Art dealer Surajit Bomti Iyengar serves these tender potato sticks for brunch at his Calcutta apartment. The recipe is from his designer friend Devika Datt Duncan. The potatoes are cooked with panch phoron, or Bengali five-spice powder—a mix that includes fennel, cumin and mustard seeds—then tossed with turmeric.
Hemant Oberoi makes kebabs with ground chicken, herbs, spices and cheese (cheddar stands in here for the Amul cheese he uses). He fries the round kebabs until crisp and golden brown and serves them on sugarcane skewers to add a little sweetness, although any kind of skewer will work.
One morning Jen finds herself running with the Indian army. They jog through the city's old alleys, lined with pastel doors. A general tells Jen she has "excellent fitness," then directs her back to the Aman New Delhi hotel, where she cools off in the pool.
After a sunrise boat ride along the Ganges, Jen and her guide take a terrifying rickshaw ride to Nadesar Palace, the centuries-old summer home of a Maharaja, where the chef prepares pigeon pea dal cooked in a clay pot.
Dal—a thick stew or puree of beans or legumes—is a staple in every corner of India. At the Nadesar Palace in Varanasi, chef Sanjeev Chopra has an elaborate method for cooking his nicely spiced dal very slowly in an unglazed clay pot, over a wood fire, but it's also great cooked simply in a saucepan on the stove with butter and cilantro stirred in at the end.
Lunch at the Oberoi Amarvilas precedes a tour of the Taj Mahal, where Jen is surrounded by teenagers who want to take pictures of her and her blonde hair. What will they do with the photos? "Facebook," Jen's guide says.