may 2010 programmes



saturday 1st may

6.30 pm “Turkish, Persian & Afghan cooking and its influence on Mughal Cuisine” a talk by Salma Husain at IIC Annexe Lecture Room

                                                              The rich culinary tradition of North India predates Central Asian influences with the arrival of Alexander and the Greek armies in 325 BC. They gifted to Indian cuisine an assortment of ingredients including lemon, mint garlic, olive, fennel, fenugreek, eggplant and zucchini. Babur, the first Mughal who arrived from Ferghana in Central Asia in the early 1500’s bringing with him the meat skewering traditions of the Tajiks, Turkemans and other nomadic tribes of the area.  Humayun, the second Mughal king after a long exile in Persia replaced Turkish and Central Asian flavors with the more sophisticated Persian cuisine. The Persians excelled in the cooking of vegetables, lentils and birds and in the use of nuts, saffron and sweet dishes. 

Abul Fazl‘s 16th  Ain-i-Akbari has many interesting culinary details including the art of combining meat with grain, lentils, fruits and vegetables.. The Emperor was vegetarian half the time and integrated the Rajputs into his armies and their kebabs, Qaliyas , halvas., kulfi and kheer in his kitchen.  

The sophistication of the Emperors table increased with garnishing and colouring, the use of aromatic herbs and spices and the addition of  rose water, musk, and other perfumes, appealing at the same time to the visual, taste and olfactory senses.  The Shahi Hakims prepared the menus keeping in mind the health of the Emperor, thus increasing the use of medicinal plant and herbs as well as gold and silver, pearls and precious stones.

 When the Mughal empire declined their cooks found patronage in the Nawabi courts of Awadh, Rampur and the Deccan. Lakhnawi, Rampuri and Hyderabadi cuisines still retain the legacy of the imperial kitchens of the Mughals. Kashmiri cuisine however continued the culinary traditions of Central Asia, Persia and Afghanistan with the arrival of cooks from Samarkand to the valley of Kashmir after Timur’s invasion of that area. The wazwan, the formal Kashmiri banquet with 36 courses is still prepared by the wazas, the descendants of these cooks. 

Nothing typifies North Indian cooking better than the ‘tandoor.‘ This clay oven was brought to India from Persia through Afghanistan by the Arabs and is mentioned by Amir Khusrau, in the 14th century and a portable version used by Jehangir on his campaigns but it was only in the middle of the last century that it became the ubiquitous symbol of ‘Mughlai’ cuisine.

Salma Husain is a Persian scholar and food historian. She has earlier worked with the The National Archives of India deciphering mutiny papers and other Persian Manuscripts. She headed the External Services All India Radio as a newsreader in Dari. She has published a book on sharbats of India and has translated a selection of recipes from the original Persian manuscripts of Jehangir and Shah Jehan’s time. Her most recent book the Emperor’s Table has won 2 international awards. She has recently finished another book on the cuisine, history and culture of Lucknow. 

She worked on the TV programme ‘Rhode Across India’ for channel 4 UK and the Discovery Channel and has done extensive research on the development of the Kabab in the Middle East, Central Asia, Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia.  She is presently a consultant with ITC Welcomegroup.


This lecture will be followed by dinner organized by The India International Centre under the supervision of Salma Husain .  Reservations can be made by IIC members only 24619431




Shekumpour (Gosht) – Non Veg.

Kabab-e-Murgh Angaar – Non. Veg.

Sambose Sabzi – Veg.

Kham Khatai –  Veg.


Main Course



Chui mui kofte

Dal Gosht



Baigan Bharta Dhuandar

Sabz Salan

Bhindi Qalya

Dal Sagpaita


Chuntey &  Raita

Burrani Palak

Chuqandar Mast


Til ki Chuntey

Aam aur Poodine ki Chitney


Rice & Roti

Kecheree Quroot-e-Kofta

Qubuli/Baghare Chawal

Assorted Rotis & Paranthas



Firni Zafrani

Kulfi Falooda

Zarda Amba


(Rs. 450/- + 10% S.C. + 12.5% V.A.T.)






 Forthcoming Programmes




Prabeen Singh

Aphrodisiac Foods




Bharat Gupt

Sacred  Foods





Vegetarian food.




Ma Graca Goncalves Lima

Sacrifice and ritual in foods



saturday 8th may
1 – 3 pm Food Meditation

                                           The Food Festival in the  International festival of Sacred Arts brought many people together on the entire subject of natural food; the food which is being grown with ancient seeds and traditional agricultural practices.

Weaving this enriching interaction with the ongoing thread of the mindful eating events, we explore the process of eating silently and meditatively, natural food brought directly from many small farms in  Uttarakhand. 


Amaranth/Finger Millet and Mandua Roties
: Amaranth is also called chaulai or Ramdaanaa. Amaranth is Pink and very difficult to access. Mandua makes black rotis. These rotis have a slight sweet taste and are a natural source of Iodine and Calcium.  

Aaloo subzi seasoned with Jakhia: Jakhia’s city counterparts are cumin and  mustard seeds. They look like mustard seeds, are crispy and crackle and splutter when heated in oil. Jakhia is both a herb and a spice. Its chief medicinal value is in being lethal for stomach worms as well as in healing wounds.  

Kulath Daal (called Gahath or Horse Gram.) Kulath is a high protein food. The seeds of Kulath germinate at a very fast pace, even under unfavourable conditions.  It is the most effective treatment for kidney stones. 

Chhachh: Buttermilk is a cooling drink especially in the North Indian summer. Today’s buttermilk comes from home fed cows in the nearby town of  Baghpat.   

Barnyard Pulao: Barnyard Millet (Jhangora) is a native variety of millet grown in the mountain villages from where today’s meal is cooked. It is also used as rice and is gluten free and high in protein. The Jhangora species is very similar to Kinua – the ancient food of Incas and is a popular health food in Europe. 

After the meal we will be exchanging notes about mindful eating, farmers and natural farming. 

Haldi, Mirchi, Jakhia, Kulath daal, Amaranth pink atta, Mandua atta and other natural products will be available for sale. All of these foods and spices have been collected from a few farms. 

Please be punctual and keep cell phones switched off. 

Participation is by registration on payment only. Students Rs 25. Others Rs 100. Only 15 participants. No walkins.

Telephone Anaam  99119 50530 or email   


saturday 8th may

6.30 pm Bharatanatyam a Recital in the traditional Thanjavoor style by Nikolina Nikoleski
at The Attic

 Nikolina, born in Croatia of Macedonian origin, trained in rhythmic gymnastics, classical ballet and folk dance. She graduated from Laban's High School for Dance and Rhythm in Zagreb, Croatia. She continued contemporary dance at Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance, Austria  and got two scholarships, at the world famous Dance Academy of  Pina Bausch and at The Folkwang Hochschule Essen in Germany.

She has worked with many famous choreographers: Juan Kruz Esnaola de Silva (DV8, Sasha Waltz Company),Frey Faust, Mia Lawrence, Ben Riepe, Susan Quinn (Merce Cunningham Co.), Rick Merill (Jose Limon Co.),Bernard Baumgarten (S.O.A.P. Frankfurt), Kuo Chu-Wu and many others.

She was awarded an ICCR scholarship for Bharatanatyam study under the guidance of Padmashree Guru Dr. Saroja Vaidyanathan. She has performed widely at prestigious classical dance festivals in Avignon ,Paris, Casablanca, Vienna and in Khajuraho, Mahabalipuram, Kurukshetra, Chennai and Delhi.


Along the Spice Routes of the World

Indian 'chicken tikka masala is now the national dish of Great Britain and any day now Mcdonalds in the US will be launching their newest culinary invention 'McAloo Tikki Burger'. Almost everyday there is a new book on Indian cooking and this series will celebrate the vast diversity that is Indian Cuisine and its international influences. We will explore history with 'Cooking of the Maharajas', geography with 'Cooking under the Raj', literature with 'Mistress of Spices', travel with the cooking along the Grand Trunk Road, globalization with 'Bound Together' and medicine with Ayurvedic cooking.

This series of 12 lectures is brought to you by The India International Centre and The Attic. Some lectures will be followed by a dinner relevant to the subject.


thursday 20th may

6.30 pm “Aphrodisiac Foods” a talk by Prabeen Singh

at IIC Main Auditorium 

Aphrodisiac- say it loud and there is a hush in the air, say it soft and the titillation begins. No other word in any language is as evocative, as tantalizing – it beckons one to dare to use ‘the key’ to open many doors. It immediately conjures the exquisite fragrances of a Persian Garden, mouth tickling foods laced with aromas which tempt one in hushed seductive tongues, the tinkling of tiny bells around the seductress ankles the rich baritone voice of a chiseled Apollo.   

There can be no substitute to the suggestive power of the subconscious which actually makes the man or woman believe that the beak of the swallow ground in newt blood mixed with the first blossom of the champa tree plucked on a full autumnal moon is a magic portion for the flagging libido. Yes the more exotic and dearly got the ingredients the greater its potency. 

The documented prowess of aphrodisiac foods has been mentioned in the Vedic texts and the Bhagvad  Gita ,in ancient Chinese scriptures as well in Pliny the Elder, the Roman author of the !st century AD. Aphrodite the Greek goddess of love, who has given her name to this definition of sexual desire, was born of the sea and many still believe that all creatures of the sea have aphrodisiac qualities.

Aphrodisiacs were first considered remedies for various sexual anxieties including fear of inadequate performance as well as a need to increase fertility. Procreation was an important moral and religious issue. There is not always agreement on what constitutes an effective aphrodisiac – is it the bone of the tiger, the penis of the blue whale, the flesh of the sikn lizard or a pot full of river snails. Is there some magic potion in carrots, gladiolus root, arugula and pistachio nuts, or the herbs anise, basil, sage and sea fennel?  Should you stay away from the anaphrodisiacs dill, lentil, watercress, rue, and water lily?

The Arabian Magnum opus The Perfumed Garden and the Kama Sutra talk about the virtues of spices like nutmeg, cloves, cardamom and ginger and there seems to be some agreement on the scientific criteria of essential oils and aromas released by some spices that are said to stimulate the senses. That may explain why it is a practice in certain regions in India to leave a glass of milk and almonds on the bedside table of the bridal chamber.  

The talk will include a few short pieces of Kathak dance by Mahijit Singh to demonstrate the symbolic use of food as an expression of love and seduction.  

Prabeen Singh started her working life in an advertising agency before joining voluntary work on human rights during the bleak period of the Emergency. She was an active member of the women’s and crafts movements. In recent years she has worked on HIV/AIDS, gender disparity and the rights of eunuchs as well as viable economic programmes for the rural poor.  

She is an avid bird watcher, passionate about textiles, music, literature, art and cooking.  The kitchen has always been a safe haven, the market place with its myriad colours, sounds and smells an exciting outing and dining with friends a stimulating experience.

This lecture will be followed by dinner organized by The India International Centre under the supervision of Prabeen Singh.  Reservations can be made by IIC members only 24619431



Sherbat            Thandai

            Ambi Panna

             Fresh Water Melon Juice

             Pink Lady


Salad                Mixed Mushroom Salad

                          Poached Chicken & Mango Salad

                          Anar Paneer & Green Onion Salad


Soup                 Leek & Potato Soup ( Cold)


Main Course -   Filet de Sole with Shrimp & Herbs                 

Non-Veg            sauce

                          Nali Rogni

              Poached Egg Florentine


Vegetables -     Asparagus Timbale

            Corn & Kasuri Methi

            Stuffed Tomato

                        Pesto Potato

                          Khatta Meetha Pumpkin


Rice & Roti -     Celery Pulao

            Whole Wheat Bread

             Oat Bread

             Missi Roti


Desserts -         Nendrenzghai

             Anjeer Halwa

            Chocolate Ice Cream with Nuts


(Rs. 450/- + 10% S.C. + 12.5% V.A.T.)