There is a certain sense of nostalgia connected with our regional cuisines, that brings us comfort in times of uncertainty. We confide in these dishes and carry them within our hearts irrespective of where we eventually settle. This quality truly defines the beauty of Indian cuisine that shape-shifts and change every few kilometres yet shares some similarities.
In 2022, when recipes from around the world have become more accessible Indian creatives and young chefs are revamping different forms of Indian dishes, while also sharing the nostalgic sentiment present in recipes shared by our mothers. Here are some of the young creatives playing with a versatile palette to present a fresh take on cultural cuisines.
Shriya Shetty (Chiashetts)
A 28-year-old chef, also known as the ‘ghee roast girl’, presents a unique take on the cultural Mangalorean cuisine. In her most recent feature, she played around with the traditional ‘pathrode’ dish, using French cooking techniques on Mangalorean ingredients. The homely meal was given a makeover, as described by Shriya herself ‘just a little glammed up but under all of that she’s a 100% Mangalorean’. Big on exploring the ingredients of the region such as ‘Eend’ a starch extracted from the fishtail palm tree to create a very rare delicacy ‘Eend da manni’ which is sort of a pudding, the texture of which is like the perfect crossover between a halwa and a delicate pudding. The chef shares content expanding on the nostalgia of Mangalorean food, featuring dishes such as ‘Kori Roti’ and ‘Kadle Manoli’ as well.
Aysha Tanya (Malabar Tea Room)
A truly heart-warming project, Malabar Tea Room, run by a mother-daughter duo, can instantly resurface childhood memories. Aysha the writer and photographer is one half of the project, while her mother is the chef behind all the mouth-watering delicacies. The creative duo present a local take on culinary favourites from around the world using ingredients from their small town on the Malabar coast. Whether it is giving a regional makeover to ‘fish roe’ with chilli and turmeric powder or using a pomelo fruit from a tree at home in Kannur to create a Thai salad. As Indians, we all love a good aachar (pickle), expanding on the shared sentiment they share extensive recipes of homemade aachars such as ‘Bilimbi Masala’ passed down from their family members. They also regularly share the nostalgia of home-cooked meals with recipes to create ‘paalooda’ a special drink for iftaar to the smallest tricks of creating ‘chutta chakkakuru’ (charred jackfruit) to attain a soft and almost sweet centre.
Sadaf ‘ख़ानसामा’ Hussain
Chef Sadaf Hussain, an author and tedX speaker, presents a compelling image of North Indian food with a range of delicacies from around the region. Sharing extensive recipes of Sindhi food such as ‘Arbi’ or ‘Aalu Tuk’, a double fried spicy crisp, that otherwise remains hidden behind the grandeur of other famous North Indian food. He also works with dishes that are not as well known in India such as ‘Peshawari Kebab’, sharing ways of cooking the dish in our own kitchens. If you’re someone who wants to learn the secret behind cooking some uncommon dishes, the experimental creative presents recipes for niche delicacies such as lemon mushroom, vegan naan and banana peel kebabs as well. Sadaf also runs a ‘Naan Curry Podcast’ where he explores the rich heritage of food in India, one dish at a time.
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