India On My Platter

Synopsis – Backpacking through the country, young chef Saransh Goila sets off on a culinary trail through India, where in he discovers the various nuances of local cuisine. From rural villages to barren deserts to freezing mountains, he unfolds the flavor of his destination by meeting local villagers or erstwhile royalty, picking up a tip or two to use in his kitchen. Wherever he goes, he makes sure to visit the famous eateries of that place.

Through him, the reader can vividly smell the spices and taste the dishes that are described. The recipes given also present ways on using locally found ingredients. From having steaming Murthal ke paranthes to savoring tasty street food in home town Delhi, from cooking on a boat in Varanasi to cooking dishes using a bamboo hollow in Assam, Goila does it all and presents his adventures in a lucid, flowing narrative peppered with humorous anecdotes.

Review – The cover of the book has a fresh, positive and happy feel. The color scheme is subtle and the smiling portrait of Saransh made me like the book instantly. The title printed in the tricolor imbibes the feeling of patriotism in this travelogue. I quite loved the quiet hinting of the fact that the book is a travelogue by capturing Saransh Goila the renowned chef climbing a truck. It captured the essence of road trips and the fact that it revolves around food ever so beautifully.

The title simply adds to the flavor of the book while highlighting its true essence. I am in a committed relationship with food. That statement would have told you how much I love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen. I am forever on the lookout for new recipes, hence watching food channels is always on my list. Chef Saransh Goila has always impressed me with his energy and enthusiasm to make food interesting while keeping it close to the preferences of the modern era and ensuring it is healthy. The day I learn about this book by chef Saransh, I was determined, I had to pick it up.

I must add, I am glad I read this book because it is fresh, fantastic, has plenty of food stories and celebrates the record making road travel by chef Saransh in an engrossing read.

“…even as a chef, or a cook, your conscience while cooking has to be clear. It may be a profession, but it is a noble act to feed people, so love, respect and selflessness have to be there whenever you cook.”

The simplicity of the narration, seasoned well with sharing of the emotional highs and lows and the background stories of the places visited make it a joyful read. It is not just a recipe book but an experience on its own. There are about 50 recipes from 25 states that have been written keeping in mind to share the terms in Hindi along with the English names, in an easy to follow format.

The language is rich, narration lucid and travelogue captures the beautiful landscapes, the deserted roads, the changing colours of the skies, food memories built while sitting on road or local eateries, on highway and many unique places too. The beauty of this journey lies in visiting lesser known places even while visiting cities that are principle places of tourist interest.

” Kullu made me realise the importance of instinct and a constant thirst for knowledge for a chef.”

The book revolves around a famous TV show ‘Roti, Rasta aur India‘ where chef Saransh & his crew was on the mission to travel by road 20,000 km within India, covering 25 states in 100 days, non-stop. Though I haven’t seen the show but like all books, this book surely captures the essence of the show in a picturesque way. Not only in words by Saransh, but also in the fantastic collection of photographs shared in the book, all the key incidents and recipes in the book seem to have come alive.

I wish to congratulate Saransh Goila on stirring up delectable food stories while exploring the length and breadth of our fascinating country. Besides the collection of recipes, the book is also an aromatic treasure of very handy tips of cooking tasty variants of the food. I particularly loved the idea of cooking rice in water infused with green tea. That’ll make the simple steamed rice go notches up on being aromatic & feeling fresh on the palate. The Chocolate Pakora recipe has left me in awe with the sheer brilliance of adding a popular ingredient to a dish we Indians adore. Many such wonderful food tales along with glimpses of our incredible India have made this book rank high on my highly recommended reads.

If you are a foodie who enjoys exploring the culture and learning about the traditions that go into churning our authentic Indian recipes, this book is a must read for you. This book will also make for an engrossing read for people who enjoy reading travelogues with an insight into local culture and eateries.

About the Author – Saransh Goila, is an Indian chef, TV show host, author, food consultant and columnist. He set a record in the Limca Book of Records, 2014, for ‘the longest road journey by a chef’, when he hosted India’s biggest food travelogue show, Roti, Rasta aur India on FoodFood Channel.

He is also popular for his online food and travel show, The Spice Traveller, and Health Challenge, where he makes favorite India dishes healthier.

Rating – 4.25/ 5

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