Cruising across 20,000 km to unveil local Indian recipes: Chef Saransh

New Delhi, Aug 13 (IANS) Ever heard of chocolate pakoras, fruit biryani, blueberry pedas or tofu koftas? Rewind to August 6, 2012. At around 5 a.m., when a majority of Indians were asleep, Chef Saransh Goila embarked on a 20,000-km journey across 60 cities to experience the true Indian culture and food to reinvent the local food and pen his experiences.

The outcome, “India on My Platter” (Om Books/Rs.295/pp 320), is a travelogue of Chef Goila’s journey across 25 Indian states, covering the length and breadth of the country, to unveil some of the most interesting recipes and cultures.

“When one thinks about Indian food, there are very restricted images of a curry, or a biryani in people’s heads. Through my book, one can see that in a diverse country like ours, there is more to Indian food than a curry,” the 28-year-old Goila told IANS in a telephonic interview.

The idea is to promote Indian art, culture and food, all through one travelogue, he added.

“After this book, Indians should think of Varanasi before Venice for a holiday,” he said.

“How often does one get a chance to travel across the country to explore its vast culinary traditions and their symbiotic relationship!” Goila wondered, adding his memoir would present the unknown side of the country.

If you thought bread was only a French affair, Goila notes that the locals in Puducherry’s Bakers’ Street still make some of the most exotic breads in the world – be it macaroons, croissants or baguettes.

Chocolate, a hottest favourite among many, also features in the book in some exotic combinations. Intriguing chocolate-cashew laddus, dark chocolate kheer, chocolate momos and chocolate pakoras promise the readers a sweet read.

“Throughout the book one can see how I have used very native ingredients. The challenge was to recreate some very traditional recipes still keeping intact the local flavours,” the chef said.

The journey was not a cake-walk, he said, adding: “Sometimes I had to work with just one saute-pan, over burning coal.”

Goila, who is a TV show host, food consultant and Limca Book of Records holder for the ‘longest road journey by a chef’, for a food travelogue show he had done, added that knowing one’s own country’s recipes is important before one seeks international cuisines.

Known for being a food enthusiast at an age as young as 12, when he made his first jalebi, Goila has dedicated himself to promoting regional Indian food to the world, he said.

A recipe for chocolate pakoras from the book:

Chocolate Pakoras (chocolate clusters shaped like popular Indian fritters)

Ingredients:

1 cup+3 tbsp melted dark chocolate
1 1/2 cup mixed dryfruit (almond flakes, raisins and broken toasted cashews)

Method:
1. Gently mix one cup of melted chocolate with the dryfruit.
2. Line a baking sheet with butter paper. Place clusters of the chocolate nut mix with a serving spoon. Drizzle some melted chocolate on each cluster to give a smooth finish. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for an hour until firm.

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