Family meals so good that she needed to know how to replicate them is where Jayshri Ganda’s culinary journey began.
Jayshri is the first to admit she didn’t really know how to cook. Growing up in New Zealand with Indian parents, Jayshri and her siblings never needed to learn kitchen skills. Cooking for everyone was their mum, Laxmi’s way of bestowing love.
So Laxmi cooked, completely recipe-free; which her children deemed amazing, but confounding if you wanted to reproduce something later. “It was a running joke in our family that if we asked how something was made, there were no measures mentioned,” Jayshri says.
“Everything was concocted with ‘a little bit of this and a little bit of that’.”
And when Jayshri prodded her mum for more information about why her own culinary experiments weren’t turning out identical flavours and textures, the answers lay with where ingredients had been sourced. Oh, and exact quantities.
“It turns out you can’t get your chilli or your garlic from a jar of the minced stuff. You actually have to grow your own, or go to an Indian store and buy the original ingredients – especially lentils, in the raw,” Jayshri says. “Any extra processing like fumigation affects things like cooking times.”
Jayshri researched to see if a classic, basic Indian recipe book existed. Only two came close to her vision. So she decided to commit all her mother’s cooking method secrets to paper for Kiwi-born generations. In a nutshell, it’s the art of Gujarati cooking and it looks gorgeous in a professionally produced, globally-awarded cookbook, ‘A little bit of this, A little bit of that’.
The initial print sold out quickly. The first re-print has just finished, and more will likely follow suit, as the self-published book has garnered two Gourmand World Cookbook awards in Yantai, China. It was awarded ‘best in the world’ under the ‘Indian’ and ‘Spices’ categories.
Jayshri’s own favourites are her mum’s lamb curry, masala chops and Sunday chicken curry. “It’s exactly like the Sunday family roast… every time we all get together, we enjoy eating the same meal.”
As Laxmi, now living in Christchurch, comes from a still-developing seaside village called Avda Falia in north-west India, Jayshri is donating all profit from the re-print of the book to projects there. Initially the cash is going toward library books for the local school. Another cookbook might soon follow. Watch this space.
With discerning connoisseurs of the finest Indian cuisine, Pepper Bridge Indian Restaurant needs no introduction. Located at Shop 9 in Addington Mall at 300 Lincoln Road, it has gained such a large following, that online food and beverage app Menulog chose the venue as 2018’s best Indian Restaurant.
Whether you go full chicken/beef/lamb vindaloo, tikka masala, or prefer a toned down korma, the range of starters, mains and vegetarian options is prepared with passion and attention to detail. Each dish has its own extraordinary flavour and you can really taste the difference.
The Head Chef has more than 18 years of experience under his hat and will happily cater your dish to suit your dietary requirements. Pepper Bridge continues to provide customers with ever-changing specials and a comprehensive range of wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages is on offer too. Plus from Tuesday to Friday, ‘Winter Happy Hours’ from 4:30 to 6:30 gives you curry, naan, basmati rice and King Fisher Premium Beer, all for just $22.
Pepper Bridge also provides a stellar food takeaway and delivery service, and can cater for functions in and out of Christchurch. Plus, a new chef straight from India will soon be joining the team, with new and authentic dishes also on their way.
For more information or to book a table at Christchurch’s Number One Indian Restaurant, visit www.pepperbridge.co.nz or phone 03-595 0442.
“My dream was to be a famous Bollywood actor – yet somehow I have ended up in hospitality!” chuckles Amar Singh, owner of the Corianders restaurant group. Amar was indeed a Bollywood actor in India for a time, as well as a model and theatre actor.
But with downtimes in the entertainment industry and the need to pay the rent, Amar began working in hotels. The rest, as they say, is history.
Amar moved up through hotel management ranks and, with his eventual move to New Zealand in 2000, learned more about the cuisine of his native Northern India. Christchurch diners will remember him from his time at Gloucester Street’s Little India and Merivale’s wonderful Leinster House.
Amar was almost lost to hospitality however, after Leinster House was ear-marked for demolition. He was about to take up real estate, but was saved by a finance broker acquaintance who persuaded him to set up his own restaurant. And so, Corianders was born, first of all in Rolleston.
Now Amar wants to pass on his knowledge and love of Indian food through a series of Master Classes at the St Asaph Street Corianders, once a month on Wednesdays from 3pm to 4.30pm, beginning on 2 May. The cost of $30 per person includes a glass of bubbles and all the ingredients to cook one of the succulent dishes on the Corianders’ menu. There are even aprons provided.
To book for Amar’s Master Class phone Miranda on 021 339 707. This will not only be informative, but also great fun.