I love food. I love cooking. And when it’s healthy cooking, I’m sold!
On Thursday, I got an opportunity to attend a master class by Michelin Star Chef, Vikas Khanna, PepsiCo India’s nutrition ambassador. This was on the occasion of the launch of Quaker Whole Oats at Le Meridien, New Delhi.
With the aim to showcase Whole Oats as an appetizing and nutritious breakfast option, Chef Vikas Khanna prepared a couple of exciting recipes using this healthy and nutritious variant of oats.
What struck me first was the simplicity of the man. He is a star but so likable, so self-effacing and endearing. Based in the US, he draws sustenance from his roots in India. While he cooked, he talked of small town living, his life, our traditions and the wisdom of elders who would never let you leave home on an empty stomach!
Coming to the master class itself, the kitchen worktop had been beautifully set up by Deeba Rajpal who was also acting sous chef to Vikas. Everything the chef needed was ready and waiting. The last word in luxury to a home-cook like me!
The two recipes he showcased used the simple, healthy and trending ‘overnight oats’ using Quaker Whole Oats.
The first dish was inspired by South Indian curd rice. But Chef Vikas took this simple staple to new heights. So we had overnight oats in curd with South Indian tadka, accompanied by a spicy plum chutney and roasted pumpkin, topped with a Kolhapuri masala parmesan papad! Ever heard of a more exotic combination?
Chef’s next preparation was Thandai Oats, a multi-layered creation of oats, soaked in freshly made thandai, some delicious and healthy beetroot puree, all topped with fresh fruit and freshly made sesame chikki. This dish looked just as delicious as it tasted. And best of all, it was created in a jar. A perfect breakfast to go!
Chef Vikas Khanna then spent a few minutes patiently answering questions from the audience. Questions that ranged from his favourite cuisine (Burmese) to how long Quaker Whole Oats need to cook (6 minutes). Every query was answered with unwavering patience.
The session ended with a wonderful lunch including a few dishes showcasing… Quaker Whole Oats, of course!
Nobel Dhingra, Associate Director – Quaker, PepsiCo India, said “At Quaker, we’re always excited to bring healthy and nutritious options to our consumers’ table and hence we’re glad to introduce Quaker Whole Oats for the first time in the Indian market. Continuing the versatility of this grain, oats, Quaker Whole Oats can be consumed directly in your porridge, in Indian meals, as well as in overnight oats. With its uncut, larger grain and richer texture, we’re sure it’ll be loved by oats lovers and health and fitness enthusiasts.”
Speaking at the event, PepsiCo India’s Nutrition Ambassador and Michelin Star, Chef Vikas Khanna, said, “Oats have greater health benefits than known by most of us today. A handful of oats mixed in any Indian meal enhances the health quotient multifold and whole oats are no different. Next time while you’re making a soup, khichadi, payasam, or overnight oats, don’t forget to use whole oats for its richer texture and mouthfeel. Today’s masterclass was amazing and I am so happy to have received so many creative ideas from the audience, of using Quaker whole oats in their meals.”