The year saw many interesting food trends that were publicised and followed almost instantly. Anyone with a social media handle posted pictures of their culinary endeavours, favourite ingredients and recipes. People caught on to the craze and innovated in the kitchen. As a result, some ingredients became popular and found place in every trendy Indian kitchen.
Here's a list of the top ingredients that made it to our favourite list:
* Custard powder: This is a long-time favourite of busy women with little time on their hands and hungry kids to feed. It is also a great way to put up a meal almost instantly on the table. Custard powder was great for whipping up desserts at a short notice, but this year, it crept into savoury recipes as well. Consisting chiefly of corn-starch and in some cases, added tapioca starch or sago, custard powder can be used to thicken soups and even gravy dishes and sambhars. A savoury custard with herbs and cheese or bacon, garlic and thyme is a new addition to the table.
* Salami: A cured and fermented sausage, although western, salami made its way into the Indian plate a few years ago, but peaked over the year. Each type of salami is made differently according to the type of meat eaten in the region combined with garlic, vinegar, spices and herbs. It has a long shelf life compared to other meats because it is dehydrated and can be eaten with minimal cooking, as it is already semi-cooked. It is usually fried and added to pastas, baked into pies, sliced and used in sandwiches, tossed in with onions and peppers into a salad.
* Bamboo shoots: A seasonal ingredient, bamboo shoots are a rare delicacy in our country. As they are natively grown, they are mainly available during the monsoons. Previously, they were part of oriental cuisine, but of late, the indigenous recipes from around India are being revived and brought to the table. In some tribal areas, they are pickled and stored for later, while in some other regions like Malnad in Karnataka, they are used in curries.
* Wheat bran: The hard outer layer of the wheat grain, bran contains most of the nutrition within the wheat. Until a decade ago, the outer part was discarded while milling the grain, and the soft part of the grain was made into flour. Having discovered that bran is high in dietary fibre, it has found its way into kitchen shelves. Diet-conscious Indians surely store cereals containing wheat bran in their homes and it is used in rotis and khichdi. These days, it is also added to bread, waffles, pancakes, dosas, sweet and savoury muffins and every other health food.
* Tofu: Soya was quite the rage a few years ago as flour and nuggets. But when studies pointed out that it could be harmful in larger quantities, the alternative provided by dieticians was tofu, which was the fermented bean curd. Up till now, tofu has been a chief ingredient in vegetarian Chinese recipes and preferred by vegans too. High in protein, calcium and iron, it is now being used in Indian recipes like tofu butter masala, bhurji and even skewered and stir-fried starters.
The other ingredients which also made it to this list include khoya, amla, macaroni, pudding gelatin, okra, dried fish, lotus root, barley flour and date syrup.
(The author is lead India operations, Cookpad Inc)