The Dish: Indian chef Anita Jaisinghani

Indian chef Anita Jaisinghani got a degree in microbiology before starting her small catering business. That business led to work as a pastry chef and eventually the opening of her own restaurants including Houston’s Pondicheri Café. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, the popular venue drew special acclaim for its exotic baked goods. Two years ago, a second Pondicheri Café location opened in New York City, also with an all-day menu of flavorful Indian specialties.

Here are some of Jaisinghani’s   signature recipes: 

Masala-fried chicken with tamarind chutney 

Brine Ingredients

4 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup yogurt
Lemon juice 
4-5 whole star anise
1 tbsp salt
1 whole chicken approx. 3 lbs.


1. Without removing the skin, cut chicken into pieces separating legs, thighs, wings and cutting breast pieces into three. Refrigerate the pieces in the brine for 48 hrs. 

2. After brine is complete drain the liquid and place the chicken pieces uncovered on a paper towel lined tray in the refrigerator overnight. 

3. Next, marinate the chicken pieces in the following masala:

Masala Ingredients

1 cup yogurt
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp amchur
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ajwain
2 tbsp ginger puree
2 tsp minced garlic
Chicken can be marinated for up to 2-3 days

Tamarind chutney Ingredients

Dried tamarind pulp (7 oz. package)
4 cups hot water
3/4 cup chopped jaggery  
2 tbsp ginger puree
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chili powder 
1 1/2 tsp black salt

Potato cakes


1 cup of dry tapioca pearls 
3 cups hot water
2 cups of grated, boiled Idaho potatoes
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 medium, whole chopped serrano pepper
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cornstarch


1. Soak tapioca pearls in hot water for 3-4 hours or overnight. Drain. 

2. Grate the potatoes without peeling. Discard most of the peel that is left behind the grater. Small pieces of peel in the mix are OK. Add the drained tapioca, cilantro, serrano pepper, cornstarch, pomegranate seeds, cumin and salt

3. Shape into 2-inch rounds about 3/4 inch thick and deep fry in 325 degree hot oil until golden and crisp. 

Crispy okra  


1lb. small, tender, young okra
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 rsp chili powder
2 tsp amchur
1 tbsp crushed fennel seeds


1. Without trimming, slice each piece of okra in half, lengthwise. Stems are edible and will soften when cooked. 

2. In a large sauce pan or skillet heat the olive oil and add the sliced okra with salt. Cook on high heat, stirring not too frequently. Within 3-4 min. the okra will begin to turn bright green. As soon as it is cooked, pull off the heat

3. Immediately toss in the chili powder, amchur and crushed fennel seeds. 

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