Friday, April 29, 2011


IHM, Kolkata was founded in 1963 with  campus located at 21, Convent Road. The founder principal was Mr. P. A. Koshy: It started with 16 students only: Gradually it gained in popularity and the number of students also grew in leaps and bounds. In the year 1980 the institute was shifted to the new building with a campus at P-16, Taratala Road which is the present address. Within the campus, quarters for principal, faculty and staff are located along with separate hostels for boys and girls. Both the hostels have been extended recently. At present IHM, Kolkata is doing a great job by producing a large number of professionals every year. Apart from producing professionals there are activities, which are regularly held like Gourmet Nite (Food Festival), Blood Donation Camps, Annual Sports Meet etc.

The Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition, Kolkata is sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. The Institute is pledged to train promising men and women in hotel management, general food management and catering technology, and in specific fields such as cookery bakery, food & beverage service, reception, accountancy, house-keeping management and allied topics, depending on the branch of the industry which the trainee desires to take up. Practical presentation and emphasis on nutritional values will be significant aspects of the technical training given to the students. The institute has all modern facilities for practical training. There are five fully equipped kitchens and two laboratories for bakery and confectionary: A well equipped restaurant to learn the classical style of Food and Beverage service. A well-stacked library with over 8000 books. A huge House Keeping practical laboratory with heavy-duty machinery and three mock guest rooms for practical. The computer laboratory is well equipped for individual practice sessions.

This column will profile those passouts of IHMCTAN,Kolkata who went on to set up their own enterprises in various branches of Hospitality sector. The idea is to bring forth the success stories, failure encountered, lessons learned, path breaking activities paving way for others and un known facets of such pass outs . Of course most important, how an opportunity is spotted amidst tough competition. This would also act as light house for future hoteliers.

This will be a regular column. the details of launched would be intimated in due course

Monday, November 8, 2010


Marathi cuisine is famous for its astounding variety and diversity. Vegetarian, non - vegetarian, sweet, savories, delicious and filling each delight is ready to serve gourmet. Much like medical terminology the names of Maharashtrian preparations are indicative of process. BHAJANEE refers to preparation of flours by broiling process called BHAJANEY. It could be Chaklee Bhajanee, Upvaas Bhajanee (specially used for fast, upvaas means fast), Thalipeeth Bhajanee etc. There are innumerable permutations and combinations with no specific ingredients for any Bhajanee and varies from region to region. CHAKLEE comes from word CHAKRA meaning circular. Thus CHAKLEE is actually a savory preparation circular in shape, with sharp edges known as KAATA. The PEETH in Thalipeeth refers to flour and since traditionally it is prepared by pressing dough ball with palms, the process being called THAPNE, hence the word Thalipeeth. Thus whether it is prepared using Upvaas, Chaklee or any other Bhajanee, the product is called Thalipeeth.

MODAK and POORUN POLEE are classical sweet preparations from Maharashtra . MODAK a delicacy offered to Lord Ganesh is actually a dumpling, which can either be steamed or deep fried, two very different processes. It's constituents can vary as far and wide from rice flour to wheat flour, with stuffing comprising of coconut, jaggery and flavoring. Be it any method the product is still called MODAK. Similarly POORUN POLEE is actually a sweet pancake. Polee means roti and as stuffing changes from jaggery to khoya its nomenclature changes to GULACHI POLEE to MAWYACHI POLEE CHI means "of the". Coming back to POORUN POLEE, the POORUN meaning complete derived from word PURNE is a mixture of Bengal gram again with combination varying from sugar to jaggery. Each of the combination gives distinct output which is totally different from other one. Yet it is called POORUN POLEE.

CHUTNEY is accompaniment to any type of food. The word comes from CHATAK meaning tangy and it gives tickling sensation to tongue. It can be prepared with groundnut (DANYACHI CHUTNEY), sesame (TILACHI CHUTNEY), black sesame (KARALYACHI CHUTNEY) etc. Unlike rest of India where chutneys are in semi liquid state, majority of Maharashtrian chutneys are more or less in powder form and eaten dry.

KOSHIMBEERS are basically salads of grated or coarsely chopped vegetables and are mostly tempered and with or without addition of groundnut powder, yet everything is called KOSHIMBEER derived from word KOCHNE or CHOCHNE meaning coarse chopping.

Much like in French cuisine there are soups in Maharashtrian foods too called SAAR and KADHAN. KADHAN are extracts of pulses thickened with butter milk or coconut milk. Coconuts are extensively used throughout all the courses Of Maharashtrian menu. SAAR means gist of anything and that more or less is perfectly near to definition of soups - extracts of vegetables etc. in liquid - in Catering Technology.
RASSA are generally hot taste liquid vegetable or non - vegetarian preparations. RASSA is derived from word RUS meaning juice. The RASSA'S always carry adjectives of ingredient or style followed in particular region. Thus you have BATATYCHA RASSA (made of potatoes) or KOLHAPURI RASSA (prepared in and around region of Kolhapur . This is synonymous with word ' a la ' meaning "in the style of ", in Gastronomique nomenclature e.g. Poulet a la Kiev or Gite a la Noix.

CHIWDA is derived from word CHIVADANA, an action involving only finger tips like in finger foods. it can be prepared where in the basic ingredient can be processed by broiling, on one hand to deep frying method on the other. Even basic ingredients are heterogeneous. So where the pressed rice (poha) is broiled the preparation is called BHAJLELA CHIWDA and when it is deep fried it assumes name of TALLELA CHIWDA. When potatoes are used it becomes BATATYACHA CHIWDA. Again there is no specific ingredient or recipe for CHIWDA.

As state of Maharashtra spreads across various climatic zones, the food compositions are vast and varied. One has coastal belt called KONKAN on west side where rice, coconut and jaggery is used extensively to VIDARBHA region on east where use of wheat, flour and sugar is wide spread. The hot tongue tickler with extensive use of red chilies come KOLHAPUR belt in southern to mix of sweet and hot coming from KHANDESH in the northern region. Still everything is called the Maharashtrian food.

The distinctive feature of Maharashtrian food which sets it apart from rest of India is Plate - de - Jour. while in whole of India it is the vegetable or non-vegetarian preparation which is considered main dish of party, in Maharashtra it is the sweet preparation which stays as main course, be it Shrikhand or Poorun Polee or Basundi etc.

We are sure your tongues must have started rolling by now at the glance of mouth watering names.
Bon Appetit

Swami Samarth Ramdas

Friday, October 15, 2010



By Vijayanta N Chitale

In the series of festivals during Chaturmas (sequence of four months), KOJAGIRI POORNIMA is an important celebration in Maharashtra. This year the occasion is falling on 23rd Oct. It is also known by names of Sharad Poornima and Navann poornima.

The occasion marks the arrival of new crop. It is corresponding festival of Baishakhi in Punjab. The celebrations begin late in the evening and goes on till midnight. Indra and goddess Luxmi are worshiped on this day and offered bhog or naividya of coconut water, Poha(pressed rice) and thickened milk. Traditionally the milk is put to simmer on fire under moonlight and reduced. It is flavored with cardamom and garnished with charolee( chironjeee) Friends, relatives and acquaintances gather at park or open places and enjoy themselves with exchanging greeting, fun games and other entertainment activities under moonlight.

Enjoy the occasion with some POHA based preparations.

                             DADPE POHE
              (Dadpe in Marathi means putting under pressure)
Thin Poha 250gm, Grated Coconut ½ nos, Chopped Green Chilies 3-4 nos, Nimbu1/2 nos, Curry Leaves 5-6 sprigs, Salt to taste, Soaked split black gram, (udad dal) 1tbl spn, Groundnut1/4 cup, Chopped Onion(big) 1 nos, for tempering( oil, hing, jeera) Shev ½ cup( optional)

Mix poha, onion and coconut. Leave aside for ½ hrs. covered with lid. Mix all the remaining ingredients. Heat oil and prepare tempering and add to mixture. Mix well. Papdi used for bhelpuri can be offered as spoon to eat.

                     FODNEE CHE POHE
            (FODNEE in Marathi means tempering)

Thick Poha 250gm, Chopped Onion (big) 1 nos, Choice of vegetables (potato, brinjal, peas, cabbage, or cauliflower) 1cup, Chopped Green chilies 3-4 nos, salt to taste, pinch of sugar, Roasted and shelled groundnut ¼ cup, for tempering oil, mustard seeds, turmeric,

For garnish – chopped coriander leaves, nimbu, grated coconut

Wash and drain poha leaving little water for it to absorb. Leave aside for ½ hrs. Heat oil and prepare tempering. Add onions and stir for while. Now add choice of vegetable( cut in shapes desired) and cook. Add groundnut. Reduce fire and put lid for vegetables to cook well. Increase heat, add washed poha and stir. Cook for a while on slow fire. When poha is done, remove from fire. Serve hot garnished with coriander leaves and coconut along with nimbu cut in small quarters.


Thursday, September 30, 2010



By Vijayanta N Chitale

Late Sh V N Gadgil talking at function in Delhi had once remarked, “ there could hardly be a Marathi Manoos not liking Natak (play) and Kanda Bhajee (a Maharashtrian starter)".
Bhajee are vegetables dipped in batter – generally of Bengal gram flour – and deep fried. The vegetables include Batata (Potatoes), Kanda (onion), Vangi (brinjal), Mirchi (green chillies), Flower (cauliflower) etc. Some vegetables are rolled over in seasoned rice flour and shallow fried. Such preparations are called KAAP e.g. Vangyache Kaap, where brinjals are cut into slice before being processed. However Marathi delicacies can never be singly defined.

Kanda Bhajee is a classical case of said diversity. Adverbs play an important role in names of Maharashtrian delicacies. Though called Kanda Bhajee, there are two distinct styles of preparations. Onions when cut into slices or roundels, dipped into batter and deep fried, the dish is called Kaapachi Bhajee. There is yet another very different method. In this case the onions are coarsely chopped to which paste of garlic ad coriander leaves is added along with seasonings. After a while the Bengal gram flour is sprinkled on it and mixed well to give dropping consistency. The mixture is then put into hot oil in form of small balls and deep fried. This dish is called Churyachi Bhajee. Kaap and Chura are indicative of process. Yet both are exotic Kandyachi Bhajee served with coconut chutney.

See, relish and understand diversity in Maharashtrian Cuisine

Thursday, August 26, 2010




AAPULKI very often receives messages saying “Is it the office of Chitale Bandhu’ or Is it Chitale Sweets? Is it the shop of Chitale Bandhu Mithaiwale? We have to politely tell them there is an element of similarity in family name and as well as the profession/business activity yet two are entirely different entities in form of nature of operation as well as geographic.

CHITALE BANDHU, KAKA HALWAI, DAGDU SHETH HALWAI (one of the reputed Ganapati idol in Pune is named after him) from Pune or be it Chandu Halwai from Mumbai or K.C.Das from Kolkata and not to forget Nathu Sweets, Ghantewala from Delhi. These all are well established names in sweets and savouries. Every nook and corner in our cities have people churning out yummy sweets and savouries. All of whom are commonly referred as HALWAI. Although a part of gourmet industry word, HALWAI is extensively misunderstood even by the professional in the trade.

The origin of the word HALWAI can be traced to Marathi word HALAVNE, meaning Shifting. Majority of Indian sweets and savouries extensively involve stirring process during major part of preparation or in the final lap. Give a close look to the way Shankaerpale (Shakarpara), Karanjee (Gujia) or the Gajar (Carrot) Halwa and many more are made. These products just cannot be prepared by leaving them on fire i.e. exposure to heat. They have to be kept in motion either circulatory or oscillatory. A close look in sweets and savouries in Western Cookery will reveal that constant fiddling has to be avoided and stirring is negligible. The products require steady exposure to heat or cold for setting as the case may be. These are produced by Specialist Pattisiers (Baker).

Halwai or Pattisier both actually bring the ingredients together, process them, expose them to various temperatures and thus churn out yummy delicacies. They too are true scientists and no mad people with weird thinking. Michael Ruhlmen author of “Soul of a Chef” and other books on chef’s psychology has said, “Just because you can do something does not mean you have to do it, do it, if it’s a pleasure to taste”.

Food has never been more global than it has become now, just take the example of growth and development of Chinese Food in India or the spread of Punjabi Food or South Indian Dishes across the country and abroad. Thus ensuring a well heeled and more aware gastronome. Ruhlman further says no matter how you do it , cooking comes down to fundamentals. Modern science provides room for more tricks, its no replacement for traditional techniques. Pino Malleo, another experimental chef from Boston agrees, ”It’s all about flavour, if people don’t say, Wow, this is bloody delicious, then all this is unnecessary”. He further says, “If science can make my cuisine better, then I’ll use it. I have opened my doors to anything”. That indeed is in spirit of true scientist following principles of observation, classification, analysis, assimilation and finally production.

Now days with customers willing to experiment with different tastes, Halwai’s too can come out of traditional mindset and play with chemistry of ingredients to churn out exotic new foods. “Today’s bold experiment is tomorrow’s classic dish”, says Peter Gordon-pioneer in Fusion Food in U.K. Fusion food is all about imagination and experimentation. With melting taste from here and fascinating flavour from there, the Halwai can do wonders.

Globally there is fast emerging trend of an increasing emphasis on regional cuisine juxtaposed with an increasingly Asian Influence on Western cookery. Similarly, there is tremendous scope for experimentation in Maharashtrian food. A chaklee, which in itself has innumerable permutations and combination, can be given chilly and garlic flavour from Northern India. Shankarpale (salted) can be infused with tomato and pepper. The list can be endless.

So that is what Halwai is truly and distinctly has relation to Molecular Gastronomy - a branch initiated by Spanish Chef Ferran Adria.
If done with right attitude the vistas for career and profession as a HALWAI can stretch to sky.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Maharashtrian Cuisine truly follows the peculiarity of India – as a nation – Unity in Diversity. Vada Pav, Pav Bhaji or Shrikhand are icons of Maharashtrian Foods. Most of us have a notion that they are originally from Maharashtra. On a closer look, Pav is equivalent of Bread in Marathi. Bread itself came to India from Europe. The Vada has potato as its chief ingredient. Potato too came to India from abroad and is not an original crop of India, leave aside Maharashtra. Another snack preparation is Saboodana Vada. Its main constituents are Sago, Groundnut and Potato. Each of which has come into Maharashtra from outside. These dishes reflect a blend of diverse cultures.

Today a lot is being talked of Fusion food and Molecular gastronomy – a branch which deals with inter mixing of ingredients to evolve new and exotic dishes. In olden days in a country like India there were lot of taboos and social restrictions. Under such circumstances people in this region must have defied the taboos and experimented with the ingredients to churn out yummy delicacies. This also reflects that people here must also be having a long standing history of scientific approach even to food.

Pav Bhaji is a delicacy of Maharashtra most popular outside the state. We have already seen what Pav means. During the second half of 19 th century, textile mills started coming up in and around Bombay. The labour class here used to eat bread with mix of some vegetables (mainly potatoes) and set out to mills. Vegetable in Marathi means Bhaji. Thus what started off as a simple combo of Bread and Vegetable underwent experimentation and changes, which we all see as an aristocratic preparation. And there are now innumerable vegetable in this dish. This certainly is Unity in Diversity.

In Maharashtrian cuisine, the sweet is considered as Plate de Jour or Main dish. This sets it apart from other styles generally, like French or European or Mughlai etc. where sweet is to be savoured at end. Shrikhand is one such preparation made by processing curd with sugar and subsequently flavored. Myth logically Krishna was very fond of milk and dairy products. Also it is well known fact that Bheema was foodie to the hilt. He used to prepare a combination of sugar and curd for Krishna. This preparation was called Shikarni. The name was in existence till 18th century. Raghunath Navhaste, a connoisseur of Maharashtrian foods in gone era, in his book Bhojan Kaoutoohal has referred to eight types of Shikarni. Shrikhand also comes in various combinations like Amrakhand – curd mixed with mango, or is flavored with cardamom, saffron, nutmeg etc. it can be colored or be plain white .How, where and when the word Shikarni got migrated to Maharashtra and changed to Shrikhand is not clear. It is amazing to note that Bheema spent most of his life in region of Indraprastha and Hastinapur, which is presently in North India and never, went to Maharashtra. A possible answer could be the advent of Marathas in Delhi. Around 18 the century the Peshwa’s army had reached Northern India where they were routed at third battle of Panipat. A part of this contingent stayed back while rest went back to Maharashtra, who may have carried this delicacy alongwith them, just as bread came to India following advent of Europeans.

Dahi Pohe or Gopal Kala is another dish associated with Krishna – in his childhood - in Maharashtra. Gopal Kala is a type of BHEL prepared by mixing poha with curd to which one adds cucumber, soaked Bengal gram, slice of lemon pickle and seasoned to taste. It is a wholesome meal for breakfast. Interestingly Krishna as a child had never been to Maharashtra and Gopal Kala is hardly known in Northern India. It is believed that Gopal Kala was snack for Krishna, imagined and evolved by Warkari sect. They used poha as that is available in abundance in Maharashtra.

What a broad minded culture of delicacies!