Fashion Designer Nachiket Barve shares his food memories, favourite dishes and more
My favourite dish
Golden Fried Prawns with a Honey Soy Dip
I love to cook
Green Thai Curry
Five things you’ll always find in my fridge
Milk, eggs, champagne, cheese and fruit
A childhood food memory
My mother feeding me cubed alphonso mangoes from our family orchards, on our terrace. That’s probably my earliest food memory.
I started cooking…
At the age of 8. I remember making an omelette for myself after school. I couldn’t light the gas and my neighbour would help me do that, since my parents were working doctors.
My favourite cuisines
Thai, Italian and Indian – I favour food that uses simple, fresh ingredients.
My favourite ingredient
Eggs. They are versatile and can be cooked in so many ways.
Best food destinations
Thailand and Singapore
Where I get my recipes
The internet, especially BBCgoodfood.com. I usually cook using my imagination rather than recipes. Jamie Oliver and Donna Hay have some great, easy stuff as well.
My favourite dining companion
My wife Surabhi, though she’s vegetarian, so we cannot share food. But we enjoy cooking together and sharing food experiences.
The best meal I’ve ever had
Varan bhat and fried prawns at home. I also relished a meal of fresh oysters on the beach in Normandy, picked up by divers and served with champagne.
The restaurants I love
Indigo Deli in Mumbai, hole-in-the-wall places in old Goa run by homemakers who cook fish, and a lot of trattorias around Florence.
Honey Tossed Flat Noodles
2 packets flat noodles
600 gms assorted vegetables (green,red, yellow bell peppers, mushrooms, baby corn, carrots, French beans, broccoli
Spring onions, finely chopped to garnish
1.5 inch cube ginger, julienned
10-15 cloves garlic
Green and dry red chillies
2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce (optional)
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp sesame oil/groundnut oil
1 tsp sesame seeds
Five spice powder
Freshly ground black pepper
- Take a large utensil and add about 1.5 litres of water to it.
- Bring it to a boil and add the flat noodles to it. Keep turning them and let them cook till done. They should be a bit firm, but not raw. Once cooked, tip the noodles into a colander/ strainer and wash with water immediately.
- Mix noodles with some peanut oil so that they don’t stick to each other. Put them aside.
- In a non-stick wok, add the oil and let it reach almost smoking point.
- Add the garlic and ginger and let them get a bit golden, but not burnt.
- Add chillies and the toughest vegetables first – French beans, carrots, broccoli and mushrooms.
- Stir-fry on high flame, or else they will wilt and start releasing water, which makes the noodles soggy.
- Now add the bell peppers and spring onion bulbs and keep stirring till they go a bit soft.
- Add the noodles and toss, so the vegetables mix well with them.
- Add the soy sauce, fish sauce, freshly ground pepper, five spice powder and vinegar in quick succession while you keep tossing the noodles.
- Add the honey and let the noodles caramelize a bit on the flame.
- Garnish with the toasted sesame seeds and spring onions.
- If you’re short on time or lazy, you can reduce the tough vegetables that take long to cook and try replacing the noodles with leftover rice, to make a quick fix fried rice.
- A non-vegetarian version can easily be done adding meats of choice at the beginning, cooked along with the tough veggies.
- Do not add salt. The soy sauce and fish sauce are salty enough.
Nachiket’s Top 5 Tips For Men Who Cook
- Don’t overcook the food. Fish, meat and veggies all lose their vitality if they are cooked for too long.
- Use fresh, high quality produce. That’s half the battle won.
- It’s all about balance. Contrast sweet with hot flavours, mix colours and textures. Cooking is not rocket science; learn the basics and then experiment.
- Barbecuing, stir frying and steaming are easy, no-fuss ways of cooking. You can make things healthy, fast and innovative.
- Invest in a few key basics. They include good knives, non-stick pans and a small pantry of sauces and condiments.