Thursday, July 23, 2015

BOOK REVIEW : INDIA ON MY PLATTER



What is it about food that makes one so addicted to it? Chef Saransh Goila’s debut book provides an answer to this question in the most delicious manner possible.

Saransh Goila is an Indian chef who won the Maha challenge hosted by FoodFood channel in 2011. He also features in the Limca book of world records of 2014 for hosting the longest ever road travelogue show – “Roti, Rasta aur India”. Below is a short review of the book.

I refrain from calling it an actual novel. It is a journey described along with recipes. There is no story, no script, no characters. Food is the main character. Now let us accept few things right from the beginning. Firstly, Saransh is no professional writer. He is a chef, and a mighty good one. Therefore, do not go expecting heavy language and high – level English, primarily because that is not the focus of this book. The language is kept simple, grammatically correct and never over the top.
Secondly, you have to be a foodie to read this book. If you are not too much into food, cooking, etc, this book is not meant for you. It is inundated with recipes of all kinds including few non vegetarian items. So basically not everyone will take to this book. On the other side, if you are someone who devours food and take a keen or even remote interest in culinary, this book is for you.

The hundred day journey begins from Delhi which then proceeds to Himachal Pradesh, Rohtang, Leh, Ladakh, Kargil, parts of Jammu & Kashmir, coming down to Punjab, Chandigarh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, moving down to Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, taking a holy stop at Varanasi, moving eastward to Bihar, West Bengal, going further north – east to Sikkim, Assam and finally returning to Delhi.

A 20,000 kilometres journey, this was a refreshing read. Not often does one get a “TASTE” of India in real sense. With the ever – so – humble Saransh, things were always a joy. His humble nature, his immediate occupancy of the kitchen wherever he went, his lovely interactions with different people – everything was very good.

Be it visiting a langar in Kangra or making mouth watering Thupka soup in Leh or having almond milk with the pehelwaans in Karnal or making us reminiscent by cooking magi at an odd time or preparing chocolate pakoras or introducing us to Pulihora in Vishakhapatnam or making Tofu Kofta in Bhopal or making the fragrant Chandan ke kababs in Lucknow or preparing the lip smacking Kathi roll, every delicacy was a treat on paper. Even though I am a strict vegetarian and don’t even eat eggs, I went through the non veg and egg items. They too seemed well made.
This book is also a treat for those who love travelling in various parts of India.  Saransh cleverly fuses food with travel, giving us a beautiful experience.

POSITIVES
As I mentioned, including a road trip instead of a mere simple recipe collection is what makes this book different from the other books of this genre. It is not just a “Cook book”. It is much more. It is a glimpse of the diverse cultures of our country.

NEGATIVES
Not too many negatives, though the language and grammar could have been slightly better. Although I am not complaining too much since that is not the main focus of the book.
Also, what I would have loved is a systematic index of all the recipes mentioned in the book. Suppose I want to search for a particular recipe, it will be difficult to remember where exactly in the book that recipe appears.


OVERALL, “INDIA ON MY PLATTER” is a book worth cherishing. It is a book which will be used by the ladies of our houses whenever they need to refer to some delicacy’s recipe and ingredients.
It will also be referred whenever we need to look for few places worth visiting while going on a holiday to a particular place.

It is more of a book for keeps, rather than just a single read.

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