The TasTe Of avadh

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - Brunch - - INDULGE -

MOST OF us know Ran­veer Brar from TV; from the shows he did on Khaana Khaz­ana (now Liv­ing Foodz) and most sig­nif­i­cantly, from the one sea­son of Masterchef In­dia which he judged. Be­cause he is good-look­ing and per­son­able, I sus­pect that many peo­ple re­gard him as a mere TV chef, the sort of Pun­jabi hunk who looks good on TV but doesn’t re­ally bother too much with cook­ing. It doesn’t help that he has never had a sig­na­ture restau­rant of his own in In­dia where we can go to and try his food.

I know Ran­veer only slightly. We have met briefly at events and we were both at Noma Aus­tralia in Syd­ney ear­lier this year on the same night. But I was al­ways in­trigued by the re­spect that other chefs hhadd ffor him.hi MMostt workki to chat about food. When we sat and talked, I was struck by how dif­fer­ent he is in real life from his TV per­sona. Of­f­cam­era, he is shy, a lit­tle in­tro­verted and so cere­bral that he may well over-think ev­ery­thing. The “Brar” in his name marks his an­ces­try – Pun­jabi landown­ers – but is also lit­tle mis­lead­ing. He was brought up in Lucknow and his back­ground and train­ing are in Avadhi food. At a young age, he ran away from home, he says, and ap­pren­ticed him­self to Us­tad Mu­nir Ahmed, one of Lucknow’s old­est kabab ven­dors. (He had a small shack be­hind Odeon cin­ema.)

While Ran­veer would go on to join the IHM, Lucknow and was one of the few chefs se­lected in 1999 to join the Taj Man­age­ment Train­ing Pro­gramme through a cam­pus place­ment,lt I reck­onk ththatt his real train­ing came dur­ing that stint with the Us­tad.U

Ran­veer has a new book out ( Come Into My Kitchen – HarperCCollins) which is mar­keted in the usual way withh a cover photo of him gaz­ing wist­fully into the dis­tance.d

I reckon the ph­hoto will help sell the book. But it may do a dis­ser­vice to the se­ri­ous­ness of the con­tents. There is an au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal in­tro­duc­tion and an ex­plan­na­tion of how tastes, tex­tures and flavours are coom­bined, fol­lowed by a string of recipes, somme of which are imag­i­na­tive (Water­meloon dosas; hon­estly!) while oth­ers in­clu­ude his own in­ter­pre­ta­tions of clas­s­icc dishes.

It was while talk­ing about the class­sics that we dis­cussed the se­crets of Avadhi cui­sine. As you prob­a­bly know, the great chefs of Avaadh never part with their se­creet recipes. (Al­most ev­ery sin­gle reccipe you have read for a tra­di­tioonal kabab, ko­rma or a biryani is a lie; the chef has left out a key

A TIIME TO REIMAG­INE Ranv eer Brar wants to see if some of the smmoke and san­dal­wood fl avours of a

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