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The Chef's Little Black Book Part II

By Devika Pathak

As promised, here is part two of our three part series where we look into the black books of some chefs across Delhi. Many of these super chefs have spilled the beans on their hidden gems in terms of books, ingredients and shops to buy them at, and we hope you take advantage of this and try your own hand at cooking up a little bit of a storm!

Animesh Joseph & Alexander Minj | Blue Ginger  

Key ingredients in your kitchen & where you source them from… The key ingredients used at Blue Ginger include rice paper sheets, sesame crackers, Thai basil, lime leaf, a variety of seafood and meats, galangal, lemongrass, raw mango, pandanus leaves, carambola, lotus root, lotus stem, flat noodles and star anise, to name a few. These are all imported from Vietnam.

Best places to find ingredients in Delhi… A few of the ingredients used can be procured from INA market in Delhi, while the rest are imported.

Kitchen equipment you can’t live without… A kitchen knife and a cleaver.

Favourite recipe book and bookstore… There are no favourites here as learning never stops. I like to read “Larousse” but it is a kitchen encyclopedia and has all the answers pertaining to Western cuisine. For Vietnamese cuisine, “Little Saigon” is the best book for reference. The Culinaria series also deals with the nitty-gritties of each cuisine. All these books can be found at Om Book Shop.

Where is your little black book? Recipes are maintained on standard recipe cards. This is a standard format that most hotels follow.


Sujan S. | Olive

Key ingredients in your kitchen & where you source them from… Key ingredients used include baby pumpkin, quinoa, avocado, salmon, pear, kalamata olives, strawberry, pine nuts, sea salt, and corn-fed chicken. We source these ingredients from INA Market, local farms, Food Hall at DLF Promenade and specialty food importers.

Best places to find ingredients in Delhi… Fruit, vegetables and fish from INA market; seeds, nuts, salt etc. from Food Hall at DLF Promenade, Vasant Kunj.

Kitchen equipment you can’t live without… Thermomix, which you can buy from Vesta Appliances in Delhi.

Favourite recipe book and bookstore… “Modernist cuisine – The Art and Science of Cooking” by Myhrvold, Young and Bilet. And as for shops, I would suggest Landmark and Om Book Shop.

Where is your little black book? I store recipes on my iPad and in my head.


Meenu Nageshwaran | Caterer

Key ingredients in your kitchen & where you source them from… As a vegan chef, I try and source the freshest ingredients for my cooking. Quality is not something I compromise on and over a period of time, and after much tasting and testing, I have managed to hone in on the best quality nuts, seeds, etc. as these are important components in vegan cooking.

My kitchen is my dream kitchen as I stock :

  1. All types of lentils, especially whole grain ones. I love the lesser known ones like navratna dal, varieties of cowpea dal, and moth.
  2. I love millets such as foxtail, barnyard, finger {also known as ragi}, and pearl {also known as bajra}.
  3. Japanese and Thai ingredients such as Bragg's liquid aminos, shoyu and tamari sauces, brown rice vinegar, varieties of miso, tofu, varieties of noodles {udon and soba}, and toasted sesame oil.
  4. The salts I use are Himalayan sea salt, rock salt, black salt, kala namak, and gourmet salts like Sel de Guerande and Fleur de Sel de Camargue.


Best places to find ingredients in Delhi… I buy most of my groceries from Daisy Malik, who runs a small but extremely well stocked store in Adchini called The Roots-Organic Lifestyle Store {find her on Facebook at “The Roots-Organic Lifestyle Store” or order online from here}. Other stores I frequent are The Altitude Store and The Kirana Shop in Meherchand Market. My absolute favourite vegetable shopping paradise is the Organic Farmers Market in Jorbagh, which is held every Sunday between 9 am to 1 pm (look for them on Facebook - “Delhi Organic Farmers Market”}. You can also contact Kanu Somany at;  they supply the most amazing herbs, lettuce leaves and other vegetables.

Kitchen equipment you can’t live without… My favourite kitchen equipment is my mini chopper from Black & Decker and my stainless steel steamer from Bergner.

Favourite recipe book and bookstore… My favourite recipe books are “Dakshin” by Chandra Padmanabhan and “The Great Green Cookbook” by Rosamond Richardson. The best places to buy recipe books are the Midland Book Shop in Aurobindo Place or South Extension, or Full Circle Book Shop in G.K.1 .

Where is your little black book? I maintain recipes in my head, as well as now on my laptop as I am now putting together a recipe book.