It’s rare that a food festival has an author joining its celebrations. But, much to everyone’s delight, Amitav Ghosh, the author of such best selling historical epics as “Sea of Poppies”, “The Glass Palace” and, most recently, “River of Smoke” was the guest of honour at the official opening of Indian Food Festival last Thursday at Ginger, the pan-Asian restaurant of the Central Grand Bangkok.
In his speech, Ghost waxed lyrical about his close ties with Thailand and Myanmar, explaining that one of his books “The Glass Palace” sheds light on the last days of Burma’s last king. Thibaw’s twilight years were spent in exile in India’s Rattanagiri, not far from Bombay where the author is currently based.
Ghosh joined at the invitation of Indian ambassador Anil Wadhwa who happened to attend the same college, St Edmund at Oxford as Ghosh.
“The ambassador always came first in his classes,” Ghosh said with a smile.
Providing a feast for the senses were two Indian chefs: Gaurav Malhotra of The Ashok New Delhi and the internationally acclaimed Nand Kishore.
They set out to highlight the best of India’s regional cuisines, from the north, east, west and south. Wheat is the most popular ingredient in the north alongside onion and coriander. The southerners favour spices, rice and coconut milk as their staples.
Malhotra is good at creating flavourful and authentic Indian dishes thanks to his expertise in running Indian food fests in places like Colombia, Ecuador, Oman and Lebanon. Kishore, meanwhile, specialises in tandoor and curry, and has cooked for various heads of state.
The food fest is available buffet style and features such classics as Gosht Roganjosh, Haryali Kebab, Murgh Malai Tikka and Murgh Rehana.
Don’t miss the Fish Amritsari. A modern interpretation of the famous street food dish from the Amritsar area, the freshest of fish is coated with ginger, garlic and chaat masala and minutely fried to seal in the juices and add a satisfying crunch.
There’s also a vegetarian menu featuring Paneer Peshawari, a mouth-watering Indian cottage cheese) dish cooked Peshawari style. The fresh cheese curd cubes are cooked in fragrant cashew/onion gravy and rounded off with cream and aromatic kasurimethi. The dish uses freshly ground spices like cumin, coriander seeds and red chillies.
Plenty to eat
The food festival runs until Tuesday. It costs Bt750 for lunch and Bt1,390 for dinner, excluding taxes and service. Book a table at (01) 100 6255.
Assorted Indian Salads
Murg Makhani Andaz
Palak Corn Masala
Assorted Indian Breads
Fresh Exotic Cut Fruits