December 06, 2023

Life Style

South India may have the traditional Indian cuisine: Chef Parvinder Singh Bali, The Oberoi Hotels

IANS | November 13, 2022 08:21 PM

Chennai:   Perhaps South India has the traditional Indian cuisine in the country and butter chicken, dal makhani are not traditional Punjabi dishes, said Parvinder Singh Bali, Corporate Chef - Learning and Development, The Oberoi Hotels.

The 50-year old Bali, who will be seen cooking millet dishes on Doordarshan early next year, said days are not far away when artificial intelligence will rule the kitchens - hotels and food factories.

Speaking to IANS, Bali said: "With the partition in 1947, the original Punjabi cuisine has gone out of India. What we have is the cuisine of various dominions. Butter Chicken, Dal Makhani are dishes made by chefs to attract customers to hotels."

According to him, most of the ancient Indian recipes have been lost as they were not documented. The chefs of the ancient royal times did not pass it down.

The invasion of the Mughals and their cuisine had a great influence on the food culture of North India.

"Perhaps the cuisine of Southern India still has its traditional moorings as the Mughal invasion in this part of the country was not to a great extent, " Bali added.

He, however, said the casualty of the busy life, urban lifestyle and consumerism is India's traditional cuisine.

"The art of making many traditional dishes at home has already vanished, for example different kinds of pickles. At many homes people are not able to make good curd and they buy it from shops, " Bali said.

He was here to anchor a food festival 'Rivaayat E Punjab' at the Trident Hotel.

According to him, pasta is becoming the pan-Indian food.

A top official of a food company had told IANS that the noodles are now the national food in India.

On making the dishes for the food festival Bali said: "I had gone to meet former Chief Minister of Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh. He gave me the family's 400 year old recipe book handwritten in Gurmukhi. "

"The book has recipes for about 1, 500-1, 600 dishes. In the case of dishes, the challenge was to decipher the quantity of ingredients. For instance, the quantity of ghee to be used was mentioned by its price -- ghee for an anna. It is not known how much ghee was available for that price in those days, " Bali said.

It is here his cooking experience came in hand to arrive at the right quantity of the ingredient.

Further there was no recipe with paneer as an ingredient, he said.

"In cooking, the process is important to arrive at the authentic taste and not just the ingredients. The taste of a dish depends on various factors like water, the medium of heat, the vessel and others. So, there is nothing called an authentic dish. There are only traditional dishes, " Bali said.

Bali, who dropped out of mechanical engineering after a year and joined the hotel management course said technology is going to play a major role in cooking.

He said computational gastronomy will soon gain ground in the food industry.

"Feeding an ingredient in a computer one can get its various characteristics. In turn one can pair other ingredients to come out with a recipe and a dish, " Bali said.

According to him, the position of a Sommelier in a hotel may become extinct owing to technology.

Bali, who began his career as a pastry chef, said today different kinds of moulds, including silicon moulds, are available resulting in pastries of various designs.

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