No matter which land you reside in, an array of native dishes is all that would take to transport you to your homeland. A thought best understood by British-based Indian chef Alfred Prasad, who after spending more than a decade in the foreign soil, has taken the long road home in search of the aromatic flavours of desi cuisines perfected by centuries of cooking.
The youngest Indian to win Michelin star – a rating for best European restaurants and chef, Alfred Prasad won the hearts of the English as the chef of the Tamarind Hotel in London's Mayfair.
But when Alfred decided to go solo and open up his own in space in the United Kingdom – he did not forget the myriad choices offered by the cuisines back home in India.
And it was the legendary recipes of late Mrs K.M. Mathew, former chief editor of Vanitha magazine, that brought Alfred to Kottayam in Kerala.
“Authenticity is what matters,” Alfred reiterated as he joined two seasoned chefs in the kitchen. In between stirring the prawn moilee and keeping a tab on the cashew curry, Alfred found time to talk about his favourite buzzword – food!
About his trip to India...
I am on the lookout for authentic dishes prepared in authentic style. I am genuinely interested in learning first-hand from the veterans of the kitchen. For, if we don't document such indigenous dishes and the cooking methods, we may lose them forever. Therefore, I have taken a year out from my career to focus on learning more about our own cuisines.
And why Kerala?
As far as I am concerned, Kerala offers one of the three best cuisines from India. And even in Kerala, the different regions of the state offer very different tastes. The malabar cuisine is worlds apart from what is available in the south of the state, I believe.
So what are the other two cuisines from India that you would rate as best?
I will also vote for cuisines from Goa and Andhra, more specifically the coastal side one.
Punjabi food is probably the most popular food out in the western world. I want to tell them, there is more to India than the dal makhani and aloo parathas. Therefore, I want to take the indigenous tastes offered by Goa, Kerala and the coastal Andhra to the UK.