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Guess what floored the Aussie chefs?

When two ace chefs from Australia come to India, you expect them to whet their appetite with the regular desi fare such as biryani or butter chicken. But, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris of MasterChef Australia are in love with Indian street fare — panipuri and jalebi.

india Updated: Oct 26, 2012 02:18 IST
Debasmita Ghosh

When two ace chefs from Australia come to India, you expect them to whet their appetite with the regular desi fare such as biryani or butter chicken. But, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris of MasterChef Australia are in love with Indian street fare — panipuri and jalebi. “The panipuri is an awesome creation… crunchy, tangy and just wow!” says Mehigan as Calombaris quips in saying, “My favourite is the jalebi, it’s incredible... juicy yet crisp.”

JalebiWhile it’s Calombaris’ second trip to the subcontinent, Mehigan is here for the first time. "I find India extraordinarily fascinating, and the best thing about this country is it’s food. The chefs here have wonderfully held on to their ancient cuisine yet have given it such a modern twist. I’m simply gorging on the Indian delicacies," says Mehigan, who, along with Calombaris, is in the Capital today at Godrej Nature’s Basket, where a few Delhiites, chosen through a social media contest, will cook for the chef duo. "We’re quite excited to see what Delhi cooks for us," say the two, who were impressed with the "gorgeous puffed rice mixture — jhaalmuri" tossed up for them in Mumbai.

India-inspired
It’s not just the eclectic flavours that have floored the Aussie chefs but also the unique techniques. Calombaris, who can’t stop raving about the “crispy aromatic” masala dosa, says, “Back home we’ve been trying to find easy ways of fermentation, and here Indian’s have mastered that technique since ages. And also their breads, especially the naan, such fantastic techniques!”

And finally, ask them about the secret recipe of cooking a great a meal, and zap comes the reply. “Do not complicate stuff... simplicity of meals is what’s conquering palates world over, “ says Mehigan, as Calombaris adds, “Stick to childhood flavours because that’s what’s going to rule the food industry in the coming years.”