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Morsels of melody – mumbai guide


It all began over 40 years ago with a couple taking turns every Sunday to cook a meal for their eight children at home. That’s the sort of childhood Chris Kane had while growing up in Andheri West, as part of a large East Indian family. Her father ran a catering business, and he would transfer his culinary skills to the kitchen on alternate Sundays to cook up a feast, leaving the next weekend in his wife’s able hands. Kane clearly grew up in an environment where food played a big part in her life, and by the time she was 12, she and her elder sister were capable enough to take the mammoth responsibility of feeding 10 people off their parents’ shoulders. They took care of preparing the Sunday feast themselves, giving both mum and dad early retirement from the kitchen. And that laid the seeds for The Singing Home Chef, a venture that Kane launched last month in Andheri West, which is where she resides to this day.

“Singing” because music is the other defining childhood influence she retains. Kane and her sisters were part of the choir at St Blaise Church in the Amboli neighbourhood of Andheri, where she chiselled her voice singing high soprano. Her musical diet was as robust as the meals she laid out on the table, which she’d prepare while singing to tunes playing in the background. It only made sense in that case to theme her new project on both these passions. Her loved ones — in-laws, husband, three children and niece — gave her all the individual support she needs. It’s a family-run operation. They are Kane and able, so to speak.

The menu changes every week. But the chef tells us that her philosophy stays constant throughout — provide a balanced meal that has carbs, protein and at least a salad. The dishes reflect her meat-heavy upbringing in terms of pork roasts and khudi, an East Indian classic, though a Thai veg curry and paneer malai tikka mean that her vegetarian customers aren’t let down

Kane adds that she cooks from memory. She says, “I memorise taste and I like to recreate it. I had a curry in Germany in 2000 for example, but the person can’t remember how to make it anymore. So, I am experimenting till I get that taste right. I have a memory for food. Yesterday, I made a prawn curry that my mother used to make for us when we were kids. It was the first time that I felt like I had recreated it 100 per cent, after all these years.”

That brings us back to a little girl in a big family over 40 years ago, who picked up a ladle at a tender age to give her parents a deserved day of rest. Life now seems to have come a full circle. Kane’s eldest daughter, Cathryn, is a grade-eight piano student and helps her mother in the kitchen with the basics like chopping (Emily, the middle one, runs The Singing Home Chef’s Instagram page, while Rachel, the youngest, helps with a hug whenever the pressure’s too high and mummy is feeling stressed). Cathryn has gentle fingers on the keyboard while Kane holds a note in the manner of lovers hugging each other one last time before relocating to different places. Together, the family has embarked on a new journey.

And the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree as far as Kane and her father are concerned. He ran a food business all those years ago. Today, the daughter is carrying the legacy ahead.

Log on to @thesinginghomechef on Instagram

Roasted almond chocolate custard

almond

Preparation: 30 minutes

Serves eight

  • 1 litre milk
  • 150 gm dark chocolate
  • 1/2 tin condensed milk (or less as per your sweetness requirement)
  • 5 tbsp corn flour
  • 10-15 almonds (roasted)
  • Vanilla and almond essence (optional)

Preparation

  • Roast almonds and grind
  • Make corn flour slurry with a little water
  • Keep dessert bowls ready

Method

  • Boil milk
  • Add chocolate and stir
  • Add condensed milk and stir
  • Add corn flour slurry, and whisk continuously till it thickens to custard consistency
  • If you want to add essences, now is the time
  • To check, run your finger against the spoon. If it stays on the spoon, your custard is ready.
  • Pour into dessert bowls and sprinkle roasted almonds on top
  • Chill and enjoy

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