One of the largest cut diamonds in the world, the Koh-i-Noor has a complex history spanning eras and empires. Having traversed the trauma of India’s colonial rule, the diamond holds incredible significance for the subcontinent, serving as a reminder of centuries of oppression. Still with the British Royal Family, the Koh-i-Noor will not take centrestage at the coronation ceremony in London on 6 May. However this decision won’t be enough to heal Indian wounds. It’s the perfect time though to relook at the myth and mystery that shrouds the diamond, in William Dalrymple and Anita Anand’s award-winning podcast Empire.
Opera Australia does Sanskrit! Philip Glass’ masterpiece Satyagraha comes to Melbourne in a one-night-only performance. Performed in its original Sanskrit, this is an operatic depiction of MK Gandhi’s early years in South Africa, and how the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita led him to becoming the Mahatma. In the challenging role of Gandhi, is Indian-born Melbourne-based tenor Shanul Sharma – perfectly suited to the role given his deep understanding of the Gita as well as his knowledge of Sanskrit. We can’t wait – to hear shlokas such as Yada yada hi dharmasya, in operatic rendition.
Asma Khan’s Ammu: Indian Homecooking to Nourish Your Soul, Times Book of the Year 2022, comes to the Sydney Writers’ Festival this month. Lawyer-turned owner-chef at London’s Darjeeling Express, Asma has risen to become one of UK’s leading women chefs. The book includes recipes she learned from her family – which has Rajput as well as Bengali heritage. Check out her regional delicacies – Mushroom noodles Calcutta style, Jhal steak, Hussainy beef. At the SFF, expect to hear her talk of attempts to create social change in the food industry, her all-female team, and her commitment towards immigrant women.
Malai Cheeni Toast. Comforting. Nostalgic. A hark back to those childhood days, when Mum knocked up a batch for you after your meal. It’s the most wonderfully simple Indian dessert you can eat, or make. All it is, is warm toast, a spoonful of malai, and grainy sugar sprinkled over. Malai of course is not your thickened cream. Source an unhomogenised bottle of ‘real’ milk, boil, and skim off the coagulated protein at the top (do this a couple times). Use good quality bread to toast under grill, keep your malai lumpy, and watch your guests go mmmmmm!