“First we make a paste of onions and tomatoes, then we put vegetables or meat into it, and as if that is not enough to kill the original flavors, we drop in half a dozen spices. From Kashmir to Kerala, it is the same problem”.
I was talking to a student chef, who was studying at a famous school for hoteliers in Ireland, and his analysis of our cuisines, particularly the kind served in restaurants, was spot on. There’s simply too much of oil, onions, tomatoes, and spices in our food.
“Continental cuisines” the student chef continued “ are at the other extreme. You can barely taste the spices so the food can come across as bland”. Really good chefs, he explained, know the secret of striking the perfect balance, between all the ingredients.
Indian food served in homes throughout the country can be quite extraordinary. But something happens when we take our food to a restaurant; it gets messed up.
The Thais, the Japanese, the Italians, the Turks, the Vietnamese, the Chinese, even the Arabs… they know how to take their food to market. We are yet to figure it out.
Is there an opportunity here for an enterprising chef?