Ashwani Ahuja

Jo McGarry
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Friday - September 21, 2007 Share | | podcast Podcast |

Ashwani Ahuja

Ashwani Ahuja is the owner of Bombay Indian Restaurant in Discovery Bay Center. He serves dishes typically found in Northern India - fragrantly spiced with very little heat - as well as traditional dishes cooked in a tandoor oven. Bombay also serves a Sunday brunch where guests may sample dishes from the regular menu. Here he talks about growing up in New Delhi and a few of his favorite foods.

Age? 49

Where were you born and raised? New Delhi, India

What are some strong food memories of growing up?

Watching my mom cook twice a day. We were raised vegetarian. My mother would make delicious lentils and vegetable dishes. She also made fabulous homemade chapattis - flatbread made on a skillet.

What got you interested in the food and beverage world?

While I was still in high school in India, I remember going to a very opulent hotel and being fascinated with the décor and luxury of it all. I was wowed, and the fascination made me really want to work in that kind of atmosphere.

There are dozens of regions of cuisine in India. What is Bombay’s style?

Northern Indian. Our food is not hot and spicy, rather flavored by many different herbs and spices. Our guests order their dishes at a heat level they’re comfortable with.

How do you describe your food to people who’ve never eaten in an Indian restaurant before?

Indian food, primarily food from Northern India, is classified into two categories: curries and tandoori. Tandoori is anything cooked in a clay charcoal-fired oven. And most people are familiar with curries. If customers ask for help with the menu, this is an easy way to explain the cuisine.

Do you cook at home?

Rarely, however lunch is my responsibility on Saturdays.

What’s your best dish?

Aloo Mutter - this dish is made with potatoes and green peas. It’s a curry stew cooked with garlic, ginger, onion, tomatoes, cilantro and cumin seeds.

What’s always in your fridge?

I love the Hawaiian guava juices. And there’s always milk, yogurt, ginger and jalapenos.

Where do you like to eat when you’re not working?

I like the Plumeria Restaurant at the Kahala Resort, where the fish tacos are very good, and Pasta Basta at Restaurant Row, where they make a fabulous mushroom pasta. And at Hong Kong Harbor View at Aloha Tower Marketplace I like the sautéed fish with ginger. But I have to say that my wife is such a good cook that one of my favorite places to eat is at home.


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