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Indian food has gained a bad reputation. What you usually get out [in most restaurants here] is full of oil, and at times, overly-spicy. This is not how it was done traditionally,” says food historian Pritha Sen.

Today, there is a heavy emphasis on ingredients like cream and ghee, which contributes to a shift away from the cuisine’s original approach – said to be medicinal and even restorative. For instance, in Kashmir, saffron is widely used as it’s believed to be rich in antioxidants, while in places like Tamil Nadu – where the climate is extremely hot – tamarind is used not only to keep the body cool, but also to aid in digestion.

The 62-year-old, who hails from Bengal, a northeastern region that borders Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, has made it her calling to raise awareness about authentic Indian cuisine. She is currently in town for a collaboration with Yantra, a fine-dining restaurant in Tanglin Mall that has recently undergone a revamp.

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