So now it’s official. November 6th is declared as ‘Mumbai Food Blogger Day’. I am not sure what we will do on this day next year, or the year there after, but this year is celebrated by getting together at Khana Khazana studio to share the food knowledge with Sanjeev Kapoor at his Dhalia Estate at Versova.
Most of the Mumbai food blogger I know are through social media, and I do meet them regularly online, sharing thoughts and ideas, but meeting personally is a different experience. There is so much excitement and happiness around, each one is anxious to share their food experience. Some of them are great cooks, some good food-photographers, some good food critics and some just enjoy eating food. Just listening to their conversation, reveals new strands of knowledge I often pick up to taste. This was a special meet, during this meet, all eyes are focused on Sanjeev, because we were to learn from experienced chef who has come a long way.
While sipping coffee, I look around the FoodFoodStudio that has interesting stuff. My thoughts begin to run. Maybe, I need this pasta machine, maybe, I too could set my kitchen shelf like this, I don’t like this color of the wall, brick ethnic look is not my taste, I would do this arrangement differently, various such thoughts float into visual arena of my mind while I survey each section.
The cooking station is all set with the ingredients that are required during the cooking session. There are serving plates and great variety of glasses of different shapes and sizes. Two bloggers volunteer to cook Rissotto and other two bloggers volunteer to cook stuffed Gahlawat kababs. All the ingredients are there, neatly placed in small bowl, the resulting dish would depend upon the creativity used by each blogger.
“Cooking is all about having fun with ingredients, one must just know the science of cooking” says Sanjeev Kapoor and thus begins the long chat by Sanjeev K, while the food bloggers are busy creating a dish.
It is an informative discussion.
Did you know that salt, not the sugar, is the real cause of diabetes? I didn’t know. We can take care of our diet if we know the ingredients and their context during cooking. We normally associate ingredients with the dish, for example, we associate saffron with sweet dish, bay leaves with Biryani, It is important to know each ingredient by itself, remember its’ basic taste, and know its reaction during cooking. Except for salt, sugar, water and chilies (which has to be just right) all other ingredients can manipulated. Experimenting with ingredients brings in new taste. If the dish goes wrong, don’t admit it, present as a new dish. Smart cooking is not about cooking complicated dishes, but it is about cooking with the first instinct that comes with the visual taste and doing the unexpected. It is easy to blend into the crowd, but to stand out, one has to do unexpected. You may be average cook but the most important part of your cooking is your presentation of the finished dish.The kitchen begin to come alive with aroma distracting me from this conversation, and I look behind to see Harsha tossing the mushrooms in a pan. The Rissotto is served in the dish and she tosses the mushrooms on the rice and garnishes it with herbs.
Gahlawat kababs are ready too. They are stuffed with dry fruits. The green chutney looks yum!
But wait…..its time for presentation and surprises.
Sanjeev K walks behind the cooking station and bring out puffed puris. I watch in wonder, while he stuffs the puris with Risotto and places it on the top of tiny glass filled with tomato and mint soup (cooked earlier). How do you eat that? Simple. a bite into the puri and a sip of tomato soup.
Next he prepares the buttermilk, adds mint and squeezes lime. Hmmn,! an experiment perhaps? He pours again into tiny glasses and covers it with the puri stuffed with Gahlawat kabab. This is new for me. Reluctantly, I stretch my hand to try the buttermilk mixed with squeezed lime.
It tastes good.
I am surprised.
It tastes good.
I am surprised.
The mood is set. I am now interested in what next he has up his sleeve?
He melts the chocolates in micro-oven, beats it and mixes it with cream. In another bowl, he mashes the motichoor laddoos, and mixes with the chocolate cream mixture. The mixture acquires a different texture of glossy brown pearls. In goes this mixture into another puri to be placed on another tiny glass containing the milkshake made from chocolates, coffee, milk and Vanilla ice-cream.Stomach begins to growl.
Feasting the eyes is not enough, taste I must. Actually I am hungry. I take small bite and wait till the photo session ends.
|image by: Sanjeev Kapoor|
It is time to splurge on feast. The table is dressed with Thali Peeth with Kharda (chutney), American corn sevpuri, Tikka pita paneer, Tikka pita Chicken as starters. For Mains its Khullad Briyani (vegetarian and non-vegetarian) Mirchi ka sallan, Lulla Mussa Dhal with brown rice and for dessert there is Jamun Bappa Doi and Motichoor Golgappa expresso.
Goodbyes are made with impressive take-away gift that includes on ornamental diya, a jar of Pineapple and Raisin chutney and a personalized Rissotto recipe written in gold on a velvet frame.
A gentle note to PR if they reading this:
Food bloggers are the group of people who have passion for food and writing, They love to write about food and share their experiences. They are NOT freeloader who are looking for free meals or for food discounts to promote your brand. Please do not appraoch them with a nice juicy carrot, asking them to review, invite them if you must, but only if you appreciate their love for food and understand their passion for writing.