Chirpy and full of life — that’s chef Nuria Rodríguez Parra. And these qualities do not only define her but also the flavours of the tiny bites she tosses up in the kitchen. Though a specialist in Spanish cuisine, it’s tapas, Spain’s famous small meals, that turn wonders in the hands of this 32-year-old, who, surprisingly never wanted to be a chef!
“I wanted to be a doctor, but it was my weekend visits to my granny’s small eatery in the interiors of Spain that got me interested in cooking. I just loved eating everything she made, and eventually wanted to learn how to make them,” says Nuria, as she serves a sizzling hot Gambas a la plancha or unpeeled salted shrimps cooked on a flat iron grill.
“Seafood tapas is the big thing these days — prawn, salmon, mackerel, and calamari in different textures and sauces are a treat to the palate,” reveals the chef, who introduced tapas such as tortilla espanola (Spanish omelet with potato), and Albondigas con salsa de tomate (meatballs in basil tomato sauce), at the Olive Beach restaurant. And what’s her favourite dish?
“Garlic naan with daal,” she says. “I can’t sleep if I’ve thought of it, and haven’t had one,” she admits, adding that she loves shopping from the Sarojini Nagar market, and has even learnt haggling. “I fool the shopkeepers saying that I’m not a foreigner; my mom’s Spanish but my dad is Indian,” she winks.
1kg tomatoes, 1 green pepper, 2 onions, 4 cloves of garlic, 1tsp sugar, 2 green chillies1tsp paprika vera, 6tbsp olive oil, salt to taste
Poach peeled tomatoes in a pot of boiling water for 15 minutes and dice them. Peel the onions, garlic and deseed the pepper, and wash. Now heat olive oil in a pan and fry the onion, garlic and pepper for 5 minutes. Add the cloves till golden brown, and finally add the tomatoes and paprika. Add salt and sugar, and keep stirring till the tomato acquires a dark colour.