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By NITISH S. RELE Our good old friend, restaurant chef-owner, food consultant and cooking teacher Suvir Saran was in Florida recently. He had donned on the traveling chef cap at Aprons Cooking Schools at Publix Supermarkets in Sarasota and Tampa.

The New Delhi-born and Bombay-educated had an insatiable appetite for cooking since he was a kid. Saran attended Sir JJ School of Arts in Bombay before moving to New York City to study at the School of Visual Arts.

He was store manager at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a buyer for Bergdorf Goodman, and later director of retail merchandising for the home collection at Henri Bendel. But it was his interest in cooking for friends and food followers that led Saran to begin teaching classes at NYU’s Department of Food and Nutrition. Today, Saran owns two Indian restaurants, Devi in New York City, and Veda in New Delhi. He also is the author of “Indian Home Cooking: A Fresh Introduction to Indian Food, with More than 150 Recipes,” which he co-wrote with Stephanie Lyness. The 260-page book guides readers on a cultural journey, helping even the novice cook make simple, satisfying and tasty Indian food.

And yes, he will be releasing yet another cookbook “American Masala,” published again by Clarkson Potter, like his first one. Coming back to the Florida visit, Saran is glad to pat Publix on the back. “They are a great company,” he says with sincerity. “Employee owned and bringing amazing quality, service standards and exciting product and knowledge to their customers.”

It’s a wonderful payback to give loyal customers, he feels. “Traveling chefs that bring their culinary know how to communities which are eager to learn how to add new and fun flavors to their diet. Doing this, they bring also the culinary traditions from around the world to these cities.”

And Saran loves Florida for showing “every bit the charm and challenge of being Southern and yet has such a wealth of residents that have come to its lap from other parts of the country.” But of course.

“The community is made richer by the wealth of experiences and traditions brought to it by those retiring there,” he continues. “These are people that have lived full lives, and have traveled as much as any. They bring a new hunger for diversity to Florida. I see in Florida an energy that is far from lethargic. And I see in Publix, a commitment to only indulge all their customers wholly.”

Each class he teaches, appears on a morning show or is interviewed by a journalist, Saran realizes some new aspect of food, people and life that he would have not known, though he was enjoying it for a long time. “That is always my goal, and my travels and my vocation, are both always enriching my life,” he says. “That happens daily, happened in Florida and I shall be indulging my profession till the day it remains my muse, enrichment and my passion.”

All you Suvir Saran fans can jot down the following dates on your 2007 calendar. If you don’t have a calendar, we suggest getting hold of one. It will be worth the money. The master chef will be returning to the Sunshine State this winter to conduct classes at Publix cooking schools in Tampa (Jan. 4, 2007), Sarasota (Jan. 5) and Jacksonville (Jan. 6).

For more information, click on or call (917) 859-7160.


Reprinted with permission from “Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad & Tobago” by Ramin Ganeshram; 250 pages; $29.95; Published by Hippocrene;


Moses Reuben, Executive Chef and Owner of Melange Restaurant in Port of Spain, adds elegance to everyday Trinidadian food with French techniques and delicate seasoning. His version of curry chicken can be paired with roti for a more traditional feel or plain rice for a more sophisticated presentation.

Ingredients (4 servings)

4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 cloves garlic, chopped onion
3 tablespoons chopped onion
1½ teaspoons chopped fresh shado beni or cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin

3 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup chicken stock
1 medium-size Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup coconut milk


Mix the chicken with the garlic, onions, shado beni, cumin, and 2 teaspoons of the curry powder. Set aside to marinate for at least 20 minutes but preferably overnight in the refrigerator.

Mix the remaining curry powder with ½ cup of water to make a smooth paste and set aside. Heat the oil in a deep saucepan, add curry paste, and then add the chicken. Mix well and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the stock, potatoes, and salt. Simmer for 15 minutes and continue to cook until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes more. Add the coconut milk and simmer for 3 minutes more. Taste to adjust the seasonings. Serve with rice or roti.


This quick bread has a special sweet tang from the mangoes. If you cannot get fresh mangoes for this recipe, frozen are available at many gourmet markets. Trader Joe’s is a good brand. Alternately, you can buy frozen mango puree made by companies like Goya.

Ingredients (makes 1 loaf)

1 large ripe mango, peeled and sliced, or 1½ cups frozen mango cubes
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup (3 ounces) chopped walnuts (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350-degree F and grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

Combine the mango, lime juice, and 1 teaspoon of water in a blender. Puree until smooth and set aside. Alternatively, use 1½ cups store-bought mango puree.

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda.

In a large bowl, beat together the egg, mango puree, and oil. Add the flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Add the walnuts.

Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to continue cooling. Slice and serve.

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