Spotlight: Singapore Chef Benjamin Seck [Interview]
The Singapore Takeout, a traveling pop-up kitchen on a global tour, delighted Delhi foodies at ITC Maurya recently. During the three-day stopover, Singapore Chef Benjamin Seck from True Blue Cuisine teamed up with two top chefs from ITC Hotels, to serve up a mouth-watering selection of Singapore-inspired dishes to Delhi’s culinary aficionados. Chef Benjamin said, “I have always been proud of my Peranakan heritage and of the diverse cultures in Singapore. Singapore Takeout is the perfect opportunity for me to share my Peranakan dishes with India and to also show how Singapore-inspired flavours and local ingredients can be incorporated into various cuisines”.
A great platform for culinary exchange, the successful event brought together Singapore and Indian cuisine in a complementary fashion. We asked Chef Benjamin Seck some questions about the health factor in Singaporean and Indian cuisines. Here are the excerpts from the interview.
Which Singaporean dish would you call the healthiest and recommend to fitness enthusiasts here in India?
Yong Tau Foo is one of the healthiest Singaporean dishes. It is made up of pieces of bean curd and tofu stuffed with fish meat. We can add raw vegetables as well. It will be boiled and served with soup or dry with chilli topping. This is a non-oily dish.
Did you find any preferences for cooking methods like frying or stir-frying in your time in Delhi?
During the Singapore Takeout, I got the perfect opportunity to share my Peranakan dishes with India and to also show how Singapore-inspired flavours and local ingredients can be incorporated into various cuisines. I love deep frying although it is not the healthiest of the cooking methodology. Deep frying keeps the contents moist and flavourful and crisp on the outside. One can keep the dish healthier by draining the oil thoroughly from the deep fried food.
What's your favourite healthy dish?
My favourite dish is ‘Tropical Green with Nyonya Sauce’ (made up of brown sugar and lime juice). It is sweet, sourish and fresh.
Singapore Takeout is a great platform for culinary exchange, but how about the healthy exchange? What is your take on healthy food in Asia?
Singapore Takeout is a fantastic platform for culinary exchange that brings together chefs from Singapore and other countries, in this case - India, to showcase and share their experiences with one another. Teaming up with Chef Manisha Bhasin and Chef Rajkamal Chopra from ITC Hotels has been an enriching experience. In my opinion, Asian food is usually greasy and unhealthy. We must balance our diet by increasing our intake of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Can you share with us a sample health dish for Indian palette?
A sample health dish for the Indian palate would be Raw Banana Blossoms.
- 3 banana blossom (flower)
- Handful of chopped basil and mint leaves
- Half tbsp of julienned ginger
- A pinch of cumin
- Half tbsp of lime juice
- Salt to taste
- Peel off a few layers of the banana blossom (flower) to get to the more tender part.
- Julienne the banana blossom.
- Add some chopped basil and mint leaves.
- Then add some julienned torch ginger, cumin, salt and lime juice (to taste).
- Stir all the ingredients together and serve.
*Image courtesy: © Chef Benjamin Seck