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Apr 23 / Josh

Ghee and Whole Wheat Matzah


We chatted recently with Brian, the drummer from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Along with being an expert on Indian cuisine, we discussed hallucinating from spicy foods, honey obsessions and pizza preference.

Cooking Talents

“As an adult, I got really into cooking Indian foods. About 5 years ago I got a cookbook by Julie Sahni and since then I’ve been cooking almost exclusively Indian food. I make my own paneer. The first time I made it, I was like ‘Whoa, I’m making cheese’. Its really simple and fresh curds are very nutritious, healthy, easy to digest. Its also really easy to make breads like chapati, its just flour and water. My favorite is mung dhal made with mung beans. Dhals in general are my favorite. As a vegetarian it’s an important thing.”

Favorite Indian Food

“One of my favorite Indian places is in Leeds, called Hansa. Its run by all women from this region called Gujeera. Their dahls are really good.”

“In New York, the area is Lexington Avenue in the 20s. There’s a South Indian place that is so amazing, called Saravana. It’s one of my favorite spots.”

“Another favorite spot is actually in Woodside, Queens called Spicy Mina. Its run by this woman, Bamina. She is an incredibly gifted cook and every time I’ve been there I feel like I’m home.”


“There’s the Greenpoint Food Market on Saturdays. The Union Square Farmers Market is close too. I go through jars of honey like crazy. Whenever I’m there I go to pick up local honey. On the top of my kitchen cabinets I have a honey jar collection.”

Heaven on Avenue J

“I have a favorite pizza place in NY, Di Fara’s.  I’m always amazed by the variety of flavors within one pie. It just seems to create this amazing complexity and range of variations within this essentially humble dish. I can’t think of any other pizza place that can create this than Di Fara’s.”

Quick Foods on Tour

“There are a few necesseties I have with me just in case I feel depleted or need a boost. Raw honey and chocolate. I also carry with me a bag of nuts and seeds, usually pumpkin seeds. I like dark chocolate. I am a big fan of Mast Brothers chocolate.”


“It depends. We’re usually two extremes. We’re either mellow on the bus or have tequila, champagne and a nice party in the dressing room.”

Good Morning, Good Morning

“I usually don’t have breakfast. I practice yoga in the morning. When I wake up I usually focus on doing that. By the time I get back, I’m ready for lunch.

“I’m into Ashtanga yoga. There is no music played during the class. Each time you do it it’s a set sequence. After a while, the student is expected to do the movements by his/herself. The teacher is just there to give guidance and personal adjustments. It’s a very self-oriented practice. It’s a very athletic form of yoga and theres a lot movement. It’s all about synchronized breath and movement…. It leads to a sense of sensitivity and awareness of your spiritual senses.”

I Can See Through Time

“Our sound guy heard of a dish called phal. It’s one of the hottest chili dishes you can get in the world. We were somewhere in England, maybe Nottingham. We ordered it before the show, opened it and started eating the spiciest curry in the world. Our lips instantly went numb, we were sweating, we felt the endorphins running through the body. We definitely had hallucinogenic experiences. The show that night… I remember my stomach hurting.”

Favorite Dessert

“The red velvet cake from the Cake Man in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Its soft, fluffy and filled with butter and sugar.”

Easy Recipe

Ghee (Indian clarified butter) and whole wheat matzah”

Brian, Karen and Nick formed the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in 2000. The world tour in promotion of their third record recently came to close in January. As the band takes some time off, be sure to check out Brian’s avant garde jazz project with with Seth Misterka, which will be appearing at the 2010 Melbourne Jazz Festival.

photo by david belisle


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