Free Press Journal

Incendiary gourmet delights

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GITA HARI digs in some burnt food.

There was a joke about the recipe of making Burnt Dosa doing the rounds and it went like this:


Make a normal dosa.  While it is being done, check your Whatsapp messages, FB posts, Tweets and other tech-oriented reverts. By the time you are half way through, you will sense a brunt smell wafting from your kitchen and the Burnt Dosa is ready.

Technologies keep us so pre-occupied it makes us forget we have left ingredients on the cooking burner and yes it is on! So what you end up with are burnt dishes and screwed up noses on the dining table. The current trend says, burnt food does have its own taste and it is only a matter of cultivating your taste buds just like the way you try out new world cuisines.

Restaurants are high on burnt food as can be experienced from the popularity of orders.food 2

Master Chefs of hi-end hotels char carrots, beets, onions, and greens to a carbon-laden crisp which is crumbled into vegetable powder resembling ash (due to charring). This is sprinkled to add distinct smoky gusto to dips, meaty sauce and terrines.

Executive Chef Gaurav Chakraborty of Novotel Imagica Khopoli is of the opinion that “Burnt food works well with gaming meat like venison. Even burnt hot dogs are favoured for they add a pretty good crunch to it.” According to Chef Gaurav, try searing milk. When you scorch milk you get a caramely taste and if this is combined with fresh milk, coffee-like flavor can be attained which can appeal to many a palate, especially the international diners at his restaurant The Square or Nitro Bar often request for them.

Executive Chef Kamlesh Rawat of 5 starHotel Grand Sarovar Premiere vouches for repeated guest requests as he points out, “Patronsoften ask for Vegetables with Burnt Garlic or Burnt Garlic Fried Rice among Oriental cuisine. Our desi Baingan Bharta besides tandoor items, less on oil are sell-out dishes.”

food 3Charred Veggies Ciabatta at Korner House is sought after as also the Mexican one-dish meal of Char Grilled Polenta. Burnt garlic mash in NZ Lamb Chops is yet another favourite among burnt food lovers.

Rahul Chitnis, FnB Manager of The Tipsy Terrace reveals, “The exterior portion of Lasagne where the cheese is burnt is always the most sought-after in the dish. And burnt cheese outside means the cheese inside is melted and the scoop can provide quite a buzz in the mouth.”  Spaghetti with Burnt Butter is another hot dish mainly for the taste of browned grease. People who love charred toast also root for the burnt crust of coal fired pizza.

Rahul further reveals, “Dum Biryani with charcoal embers dipped in it gives a smoky flavour is often requested at The Tipsy Terrace.  Crab in XO sauce is marinated in cognac and then barbecued giving a smoky relish.” But according to him fish is not recommended to be served burnt as white meat is delicate and the scorched flavour will overpower the main taste.

When we talk of burnt food can those sinfully tempting sweet dishes be far food 4behind. Flambéed desserts like Baked Alaska has cake, ice-cream topped with meringue which is burnt on your table. Crème Brulee is another dessert with caramelized sugar on top. Pan-fried Honey Bananas consists of caramelized honey. Smokiness balances well with the inherent sugar in the rum or liqueur-based desserts like Chocolate Mousse with Burnt Rum. Rum Raisin Pudding with burnt rum gives out a gentle smoky aroma which can appeal to many sweet-toothed fans. Chocolate Cake with a drizzle of burnt white chocolate ganache is a delightful finale to a festive meal.

Enjoy burnt food once in a while but avoid overindulging on charbroiled stuff as it is not good for your health!