The lockdown chefs Food

Banana bread and pancakes with chef Kelvin Cheung

Cheesy gluen free bagel by chef Kelvin Cheung

Cheesy gluen free bagel by chef Kelvin Cheung   | Photo Credit: special arrangements

The celebrity chef tells us how he is using the lockdown to spend quality time cooking with family, and teaching his toddler the joys of baking

We started social distancing early; the three of us have been at home in Delhi since a couple of days before the lockdown officially began. And so far, we have been spending a lot more time cooking together as a family, involving the baby as well.

We have been making simple food like dal and rice, and a lot of fun and healthy soups. We have also been involving my son Bodhi in some alternative baking sessions. We have no sugar in the house, since I avoid refined sugars: instead, we bake with a lot of dry fruits. We have been making almond flours and oat flours, and also a banana loaf with leftover overripe banana and organic flour, that we baked together in our air fryer. We have also been making cookies, including peanut butter and chocolate chip ones, and gluten-free banana pancakes with Bodhi.

I have also been sharing recipes on Instagram: I wanted to make what a lot of people could recreate, even people who generally don’t cook at home. I also wanted to share recipes that are hassle free: after all, how many people want to be stuck washing dishes for hours?

So one of the things I have been making frequently is congee, the Chinese equivalent to the Indian khichdi, with leftover rice. There is a lot of scope with congee; we have been making it with different kinds of rice, and cooking it with various vegetables. It is pretty easy to make, and satisfying. For example, we had some leftover red rice one day, and we made it into a congee with pumpkin and carrots. Jasmine rice goes really well with zucchini and squash.

Pumpkin Congee (Serves 2-4)
  • Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, fresh, seeded, peeled, diced into medium-sized pieces or any other leftover vegetables; 8 cups or 2 litre water or vegetable stock; 1 knob of ginger, peeled and sliced; 3/4 cup or 185 gm jasmine sweet rice, rinsed well; salt, white pepper and light soy sauce for seasoning; 1 cup or 250 gm roasted pumpkin seeds; ½ cupor 125 ml chilli oil (for garnishing only); ½ cup or 125 gm chopped scallions; ¼ cup or 60 gm chopped fresh green coriander
  • Method: Bring the water or vegetable stock to the boil in the pot. Add the pumpkin and ginger; simmer until the pumpkin is tender. Remove half the pumpkin and mash or purée and reserve. In the same pot add the rice and simmer until fully cooked (it takes about an hour or so). Now stir in the pumpkin purée. Season with salt, white pepper and light soya sauce; mix well. Serve garnished with roasted pumpkin seeds, chilli oil, scallions and green coriander.
  • Recipe by chef Kelvin Cheung

We are very lucky to be in touch with small organic farms like Krishi Cress that are still functioning and supporting farmers, and also providing us with fresh produce. Krishi Cress is also providing fresh cheese now . Our regular sabziwala who comes to sell in this neighbourhood is also doing good business.

For breakfast, I once made a lovely Mexican preparation out of leftover chapatis and rajma. The chapatis were made of sorgum and millet. The rajma, I sautéed with onions, garlic, chilli, coriander and jeera, and then pureed the entire thing. I also made some salsa with tomato, onion, and coriander, and then assembled all of this to make our own little Mexican breakfast at home.

I have also been spending time meal prepping, and cleaning and freezing fresh fruits and vegetables to be used later. This is also something I have shared on my Instagram: things like sliced bananas ans destemmed grapes can be frozen for a long time, to use when it isn’t available in the market.

In this series, some of India’s popular chefs and restauteurs share their lockdown cooking habits and recipes with us

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 9:35:44 AM |

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