Book Review | Adieu 2012 … ending the year with ‘The Pondicherry Kitchen’ book review

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”
Alfred Tennyson

... the year in a snapshot
… the year in a snapshot

Wrapping up a season is hard enough, wrapping up a year seems unreal. How time has flown. 2012 certainly passed in a heartbeat. I’m still trying to catch my breath.

things i didI blogged lots. About things I enjoyed. Food. Travel. Events. People. Lots of colour too. Lots of food events that were so worth the while. So much happened in 2012. On top of the list was the Delhi Bloggers Table, loads of fun at Olive with Saby, events, the Aussie Masterchefs, reviews, some great, some not so … but a wonderful learning experience.

2012Then again, I didn’t have time to blog about lots more that I made. Just didn’t seem to get organised enough to post. Some stuff was so worth it. There was baking … plenty! Wish I had time  to share everything.

2012Then there was cooking too … loads of it! Curries, pastas, wraps, grills, stir fries, no bake desserts. You might have enjoyed these as well. It’s strange how when something comes out really nice, I first think of the blog. Chocolate 2012 saw loads of chocolate at PAB. LOADS.

ChocolateThis was something I really enjoyed! There was some I didn’t get to share. Hopefully this new year shall be better. We hung onto the wings of time, hoping it would slow down a bit, but as usual it left us breathless. ‘Us‘ as in everyone and their friends that I speak too. We look at 2012 in a sense of disbelief. HUH? Gone? Already? What?

2012As always, I had loads more to do, but somewhere along the way social media grabbed chunks of time with both hands. I fell off twitter for a bit and got consumed by FaceBook. I had vowed that I would weigh my time carefully when I decided to cut back on my twitter addiction. Out of the frying pan, into the fire … I love FB though!

the Pondicherry kitchenI had many things to do before the year ended. Loads didn’t get done. This book review was important for me as I missed the book launch at the French Ambassadors residence as I was busy that evening.

the Pondicherry kitchenThe Pondicherry Kitchen is as interesting as it sounds. It’s a quaint unassuming book with recipes that offer a peep into a cuisine less known. I haven’t heard of some of the recipes; a deep South Indian influence in the ingredients used. There aren’t too many photographs to go by, the few that are there don’t do full justice to the recipes within.

The Pondicherry Kitchen – Traditional recipes from the Indo-French territory by Lourdes Tirouvanziam -Louis

The coastal town of Pondicherry has seen the influence of a host of cultures, and it’s not surprising that its cuisine reflects this history. A fragrant potpourri of flavours, primarily from the Tamilian kitchen and—resulting from three hundred years of occupation by those universally acknowledged gourmands—the French, the food here also reflects eclectic borrowings from Indian, Moghul, French, Portuguese and Malaysian cooking. In The Pondicherry Kitchen, Lourdes Tirouvanziam-Louis captures the unique culinary heritage of the town. Several years of research—digging out old recipes, collecting the culinary secrets of senior people, sourcing foodlore that has been transmitted orally through generations— have coalesced in this book, and the delicious recipes in it. Spiced with anecdotes that give an insight into the culture, The Pondicherry Kitchen is a wonderful, easy-to follow cookbook.

the Pondicherry kitchen It was natural choice for me to reach for the pages with rasam, a warm starter or soup, that is one my husband loves. It’s been years since I’ve found an authentic good great recipe. This one left us longing for more. Perfect for the season, a hearty clear soup which is lentil based and has the kick of the Indian spice box!

the Pondicherry kitchen Red chilies, curry leaves, tamarind, asafoetida … all these come together to treat the palette in a robust way. The last I had a soup or rasam as good as this was when my sister visited from the US 5 years ago. She made it for Mr PAB, one that he remembers to date. This was as good. It’s a spicy adult lentil based clear soup, and would need to be toned down a bit for kids. {It serves a hearty 4 rather than the 6 as the recipe says}.

the Pondicherry kitchen Tomatoes are in abundance this season, the next recipe I reached for was this tomato chutney. I have never made one with golden fried onions and the recipe had me quite intrigued. Once again it didn’t disappoint. Bursting with flavour and colour, this is a great chutney to compliment an India meal. Goes well with idli, dosas, rice and with most Indian dishes; a lovely change from the regular chutney.

the Pondicherry kitchen My experience from the book was all good. It embodies everything Indian cuisine sets out to do … adds colour, delights the palette, is made from natural easy to source ingredients, and has the little story or connect thrown in here and there.


Recipe: Takaali Chutney / Tomato Chutney

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Summary: A delicious tomato chutney which is a bit tangy. It keeps well for 2-3 days. From ‘The Pondicherry Kitchen’

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes


  • 1/2 kg tomatoes, peeled, chopped
  • 1 tbsp oil {I needed more, 2 tbsp}
  • 1tsp mustard seeds
  • 1tsp urad dal
  • 1/2 tsp aetofitida
  • 4 big onions, finelay sliced
  • 6 curry leaves
  • 1-2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp tamarind pulp
  • 1tbsp sugar
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a pan, heat the oil, add the mustard seeds and urad dal and let them splutter.
  2. Add the aestofida  onions, curry leaves, green chilies and red chili powder. Fry till the onions are dark golden brown.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder, tamarind pulp,sugar and salt. Cook till all the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Serve hot.
  5. Note: This chutney keeps for 2-3 days.


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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India


  • 4 years ago

    A wonderful chutney!

    Wishing you a Happy New Year!



  • 4 years ago

    Wishing You and family A Happy New Year Deeba….

  • bellini
    4 years ago

    I hope that 2013 is rich in experiences, filled with love and happiness and of course great food and photos Deeba. Have a safe and happy New Year. Keep smiling it is contagious.

  • 4 years ago

    Happy New Year! dear Deeba!!

  • What a lovely bunch of pictures. You had a great year.

  • Wish you and your Family a Very Happy New Year!

  • Wishing you and your Family a Happy New Year Deeba!

  • Your blog is such a sight to look at Deeba. This post sums up the awesomeness that is PAB. Happy new year to you too.

  • natasha
    4 years ago

    Wish you and your family a very Happy New Year. May you keep delighting us with your wonderful blog!:))

  • 4 years ago

    hi happy new year deeba…I made a panna cotta inspired by your bru coffee one…could’nt find that post …but mine is low cal!!!
    check this out..
    no tang of the yogurt and absolutely fab…

  • 4 years ago

    happy new year !!

    it was fun fun fun meeting you over n over, on the table 🙂

  • Love your round-up , Deeba and sorry for being silly, but how do you do such beautiful photo collage? I’ve been trying in vain! Thank you for taking time to judge the DMBLGIT, I have posted up the winners if you want to check it out:-)

  • 4 years ago

    Deeba, I can’t wait to see what you come up with in 2013. Happy New Year!

  • 4 years ago

    I always love coming to your blog. Your gorgeous photos and fabulous, incredible desserts never cease to amaze and inspire me. You are one talented lady! I still dream of coming and baking with you for two weeks (or more)…learning from the best. And what fun we would have! I follow your adventures and love that you are moving around and getting known more and more, the talent that you are! How I wish 2013 would bring us together again…. Wishing you all the very best for 2013, Sistah! xoxo

  • 4 years ago

    What a gorgeous round up of photos. Happy Hew Year Deeba!

  • 4 years ago

    Happy New Year to you Deeba!
    Lovely post and I love “thakkali chutney”. You can make so many dishes with this. I serve it with idly/dosa, mix in some yogurt to make a raita out of it, bake it with salmon.

    I will look forward more awesome recipes here and best wishes for a wonderful 2013.

  • 4 years ago

    looks like a great book love tomato chutney with dosa and pondicherry is a great town

  • Great review, Deeba. Am on your site for quite a while now. Love the recipes, the pictures, everything. I am new to food blogging and am delighted to learn so much from excellent bloggers who have set the mark so high.

    Take a bow, lady!

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