12 days: on the second day of christmas: mehrotra… (2017)

– Every time I have Indian food – and, sadly, it is not often that I am around it – I wonder why I don’t seek it out more.  As with Indian culture, the colors, flavors, and traditions of Indian cookery are vivid and expressive, engaging and alluring.  And that’s how I would describe the […]


Every time I have Indian food – and, sadly, it is not often that I am around it – I wonder why I don’t seek it out more.  As with Indian culture, the colors, flavors, and traditions of Indian cookery are vivid and expressive, engaging and alluring.  And that’s how I would describe the menu that chef Manish Mehrotra presented at the second night of this year’s Twelve Days of Christmas at The Restaurant at Meadowood.

One of three chefs with whom I was unfamiliar when this year’s dinner series began, Mehrotra also comes from a culture and cuisine with which, admittedly, I am woefully uneducated.  But studied and articulate, with a flare for storytelling, he was an eager professor and ambassador.  For this reason, his time in the kitchen at The Restaurant at Meadowood represented the very best of what the Twelve Days of Christmas offers: an education.  And, clearly a master of his craft and cuisine, his cooking was simply delicious, making this one of most memorable dinners I’ve had in my five years of photographing this event.

Manish Mehrotra

With gestures as expressive as his cooking, Mehrotra provided rich, cultural context to his revisionist approach to traditional, Indian ingredients and dishes.

He explained the Indian proclivity for crispy chaat, a popular Indian street food that he refashioned into a sphere of fried, shredded potato and served with white peas.

There were pork ribs smothered in a tangy, mango sweet pickle glaze that he topped with a sliver of candied mango – a familiar sweet treat of Mehrotra’s childhood.

And he introduced us to khichdi, a Bengal rice and lentil porridge which he served with crispy lentils and crisp pieces of smoked papad. Daringly spicy, it was also immensely comforting.

Giant morels from the woods of Kashmir Mehrotra brought by the dozens, dried.  Rehydrated, the enormous caps – measuring as long as 3 inches – were immensely flavorful. He stuffed them with a mixture of confited mushrooms and Indian cheese, and served them with crisp, Parmesan “papad” and finely chopped walnuts, another product of pride from the Kashmiri region of India.  Served as a canapé, this was a crowd favorite.

Canapé: Chicken Cornets

5th Course: Sweet Pickled Ribs

As with the first dinner, Kostow and his team let Mehrotra take the stage for this night’s menu, opting to present only two dishes of their own.  One of them featured slices of pressed lamb neck with marrow and Indian spices.  The other was Kostow’s take on saag paneer, a dish  of creamed spinach and Indian cheese that I’ve commonly seen in Indian-American restaurants. In Kostow’s version, the spinach was creamed with Indian curry spices and served with house-made buffalo milk cheese and topped with shaved white truffles.

8th Course: Makhan Malai Saffron Milk

Mehrotra served two desserts, one traditional to his Dehli heritage, and another imported from abroad.

The first was makhan malai, milk cream which, by tradition, Dehliites would let sit outside overnight to collect the morning dew.  The cream would be whipped into a cloud light enough to “vanish as soon as you put it in your mouth.”  In Mehrotra’s version, the  cream was infused with saffron and dressed with jaggery (palm sugar) brittle and gold leaf.

Mehrotra finished the night with treacle pudding, a vestige of British imperial India, which he made with doda barfi – an Indian fudge-like candy.  The sticky, sweet cake was served, simply, with a turn of vanilla bean ice cream.  It was terrific.

Day 2: Minash Mehrotra


Below, you’ll find the menu from the second night of the Twelve Days of Christmas with Manish Mehrotra.   To see all of the photos from this dinner, CLICK HERE.



Beet and Peanut Butter Tikki
With goat cheese raita.

Chicken Khurchan Mathri
Served in cornets.

Kashmiri Morels
Walnut powder and Parmesan papad.

Pumpkin and Saffron Shorba
Garam Masala


First Course 
Potato Sphere Chaat
White pea.

Second Course
Baked Cod
Amritsari mint boondi.

Third Course 
Bengel Rice Khichdi
Crispy lentils, smoked papad.

Fourth Course 
Koliwada Trout
Malwani shrimp pulao.

Fifth Course 
Sweet Pickle Ribs
Toasted onion seeds, candied mango.

Sixth Course
Lamb Neck
Marrow, Indian spices.
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

Seventh Course
“Saag Paneer”
White truffle, millet roti.
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

Eighth Course 
Makhan Malai
Saffron milk, rose petal,
jaggery brittle, and slivered almonds.

Ninth Course 
Doda Barfi Treacle Tart
Vanilla bean ice cream.

F.E. Trimbach
Cuvée Frédéric Emile
Riesling, Alsace, 2009

Malartci-LaGraviere Blanc
Pessac-Leognan, 2009

Côtes-du-Rhone Blanc, 2014

Louis Remy
Burgundy Grand Cru Latricières-Chambertin, 2001

Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, 1985

Kostow and Mehrotra

Below are links to my posts and photos from all of the Twelve Days of Christmas dinners I have attended over the past four years at the Restaurant at Meadowood. Each chef is listed with the restaurant with which they were cooking at the time they participated in the event (some have moved on to other projects and restaurants).


Scott Anderson (Elements; Princeton, New Jersey)
John & Karen Shields (Formerly of Townhouse; Chilhowie, Virginia)
Phillip Foss (EL Ideas; Chicago, Illinois)
Stuart Brioza & Nicole Krasinski (State Bird Provisions; San Francisco, California)
Jason Franey (Canlis Restaurant; Seattle, Washinton)
Matthias Merges (Yusho; Chicago, Illinois)
Mori Onodera (Formerly of Mori Sushi; Los Angeles, California)
James Syhabout (Commis; Oakland, California)
Nick Anderer (Maialino; New York, New York)
David Toutain (Agapé Substance; Paris, France)
Josh Habiger & Erik Anderson (The Catbird Seat; Nashville Tennessee)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Andy Ricker (Pok Pok, Portland, Oregon & New York, New York)
Rodolfo Guzman (Boragó; Santiago, Chile)
Carlo Mirarchi (Blanca and Roberta’s; Brooklyn, New York)
Tim Cushman (O Ya; Boston, Massachusetts)
Ashley Christensen (Poole’s Diner; Raleigh, North Carolina)
David Chang (Momofuku; New York, New York)
Matthew Accarrino (SPQR; San Francisco, California)
Mark Ladner & Brooks Headley (Del Posto; New York, New York)
Rasmus Kofoed (Geranium; Copenhagen, Denmark)
Nicolaus Balla & Cortney Burns (Bar Tartine; San Francisco, California)
David Kinch (Manresa; Los Gatos, California)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Matthew Orlando (Amass; Copenhagen, Denmark)
Frank Castranovo & Frank Falcinelli (Frankies 457, Prime Meats; New York, New York)
Kobe Desramaults (In de Wulf; Dranouter, Belgium)
Alexandre Gauthier (La Grenouillère; La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil, France)
Blaine Wetzel (Willows Inn; Lummi Island, Washington)
Joshua McFadden (Ava Gene’s; Portland, Oregon)
Virgilio Martinez (Central; Lima, Peru)
Grant Achatz (Alinea; Chicago, Illinois)
Corey Lee (Benu; San Francisco, California)
Esben Holmboe Bang (Maaemo; Oslo, Norway)
Ignacio Mattos (Estela; New York, New York)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Daniel Humm (Eleven Madison Park, NoMad; New York, New York)
Nenad Mlinarevic (Focus; Vitznau, Switzerland)
Christian Puglisi (relæ; Copenhagen, Denmark)
Jorge Vallejo (Quintonil; Mexico City, Mexico)
Joshua Skenes (Saison; San Francisco, California)
Matthew Wilkinson (Pope Joan; Melbourne, Australia)
Kim Floresca and Daniel Ryan ([One]; Chapel Hill, North Carolina)
Isaac McHale (The Clove Club; London, The United Kingdom)
Kyle Connaughton (Single Thread; Healdsburg, California)
Atsushi Tanaka (A.T. Restaurant; Paris, France)
Justin Yu (Oxheart; Houston, Texas)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Mark Lundgaard Nielsen (Kong Hans Kælder; Copenhagen, Denmark)
Manish Mehrotra (Indian Accents; New Dehli, India; New York, New York; London, U.K.)

Photos: Baked cod “amritsari mint boondi;” Manish Mehrotra cooks’ line-up; stuffed Kashmiri morels with Parmesan papad; Mehrotra stirring colorful pots; cornets of chicken khurchan mathri; pork ribs glazed with mango sweet pickle; saffron-infused makhan malai; the kitchen staff of The Restaurant at Meadowood with chef Mehrotra; and Christopher Kostow toasting chef Mehrotra.


Categories 12 days 2017

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