Across my Table

Across My Table - Pat Chapman

Friday, December 12, 2014Me! In words

Pat Chapman

Patrick Lawrence Chapman, who amongst other numerous titles, has been called 'The Ambassador of Indian Food' and the 'Curry Leader' by renowned food reviewers in Britain, has also been credited by Daily Mail for ‘Baltifying Britain’ for his bestseller cookbook – the first among 36 recipe books penned down by him with cumulative sales topping 1.5 million copies. Pat was a regular guest chef on the QE2, the leading luxury liner, for many seasons, and the Hilton and the Taj. Such is his understanding of the nuances of spices that he has been called upon by the Government of India in Kerala, to lecture on spices!

In the month of October (yes, this interview is long overdue), Pat Chapman brought in a set of marinades from around the world. Along with a demonstration, these were incorporated into a special menu at each of Barbeque Nation’s 6 outlets in Bangalore and made for an amazing culinary trip around the world. In a crisp email interview, I picked his brains on curry!

What is the Pat Chapman definition of a curry?
A curry is any sauce with spices. The beauty of the dish is that it is the food of the nation – it is 1 word, 1 meal and 1 nation.  

Many home chefs love to experiment with their marinades – what would you say should ideally characterize a good marinade.
A good curry has acid and the taste of that acidic lemon juice or that dash of vinegar should come through. The flavours should not overwhelm or impose itself on the dish, but should be complementary. 

In India, vegetarian cooking is as important as meat – what attention to detail would you say is important in the creation of marinade for vegetables.
A marinade used with meat can be paired with vegetables as well. But the right ingredients should be used. I have always found that sesame goes really well with chicken, and the same with broccoli.   

Chinese Sichuan Paneer

What are the spices we will always find in your pantry and why?
Pepper and mustard are essentials in any kitchen. Every country in the world uses pepper unlike chilli, as it is just too much heat. 

Experiencing new foods is the base of innovation – can you detail a memorable food experience.
Bhel Puri at Elco Bhel in Bandra was absolutely delicious. It’s just the right food at the right place. By far, that has been the most memorable food experience in India. 

If you were to serve an Indian meal at an impromptu party at your place, what would we see on the table?
For starters, we would serve Pakodas – everybody loves Pakodas. For the main course we would whip up some Punjabi Chicken Curry, Roghan Josh Gosht, Kashmiri Lamb Curry or Vegetarian Pulav Rice. 

Outback Emu Chicken

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