Sunday, March 10, 2013

Valor Beans

Valor beans also called VAL PHALI, cooked with the Bengali five-spice mix comprising of cumin, fennel, fenugreek,mustard and nigella seeds.














Valor beans also called VAL PHALI, cooked with the Bengali five-spice mix comprising of cumin, fennel, fenugreek,mustard and nigella seeds.

Swiss Chard

 Swiss Chard sauteed with Hing and Whole red chillies




Moong Chilka


Split Moong lentils tempered with Hing (asafoetida), crushed Cloves and whole Red Chillies in Ghee (clarified butter).







Wednesday, June 13, 2012

BUNNY CHOW - another name for Curry

During the Great Depression in 1933 Indians, Whites and Chinese in Durban, South Africa, suffered hunger like everyone else. The kids then discovered that the cheapest curry they could buy (for a quarter penny or half a penny) was made by a vegetarian Indian caste known in Durban slang as the Bania. It was made from dried sugarbeans (no meat). The children didn't have plates, and one kid got the bright idea to hollow out a quarter bread, asked the seller to put the bean curry in the hollowed-out bread, and then used the broken bread he's taken out as a sort of eating utensil. Chinese food was called "chow". Somehow the two words came together: Bania Chow. In time it simply became known as Bunny Chow. Bunny Chow was what the Indian sugar plantation workers took as their day's food to the lands: curry in hollowed-out bread halves. Cheap and practical ... Today it does not matter what your skin colour or station in life is: Durbanites and people from the Kwa-Zulu-Natal province love their BUNNY CHOW ...

Courtesy research by my friend a Great Chef & Restaurateur Balraj Bhasin

Best Bargain of 2012 by WASHINGONIAN



Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Shaam-e-Mehfil" - a musical evening


An evening full of fun starting with dinner from 5:30pm - 7:30pm, followed by live performance from Ayesha and Shafiq Rahman. They will be accompanied by Tabla, Dholak and Keyboard players.
Their collection includes old and new Bollywood songs, ghazals (Urdu poetry) & qawalis (devotional songs).
Seats are limited, please Call the restaurant at 301 610 0303 to make your reservation.
For details check the website at:
http://spicexing.com/special_event.php?record=NA==

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Spice Facts

Spices have been used in India for thousands of years not only for enhancing the taste of dishes but for their therapeutic value and also to counteract the negative residual physiological effects of foods on the human body.

KOKUM
: Fruit of Garcinia Indica tree used mainly in the hot Southern states for its cooling properties & for alleviating skin allergies.

AJWAIN
: Carom seeds or Bishop’s weed seeds are used for their volatile Thymol oils to aid in digestion & are used with starchy vegetables and lentils.

CHILLIES
: Are used both ways either fresh or dry. Usage is more common in the hot climes to increase perspiration and thereby cool the body. They also have a medicinal value for easing joint inflammation and respiratory disorders.

NUTMEG & MACE
: Nutmeg used sparingly is supposed to cure insomnia and is frequently mixed with warm milk and taken before sleeping. The covering of nutmeg (calyx) is Mace and is considered to ease rheumatism.

FENUGREEK: The leaves, the shoots and the seeds of this plant are used. Ground seeds with water are supposed to cure diabetes, cholesterol and hypertension. It is also given to lactating women for increased milk production.
It is used as a natural testosterone/muscle booster.

TURMERIC: This rhizome of the Curcuma Longa has a multitude of uses in addition to imparting the characteristic yellow in the “CURRY”. It has an excellent antiseptic and anti bacterial effect, often used to treat common cold, cuts and bruises. As a cosmetic it is applied directly on the skin and it reduces acne too. Its latest use is in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

ASAFOETIDA
: This resin of a plant has a pungent sulfurous odor and is mainly used as a digestive. Also provides relief in asthma and bronchitis.

SAFFRON
: Quite truly the King of spices at a whopping $11,000/lb for the best grade. It has the most volatile oils of any spice. Used very sparingly, it is supposed to have anticarcinogenic and antioxidant effects; although historically in India it has primarily been used as an aphrodisiac.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Another accolade

Received another feather in the cap- this time from the Washington City Paper. We were honored as the Best Indian restaurant in Washington DC for 2009. I also felt a sense of pride that a restaurant I had started and subsequently left Heritage India was right on our heels at number 2. Having remained quite busy starting my new restaurant SpiceXing over the past few months I felt a lot of gratitude towards my entire team at Passage to India who have more than met the challenges.

An excerpt of the article follows:

WASHINGTON CITY PAPER’S 2009
BEST of D.C.


Best of D.C. » 2009 » Food & Drink »
Pick Best Indian

Best: Passage to India

Second-best: Heritage India

The owner and executive chef of the best Indian used to man the stove at the second-best, and it shows. The dal mahkani and palak makai that show up as sides at both establishments are luscious and rich with flavor. Saag gosht retains the flavor of the lamb; the vegetarian options are plentiful and varied. Order the butter chicken at either place, and you’ll be happy. In fact, the murgh mahkani at Heritage India, served in a clay crock over a small flame, bubbling and studded with crumbles of butter, narrowly edges out Passage to India’s, and some of their other dishes have the upper hand for taste as well. So why the No. 1 ranking to the Bethesda eatery? The creativity of the menu, which allows you to eat by region, is one reason—but the heart of it is occasional service problems at Heritage. While the management is typically gracious, several of the wait staff have a tendency to glower at guests, even turn up their noses in what appears to be disdain regarding unknown offenses diners are left to try and figure out. (Did I forget deodorant? Is it my cheap shoes?) While the food at Heritage has the edge, you can count on Passage to leave a good taste in your mouth.
—Carrie Allan

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Back to Bethesda News


It has been a long time since I made any mention of Passage to India, my other restaurant - so caught up I have been in trying to jump start the business at SpiceXing. Sometimes it seems to me that I have an equally tough task like Obama trying to jump start the Economy, GM etc.
I was very happy to note that in spite of the tough times we made it to the Washingtonian's 100 Best, though we slipped in rankings and I have to set my goals to regain that back. An excerpt from the article follows:

Cuisine: Owner/chef Sudhir Seth’s careful approach to regional Indian cooking—the menu covers a wide swath of the subcontinent—translates into refined plates that are light and complex.
Mood: Intricately painted and carved doors hung as wall art reinforce the “passage” motif in the serene dining room.
Best for: A lingering night out; lunch or dinner that ventures far beyond tandoor and palak paneer.
Best dishes: Sev-murmura chaat, a pileup of puffed rice, tamarind, cilantro, and dates; masala-spiced mounds of lump crab; warqi pudina paratha, a mint-flecked whole-wheat flatbread; Parsi-style lamb stew with apricots and straw potatoes; curry of okra and onions with mango powder; shrimp stew with cloves, ginger, and cinnamon; the area’s best Indian pickle plate.
Insider tips: Servers may look formal, but engage them and they’ll help put together a meal so you avoid the trap of many first-timers: too many similar-tasting dishes.
Service: ••

Friday, May 29, 2009

We made it to the "Eat Cheap" Best Bargain Restaurants


Well, the Washingtonian has finally conferred on one of my restaurants the Eat Cheap title. SpiceXing in Rockville is mentioned in their June '09 edition. Once again the Chicken Wings have been singled out for praise. In the present economic times these Best Bargains are really worth it. While it is great to go to the 100 Best for special occasions, it is these bargain restaurants that most people are wont to patronize on a day to day basis.

excerpt below:
Spice Xing
100 Gibbs Street Rockville MD 20850, phone: 301 610 0303

Why go: Sudhir Seth, chef/owner of the more traditional Passage to India in Bethesda, opened this storefront in Rockville Town Center to highlight the European and East Asian influences in Indian cuisine: Flavors of Portugal, China, France, and Spain find their way into food that is as vibrant as the Technicolor d├ęcor.

What to get: Tandoori chicken wings with a citrus tang; dahi papri chaat, a combination of seasoned yogurt and firm chickpeas, with a crackling garnish of sev, fried chicpea noodles; malbari chicken, a rust-orange curry with coconut, coriander, and tomato; aloo do piaza, cumin-scented potatoes with charred onions; paneer makhani, mild tofu-like cubes of Indian cheese in a barely sweet butter-and-tomato sauce.

Best for: Budget dining with the feel of a four-star restaurant.

Insider tip: At happy hour, Monday through Friday 2.30 to 6.30, nine appetizers, such as tandoori wings, are $3 or $4 each.


Open daily for lunch and dinner.