Celebrity chef Ranveer Brar on Indian Chinese cuisine

Celebrity chef Ranveer Brar on Indian Chinese cuisine

Read a bonus recipe inside 

While we love to have Chinese cuisine at our nearby eateries or make them with the best ingredients in-house, there are several myths associated with what the real Chinese flavours are in the country and whether they are modified to suit the Indian palate.

We speak to celebrity chef Ranveer Brar on Chinese cuisine today in a free-flowing chat where he takes us through the flavours, trends, influence of social media, rise of home chefs, and more; as he steps in as the ambassador of MasterChow. 

Excerpts:

Q

What does 'Asli Chinese' mean to you?

A

'Asli Chinese' for me embodies the true essence of Indian Chinese cuisine, rooted in its rich culinary traditions, authentic ingredients, and time-honored cooking techniques. It's about experiencing the genuine flavors and aromas of Indo-Chinese dishes, prepared with care and expertise.

Q

Have you been to China and tasted Chinese cuisine?

A

As someone who believes in personally experiencing the culture and cuisine of a place, this one’s on my bucket list; more so after my association with MasterChow. That said, I have often visited Tangra in Kolkata, the provenance of Indian Chinese cuisine and am absolutely in love with the place. It has inspired many a video and creation of mine.

Q

Is there truly a discrepancy between authentic Chinese and what we eat in India? Is it tailored for a spicier palate?

A

Yes, there is often a gap between authentic Chinese cuisine and the versions commonly served in India. Indian Chinese cuisine evolved more to suit local palates and tends to be spicier, and sweeter.

Q

With several forms of Chinese cuisine and the ability to tailor-make it as per choice; are we losing touch with the authenticity of the cuisine?

A

With the diversity of Chinese cuisine adaptions and the flexibility to customize dishes, there is a risk of diluting the authenticity. It's essential to preserve the core flavors and techniques while experimenting with variations.

Q

What would you prefer authentic Chinese or Indian Chinese?

A

Difficult to choose and I feel would be unfair to either too! Chinese food, as is prepped in China, dutifully represents the culture and culinary diversity. And there are several sub-regional cuisines too, just like in our country. The more one explores, the more one would uncover. The latter, however, was  adapted to suit Indian palates more and led to the innovation of several iconic dishes that have come to be synonymous with Indo-Chinese cuisine.

Q

How is this social media frenzy influencing the kind of food being served, especially considering that most people reach out for their phones instead of the knife and fork today when food is served to them?

A

Digital influence has definitely changed the scenario a lot. Sadly at times, presentation and visual appeal might tend to be prioritized more to cater to these trends.

Q

Does the rise in home chefs and cloud kitchens call for more choices for the eaters or tougher competition for traditional chefs?

A

The way I see it, it encourages more innovation and diversity in the culinary landscape, both in the home and commercial kitchens.

Q

What is one underrated ingredient that needs to be revived in Chinese cuisine?

A

For me, that would be the Fermented Black Beans. The depth, versatility, and flavour complexity they add to dishes, especially in Chinese cooking are amazing.

Q

What culinary trend do you foresee for 2024?

A

The focus is gradually but steadily shifting and will keep shifting to more sustainable and eco-conscious dining, not just at the end product level but right from sourcing to production as well. It's encouraging to see a growing emphasis on local and seasonal ingredients and reducing food waste at all possible stages.

Q

What is one overrated trend in the culinary world?

A

One overrated trend could be excessively elaborate and intricate plating, where aesthetics overshadow the taste and quality of the dish. Molecular Gastronomy is another that I eventually see phasing out.

Q

With ready-to-cook food comes the question of preservatives, especially for those who are health-conscious. Could you throw some light on the usage then?

A

Ready-to-cook foods often contain preservatives to extend shelf life. While convenient, it's important for health-conscious consumers to read labels carefully and opt for options with minimal additives.

Q

Do you think Veganism is becoming a third parallel to vegetarian and non-vegetarianism? What then are their options in Chinese food?

A

Given the current wave of conscious eaters, Veganism is definitely gaining prominence. I feel, there are plenty of options in the Chinese cuisine for Vegans, wherein dishes can be easily adapted and/or innovated to use plant-based ingredients. And I must say, they turn out incredible!

Q

Homemade Szechuan Noodles

A

Ingredients

For Noodles

1 cup Refined flour,

Salt to taste,

½ tsp Vinegar,

Water as required,

¼ tsp Turmeric powder,

Cornstarch/arrowroot for dusting,

For Boiling

Water, 

Salt to taste,

2 tbsp Oil,

For Szechuan Noodles

1 tbsp Oil,

1 tbsp Ginger, chopped,

1 tbsp Garlic, chopped,

2 Green chillies, chopped,

2 Medium Onion, sliced,

 ½ Carrot, sliced,

¼ small Cabbage, sliced,

1 Capsicum, sliced ,

2 tbsp Szechuan chutney,

Water as required,

1 tsp sugar, optional

Salt to taste ,

1 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped ,

Method

In a bowl add refined flour, salt, vinegar, water, turmeric powder and from a smooth and stiff dough. ( Dust some cornstarch while kneading the dough)

Place it in a bowl and cover it with damp cloth for 20-30 minutes.

Once it is rested well , take it out and knead it once. Take a rolling pin and start rolling it as thin as possible.

Now trim the edges to form a rectangle and the dust some cornstarch on it and fold it little from one side again dust cornstarch and keep on folding and dusting until the rectangle sheet is completely folded.

Meanwhile in a large pot add water, salt, oil and allow it to boil.

Now take a sharp knife hand cut the rectangle into small strips.

Using light hands start unrolling the strips and gently drop them into the boiling water. Cook them by counting until 10.

Strain the noodles and spread it on a plate, apply some oil and let it cool for some time.

Heat oil in a pan and add chopped ginger, garlic, green chillies saute for a minute.

Now add the sliced onions, carrot, cabbage, capsicum saute them for 2-3 minutes on high flames.

Add the szechuan chutney and mix it properly and let them charr for a minute.

Now add some water and the boiled noodles toss them properly and then add the chopped coriander leaves.

Serve hot. 

X
Indulgexpress
www.indulgexpress.com