Dishing out help

Updated: 26 March, 2020 09:44 IST | Shunashir Sen | Mumbai

At a loss while navigating the kitchen during self-isolation? Check out these chefs who are conducting live cooking sessions online

One of the immediate fallouts of the present situation is that Indians have started cooking at home like never before. We don't have the luxury of domestic help anymore since most of them have rightly been given leave. Even people who struggle to boil an egg now find themselves in a situation where they are forced to navigate the kitchen. Others who are more proficient are flooding their Instagram profiles with photos of dishes they have made. But there isn't much going around in terms of groceries. Forget about fancy stuff like avocado; your friendly neighbourhood grocery store is struggling to stock even everyday staples. So what does one do given these constraints? Simple. Check out the social media profiles of these chefs who are conducting live cooking sessions, dishing out lessons on whipping up delicacies despite the challenging circumstances."

Seven wonders

Seven wonders

Chef Vicky Ratnani thinks that right now is the best time for even people who feel like a duck out of water in the kitchen, to hone their cooking skills. He says that the current situation has made it amply clear that making food — even if it is a sandwich — is indeed a life skill. That's why he's lending people a helping hand with live lessons on social media, one of which he conducted earlier this week. "I also made a dish I call Whatever-is-in-your-fridge curry for Cheti Chand, or the Sindhi new year, when you are supposed to make something with seven vegetables," Ratnani says, adding that it was a "weird combination", but his family still wiped their plates clean.

Vicky Ratnani

Log on to vickythechef on Instagram

Nothing egg-stra

Nothing egg-stra

It was a week ago that chef Saransh Goila started a series on Instagram called #morningswithgoila, where he shares simple recipes you can whip up in the kitchen. The ingredients are kept to a bare minimum. His anda and aloo skillet — a kind of Indianised shakshuka — uses only the two main items, spices, chutney and cheese, for example. He says, "There's also a DIY recipe for a dish I call Isolation salad, where whatever you have in your pantry can be turned into a salad. It could literally be chhole, rajma or daal with fruits or veggies like apples and bananas or tomatoes and onions. I think it's best if we aren't stuck up about recipes. Cooking is like driving. It's about basic human instinct."

Nothing egg-stra

Log on to @saranshgoila on Instagram

Keeping it basic

Keeping it basic

Even though he hosts them on a regular basis, chef Kunal Kapur's live online lessons have taken on an added meaning given the present constrictions. He has tweaked them in such a way that you can now make simple banana appam pancakes for breakfast or five basic Indian curries for heavier meals. The trick right now, he says, is not to waste anything. Kapur says, "You don't need something out of this world to make a good dish. The best-tasting ones use the most basic ingredients. So innovate a little, and don't go out hunting for that special ingredient."

Keeping it basic

Log on to @chefkunal on Instagram

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There are also people like chef Anahita Dhondy and British chef Potts Dawson who have teamed up as part of a series called Together at Home. Dhondy says, "We are getting together chefs from all over the world to talk about basic cooking from home and social distancing. They will discuss things like how you can bake bread at home if it's not available in the market, to ensure that people stay in."

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First Published: 26 March, 2020 07:43 IST

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