Book Review: Beyond Chutney

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With “On the trail of the pickle: 100 recipes from around the world”, Monish Gujaral’s intention is to reintroduce the pickle into households through a selection of 100 recipes from around the world.

On the trail of pickles: 100 recipes from around the world
Monish Gujral
penguin india

Jams, chutneys and moist curry pastes. These are the preserved condiments that we all know about in India. Everybody’s house has their big glass jar, whether tangy or sweet, which has unfortunately shrunk down to the size of a bottle, although the days of rooftop pickling are over with the big- mothers who were drying strips of mango or spreading peppers to crisp them in the sun. However, those who have visited the legendary Moti Mahal rooftop in Delhi might not know that the restaurant was responsible for the piyaz pickle or Sirka Piyaz. This makes Monish Gujral’s book even more extraordinary as he is the president of the Moti Mahal restaurant chain and has extended the food possibilities of the iconic brand to the Moti Mahal Delux Tandoori Trail. Not to mention the fact that he has already written many cookbooks and has the experience of his years in the hotel industry behind him.

Monish’s intention is to reintroduce pickle households through a clutch of 100 recipes from around the world. Despite the concentration of ingredients and, at times, oil that goes into some of India’s richest chutneys, he points out that it’s one of the healthiest ways to preserve food and a source of preservation. food for generations. One could count the Chinese 100-year-old egg as an innovative attempt – although no, it doesn’t include that, but sticks to the ubiquitous pickled eggs of the UK. The artisan skills of pickling and fermenting form the heart of this book, which aims to revive the art of pickle-making at home by tempting adventurous home cooks with recipes they may have heard of but that they didn’t have on hand.

For beginners, the recipes not only offer several health benefits, but are also quick and easy to prepare. They combine simple pickling and fermentation methods that make them very accessible to people who want to try their hand at the process but would like to go beyond the usual tried and tested desi recipes. Before the recipes begin, there is a list of the different types of spice blends that go into pickling, including Panch Phoran or the five-spice blend that people now buy ready-mixed in grocery stores, as well as instructions on how to sterilize lids and jars for a long time. shelf life in refrigerators.

Gujral combines his recipes with short presentations to people who introduced him to the ingredients or with feedback on the process. From candied lemons from South Africa to Israeli Torshi Left (white turnip pickle), Gari (Japanese ginger pickle) to Cebollas Encurtidas (pickled onions from Ecuador), the book spans continents in its sweep. Not all chutneys are vegetarian – there’s an Alaskan salmon pickle, an Estonian fish pickle, and a Maldivian tuna pickle, not to mention the iconic Kerala prawn pickle. For the most part, the ingredients are readily available – onions, turnips, cucumbers, the medley of garden vegetables that families picked, fermented and stored at their convenience.
Gujral’s book seems poised to reignite a trend as the author intends.

(Anjana Basu is a writer from Kolkata and has written five novels, a book of fictional short stories and two anthologies of poetry. She is a recipient of the prestigious Hawthornden Fellowship, Scotland. Opinions expressed are personal)

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