India Unplated: A culinary journey with chefs Helly Raichura, Adam D’Sylva and Sandeep Pandit

By Neeru Saluja

Join celebrated Indian-Australian chefs Helly Raichura, Adam D’Sylva and Sandeep Pandit on a culinary journey on SBS’s new food documentary series, India Unplated.

Through this journey you will travel from the far north to the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent, exploring and celebrating the diversity and complexity of India’s regional cuisines. You will learn how to make dishes like Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani, Bengali Fish Curry, Lamb Korma, Dal Pakwan, Dal Dhokla, Chingri Malai and Cheat’s Rasmalai.

We talked to the hosts of the show as each of them bring a fresh take on Indian cuisine, sharing their secret recipes and stories from their homeland.

Adam D’Sylva

Chef Adam D’Sylva grew up in an Indian-Italian household where his meals were a bowl of pasta and a big curry bowl on the table every night. A strong believer that ”˜fusion is confusion’, Adam does not like mix both the cuisines.

“I want to show the audience my experience of growing up in Australia. My Indian dishes have an Aussie touch to it and I use modern techniques and knowledge I have learnt from across the world. I also like to use Australian produce. I’ll be making a Daal Risotto, Chicken Biryani and Corn Pakora on the show,” reveals Adam, the owner of two of Melbourne’s most successful restaurants ”” Coda and Tonka.

My recipes are not traditional and super complicated, I want people to replicate my recipes in their kitchens as they are easy and simple to make. Indian food is all about the balance of spices, and if you want to start cooking Indian food just get started with a spice rack, lots of ginger, garlic and chilli! A little practice will make any cook an expert, just give it a go and once you master a dish you will fall in love with it,” tells Adam.

Helly Raichura

Chef Helly Raichura became an Indian household name when her infamous ”˜Pasta not pasta dish’ (a spin on Khandvi) was cooked on MasterChef Australia. “Khandvi was one of the first dishes that got popular in Australia. I think that was the beginning when regional cuisine started getting more limelight than butter chicken and the vindaloos. This series is all about regional cuisine, the Australian community is now opening their eyes to regional food, the right way of eating and cooking Indian food rather than being preference based or stereotyping the food,” says Helly.

A passionate cook, Helly Raichura worked in human resources Monday to Friday and spent her weekends working in a restaurant to learn different cooking techniques before she started her own venture EnterviaLaundry few years ago. “I never planned to start EnterviaLaundry, I was experimenting with new dishes and started inviting friends over to taste them. One night two groups of friends turned up and the concept just happened organically.

For Helly, keeping her Indian culture and heritage alive via food means a lot. So will she be sharing her secret family recipes on the show? “Yes, absolutely. I’m not an expert on Indian cuisine but I’m constantly reading about Indian food, researching and listening to the recipes from elders and documenting as I go. I somehow feel responsible to showcase these recipes so people have access to them.”

 “The viewers will expect a lot of regional dishes from me. They will be watching my best version of authentic cuisine. I would be encouraging the viewers to stick to the recipes and buying the exact ingredients from the shops. If they do so, I’ll be successful in what I wanted to achieve through this show.”

Sandeep Pandit

Sandeep Pandit was the first contestant in MasterChef Australia history to win a perfect 30 score with an immunity pin. His Lobster Masala is considered one of the best dishes in the MasterChef Australia’s history and he is keen to keep his love for traditional Indian cooking alive via India Unplated.

A food and history geek, his cuisine curiosity started when he travelled in trains as a child on family trips and discovered the diversity of Indian cuisines. As he experimented with new dishes, the ”˜Spice Angel’ fell in love with the variety and texture of Indian spices. “My culinary aim is to become the grandmother of all! Food from one’s grandmother is the strongest memory of Indian cuisine. I want to make food exactly as their grandmum made it. One of the Kashmiri Indian dishes I make on the show is a family favourite and is exactly the same as my mum would serve it to my father,” tells Sandeep.

 “We will celebrate Indian food in a way that has never happened before on Indian television. Every episode will be a homage to a region of India. There will be stories about these dishes. Indian food is much more than spicy food, butter chicken and naan. I’m happy to be born in a place where food is so rich and refined, I consider Indian food as the original degustation food,” says Sandeep.

“God has given me the gift of gab and spoon, therefore I want to be the voice for Indian food and transform the way people think about Indian food in Australia. Do join me, Adam and Helly on SBS Food as India Unplated premieres on Thursday 23 September at 8pm.”

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