Applying my knowledge of spices to dishes from around the world is what I like to call American Masala, says Chef Suvir Saran.
Applying my knowledge of spices to dishes from around the world is what I like to call American Masala, says Chef Suvir Saran.

Simplicity is the new cool in the culinary world

By using the most commonly found spices and herbs, roots, shoots and pulses creatively, one can transform something ordinary into a star
By HTC , New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 12, 2021 01:42 PM IST

As a chef and cook, I find inspiration everywhere, from the countries I visit, the people I meet and the food I taste along the way. I have found that the beauty of masala lies in its ability to transpose borders and oceans, and find a home in just about any cuisine, not just Indian. The dishes I cook tend to take on an international theme, reflecting the background and traditions of the places I’ve seen and the people I know. I create food that I love to eat, food that I find stimulating and satisfying, and that gets people talking. More often than not, it’s not traditional Indian food that I am cooking, though there are certainly Indian influences, as certain aspects of cooking seem to be genetically juxtaposed into my biological makeup.

I have lived in America for nearly as long as I lived in India and have come to love American classics like fried chicken, lasagna and cornbread. They are now as much a part of my culinary heritage as is dal and dosas, raita and biriyanis. Applying my knowledge of spices to dishes from around the world is what I like to call American Masala. It’s my reality and it’s how I cook at home.

I cook as any home cook does—with the ingredients at hand and in the simplest manner as possible. I find that keeping cooking easy is the only way to cook for others while still enjoying entertaining. Cooking at home should not be about drama and fuss. It should be fun. In fact, it’s usually my home cooked creations that inspire the dishes on my restaurants’ menus, not vice versa.

By using commonly found spices and herbs, roots, shoots and pulses, it’s possible to take something ordinary, like a common cauliflower and transform it into something amazing. The smart use of spices can work to coax out unbelievable flavors and tenderness from food, most often with the ingredients that you already have in your refrigerator, pantry and freezer.

By Chef Suvir Saran

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