SUVAI 2015: SINGAPORE’S FIRST INDIAN GOURMET FESTIVAL

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Suvai, Singapore’s first Indian gourmet festival, marks its 2nd year of showcasing the best of international Indian cuisine with its biggest edition to date. Held from 30th July to 2nd August, Suvai 2015 brings top influencers of Indian cuisine from various countries, all encompassed in one unique culinary experience. In line with Singapore’s 50th birthday celebration, this year’s edition incorporates a strong Singaporean presence, where attendees can catch top chefs from Singapore’s Indian and non-Indian community presenting their exclusive interpretations of the cuisine.

Among the top personalities present at this year’s widely anticipated edition are:

– Author and Guinness World Records holder, Dr. chef K.Damodaran from India

– Author and dubbed Singapore’s Spice Queen, chef Devagi Sanmugam

– Owner of award-winning restaurant Sassy Spoon, chef Irfan Pabaney from India

– Award-winning Executive Chef of Taj Group Hotels, chef Dhaithya Krawage from Sri Lanka

– Self taught chef Thanyadar Suteedechanon from Thailand

– Author and Singapore radio and TV personality, chef Sultanul Arfin

– Head chef of Artichoke and Osteria Mozza alum, chef Jonathan Lee

– Food director, consultant and owner of The Food Circle, chef John See

– Chef de Cuisine of Picotin Express, chef Vikeneswaran

Foodie comrades can expect over 25 signature dishes presented by 9 award-winning chefs, Celebrity Chef Masterclasses, as well as the much anticipated Suvai International Chef Competition featuring teams from Taiwan, Cambodia, India, Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Singapore. Other fringe activities include 2 Guinness World Records Attempts, Live Music, an alfresco beer garden and an Aspiring Chef Challenge as well as a Family Challenge.

Singapore Food Festival

1.What can we expect from your menu for Suvai? What will you be preparing?

“Suvai” means taste the flavours in Tamil.  The South Indians have six taste –

SWEET, ASTRINGENT, SOUR, SALTY, PUNGENT AND BITTER.  Each of these taste composes of two elements, for example:

  • SWEET taste is earth and water – The sweet taste is highly nourishing.
  • ASTRINGENT is air and earth – Astringent food will mentally purify and strengthen you.
  • SOUR is water and fire – The sour taste wakes people up and ensures that their thoughts and emotions become clear.
  • SALTY is earth and fire – The salty taste provides solidity and structure to people, as well as grounding.
  • PUNGENT is fire and air – Pungent food stimulates our digestion, boosts food uptake and makes sure our waste products are burnt
  • BITTER is air and ether – Bitter foods also ensure mental purification, it sobers people up and frees them from their passions and sultry emotions

Traditional Indians plan their daily menu in such a way, each meal consists of the six different taste to balance the body and stay healthy and fit.  I have worked out my menu to include these six important elements of SUVAI – flavours. 

HOT INDIAN CHICK

I got this name from a pornography site.  It is naughty but deep in meaning where my chicken sliders are concerned. Hot means piping hot, spicy hot and a hot seller!

The Indian chick is an amalgamation of taste, texture and flavour – sweetness from the apple chutney, spiciness from the fried green chillie, texture of the masala chicken burgers are further accentuated by the topping of Achar and a throw of addictive turmeric coated plantain chips!!

THE EXPLOSION

It is a cross between the rojak and the Indian chaats and the Peranakan Pie Tee! This appetizer/snack embodies the bold flavours of Indian cuisine.  In one bite, you can enjoy the softness of the masala potato, the crunchiness from the crispies, the tanginess and aroma of the mint chutney, the sweet and sour taste of the tamarind chutney and other popping of citrus and pomegranate. This tropical explosion of flavours guarantees satisfaction as you swallow the last bit of the cup!

SAFFRON PUFFS IN SALTED CARDAMOM SCENTED CARAMELIZED JAGGERY SAUCE

It is a donut-like treat –but a heavenly one though. The airy, crisp texture and tangy yeast and saffron flavoured puffs are doused with a choice of salted cardamom scented caramelized jaggery sauce or a finger-licking good Gula Melaka and Creamy Coffee Sauce. One is not enough and so we sell it in pairs!

  1. How do you work with the international chef to create a modern interpretation of a traditional Indian dish? What is essential in that dish that you simply cannot leave out?

Spices!!  I wanted to focus on the use of spices to add zest, sweetness, spiciness, flavor and nutrients.  The fact that all the fast food places are packed with people shows people like their burgers and fried food.  But all of these fast foods rarely use much spices. I am inspired to give something to the young and old, something they are familiar with but yet something that will waken them up to the world of spices in their palates. 

Personal

  1. Did you always have a passion for cooking? What sparked that interest?

Yes.  Right from the time I ate solid food, I think I had a love affair with food.  My mother is a great Indian cook – she must have influenced me or rather I have her DNA.  Poverty during my childhood days made my mother and I create hundreds (maybe a bit exaggerated here) dishes and way with one or two different ingredients.

  1. What do you think is essential in every Indian dish? Why?

Spices!!  Because without them it is not an Indian cuisine.  We even flavor our desserts with spices eg cardamoms, ground ginger etc

  1. What is your personal favourite dish to prepare and eat? Why?

I like the South Indian Vegetable Sambar.  I can eat round the year with rice, with chapatis, with bread and even with crushed cream crackers or mashed potatoes.  Lentils are so high in protein and keeps you going the whole day.  The different vegetables in it and the tempering done with the spices just make it so good.

  1. What inspired you to come up with your various sauce/condiment recipes and bottle them? The Chilli Apple Chutney sounds divine!

I like sweet, tangy, spicy taste and hence for years I have concocted many recipes for sauces and chutneys.  I have also done a mini cookbook Sauces, Dips and Marinades.  I love to see people’s expression when they place a small amount of the sauce or dip into their mouth………it is so beautiful……the look of wonderment and heavenly taste.  I cannot go into large scale business due to lack of funds and so I do artisan style in small batches.

  1. During your free time, where are your favourite places to go to in Singapore? Why?

My favourite places in Singapore : Labrador Park, Gardens by the Bay, Botanical Gardens and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

They are all parks as I love plants and fauna, birds and animals.  My hobby is photography and so these places are heavenly for me.  I never get tired.

  1. Where can you recommend to travellers who are looking for authentic Indian cuisine in Singapore?

Phew!!  I am in a tight spot now.  OK – for high end dining – Rang Mahal or Song of India.  For vegetarian food – middle range Ananda Bhavan for non-vegetarian Middle range Banana Leaf Apollo Restaurant. 

Or at my home for a good traditional home-style Indian food!! 

More Details about Suvai 2015    http://www.suvai.sg

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