If you believe it’s an absolute waste to steer good whisky, that too a single malt, from the glass to the cooking pot, this book is worth a read. It sees the premium malt whisky brand, The Glenlivet, underpinning a lively mix of no-fuss staples and fine recipes that involve a fair understanding of the global palate. The forthright food critic, Marryam Reshii, brings together the kitchen adventures of eight leading chefs in the country, ensuring the cuisines are all international. There’s French, Italian, Scandinavian, Spanish, American and English, with the only concession to Indian being a Thai selection. The names include the very French Christophe Gillino (Leela Palace, New Delhi), who has clearly plunged into the project with a happy sense of discovery. He shares recipes for a seafood vol au vent, and a crab ravioli among others, but it is the Roquefort and flambeed banana pairing with The Glenlivet 21 YO that gets our vote. As can be expected, not all chefs are partial to the single malt, but this group has successfully showcased all the variants in the kitchen, including the smooth non-chill filtered Nadurra.
In the pot
Restaurant consultant and chef, Manu Mohi-ndra, whose New York cornbread happily co-exists with a meaty jambalaya (featuring 60 ml of The Glenlivet 18 YO) in the book, says the trick to featuring whisky on the plate is to stay clear of flavours that are too harsh. Avoid too many spices, he says, and always cook with low temperatures. In a country that prefers robust meal sizes and value for money over tapas portions, a good way to introduce single malts at the table would be to make it complimentary with the food. Understandably, given our liquor laws and taxes, Mohindra’s observation may not go down too well in our city. Incidentally, at home, he prefers to use the golden liquid in a sauce to be paired with ice cream, cake or pie. Like salt, the spirit enhances the flavour of seafood or the sweetness in a dessert, and must be used carefully. Reshii has ensured all recipes are suitable for the Indian kitchen, but jests that perhaps “chotu, who boils eggs and makes your chapatis” can be left out of the equation.
The book, priced at Rs.1,000 is available at Flipkart and select bookstores.