Stein spices up search in In­dia

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TELEVISION -

RICK Stein is a renowned chef, but even he was aware there were gaps in his culi­nary knowl­edge. For three months, he trav­elled the In­dian sub­con­ti­nent in search of the per­fect curry, dis­cov­er­ing an ar­ray of taste sen­sa­tions on his jour­ney.

Stein was ac­com­pa­nied by a cam­era crew that doc­u­mented his In­dian odyssey. The re­sult, Rick Stein’s In­dia, is a six-part se­ries that treats all the senses, not only the taste­buds. Stein speaks about his ex­pe­ri­ences. Rick, you spent time in In­dia be­fore mak­ing this se­ries but this was your first time vis­it­ing in a pro­fes­sional ca­pac­ity, right?

I’d been go­ing there with my fam­ily for about 20 years but I’d never filmed there be­fore. Great Bri­tain is ad­dicted to cur­ries – just about any­body I know, even from when they were lit­tle, al­ways liked go­ing for a curry, so when I thought about do­ing a pro­gram in In­dia I thought it would be well re­ceived. There’s a gen­eral feel­ing that we don’t have the cur­ries like they have in In­dia, and I think that’s the case in Aus­tralia too. A lot of the In­dian restau­rants in Bri­tain and Aus­tralia are staffed by Bangladeshis rather than In­di­ans, so we haven’t had true In­dian cur­ries. Ex­plor­ing a na­tion’s cui­sine is a big ask, I imag­ine – there must be a lot of diver­sity from re­gion to re­gion.

The task was so enor­mous I was only go­ing to scratch the sur­face. But I was able to es­tab­lish cer­tain par­tic­u­lar­i­ties about cur­ries in cer­tain parts of In­dia, and I was able to go af­ter the ones the Bri­tish are most fa­mil­iar with and find re­ally good ver­sions of them. The other thing I was able to do was dis­cuss with var­i­ous In­di­ans what is meant by curry – while we tend to use it to de­scribe all kinds of In­dian dishes, it’s not a word that re­ally ex­ists in In­dia. Are there ba­sic fun­da­men­tals to mak­ing a proper curry? It is a dish that can in­cor­po­rate all man­ner of dif­fer­ent in­gre­di­ents.

I did dis­cover that. One of the pur­poses of the pro­gram was to de­mys­tify curry in a way be­cause a lot of peo­ple tend to feel over­whelmed by the num­ber of in­gre­di­ents, so I had to point out that mak­ing a curry is very straight­for­ward and fol­lows cer­tain prin­ci­ples.


Rick Stein’s In­dia: Mon­day, 8.30pm, ABC1.

Rick Stein

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