Not The Bukhara Recipe, ITC Chef Parul Shares How She Adds A Punjabi Tadka To Makhani Pizzas
- IWB Post
- November 28, 2017
At some point in our lives, we’ve all wanted to be chefs, do you agree? Cooking is an art and as children, we all thought of ourselves to be Sanjiv Kapoors and Tarla Dalals.
As a kid, I’ve mixed up all spices together and eaten it because it was “my creation.” Yeah, it tasted horrible. Thankfully, most of us don’t turn out to be chefs, and the ones who do, make us the foodies we call ourselves.
Chef Parul Kapoor’s inspiration of becoming a chef was simple: “I was a foodie, right from the beginning. When I was growing up, I would see my mother and naani cooking all sorts of different dishes for all of us. Slowly, I started experimenting with different ingredients at home. I’d watch cookery shows, all the time. Yeah, I wasn’t the child who would spend her days watching cartoons.”
“I love Kashmiri food, especially the non-vegetarian, and have tried most of the meat. I feel that the joy of food is at its maximum when eaten with hands. I avoid using cutlery a lot of times for this reason.”
Her inclination towards food led her to join the Academy of Culinary Education. Post the three-year course, she was trained at the Welcomegroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration. She later joined ITC Maurya, and then the ITC Rajputana.
Having taken many trips to the ITC Rajputana, I wanted to know how things worked behind the kitchen slab.
Me: A chef who is your inspiration?
Parul: I think, my mother. I learned the initial things from her. Right from the beginning, she would cook me everything I wanted to eat. Do you remember how as children we saw someone’s tiffin box and wanted to eat the same item when we came back home? My mom was the angel who used to make that.
I remember that happening to me, a lot. We once visited an aunt’s place, who made pakoras for everyone. I didn’t even touch it there, but my eyes were stuck on the pakoras, and my mouth was watering. I made sure that when I returned home, mom made pyaaz pakoras for me.
Ah, moms. They really are the biggest dose of inspiration.
Me: Does wage gap live in the kitchen?
Parul: I don’t think it exists. In the kitchen, what matters is the skill. Everyone is doing the same kind of job, and the taste, expertise decides the pay.
Me: Who is the chef at your home?
Parul: I don’t cook when I’m home. Whenever I’m on leave, I like to cook with my daughter. We sometimes make pizza and pasta. Both of us love baking. Often, when I return home from work, I find an experimental dessert or something prepared by her.
Just the other day, she made a mango pannacotta for me. I’d tagged her in a DIY video, earlier that day, and there it was!
Me: Wait a second… how old is your daughter?
Parul: She’s just 9!
Me: Wow! Does your husband assist the two of you in the kitchen?
Parul: When my husband and daughter take over the kitchen, you don’t want to know what it’s like! Sometimes, what my husband cooks, can only be eaten by him. Yes, that happens.
Me: One cuisine that you haven’t yet explored, but wish to.
Parul: I think South Indian. There are so many regions in South India that have remained unexplored. There is so much diversity in their cuisine! Of course, I don’t want to limit myself. There are a lot of other cuisines that I wish to explore.
I want to stroll the streets of Italy, and try the pluck-cook-eat of their local food, maybe visit their villages.
Fusion of cuisines has brought down the essence of many foods, and I really think I’d like to surprise my taste buds with originality.
Me: A Punjabi tadka you would add to the continental food?
Parul: Um, maybe a pizza with a makhani gravy base, chicken tikka and tandoori as toppings.
I’m already drooling. Luckily, I’ve been fortunate enough to try out dishes prepared by Chef Parul Kapoor. Just the thought of food is now getting me hungry. And, I just had my lunch.
Well, that’s how it is, around good food, tummies always defy you. I think, for now, I’d have to do with the mixture of spices I used to make as a kid.
Bon appétit to me.
This article was first published in May 2017.