WomenNow Living Foodz Dilli Haat Cook-Off & Winner Recipes
The Living Foodz Dilli Haat Cook-Off! This was the first ever cooking contest in the Bay Area with celebrity judge Chef Ranveer Brar of Master Chef India fame organised by WomenNow TV on 18th June in collaboration with Living Foodz. This was the chance of Bay Area foodies to meet celebraity Chef Brar.
I got an opportunity to be one of the judges for the contest along with Chef Ranveer Brar and was able to witness this amazing event very closely.
A big applaud to Ena Sarker, Somedutta Sengupta and other volunteers of WomenNow TV Dilli Haat Cook-Off contest for pulling off such a big event so efficiently.
Special thanks to Manasi WG Photography for capturing this event so beautifully
The event commenced with participants arranging their amazing dishes. More than 50 foodies participated and presented their best dishes. They had to prepare a dish with secret ingredients which were chayote squash, chia seeds and corn.
I was accompanied with other talented judges who were eminent bloggers, food entreprenurs and restaurant owners from Bay Area. We had to judge and shortlist 10 final dishes out of 51. Chef Ranveer Brar would select the top 3 from the shortlisted 10 dishes.
The criteria for judging the dish was use of secret ingredients, creativity, presentation, healthy and taste.
After the 1st round of judging we were headed to the live demo of corn kebabs by Chef Ranveer Brar. This was one of the most valuable part of the event. Chef Ranveer Brar cooked the kebabs with the secret ingredients given to the participants.
Along with demo he also entertained audience with his witty remarks and great tips. Here are some which were worth documenting. He asked audience about non indian veggies which they think are difficult to use in Indian food and then mentioned how they can use them in their day to day cooking.
Use parsley in desserts
Use avocado in mint chutney
Use artichoke with potato sabzi
Broccoli tastes great when marinated and grilled
Plum oil is great for frying
Fresh veggies are better than frozen
Plum sugar is better than white..jaggery is better than plum..sugarcane juice is better than plus sugar and sugarcane is better than sugarcane juice..less processed means better food.
I liked this quote of him: “Cooking is like cricket..someday it’s ur day and someday it’s not”
A good cook is the one who doesn’t cook the same thing ever and makes the same dish in different ways everytime he cooks it for e.g. try adding sauf or dahi to your same daal which you make daily.
As per him eat calories and burn them equally..Eating everything in moderation is the key to his fitness.
After the demo, Chef Brar judged the shortlisted 10 dishes and selected the top 3.
He made sure that he spoke to the top 10 finalist individually about how they made the dish, their inspiration behind it, use of ingredients etc.
He also clicked candid pics with all his fans 🙂
Here are the top 3 winners
1st Prize: Anu Meha: Maple Squash Cake With Toasted Almond And Chia Seeds Praline & Corn & Ginger Custard Sauce
For the Cake:
Whole wheat pastry flour: 2 cups
Baking powder: 1 ½ tsp
Baking soda: 1 ½ tsp
Sea salt: ½ tsp
All spice powder: 1 tsp
Grated chayote squash: 2 cups
Olive oil: ½ cup
Maple syrup 1 ½ cups
Apple sauce: ½ cup
For the Praline:
Toasted almonds: ½ cup
Toasted chia seeds: ½ cup
White sugar: ½ cup
Butter: 2 tbsp
Brown sugar: ¼ cup
Milk: 1/8 cup
Seal salt: 1 tbsp
Lemon zest: 1 tsp
Vanilla extract: ½ tsp
For the Custard:
Whole fresh corn: 2
Whole milk: 600 ml
Fresh cream: 100 ml
Vanilla extract: 1 tsp
Granulated sugar: ½ cup
Corn flour: 2 tbsp
Grated ginger: 1 tbsp
Make the Cake:
Pre heat oven to 350 F.
Grease 2 8 inches round baking pans with some olive oil.
Sift together all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt) and put aside.
In a separate bowl, put the olive oil and maple syrup and whisk until incorporated. Now add the apple sauce and the all spice powder and whisk again.
Squeeze the water out of the grated chayote and add to the oil and maple syrup mixture.
Now add the dry mixture to the oil mixture in parts and fold in slowly. Do not over-mix the cake batter.
Once the batter is ready, pour it into the 2 baking pans prepared (divide equally).
Put in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean or if you press you cake, it springs back to its original shape.
Cool the cakes on cooling rack.
Make the Praline:
In a saucepan, put together the butter, white sugar, brown sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Cook this caramel on a low medium heat.
Keep stirring the caramel until it turns brown and then finally seizes and forms caramel crystals.
Quickly put it into a food processor with toasted almonds and chia seeds and blitz together to get a biscuit consistency.
Now to this praline, add some seal salt and fresh lemon zest to bring some acidity and brightness which will help cut through the sweetness of the caramel granules.
Make the Custard:
Boil the whole corn and scrape off the corn kernels using a knife.
Now add butter in a saucepan followed by grated ginger. Add the corn and let the 2 caramelize until the corn becomes brown and smell nice and toasted.
Add the milk, cream, vanilla extract and corn flour to the saucepan and boil the mixture on high while stirring.
Once the mixture boils, lower the heat and add the sugar.
Cook the mixture for sometime while the custard thickens. Please keep stirring to prevent any lump formation.
After the custard reaches a rich pourable sauce consistency, turn off the heat and pour the custard into a mixer to grind the corn pieces.
Now pass the custard sauce through a fine sieve to get rid of any corn pieced or big ginger pieces. You will be left with a creamy custard sauce.
Put a layer of cake, followed by some pineapples caramelized in butter and maple syrup, followed by the crunchy toasted praline. Repeat another layer of cake, pineapple and praline and then pour the custard sauce on top and enjoy!
About Anu in her own words:
“Originally from Bihar, Jharkhand, I have always been fond of food. My grandmother and mom have been exceptional cooks and I think I acquired my sense of taste and understanding of spices from them. I have always been experimental with my food but since I moved to the US 5 years back for my Masters program, I have a grown a passion for cooking. It is the one thing that helps me de-stress, it makes me happy and satisfied. An ideal weekend would be buying the freshest seafood along with other fresh vegetables and fruits, play some beautiful country music, pour a glass of the smoothest cabernet and create an amazing seafood dish with a light dessert. I love to cook dishes from different regions of India, there is so much variety in the food in India that there is always something new to try. I also experiment a lot with global cuisines, like French desserts and Vietnamese pho and Italian Tiramisu. I have a fondness for baking and I draw most of my inspirations from the show Masterchef Australia. I dream to be on that show one day as a contestant. I am currently a data analyst by profession but that is not where my passion lies. I feel alive when I cook and I am planning my next steps in that direction.
The inspiration for my dessert for the cook-off was also from Masterchef Australia. I wanted to make sure that I have elements that can go well together and would taste good on a hot summer day. I wanted to have crunch with the praline and a sauce to keep the dessert nice and moist. The pineapples were added to keep the dessert fresh. The most important additions were ginger, lemon zest and sea salt. The ginger keeps a dish very earthy and gives it a very deep flavor. The lemon zest brings brightness and acidity to a dish and especially a dessert to prevent it from being over sweet. The sea salt is a must in anyone’s kitchen who loves baking. Many people think that salt and sweet are contradictory but it is the salt that brings out and enhances the sweetness of a dish. I hope you like this recipe and you try it out.”
2nd Prize: Deepa Basavaraj: Thatte Kadabu (seasoned dumplings)
Thatte Kadabu is a steamed delicacy enjoyed by everyone when served with spicy chutneys and potato saagu! Traditionally kadabu is prepared using coarse rice but I have replaced it with sooji/rava. The inclusion of Chayote squash, Corn and Chia makes it even healthier and tasty. Many sides complement this dish like coconut chutney, red chilly chutney, tomato chutney, vegetable saagu and so on..
Serves – 3 On the side
Preparation time – 30 minutes
Ingredients for Thatte Kadabu
In a bowl mix coarse sooji, fine sooji, and salt.
In a pan prepare the seasoning. Add oil, and fry the cashew till golden color and keep it aside.
In the same oil add chana dal, mustard seeds, and hing (asafoetida). Allow them to pop and then add green chilies, curry leaves, chayote squash and corn (fresh or frozen). Mix them well and cook for 2 minutes and turn off the flame.
To this add the sooji mix and mix it well. Allow it to cool.
Switch on the cooker and add water as required to steam.
Grease the cooker plates or dhokla plates and garnish the plates with cashews.
When ready to steam add the chia seeds, curd, finely chopped coriander, and coconut to the sooji mix and mix it well. The consistency should be little thicker than idli batter and add water if required.
Immediately add ENO or fruit salt and give it a quick mix and pour the batter to the plates to get the required thickness.
Place the stands in the cooker and steam it for 10 minutes. Allow them to cool a bit and serve them hot topped with some butter and along with chutney and potato saagu on the side ☺
On side: Coconut and peanuts chutney, Potato saagu and tomato and red chilli chutney
About Deepa in her own words:
“By profession I am in to IT but since childhood I have been trying out recipes and everyone in the family loved what I made:) That encouragement grew into passion and someday I dream of having my space to express and share my recipes !. To keep the traditional recipes alive I have concentrated more on North Karnataka recipes in my blog with some fusion as I find many blogs already having recipes for chaats, roti’s and north Indian sabzi’s and so on..
I plan to include more recipes for millets (ragi, samo, navane), flax seeds, and recipes which are not available at restaurants. I can be followed @ www.itsfuncooking.com and FB page https://www.facebook.com/itsfuncooking/.”
3rd Prize: Shalini Goel: Super Trio
1 cup grated Chayote Squash
2 table spoon Chia seeds
1.5 liter Milk
¾ cup Sugar
1 cup boiled sweet Corn
2 table spoon Corn flour
Ghee for frying
Heat 1 table spoon Ghee in a pan, add grated Squash and sauté it for 4-5 minutes on medium heat. Keep it aside.
Boil Corn and grind it to a coarse paste, add corn flour to it and mix well. Heat ghee in a Kadai. Make Boondi (not so round) and keep it aside.
Boil milk in a pan, add squash and mix well. Cook on a medium high heat for 40-45 minutes and stir occasionally.
Add sugar, mix well and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes or till sugar is dissolved completely. Switch off the stove.
Add Chia seeds and mix well. Keep aside to cool completely. Mix it well and refrigerate.
Add Corn Boondi just before serving.
About Shalini in her own words
“I am home maker I love cooking specially sweets”.
The dress which I chose to wear for this occasion if rom Riya Siya Salon in Vadodara India
View all pics on below gallery