Chef Summary Goyal The country is establishing its culinary footprints, one food initiative at a time. From opening the popular restaurant ‘Goila Butter Chicken’ in different cities to writing food travelogues India on my plate To astonish everyone with your interests Eat Videos on social media accounts show Goila young Indian chefs being searched.
Currently hosting the food show of Zee Zest, Grand Trunk Kitchen Season 2The chef will take viewers on an epic expedition and share food anecdotes, trivia and recipes from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India.
How was the experience of traveling to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh during the show from Pakistan’s perspective?
Grand Trunk Kitchen Season 2 Has held a close place in my heart as it maps the Grand Trunk Road from Afghanistan to Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. Since my maternal grandfather hails from Sindh, it gave me a reason to taste and savor the stories, learn about the cultures, and travel the people and food along this route. It has been a massive learning curve for me as a chef. I didn’t know all the recipes. Normally, when you’re doing a recipe show, you know everything from the beginning. It was a way for me to learn about different cultures, histories and new dishes that I have never cooked before. This is different from a recipe show because it involves a lot of research and travel.
What’s the weirdest food fact you came across during this trip?
One of the strangest things I learned was how the material came to India and then went back to Afghanistan. Also, dishes that used to be simple have become completely unique because of this trade route. This is the dish in Afghanistan that has dumplings and it is very much because of this trade. I envisioned Afghani and Pakistani cuisine a certain way. But when you really go deep into it, you realize that the little things make a huge difference. In Bangladesh, they make Tehri biryani. their chicken biryani Is Tehri And that is the only way they make biryani and take pride in it. In India, we argue about Vegetarian and non veg biryani. Whereas in Bangladesh, it is the most accepted truth that their biryani is actually the only biryani.
there’s something called curtain Biryani in Pakistan where you wrap the biryani with flour from all sides which makes it very tricky and difficult to make. It was very attractive. It’s exciting because it makes you want to cook again. It really opens your eyes and reminds you that what you think about food as soon as you cross the border may not be true. From a historical point of view, there was much to be learned in terms of food and cuisine. As a kid, I thought dry fruits were Indian but I learned that they came from Afghanistan.
A must try dish from each of these four countries.
From Afghanistan, a must try Aashiqui which is essentially a dumpling made in the Afghan way and served with Curd. From Pakistan, I would choose Veil Biryani and Lahori Kadhai Chicken. From India, will be closest to my heart lentil cook. From Bangladesh, there is this recipe called doi macho Which is a combination of two fish.
From writing a food travelogue to now hosting a food travel show – what’s your interest in exploring regional cuisine?
I love meeting new people and learning on the ground. I like to learn the culture of another city, town or country. In the show, we have a segment where we are interacting with locals in the cities we are traveling to. We did a lot of research online and found chefs, historians, bloggers and cuisine patrons in those places. We found at least one person who could give us a local flavor or touch to see the recipe or the city through the eyes of a local. They were able to add value to facts because they corrected us and made us more aware. That’s why I like to travel. My peg to travel is to make new friends. Before this show, I didn’t know anyone in these three countries. It helped me connect with at least 3-4 people in these countries who shared similar interests in food and culture.
How do you think regional cuisine can find a place in mainstream restaurants?
When someone walks into a restaurant as a consumer, they are looking for an experience, a story. You want to go and have a good time. Many a times regional cuisines and dishes are presented in a very boring way. By presentation I do not mean food presentation. as people start thinking regional cuisine, they think it’s old world. They also start presenting and marketing it in the same way. I think this is where there is a mismatch. These recipes and recipes need to be viewed from the perspective of the world we live in today where you revive these dishes but you present and market them in today’s fashion.
if i want to serve curtain Biryani or Classic from Pakistan Thandai In my restaurant from Banaras, it needs to be presented in a cool and accessible way. That is the bridge that needs to be built. Its not a fight to revive these dishes but for them to integrate naturally into today’s food scene. This is more of a marketing outlook than a recipe outlook. This recipe is delicious enough for a diner but sometimes what doesn’t excite them is the way we approach them. Some chefs and restaurants have already started to understand this and many more will slowly follow.
From papad pasta to papad lasagna – your Instagram feed is all about your food experiments. Tell us more.
I think a lot of people are sitting at home and going crazy during the lockdown. I really think that the kitchen is like a playground for a chef or people who love to cook. I had a lot of papads left in my drawer. I realized it would go bad if it was left there for months. I asked myself, what can I do with this? This is something that is very important for chefs to ask for. I have been eating papad vegetable since childhood. So, I experimented and came up with these recipes. Sometimes experiments work wonders, sometimes they fail. In this case, I was lucky. When I ate it, I realized it totally worked and knew I was going to make it again. I think it’s mostly about not being bound by traditional notions of how certain things should be built. You must be open to experiment.
What has been your favorite lockdown experiment?
I think papad pasta is my favorite lockdown experiment. From trying to eliminate packets of papad in my house to having tens of such packets till now, it has become my favorite and most prized item. Actually, I want to go to the old-fashioned papad makers, where I can go and talk to the papad makers. I really want to know why papad is so important to us and what people like about it. It is also gluten free which makes it such a great food item.
what has been the effect of COVID-19 Lockout on the food industry?
I think it’s been a really tough time for the food industry. I know a lot of cooks who lost their jobs and restaurants. We would definitely love more support from the government for the hospitality sector. Many of us are working online. The industry is still under a lot of stress and it has gone back a few years to say the least, financially and resource-wise. This is not the worst time and it has been very disappointing for the entire region. I really hope for someone to realize that this area needs to be saved. Otherwise, we are witnessing the slow death of those famous restaurants and places you don’t want to visit because India is all about the food.