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Home > Sunday Mid Day News > MasterChef India Season 7 finale Judges Ranveer Brar Vikas Khanna and Garima Arora reveal their favourite dishes till now

MasterChef India Season 7 finale: Judges Ranveer Brar, Vikas Khanna and Garima Arora reveal their favourite dishes till now

Updated on: 26 March,2023 07:07 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Nasrin Modak Siddiqi |

As the India season of MasterChef gears up for the finale this week, judges Ranveer Brar, Vikas Khanna and Garima Arora select their favourite dishes in the competition

MasterChef India Season 7 finale: Judges Ranveer Brar, Vikas Khanna and Garima Arora reveal their favourite dishes till now

MasterChef season 7 judges Vikas Khanna, Ranveer Brar and Garima Arora. Pic/Nimesh Dave

On a very hot afternoon in March, we drove down to the sets of MasterChef India Season 7 in Malad, wondering about the beautiful camaraderie between judges—chefs Vikas Khanna, Ranveer Brar, and Garima Arora. The show is about to wrap up and since viewers have had their eyes glued to the television, we know a few hearts could break.


Will it be the boy from a village in Assam, Nayanjyoti Saikia, who has learnt everything about food through Instagram? Or fun-loving Gurkirat Singh, whose appetite for life shows in his food? Or will it be Ludhiana mommy Kamaldeep Kaur, whose knack for breaking down flavours takes the audience by surprise? There’s Santa Sarma, whom everyone loves for showing us Assamese cuisine and culture. Who will win? Only time will tell. We got chatting with the judges about their favourite moments and recipes of the season while the contestants bonded over lunchtime beguiling the gruelling and competitive challenges they have had to ensure to show their mettle.  


For Garima Arora, the first Indian woman to win a Michelin star, “The representation of smaller communities, regional recipes, and different states is much stronger than it was before,” she says, “and it’s a step in the right direction for India to be represented in its length and breadth. It feels nice to see the pride that people take in the food of their communities and in showcasing the dishes that never get a chance to shine outside of homes.” Arora adds that she will miss the time spent on set. “Both Ranveer and Vikas have been guiding lights for me—I was a lost little lamb. I have never done television before, but they made it fun.”Brar, who has been a judge on the show before, feels that there’s a great sense of energy this time and it reflects in the “josh” of the audience towards contestants, each of whom have their strengths.


“Nayanjyoti has a clean, no baggage kind of cooking and is truly representative of small-town India,” he says, “I tell him, I hope ‘tumko bade sheher ki hawa na lage’” Gurkirat, Brar says, is easygoing. “It tends to work in his favour at times and sometimes not,” he observes, “Good, because it’s easy for him to forget how badly he fared in an earlier round and emerge with renewed vigour in the next challenge. Santa comes with a humble background and a rooted value system. She’s truly a fighter in the kitchen. Her willingness to never give up and allow herself to soak in every challenge stands out.” 

Brar has always been vocal about Indian home cooking and feels, “It’s interesting for us chefs too to see the progressive thinking and presentation of dishes by the contestants  and for the world to see Indian cuisine as so versatile and adaptable.” Of his favourite memory of this season, Brar shares, was the challenge at the Bhaikaka Krishi Kendra in Gujarat. “Acres and acres of fresh vegetables, herbs and spices, the crisp winter morning and open-air cooking. It was tempting for us judges to start cooking ourselves,” he says. “And to top it, Baa [Urmila Asher] joined in as a guest contestant to help a team. She is an inspiring personality, who injects enthusiasm wherever she goes.”

Khanna, who has been a judge on the show before believes that the show has the power to influence cooking at home and restaurants alike. “People now understand the power of Indian chefs and invest more in them. It is a paradigm shift. Besides, this time, we’ve had contestants between the ages 18 to 78 who are regular homecooks but  the fact that they stand a chance to gain international fame is an inspiring thought,” he adds.

Santa’s grilled chicken pizza with orange and baby spinach salad

Ingredients
 500 gm chicken
 1 cup red, yellow and green bell peppers
 1/4 cup onion 
 8 garlic pods
 2 lemons
 100 gm Roma tomatoes
 1 tsp red chilli flakes
 1 tsp paprika
 1 cup mozzarella cheese
 1 cup processed cheese
 500 gm pizza dough 
 1 tsp oregano
 2 oranges
 1 cup baby spinach
 1 cup orange juice
 1 cup olive oil

Method
Marinate the chicken pieces with ginger-garlic paste, salt, pepper and grill it. For the marinara sauce, blanch the tomatoes and remove the skin. In a pan, add olive oil, and sauté onions and garlic. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until it becomes tender. Add paprika, salt, and oregano. In a salad bowl, add orange segments, baby spinach, orange juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and a dash of sugar. Roll out pizza dough, spread marinara sauce, and place  seasoned red, yellow and green bell peppers, and onions. Top with processed cheese, mozzarella cheese, and grilled chicken pieces. Garnish with herbs and bake.

Gurkirat’s qatayef with cinnamon apple tea

Ingredients

For the qatayef pancake:
 11/2 cups all-purpose flour
 2 eggs
 1/2 cup sugar
 1/4 cup oil
 1/2 tsp baking powder
 1/2 cup milk
 A pinch of salt

For the stuffing
 1/2 cup grated mozzarella
 1/2 cup chopped pista
 1/2 cup walnuts 
 4 tbsp sugar
 2 pinch of cardamom powder 

For the sugar syrup
 1 cup sugar
 1/2 cup water
 2 tsp orange blossom water

For the apple cinnamon tea
 1 cup water
 2 tbsp tea
 1 stick cinnamon
 2 tbsp sugar

Method

Mix all ingredients for the pancake in a blender to make a smooth batter. Mix all the ingredients for the stuffing in another bowl. Boil together sugar and water till the sugar dissolves completely and reaches a syrup-like consistency. Add orange blossom water and keep it aside. Heat a non-stick tawa, pour the batter of the pancake with a ladle and spread evenly. Let it cook for two minutes, and then add stuffing on one side and fold the pancake in a half moon or semi-circle. Remove from pan. In another pan, heat oil and toast these pancakes again on both sides completely. Finally, dip them in sugar syrup and serve. To make cinnamon tea, boil all the ingredients together for a few minutes and strain. Serve everything together.

Nayanjyoti’s baharat chicken roll

Ingredients

For baharat spice mix
 1 tbsp black pepper
 2 tsp nutmeg
 2 tsp paprika
 1 tsp coriander
 1 tsp cinnamon
 5 cloves
 1 tsp cumin
 1 tsp kosher salt
 2 green cardamom
 Toast the spices and blend

For grilled chicken
 2 chicken thighs
 1/2 cup hung curd
 Salt to taste
 1 tsp garlic paste
 1 tsp ginger paste

For yoghurt flatbread
 1 cup flour
 3 tbsp hung curd
 1/2 tsp baking soda
 Pinch of salt

For pickled onion
 1 thinly sliced red onion
 2 tbsp vinegar
 1/2 tsp sugar
 Salt to taste
 1 bay leaf
 2 cloves

For hung curd dip sauce
 3 tbsp hung curd
 Salt to taste
 Pinch of chilli powder
 1 tsp cumin powder
 1/2 tsp baharat spice mix
Mix all ingredients and set aside

 For salad
 1 cup mixed salad leaves
 1 cup blood orange
 Cherry tomato
 Olive oil
 Salt and pepper to season

Method
For the flatbread, mix all ingredients and make a soft dough. Let it ferment for 30 minutes in a warm place. Then roll out disks using a rolling pin and cook on a pan on brushing with ghee. Make the pickle onions by boiling all the ingredients on medium flame until they become pink and soft. Marinate the chicken with 11/2 tbsp baharat spice mix, ginger, garlic paste and yoghurt for about  10-15 minutes, then grill. Cut into small pieces or thin strips. For the salad, segment the oranges, chop the lettuce, rocket, and tomatoes and mix them with salt pepper oil and orange juice. Set aside. To make the roll, spread the yoghurt sauce first and place chicken and pickled onions on top. Put some salad greens and fold it gently to make a roll. Serve with orange salad.

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