Petals on my plate: What if I prick some flowers?
Pooja Dhingra, owner of Mumbai-based French patisserie Le15, shows off her latest creation on Instagram – Cherry Blossom Macaron. Inspired by his recent trip to Japan, where he saw sakura flowers blooming across Tokyo, Dhingra returned home with the idea. “I picked dried cherry blossom flowers and tea and garnished it to make macaroni,” said Dhingra, who has previously experimented with dehydrated rose petals, marigold and dried lavender for his hot-selling macaroni from France.
At Mumbai’s Palladium Hotel Yuka, a Japanese restaurant run by Boston-based chef Ting Yen, fried sakura flowers are used on top of his tofu carpassio, a dish that emphasizes the delicate nature of Japanese cuisine. For the dish, the sakura flowers are coated with a piece of pancake before deep frying in hot oil. “The oil should be hot, but not too hot. The mystery is in light hands,” Yen said in an email from Boston.
Even though it’s a small component of the dish, what makes him cross the mile? It has to be the right kind of crunch but it has to retain the flavor of this delicate flower. “Edible flowers have a distinct taste, and no matter how flat the dinner palate is, the reality is it really makes a difference,” he says.
Yen uses a blend of florals such as scented marigold, tangy calendula, sweet viola and papyrus nasturtium to create her signature, like Salmon on Fire and Salmon Truffle.
Increasingly, restaurants are focusing on coating and flavor profiles, and chefs are taking a special interest in this trend – from raising flower beds to grazing. With Delhi’s urban sprawl, there is more room for chefs to play with ingredients. When Drums chef Pankaj Sharma says he prefers to use local ingredients, he is referring to what he is cultivating in his backyard. The lawns outside Mehrauli’s spacious whiskey bar are lined with seasonal flowers and micro-greens, all of which find their way to his plate. When you go to the garden with Sharma, he should proudly point to the seemingly innocuous bushes and instruct you to tear off a leaf or a bud and taste it. Onion flowers? Yes.
Sujan S. at the Olive Bar & Kitchen around the corner. In addition to overseeing her restaurant’s celebrated Mediterranean cuisine, Suzanne on Thursday held The Testing Lab at a greenhouse near The Ridge, a curated multi-course dining experience that sees her blend science, nature and food in a no-hold-barred way. Your scallops will come with nestertium and fermented garlic, while a salad will have 30 ingredients, herbs and more.
A light touch of essence or an infusion in a dessert, or a syrup or floral liqueur for artisan cocktails can give them a sharp accent. For example, at a river in Goa, in a strange restaurant in Calangute, essential oils made from the best Bulgarian rose petals are mixed into a brute champagne cocktail. Priced at $ 20,000 per kilo (about Rs 13 lakh), it is the most expensive ingredient used in restaurants.
Not to be outdone, Delhi bars are also ringing in their gardens. In the social, house khas village, there are cocktails that are mixed with whiskey and cranberries using frozen chamomile leaves and served with flowers; As well as schizophrenic, which is an infusion of vodka, edible lily essence, lavender and flowers. In The Hungry Monkey, Heidi Elderflower Cordial uses a tequila-based cocktail that tastes like summer. In Mumbai’s La Foley, fresh Damascus roses – a rare variety with a mild aroma – are used to make an infusion for Damascus desserts.
Similarly, violets from the Toulouse region of France are used in the popular L’Enivolet dessert. As the trend continues to grow in India, chefs are open to experimenting with flowers of Indian descent such as jasmine, marigold and hibiscus. “However, one must be properly connected to the base. For example, cannabis can work with a carrot cake if it has a nice orange and marigold compote, would it be better with a chocolate-based dessert? ”La Foley chef Sanjana Patel asked.
Flowers in Indian cuisine
Collar Flowers: These head flowers are mainly used in Bengali and South Indian cuisine. Known in Tamil as vajaipu, these are used for deep-fried or fried with coconut. Mocha (banana flower) has become a spicy food in Bengali cuisine.
Drum flowers: Dhol flowers are fried with eggplant.
Pumpkin Flowers: In Bengali cuisine, pumpkin flowers and buds are enjoyed as pita-bhaja and snacks, while South Indians turn it into a stir-fry with lots of coconuts.
Rose petals: Who hasn’t got Gulkanda milkshake or rose water or petals in their sweet?
With input from Shantanu David