From Cumin to cardamom, we infuse all our food with spices, some subtle and delicate, some fiery or earthy.
Memory is being. Eating is remembering. We want you, your family and your friends to share some of the best memories over our food.
Parathas from Punjab to fish curries from Kerala; Vindaloos from Goa and millet rotis from Sindh, our food is inspired from different regions of the sub continent.
We create and cook all our own food, curating ancient Vedic secrets, recipes and techniques, to bring you the most nourishing, vibrant and memorable flavors from India.
We scour cities, farms and ranches for the freshest highest quality and value; which in turn brings quality and value in our life and yours.
Pondicheri restaurant is not only a family restaurant but also a labor of love. Conceived by Anita Jaisinghani and her daughter Ajna, they combined their love for New York City and their love for all things Indian in the form of Pondicheri, where their goal remains to showcase the best of Indian food along with sharing the culture and rich history of India.
They have forged a special relationship over the years and when asked a few questions, here is how Ajna responded.
1) My mom always said “Who gives a sh*t? Move on! The older you get the more you realize how little you know so stop spending time trying to be right all the time.”
2) My mom makes the best cookies in the world. When she first made the chocolate chili cookies I couldn’t stop eating them for years (and I still can’t). I would even steal the dough from the restaurant freezer to eat them.
3) Whenever I was sick, my mom would make me … khichri & soup. Basically a lentil and rice stew that was slow cooked and just the most warming thing to eat when I am sick.
4) My mom was always happiest when I my brother or I surprise ourselves.
5) My mama could never stand it when I lowered my expectations. Go big or go home.
6) My favorite memory of my mama is when she opened our first restaurant -Indika. She turned into a whole new woman that I didn’t know existed in my mom at the time.
7) If there was one thing I could tell my mama, it would be thank you for constantly kicking me into place and holding me to the highest of expectations. And thanks for feeding me the best food in the world. If it weren’t for my mama, I would not have any concept of how much I’m capable of achieving. She’s teaching me on a daily basis what it is to be a strong woman.
Come to Pondicheri Indian Restaurant where you will feel like you are at home and experience the best Indian food NYC has to offer!
Chaats are the beloved street foods of India ~ some consider them to be the best food in India. They can vary from state to state, city to city and street cart vendor to street cart vendor.
Like most other Indian foods, there is no prescribed way to make them. Every vendor or cook makes his or her version slightly different, taking pride in how they serve it. Chaats are not usually eaten for lunch or dinner but as in between snacks to fill the salty and sweet cravings all at once.
Chaat masala is a mixture made from black salt (a sulfurous salt with a strong aroma), cumin, chili powder and amchur, dried mango powder. This is usually sprinkled on top at the end for a bright finish.
At Pondicheri, over the years we have created a variety of chaat dishes that we think is our best work and some of the best Indian food in New York. This summer we have created a summer fruit chaat salad inspired by the glorious street foods of India. It is a light tangy and delicious salad and can stand out as being one of the best salads in New York City. It has fresh live lettuce, roasted watermelon radishes, watermelon, mango, jicama, sprouted moong beans and roasted chopped peanuts. Chaat masala is sprinkled on top and jaggery lime dressing served on the side. This summer, it is available for lunch and dinner seven days a week. It can make a light meal or a great appetizer to share. Come in and enjoy it sometime!
Turmeric, a bright ochre powder, is very widely used in Indian cuisine since millennia. For Indians, adding turmeric to Indian food is like adding salt to food. At Pondicheri, we make creative uses turmeric in dozen of different ways, from teas to curries and infusing it into our baked goods.
Curcuma longa, better known as turmeric is a perennial plant in the ginger family native to India. The roots are cleaned, boiled, dried and powdered to nutty tasting, aromatic powder. Good quality turmeric, aside from lending the characteristic yellow color, also gives out a wonderfully woody aroma. It is used throughout India, primarily as a coloring agent. An essential component of most curries, in vegetables, dals, meat, poultry and fish dishes, it is also an important and sacred spice for the Hindus and is used in religious and social rituals. The sacred thread, the marriage symbol that is tied around the bride’s neck by the bridegroom during the wedding ceremony, is dipped in turmeric paste.
In India, turmeric has also been used for thousands of years as a remedy for stomach and liver ailments as well as topically to sores and cuts. An active compound of turmeric called ‘curcumin’ is known to possess anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antiseptic properties. Preliminary research has shown that turmeric is also effective in preventing cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis and diabetes. However, in order for the turmeric to be effective, it has to be consumed over a period of years. The researchers found very low evidence of cancer in India due to the high prevalence of turmeric in many food preparations.
So come on into Pondicheri and get your daily turmeric fix…we have teas, waters, curries and cookies infused with the delicious spice!
Moringa oleifera, or miracle drumstick tree as we call it in India, is a native ancient Ayurvedic tree with tremendous health benefits. The leaves, a bright green in color, are a rich source of anti oxidants and an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. These plant extracts are also known to reduce blood sugar and inflammation. But above all, it is a slightly earthy yet tasty herb to enjoy in so many different ways. At Pondicheri, we use the moringa in drinks, morning pastries, and weekend brunch pancakes.
To go with our blackberry scones tinged green with moringa, we also make a morning miracle latte, that is extremely popular with the early morning office goers. It gives them a boost of energy and a slightly euphoric feeling. Who does not want that in the morning??? And the best part about it is, that unlike other morning drinks like matcha or coffee, moringa does not contain caffeine. On the weekends, we offer almond pancakes tinged with moringa and served with blueberries and maple syrup.
When I was growing up in India, we ate drumsticks every Sunday in a tamarind vegetable stew that was a family favorite. Little did we know that the drumsticks we enjoyed were packed with nutrients. The best part about the Indian philosophy has always been to make food our medicine; this is why spices are so ingrained in Indian cooking. In an attempt to serve the best Indian food in New York City, we try to showcase some of these rare, yet interesting, ingredients. Currently we are working on a miracle cocktail with cucumber and gin…
Dosas are fermented crepes native to South India. When we first opened Pondicheri, we had no intention of putting them on the menu. They can be finicky to make and our kitchen had not had much experience or success with them in the past. I had a young cook Mary working for me at the time who had travelled to India, brought back a recipe from there hand written by a famous Indian chef that we first started playing with. It took us a few months of experimenting to get the batter to a good consistency yielding crisp tasty dosas. We decided to embellish the usual rice lentil mix with a shot of ragi, a powerful super grain red finger millet native to India. I wanted to have the best tasting dosa in town! After much trial and error, the dosas turned out fantastic with a deep yeasty flavor and a lovely reddish brown hue. Next came the fillings. Traditionally, dosas are filled with a mashed potato masala and served with sambhar (a lentil curry with vegetables) and coconut chutney. While I love the way this tasted, it felt so heavy that I always felt like I needed a nap afterwards! I wanted to create tasty healthy fillings that replenished not depleted one’s energy. We decided to play with various vegetable fillings in the dosas and thereby our dosa menu was born!
Fast forward to a few years, we now consider ourselves pros at making dosas and run them on our breakfast and lunch menu. We have done fillings like smoked eggplant puree and paneer; roasted fennel and pear; shrimp or cauliflower cooked with Indo Chinese flavors like Sichuan peppercorns, cumin, ginger, garam masala in a chili soy sauce. We serve with them a fragrant soup made from butternut squash, lentils and fresh turmeric flavored with mustard seed and kari leaves. Our green dosa is probably the most popular one on our menu. It is lined with spicy pumpkin seed chutney then topped with sautéed greens with a coriander seed pop. My personal favorite is the egg dosa, an open faced beauty with a whole egg smeared and cooked directly on it with splashes of herbs, beet juice and sesame seeds for a morning fix. Every Meatless Monday, we run a Dosa Dreams special and do one with different fillings…some being on the wilder side like a mac and cheese dosa or one sprinkled with cocoa powder, avocado and braised mushrooms.
When Melissa Clark of New York Times came to Pondicheri for lunch, she tried our Green Dosa and fell in love with it. I offered her the recipe; she agreed to try it out and tested it at home. A few weeks later, the recipe was published in the New York Times!
If you’re looking for NYC’s best Dosa, come to Pondicheri Indian Restaurant today!
Daniel Wenger titled his article about us, “Pondicheri’s Nirvanic Dishes, This year brought a fresh crop of creative Indian spots. The most promising, and the most improbable, is this Flatiron restaurant and “bake lab.”
Click this link for the whole article and find out why we’ve been called the one of the Best Indian Restaurants in NYC in so many media references.
We were featured in the Village Voice recenlty where food writer Rebecca Dinerstein praised Pondicheri and owner / chef Anita Jaisinghani.
During the Eighties and Nineties, Anita Jaisinghani moved from India to Canada to Texas as a trained microbiologist and eventually a mother of two. In 2001, after a labs-to-loaves transitional stint as a pastry chef at Café Annie in Houston, she opened Indika, the more upscale of her two revered tandoori-Texan restaurants. The other, Pondicheri, opened in 2011, shifting the cuisine’s register to street-level. Those two restaurants earned her two James Beard nominations, and with the debut of her first New York outpost this August — also called Pondicheri — she’s set the blueprint for an empire.
For the full article click this link and find out why Pondicheri was been called One of the Best Indian Restaurants in NYC.
Aviyal is a simple South Indian curry of mythical proportions. In its basic iteration, it is a creamy ginger and coconut stew with seasonal vegetables including eggplant, potatoes, squash, peas and more. Kari leaves and mustard seeds add fragrance and a lovely texture. However, aviyal is also the subject of many a legend; some say that it was invented by one of the Pandava brothers on exile during the epic Mahabharatha, others say it was invented in a hurry in a royal kitchen to please a king who wanted to feed more people than possible. Just like so many other preparations in India, every home has its own version and today, it is another curry that most South Indians associate with home comfort cooking.
The first time I ate an aviyal was at a home stay in Cochin, Kerala. Kerala is a small southern state of India, known for its spectacular natural beauty and warming curries with vegetables and coastal seafood. I arrived late one night in a beautiful blissful home surrounded by palm trees and the salty smell of the ocean. The gracious hostess had set aside a creamy colored delicious warm curry for me to enjoy before I went to bed. It was paired with lemon rice flecked with peanuts and coconut and I enjoyed every bite of it. I was determined to create something like this at Pondicheri when I returned to the US.
After some trials and errors, we created our version of the Aviyal. It had all the romantic and emotional associations of what I ate in Kerala, however, we served it in an entirely new way. We braised butternut squash, carrots, zucchini, chayote squash and cauliflower in a white coconut, ginger, kari leaf and mustard seed curry. Then we topped it with an oil flavored with red chili peppers, ginger and cumin. We balanced the fragrant curry with turmeric rice, infused with cinnamon and finished with cumin seeds. Next to this, we placed a dollop of almond chutney (made in the same style as a south Indian peanut chutney), a small handful of purple potato chips flavored in chaat masala and a mound of kale and raisin salad. The chips add the component of fun and crunch and the kale salad added a textural and healthy component.
The aviyal curry bowl remains one of Pondicheri New York’s most popular curries; we also offer it with our house Pondicheri salad instead of the turmeric rice. And for all the seafood lovers out there, we even have a big skillet of seafood aviyal with clams, scallops and shrimp added to amp up the vegetarian aviyal. It is served with a stack of squid ink uttapums (essentially pancakes made with fermented dosa batter) and a bowl of cumin scented sautéed greens. It is intensely satisfying and is some of the best Indian food you will find in NYC.
Come to Pondicheri today and find out why we’ve been called one of the Top Indian Restaurants in NYC
New York Time Food Writer Pete Wells raved about or Honey Mesquite Cake in his annual article “The Top 10 Dishes of the Year”.
Click here for the full article and find out why we are often called one of the Best Indian Restaurants in NYC!
Famous food writer, Adam Platt raved about Pondicheri in is annual featured article, “Where to Eat”. He said, “run, don’t walk to Anita Jaisinghani’s eclectic new Flatiron canteen Pondicheri”
Here’s a link to the full article to find out why we’ve been called one of the Best Indian Restaurants in NYC.