Flowery delights on your platter

Flowery delights on your platter

Edible petals

From nasturtium and violets to pot marigold and zucchini flowers, the range of edible flowers available is plenty. But according to many chefs, their usage in dishes — whether salads, sorbets, sauces or appetisers — adds a distinct flavour which many miss out on.

Chefs tell Metrolife some of the ideal ways to experiment with these floral delights. “Spring is the perfect time to experiment with the food. Adding flowers to your meals will not only make an ordinary dish look gourmet, they can be quite nutritious,” says chef Nadir Ali from Pamphilos Kitchen and Bar.

Giving examples of popular dishes like Flower Cupcakes, Fried Squash Blossoms Filled with Herbed Goat Cheese, Zucchini Blossom Fritters, White Chocolate Rose Cake and Floral Ice Cream, chef Stephen from Storm Bar and Grill, East of Kailash, says that flowers render a colourful appeal. “Fluttered as a garnish or tossed in salads, some are spicy, and some herbaceous, while others are floral and fragrant. The flowers add light touch of essence in a dish, or a syrup or floral liqueur for artisanal cocktails can give an edgy accent to them,” he says.

Chef Gajendra Singh from Unplugged Courtyard, Connaught Place points out the need to keep a check on other overpowering ingredients in the dish. “The secret to success, when using edible flowers, is to keep the dish simple. Do not add too many other flavours that will overpower the delicate taste of the flower. Like, lavender which has a distinctive taste that’s floral with hints of mint and rosemary, if used correctly, gives the dish a perfect flavour,” he says.

Emphasising that rose is an evergreen option to infuse in a variety of dishes, chef Manoj Godiyal, Locale Cafe and Bar says, “Rosewater is an ancient flavouring for Baklava and Turkish delights besides having numerous other everyday uses.”

He adds, “Orange-flower water has long been used in salads, stews and to flavour drinks. Dried, scented flowers like jasmine have been used to create lovely scented teas. Sorbets have a brilliant capacity for capturing the essence of botanical flavours. But jasmine flower is not an ideal companion for any tomato and basil dishes.”

However, chef Ali says that flowers need to be fresh. “Being extremely perishable, they do not do well when stored in the refrigerator. Ideally, pick them fresh and serve them as soon as possible,” he says.

While chef Gajendra mentions flowery cookery as a part of the Victorian Era, he says that they have become a new rage in haute cuisine now. “There are few ingredients that have a brilliant capacity for capturing the essence of botanical flavours, and their cool, light texture and balance of sweet and tart refreshes like nothing else.”

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