While trying out a few recipes from our Indian-inspired springtime spread, one of the first I attempted was the aloo poori.

The first poori (puffed flatbread) came out of the hot oil looking more like a chunky piece of pita than the gorgeously puffed balls of fried dough I enjoyed while sharing lunch with Aashim Bajaj at his restaurant, The Cinnamon Garden. What was I doing wrong?

I followed the instructions, but quickly learned there is a bit more of a “trick” to this favourite Indian snack or breakfast staple than meets the eye. I persisted, and by the third poori, the breads were looking more like what they were supposed to (though still nowhere near the spherical perfection I experienced that day at the restaurant). Luckily, even my failed attempts tasted delicious.

Like anything – making scones, for example, or shortcrust pastry – the more you practise, the better you get. I have since made Aashim’s aloo poori twice since that first attempt. The key is to roll the dough to the right thickness and then unrelentlessly splash hot oil over it as it fries. That said, I am reluctant to come across as anything but a complete amateur here.


It’s funny, the cuisines we take for granted – a Chinese or Indian takeaway – require more skill and understanding of flavour and texture than we often consider. I once spoke with a Canadian-Indian chef named Vikram Vij. He is considered one of Canada’s most beloved chefs and his restaurant, Vij’s, in Vancouver, is considered the first-ever Indian “fine dining” establishment in the country. He told me that before Vij’s opened in the 1990s, Canadians would never have considered Indian food as anything but casual. His inventive menu items – like lamb chop “popsicles” in buttermilk curry – made Canadian diners think about Indian food differently. This is exactly what trailblazers like Aashim are doing in Ireland – having so much pride in their home cuisine and their culture and sharing that through an elevated dining experience.

You might think that a recipe spread on Indian cuisine is strangely placed in a Easter-focused food magazine, but I can see families coming together this Easter long weekend and each taking on a recipe to create the ultimate Indian feast. Springtime celebrations take place within every religion and culture. Just a few weeks ago, the Hindu festival of Holi took place.


Holi is considered the festival of colour, love and spring and signifies the triumph of good over evil. Aashim celebrates Holi, and every other Hindu festival, at The Cinnamon Garden. To say he has brought some colour to his Irish community is probably an understatement.

In this edition of Irish Country Living Food, you will find plenty of inspiration and fantastic recipes to share with friends and family this Easter. If I can offer one piece of advice for the holiday weekend, it’s this: spend quality time around the table with your loved ones. And definitely try the poori.

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