Chef Chat, Part 3: Anita Jaisinghani of Indika
Chocolate bread pudding.
Anita Jaisinghani of Indika (516 Westheimer) was kind enough to sit down with Eating Our Words for a nice chat and fantastic tasting at her beautiful boutique eatery.
At the end of our conversation, we asked about the desserts, remembering the amazing chocolate croissants at brunch and the rice pudding on the menu a few years back. The chef said she makes her own desserts. "That's my biggest challenge," said. "I don't have a sweet tooth. In fact, there were no desserts on the menu for the first week. But I was told that I needed desserts, so I just made something up quickly. Lately I've been on a bread journey, and I hope to start making my own breads to serve people soon."
Color us shocked that someone without a sweet tooth can create some of the best desserts we have had in our lives. Though it's tacky to start with dessert, we must tell you that you will not find a better bread pudding anywhere in town. Chef Anita uses her own brioche as the basis for this treat, which is light as air and unbelievably creamy. It has just the right amount of bittersweet, high-quality Valhrona chocolate and is served on a vanilla bean sauce lightly scented with cardamom that makes you want to lick the plate.
We also sampled the Texas Red Snapper with a spinach, fenugreek and almond sauce. The fish was perfectly charred on the outside without being even the slightest bit overcooked. The sauce had rich, boastful flavors and the rice was heady, dense and decadent. The sweet potato samosas were crunchy and flaky on the outside with a creamy, smooth filling. They were plated with a warm garbanzo bean curry that added a new dimension of richness and texture to the idea of a samosa. It was divine.
We had to try one of Jaisinghani's favorite dishes, the Khichri , since we had never tasted it before. Though admittedly the idea of a rice, lentil, and vegetable stew falls a little flat, this dish did not. It was intensely deluxe. The perfect meal to fuel your day, stave off hunger, and not weigh you down. The small pitcher of accompanying yogurt curry took it from satisfying to scrumptious.
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