Lately, my food adventures have taken on the flavors of India. I have to give thanks for that to Chef Suvir Saran.
Suvir, originally from New Delhi, is the Executive Chef at Devi in New York City and the author of three cookbooks; “Indian Home Cooking”, “American Masala” and “Masala Farm”. The latter inspired by Masala Farm, an organic farm, in upstate New York that Suvir along with his partner, Charlie Burd own & operate.
I met Suvir, quite by accident, through a post on Zoe Francois’ Face Book wall one early Sunday morning. His post was poetic and you could feel his passion for life in every word. I read and re-read Suvir’s words that day and felt compelled to tell him how they had touched me.
I messaged Suvir and we ended up in a lengthy message exchange. When I reached out that day I had no idea who Suvir was.
I now own two of Suvir’s three cookbooks; “American Masala” and “Masala Farm” and have, with Suvir’s encouragement and guidance, a new appreciation for the complex spice blends and flavors throughout the recipes. A small cupboard next to the stove now has an entire shelf just filled with all the spices, spice blends and ingredients I have on hand for cooking from his books.
During a busy day of meetings in NYC back in November, I made a side trip to, Foods of India, on Lexington Ave, listed in the resource guide in the back of “American Masala”, and filled a basket with everything from my list. The friendly staff there helped me find and even pronounce the new spices I was looking for.
Suvir includes the recipes for the different spice blends he calls for in his recipes and while you could buy the blends, he encourages you make your own blends to have on hand as they will be fresher.
Freshness and simple but quality ingredients are a theme in Suvir’s cookbooks and most of the recipes take no more time to prepare than opening a box or a bag and the rewards are far greater. You will find yourself slowing down and savoring the meal as you eat and who wouldn’t benefit by some slowing down?
This past Saturday I made the Roasted Manchurian Cauliflower from Masala Farm and it was outstandingly delicious. I’m talking, Boy Wonder would eat this cauliflower delicious! The sauce for the cauliflower uses ketchup for the base and after you reduce it down it becomes savory, sweet and almost jam like.
I would only change one thing next time – I will make a double batch because as is often the case with tomato sauced recipes, the leftovers seemed even more delicious as we ate them Sunday morning alongside our eggs.
©2012 Dawn Marie Kelly, all rights reserved.