as regards to your book, that you think should be given more attention in other cookbooks? (Language, recipe testing etc)
BM: Recipe testing and description - a lot of books assume you know the ingredients or spice mixes and one needs to appreciate that books travel all over the world I keep the lowest common denominator in mind... so i explain how to make all the subset ingredients/chutneys... 

RMG: I found you through your blog (a great tool since I was looking for you) but in general do you think a blog/website is important to promotion? And have you done anything special with any bloggers to promote your book?
BM: Like you an accidental food blogger found me and promoted the book plus ran a contest.... I love blogging but am lazy about it.... I think it’s a great way to promote the book.... so I think it should get linked to sale through a internet purchase....

RMG: Anything you would have done differently?
BM: I would have attended the food photography sessions, we were on a tight time schedule so I could not be there...and the photos are sometimes not accurate...

Monday, January 25, 2010

ORGANIC FOOD IN INDIA - An interview with Dr. Anjali Pathak, naturopath and organic consultant

Dr Anjali Pathak
Will organic ingredients make a noticeable difference in gourmet and home cooking?
A world of difference! Organic food tastes better, looks better, feels better and nourishes better than chemically grown food. You may not be a gourmet cook but if you cook with organic ingredients you will get rave reviews and lavish praise from all who taste the feast.

We all love our baingan bhurta, so why this fuss over Bt brinjal?
Because Bt brinjal may kill or maim us and our children in silent and unexpected ways. We still do not know enough about the long term effects of genetically modified food upon the human body. We may be able to produce more food in terms of quantity but whether this food is going to be healthy food remains unanswered to date.

Agreed that organic food is healthy but why aren’t more shops selling it?
Good question. Firstly, most of the organic food being grown in India is being exported abroad. Secondly, the supply chain from the farmer to the shopkeeper is erratic and fluctuating as far as organic food is concerned. Thirdly, the high cost of space rental in big cities means that organic stores often cannot break even. And fourthly, consumer consciousness and hence consumer demand for organic food is low. In fact an ASSOCHAM study revealed that only 3.3% of the population in our metropolitan cities opt for organic food.

Where can I find fresh organic produce, cereals and pulses in Mumbai?
The Yusuf Meherally Centre in Babulnath carries fresh produce. Dosti Land Developers who have farms in Dahanu also carry fresh produce and do home deliveries. For dry staples there are a number of supermarkets and hypermarkets including chains like Spinach, Akbarally’s, Godrej Nature’s Basket, Food Bazaar, Spencer’s and Fabindia. Navdanya, Conscious Food and Nishtha Organics are stand alone stores. Firdaus Bakhshay is a manufacturer and bulk supplier of 25 varieties of natural cheese, fruit yogurt, processed meats and omega 3 eggs.

And what about organic restaurants, can you suggest a few names?
There is a paucity of good organic restaurants in our metros but hopefully more will open soon. Navdanya restaurant at Dilli Haat serves delicious meals prepared with organic ingredients.
Sunil Jalihal, an IT fellow turned entrepreneur has opened up a branded organic salad and juice bar with outlets in Bangalore and Pune called deli,in. Unfortunately is only operating on IT campuses. Sunil is optimistic about opening more outlets in say Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai if business investors come forth to invest in the chain
Seva Café in Ahmedabad sources its raw materials from an organic farm near town and the food it serves is simple, delicious and down-to-earth (

You are saying that commonplace food items like sugar and tea are full of chemicals. So what is a healthy substitute for my daily cups of chai?Have herbal tea and better still prepare it at home. This is not chai, rather it is a “kadha” or herbal decoction or infusion and it tastes delicious. My personal favourite is tulsi-ginger, lemongrass, geranium, mint and rosehips (I collect them from wild rose bushes). Add honey or jaggery or palm jaggery as a sweetener and a dash of lemon if you must. Organic green tea is also great and yes, it is being produced and sold in India. Look for the MAKAIBARI brand of green tea in the stores. This is being grown in Darjeeling and is 100% organic. For those who are short on time, several varieties of herbal tea, both Indian and imported are available on the shelves of supermarkets in the big cities.

In which areas of India can a traveler expect to get well prepared organically grown food?
In the tribal, remote areas of India food is still being grown organically today. The northeast has organic food by and large but their preparations are simple, almost bland for the taste buds of urban people. Still the food is wholesome and grows on you if you eat it for a couple of weeks. The same hold true for Bastar in Chattisgarh or Wayanad in Kerala, Leh in Ladakh, Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh, Kutch in Gujarat… The list is a long one!

Several eco-resorts all over India are growing and serving their own organic vegetables and fruits, like the Hermitage near Belgaum; Soans Farms, Moodabidri, Karnataka, Rainforest Retreat in Coorg; Tranquil Plantation Hideaway, Sultan Bathery, Wayanad; Philipkutty’s farm, Kottayam, Kerala; The Bamboo Resort in Sikkim; Karmi Farm, Darjeeling; Yangsum Farm, Rinchenpong, Sikkim; the Ahilya Fort hotel in Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh; Wildernest at Swapnagandha, Chorla Ghat, and Savoi Plantation in Goa; Himalayan Village, Sonapani, Kumaon; Ambiya Himalayan Paradise, Kodiya, Garhwal; Shahpura Bagh in Shahpura, and Apani Dhani in Nawalgarh, Rajasthan and many, many more.

Tell us about your book ANNAM BRAHMA: Organic Food in India, in a nutshell.
ANNAM BRAHMA: Organic Food in India (Pilgrims Publishing, Varanasi, 2009) is a compilation of articles by organic farmers, organic shop owners, ayurvedic vaidyas and naturopaths. All recount their personal journeys which led them to either grow, sell or prescribe organic food and the changes it has brought about in the lives of their customers and patients as well as in their own lives. It also has a 50 page all India organic directory to assist readers in finding a good place to source their organic food supply. Swamini Mayatitananda who healed herself of cancer by living on a carefully planned diet of organic food has written an enlightening preface to the book Organic Food: Honouring Mother Earth. Organic food is available all over India and probably in a location close to you at rates which are pretty reasonable. So get out your shopping bags and make a beeline for organic food. Life is amazing and fun with organic food!

GYAN and Links:
ANNAM BRAHMA: Organic Food in India, ed. Anjali Pathak ( Rs. 650, Pilgrims Publishing, Varanasi) is available at Strand Book Stall (ph:22661917, 22661994), Oxford Book Store (ph:66364477) and Chetna Book Centre (ph:22851243 ) in Mumbai; and at Bahri Sons (ph:24694610), Oxford Book Store (ph: 23766083), Om Bookshop (ph:41664200), Bookmark (ph:24693216) and Midland (ph:24653880) in Delhi.