BANGALORE: Food travels more than any living entity in the world, absorbs flavours, influences to become a revelation in a new context. Prateek and Prakul Agrawal wanted to bring to Bangalore the culinary culture of the busy streets of New York, the flavours emanating from cherry blossom-strewn foothills of Mt Fuji, the spices from the floating markets of Bangkok, the homely goodness from the mustard fields of Punjab and more. Hence, they began to finalise a menu by drawing inspiration from across the world, calibrated it to the Indian palate and served them with parathas (as a wrap), with rice (in a bowl) and with bread (as a burger).
Prakul shares with City Express how this love for food originated.
Earliest food memory that lingers still...
Eating yummy chicken kababs, which my friend hid from the entire class, during recess at school. If he had not hidden it, somebody would inevitably have gobbled it up before the break even began! His mother’s cooking was exceptional.
Earliest cooking memory
Making grilled sandwiches with all sorts of combinations for my family when I was in class five or six.
What sparked the passion for food?
My family has always been a little food-crazy. Just watching the joy in their eyes as they devoured rolls, pastas, burgers or just about any thing instilled in me this need and desire to go out there and keep trying new sorts of food.
Favourite cuisine and why
Thai cuisine because of its excellent blend of spices, textures and fresh, herb infused flavours.
Favourite meal ever cooked and eaten
An Italian dish on a cruise in Singapore cooked by a chef from a Michelin star restaurant. It was a rare combination of a succulent steak with perfectly seasoned calamari. I just couldn’t decide if it should go with red wine or white!
Favourite dish to cook
Chicken tikka masala, which the British call the curry of their country. Because of the delectable blend of spices.
Food heroes and inspirations
The British chef Jamie Oliver. Not only does he excel at cooking and running restaurants but also campaigns for better food education and takes action against the injustice by large corporations masked by the name ‘fast food’.
Wisdom for budding chefs
Keep questioning recipes and innovating! The day you start following a recipe blindly is the day you stop growing as a chef. A recipe that you’ve fiddled with till it’s perfect on your palate is the only one you can truly admit to have mastered.
Recipe for the Teriyaki sauce
The teriyaki sauce is a very basic and rustic sauce which comes from ancient Japan. It’s a sweet and tangy sauce and gets its characteristic taste from three main ingredients -- Dashi, soy sauce and Saki. Dashi is a stock made of river kelp (Kombu), bonito flakes (Katsuobushi), shitake mushroom and the umami inducing dried anchovies (Iriko). Saki is a Japanese rice wine. Ginger, apples, onions, carrots, honey and toasted sesame are added to give the sauce a more structured and deeper flavour. The recipe for the sauce varies greatly and every family secretly guards its own recipe in Japan. This one is from a lady in Tokyo.
Take 1 litre Dashi stock and to it add 250 ml soy sauce and 50 ml Saki. Set this mixture on a slow flame while you add the following ingredients.
-15 gm finely chopped ginger and garlic, 100 gm sugar and 100 gm honey.
-To this add 100 gms of simply sliced onion, carrots and leeks.
-Reduce the sauce to a 60 per cent concentration (takes about four hours)
-Finally, sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds on top and you have your teriyaki sauce ready!