BBC GOOD FOOD magazine -India edition

BeEb Good Food India

Hot on the heels of the BBC Good Food Asia edition comes the India edition. Billed as the UK’s best selling Food magazine it is a welcome addition to the present range of food magazines in India.

As a long standing fan of the original, with its beautiful unfussy photographs and an easy to follow  format for recipes I am especially pleased . Several years ago my only access to the magazine was through the good auspices of the British Council .

That august institution has sadly lost its way from the path of popularising British culture through distributing books on art, architecture, fiction, gardening  and science among the information hungry Indian populace. Now it seems to cater only to students of engineering, medicine and information technology, that too  at a hefty price,  and its only intent- to sell an overpriced British higher education  to all comers,  with little responsibility to its buyers in India. But that is another story.

Suffice it to say I am no longer a member of the British Council but slowly began following BBC’s Good Food online. Some of my best recipes have come from there.

The Indian edition is published by Bennett Coleman  and Co.( who own Times of India)  They have bought BBC Worldwide . Whether this will reflect in the quality of the eventual publication has to be seen. Many Indian food magazines are very aspirational, reflecting lifestyles of the rich and famous and a handful of “Famous Foodies” and not much in the way of good solid recipes......publishing, in fact , quite questionable ones.

The original GOOD FOOD Magazine always has several tried and tested recipes, and is a dependable guide. The Indian edition promises a section for Vegetarians, the inevitable Eat Out section and more articles relevant to an Indian readership. The Times of India says that seventy percent of the content will be generated here with the rest syndicated from the UK. Does that mean the original magazine? Lets hope so.

Lets also hope it doesn’t become just another vehicle for advertising without any regard for content, which is what most magazines seem to be today.

Karela -Bitter Gourd Pickle 1


As with all pickles this one too depends on the quality of the raw material for the final result. So pick your karelas carefully.

Choose bitter gourds which are light green or even whitish in colour. Dark green denote extra bitterness and are older with more seeds . They are not suitable for pickling. Do not pick yellowish karelas.


500 gms karela /bitter gourd

400 ml vinegar

20 gms rai / mustard seed, ground fine in 2 tsp vinegar

2 " fresh ginger, peeled and chopped fine

5 cloves of garlic, minced

50 gms dried red chillies

5 gms haldi / turmeric powder

20 gms sugar

125 gms salt.

Prepare the bitter gourd by scraping the peel lightly, take out the seeds and cut into 1.5 inch X 1/2 inch strips.

Cook the gourd in half the vinegar. Add all the other ingredients to the vinegar and cook till well blended. Remove from heat.

Heat the rest of the vinegar and pour over the cooked ingredients. mix well and keep in a glass or ceramic jar.

When the vingar has soaked into the gourd pieces it is ready to be used.

Keeps for two months.


Courtesy: Usha's Pickle Digest.


Making Coconut Milk


I was shocked today when I saw the price on a 200 ml packet of coconut milk. The General Store owner asked me " Kaunse Zamana ke baare mein baat kar rahe ho?" ( Which age are you speaking of?) when I mentioned the price I thought it was.

That made me even more determined to NEVER use packaged coconut milk and ALWAYS make my own. It is anyway so much better.

Here's how to go about it if you have never made coconut milk before.

Buy the freshest coconut you can find. If it has a husk,  shake well and check if it has enough water inside. If it is dehusked check for patches or discolouration.Patches generally means that water has leaked out of the nut and the shell is cracked. NOT good.Look for any seepage or discolouration round the "soft eye".

Do not buy if the shell looks grey or old.

Ok , now that you have found a nice fresh coconut drain the water by making a hole through the soft eye. You can drink that up right away or keep it refrigerated for a couple of hours.

Now put the whole coconut in a plastic bag and smash it on a hard surface.

I could give you plenty of tips on how to crack the coconut in half, but since we have no need of a nicely shaped shell I will dispense with those instructions.

1Grated-coconut 2Blended-cocnut-gratings-and

Pressing-out-coconut-milk-t4 Coconut-milk

Take the flesh out and peel the brown cover with a potato peeler if you like.( I don't) Chop into small pieces and put it in a blender to shred. Once it is of a grated consistency add 250 ml of hot water and blend till the water has turned opaque . Strain through a fine sieve, squeezing out as much milk as possible. This is called the first pressing.

Return the coconut grounds to the blender and add another 250-350 ml of hot water. Repeat the process above, once more, till all the milk of the coconut has been extracted.The second pressing has less milk, is not so white but is still packed with flavour.

Use all the milk while it is fresh. Its great for Indian, Thai, Malay or Indonesian food. Also for cocktails and shakes.

And, believe me, packaged coconut milk is not a patch on the real thing!