French and Indian cuisines clash, then dance in the 'The Hundred-Foot Journey'

French and Indian cuisines clash, then dance in the 'The Hundred-Foot Journey'
Helen Mirren in "The Hundred-Foot Journey." (Francois Duhamel / DreamWorks)

Fans of the Jon Favreau film "Chef" will be happy to learn "The Hundred-Foot Journey," which comes out in theaters Aug. 8, will deliver the same hunger pangs caused by a film rife with close-up shots of luscious grilled and roast meats, silky sauces and the sounds of a bustling kitchen.  

The film, based on the best-selling novel by Richard C. Morais, is the story of a young Indian chef named Hassan Kadam, played by Manish Dayal, on his quest to become the culinary equivalent of Mozart.


Kadam and his family, led by his Papa (Om Puri), settle in a quaint village in the south of France. They open a traditional Indian restaurant exactly 100 feet from a Michelin-starred classic French restaurant run by a stiff Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren). 

On one side of the road, Madame Mallory takes pride in a formal world of starched linen, heavy cream, soft music, fine wine and perfectly shined cutlery. You are not to eat with your hands unless it is to hold a slice of baguette.

On the other, a faux Taj Mahal facade, murgh masala, plastic place mats, a blaring boombox and messy fingers.

It's an unexpected flavor combination Hassan embraces, then uses to dazzle Madame Mallory. Think beef Bourguignon spiced with ginger, cumin and Aleppo pepper or a white bechamel sauce tinted a pale yellow with saffron. 

After a recent screening of the film, chefs at Le Cordon Blue in Hollywood brought some of the recipes to life by preparing beef bourguignon a la Hassan, a dish created by one of the film's culinary consultants, Floyd Cardoz (formerly at North End Grill and soon to be chef at White Street, both in New York). It's the classic French stew with lingering notes of chile and fresh ginger, served over white rice.

If you emerge from the theater ravenous, which you will, there isn't a restaurant in Los Angeles that offers the Indian-influenced French fusion that takes place in the film. For something along those lines, you could try La Porte des Indes in London (Brussels or Dubai). The restaurant serves the French-influenced cuisine of Pondicherry, now called Puducherry, located near the southeast coast of India where the French set up a trading post in 1670.

Or you can head home and attempt the cuisine yourself. The following is Cardoz' recipe for Beef Bourguignon a la Hassan. Bon appetit!


This recipe has not been tested in the L.A. Times Test Kitchen.

6 to 8 servings

4 tbsp Canola oil

2 1/2 lbs boneless short ribs of beef, fat removed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces

Salt and pepper

3/4 cup AP flour

6 ounces apple wood smoked bacon cut into 1/4 inch pieces

2 tbsp butter

4 cloves tied in a string

2 bay leaves

18 small pearl onions peeled

18 baby carrots, peeled and cut into halves if longer than 2 inches

18 baby turnips peeled and cut into halves

1/2 pound chanterelle mushrooms cleaned, trimmed and cut in half

2 onions diced

1 garlic head, cloves separated, peeled and chopped

1 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger minced

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp ground brown mustard seed

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper

1 750ml bottle red Burgundy wine

1 quart white beef stock

4 sprigs thyme

2 tbsp brown sugar

1/4 cup parsley and 1/4 cup chervil for garnish

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F

Season the beef with salt and pepper and lightly coat with the flour. Keep the beef at room temperature for 30 minutes. Reserve the extra flour.

Place a large stew pot over moderate heat and add the bacon and canola oil. Cook until fat is rendered. Remove bacon.

In the same pot sear the short ribs until lightly colored. Take care not to burn the pan.

Remove the beef and add the pearl onions cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove onions and reserve.

Repeat this process with the carrots and turnips.

Add the chanterelles and saute for 1 minute, remove and reserve.

Add the butter to the leftover oil and add the cloves, bay leaf and cook for 1 minute. Add minced onion, garlic and ginger and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until transparent.

Add the ground spice and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the leftover flour and the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes.

Deglaze with the wine and bring to a boil, then add the beef stock and bring up to a boil.

Add the bacon and the short ribs to the pan. Bring up to a boil then reduce the heat. Add thyme and season with salt and pepper.

Place the pot in the oven and cook approximately 2 to 21/2 hours.

Add the carrots, turnips and the pearl onions. Cook for 30 minutes more.

Take the pan out of the oven and add the sugar, then remove the clove, parsley and bay leaves. Add the chanterelles and season with salt.

At this time the stew should be not as saucy and a bit thicker. Garnish with parsley and chervil.

Still hungry? Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris 

[Updated July 18, 8:44 a.m.: A previous version of this post stated Floyd Cardoz is a chef at North End Grill. He left the restaurant in April and will become the chef at White Street in September.]