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These are interesting times for India cuisine

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These are interesting times for India cuisine

Chef and restaurateur Kunal Kapur on how more people are turning back to desi food

If it were not for his celebrity' status, Chef Kunal Kapur could well be a typical boy next door. Especially when he talks about how a juicer mixer and grinder is referred to as a mixie' in a typical Indian household. Perhaps that's why Kapur, most known for judging and hosting MasterChef India, is one of the most loved faces of the Indian culinary industry. Launching Hamilton Beach's premium juicer, mixer and grinder in Delhi recently, the chef spoke about common kitchen problems with the mixie, including bush kharab hona'.

MAIL TODAY caught up with Kapur on the evolution of Indian cuisine.

Why is this the right time to launch a luxury 'mixie' in the Indian market? Especially in the context of more millennials ordering food rather than cooking.

Every year, there has been a huge surge in interest of people in food. Each year, more passionate home cooks are looking for new recipes and professional equipments for their kitchens. It is simply amazing to watch so many people in bigger cities ordering food online and wanting to spend a good time over weekends in their kitchens to impress their friends and family. To be able to cook like a professional has become aspirational and so are the equipments that deliver those results. A good quality knife to a premium juicer mixer grinder is a prized possession for many. Also where eating out or ordering in is big, at the same time healthy home cooked meals is also gaining takers. Many home-cooks who also run food businesses out of homes also are in need of a good juicer mixer grinder.

What do you think Indians are eating these days? Are they finally out of the influence of 'western cuisine' and discovering the magic of desi food?

With access to very creative recipes and videos along with international ingredients, the Indian palate is more diverse than ever. This has also given a rise to recognising desi food and super foods along with culture and traditions. Most top Indian restaurants are doing desi street food to regional Indian food pairings and there are many takers for the same. At one time, not so long ago, western food was a luxury and one had to go to specific restaurants for it, but now from Italian to French to Mexican, name it and you would have someone cooking it at home.

What do you think of the growing trend of healthy/gluten free/vegan food? Is it more of a fad or people are accepting these as a lifestyle choice?

Yes, people are health conscious and many are turning to veganism. Most restaurants do have some very limited options on their menus but a complete health driven or vegan restaurant on a large scale is still a distant dream.

Though the number of people with food allergies are on a rise but again options for them to eat out is still very low. I don't see this as a mere fad but essential requirement of today. For our food industry to be global, we have to change and adapt to these trends/lifestyle choices not only in food available in restaurants but in departmental stores as well.

How can a luxury juicer mixer grinder contribute to reducing food wastage? A topic so pertinent today.

Food wastage is a huge concern and a responsible chef or a passionate home cook understands that he has a huge role to play here. Using professional equipments minimises time taken at work and rules out some human errors that might happen on a chopping board.

You've been working closely with Indian cuisine for so many years now, what is the one change you've seen in the last five years?

Indian cuisine is vast and extremely complex and the more I dig in, I realise that there is so much that I still need to know. The best that has been happening in the past few years is that passionate foodies are coming out with their family recipes and lot of curious minds are innovating with the classic in the mainstream restaurants.

Also, I see less of boundaries within our cuisine. For example, a dosa is stuffed with paneer bhurjee and gunpowder is used to marinate chicken tikka. These are interesting times for Indian cuisine with few hits and few misses but overall people are enjoying the experiments that they can identify with sprinkled with a bit of showmanship while serving it.

Any mixie accident' you can share?

I have had an incident where I was grinding spinach to paste in the hotel kitchen where the last batch of the spinach a bit too much and in order to save time, I stuffed the jar to the top. The moment I twisted the button to puree it the entire spinach splattered on me on to the wall and right till the ceiling.

What are you currently working on, chef?

My soon to launch cookbook, my kitchen garden and working towards getting stray puppies adopted.

CHAAT HUMMUS

Arabic Hummus with the flavours of a chaat , served with crisp papdi bread and crunchy salad

FOR HUMMUS

  • Chickpeas boiled 3 cups
  • Salt To taste
  • Black salt 1 tsp
  • Chaat masala 1 tsp
  • Roasted cumin 1 tsp
  • Green chilli chopped 1
  • Channa dal namkeen 1/2 cup
  • Garlic cloves 1
  • Mint leaves Few sprigs
  • Sev 1/2 cup
  • Chilli powder 1/2 tsp
  • Olive oil 1/4 cup
  • Lemon juice 1/4 cup
  • Chaat masala 1 tsp

FOR SALAD

  • Onion Chopped 2 tbsp
  • Tomato chopped 2 tbsp
  • Coriander chopped 1 tbsp
  • Green chilly chopped 1/2
  • Channa dal namkeen 1 tbsp
  • Sev 1 tbsp
  • Chaat masala 1 tsp
  • Salt Tiny pinch
  • Olive oil A dash
  • Papdi 5-6

FOR TAMARIND CHUTNEY

  • Tamarind pulp (Thick) 1 cup
  • Sugar 3/4 cup
  • Salt To taste
  • Black salt 3/4 tsp
  • Chilly powder 1/2 tsp
  • Roasted cumin 2 tsp

(In a pan add tamarind pulp, sugar, salt, black salt, chilly powder and roasted cumin along with with 3 cups of water. Bring it to a boil, simmer and cook till the chutney thickens. Remove from heat and cool it completely).

ADD all the ingredients into the jar of the blender. Using the pulse, mode give a couple of blends. Now add the cooled tamarind chutney.

Grind the hummus to a fine paste. At any point the hummus is getting sluggish to move, scrape the sides to get the contents to the centre and you can add a dash of water or olive oil.

Remove the hummus to a bowl.

Separately in a bowl add chopped onions, tomatoes, coriander, green chilly, channa dal namkeen, sev, chaat masala, salt and olive oil. Mix them up and place them on to the hummus.

Place the papadi on the Hummus or serve them on the side. Note - If using the manual mode, grind at medium to high speed for a minute approximately. scrape the sides and grind again till it becomes into a smooth puree.

Recipe courtesy Hamilton Beach recipe book