A Peek Into Anita Jaisinghani’s Pondicheri

This Carrot Quinoa Muffin is a favorite at the Pondicheri Bake Lab in Houston. Get the recipe here.

A Peek Into Pondicheri

This week, we’re bringing you a ‘peek’ into Pondicheri in Houston as well as recipes from its culinary star chef, Anita Jaisinghani. Read more about this remarkable woman’s journey to bring Indian street food to Texas and most recently, New York City.

Image: Anita Jaisinghani, owner of Pondicheri in Houston and New York City

Sometimes it’s the toughest of times that teach us the most. Longtime Houston culinary star chef Anita Jaisinghani, owner of Pondicheri in Houston’s West Avenue in River Oaks, already had culinary fortune and fame in Houston with her unique style of Indian street food when she tackled the daunting task of opening a second Pondicheri. This time in New York City, home to some of the fiercest restaurant competition and food critics in the country.

There were tons of bumps and bruises along the way, literally. After a stressful year and a half of planning, constructing and permit pulling, the doors opened. About that time, Anita took a bad fall breaking her right wrist and injuring her shoulder. Talk about stress. Soon after the fall, the NYC food critics started filling the seats at Anita’s tables.

This Lamb Bean Stew is absolutely lovely, like an Indian chili. Get the recipe here.

In Anita’s words, “I felt like I knew so much before I went to New York, but I got slapped around, crossed the seven seas, landed in a sharp hole and had to figure out how to swim in that!”

No surprise to those of us who know and love Pondicheri that the New Yorkers fell in love with Anita’s exciting Indian cuisine too. The James Beard Award-nominated chef received wonderful reviews on her new location from New York Magazine, the New York Times and others.

Those life lessons the Big Apple experience taught this talented chef apparently didn’t damper her creative juices. The hits at Pondicheri in New York and in Houston keep on coming. Anita just released a new menu here that features a fun dish with a New York twist, the Slum Dog—a vegetarian hot dog served on a buttery brioche bun. She says the ‘dog’ was inspired by her son’s love of hot dogs when they would visit New York.

Feast on this Fenugreek Fish for a ‘transformative’ twist on dinner! Get the recipe here.

A few of my favorites on her menu – the Fenugreek Fish with its vegetable coconut stew, the Garlic Scallion Naan (I even eat it for breakfast) and the Butter Chicken. Save room for the dark chocolate cookies with hazelnuts and a surprise burst of basil – delish! The Pumpkin Chia Pie is a crowd pleaser as well.

Then, there are the pastries. You’ll find those when you pop upstairs to Pondicheri’s Bake Shop. There, you’ll discover an entire case of delicacies like the Chocolate Brioche Buns or the Carrot Quinoa Muffins (top). Breakfast here is an adventure, and dinner at Pondicheri is always a delight!

To get more of Anita’s recipes, visit her new website, India 1948.

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