The Floating Island Workshops

A travelling series of writers' workshops with Kim Sunee

Seaside 2010: Cooking with Chef Suvir Saran

with 3 comments

Attendee Rose cooking with chef Suvir Saran

Attendee Rose cooking with chef Suvir Saran

We were lucky to have chef Suvir Saran on hand over Memorial Day weekend to provide cooking demonstrations and world-class cuisine for our attendees. Suvir hails from New Delhi and won U.S. acclaim as the co-executive chef at New York City’s Devi restaurant and as the author of two incredible cookbooks: Indian Home Cooking and American Masala. He cooks with the ease and grace of a Michelin-starred chef (2007 and 2008 Michelin Guide to New York City) and instructs students with a a master’s precision and patience.

Floating Island Workshop: Cooking with Korin knives

The beautiful (and Sharp!) Korin knife with jalapeno

Suvir arrived prepared with some of his favorite equipment and products in tow. Japanese knife and tableware purveyor Korin provided beautiful knives and a traditional wok that Suvir used to cook a batch of Chivda (Indian trail mix). Kim Sunee described Chivda on her website, but it is a snack mix based on stir-fried thin poha (flattened rice), fresh curry leaves, spices, raisins and peanuts. The result is a crunchy, sweet and spicy treat that stays fresh for weeks (if you can keep yourself from eating it all in one go).

Floating Island Workshop: Chivda (Indian Trail Mix)

Chivda (Indian Trail Mix) with Royal Oak peanuts

Additionally, Suvir brought a selection of peanuts from Royal Oak, courtesy of the National Peanut Board. As someone whose peanut experience consisted of airline packets and mass-market brands (not to mention more than a few soggy paper sacks of Alabama boiled peanuts), these were eye-opening. It was the crunch and fresh taste that surprised me more than anything, but among the salted, unsalted and red-skinned varieties there was nothing but wonderfully fresh flavor. The brittle-like peanut squares were eaten instantly (much to my relief, because if they’d stayed around I would have snacked on them all day and night).

Floating Island Workshop: Cocktails

Attendees Colleen and Rose chat with Charlie during cocktail hour

Saturday evening, Suvir prepared a supper of Goan shrimp with mixed tomato raita and basmati rice. The fresh, sweet Gulf shrimp paired well with the Indian heat and the smoothness of the yogurt-based raita. Many attendees tried spicy, salty mango pickles for the first time and were surprised by the South-asian delicacy. Then after Sunday afternoon’s chivda snack, Suvir overcame the technical challenges of our rental kitchen to fry his famous masala fried chicken and cook perfectly spiced stir-fried potatoes, more soothing raita and crunchy peanut slaw.

Floating Island Workshop: Cooking with chef Suvir Saran

Cooking with Chef Suvir Saran: Spiced Indian Potatoes with Peanuts

We were thankful to host Suvir and his partner Charlie Burd for their first visit to Florida’s Emerald Coast. Our attendees, too, enjoyed time in the kitchen with Suvir and discussing the finer points of agenting and book-dealing with Charlie, who had an abrupt return to regular life when he delivered a baby goat within hours of returning home to their farm in upstate New York.

Lucini Olive Oils and Vinegars Lucini Chile Infused Olive Oil, Fig Balsamico, and Jarred Tomatoes Caprese Salad in Progress Caprese Salad Prep Caprese Salad - Roasted Tomatoes
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3 Responses to 'Seaside 2010: Cooking with Chef Suvir Saran'

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  1. […] BOARD, we were spoiled with treats–everything from travel peanut butter snacks to delicious ROYAL OAK Peanut Brittle, a favorite of the participating writers. Suvir Saran making Chivda As he searches for spices, I […]

  2. Yum! Chivda is one of my fav snacks ever, especially when made with love by my better half! What a blast the workshop was and what fun to cook and chat with so many talented authors – the treat was entirely mine! And cocktail hour – whew!

    Missing all, and doing a zulu dance dance with glass in hand to cheer you now!

    XO

    Charlie

    PS – so lucky that image o’ moi did not break the lens! LOL

    Charlie

    14 Jun 10 at 11:56 pm

  3. Thank you so much, I’ll have to subscribe your feed and read the rest I think. The first date my wife and I had nearly 20 years ago now was a lovely seafood restaurant in Napoli, so I’ve been spending so long trying to find a decent grilled lobster recipe like we had that night – our anniversary is next month so I’m hoping to surprise her!

    Tamar Maeweather

    13 Nov 10 at 2:38 pm

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