BENGALURU: I think I’m going to give a shout out to an ingredient that certainly isn’t at all that unusual. In fact it crops up in many things but not in it’s beautiful slender intensity. The Vanilla pod!
I grew up in a small working class town just outside of Manchester England so luxury and the most beautiful ingredients weren’t something that I’d know until I started my culinary journey at 16, and in all honesty it really was that whole sweet dessert and pudding thing that made me want to be a cook in the first place.
The first time I realised that vanilla wasn’t just something you poured out of a bottle and was actually more plant than chemical was when I first started working in London at 20. It was a revelation in its sweet sticky wonderfulness that connot be compared to anything that comes out of a bottle. From fresh custards to crème Brulee’s, something to lift the flavour of any fruit with a squeeze of lemon cooked in a compote or just some of those heady pearls scraped into a cake mixture before baking.
They are a revolution to any Pastry chef! And although not something you’d consider so much with savoury dishes but I think fresh vanilla and sresh seafood such as sea scallop’s or lobster can also make for one of those beautiful food marriages.
They are a little expensive I know but you can get great quality Vanilla pods grown in south India for around Rs 3,500 per kilo but if you dry the pod after scraping and using the seeds, and blitz them in a spice grinder and use the powder as you would the seeds. You’ll get three times your money’s worth”.
“We use fresh vanilla in many items including the butter cream and vanilla delice tn Mustard and Cress. Vanilla Pannacotta has an interesting vanilla scented coconut chutney served with half a dozen prawn skewers that would go great with a nice vanilla vodka based cocktail”
Shaun Kenworthy, Director, F&B, the Biere Club