Dal in Sandringham

Dal has been called India’s national dish because it’s found everywhere. It’s a stew of lentils (or dried peas or beans); and it’s also the word for the dried, split form of these pulses (lentils/peas/beans). A small serving may be served as part of a meal, or it can form the substance of a meal as a thick…

Chaat in Sandringham

If you do one thing in Sandringham this year, go out for chaat. Going for chaat is like going for coffee or a beer with someone, i.e. more informal than a proper dinner. Chaat is often street food in India; they are snacks/dishes with a range of textures and flavours: tangy, spicy, sour, savoury and crunchy. There are hundreds of different ones…

Bhel puri (Indian snacks)

The first time I tried bhel puri was at the end of a long shift at an Asian trade fair in London. A colleague bought us plastic bowls of the puffed rice snack from an onsite caravan. It had been a weary day and – possibly expecting a curry – I was a bit underwhelmed by a dish whose…

Samosa chaat (Indian snacks)

Who walks into an Indian food store and doesn’t come out with a samosa? These golden packages at the counter promise to bring to life all those exotic raw spices lining the shelves behind you. An instant masala burst for a dollar or two. Samosa has been in India a long time. It is based…

Vada pav (Indian snacks)

As we delve into the amazing range of chaat (Indian snacks), vada pav is another white bread-based favourite – popular in Mumbai, across India and where Indian populations have settled, like Auckland’s Sandringham. Indian snacks in Auckland's Sandringham. This is vada pav – see more at foodster.co.nz A post shared by Claire McCarthy (@foodster_feed) on Nov 3,…

Pav bhaji

Chalking up five years in Auckland’s Sandringham I should probably be more fluent in Indian eatery menus. There are 15 or so South Asian outlets within the main village shops, with an ongoing dance of new arrivals and extensions. Shoppers from all over the city come for bulk cooking supplies or specialist ingredients or prepared…

Gua bao (steamed buns)

Auckland diners are becoming very familiar with pillowy steamed white dough prised open and stuffed with flavoursome pork and other fillings – the treat known as gua bao. This is different from a Chinese steamed bun with the filling enclosed…. With the Taiwanese gua bao the filling is added once the plain dough comes out of…

Salted caramel

Tip Top ran a stunt in Auckland recently to promote its new chocolate and salted caramel Trumpet. A company delivery truck “broke down” by the park in New Zealand’s media heartland and Instagram epicentre of Grey Lynn, with the hope of generating some social media excitement about its new flavour. Our biggest ice cream maker needed…

Feijoas (part two)

It’s been three Autumns since we moved back to suburban Auckland, and discovered we had a feijoa tree. Three years since the anticipation of having our own feijoas was quickly followed by the sense of being overwhelmed by bags and bowls of rapidly perishing fruit. I think I have managed to bring my feelings in…

Black pepper

A friend of mine came back from Cambodia with a gift of peppercorns – some of the world’s best, the product of a traditional industry in Kambot that has re-emerged in the last 30 years as peace has been restored to the nation. Since 2008 Kambot peppercorns have had protected geographical status, like champagne. I…

Meyer lemons

Growing up in Auckland we never bought lemons, there always seemed to be one on the tree in the garden – and when ours occasionally wasn’t fruiting, then someone else’s was. By late winter in Auckland when the city’s suburbs are at their most colourless, trees stripped leafless under overcast skies, it’s the glow of…

Alphonso mangoes

In London in late spring boxes of Alphonso mangoes begin to stack up around the shop doors in the Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi precincts. Pretty tissue paper and shredded silver tinsel provide a nest for the fragrant treasures in each box, which are air-freighted from the sub-continent to be consumed within days if not hours of picking. The excitement…