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Food Iterations & Molecular Gastronomy

Talk about the words that are being thrown dime a dozen these days, in the food circle, "Molecular Gastronomy".

Humans, being the curious beings that they are, have since ages tried to break down and rebuild everything around them. Be it the molecules that the universe is made of, or Reverse Engineer the only Alien Aircraft that we have, stashed away at Area 51 (well, maybe). You get the point, though.

Molecular Gastronomy, dwells into these very realms. Being an Engineer, and a Science person myself, it shouldn't surprise anyone of where my loyalties lie. 

Humans, though, are also very different from one another. We are not like the Bee Colony. With All Hail the Queen attitude, or the necessity of social strata being developed inside the colony, where everyone has a purpose, and everyone works for the benefit of the colony. Point being, we are Individuals, with our own set of ideologies and beliefs.

One such belief, that irked me, was this comment by the young Celebrity Chef, Saransh Goila, in one of his interviews to Delhi Food Walks.:
I have never used any molecular gastronomic techniques. I personally think that it does not work for Indian cuisines.... I don’t think it works as a restaurant which functions all across the industry.
Molecular Gastronomy, for me, is simple. It's a reaction, like in chemistry. Might be a chemical one, might be a physical one. The elements, that we might end up playing here with, could be as simple as Texture (Simple, because I believe touch is the sense that humans can relate to very easily), or as complicated as flavor (where taste is detected through multiple sensations).


But what kind of elements, can we manipulate, in this science? A few that come to mind are: Temperature, Texture, Aroma, Flavour, Ingredients to the last milligram, substitutes for food components like sugar etc. And now, try and compare the same to what exists in the Indian Palette. I might be breaking the science here into something crude & simpler, that really doesn't require much technique, but elaborating the same stuff that we have always done to food, we'll see that Molecular Gastronomy as a term might be new, but we have always done that to build our palette.

So, let's pick at the Kulfi, which comes in many flavours, and textures as a dish when you add Falooda to it. Let's not forget, the Falooda itself comes in many textures and flavours. Glass Noodle-ish with the Kulfi, or spherical balls, with your favorite ice cream, or in your favorite shake. Let's pick at something in a different spectrum now, the famous Indian Pickles now. In terms of flavour and ingredient manipulation, and the techniques involved including fermentation, sun drying etc, they most definitely do scratch on our discussion topic here. Dals (commonly known as Lentils) are had in a plethora of ways: From the powdery Gun Powder to the semi liquid Curry, to the pancakey Chilla. There's also my favorite dish, in the whole wide world, which is a mash of Papad and Bhindi Masala, for both the extra crunchiness and spice. You might call a few of the above examples as Fusion, or Food Iterations, but I do believe they still fall in the realm of Food Science.

Perhaps, most readers who end up here, would know more about Molecular Gastronomy than me. Food Science, is after all, not my Science, and what do I really know? I am not the expert. But it does feel bad to me, when promising young chef's in India, fail to realize the effect that Molecular Gastronomy or Food Science can have on the Indian Palette, and invest time into it.

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