"Nuts and dried fruits form a significant part of Indian cooking and pantry."
Coming from a humble background in Pitampura, Dehli Saransh Goila is now recognized as one of the youngest celebrity chefs in India making both the Top 10 Chefs in India and Forbes 2019 Celebrity 100 lists in 2019. Acclaimed TV chef, award winning author and restaurateur, he is the founder of Goila Butter Chicken, the only brand from India to make it onto the legendary food show MasterChef Australia when Saransh appeared as a guest judge. In 2014 he set a record in the Limca Book of Records for being the first Indian chef to travel 20,000 km by road in India to discover the country’s food heritage.
Globally known for your restaurant Goila Butter Chicken and the said signature dish tell us, how did the idea for the restaurant first come about?
I happened to make this recipe accidentally. I wanted to create a dish that tasted like butter chicken but didn’t contain meat, for my vegetarian parents. When I moved to Mumbai and my friends here first ate the dish with chicken instead of paneer cheese, they loved it so much that they started a Twitter hashtag, #GoilaButterChicken. This then became my signature dish, which I started serving through my outlets and popups, and was of course seen on the epic TV show, MasterChef Australia, hence the idea for the restaurant.
What can people expect when they come to your restaurant?
Apart from the signature butter chicken being served in different formats, we do a bunch of dishes from different parts of India. There is a lot about Indian cuisine that we ourselves don’t know and we need to change that. Indian food is not only Mughlai or butter chicken, and the world needs to know that. It is a great time for our cuisine, and we all need to join the movement and Goila is a part of that journey.
How would you say you’ve reinvented the traditional Indian recipe of Butter Chicken for the modern-day palate?
It’s actually a home recipe. When I went to culinary school, I figured out a recipe where I would smoke this home gravy with coal and then serve it. So basically, it became more robust and smoky. That’s how I ended up infusing smoke into a traditional butter chicken gravy. I also reduced the amount of fat and dairy that goes into the dish. We don’t use any sugar, added more Kasuri methi, and tweaked the tomato to dairy ratio (80:20 as opposed to the usual 60:40), so that the flavors were more complex without the dish being overly rich and unhealthy. Goila Butter Chicken is lighter, home-style and guilt-free; something that a millennial would eat. The dish is more in sync with today. It’s not modern in its presentation
but in its flavor profile.
Talking about different food inspiration and creation, in your opinion, what are the best qualities nuts and dried fruits bring to Indian cuisine?
Nuts and dried fruits form a significant part of Indian cooking and pantry. Not only do they add a bit of crunch and nutty flavor to our desserts and salads but they are also used to thicken gravies and sauces, and make for a great healthier replacement to cream or butter. For my parents, it is a ritual to start their day with a handful of soaked mixed nuts and dried fruits. I tend to follow that tradition for the health benefits nuts and dried fruits bring with them and the feeling of fullness they give.
As a former contestant on a reality food show, Food Food Maha Challenge –that you went on to win– how did it feel being on the other side as a guest judge on MasterChef Celebrity Australia?
It was a dream come true. Everybody was so supportive and positive there. All the contestants and judges are cheering and applauding you and saying great things about you and your country. What’s not to love about that? Right! You can't match that feeling because when you realize you’re not just there to just represent yourself but you’re also there to represent your country, it felt like I was being tested as well, not just the contestants. I felt the need to make sure I spoke well, cooked well, and that I looked okay! I needed to make sure I was representing my country in the best way possible.
Chef, author, columnist, food consultant… what’s next on the agenda?
Entrepreneur! I’m looking forward to creating a line of products and opening more restaurants. I’m also hoping to do more and more food content in the coming years!
AND NOW FOR A QUICK-FIRE ROUND!What’s your first food memory?
Making a Jalebi when I was 13 years old!
When did you first discover your love of cooking?
When I started helping my grandpa in the kitchen every Sunday.
What do you think will be the next big food trend?
Indian food will trend across the globe.
What’s a recipe you think every aspiring chef should know and why?
I think everyone by default should know how to do a perfect Indian bread whether it’s a Roti or a Bhakri!
AND FINALLY, …Which nuts and dried fruits could you not live without?
Almonds and dried cranberries