Our food influences are mainly from the northern part of India, with our take on it, not confirming to any set style of cooking the dishes. Food at home was never very spicy. Spices are used in just the adequate quantity and the food is definitely big on flavours. Over the years friends and family have enjoyed our food at home and have often asked for the recipes. But what really caught my attention was the surprise on their faces, when told how simple and minimalistic the recipe was. This fact stayed with me and it showed that to get something right you don’t need to complicate it, infact the exact opposite.
“Simplify and only do as much is required, and yes one more thing,
no shortcuts or compromise when it comes to taste!”
I believe cooking is a creative process and boxing it in a set template limits the possibilities of creating innovative flavour combinations; making it formulaic hampers this creativity. For example, when we add the exact same set of spices to gravy based dish or garnish every Indian dessert with lots of nuts and dry fruits, we are limiting the scope for it stand out.
Ingredients are wonderful tools, interplay of which makes a dish beautiful. The important thing is to let the core ingredient be the hero element and all other components play the supporting role. This helps to bring out the uniqueness of the main ingredient; otherwise every other dish would end up tasting more or less the same. The spices and other supporting components should add to the core, not overpower it.
That perhaps is the key to simple cooking; when the emphasise goes beyond less or more and focuses on appropriate; because cooking is as much about the ingredients that we add, as the ones that we don’t.
“It is this beautiful intermingling of ingredients that makes a delicious dish.”
Through the first book we are presenting to you recipes of select vegetarian dishes that one has grown up relishing. None of the recipes have garlic, and ginger is used in very few. There is no particular reason for it or aversion to using garlic. It is great if used in proper proportions, otherwise its strong flavour and aroma can mask the essence of the main ingredient. As far as no garlic in our food, it is just about a way of cooking, a choice. Both garlic & ginger increase the heat quotient of food and since they are essential part of cooking for many people, I invite you to try these recipes, as a refreshing change without compromising on taste. In future recipes would perhaps work with garlic in limited quantity to bring out the best in this ingredient
The second book has desserts, many of which are made from just five or less than five ingredients. Again highlighting that you don’t need too many things to create magic, just what is required.
The love and appreciation for food, from being a source of sustenance to bringing joy through endless flavours and taste to bonding people across geographies has been the driving force behind these books.