Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Masterclass In Session: Sapna Anand's New Indian Kitchen

What struck me most about this publication were the photos in the first laid-out drafts. A cookbook is supposed to be a visual buffet, and like real ones, it has to be really good.

Indian cuisine, that heady melange of flavours and colours, owes part of its unique character to the people who dropped by the lush, exotic subcontinent over the centuries, including the Portuguese, the British and the Moghuls.

Born and raised in Goa, cooking instructor Sapna Anand ended up going places, much like the traders and colonists that left their mark on her homeland. Her travels and experiences changed the way she saw and cooked the food she grew up with and encountered on her journeys.

She eventually came to Malaysia, where she currently teaches Indian cooking and French pastry at Hellen Fong's At 19 Culinary Studio. She also maintains the My Test Kitchen Facebook page and blog, and caters for niche dinners with her own kind of modern Indian cuisine.

Not bad for someone who says she wasn't much of a cook when she was younger. "In fact, when I got married, I still wasn't much of a cook," she says. "But I had always liked cooking for fun. As a kid, I tried making roti (Indian wheat bread) and French fries. I guess my penchant for food from the East and the West was there from young."

Now, she's sharing that penchant for food through a cookbook.

Sapna's New Indian Kitchen, part of the MPH Masterclass Kitchen series, features a variety of dishes that are primarily from the Indian regions of Kerala, Goa, and northern India. Each recipe is a milestone in her life's journey, vividly coloured and flavoured by the dishes, sweets and snacks made by family, friends, and neighbours.

The recipes are divided into four categories: Brunch & Bites, Meals Best Shared with Family & Friends, Quick & Easy Meals, and Something Sweet, to help you decide what to cook and serve for which occasion. " I have used my education in French pastry and familiarity with Western cooking to add an interesting twist to the traditional recipes."

Alongside such traditional and familiar fare as chicken biryani, raita and kebabs are edamame upma, achari chicken tart and keema lasagna, among others – examples of how she uses the cooking techniques she picked up to breathe new life into the time-tested flavours of her homeland.

There's also a section that describes the basic ingredients used in the recipes and how to prepare some of them (like garam masala and paneer). A section on spices, which she presents with the help of the Spice Board of the Government of Kerala, India, has loads of information.

Above all else, this cookbook is more of a personal project for Sapna, who, with Santa Barbara-based photographer Chris Owen, did much of the photography and food styling.

"People like to say, 'If you do not try, you'll never know.' How true it is, especially
with cooking," she says, "Here, in this book, are the fruits of my experimentations – recipes for you, made and created with love, from my kitchen to yours."

New Indian Kitchen
Sapna Anand
MPH Group Publishing
200 pages
ISBN: 978-967-415-203-1

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1 comment:

  1. Sapna's cooking is a designer boutique style cooking. I have tried her savouries and cakes and they are just awesome. I remember she even decorated my birthday cake to match with my home interiors ..She also went all out to make an eggless Ice cream cake for my daughter which was her first attempt. ..Great going Sapna. . Very happy to see u there and wish u all the success. ..:-)


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