Friday, 20 February 2015

From Curry to Croissant, by Chef Yusuf Dawood

As an Indian boy, I grew up around the usual staples, dhal, curries, rice, etc. I wasn’t all that fond of

Out in the world my view on the normal eating of humanity was revolutionized and understanding food was to see beyond the everyday menu. It was passionate and raw. The people and what they created for the table was worth its weight in diamonds and truffles. You could make a corn soup to feed someone and they would brag it was divine or, you could reinvent it and have them eating their words by the very mention. And forget about your fast food fried fish and chips. Fast food is easy food and easy food is not good for the soul of anyone who loves to eat. I was once standing in the kitchen with my head chef and having a conversation about tomato soup. After about two minutes he sprints to the walk in fridge and emerges with the most frustrated look in his eyes and words that the good old Gordon will blush at. The reason for this was there wasn’t enough tomatoes to cook the soup that he suddenly had a craving for and tonight’s service. He ended up buying two crates of the stuff and making enough tomato soup to feed America. It was actually invented there by a woman named Maria Parloa in 1872.

Now tomato soup is simple but done skilfully will reward you with a rich, creamy, tangy flavoured soup. This is one of many recipes passed to me by the many great chefs I had the pleasure of working with. Take this journey with me to create and recreate some classic and contemporary dishes.

Chef Devon’s Tomato Soul Soup


15 large red ripe tomatoes cut into 6

3 onions sliced thick

1lt of vegetable stock

¼ cup sugar

1/3 cup of white wine vinegar

1 stalk of rosemary

7 cloves of whole garlic cleaned

½ a cup of cream

Chives and creme fresh to garnish

Method: Roast off your tomatoes, onions and whole garlic at 180degrees Celsius until soft and juices start flowing out. The onions must be translucent and soft enough to break with a pinch of your fingers. Remove rosemary and add to your pot. Add stock and leave to simmer until reduced to half.

In a separate pot add vinegar and sugar, bring to boil and then simmer until it is a syrup like consistency.

Use a strong hand blender or food processor to blend tomato mixture till completely smooth. Put back on heat and slowly add vinegar syrup. Don’t add the whole mixture at once it may be too acidic. Taste and judge the flavour. It should taste sweet sour and the tomato flavour must be the main focus. Add in your cream but again be careful not to drown out the flavour. Some salt and white pepper to taste and serve with plain croutons and a dollop of creme fresh or sour cream and a generous sprinkle of chopped chives.

Experience and practice make for a happy hearty meal. So if you fail it will be your experience in learning how to make the greatest food the world may come to savour. Try again, create, express, and don’t fear flops. It’s where the masterpieces are born at.

Upcoming articles:

Everybody Loves Seafood. The French Chefs guide to preparing extraordinary Sole Meuniere

Grill Masters Unite. Just can’t tell the difference between rare and well done? 1 easy way to find out.

For more hints and tips or questions , feel free to contact :

Chef Yusuf Dawood :

those foods and in boarding school it was confirmed. Runny dhal, over cooked curry with the Friday usual of (wait for it) burnt biryani. Not even a glass of sour milk amongst the four of us sharing from the kuncha. Good times. However, back home in a small town called Lenasia, food was much better. My mother fed us on a steady supply of Mexican, Italian and Portuguese food. And for a long time it felt like that was what food will be for life until I decided to become a chef.

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