He is one of the youngest Indian chefs to have been invited to the sets of MasterChef Australia. He is the face of many Indian cooking shows and he is a sensation on the internet. Saransh Goila is a popular Indian chef who dons many hats. We caught up with the celebrity chef at the Phoenix Market City, Mumbai, for a quick chat before Diwali and learned a few tips and tricks to spruce up our festive snacks. Phoenix Market City, one of the largest destination malls in India, is hosting a spectrum of workshops and events to celebrate the festival of Diwali. Recently, Chef Saransh Goila hosted a 'Diwali Decor Masterclass' at the mall for cooking enthusiasts. Festive cooking interspersed with expert tips, the masterclass kept food lovers engaged.
Excerpts from the interview:
1. What did you cook for the masterclass at Phoenix Market City, Mumbai, and why did you choose the dishes?
I made cream cheese kebabs with warqi parathas. I chose these dishes since people usually fall back on classics and they want to reinvent what they have already been doing. Food is a big part of celebrations in India. Therefore, I thought of taking two traditional dishes like kebabs and parathas and giving them a twist. I chose to make kebabs with a hint of cream cheese and warqi paratha which is a classic. I combined them together to make it a quick and innovative snack, which people can grab during a Diwali party. These snacks have got saffron and dry fruits that are intrinsic to the festival.
(Also Read: Is Saransh Goila Of #GoilaButterChicken Fame The Next Sanjeev Kapoor?)
Cream cheese kebabs with warqi parathas
2. Your fondest foodie Diwali memory?
I have many Diwali memories when it comes to food. The most special one is with my grandmother. She taught me how to make this Sindhi dish called Satpura, which is a 7 layered paratha that is often served to guests who come over to your home for Diwali. I learnt the recipe from her first-hand and this would always be a very special memory because I was only 17 years old then.
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3. Do you enjoy Indian sweets? What is your go-to Diwali sweet?
I only eat Indian sweets. I am someone who swears by them. While it is difficult for me to choose one sweet, I would say that rasmalai and jalebi are two of my favourite Diwali desserts. If I had to cook one, I would cook gajrela, which is a form of gajar ka halwa. I would make a simple shahi malai toast and put gajar ka halwa on it and have it at one go.
4. A festive sweet/snack you think is overrated
Salted cashews; people serve these when you go to their homes and I find it very overrated. It should be banned to serve cashews on Diwali.
5. A food ingredient you are obsessing over right now?
Gongura - Some people also call it ambadi leaves. It is a special kind of green leaf that has a distinct flavour profile; it's tangy, bitter and has a unique flavour to it. It is like a mix of mint and menthol. I love Gongura and it is one of my favourite greens these days that I experiment a lot with.
6. Do you have any kitchen superstition?
I always check my gas stove burners in the night, before I go to sleep. I always fear that I might have forgotten to switch off the burner.
(Also Read: Diwali 2019: 5 Sensational Fusion Dessert Recipes To Celebrate The Festival)
7. Tips to up the 'wow' factor of regular festive snacks?
Keep them bite-sized. Get creative with chutneys and sauces. These accompaniments can totally change the taste of your main dish. Although, fusion snacks are in nowadays, but it's better to be careful about the extent to which you want to push it. I would say that you look at your cooking style and see how you can combine things. For instance, if you have a handful of chole, would you rather make pindi chole or would you use them to make hummus? If you ask me, you must innovate, but with a recipe you think you understand very well.
8. Suggest two super quick festive snack ideas one can serve to guests.
::CREAM CHEESE KEBAB WITH WARQI PARATHA::
1. 2.5 cups hung yogurt
2. ½ cup cream cheese
3. ¼ cup chopped cranberries
4. 100 gm paneer (crumbled)
5. 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
6. 10 to 12 saffron strands (soaked in 1 tbsp warm milk)
7. 2 green chillies (chopped)
8. 1 tsp red chilli powder
9. 1 tsp garam masala
10. 1 tbsp fresh mint leaves (finely chopped)
11. 1.5 tbsp maida
12. 1.5 tbsp corn flour
13. 1/4 cup finely powdered dry fruits (cashews, almonds, pistachios)
14. Ghee to shallow fry
15. Salt to taste
16. Paratha dough - ½ kg
17. Green chutney - 100 g
19. Milk - 1/4th cup
For the Kababs
• Take hung yogurt, paneer & cream cheese in a bowl. Whisk them together; make sure there are no lumps.
• Add ginger garlic paste, chopped cranberries, green chillies, red chilli powder, freshly ground garam masala, salt, dry fruits, chopped mint, saffron, cornflour and maida. Mix well.
• Keep it aside for 30 minutes in the fridge.
• Make small patties or quenelles with the above mixture.
• Shallow fry these kebabs in ghee. Handle them carefully as they're soft.
For The Paratha
• Take the paratha dough and flatten the entire dough thinly into a rectangular slab.
• Slather it with butter and do triple book fold. Flatten it again. Repeat this process again.
• Finally flatten it and cut out mini parathas by cutting through a ring mould or a cup and brush these with saffron milk.
• Cook them until crispy and flaky on a tawa, in ghee.
• Now place kebabs and chutney on top of mini warqi parathas and garnish with micro greens.
::RAJGIRA HALWA WITH NUT SOIL::
1. 1 cup Rajgira flour (Amaranth Flour)
2. Half cup ghee
3. Half cup jaggery
4. 1 cup water
5. 1.5 cups milk
6. Cardamom powder - a pinch
7. Saffron - few strands
8. Shakkarpara - 8 - 10 pcs
9. Almonds - 10 - 12
10. Pista 10 - 12
11. Cashew 10 - 12
12. Dried Rose petals - 2 tsp
• Heat a pan, and add ghee
• Now add Rajgira flour into ghee and mix well. On a low flame, roast the flour by continuously stirring it and cook it till it is light brown.
• In a medium-sized vessel, heat water and milk on a medium flame. Add saffron to it.
• Roast the Rajgira flour for about 5-7 minutes. Once the colour of flour changes and lets off its fragrance, the flour is well roasted.
• Now add the warm milk-water to the flour, and stir well to avoid formation of any lumps.
• Add jaggery and cardamom to the mixture and mix well.
• Once the jaggery melts, lower down the flame, place a lid on the pan and cook for about 5-7 minutes.
• After 7-8 minutes, take off the lid. You will see that the ghee has started to separate from the halwa. That means it is ready.
• Make a nut soil by blending roasted cashews, pista and almonds together.
• On a base of nut soil, add quenelles or cubes of halwa and then top them with shakkarpara.