HYDERABAD: Bell peppers, purple cabbages, celery and broccoli we are used to seeing these vegetables on supermarket shelves today. However, they were not part of our regular meals even a decade back. The emergence of social media, the cultivation of these vegetables locally and a growing consciousness about health have changed our diet and added colour to our plates.
Now, food is not just there to mitigate your hunger, but a mode of creating art too. Speaking to Express, Chef David Edward Raj, director of Culinary Innovation at Elior India, says that Holi is the perfect occasion to create a rainbow platter.
“We have long known that colourful vegetables come with multiple health benefits. In the recent years, social media has shifted our focus to the visual appeal of food. In order to keep followers interested, content creators bring in new elements, and adding colourful vegetables is one of them,” says the chef. Carrots, beetroots and micro-greens can be added to your platter for more health benefits.
“We Indians had been relying on chemical food colour for a long time. With the easy availability of exotic vegetables and rising awareness about the side-effects of chemicals, consumers are using natural means of making food more visually appealing. E-commerce has also made it possible for us to buy items which were out of reach earlier.
People are adding turmeric from Meghalaya and garlic from the Himalayas to their menu,” says David. Despite Indians knowing the medicinal benefits of many flowers and plants, it is only now that the urban dwellers are looking at food as medicine. Concoctions like hibiscus tea and butterfly pea flower tea are doing rounds on social media not only for their purported health benefits, but also for their brilliant hues. Another trend that is going to take social media by storm, the chef predicts, is Blue Rice.
“Blue rice is nothing but rice mixed with butterfly pea flower extract. It’s a flower found commonly in our gardens and is used in the worship of Lord Shiva. Its use in Indian cuisine is relatively new though. This dish is popular in Thailand already, and India too is warming up to it as rice is a staple item in our cuisines,” he says.
— Kakoli Mukherjee email@example.com @KakoliMukherje2