In a relationship with food
A multi-racial couple that shares traditional Polish recipes using Indian ingredients on a new YouTube cooking show, makes us want to say, smacznego!
Polish-born Dominika Patalas lets us in on her secret weapon in the kitchen—her Indian fiancé Pulkit Kalra. If he hadn't been excited about trying out traditional dishes of Central Europe, she wouldn't have pushed through learning how to use a knife. In return, he is the sounding board for new ideas. "Both of us haven't learned to cook professionally; whatever little we know is from observing our parents and grandparents," says Patalas, a 27-year-old model.
The couple met during one of her assignments in 2018. "After a degree in Global Economy and International Business, I started working as a professional model. Pulkit, on the other hand, joined the modelling industry after finishing a Bachelors in Journalism and Mass Communication," Patalas shares. In 2019, they launched a YouTube channel, Discover Genix. "There are a lot of taboos in the world about intercultural relationships. Through Discover Genix, we show people how beautifully two countries, religions and cultures can meet to create extremely entertaining content," adds Kalra, 25.
Their common love for food made Dominika introduce Kalra to Polish cuisine while she cooked in his South Delhi home kitchen. "Polish dishes are not very complicated, and everyone can prepare them by using ingredients from local Indian markets. His reactions after he tastes the dishes is my favourite bit," Patalas says.
A couple of months ago, Kalra made her cook an Indian dish. "We posted a fun video of her [a Polish girl] making shahi paneer [for her Indian boyfriend]. And we hit gold. the Polish Institute New Delhi saw it and approached us to do an online series for them," Kalra recalls.
The couple made a list of 15 traditional Polish dishes, of which the Polish Institute New Delhi finalised 10. The first video in the series titled, Polish dishes in the Indian kitchen, was released on YouTube on June 26. "We recorded all the videos during the lockdown, before Dominika left for Poland. Till now, we have published two videos from our series and many more lip smacking recipes are to come every Friday."
Polish cuisine has evolved over the centuries to become eclectic, thanks to Poland's history, and the commonalities it shares with neighbouring German, Czech, Slovak and Silesian culinary traditions. Patalas says, "Unlike Indian cuisine, we don't use so much green, red chilli or garam masala. But, I somehow feel the two cuisine cultures have similarities. In the first episode, we made potato pancakes, which are not very different from aloo tikki."
They have a giveaway for all viewers who prepare the Polish dishes they demonstrate, send in the final pictures and share a note on the taste. "In return, the Polish Institute New Delhi has promised to send them exciting gifts."
History: A zapiekanka is an open-face sandwich made of half a baguette or other long roll of bread, topped with sautéed white mushrooms, cheese and sometimes other ingredients, and toasted until the cheese melts. Served hot with ketchup, it is a popular street food in Poland. With its origin dating back to the 1970s, the zapiekanka is associated with the austere times of Poland's Communist regime, but it has enjoyed renewed demand recently, which has also brought a wider range of varieties and quality.
Duration: 25 minutes
Finely chop mushrooms and onion. To cook the onions and mushrooms, take a non-stick pan and put some butter on it. Once the butter is melted, put the finely-chopped mushrooms and onion and cook it until the onions turn brown and water in the mushrooms is completely dried. Add salt, pepper and herbs as per taste. Now, cut the baguette in half and put butter on it, then place the pan fried mushrooms and onion mix on it and top it with mozzarella cheese. Bake it for about 10-15 minutes at 180 degrees C in an oven. Garnish it with fresh black olives and tomato ketchup. Zapiekanka is ready to be served.
Potato pancakes (placki ziemniaczane)
History: Potato-based dishes are relatively new to Polish cuisine. In the 19th century, in the territory of the Greater Poland, people started making a dish called bambrzok. It was made of grated potatoes mixed with wheat flour, eggs and seasonings. Nowadays, there are special festivals dedicated to the lovers and growers of the potato. For example, the celebration of Potato Day in MoÅÂki (Podlaskie Voivodeship) called the Potato Day Festival started in 1975.
Yield: Approx. 7 pancakes
Duration: 20 minutes
½ kg potatoes
1-2 tablespoons of flour
Salt as per taste
Grate raw potatoes on the grater. Then leave them for a few minutes, so the water can separate from potatoes. After this, strain out extra water from potatoes. When the potatoes are dry, add egg, flour and salt (also pepper for better taste). Mix all the ingredients together. Add 6-7 big tablespoons of olive oil on the pan and put big spoon of ready batter to pan fry the potato pancakes. Once pancakes are golden and crisp from both the sides, take them out from the pan. You can garnish with sour cream and green onions.
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