Many Puneites now prefer cooking at home and experimenting with multiple cuisines to eating out on weekends
The aromas that waft in from the kitchen of the Shekhawat home in Khadki are tinged with flavours of white wine and mozzarella cheese. The dish credited for all the wonderful aromas is the Spinach and Mushroom Risotto,a popular Italian rice dish cooked with a lot of variations. Although recent converts to the delights of international cuisine,the Shekhawats have made it a point to try one new,non-Indian dish each weekend. “It’s a better option to cook at home and try out different types of dishes than to spend huge amounts of money on food which is usually stale and recycled,” says Romi Shekhawat,a nursery schoolteacher and avid cook.
The same story is being repeated in many urban households across Pune,as more and more people discover the joys of cooking at home,as a family,with each one contributing to the effort. Add to it recession and you have even more reasons to stay back home instead of dining out.
“My favourite cuisine is French. It’s easy to cook,attractive to look at and very nutritious. Plus,the children love the fact that cheese and butter are a staple of French food,” avers Anita Karki,a Nepalese married to an Indian and settled in Pune. “My personal favourite is the Ratatouille Nicoise,a kind of stewed vegetable dish,which we generally have as main course. But it serves as a great side dish as well and because of Ratatouille the animation movie,it’s a hit with the kids too,” adds Anita.
Pastas and pizzas have been done to death in India,especially in the metros,thanks to the presence of numerous pizza joints. Yet,Italian cuisine remains a hot favourite of many,and a lot of closet chefs come up with their own version of pasta and pizza,Indianised,for good measure. As Kusum Bali,a young professional puts it,”I can’t appreciate the bland taste of typical pasta with sour cream,so I added a pinch of amchoor and a teaspoon of chat masala,along with some shallow fried onions,bell pepper and garlic to it.”
Another well-liked preparation,especially for seafood lovers,is the Spanish paella,another rice dish,originating in eastern Spain and considered by Spaniards as one of their national dishes. What makes it more appealing is the variety of ingredients that go into its preparation. “Paella is loved by both the kids and the oldies. It offers amazing variety because you can combine it with eggs and fish and just about any other type of seafood,” says Meeta K,a homemaker and part-time child counsellor.
Surely,if the frenzy of cooking at home in Pune is any indication,going international need not be an expensive affair anymore. All you need are pots,pans and ladles and a palette willing to experiment with novel flavours.