F ood and travel shows on the small screen have a devout following. Offering a double treat of both is the 275-episode-old ‘Flavours of India' aired on Kairali TV between 7.30 and 8 p.m., from Monday to Thursday. Scripted, researched and presented by Lekshmi Nair, the show has taken viewers all across India, including the North-Eastern States such as Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. Over to Lekshmi…
Flavour of cookery shows
Food is something that everybody needs and enjoys. Along with other changes, people are now willing to experiment with food. Although the liking for ethnic food has not diminished, people are keen on experimenting, thanks to increased exposure via films and television.
Profile of the viewers
When I started my show ‘Magic Oven' 11 years ago, homemakers were the primary viewers. It would not be wrong to say that within six months of starting ‘Flavours of India,' we were able to capture the attention of all. Men and children also watch the programme. Irrespective of whether they try the recipe at home or not, cookery shows have become a means of entertainment for the family. It has gone beyond a kind of cookery class that talks about proportions and process of cooking a dish.
Research/identification of places
I refer books and the Internet to understand new food fads that reach our shores. I get in touch with local residents to know more about a place. There are many wannabe travellers who are forced to stay at home. The programme takes them to interesting places and exposes them to little-known aspects, using a simple narrative.
Response of local residents
People are usually friendly. Going from a regional South Indian language channel, seldom do people know us, but still they offer all support. Malayalis living in other States have also been supportive.
Before visiting Nagaland (yet to be telecast), we contacted the Malayalis living there who warmly welcomed us.
Cuisine that still lingers on your taste-buds
I would rate Punjabi cuisine with all its kebabs, tikkas and barbequed food, along with Mangalorean and Goan food as being the most delectable. Punjab has a thriving market for street food. It is not so expensive and it is hygienic because it is prepared right in front of us and served hot.
But to pick one, I can never forget the ‘cutlet,' a popular street food of Calcutta [Kolkata]. Usually, we make cutlets after cooking the basic ingredient (meat or chicken). But this was made with raw meat and dipped twice or thrice in the egg white and batter before being deep fried. It seemed similar to our crumb-fried fish. It was very tasty!