A TABLE FOR 2018

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From edible flowers to activated charcoal, celebrated chef Sanjeev Kapoor lists five trends that are likely to take over your kitchen this year

The past year has been great for emerging food trends in India, and 2018 is going to be even better. The best part? Most trends we are likely to embrace in the new year are aimed at improving the overall status of health, lifestyle and environment in the country. Here are five of the most exciting among them:

Floral flavours: edible flowers

Traditionally, flowers have been part of various cuisines for years – be it roses or pumpkin flowers in Indian cuisine, courgette and squash flowers in Italian cuisine or the classic French drink chartreuse, a liqueur that boasts carnation petals as an important ingredient. From violets and dandelions to primroses and sage blossoms, several spicy, herbaceous and fragrant flowers are enjoying a revival in cuisines around the world. This year, we’re likely to see more exciting uses of flowers as dominant flavours in salads, entrées and desserts, or in flavoured butters and oils.

Zero waste: root-to-stem dining

Chefs today are deriving inspiration from the past and pushing their creative boundaries to serve up everything from tender stems and flowers to shoots and well-scrubbed vegetable roots. Indian cuisine, in fact, has some traditional dishes that are based on this very concept. In Bengal, for instance, almost all parts of the banana plant are used to whip up delicious culinary fare. The thorer ghonto is an earthy preparation made of banana/plantain stem, which is generally placed in the waste category! This trend encourages techniques like pickling and fermenting, the latter being beneficial for digestion.

Black magic: activated charcoal

Believed to be equipped with the ability to absorb toxins in the stomach, activated charcoal is likely to find its way to your plate in 2018 as part of smoky, charred delicacies and detox water. With activated black charcoal powder now being an international rage, you can find it being used in a variety of dishes ranging from pancakes and crackers to burger buns, salad dressings and even ice creams!

Two hues: red and black rice

This year, red and black rice are your go-to grains for fibrous, healthy and colourful dining. Red rice is a variety of unshelled rice, and is a great source of antioxidants, magnesium and vitamin B6. It works brilliantly as food that is not only comforting to eat, but also helpful in lowering cholesterol levels and managing diabetes. Black rice, on its part, is known as chakhao amubi in Manipur and is indigenous to the state. An unpolished variety of rice, it is richer in fibre, mineral and vitamin content than most other varieties available.

Powdered for health: chia, flax, cacao

While 2017 saw the rise of superfoods, 2018 is set to raise the bar higher with superfood powders. Simple to make and even simpler to incorporate in your diet, chia, flax and cacao powders are likely to be quite a rage this year. The best part of this trend is that a lot of traditional Ayurvedic ingredients, such as turmeric and ashwagandha, are also part of this superfood powder brigade.

The author is a celebrity chef and the views expressed in this article are his own

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