What’s the one ingredient you can’t live without?
Its salt. I love experimenting with salt, it is very understated. It also has an amazing dimension of its components, I experiment with 30 different salts and then come up with a new dish, I just can’t live without salt.
What do you always avoid ordering on a menu?
I generally ask the waiter what’s the most popular dish on the menu, and I never order them, because that is what everyone does. You don’t get a chance to try something totally new and discover new favourites. Indian food has just been such a big curse because everyone who walks in and order Chicken Tikka Masala, Saag Paneer, Naan, Roti and Tandoori Chicken, and I feel that’s obstructing them to discover more regional foods and to find new favourites, so I would never order things on the menu which are the most popular.
What tricks do you use for perfect fried/scrambled/ poached eggs? Fried Eggs
I can keep talking about fried eggs for hours. It’s like presenting you a PHD paper, but fried egg is such a technique for that you need to have your pan medium hot. You add butter depending on the kind of pan you are using or a cooking spray and then on that medium heat you actually break the egg. Now you might get fried tough edges. To make it perfect I prefer covering the pan. It is important to preserve the heat for cooking the egg from the top. One thing you should do is to shake it, so that any egg white which is uncooked flows out and its cooked properly. I generally season the egg when its soft and not when its cooked. Let the egg cook for around 180 seconds depending upon the kind of range and pan you are cooking in.
I’ll tell you a technique of perfectly poached eggs which I absolutely loved in Paris. In a pan take some hot water and some vinegar. Some people add salt and some don’t. In France, the chefs never used to add salt in the boiling water and they used to crack the egg in a small bowl so that you have control over the egg white and the yolk. You got to stir the water and turn the pan with the handle so that the water is in motion then you add the cracked egg which is there in the small bowl. If you follow this technique you can never go wrong with the poached eggs. Vinegar is a must. Do not add too much water because that is going to sink the egg and not less water because the egg is going to stick at the bottom of the pan.
I am going to tell you the biggest mistake that people make is cooking the scrambled eggs on the high heat. The cooking has to be done on low heat and longer cooking when you want soft, fluffly, light anf creamy texture. The moment you cook on a very high heat, you coagulate the protiens to fats and that is where you actually loose that softness. Its an art of patience.
What is your go-to meal when you’re low on time?
My go-to meal on many days is, I make Khichdi or I would call it my creative Khichdi, in which I can even add the protein of minced turkey, chicken or fish. Khichdi is very forgiving and it is also nutritious. You add your lentils, rice and protein or whatever you want and it is fantastic. It is easy and it is a meal you can cook in a batch and actually put in containers and refrigerate. It stays well in the fridge for about 3-4 days.
What would your last meal be?
My last meal for a restaurant will be at Surat and my best meal would be at Golden Temple.
What is the best recent food trend?
The best latest food trend is Tapas. Tapas is neverending, it is always inspiring. The traditions have always been the small bites, to learn people more about the cuisine, flavours, cultures and rituals. I think it is great because people get to choose their favourites and also they get involved in the cuisine. I think that the food trend of serving the small plates is amazing, it is also great food control and also great that we don’t have wastages.
What is the most overrated recent food trend?
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