By: Krutarth Vashi,
Cooking really is an art, and is for sure not everyone’s cup of tea. It takes a great deal of involvement, patience and practice for that one perfect dish which makes people go crazy. Internet and social media has made it easy for the chefs and cooks to display their talent and flaunt their dishes to the world. However, there still remains a section of passionate cooks, who tantalize your sense of taste, smell and sight with the masterpiece they create with food, without letting the world know about it. This article follows the trail of a few dark horses of the gourmet world, who without any Social Media update, continue to rule the hearts of their stakeholders.
Raina Sheth, a homemaker from Valsad, Gujarat, believes that all it takes is a little passion to serve a beautiful dish. Mrs. Sheth, a mother of two, likes to experiment with the traditional breakfast dishes which makes them tastier and more nutritious.
Her special dishes are revamped versions of Sabudana Khichdi and Poha, which she prepares with a unique method adding a lot of vegetables to them, giving health and taste an equal balance. Raina is also a great host and serves her guests with refreshing mocktails as welcome drinks at her residence. She preserves the puree of the seasonal fruits and uses them on occasions with ice-cream or soda, which definitely gets her guests in the groove. Raina has taken baking to a much simpler and effective level, as she bakes cakes and pastries in a dome tandoor, giving the patisserie a unique texture, flavor and taste. When asked on what’s her motivation on innovating dishes, she says, “My husband and kids love to eat and I love to cook to for them!”
The search for “Kitchen’s Superstars” reached the city of Joy, Kolkata, where it was greeted by ‘Sibling Camaraderie.’ Abhishek Agarwal, who runs a family business, is a true foodie at heart and an excellent chef by passion. Softy, as he is affectionately known among friends, started cooking way back in 2007 and the thirst has just got bigger. And watching her brother cook such delicious meals, Ayesha Agarwal, also plunged into the world of cooking. Together, they form an admirable food treat, assigning different course-meals with utmost ease. While Abhishek takes care of the starters and main course, Ayesha handles the sweet and dessert section. Even though Italian cuisine is his favorite area, Softy feels ease and comfort with Indian dishes. ‘Softy Special Paneer’, a dish he made for the 1st time at his friend’s home, till date remains his best dish and the accolade is given to it by his friends.
The specialty of the dish is the method in which it is cooked, where Abhishek mixes besan with curd and turmeric powder and sauté with onion and cashew nut paste, thereby giving a unique flavor and taste. Ayesha on the other hand, bakes delicious cakes, muffins, brownies and waffles. Perfectly baked and beautifully garnished, the desserts are worth the effort. If you visit this brother-sister duo, one thing is for sure, you won’t leave empty stomach.
Every food has a story connected to it and it is an extreme pleasure to hear the stories from a story teller who happens to be a cook as well. Saptarshi Chatterjee is a Strategic Consultant at Wipro Ltd., Bangalore by day and an amazing chef as and when time allows. Saptarshi masters in finger food and starters and has quite a few fascinating dishes on his menu. His forte is the flavors used in the dishes and is pretty meticulous about the spices and masalas that go in the dish. Chicken Pie, boiled and shredded chicken, marinated with cream and mayonnaise with minced vegetables and baked in oven is one of the recipes he cherishes to prepare.
As they say, you cannot separate a Bengali from fish, Saptarshi is no different and his signature fish recipe is the Tandoori Fish. Cooked on a gas tandoor, the fish is marinated with homemade hung curd, ginger-garlic paste, a lot of spices and is kept for 2 days. Saptarshi stresses on marinating this long so that the flavors are felt in each and every bite you take. Also, while stuffing and marinating, he puts incisions on either side of the meat so that the flavor of the marination penetrates and blends perfectly.
Gobi Roast is one dish which is very close to his heart and is a Chatterjee family special dish. Cauliflower roasted with a gamut of flavorful pastes which explode in your mouth one by one, thereby leaving a rich taste behind.
As delightful are his stories, equally delightful are the dishes he prepares, while being extremely particular about the taste, flavor and aesthetics. We won’t be surprised if a restaurant just springs up by.
All stories need a sweet ending and so will this one. We travel back to Vadodara, Gujarat where Shilpa Gade is keeping afloat the forgotten Maharashtrian sweet dish called Anarsa. The dish is easily spelt, but is one tough task to prepare, and hence is slowly moving away from the kitchens and the sweet shops. However, Ms. Gade likes to keep the tradition alive and is willing to go through the rigor of preparing the dish. Simple ingredients are used to prepare Anarsa, but the process is complex, with multiple level checks. It begins with soaking rice for 3 days, changing the water used every day, followed by fan drying of the grains. The rice is then ground and dough is prepared using ghee and jaggery. The complexity of the dish reaches its peak when it comes to mashing and deep frying, but Shilpa says it comes through practice.
It is just beautiful to note that a dish that is losing its place in the household, is being revived and savored in the city with a lot of hard work and the passion of spreading love. It might not be long before a commercialization and patent on this almost forgotten dish come up from the cultural capital of Gujarat.
They say that not all heroes wear capes. Some just wear the kitchen apron and let their hands do the talking, without even bothering about boasting it on the online platform. In true sense these people are the incarnations of ‘Annapoorna.’
When the dish is Thai but is made from Indian hands or A hand that has experienced various cultures and tastes. Suchita Tripathi is a house wife currently based at Mumbai, She had been in South Africa and had various friends from various countries sharing each others knowledge over food. The one we are going to talk about today is a Thai Dish well known for its spiciness, with Som Tam (a spicy papaya salad) being a famous example. However, the secret to Thai food is a balance of five flavors: sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and spicy. Some Thai dishes have a careful blend of all these tantalizing tastes. Suchita is known for various country foods as she is basically from Siddharth nagar (birth place of lord buddha) India-Nepal border. She also has knowledge of Noodles and Nepali food with touch and taste of Nepal. She says, “The sense of taste for me comes from travel and experience, having food from various hands, people place and countries lets me understand the balance of sweet, sour, spices and bitter taste and the variations in them. I keep on sharing my food post from my Facebook profile, Where couple of my friend asked me to start blogging, Therefore, I have recently started food blogging. https://mavericktimes.in/2018/03/09/peanut-at-its-best-here-is-a-way-you-can-consume-it-at-its-best-taste Here is the link.