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Diners are giving the platter a miss and, instead, are opting for healthy meals served in deep-rimmed dishes. Rupali Dean tells you more about this new trend in town

Goodness, wellness and compassion… the virtues preached by the Buddha served to you at a restaurant, in a wholesome bowl! If you are a foodie, chances are you would already be familiar with Buddha bowls, the trend that’s been turning tables at restaurants across the world. For others, the concept of cooking and serving a well-balanced meal in a deep-rimmed bowl instead of a plate is what’s in flavour this season.

Concept So why eat in a bowl? It is healthy. Just the right proportion of all the ingredients required to make a nutritional meal are included in the bowl. It minimises food wastage, as you eat in limited quantities and reduces fuel consumption as most times, the food is cooked in the bowl too. Some chefs also feel that it encourages us to include more grains, lean meats and vegetables in our
meals, as the ingredients have to complement each other! One-bowl meals are equal parts comforting and efficient, and are the ultimate vessel for delicious flavours, colours and textures with limitless combinations.

The trend The one-bowl meal finds its muse in Asia. It effortlessly suits dishes like ramens or vegetable soups and noodles. Even the Indian khichri and tehari are apt examples of the same. Today, across the world, guests are gradually turning away from plates towards these “power bowls” of wholesome meals curated by experts. Says Manish Sharma, executive chef at The Oberoi Gurgaon, “It’s not just the container itself that is drawing guests to order from our whole-in-one section of the menu, but it’s the way these bowls are filled. They feature a combination of lean protein, healthy vegetables and tasty dressings for a complete and wholesome dining experience. It’s healthy and well-balanced at the same time. When gathered together in a single dish, all the ingredients nestle against each other in a unique marriage of flavour and texture.”

Perfect balance

Imagine a bowl of noodles or rice, served with the choicest of vegetables and some protein. The carbohydrate can come from pastas, and protein could be fish, meat or tofu! “The concept not only gives chefs the opportunity to play with different colours and flavours – whether it’s a warm salad or a bowl of pasta with limitless combinations – it also provides us with the chance to create a balanced meal with interesting texture pairings. Whether it is the tuna poke bowl at Toast & Tonic in Bengaluru, the soulful bowl options at Monkey Bar in Delhi or the big bowl of noodles at Fatty Bao outlets pan India, dunked in a rich, delicious broth generously garnished with meats, spring onions and a plethora of toppings, including soft-boiled eggs, and spiked with a dash of chilly oil, one-bowl meals are here to stay,” says chef Manu Chandra.

Pairing it right

Poke bowls, a version of the Buddha bowls, literally mean ‘slice and cut’ in Hawaiian. They are really a bowl of chopped or diced meats or fish accompanied by vegetables. The tuna poke bowl at the restaurant Toast & Tonic is an interesting combination of tuna tataki, mango, avocado, chilli salsa, cilantro aioli, sesame and mustard oil, and rice – all presented in a bowl. It is rich in flavours, hugely comforting and a perfect combination of textures. The eatery Shop House by Kylin’s do-it-yourself meal bowl allows diners to mix and match combinations and curries by just placing a tick mark against the ingredients.

The author writes on food and the views expressed in this article are her own

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