Monsoon Appetite

While your window panes decide to drench themselves in the thunderous showers of monsoon, dig in and drench your palate with some monsoon delicacies...

By: Karishma Parkash
Posted on: July 10, 2011
While your window panes decide to drench themselves in the thunderous showers of monsoon, dig in and drench your palate with some monsoon delicacies… 
A lovely climate, an impulsive long drive, a cool mist tickled with water droplets on your face and delectable food that delights the taste buds makes the season all the more enjoyable. Monsoon is one of the most enjoyed seasons ever. Surely, you will agree. The rains are here to stay for a while and so is the atmosphere for hot, yummy foods. Street food like butta, bhel-puri and sandwiches may tempt you, but when in mood for a fancy and stylishly sumptuous dinner during this monsoon season, take our word for a place to visit. In a brief conversation with Chef Vishal Atreya, Executive Sous Chef at The Imperial, Delhi, take a quick look at what this season has in stock for all food lovers.
Karishma Parkash: What are the main ingredients that you recommend during the monsoon season? 
Chef Vishal Atreya: Ingredients are an important component of any dish created and must be picked keeping a variety of things in mind. For the monsoon, I would recommend using ingredients such as mushrooms, pastas, teas, coffee beans, chocolate, lavender, lamb, foie gras etc and experimenting until you have yourself a mouth-watering delicacy that perfectly complements the season.
KP: Any specific food colours that you try to incorporate in your menu during this season?
CVA: Colour is always added to a dish for a specific reason. Figure that out and add colouring that will eventually bring out the true essence of the dish rather than just be there to visually feast the eye.
KP: Can you share any one recipe that would be perfect for the monsoons?  

Ingredients for 4 portions/4 x at 100% (Net quantity)
500 g Prawns:18/22 Karachi 'headless'
30 g Garlic
1 pc Chili: Red
100 ml Oil: Olive Oil Italia
100 ml Wine:White ‘Sula Sauvignon Blanc’
30 g Herb: Parsley, flat, finely chopped
40 ml Digestif” Brandy ‘Marie Figeroux’ ‘to flambee’
0.5 pc Bread: French
Preheat a oven to 200 degrees C
1. Cut the prawns along the back open to deveine, keeping the shells on; wash under cold running water and pat dry
2. Peel and lightly crush the garlic. Cut the chilli in half and deseed
3. Combine all three ingredients together with the olive oil in an ovenproof dish, mix through and leave to marinade for a while
4. Sprinkle the prawns with a little salt and bake in the hot oven for about 5-6 minutes
5. Pour on the wine and sprinkle with the parsley and continue to bake for another five minutes
6. Just before serving, pour on the brandy and flambee. Serve with the flames on and sliced French bread on the side
KP: Are you going to introduce a specific monsoon menu in your restaurant? 
CVA: We are going to have a special Tapas Menu at the 1911 Bar for the monsoons which started from July 1 and will last till July 29, 2011. 
If soft Montana leather chairs, period portraiture, stained glass roof and wood panelling is your thing, the 1911 Bar is perfect for you. Offering over 500 varieties of beverages with lounge and club music playing to your mood, the club boasts of two stunning private rooms: the ‘Hardinge Room’ and the ‘Lutyens & Baker Room’. 
Chef Atreya shared that a delectable menu of aphrodisiacal magic will grace the tables of the bar with a plethora of varieties such as the above detailed ‘Gambas in White Wine Sauce’, ‘Artichoke Tortilla’ accompanied by a fine selection of beverages which will surely leave the guests enchanted and asking for more. “Further on, we will be celebrating Pasta festival at San Gimignano - our Italian fine-dining space - in the first half of September 2011, which is also a very good option for monsoons,” he said.
All in all, the monsoons with their quick and surprised entry onto Indian lands, look pleasing and welcoming, not to mention tantalizing on the palate. So go ahead, open out those classy, colour-showered umbrellas and head to The Imperial, Delhi and welcome the monsoons by satiating your appetite. But hold on a second. Also be careful with what you put into your mouth this season as the rains bring with them a variety of bacteria that will attack your system. So unless you want to sit aloof at your window pane watching the rain droplets run past, eat wisely! 

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