There are very few who can take criticism in their stride and work on them to improve. Those who have been following this blog will remember my not-so-pleasant experience at a blogger’s meet organised last year by 20:20 MSL, however this year was a complete turnaround. So-much- so, that in comparison it was a mother of good events.
It is not usual to receive brinjal (Baingan), Apple Guard (Tinda) & Bitter guard (Karela) in a beautiful box along with an invite to a bloggers meet. Invite made a simple statement – “Healthy can be tasty” but with ingredients like these, I know how tough it could be. I did not think twice and accepted the Saffola Masala Oats invite which also said that Chef Vikas Khanna will showcase how healthy can be unbelievable tasty.
Blue Frog was the venue where I have been couple of times for different meets, and I know that they understand such meets well and are equipped to handle pressures. Soon Vikas Khanna took over and with his trademark humbleness and soft voice started explaining why Indian food in west is not considered to be a healthy meal. He also asserted that he has been making a point that though this may be true for Indian restaurants but Indian meal served at homes is one of the most nutritious and is the only cuisine which is based on Ayurveda.
Those personal examples of his baoji (Grand Father) who lead a healthy life style till 95 years struck a chord with listeners. Those simple statements like one must walk for some time after meal and not to drink water during meals are simple and I have heard him many times, but it coming from a person whom you take as inspiration carries lot of weight and motivates you. His ability to mix Punjabi with English kept the environment very relaxed and light.
He made the first course with poached tindas, and scooped them from inside to fill in simple paneer, onion and bread crumbs filling. It was later grilled. I was the lucky one to get to taste the dish and though I wonder if it can be eaten with roti or chawal, but on its own made a wonderful dish.
There were few cooking face-off between contestants to cook healthy but tasty food with the given ingredients, and surprisingly they did well. Meaning, we only need to think a little out of box to turn out an innovative dish. I agree with Chef Vikas Khanna who says one doesn’t need cook books, if one has symmetry and can cook from heart. One should read cook books for ideas and entertainment and they should be treated as a bible. He cannot be more right!
I had one to one chit-chat with Chef Vikas Khanna for sometime which ranged from his interests and his experience with Master Chef India. It was a very proud moment when he mentioned that he follows Indian Food Freak, and unlike others also spoke about some of the posts he has read on the website. I cannot be happier!
Second round was to make an interesting dish with Oats. Everyone knows oats is healthy but most eat at breakfast. Bloggers made Oats upma, Oats Pizza, Oats kofta among other dishes, which one can easily replace with vegetables during lunch & dinner. It was a wonderful sight to see the entire kitchen staff of Blue Frog out to see Chef Vikas Khanna speak and learn from him.
Lunch was kept healthy too with lots of grilled and low fat options. A dessert even had oats on litchi jelly. Overall, it was a very well organised event, and not to forget the lovely gifts which included MasterChef Vikas Khanna book Khanna Sutra apart from different varieties of Oats by Saffola.