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Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019

#Food: Kunal Vijayakar’s guide to what’s trending in 2019

Speed scratch cooking, maa ke haath ka khana, niche regional cuisines... find out how these trends are likely to pop up in your life.

mumbai Updated: Feb 08, 2019 22:51 IST
Kunal Vijayakar
Kunal Vijayakar
Hindustan Times
Maa ke haath ka khana is back with a bang, and with it come regional micro-cuisines. Seen here are Kola Urundai or Mutton Balls from Tamil Nadu, as served up at Dakshin Coastal, at the ITC Maratha.
Maa ke haath ka khana is back with a bang, and with it come regional micro-cuisines. Seen here are Kola Urundai or Mutton Balls from Tamil Nadu, as served up at Dakshin Coastal, at the ITC Maratha.
         

It’s a time of questions, interpretations and scrutiny. The Indian people are wondering who will win the next election. The Americans are trying to predict whether their country will have a wall or a President. The UK is trying to figure out how to exit and remain at the same time. Venezuela, France, Turkey and China all have their predicaments, as do I. But my quandary is of a slightly different kind. I’m wondering, what can the food world expect from 2019? What are the culinary trends, infatuations and proclivities the year is likely to hold?

Towards the end of every year, author, columnist and food historian Rushina Munshaw-Ghildiyal calls to say it’s time to estimate the food trends for the coming year. Then, with insight from chefs, health professionals, media professionals, mixologists, nutritionists, restaurateurs, sommeliers and writers, a trend report is put together. So here are some prophecies and prognoses from the Godrej Food Trends Report, 2019.

Dawa-at: Health is becoming paramount. Nutritionists have been for years talking about food as medicine and this year will see a great revival of that idea, whether it’s ginger for digestion, turmeric as an anti-inflammatory, raw nuts and seeds for a healthy heart or honey for immunity. Even choosing fruits and vegetables that are in season, for flavor, freshness and often a higher dose of antioxidants. This is a movement you cannot stop. 

Check out one chef’s adventure with scratch cooking

Dil Khaata Hai: Gurus say the year will spark an interest in conscientious cooking and responsible eating. The other day a friend cooked up some mutton in a solar cooker with absolutely no tadka. She just put all the ingredients (meat, masala, a little oil, onions, garlic etc) in the cooker and left it in the sun all day. It slow-cooked for over eight hours and the mutton emerged soft, tender, juicy and delicious. With no fuel used except the sun’s.

‘Fast’ food: Speed Scratch cooking is a new concept where people with little time to spare use mixes, kits and pre-prepared packs that require just a handful of fresh ingredients to create a quick but healthy meal. I bumped into celebrity nutritionist Pooja Makhija over the weekend and she spoke at length about how most modern families have very little time to actually cook elaborate meals. According to her and our report, convenience cooking is the way forward. People will get more creative in the kitchen, recipes will be tweaked to save time, and the demand for products that add to the convenience of cooking will grow. So get set to bake fresh bread in 10 minutes, or make Nalli Nihari in 15.

Cooking, good looking: Amid all the teach and gadgetry, the report predicts a snub for the exotic and an embrace of the humble. Ordinary vegetables, indigenous grains. Out will go the broccoli and Brussels sprouts; tendli, lauki and tinda will be in. These vegetables will feature in salads and juices too. People are already shying away from refined wheat, flour and polished white rice, and restaurants are already exploring recipes with grains like Amaranth (Rajgira), Pearl Millet (Bajra), Ragi or Nachni, Sorghum or Jowar.

Oh, mama: Home chefs are already doing it, as are restaurateurs. Everyone is paying homage to our mothers and grandmothers, as caretakers of our rich culinary legacies and as sources of inspiration. Maa ke haath ka khana is back with a bang, and with it come regional micro-cuisines. From the iconic Rogan Josh and Gushtaba of Kashmir, to the Kongunadu Pichu Potta Kozhi (shredded chicken) and Kola Urundai (mutton balls) from Tamil Nadu, the Sambhariyu Shaak (gourd, potatoes, sweet potatoes and eggplant) of Gujarat, the Kolambicha Khadkhadla (Pathare Prabhu prawn masala) of Maharashtra, Odisha’s famous Dalma (lentils and vegetables like yellow pumpkin, raw banana and brinjal, cooked togther) and Bengal’s emblematic Ilish Macher Jhol (fish curry).

Wanting to eat food from your own community or vicinity has been called insular and chauvinistic, but if it tastes good, what the hell!

So these are some of the trends predicted for 2019. But as a wise man once said, “Don’t follow a trend, follow your heart”.