New Delhi: A modern twist to vegetarian cooking. Growing up Renu Dalal’s childhood was filled with gourmet meals made by her late mother Tarla Dalal, renowned Indian food writer, chef, cookbook author, and cooking show host.
Being drawn to the culinary arts at a young age, she continues her mother’s legacy, and has authored two cookbooks titled ‘Modern Vegetarian Recipes’ and ‘Simple and Delicious Vegetarian Recipes’. Renu talks to IANSlife about her food style, which combines ingredients from around the world with techniques from traditional Indian cuisine.
To begin, what prompted you to follow in your mother’s footsteps?
RD: In my childhood, I did see my mother create all these fabulous dishes with love and affection. Her cookery book photo shoots, and cooking classes were all part of my formative years. When I started inventing and creating my own recipes I did decide to follow in her footsteps. I always admired the way she taught and communicated.
What distinguishes your recipes or cooking techniques from conventional cooking methods and recipes?
RD: I do try and make my recipes as simple as possible. Simply written, simple to follow, and delicious to taste. The recipes are inventive, fusion, and an all-time classic. I try to bring something new to the table which brings happiness and joy to the family. Currently, food should look attractive and taste even better. There are different ways of presentation which I do show thru photographs also.
What have you discovered about yourself while writing the two books?
RD: Well writing a book is a discovery of oneself. You have to learn to communicate with the reader and have them enjoy and relish the recipes from the book. In each book I evolve a lot more and brink something new on the table. The name of my third book is ‘A tablespoon of love, recipes from my heart’, the title speaks for itself.
Your childhood’s favourite gourmet meal.
RD: Waffles and baked Alaska cake
One of your mother’s best pieces of advice that have motivated you to continue in her footsteps.
RD: Give your 200 percent in whatever you do. Work with sincerity and honesty and you must love and enjoy your work.
What cooking advice would you provide to a novice?
RD: It is not difficult to cook, you can create delicious food at home. Read a recipe properly, gather all the ingredients, and get started. You can follow written recipes and/or YouTube videos whatever you find convenient. A wide variety of ingredients is easily available today which makes cooking simpler.
Renu Dalal shares her favourite recipe with IANSlife, a soft vanilla sponge cake with peach, praline and whipped cream to add joy to your upcoming Christmas celebrations…
Peach Praline Cake
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Refrigeration time: 30 minutes
1 Vanilla Sponge cake
1 Cup Sliced Tinned Peaches
2 Cups Whipped Cream whipped
1 1/2 Cups Crushed praline
For the sugar syrup
1/2 Cup Water
1 tbsp Sugar
For the sugar syrup
In a pan add water, and sugar and boil till it dissolves. Let it cool.
How to proceed
Cut the vanilla sponge into two equal halves from the middle.
Apply sugar syrup on both halves.
Layer one base with whipped cream, top up with tinned peaches, and 3 tbsp of Praline.
Cover with the second sponge cake.
Decorate and garnish with whipped cream.
Generously coat and garnish with the remaining praline.
Let the cake set for 30 minutes in the refrigerator and serve.