Since winning MasterChef India in 2012, Shipra Khanna’s fingers are in many pies. Her maiden restaurant House of Taste opened in Ahmedabad, she’s penned a bestselling cookbook Spice Route, and is currently anchoring two cookery shows on the Food Food channel. We caught up with her as she packs her bags to join MasterChef Travel as their culinary ambassador.
On winning MasterChef India
What you see on television is different to the reality. It’s actually a circus! The pool of cameras and people around you is baffling. It was an interesting journey because I had such fierce competition.
Exotic dishes and fusion cuisines
Some of my innovations have gone global. I’m proud of my yam mousse, which came top in the MasterChef boot camp. I’ve also come up with tandoori chicken sausage, a black rice risotto suitable for Jains, and a chicken breast pâté. There is room for improvisation in savoury food, while baking has to be scientific.
More on MasterChef Travel
It is all about culinary holidays that celebrate food. I’m leading the Australia tour, which will include whipping up my signature wraps by the barrier reef, and picking fresh fruit in the Yarra valley to make our own ice cream. I’m excited as it’s my first trip down under! Promos are already being aired in the current series of MasterChef, while highlights of the trip will be shown next series.
Baking sweet treats
I’ve always had a sweet tooth. I’m proud that Pure Sin is the first Indian show to specialise in desserts. I make it very relatable to the Indian audience by using familiar ingredients and keeping it simple. Indian deserts with a twist are a speciality, including flambéed gulab jamun and paan flavoured rasmalai.
Working on set with children
My series K for Kids has me cooking with four children each episode. We have lots of fun with easy recipes that use ingredients that children don’t usually try. They loved my chaat that used brinjal wafers. They also liked the fruit-filled French toast.
It’s hard for me to pick a favourite! Andhra thalis are such a treat, but since I have Punjabi roots I also love butter chicken and shahi paneer. I grew up in Himachal Pradesh, and there is some amazing food there, like the sidku steamed buns, redolent with Indian flavours.
Eating as an art form
Food is the only art form that requires all your senses. You have to plate it up beautifully because first you eat with your eyes. The smell has to tempt you to try it, and then of course the taste and texture has to be spot on too.
MasterChef Australia, Fridays 9 pm, Star World; K for Kids, Fridays 7 am ; Pure Sin, Fridays 7 pm on Food Food.
— Maegan Dobson Sippy