Of Plates And Palates: Chef Manjunath Mural’s Favourite Reads
From a guide to a variety of Indian ingredients to innovative preparation techniques, these books have inspired Chef Manjunath Mural to present Indian cuisine with a twist.
Chef Mural is the first Indian executive chef to score a Michelin star for an Indian restaurant in Southeast Asia. His restaurant The Song of India in Singapore has received this recognition not once but three times.
BloombergQuint spoke with chef Mural about his favourite cookbooks from where he draws inspiration for food. Here’s the list:
The Indian Pantry, By Monisha Bharadwaj
A fantastic guide that introduces you to a whole variety of Indian ingredients and how to use them, whether it’s for culinary or medicinal uses and even includes the mythological properties of certain herbs and spices.
“It’s common in Indian cuisine to use a whole range of spices to give our dishes greater depths of flavour, and when I read this book many years ago, it definitely came in very handy, in terms of explaining each ingredient, it’s flavour profile and how to use and complement it.”
“It was especially useful this year when I created my special Tandoori Spiced Treasure Pot for The Song of India that was inspired by the traditional Chinese pen cai. I marinated my ingredients in a series of spices, including garam masala, yellow ginger, turmeric and afterwards coated the ingredients in a creamy, tandoori-based curry and it complemented the briny ocean flavour of the fresh abalone slices beautifully.”
Indian Cookery, By Madhur Jaffrey
“Each chapter in this book contains comprehensive information on the ingredients, cooking equipment and innovative preparation techniques that was certainly an eyeopener for me,” Mural said. “What I found really helpful was that I was able to find inspiration from Madhur’s more unusual recipes which I used in my own dishes by combining classic Indian flavours with local tastes, e.g my Laksa Chicken Kebab.”
50 Great Curries Of India, By Camellia Panjabi
“This book was first published in 1994 and during that time, I was just starting out in the industry as an apprentice chef and this book helped shape my culinary skills and background,” Mural said. “50 Great Curries is a collection of curry recipes from all over India and it definitely gave me a better understanding of the diversity of curry dishes.”
Healthy South Indian Cooking, By Alamelu Vairavan
“This book gave me new ideas on how to make Indian cuisine delicious, yet not heavy at the same time. And at The Song of India, that’s what I always strive to do—create flavourful and delicious food yet ensuring that it remains light.”
Tasting India, Heirloom Family Recipes, By Christine Manfield
“This book contains a mix of traditional and modern dishes from all over India which gave me an insight into how to prepare authentic Indian recipes and also present it in a more modern way.”