A sweet that alternates as savoury

A sweet that alternates as savoury

In the city of Ahmedabad a professional working in food industry needs to come up with innovative vegetarian ideas. “Especially when the business needs a boost and one has an encouraging senior,” says chef Abhinav Chauhan taking Metrolife back to the year 2001.

“I was working with Park Plaza then and there was a sudden upsurge in the demand for new ideas in cooking and innovative recipes,” he recalls setting the mood for the story that follows.

“One day while separating hung curd from cloth, one of my colleagues said , ‘You know cheese is prepared with a similar technique’. His statement set the ball rolling and I thought why not make a classic cheesecake recipe with hung curd,” Chauhan exclaims. 

When he went to his senior with the idea, the latter not just liked it but even approved it to be included in the hotel menu! “The reason being, what I suggested was an appetiser. While people in India had tried cheesecake in dessert, the idea to present it as a savoury was unthought of.” Chef Chauhan added cucumber to hung curd and later improvised the recipe by incorporating chopped olives as an alternate to the olive oil used by Bulgarians.

Olives also brought colour to the cake. “It was much later, when I was working in Dubai, I realised that the concept of combining hung curd with cucumber was quite old in the Middle East and European cultures. Infact in Europe, the flavour of garlic was quite appreciated so I included it in the dish too”

With time his recipe modified and pleased the taste of local population. “When in Dubai, I came to know of labneh – hung curd with salt, which is available readymade there, I replaced hung curd with labneh and it worked wonders!”

Even in 2015, the recipe is capable of surprising a food connoisseur. Chef Chauhan narrates another incident: “About two months back my friend from Goa, who is also a chef, was visiting me and expressed the desire to eat something new for dinner. I prepared this Tzatziki Savoury Chesecake and he liked every bit of it.”

“This dish was the first out-of-the-box idea that came to me and has received accolades at various stages of my career. Why would it not be special for me then?” he says, handing over the recipe to Metrolife for its readers to enjoy the rest!

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