Nostalgic Deconstrution of Biriyani

Creating a menu which triggers Nostalgia is something beyond just taste, it would need more than just one sensory gland to justify memories; Sights, smells, sounds and textures have a huge influence in our enjoyment of food.

There are, however, limits to what one can do in the kitchen- improvisation by using various techniques which are new and acceptable gives the edge in recreating memories; I believe this is where Molecular Gastronomy proves it is here to stay in this ever evolving industry of culinary arts.

So when I got the opportunity to dream up a twelve course menu which was inspired by memories of my childhood; I needed to teleport back in time and pick a few out of the infinite number of possible variants, Not only all were comfort food but easy preparation manuals, Replicating a recipe is easy but to bring back a memory when the first bite hits the palate is a tricky affair.

 These are some of the techniques which I followed; below are some brief about the same which might enable to be a better understanding of the procedures invoked.
Reverse Spherefication: It is submerging of a calcium rich content in an alginate bath to form a sphere- Raitha which has calcium content is submerged on sodium alginate to form a sphere, created a sphere using raitha with a touch of gluco without hampering the taste.
Dehydration: A process where any food substance is dried on low temperatures, until all the moisture is removed without hampering the colors and keeping most of the flavor intact, A dehydrator is an apt tool to get 100% of the desired results- I dehydrated green chillies and cucumber to obtain a dust similarity.
Metil gel -Gelifier extracted from the cellulose of vegetables. Unlike other gelifies, Metil (with a metilcellulose base) gelifies when heat is applied. When cold it acts as a thickener. There is a wide range of viscosity in metilcellulose, which affects the final result of the gelification, I created an amalgamation of sorts and added metil to Salan gravy, and heating it in front of the guest using a blow torch, and to top it fried a Shimla Mirch and topped it.

Infusion- A new technique recently applied by some chefs and bartenders is the rapid infusion with the ISI Whip, The most interesting feature about this technique is that, It proves that drastic cooling of an ingredient too will infuse flavours, Heat was the general factor in infusions but here the opposite just works better, This technique is not only simple, inexpensive and fast but it also captures the delicate fresh aroma compounds of the solid ingredient as it doesn’t require heat. Just put the solid flavourful ingredient in the ISI Whip, fill with the liquid to be infused, charge it with N2O, swirl, and wait for a minute or so, vent the gas out of the whippier and strain the infused liquid, I used this to create a Gram masala & saffron Oil with a touch of dehydrated tomato and onion powder, which are all the necessary culprits of a biryani and used this fat as a medium for Confit….Confit????

Confit: are usually prepared from the legs of the bird. The meat is salted and seasoned with herbs, and slowly cooked submerged in its own rendered fat (never to exceed 85 °C (185 °F), in which it is then preserved by allowing it to cool and storing it in the fat, I followed the same principle but used the Infused fat to Confit my chicken, and reserved the fat for another procedure with the help of Malt dextrin.

Malt dextrin : Flavour Powder: This technique is very easy and will definitely surprise your diners. It is a great way of transforming regular ingredients from liquid or solid into powder to add a new dimension to your dish. The powder melts in your mouth as soon as it gets in contact with your tongue. The sensation is pretty cool. The process of converting a high-fat liquid into powder is very simple. The high fat ingredient should be liquefied first if it is solid, chilled and then mixed with Tapioca Maltodextrin using a starting ratio of 60% fat to 40% Tapioca Maltodextrin. More Tapioca Maltodextrin should be added if necessary. To make the powder fluffier, I followed the same technique to restore the infused fat back where it belongs …..this case it’s a flavoured Biryani Aroma but packed in powders.

Pressure Cooked: As a tribute to my Mom,( I just cooked the Basmati with kewra water and saffron)  during my school days she used to stir up the pressure cooker with all the ingredients of a biryani and somehow she nails it, The pressure cooked biryani in the Hawkins cooker has always baffled me, How was she able to precise it? It is a million dollar question even after me understanding some of the techniques in Molecular gastronomy it still baffles me.  

And, This Deconstruction of Nostalgia Biryani is a tribute to her efforts to win me over every single time I opened that lunch box.   

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