A taster of ‘Celebrate Life, Food and Wine’

Chef Varun Inamdar of The Chocolate Factory Ecuador is out with the book Celebrate Life, food and Wine, and it is filled with recipes to satiate your sweet and salty cravings. Here are two recipes straight from the book.

Festive Mutton Biryani


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Festive Mutton Biryani from Celebrate Life, Food and Wine’
Standfirst: It is hard to think of anything better than a saffron scented mutton dum biryani to herald any momentous occasion. Add a festive glitter of colours, flavours and magic from the heart of India and watch the meal become something to cherish forever.


Serves: 4

Time required: 2 hours

Ease of preparation: Medium


Flavor profile: Spicy


For the meat:

500 gm mutton with meat on the bone, cleaned

100 ml Cabernet Sauvignon

Salt, to taste

50 gm yoghurt

50 gm onions, fried

Handful of mint leaves

½ tsp turmeric

½ tsp all-spice powder

100 ml oil

150 ml water

For the rice:

2 litres water

1 tsp oil

Salt, to taste

250 gm long grain rice, washed

50 ml milk

Few saffron strands

For the assembling

50 gm pistachios, peeled

45 gm apricots

45 gm pomegranate seeds

Salt, to taste


For the meat:

  1. Marinate pieces of cleaned meat in a bowl with Cabernet Sauvignon, salt, yogurt, fried onions, mint leaves, turmeric and all-spice powder. Let it rest for at least ½ hour.
  2. Heat oil in a pan. Sear the marinated meat on high flame.
  3. Once browned, add water, stir well and keep covered. Braise the meat for 30 minutes on low flame. Check meat for doneness and keep aside.

For the rice:

  1. In a pan, heat water. Once it starts boiling, add the oil and salt.
  2. Add the washed rice and cook till 3/4th done. Strain and keep aside.
  3. Heat milk in a pan and mix saffron to leach its natural flavour and colour. Reserve till assembling the dish.

For the assembly:

  1. Transfer the meat in a deep thick-bottomed pan. Top with the rice.
  2. Embellish with peeled pistachios and saffron milk.
  3. Cover with a lid and place on dum for 15 minutes on a low flame.
  4. Serve garnished with fresh pomegranate seeds and some more mint leaves.

Quick tip: To make crispy fried onions, cut onions into thin slices and massage some salt in them. Leave aside for 10 minutes. Squeeze the water released from the onions. Fry in hot oil till golden brown.

Sandalwood  Granita


Sandalwood Granita from the book Celebrate Life, Food and Wine’
Serves: 4


Time required: 3 hours


Ease of preparation:  Medium

Standfirst: A granita is welcome, irrespective of the season. The Shiraz Rosé granita, with the unusual flavour of sandalwood powder, makes for a stunning dessert. Or serve it between courses to prepare the palate for the next dish.


600 ml fresh pomegranate juice

Juice of 2 lemons

100 gm castor sugar

½ tsp sandalwood powder

120 ml Shiraz Rosé

Fresh blueberries, to garnish


  1. In a clean bowl, mix the pomegranate juice, lime juice, castor sugar, sandalwood powder and wine. Stir till the sugar in the mixture dissolves completely.
  2. Place the mix into a 1 litre ice cream tub. Put it in freezer for about 1 hour.
  3. Remove it and use a fork to scrape whatever is set.
  4. Repeat the freezing and scraping process every one hour, three times, till all the juices set in clean and flaky ice crystals.
  5. Serve in a goblet, garnished with fresh blueberries.

Quick tip: To make pomegranate juice at home, either use a vegetable juicer or press the pulpy seeds over a wire sieve for fresh and tannin free juice. In a grinder, the tannins from the seeds will make the juice bitter.

If you’ve enjoyed this little taster of the book Celebrate Life, Food and Wine by Chef Varun Inamdar, you can order it from here. To find out more about the author, check out our interview with him a few months ago.