Vikas Khanna’s “Savour Mumbai” highlights the diversity of the city’s food culture
Amidst the grandeur of The Royal Ballroom at The Imperial, Janpath, Michelin star chef Vikas Khanna was busy searing away pieces of Chicken Cafreal, one of the numerous recipes featured in his new book “Savour Mumbai”.
Talking about the inspiration behind the book, Vikas said, “Mumbai has a multitude of cuisines engulfed within a single city.” It was this diversity, encompassing Maharashtrian, Parsi, Gujarati, Konkani and the ubiquitous street food, that he intended to bring out with his cocktail of ingredients, spices and recipes. To accomplish this, he spent time visiting many restaurants, picking up and moulding dishes from local chefs to make it possible for his readers to prepare them in their kitchens. The whole session was kept alive by the gentle doses of humour, stories and instances collected from his childhood in Amritsar, and how it had a big impression on all his culinary endeavours. Being the first book he actually wrote in India, it took longer than usual to come out. But now that it has, Vikas said he is hopeful of covering many more cities in the same fashion.
Apart from the aforementioned, he also demonstrated a variety of other dishes incorporated in the book — kaju kothambir vadi from Maharashtra; Khubani ka shahi tukda from Lucknow; kachhe kele ki asharfi from Hyderabad and a guava and cottage cheese salad from Allahabad. The chef emphasised it was never about the food but the memories that the first morsel brought forth. Quoting an example, “Pooris are a very simple thing. However I had once been told off for having forgotten to add ajwain. I now realise it was not the poori but that sting of an ajwain which had the magical ability to take people back to the farmlands from one’s childhood.”
The session came to a close with a lunch which included items demonstrated earlier, for The Imperial Culinary Club.