Chef Vikas Khanna's travels lead to Fish Cake, Mysore Pak Soup

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Oct 13 2014, 17:59pm hrs
Vikas KhannaThe quest for the perfect dessert led Michelin-starred chef Vikas Khanna to travel across the country to plate up innovative Indian desserts. (AP)
The quest for the perfect dessert led Michelin-starred chef Vikas Khanna to travel across the country to plate up innovative Indian desserts.

"I had my best experience in Kolkata where I learned how to make sandesh out of a fish. It was the best Sandesh I ever had. And the second best experience for me was how to make the famous Mysore Pak," said Khanna.

The chef was visiting the national capital recently as part of "Twist of Taste - The Sweet Life", that begins on Fox Life today.

In the "the city of joy", the eminent chef said he was awe struck by the heritage of Kolkata, a city where he could lay his hands on Bengali cuisine cookbooks dating back to 1948 handed to him by his fans .

"A woman from Kolkata taught me how to make a sandesh out of fish by boiling it in different flavored water. She kept boiling it taking it out using a little cardamom elaichi in the water. What imagination! The fish is left with no smell. The flesh turned out to be creamy," Khanna told PTI.

The chef has added his own twist to the "Fish Sandesh" by fashioning a fish cake with black rice and butterscotch bundi.

"So we are just making fish biriyani instead of salt we are using sugar. I just loved Sandesh and fish. So, I had to do such a difficult twist on it," Khanna said.

Other dishes which the chef made at Kolkata included a Tiramisu prepared with candied ginger, a cake fashioned out of sugarcane juice, as well as coconut and rice flour with a sauce made out of candied papayas.

"The second best experience for me was Mysore Pak" Khanna said.

"When I went to learn the real Mysore Pak I was shocked to learn why we chefs can't make it. Nobody has ever taught us the sense of temperatures and what goes in what temperatures and when to take it off heat when to settle it, how much to cook it- it's total game of genius," Khanna said.

Shedding a light on the fact that India is changing and so are its chefs and the way they are experimenting with Indian cuisines and presenting them to the international audience, Khanna pointed out that in the west chefs were changing everything about their cuisine and Indian chefs should also be given the freedom to experiment.

"Am I changing cuisine, No I am not doing that. With such innovative dishes I am trying to break the rules and make food more interesting. For how many times would you make Paneer Makhni on TV for an international audience we have been there and done that," Khanna said.

For his latest TV show, Khanna focuses on major sweet destinations of the country like Jaipur, Amritsar, New Delhi, Kolkata and Mysore.

"This show is the representation of great culture and I also like the format because you can take a simple thing and present it in a new way and that is the show all about. It's like with the same ingredients I will be able to transform a dish into something new," Khanna said.

With a huge fan following of children Chef Khanna is also soon to release his new book for four year old kids published by Puffin Books, a division of Penguin Books India.

"It's called- The Magic Rolling Pin which is going to be released on November 14, which is Children's Day and also happens to be my birthday," Khanna said.

The story is about a boy named "Jugnu" who has super power like a super hero. He has the power of making perfectly round bread. People around him believe that the magic lies in the rolling pin. But, one day someone steals the pin. The boy looses hope but ultimately realizes that the power lies with him.

"Jugnu"- who lost something but did not lose hope. You have to believe in the magic of the heart and this is my story and is a true story," Khanna said.