How this Malayali couple went on a culinary voyage during the lockdown

Venket Seetharaman and his spouse, Swapna Balakrishnan, turned the lockdown into a culinary expedition round the world. Gourmets and avid travellers, they determined to recreate completely different cuisines and escape the confines of the lockdown by taking the spice route.

“We have travelled to 26 countries and was really missing the excitement of discovering new places and cultures. We had planned to visit Vietnam in 2020 when COVID-19 disrupted our plans. During the lockdown, we were trying to recollect our holidays abroad by cooking a dish from that country and bringing the world to our plates,” says Venket.

Matoke made with uncooked, unripe banana, a widespread dish in Kenya  
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special arrangement

After relocating from the U.S. 4 years in the past, the couple settled in Thiruvananthapuram. As each of them get pleasure from cooking and experimenting in the kitchen, they arrange a kitchen backyard to simply procure herbs comparable to basil, thyme, lemon grass, mint and rosemary.

“By the time the lockdown was lifted, we had travelled to 15 countries through their cuisines. Most of the recipes were taken from YouTube. Today, it is so easy to get recipes from any corner of the world, learn from online classes or cookery groups and enhance your culinary skills. Most of what we cooked were vegetarian but if there were non-vegetarian ingredients, we made it by substituting non-vegetarian ingredients with paneer and tofu as we are vegetarians,” explains Venkat.

Pao de queijo from Brazil is made with tapioca flour and cheese

Pao de queijo from Brazil is made with tapioca flour and cheese
| Photo Credit:
special arrangement

Once they completed their cooking, they plated it nicely, added a little explainer about the delicacies, took a {photograph} and posted it on Facebook. “For instance, Ceviche is a typical South American dish that uses marinated raw fish or some kind of seafood. We trawled the net to find a vegan recipe and came across one that uses coconut meat instead. Both of us found it delicious,” says Swapna.

Although, African meals is predominantly non-vegetarian, the couple discovered a Kenyan recipe manufactured from uncooked bananas. “All these are found in plenty in Kerala and so we made Matoke, a stew bursting with flavours, which can be paired with meat, bread or rice. Even our octogenarian grandmother enjoyed it,” provides Venket. The Brazilians’ pao de queijo, made with tapioca flour and cheese, was made with tapioca flour and Cheddar cheese.

Wattalappam from Sri Lanka

Their favorite cuisines are Thai and Mexican. Venket says that about a decade in the past, vegetarians did discover it tough to search out meals that didn’t have some form of non-vegetarian extracts. “But now with vegans becoming a force to reckon with, vegetarian food is never a problem,” says Venket. At current, he’s attempting his hand at making mocktails.

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