07 Dec Culinary escapades of an investment banker
Anirban Nandy, is an Investment Banker, who is known to be passionate about research across asset classes and always willing to face new challenges. At home though, he is very soft and caring person. A loving husband, who enjoys serving his family, friends and folks, his worked upon recipes. Anirban our Home Culinaire is a self professed passionate cook , who loves to learn and try out new recipes
When we met Anirban at his home, he told us he wants to make for us something that has a legacy attached to it. Already intrigued, as he started to prepare, we were all set to hear about the legendary Goalando Steamer curry. The curry is a heritage chicken dish from Goalondo, a small town in Rajbari District in Bangladesh, situated in the bank of river Padma. During British rule the train connection between then Capital Calcutta and East Bengal was terminated in Goalondo and people would take steamer from there to Narayangan to avail connecting train for other places like Dhaka. “Goalondo-Narayanganj” was an overnight journey by steamer and the Boatman’s used to prepare this basic chicken curry with whatever minimal ingredients that were available on that route. Over the years the dish became very popular amongst the travelers to the point people will only take the ride to eat it. Goalondo Steamer curry is now a star of Bengali cuisine. The aroma while it was getting cooked didn’t give anything to its humble beginnings.
Anirban hails from a small town Chandanagar, which was at a distance from Calcutta. He grew up in a Bengali vegetarian household where forget about meat (Barring fish) even onion and garlic were banned. There was just a small tuck shop in close vicinity where he would go during special occasions to gorge on egg roll and egg Chowmien, rest of the time it was humble home cooked meals by his mother. ‘During school I used to make excuses of combined studies to go to my friends place specially during evenings so that I could devour on some egg or meat dishes. Omelette was a delicacy for me back then because it was never made at home. Moving on to college, St.Zaviers in Kolkata, it opened a whole new world to me’. College canteen, Kathi rolls after tuition, puchkas, Chicken Kabiraji and you name it and I explored them all. Post that he moved to Delhi for his post grad. ‘I had a bachelors pad with four more boys, when we were tired of gallivanting through Moolchand and IIT canteen we got little adventurous and decided to cook. ‘After my first attempt at Dal I decided I better stick to washing dishes only’, he said laughingly while the stirring tadka for curry, which looked fiery, and we could smell the spices.
After he was done with the Delhi chapter, it was time for Silicon Valley of India where he graduated in terms of his culinary skills. ‘I had more time so used to experiment in the kitchen, took dishes to office and that were being appreciated and were being asked for a repeat’. By the time I moved to Mumbai, I had got even better with it. I used to research a lot on recipes, would go into the bylanes to find small authentic food corners, understanding cuisines like Gomantak, Bohri, observe the vendors on how they are making stuff, shamelessly ask chefs about the preparation and at least give it one shot myself. I used to list down 20 places to eat in Mumbai and start going there, that’s how I started exploring food’. Well we will vouch for we found he is a complete nerd when it comes to researching as his Ipad was solely bookmarked with food recipe blogs, articles and cookery shows.
‘Mumbai gave me an opportunity to take cooking in a professional direction’ he told us while we were still in the kitchen and the chicken was searing in its juices. He was approached by a home-cooked meals (delivery) company where he had to give 7 dishes out of which 6 of his dishes were selected by the panel. ‘One dish that was rejected was a vegetarian one’ he laughed. I am not very good with veg and that’s the reason I now admire my mom’s cooking where she could dish out number of vegetarian dishes and even fish delicacies without even using onion and garlic’.
The stories were endless and it was now time to binge on ‘Goalando Steamer Curry with rice’, which had such simple ingredients and but with such delectable flavours.’ I try to keep my dishes 80% authentic and 20% I add a little twist, which I know will work, he tells us. From deciding to stick to dish washing and to now professionally making delicacies like Dab Chingri(Tender coconut prawn) , Crab ghee roast, Anirban had come a long way. The food is simply finger licking good and our COMMEATERs will get the opportunity to savor it too.