What’s cooking at Kasos Kitchen? | Indie Eats
In a country that celebrates countless cultures and flavours, it’s hard for most Indians to have tasted every cuisine our diverse land has to offer. If you ask a Mumbaikar if he/she is aware about Assamese food, you can expect a puzzled look in response. And while food from Kerala might still be a crowd-favourite, what does a home-cooked meal from both these regions really look like?
I feel, no amount of restaurant tastings can take away the charm of a home kitchen, and what intrigued me about Kasos Kitchen was just that; coupled with its simplicity and diversity. Kasturi Barua’s delivery only service offers an eccentric menu covering veggies and meats from faraway realms, hoping to give our taste buds a diverse experience. I chatted with Kasturi who filled me in about the mysteries of both these cuisines and more.
What made you start Kasos Kitchen? What is the philosophy behind the brand?
Mumbai has been my home for the past six years, I worked in media and later in sports marketing. Most weekends I would end up prepping meals for my friends and colleagues who’d thoroughly enjoy the flavours. Before I knew it, they started sending me orders for their birthdays and anniversaries so it was my friends who encouraged me to kickstart this venture. In fact, I was nicknamed ‘Kaso’ since my school days (short for Kasturi, Kaso also means tortoise in Assamese). Thus the name Kasos Kitchen came into being and a tortoise is its logo.
Tell us a little bit about the inspiration and the significance of Assam and Kerala to Kasos Kitchen?
I am from Assam and I love all things (food) Assamese. My husband hails from Kerala and I learnt about Malayali cuisine from his family and friends.
Have you ever had any formal training? What made you start cooking?
Formal training? Not really. I’ve been a foodie all my life and it’s the appreciation from people that pushed me to cook more and more that eventually led to the launch of Kasos Kitchen. I also feel that currently, there is a home chef revolution that’s taking place and it’s amazing to see how forthcoming and excited people are about regional cuisines.
What are the core ingredients and flavours of both these cuisines?
For Kerala, I’d say the core ingredients would be coconut oil, grated coconut, curry leaves, coconut milk and spices like pepper, clove, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon.For Assam, the core ingredients are mustard oil, ginger, garlic and chilies. There’s hardly ever any use of masalas or spices. Not to forget, Assamese love their fresh water fish and pork.
What’s the best and worst part about having a home-kitchen?
The best part is that my food tends to be very healthy with almost no wastage. I take pre-orders as of now so I know exactly how much I need to cook. On the flip side, a home kitchen also means that there is only me and there is only so much I can do. I am looking forward to running a separate kitchen space soon and then I can participate in pop-ups/events, which would help increase order volumes and also the number of dishes on my menu.
What changes have you seen in food trends in India over the past few years?
I feel Indians are now open to trying out all regional cuisines. As I mentioned, this is the phase of home chef revolution. People are very conscious about their eating habits and they realize that nothing can be better than a good ol’ home-cooked meal.
Your three signature dishes?
Non Veg: Mutton Stew, Pork in Bamboo Shoot, Chicken in Black Sesame
Veg: Boror Tenga, Eliserry
Kasturi was kind to send across some of her signature dishes that I paired with steamed rice. Here’s my take on the meal.
1) Black sesame chicken: An Assamese gravy cooked in mustard oil and chicken in black sesame, was a little bit oily and spicy, but oh so good. Let’s just say the flavours lasted in my head long after I was done eating.
2) Boror Tenga: This Assamese dish stands for lentil fritters (bor) in a sour curry (tenga) It is completely masala free, light and perfect for a summer meal. I loved the yummy lentil fritters sautéed in mustard oil.
3) Mutton Stew – This stew from Kerala had mutton cooked in coconut milk, reminding me of a Mughlai dish my nani prepares. Homely and appetizing in every way, I instantly fell in love with the tender pieces of mutton and diced carrot with coconut gravy.
4) Eliserry – Another dish from Kerala and my favourite amongst the four, this was a very refreshing and simple dal with the prominent flavours of coconut. It’s super creamy texture and richness made me a fan of Kasturi’s art.
Call 9820627449 to place your order.