Recipe: Chef Varun Totlani’s Phalsa sorbet with fresh Kokum salad
After a day spent gallivanting around hot and humid Mumbai, ordering Varun Totlani’s Cactus-Cucumber Salad at Masque is a piece of cool heaven
After a day spent gallivanting around hot and humid Mumbai, ordering Varun Totlani’s Cactus-Cucumber Salad at Masque is a piece of cool heaven.
A Culinary Institute of America alumni, Totlani's mission is to highlight lesser-known ingredients that find creative applications on his menu. “We want to serve you tasty food but also want to highlight what our country has to offer. Currently, Scandinavia is going crazy about cloudberry, which grows abundantly in the wild here. Cactus is widely eaten in Mexico and nomadic Indian tribes are known to have it with prickly pear. The process of harvesting and cleaning cactus is tiresome, but on our menu, the result looks effortless, like most dishes at Masque.”
The chefs there lay out an entire course inspired by the hills—Seabuckthron sorbet, Kaphal jujube, raw fish like ceviche—but use a seabuckthorn kanji instead of a curing liquid, seabuckthorn and black pepper desert. Discovered on his foraging trail (searching for wild food resources) in Uttarakhand are native ingredients like Hisir/Hesalu berry (like a golden raspberry), Bedu (a sweet berry-sized fig with texture) and fiddlehead ferns. They feature in a wide range of depth and character from food to drinks. “We don’t use outside syrups. Gondhraj lemon can put Thai lemons to sleep,” Totlani laughs.
Phalsa Sorbet with Fresh Kokum Salad:
Ingredients (Serves 10):
✥ 300g phalsa berry (can also be made with any fresh fruit)
✥ 400g sorbet base
✥ 215g castor sugar
✥ 75g + 565g water
✥ 130g liquid glucose
For the sorbet base
✥ Boil the glucose in 565g water till dissolved.
✥ In another pan, boil castor sugar and 75g of water until it reached 114°C
✥ Mix both liquids and boil them together.
For the sorbet
✥ Blend and strain the phalsa berries. Mix 200g of the strained juice with 400g of the sorbet base and a pinch of salt.
✥ Add to ice cream machine and churn as per maker’s instructions.
For the kokum salad
✥ 50g fresh kokum
✥ 5g coriander stems
✥ 2g chopped green chilli
✥ Salt, to taste
✥ Red chilli powder, to taste
✥ 10 g coriander oil + more to garnish (blend 20g coriander with 40g vegetable oil. Let sit overnight, then strain through muslin)
✥ Mix all ingredients, adding salt and red chilli powder to taste.
✥ To assemble, add a spoonful of the salad to a small bowl and top with a scoop of sorbet. Drizzle with coriander oil and serve immediately.