Chef Ranveer Brar talks of food and why it should be healthy, sustainable and local.
Chef @ Heart, Chef @ soul, Author, TV show host, MasterChef India Judge, Foodsufi – that is how Chef Ranveer Brar describes himself on his Instagram and Twitter Accounts. Well, after all he is among the most well-known Chefs courtesy his numerous television appearances that have made him a household name.
Belonging to a family of landlords in Lucknow, Ranveer was just 25 when he became the Executive Chef of a five star hotel in India. However the seeds of his interest in food were sown as a child. “My earliest food memories revolve around cooking for Langar every Sunday at the Gurudwara. I started going to the Gurudwara when I was five and every Sunday, I would sit and watch people cook, so it naturally was ingrained and then I began cooking at the Langar at twelve years old and it turned out ok. Later, the city’s (Lucknow) passion towards food attracted me to cooking.” In fact it was vivid memories of his grandmother’s cooking that formed some of his early memories of food and this is what in a way shaped hi decision to become a Chef. “She was an amazing cook and could create ten dishes out of the same ingredients. It’s these memories that have continued to stay with me and inspire me. One of my favourite childhood memories involves my dad, who is very fond of Rasmalai. We did not have a refrigerator at our house for a very long time and hence, we used to just finish them. Personally, I loved the Rasmalai milk which was the best thing ever. I used to wait for my dad to finish all the Rasmalai’s so that I can enjoy the yummy Kesar Pista milk.”
Health FirstBeing an expert in all things food Brar understands that food is all about health and eating well. This is why he likes starting the day on a good, high-energy note and have a wholesome breakfast. “I prefer having a bowl of the new Kellogg’s cornflakes that I have co-created as I have a soft spot for flavored milk and the Rose Badaam, Thandai Badaam and Kesar Pista Badaam are the perfect combinations to try.” He also believes in the fact that the inherent nature of food is to nourish. “Every food item is naturally given its own distinctive taste. So, if nature has already made food healthy and tasty at the same time, our job is to simply enjoy and play with everything in moderation and the job is automatically done.” Again he understands that sustainability is a need in everything, not just food. “It is very important to understand that everything that we do has a carbon footprint and has a much deeper impact than we realize. I do not think sustainability is an option anymore, it is a need.” Looking ahead he says his sole objective in life is to promote ‘Hindustaniyat’ and all things Indian. “I want to draw attention to the fact that we have a very rich culture, going back to your regional, authentic, local flavours and making them the hero. It is part of my larger scheme in life and is a major step and I’ll keep promoting my cause and the cause is Indian food. Also, I want to venture into restaurants that are very detail oriented. I am concentrating on attention to detail and well-researched concepts and continue my research in Indian food.”
Here are a couple of healthy recipes from Chef Ranveer Brar
Barnyard Millet Fried Rice
- 1 cup Barnyard Millet
- 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp ginger, chopped
- 1 tsp garlic, chopped
- 1-2 fresh red chillies, chopped
- ½ cup spring onion bulb, chopped
- ¼ cup carrot, chopped
- ¼ cup french beans, chopped
- ¼ cup red bell pepper, chopped
- ¼ cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp vinegar
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- Spring onion, chopped
- Dry roast the barnyard millet in a pan for a few minutes.
- Add water and salt and mix well. Cover and cook till the millet soaks all the water. Set aside till in use.
- Heat oil in another pan, add ginger, garlic and red chillies, sauté till fragrant.
- Add onion bulbs and saute till fragrant.
- Add carrots and french beans, cook for 4-5 minutes.
- Add red and yellow bell pepper, mix well and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add soy sauce and vinegar, mix well and cook for a minute.
- Add salt and pepper and mix well.
- Add the cooked barnyard millet, mix well and cook for a minute.
- Garnish with chopped spring onions and serve hot.
Ingredients (For Batter)
- 1 Cup Amaranth Flour
- ¼ Cup Oats
- 1 Medium Banana, peeled
- 2 tbsp Honey
- ¼ Cup Melted Butter, room temperature
- ¼ tsp Salt
- 2 tbsp Dark Chocolate chips
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Vanilla Essence
- ¾ Cup Milk
- 1 Banana, peeled & sliced
- Few Strawberries
- 3 tbsp Honey
- Few fresh mint leaves
- In a blender jar combine amaranth flour, oats, banana, honey, melted butter, salt, baking powder, vanilla essence and blend till you get smooth homogenous batter.
- Heat waffle maker according to the instruction label. When it is hot, brush butter all over the waffle iron.
- Pour 1/3 cup of batter and close the waffle maker lid.
- Cook for 4-5 mins. Open the lid and brush some butter on the waffles.
- Open the lid carefully and remove the waffles.
- Repeat till all the batter is used up.
- Serve with banana slices and honey drizzled on top.
This story first appeared in The Tribune dated 23rd March 2019 here: