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“The modern Indian household loves to experiment”
Monday, 06 April, 2020, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Renu Dalal, daughter of the late legendary chef and cook book author Tarla Dalal is taking her mother's legacy forward. She is author of the books Simple and Delicious Vegetarian Recipes and Modern Vegetarian Recipes. She gives a sneak peek into her two books, her future plans and how Indian cooking is changing, in an email interview with Ranjana Sharma. Excerpts:

Who inspired you to become a chef? Who are your role models (both professional and personal)?
My mother, the late Tarla Dalal, has inspired me to become a chef and write books. She is my role model. 

What challenges did you face in your career, and what steps did you take to overcome the same?
I have authored two cook books - Modern Vegetarian Recipes and Simple & Delicious Vegetarian Recipes. It was challenging to get my books into the market and have them distributed across India. Also it was a challenge to get these books designed and printed to a good standard so that the readers of the book would find it easy and simple to follow my recipes.

How did you come up with unorthodox pairings like Mexican Panipuri and Waffle Idli?
These recipes arose in the quest to get something new on the table, attractive to look at, and delicious to eat. In the recipe for Mexican panipuri I have also shown a way to serve it. You can serve it in small glasses to give a novelty factor. The kidney beans, yellow corn and potatoes make up the stuffing in the puri. The pani has an interesting combination to give it the Indian-Mexican fusion. The waffle idli delight is also very interesting. Waffles made from idli batter are very tasty and can be eaten on its own. Topped with two types of chutney and potato topping it makes a very interesting bite.

Which are your signature dishes?
Each individual book I’ve written features a number of signature dishes. In Modern Vegetarian Recipes, there are:
Layered Mexican salad
Paneer wraps
Samosa curry
Baked peach yoghurt
And Simple & Delicious Vegetarian Recipes has:
Cucumber and jalapeno chiller
Cucumber cups
Purple yam (kand) balls
No bake oreo tarts 

What are the most challenging tasks in your life?
Finding a balance between my professional and personal lives. On the professional front I have lots of different projects on my table.

What are the international flavours which you use?
I use a variety of international flavours for my recipes. Some of the flavours I use are Mexican, Italian and Asian.

What are your popular recipes for Indians?
My popular recipes for Indians are moong dal chilla, paneer wrap, palakdhapkakadhi, lilva biryani, chana dal and palak dhokla, rose flavoured shrikhand to name a few.

Your first book is based on modern vegetarian recipes. Are you trying to promote vegan Food?
In my second book Simple & Delicious Vegetarian Recipes I have labelled recipes vegan and or gluten-free where applicable. Vegetarian food is trending worldwide and people sometimes have dietary restrictions. I have simply made it easier to find the recipes when dietary restrictions apply.

Give us a sneak peek into your second book.
My second book Simple & Delicious Vegetarian Recipes is divided into six sections. 1. Beverages 2.Soups and salads 3.Starters and more 4. On the table. 5. For the sweet tooth. 6. Basic recipes. The recipes are marked vegan and gluten-free where applicable.  It is a four-colour book with 33 photographs including grid photography.

You are a food writer. How do you choose the topics for your books? Which are your forthcoming titles?
Well I do enjoy penning cookbooks. I get a deep sense of satisfaction when a reader makes and relishes recipes from my book. I do see what is trending and frequently incorporate the feedback I receive into my books. Finally the book should bring satisfaction and happiness to the table through the medium of food. 

What are your future plans?  
I do keep penning new recipes and ideas. The Indian palate is undergoing a change. The modern Indian household loves to experiment with different types of cuisines and new ideas.

Are you planning to launch any new recipe or new book?
 Yes, of course. I am always on the look out for new ideas and concepts.
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