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Food for the soul

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Pop-up kitchens like the one that Kalpana Talpade runs are a great concept, says Ashish Shetty

Pop-up kitchens are the best innovation that has happened for foodies like us.

In Mumbai, this concept started some three years ago and there is no stopping them. I have attended a few so far, but the one which took me by surprise was Kalpana’s Kitchen.  The chef herself, Kalpana Talpade, is so positive, friendly and talkative; her family is also very friendly and helpful.

I read about this ‘Pathare Prabhu Thali Event’ and was curious to know about their cuisine.  So I called and the chef herself answered the call.  She gave me all the details I required and invited me for the event.

It was a pleasant Sunday morning and when I entered their residence, a petit sari-clad woman greeted me into the house.  There were a few others already seated in the drawing room.  At 12.30pm, when all the 12 guests had arrived, the lady who had welcomed us was none other than the chef herself.

A welcome drink, Kokum Sherbet, was being served and watermelon placed in front of us. We were asked to pick a watermelon piece and introduce ourselves.

Our chef then introduced us to her Pathare Prabhu community and cuisine.  While our introductions were going on, our chef excused herself and her son took over.

At 1 pm we were invited into her dining room where a table for 12 was laid out.  The chef wished us Bon Appetit and started serving her Pathare Prabhu delicacies.  We were served Chimbori che Khadkhadle (crabs cooked in garlic).  Since one of the guests was eating crabs for the first time, her son gave a demo of how to go about it!  I learned a few tips myself.

In the kitchen there were two helpers, one rolling hot phulkas for us and the other frying fresh fish.  I lost count of the dishes that were being served.  There was silence in the room as we were busy enjoying the food.

When someone asked her for the recipe, she willingly explained it and asked us to visit her channel Kalpana’s Kitchen on YouTube to get the details.  There were no secret recipes and they were willingly sharing these.

After our two-hour lunch was done, we were taken to the terrace garden where we got to see their kitchen garden.  A group photo was taken.  We were then served yummy dessert, Kharwas.  I was satisfied and full, but no sooner had I promised myself to not indulge in any eating till dinner, we were served with some delicious Paan Shots!  This drink was prepared using Maghai Paan from their kitchen garden.

While leaving their home, I felt that I had known this family for ages!

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