Hunger Games Online

There’s a staggering array of food channels online, some functional, others quirky. Here are six chefs who stand out in the bulging fraternity of FoodTubers.

Written by Damini Ralleigh | Published:June 25, 2017 12:01 am
Nihal Raj Young Entrée: Nihal Raj is seven, but his YouTube food channel, KichaTube, is already a big draw.

KichaTube
Pint-sized Nihal Raj, 7, of KichaTube shares something in common with Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone — a visit to the popular Ellen DeGeneres Show, where he thrilled a live audience with his puttu-making skills. It all started at the age of five for Nihal when his father, Rajagopal VK, uploaded a video of him making popsicles. “But my interest in food began by observing my mother in the kitchen,” says Nihal. He became famous when Facebook acquired the rights for his Mickey Mouse mango-ice-cream video. His mother dons the role of a researcher, his father shoots and edits the videos while his sister Nidha VK administers the channel as well as the social media handles.

Learn to make pal payassam, coconut ice cream and Mickey Mouse Mango ice cream.
Subscribers: 16,250
Views: 983,123

Myna Street Food
A. Deva Chandra Raju and his grandmother Savitri, 86, have, over the course of a year and a half, collected a fine trove of recipes. An homage to the formidable culinary skills that grandmothers have a reputation of possessing, the channel offers a wide range of recipes that Savitri has, presumably, collected over her lifetime.

Clad in a sari, and with her silver hair tied in a neat bun, she prods and mixes the ingredients with deftness. “We’re trying to bring village cooking to a global audience. The cooking process in most Indian villages is simple, using just a few ingredients. Unfortunately, not too many people know about it,” says Raju, who offers viewers a taste of pukka outdoor Indian cooking. The videos have absolutely no instructions, her cooking does all the talking.

Learn how to make mutton liver curry, watermelon with chicken, raw mango and tomato dal, and spicy grilled lamb testicles
Subscribers: 213,560
Views: 57,880,205

India Food Network
Perhaps the largest aggregator of recipes, food hacks and F&B news in India, this channel offers glimpses of culinary secrets from homes across the country. It also rustles up food videos with celebrities and experts. Viewers can choose from videos on regional cuisines, techniques, or even submit a recipe of their own. Their flagship series is The Mini Truck hosted by former TV host Mini Mathur, who believes that “two cooks don’t always spoil the broth.”

Calling on celebrities to cook for the channel’s viewers, she is all for recipes being passed down generations in a family. “I hold a diary of handwritten recipes by my grandmother close to my heart. Us Mathurs are food proud and these recipes must be put out there because cooking is not a mundane chore anymore. People are taking it up as therapy or as a serious hobby,” says Mathur, who started cooking at the age of 13.

Learn how to make alan ka saag, Mangalorean style prawn biryani, arbi tuk, tahiri, bhugal ghost
Subscribers: 193,340
Views: 45,364,879

Vicky’s World
With big players like chef Vicky Ratnani hankering after a piece of the digital pie, YouTube no longer remains a hub of amateurs alone. In a first-person, how-to series, Ratnani condenses his recipe demonstrations, usually elaborate, into shorter, web-oriented clips.

“With digital media, one doesn’t have to care about creating elaborate sets and sponsor endorsements. I have full control over the format and a video for YouTube can be as short as two-three minutes. It’s much easier and you also reach a wider audience,” says the chef.

Learn to make roasted pumpkin with spicy yoghurt, pepper mustard chicken breast with corn puree and lemon berry booster
Subscribers: 3,329
Views: 683,548

Get Curried
Get Curried makes for a good pitstop, when searching for recipes from Maharashtra, Kerala or Punjab, even though the channel started with the intention of illustrating recipes from global cuisines. A quick browse through their extensive archive of recipes is bound to throw up something worth making in the kitchen. But it is their DIY approach that truly sets them apart.

 

Whether it’s rasam powder or chana masala, the chefs demonstrate how it can be made at home. “I like mixing my own spices. It gives you greater control over your dish because you can tweak it according to your taste,” says Neelam Bajwa, who ran a catering business in England before joining the channel.

Learn how to make Kerala mango curry, saoji mutton curry and sarson ka saag
Subscribers: 305,886
Views: 31,140,560

Bong Eats
On Saptarishi Chakraborty and Insiya Poonawala’s 10-month-old channel, the camera lavishes attention only on the food overlaid with simple onscreen instructions in text. Their metier is Bengali cuisine but, self-admittedly, they are not sticklers for authenticity. “The idea is to get more people excited about Bengali food,” says Chakraborty.

The channel offers popular Bengali dishes and also little-known wonders from the Kolkata’s nooks. “So much of our regional cuisine is prepared and eaten in the privacy of our homes. We feel that it is important to document and make accessible recipes that are considered too humble for guests,” says Chakraborty, who is behind the camera as his wife, Poonawala, whips up Bong treats.

Learn to make chingri malai curry, panta bhaat, and shorshe ilish
Subscribers: 2,975
Views: 187,759

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