Archive for July, 2011

Story of The BBQ Story

July 28, 2011 2 comments

Paneer Makhni is now passé. Vilayeti Sabzi Makhni (with zucchini, baby potatoes, cherry tomatoes) is in. Hey, don’t cry ‘sacrilege’ yet!!! It isn’t. The economy opened up two decades back and so did India’s appetite for global cuisine. Italian, Mexican, Mediterranean speciality restaurants are now present in almost every ‘gully’-‘nukkad’ of Indian cities….

But how about Hungarian goulash and Spanish kebabs? How about finding out the origins of Biryani? How about making your own sausages and steaks in your house? How about growing tomatoes and chillies in your own porch or window sill? Looks like we finally have your attention…..

Presenting to you the The BBQ Story — The brain-child of Sarabjeet Singh, BBQ Story, in collusion with Sushil Dwarkanath (Sarabjeet’s HOD at Christ University Dept of Hotel Management, Bangalore) and Faseeulla S (Co-Founder and Partner with Sarabjeet in their venture called Green Umbrella Kitchen solutions) organises grilling and cooking lessons on the first Sunday of every month in Yolk Studio, Koramangala, Bangalore. These classes are called ‘Chapters’ and so far, four chapters have concluded. With that, enthusiasts have learned how to marinade their meats to their tastiest best, grill a complete meal, make creamy chicken tikka and murg biryani the Bangalore style, grill mutton kheema patties, grill fish wrapped in plaintain leaf, and most recently, make country style grilled steaks and home-made fresh sausages. Once cooked, the food is matched with an appropriate brand of Nine Hills wine and instantly devoured!! Mouth-watering? You bet…

But what is most endearing about BBQ Story is the fact that they enthuse in their participants the cause for ‘life’ – they ensure that every participant goes back home with a sapling (tomato, chilly, so far – with promises of coriander, basil in the near future) so that they can be a part of the growth of the plant, partake in the joy of seeing the plant bear flowers and fruits, and appreciate the cycle of life. Haven’t we all gone far away from these little joys in our every day chase to make a living? Time to re-consider…BBQ Story shows the way.

Unfortunately, BBQ Story has so far been organised only in Bangalore. But, take heart, the success of the last four chapters has encouraged Sarabjeet and his team to look beyond their home turf and organise such delectable ‘grilling’ sessions in other Indian cities too. Keep watching this space for all updates…

In the meantime, write in to us to let us know if you liked reading about the BBQ team and if you want them in your city too. Guess if we manage of raise a good ‘demand’ storm, BBQ team will have no other option but to oblige us……..


Wine and Weather

Have you ever been to a restaurant, even speciality ones, and noticed wine bottles being flaunted under light? Frankly, in India, this is quite rampant. Now if you happen to know a thing or two about wine and how to tuck it away properly, the ‘wine-display’ would have left you horrified and chances are that, you would have fought a strong urge to point out the sacrilege to the restaurant management. After all, wine connoisseurs around the world know that strong light can damage wine. Nine Hills’ own master, Jean Manuel Jacquinot, in his inimitable style says, “Wine should be kept in the dark. No UV light for it please…”

OK, no light. And what else? What else should we bear in mind when we buy that bottle of Nine Hill wine and take it home? This question assumes massive significance in the Indian weather conditions, which can be, in one word, summed up as a ‘challenge’ for wines.We deal with extreme heat, fluctuating humidity levels and harsh sunlight every day. Wine therefore, delicate that they are, should be protected from such weather atrocities. Hence, the search for the ideal storage conditions….

So the next time you bring home a Nine Hill, remember to —

  • Keep it in a dark place, where
    • The temperature is regulated to as cool as possible
    • It is free of vibration
    • Has high humidity (true for bottles with corks; screw capped bottle do not have this requirement)
    • Does not have strong odours coming in from any source (once again, true for bottle with corks as the smell then permeates into the wine through the cork)
    • Is laid down if corked.

We have all heard the saying, “Wine gets better with age”. Not all of our Nine Hills are best drunk young (from time bottled to about three years from bottling). Hence, take care….


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Nine Hills — Shiraz Marries an Indian

Syrah. Shiraz. Call it by any name, it is a very powerful wine produced from dark-skinned grapes. The use of the word “Syrah” or “Shiraz” only points to the place where the grape was grown — Syrah’s origins are from France where it is widely grown in the Rhone Valley.  It is also called Syrah in the rest of Europe, most of the US, some part of South America and in New Zealand. Shiraz hails from Australia and South Africa.

But this feature is not going to be a ‘Wikipedia-like’ account of Shiraz (Nine Hills call it by this name). Instead, we are going to get into a very difficult task of trying to marry Shiraz with our Indian food. Now that’s like opening a Pandora’s Box. In this country, you drive every 500 kms, and you step into a different ‘state and taste’. No wonder we are called a sub-continent!!!

Anyway, let’s get started — Here’s a picture of our bride (we are talking about marriage, aren’t we?) She grows in the hills of Nashik and is almost violet in colour. The wine then obviously is a deep red with hints of violet.

Other ‘vital-statistics’ of Shiraz wine can be quickly summarised to be a:

  • Full-bodied red wine with soft velvety tannins
  • With traces of cherry and strawberry in it
  • It should be served quite chilled (at 14-16 degree centigrade) in Indian conditions

Now the onerous task of finding an Indian suitor. While our ‘much-French’ lady would prefer to elope with the Italian ‘Spaghetti with meat sauce’ any day, we Indians have decided not to let go of her.

In our desperation to help find her a good match within our vast country, we have decided to give her various options (You are right!! Completely inspired by our ancient tradition of holding a ‘Swayamvara’, now made notoriously popular by those reality shows on TV…)

So here are the ‘grooms-in-waiting”…..

  • Biryani: The choice in this category is vast – Hyderabadi Biyani, Awadhi Biryani, Biryani from Kolkata (they have a big piece of potato in them too along with the meat and egg), Konkani Biryani.

  • Mughlai: Meat Darbari, Murg Kali Mirch (excellent pairing), Keema Matar, Nazvratan Korma (for veg), and the range of spicy kababs.
  • Butter Chicken, Lal Maas, etc
  • Meat cooked in Konkani/Mangalorean style.

Have you been able to figure out the secret to this match by now? If no, here you are — Shiraz is a powerful, feisty wine and nothing less than a real Indian prince can go with her hearty, intense flavour….. The spices need to tone down considerably though – after all marriage is all about adjustments…

Raising a toast to a happy marriage (meal)…Cheers.


Marriages  are replete with gossips….we invite some from you on this…