HomeFoodMaster Chefs Redefine Indian Cuisine With Himalayan Influences

Master Chefs Redefine Indian Cuisine With Himalayan Influences

Master Chefs Redefine Indian Cuisine With Himalayan Influences

Master Chefs Redefine Indian Cuisine With Himalayan Influences

NEW DELHI, (IANS) – Manish Mehrotra is acknowledged for pioneering progressive strides in Indian cuisine. Prateek Sadhu is the new star on the block, having garnered numerous accolades during his stint in Mumbai. He then decided to relocate to a Himalayan village named Darwa, a 40-minute drive from Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh, to open his passion restaurant, Naar, in the middle of nowhere.

The two maestros have curated a 12-course tasting menu. One dish, ‘Sundarkala’, features noodles made with ‘mandua atta’ (finger millet flour) from a village in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand, presented like a bundle of fine threads in a ‘sinki’ broth with Ladakhi sausages. The ‘sinki’ broth is a Nepali soup made with preserved and fermented tap root sections of radishes.

Sadhu’s ‘Dirty Toast’ is an open sandwich topped with minimally cooked Himachali trout. The whole wheat bread is a ‘khambir’, which Ladakhis typically have every morning with their favorite butter tea. Sadhu’s inventive touch elevates it to new heights.

Another dish features a slice of ‘tadgola’, the fleshy and juicy fruit of the sugar palm tree, sitting in a pool of raw mango ‘panna’ with ‘panna pakodis’ and little watermelon roundels, creating a seamless combination. The ‘askalu’, a festive dish from Kullu, is made with fermented rice flour slurry in a stone utensil with compartments named ‘askali’. Sadhu describes ‘askalu’, with its crispy exterior and soft insides, as Himachali donuts.

Mehrotra’s favorite ‘Calcutta biryani aloo’ and the ‘beetroot dahi vada’ also feature on the menu. A standout dish is the ghee lamb, where meat from lamb shanks is paired with sunchokes (mistakenly called Jerusalem artichokes), served with ‘dal kachori’.

The dessert platter offers an explosive avant-garde interpretation of the Kashmiri delicacy, ‘shufta’, consisting of dry fruits and lightly fried paneer squares mixed seamlessly with ghee, sugar, and spice powders. It is accompanied by a delectable pineapple and ragi cake.

Proof of the chefs’ mastery is evident in every bite. Even their little surprises, such as Mickey Mouse-shaped roasted mini papads and the byadgi chili sauce with a hint of natural sweetness, accompanying the lemon crab and dried shrimps, left us in awe.

It’s no wonder an entire generation of young chefs looks up to Mehrotra for inspiration. Even before Sadhu opened his restaurant “up in the hills”, he had 380 reservation requests. Today, Sadhu has patrons flying in from Chennai and Bengaluru to experience his five-hour meals. The residents of the village, sensing an opportunity, are already constructing additional floors on their houses to accommodate visitors who want to spend some days in this little slice of paradise.

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