Aditya Bal is one skinny chef you can trust. If not for his own cooking show on a popular TV channel or for his cook book, at least for the man’s love for mangoes. “Anything with mangoes is great,” reiterates Bal, whose first cookbook Chakh Le India was released recently. As he begins to explain his favourite Aamras Ki Curry recipe from the top of his head, Bal adds that all the recipes in the book are based on his show on NDTV Good Times. In the show, Bal extensively explores local flavours of cooking from different regions of the country.
Split into five sections including snacks, fish, meat and desserts and with over 75 recipes, Bal says that his is not one of those complicated cookbooks.
“Anyone who reads it will find it simple,” he says, explaining that he’s broken down each recipe into numerous components. “I haven’t left out anything in terms of steps, even the simplest of ones,” he reassures.
Considering that Indian recipes especially involve a number of intricate processes, Bal says that he has even gone to the extent of explaining each sub step in terms of colour and appearance. “I’ve just tried to use as many adjectives as I can,” he laughs.
Bal was concerned about putting out a good cookbook that is undemanding in terms of comprehension, and says that he dedicated the first few pages of his book to kitchen basics. “I’ve included the basics of not only Indian cooking techniques, but also cooking techniques in general,” he says. “I’ve spoken about how a kitchen should be arranged and also about some of the things that a person can make beforehand and store it in his fridge so when he actually starts cooking, making the meal doesn’t exceed half an hour.”
With a collection of local recipes from different Indian regions in the book, Bal doesn’t proclaim them to be authentic by no means. “They are just my versions of those recipes,” he clarifies. But that doesn’t mean that he’s tinkered with the basic elements such as flavour bases of each cuisine, he adds. “I don’t like to do too much fusion unless I’m sure it will work.”
Recipes that are quick and easy to make are the need of the hour, Bal says. “One should be able to make dishes within five, 10 or 15 minutes,” he gets ahead of himself in the excitement. “That’s what my next plan actually is. I’m hoping to bring out cooking handbooks that have such quick recipes,” he reveals.
Published by Westland, the Chak Le India cookbook is priced at `395.