The Real Food Podcast

If you have an adventurous palate, join Vikram Doctor every fortnight as he indulges in his appetite for the stories of food.

If you have an adventurous palate, join Vikram Doctor every fortnight as he indulges in his appetite for the stories of food. Taste the origins, legends and practical magic of ingredients and recipes that range from the everyday to the extraordinary.

Through ancestral kitchens, gourmet restaurants, exotic vegetable farms, modern agriculturists, heirloom aficionados… One of India’s most respected food writers has been there, eaten that and knows that there is no love more sincere than the love of food.

44. Is Chicken Just Non-Veg Paneer?

Mass-produced chicken enjoys mass popularity, but is it bland and unhealthy?

43. (Indian) Vegetarians vs. The World.

Indian vegetarians have problems finding ‘pure-veg’ food abroad as many abroad don’t understand Indian vegetarianism. Vikram Doctor speaks to people on how they deal with this problem.

42. Pao-er to the People

India may seem like a rice and roti eating nation, but there is a long and rich tradition of bread-baking in some pockets.

41. Gur – The Original Candy

Who doesn’t love jaggery! But do you ever wonder where it comes from or indeed why increasingly you don’t see it any more? Vikram Doctor on the tradition of jaggery production and consumption in India.

40. Cakes – From Birthday Parties to Political Parties

Vikram Doctor on how cakes once seen as ‘western’, have become a big part of Indian celebrations.

39. Fighting the War on Waste with Leftovers

If we can get over our prejudice, leftovers can be a creative and delicious way of reducing wastage of precious food.

38. The Billion Packs a Month Biscuit

Vikram Doctors takes us on a journey down memory lane with glucose biscuits and explains the phenomenal success of Parle G.

37. No #AccheDin for Gin?

Gin is not popular because: a) Vodka killed it b) it is seen as a British Raj drink c) a ‘ladies’ drink?

36. Stainless Steel Kitchens, Iron Clad Memories

Modern Metal – How stainless steel became the material of choice in our kitchens.

35. Monsoon Foods of Western India

How do homes in western India prepare for the onslaught of the monsoons? Vikram Doctor finds out.

34. Great Coffee Made Easy

Join Vikram Doctor’s quest to make a great cup of coffee at home without going through the hassle.

33. Chivda: From the Shahs to the Queen

From the poha and peanut staple at kiraana stores to the ‘Bombay Mix’ in upmarket supermarkets in the west, how the chivda became a global snack.

32. Pulse of the People

El Nino caused pulse production to fall and prices to rise. Vikram Doctor scans the markets at home and abroad to explain how India can deal with this crisis.

31. Feast of the East (Indians)

Every East Indian family will never be without their stash of bottle-masala, Vikram Doctor sneaks into their kitchen to uncover its history and significance.

30. How Hill Stations gave India its Sweet Tooth

Vikram Doctor explores why the hill stations have supplied sweets to India for the century.

29. Papad – A circle that completes the square meal

Vikram Doctor on papad and why every community claims that it makes the best ones.

28. ‘Lal, Neelu and Pilu’: The story of Swadeshi Sodas

Vikram Doctor traces the effervescent past of sodas and the popularity of ‘ethnic Indian flavours’ that could pop the big-brand bubbles.

27. Who makes the best India Pale Ale? Not India.

Vikram Doctor traces the history of beer & the future of Indian microbreweries.

26. Earthy, Resilient and Nutritious: Ragi Is A Metaphor For The People It Nourishes.

Ragi, the humble millet, is seeing a revival as a healthy, diabetic friendly superfood.

25. Indians love butter, dahi, ghee and paneer; but are we finally learning to say cheese?

What do Masterchef Australia and the ability to cook cheese have to do with its growing popularity?

24. The Unforgiving Roti: Is It Either Perfect or Inedible?

How a dish so simple could not be satisfactorily replicated by advanced machines.

23. Family Cookbooks: Preserving Memory Through Taste

Family recipes are a treasure, and family cookbooks are a great way to preserve culinary tradition.

22. Nashik: The Land of Wine & Worship

How did a region with a tropical climate and a history of table grapes, both of which are unfit for wine making, become the centre of India’s wine industry?

21. In the Hunt for India’s National Dish

What is the one dish with a pan-India presence and appeal, which stands out among the diverse offerings from India’s many local cuisines? Vikram Doctor finds out.

20. Open Sesame: The Tiny Seeds That Pack a Huge Punch

Sesame seeds are tiny and unassuming, but their appearance belies their rich history and versatility. What’s their story? Vikram Doctor finds out.

19. The Indian Spirit of Christmas

How we made Christmas Indian with sweets unique to India and food traditions that have been adapted to suit our love for intense flavours.

18. Undhiyu: The Indian Taste of Winter

What is it about this regional dish of fresh winter vegetables that it makes an entire community go crazy for it?

17. Has Coffee Replaced the Kaapi?

Is the south Indian filter coffee now considered old-fashioned? Has the café culture (and the variety it offers) replaced this milky, frothy beverage?

16. Special: Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik on Eating Habits in Ancient India

In this special episode, Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik talks about ancient India’s eating habits and decodes what they say about its culture.

15. The Incredible Feasts of Incredible India

The traditional flavours, entertainment and celebration associated with the festive feasts of India.

14. Fasting (Upvas) Food: Innovations from the Devout Kitchen

Fasting is not starving; the dietary restrictions have given rise to an entire world of innovative dishes and long-forgotten ingredients.

13. Organic Farming: Moving Forward by Going Back

There is so much more to organic food than just health benefits. Vikram Doctor examines whether we are catching up in India, or are just going back.

12. The Varied Flavours of Indian Honey

Honey is a treasure trove of taste and tradition; why do we use it less that we ought to in Indian cooking?

11. Idlis & Innovation: How Technology Helped This Regional Favourite go Mainstream

Idli was once confined largely to south Indian homes. What helped this regional favourite achieve widespread, national appeal?

10. Preserving the Pickle

Sweet, sour, versatile – pickles can be rolled into a sandwich, used to add flavour to a meal or simply eaten plain. But are pickles going out of ‘fashion’?

9. Chronicling the world’s finest tea

We love chai, but don’t seem to care for the best tea that India has to offer. Vikram Doctor on the complex offerings of Darjeeling that we ignore.

8. Is India falling out of love with Old Monk?

Vikram Doctor chronicles the rise (and recent fall) of India’s favourite rum and investigates what the brand needs to do to connect with the new generation of drinkers.

7. How the banana became an industrial product

One imported banana variant is wiping away all the other indigenous variants from the Indian market, Vikram Doctor investigates why.

6. Indian Muslim food – much more than kebabs and biryani

There is much more to the traditional iftar feast than some imagine.

5. The beloved Bombay duck – a fish that no one loves

The dried bombil: a delicacy for some, but passionately disliked by many.

4. Eggs in Indian cooking: cheap, convenient and controversial

Eggs are cheap, versatile, easy to cook and increasingly controversial.

3. How Amul became the taste of India

Vikram Doctor on an utterly butterly delicious journey as he uncovers the very surprising reason behind the unique flavor of Amul, the “Taste of India”.

2. Our Enduring Love of Marie Biscuits

Vikram Doctor on our passion for the Marie, the simplest of biscuits, that has stood the test of time and changing tastes.

1. The Legend of the Alphonso Mango

Vikram Doctor on our collective passion for the mighty Alphonso (Hapus) mango and its history that goes back to early colonial times.

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