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Updated: November 3, 2009 17:21 IST

Time for some oriental flavours

NIKHIL VARMA
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Master chef Sanjeev Kapoor Photo: Nagara Gopal
Master chef Sanjeev Kapoor Photo: Nagara Gopal

Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor introduces a new cook book on oriental cooking.

"I wanted to enter a creative profession. After school, I decided to take up hotel management. My family and friends had thought that I was destroying my career and making the wrong choices. However, I stuck to it and have managed to emerge successful. They realised that I had made the right choices in due course," says Sanjeev Kapoor, master chef and TV show host, who managed to bring out the cook in all of us with his popular show, Khana Khazana.

He has recently come up with another book on oriental cooking, Flavours of the orient, where he explains many dishes such as the hot and spicy Chicken Laska from Indonesia to luscious Chicken and Crabmeat spring rolls from Vietnam.

"I get ideas about books and specific recipes from the people I interact with on a regular basis. This book was also a result of a similar exercise, when I was approached by many people, who wanted me to bring out a book on oriental cuisine."Sanjeev says that his vegetarian fans will not be disappointed with the book, as it profiles many vegetarian dishes also.

"It has many vegetarian dishes that can be whipped at home also."What about maintaining the authenticity of many of the dishes, especially those that involve use of ingredients available only in some parts of the world?Sanjeev answers, "Most of these preparations can be made using substitutes that are easily available in the country. For instance, I once went to a restaurant in New Zealand that served a chicken preparation, with a flavouring of nuts that was available only in NZ. We found that the preparation can be made in India, also with peanuts replacing those rare nuts.

Experimentation is important for a chef to undertake."Sanjeev feels that the mushrooming of hotel management institutes across the country does not bode well for the industry and the students."Even as institutes are creating thousands of trainees, they are not enough hotels that can cater to this huge influx. It may result in many talented people in the field being ignored and rejected. This trend must be corrected."He feels that cooking is a skill that can be picked up by anyone, provided one is focused and creative."You need to be inquisitive and willing to learn more to be a good chef."

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