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SaleBhai Indian Chef Chronicles: 8 Expert Proponents Of Gujarati Cuisine

by Team SaleBhai - 26-Oct-2017 - Expert Roundup
Gujarati thali

 Gujarati food. Its mere mention brings forth a common stereotype -- by classifying the dishes as being sweet. Well, that’s a myth. Keeping aside their lentil-based delicacies -- which do have a tinge of sweetness -- food from Gujarat is all about balancing delicate flavours. Today, we shall take you through a journey across the world -- where we will introduce you to eight expert chefs of Gujarati origin. With grit, creativity, and passion -- they have successfully made a mark in the global culinary scene. So here we go!

 

1.  Chef Pranav Joshi

 

Chef Pranav Joshi

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A household name in Gujarat, Chef Pranav Joshi brings an international twist to simple vegetarian local recipes -- lending them a unique touch. The young, dynamic chef realised his passion for cooking while training in hospitality management in Australia. He first came into the limelight after his popular cooking show -- Rasoi on ETV Gujarati. Post that, he started another show named Budget Kitchen on the Food Food channel, followed by another program called Khane Bhi Do Yaaron. He has also opened a popular cooking academy in Ahmedabad, which caters to a wide range of food lovers.

 

Sweets Snacks

 

Let us watch a video of this handsome, energetic foodie preparing the exotic Mexican rice recipe with the use of several herbs -- to give it his personal desi flavour:

 

 

2. Chef Hetal Vasavada

 

Chef Hetal Vasavada

 

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This 28-year-old Indo-American artist and ex-Masterchef US contestant -- whose native home is in Gujarat -- has been surprising the international culinary world in her own innovative way.

 

This is what the young chef has to say about the state’s regional cuisines in an interview with Hungry Forever:

 

“I think Gujarati food is neglected a lot, especially in restaurants in the US. There are south Indian restaurants with dosa, and then there are Punjabi restaurants.”

 

“A lot of people think that Gujarati food is just lots of sugar. But it’s not. It is definitely healthy and very tasty,” Vasavada told IANS from Bloomfield in New Jersey, where she resides.

 

Popularising the humble khichdi on this global forum, the aspiring chef left her promising career in the corporate world to pursue her dream in the cooking realm. Aiming to be a food consultant, she is currently a freelance recipe writer and developer and a food blogger.

 

Here is one of her wonderful recipes -- Brown Sugar and Peach Pull-Apart Bread -- taken from her blog  Milk & Cardamom.

 

Recipe for brown sugar and peach pull-apart bread 

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brown sugar and peach pull recipe

 

brown sugar and peach pull recipe

 

3. Chef Meera Sodha

 

Chef Meera Sodha

 

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Gujarati recipes from Uganda -- yes, merging African heritage with spices from her native land -- this Uganda-born food blogger takes inspiration from her mother’s kitchen to bring back childhood memories in her culinary journey.

 

Capturing traditional methods of cooking -- both from her parents and grandparents -- this is what the beautiful lady has to say about her achievements:

 

“These family recipes and the stories that came with them were the inspiration for my first cookbook, Made in India, which was published by Figtree, Penguin in July 2014. Happily, Made in India became a Top 10 best seller and was named a book of the year by The Times and the Financial Times.”

 

“My second book, Fresh India, is out in July 2016 and is a celebration of India’s love of vegetables.”

 

“Outside of books, I write a regular column for Associated Press and I write (or have written) occasionally for Food 52, Borough Market, The Pool and The Guardian.”

 

Halwasan from Khambhat

 

While going through her website, we found this creative recipe that we thought deserved a mention:

 

Recipe for chickpea pancakes with lime pickle paneer:

 

Recipe for chickpea pancakes with lime pickle paneer

 

Chickpea pancakes with lime pickle paneer

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4. Chef Niven Patel

 

Chef  Niven Patel 

 

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Born in Georgia and raised in Florida, the success of Niven’s recipes lies in the blend of two unique methods -- locally sourced produce and his family’s home-cooking methodologies. He traces his origin to Gujarat and currently owns a two-acre farm -- Rancho Patel -- in Southern Florida. His restaurant -- Ghee Indian Kitchen in Dadeland -- is famed for its  Gujarati-inspired dishes and follows the unique philosophy of farm-to-table cuisines.

 

According to NY Times, “ At his four-month-old restaurant — a roomy modern space where jars of ground Rancho Patel chiles serve as both pantry and folk art — Mr. Patel may marinate the tropical game fish called wahoo in fresh turmeric, serving a still-raw slice alongside bhel puri, a mix of puffed rice with green mango and herby chutney”. 

 

5. Chef Kunal Gautam

 

Chef Kunal Gautam

 

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With an experience of around 10 years in some of the leading hospitality kitchens globally, Chef Kunal Gautam had joined Courtyard Marriott, Ahmedabad, as Sous-Chef de Cuisine. He specialises in North- and South-Indian delicacies, along with Chinese, Mediterranean, and European cuisines.

 

We have collected one of his famous recipes from Evesly. And this is how it goes:

 

Parda Murgh Biryani

 

Ingredients:

 

  • Chicken – 1 kg
  • Basmati rice – 3 cups
  • Saffron – a pinch
  • Milk – 2 tbsp
  • Yogurt – 1 ½ cups
  • Mint leaves – 2 tsp
  • Green coriander – 2 tsp
  • Water or lamb stock – 1 cup
  • Bay leaves – 2
  • Cinnamon sticks – 2
  • Green cardamoms – 10
  • Cloves – 10
  • Salt to taste
  • Onion paste – ½ cup
  • Ginger-garlic paste – ½ cup
  • Garlic paste – 3 tbsp
  • Red chillies – 6
  • Yellow chilli powder – 2 tsp
  • Mace powder – ⅔ tsp
  • Onions – ¼  up, sliced, fried
  • Lemon juice – 1 tsp
  • Butter – 1 cup, unsalted
  • Flour – 3 cups
  • Eggs – 2, beaten

 

Method:

 

  • Wash the rice and soak for 30 minutes. Whisk yogurt in a bowl and divide into two equal portions. Dissolve saffron in milk and cream. Add mint, green coriander, and one portion of yogurt to this.
  • Preheat the oven to 150C/300F. Boil four litres of water in a saucepan and add a bayleaf, a cinnamon stick, two green cardamoms, two cloves, and salt to taste. Add the rice with the whole spices and keep hot.
  • Heat the oil in another saucepan.
  • Add the remaining whole spices and caraway seeds and saute over medium heat.
  • Add the onion paste and saute until golden brown.
  • Add the ginger-garlic pastes, red chillies, and yellow chilli powder and stir for 15 seconds.
  • Stir in the chicken and salt and cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
  • Add a portion of the plain yogurt and approximately 200 ml of water.
  • Stir and bring to a boil.
  • Lower the heat and simmer until the chicken is done.
  • To assemble the biryani, grease a baking dish, spread half the chicken mixture.
  • Sprinkle half the saffron/yoghurt/mint/coriander mixture and top with half the parboiled rice.
  • Repeat the process until the prepared mixtures are used up.
  • Sprinkle mace powder, fried onions, and lemon juice.
  • Mix the butter into the flour.
  • Add one egg and enough milk to make a stiff dough. Roll out the dough and cover the rice and brush with the other beaten egg. Slow-bake in an oven for 10-15 minutes. Serve hot.

 

6. Chef Hina Gautam

 

Chef  Hina Gautam

 

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The founder of “Justcook with Mrs. Hina Gautam” -- a cooking institute in Ahmedabad -- is in fact an ex‐medical student. Hina Gautam stays true to her passion for cooking and has been conducting cookery classes to train unemployed women and  children since the last five years -- in collaboration with the SISI, Government of India. This kind-hearted and humble lady defines a true woman. She also runs an NGO -- Siddharth Circle of Childcare -- with an aim to meet the needs of underprivileged children in our society.  

 

Chewda and chatni from Rajkot

 

7. Chef Kiran Jethwa

 

Chef  Kiran Jethwa

 

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Kiran Jethwa is a Kenya-based celebrity chef who is famed for his fusion of Afro-Mediterranean and Indian recipes. This third-generation Kenyan of Indian descent -- who has a degree in hospitality management from Manchester -- is the current chef and owner of one of Nairobi’s premier restaurant companies -- Seven Restaurants Ltd. He has also been recognized with several culinary accolades.

In an interview with Tales from the Bush Larder, Kiran’s reply to the question -- So, where did you learn about Indian cuisine from? Your grandmother? -- is somewhat like this:

 

Well, my mother is from Yorkshire. I think she’s the only six-foot Yorkshire woman I know who speaks fluent Gujarati. Before she married my father, she went to live with my grandmother for a few months; and my grandmother and one of my aunties taught her to cook and talk in Gujarati. Now, she will outcook anybody that I know. She’s very, very good. You know, in our house, there was always a mixture of everything, sometimes even Continental type stuff; and other times very, very Gujarati food. And every Sunday there was Indian food; and my father only ever ate Gujarati food, so she’d almost always cook two meals, one for him and one for us; and we would sometime crossover. So in terms of learning, it’s as familiar as fish-and-chips, all of that”.

 

8. Chef Shachi

 

Chef Shachi

 

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Our research in Authenticook led us to another culinary genius -- Chef Shachi. This homemaker and excellent cook hails from Gujarat and this is where she discovered her love for desi regional fare. She says, in Gurgaon -- her current place of residence -- restaurants rarely serve authentic Gujarati dishes. With an aim to tempt people with the delicious cuisine of her state, she now regularly hosts guests at her home.

 

This is how a regular Gujarati thali looks like at her residence:

 

Gujarati thali list

 

Yes, we have finally come to an end of another story at SaleBhai Indian Chef Chronicles. Do you know of any other master cook who holds a knack for capturing our palate with his/her exclusive recipes? If yes, do not forget to suggest some add ons!

 

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Did you like this story? Want to share your feedback/appreciation/criticism? Please feel free to leave your opinion in the comment section below.

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