Four ParleG recipes from Mumbai chefs
India's favourite biscuit since 1939 is having its time in the sun. From cheesecake sandwich to GCardamom Pannacotta, here's how you can enjoy it
What's in a five-rupee pack of Parle-G biscuits? Well, there's history of 81 years and tons of nostalgia of dunking it in steaming chai and yanking it out just in time before it disappears to the bottom of the cup. Top that with repeated, futile attempts to rescue the drowning one with another biscuit. In the last three months, the common man's food—with its familiar yellow wrapping and trademark grinning toddler—has became a tea-time special during the lockdown. With the hashtags #BharatKaApnaBiscuit and #YouAreMyParleG trending on Twitter, people are walking down memory lane with their own chai tales. But there's another poignant reference. For the thousands of migrants who walked back home when jobs dried up in the metros, this cheaper-than-a- pack-of-bread food received from the kind-hearted kept them going.
This Lotus Biscoff of India, with its unique taste also makes a great raw-ingredient for several sweet and savoury dishes. There are tons of pressure cooker and oven cakes, barfis, puddings, swiss rolls and baklava recipes that use Parle-G. We asked three chefs to recreate the magic in their signature style.
Chef Chirag Makwana Toast and Tonic
The senior sous chef at the BKC resto bar was a fussy eater as a child. "I didn't like vegetables, but loved drinking milk with Bournvita, coffee or chai stirred in. And my glass was always accompanied by 'Glucose biscuits'. Dunking them in was the best way to eat them. I now, sometimes use it as an ingredient when working on chai-related dishes or drinks. Like with the cheesecake sandwich," he says.
Masala chai & Parle-G cheesecake sandwich
150 gm cream cheese
100 gm whipped topping/whipped dairy cream + 20g sugar
60 gm castor sugar
20 ml chai concentrate
1 packet Parle-G
Chai Concentrate Recipe:
100 ml water
1 tsp chai powder
1/2 tsp chai masala
Ginger to taste
Make chai the regular way, let it boil well and strain. This is your concentrated chai.
For the cheesecake
Whip the whipped topping to soft peaks and set aside (do not refrigerate). Beat the softened cream cheese with sugar and gently fold in the whipped topping. Next, add the cooled chai concentrate and fold it into the mix. Taste and add more if needed, but don't add too much, else the mixture will get runny. Grease and place parchment paper to a 6-inch square tin and pour in the mix. Smoothen the mixture by gently tapping the mould on a table or use a spatula. Put into the freezer for 4-6 hours to set. Pull out the cheesecake from the freezer, gently de-mould using a large knife that's been placed in hot water for some time. Cut the cheesecake into pieces slightly smaller than the Parle-G biscuit. Place the cheesecake pieces in between two Parle-G biscuits and put it back in the freezer for 10 minutes, remove, plate and enjoy before it melts.
Chef Brij Bhushan Singh Grand Hyatt
The sous chef loves to dare and experiment with flavours and textures. "This dish is like an Italian canederli—a dumpling made with cheese speck and bread and instead of the bread, I am using Parle-G crumble to bind the dumpling. It can be served in a simple veg or chicken cilantro broth for a perfect play of flavours.," he explains.
Twisted canederli with Parle-G
200 gm Parle-G biscuits, crumbled
200 ml milk
2 eggs, beaten
Pinch of nutmeg
Knob of Butter
1 onion, finely diced
150 gm speck diced into lardons (or smoked pancetta)
80 gm ricotta, or local cheese
150 gm flour
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
200 gms parmesan cheese
Crumble the Parle-G into small pieces and combine with the milk. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg and leave to soak. Meanwhile, melt a knob of butter over medium heat, add the onions and speck; let it sweat until the onions are soft and the speck is just starting to caramelise. Add the onion and speck mixture to the soaked crumble, along with the beaten eggs, grated Ricotta or paneer, flour and parsley. Mix then leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Divide the mixture into 12 round balls around 2–3 cm in size. Cook in batches in salted boiling water for around five minutes. Remove and drain. Serve in bowls of warm chicken and coriander broth with plenty of grated Parmesan on top.
Chef Manish Khanna Brownie Point and Noir
For Manish Khanna, Parle-G is not a biscuit, it is an emotion. "My dad ate them while growing up and it was also the biscuit I ate, as have my kids. I used to eat it while watching cartoons. Although I didn't have tea, I'd dip it in my mother's cup of chai which she would discard later since it would become a slush of biscuits. Another memory is of travelling by local train, and the whiff of baked biscuits wafting when we'd pass the Vile Parle factory," says Khanna.
Cardamom pannacotta with crushed Parle-G
500 ml fresh cream
3/4 cardamom pods
75 gm sugar
10 gm gelatin
40 ml water
1 packet Parle-G
Crush the cardamom pods and add to cream, heat till it reaches a boil. Add sugar and stir till dissolved. Remove from flame and strain to remove the crushed cardamom pods. Take 40 ml water and add the gelatin to it and keep aside for 5 mins for it to bloom. Heat in microwave till the gelatin dissolves. Add to pannacotta mix and stir till well-mixed. Pour in glasses and set in fridge for a couple of hours. Crush the Parle-G on top and enjoy.
Masala chai kulfi with Parle-G
2 cups full fat milk
1 cup milk
2 tsp cornflour
4 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp masala chai powder
10 gm flaked almonds
10 gm chopped pistachio
1 packet Parle-G biscuits
Boil the milk till it is reduced to half its volume. Add sugar and masala chai powder and cook for 2 to 3 mins. Mix cornflour in one cup of regular milk and pour it into the cooking mix till thick. Remove from flame. Add flaked almonds and pistachio and mix. Once cooled, set in kulfi moulds in the freezer. Keep overnight. Unmould kulfi and roll it in the crushed biscuits and enjoy immediately.
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