An explosion of flavours

first_imgAamshotto dudhey pheli, tahatey kodoli doli, Shondesh makhia dia tatey Hapush-hupush shobdo, charidik nistobdho,Pipra kandia jae paate… (Aamshotto or sun-dried ripe mango mixed in milk, along with banana and shondesh (sweet). The sound of slurping echoes in the silence, making even ants (pipra) return, shedding tears into the empty plate because there’s nothing left for them). Ages ago, this was the quintessential Bengali breakfast. It was also quite popular at the Jorasanko residence of Rabindranath Tagore, who incidentally penned these lines that reflect his keen interest towards food even as a child. Over the years, the Tagore kitchen saw a perfect blend of Indian and Western influences; not only in recipes but also in the manner in which food was served – lunch was eaten with bare hands while seated on the floor and for dinner, food was served at the dining table, British style. Also Read – Drivers of the economyThe Tagores, all compulsive globetrotters, picked up recipes from far and wide. Dishes like British pie and Turkish kebab were as conventional in the Thakurbari as bhapa ilish (steamed hilsa) or roasted mutton cooked with pineapples. A most well-known delicacy was cauliflower sweetmeat, a deflection from the traditional chhana (unripe curd cheese) sweets or shondesh. Innovative Tagore dishes such as jackfruit yoghurt fish curry (without any fish), mutton cooked with mustard paste, parwal and prawn raita, cauliflower shondesh, jimikand (elephant yam) jalebi and dahi malpua were born. The Tagores are credited with having introduced the rampant use of sugar in Bengal cuisine. Also Read – The water pictureToday, fusion is the essence of creativity and the very word generates an ocean of emotions. And, it was not only popular in Thakurbari. It also holds good for a poor agrarian Bengali household. Ideally, the whole experience may be drawn to traditional times when people had to mix cuisines – sometimes by accident or otherwise by necessity or even more to substitute unavailable exotic ingredients with local options. In India, you may savour the Japanese-Peruvian cuisine, French patisserie, coronation chicken and kedgeree; you will even find Chinese (Indian style) made of spicy gravies, saucy noodles and the legendary chicken or vegetable Manchurian in chilli garlic sauce – all bearing very little resemblance to the actual Chinese food prevalent there. The parts of India closer to the borders of China and Mongolia – states such as Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Manipur – have a greater influence of Mongolian and Chinese cooking. The Mongolians introduced the use of hot pots and stews, also giving us new ingredients like mustard oil, sugar and the finger-licking dumplings. Recipes of the famous Mughlai cuisine that evolved during the medieval era have been widely influenced by cuisines of Central Asia. These are spicy, rich and exude a unique aroma of exquisite spices. Kebabs, biryani, Mughlai paranthas, pasandas, rezalas, sheer kormas and shahi tukras are relished across India. The first Europeans to arrive in India were the Portuguese in 1498. They brought with them ingredients like chillies, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes and cashew nuts which are widely used in Indian cuisine even today. British colonialists introduced cabbages and runner and broad beans into Indian cooking along with the technique to marinate meat portions in spices and chillies. Soups such as mulligatawny and salads also became a part of the Indian menu. English snacks including sponge cakes, lemon-curd tartlets and cucumber sandwiches are other common British legacies. The Parsis introduced bhakras (fried biscuits), kumas (fruit cakes); the Japanese got sushi (vinegar-flavoured rice rolled with cooked seafood, vegetables and egg in the centre), Udon (thick wheat noodles), the flavourful Yakitori (barbequed meat) and Tempura (batter-coated, deep-fried pieces of seafood, vegetables, mushrooms or meat), while the Greeks brought the delicate saffron, the melitzanosalata (grilled or smoked eggplant, with olive oil, onions, tomatoes, garlic and herbs which is very similar to our baingan bharta) along with spices like fenugreek and fennel. India has been a cuisine cauldron for ages and the food we eat today is a delicate balance of not only varied tastes and spices but also of different cultures which have lent a unique identity. “For proper fusion in food, it is important to ensure that taste is not distorted and that flavour is enjoyable. There’s nothing called authentic food. For example, the Chinese we make in India is totally different from what it actually is in China. The pasta we make here is quite different from that in Italy. People who dine two-three times a week would want to try something different every time they go out and hence, we need to keep experimenting to serve something new. And thus, fusion is important,” says Madhumita Mohanta, Executive chef, The Lalit, Kolkata. Invading communities have vastly influenced the food we eat, lending us the richness of our blended heritage. And, a walk along Kolkata will offer all you can perceive as the fragrance switches from cappuccino to cardamom, from the kebab to the korma, from the dim sum and the commonplace chowmein to the Himsagar mangoes and warm, freshly made rotis – making the experience more intriguing, more tempting. Executive chef Vikas Kumar of Flurys says: “Many chefs do not believe in fusion. It is important to balance the flavours properly. Mostly, fusion happens in bakery and confectionary items. In Flurys, we have the kosha mangsho puff which is very popular. We also have the bhetki paturi puff which is usually prepared during special festivities. Then sushi with mango and rice, misti doi and tiramisu are other fusion attractions. With mocktails, chefs try to incorporate seasonal fruits, even exotic ones sometimes. We have a premium range of chocolates known as ‘Mr & Mrs Flury’ which has apricot and candied olives mixed with white chocolate.” Not to mention, their dark marzipan filled chocolates are simply unparalleled. Kolkata still “bears the genes of colonialism’s shrewd father and sybaritic mother”. And food, for that matter, is “every Calcuttan’s rite of passage”. Here, the royal gourmet lives on the taste of one’s youth, steeped in a legacy of its own, while marked by an innate synthesis of the East and West, more precisely in matters of the mind and gastronomy. (The author is Associate Editor, Millennium Post)last_img read more

World energy consumption to grow 49 by 2035 – International Energy Outlook

first_imgWorld marketed energy consumption is set to grow 49% between 2007 and 2035, driven by economic growth in the developing nations of the world, according to the Reference case projection from the International Energy Outlook 2010 (IEO2010), released yesterday by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). “Renewables are the fastest-growing source of world energy supply, but fossil fuels are still set to meet more than three-fourths of total energy needs in 2035 assuming current policies are unchanged,” said EIA Administrator Richard Newell.The global economic recession that began in 2007 and continued into 2009 has had a profound impact on near-term prospects for world energy demand. Total marketed energy consumption contracted by 1.2% in 2008 and by an estimated 2.2% in 2009, as manufacturing and consumer demand for goods and services declined. In the Reference case, as the economic situation improves, most nations are expected to return to the economic growth rates that were projected prior to the downturn. Total world energy use in the Reference case rises 49%, from 495 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2007 to 739 quadrillion Btu in 2035.The report says that China and India are among the nations least impacted by the global recession, and they will continue to lead the world’s economic and energy demand growth into the future. In 2007, China and India together accounted for about 20% of total world energy consumption. With strong economic growth in both countries over the projection period, their combined energy use more than doubles by 2035, when they account for 30% of world energy use in the IEO2010 Reference case. In contrast, the projected US share of world energy consumption falls from 21% in 2007 to about 16% in 2035.Other report highlights include:• From 2007 to 2035, total world energy consumption rises by an average annual 1.4% in the IEO2010 Reference case. Strong economic growth among the non-OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) nations drives the increase. Non-OECD energy use increases by 2.2%/y; in the OECD countries energy use grows by only 0.5%/y• Petroleum and other liquid fuels remain the largest energy source worldwide through 2035, though projected higher oil prices erode their share of total energy use from 35% in 2007 to 30% in 2035• In the absence of additional national policies and/or binding international agreements that would limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions, world coal consumption is projected to increase from 132 quadrillion Btu in 2007 to 206 quadrillion Btu in 2035, at an average annual rate of 1.6%. China alone accounts for 78% of the total net increase in world coal use from 2007 to 2035• World net electricity generation increases by 87%, from 18.8 trillion kWh in 2007 to 35.2 trillion kWh in 2035. Renewables are the fastest growing source of new electricity generation, increasing by 3.0%/y in the Reference case; followed by coal-fired generation, which increases by 2.3%/y• In the IEO2010 Reference case, world industrial energy consumption grows 66%, from 184 quadrillion Btu in 2007 to 262 quadrillion Btu in 2035. The non-OECD economies account for about 95% of the world increase in industrial sector energy consumption in the Reference case• In the IEO2010 Reference case, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rise from 29,700 Mt in 2007 to 42,400 Mt in 2035 – an increase of 43%. Much of the increase in carbon dioxide emissions is projected to occur among the developing nations of the world, especially in Asia.The IEO2010 highlights can be found on EIA’s web site at: read more