Home Food Depinder Chhibber, fan favourite contestant of MasterChef Australia 2021, shares the recipe to the dish that won her a spot in the season

Depinder Chhibber, fan favourite contestant of MasterChef Australia 2021, shares the recipe to the dish that won her a spot in the season

by Aiden

Plus, her culinary journey so far and a peek into the world-renowned cooking show.

By Aiden Jewelle Gonzales

Over the last year and a half, many of us have turned to the kitchen for comfort, trying our hand at – or like me, tasting – exciting new dishes, haven taken inspiration from celebrity chefs, food bloggers, or competitive cooking shows like the recently-aired MasterChef Australia 2021. There’s nothing like seeing a deft hand take the ingredients that we all know and love, and creating culinary masterpieces to inspire both the eye and palate, and few did it as well as one of the show’s more popular contestants, Delhi-born Depinder Chhibber. She shares with Masala her culinary beginnings, how she added her own desi-inspired seasoning to this season, and a recipe that secured her a spot in the world-renowned cooking show.

What inspired you to start cooking?

I’ve always been curious when it came to food and cooking. Cooking has turned into a passion for me, mostly inspired by memories and family members, especially my grandmothers and the time I spent growing up in Delhi. My grandmothers, aunts, and mother are all exceptional cooks, and their style of cooking was humble yet delicious.

I’ve also always been inspired by Indian culinary masters who have showcased Indian regional cuisine, as that deserves recognition on an international platform, something I have always aspired to do.

What kind of flavour profiles and cuisine do you like best, and why?

I love bold flavours, which is something that comes naturally to me, having grown up in India. My favourite cuisines therefore encompass South Asian and Southeast Asian cooking styles, especially Thai, Chinese, Nepalese and of course Indian; cuisines that I not only love to eat, but also to cook.

I’m also fond of flavour bombs and ancient techniques used in South Asia that are either based on what was available in those regions, or are due to cultural significances which I have tremendous respect for.

What did you consider the best part of competing in MasterChef Australia 2021?

The best part for me will always be the judges, contestants, and the crew. There was a tremendous amount of support offered to us so that we could do well in this competition, and at the end of the competition, I made some amazing memories and friends for life.

This journey would have not been the same without the judges and their incredible mentorship, and the rest of the contestants, who became family.

Any advice you’d like to give other aspiring chefs?

Cook what you love to eat; cooking with emotion is the most powerful form of cooking.

GHEVAR WITH CARROT SORBET
Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS FOR CARROT SORBET :

• 1 tbsp ghee
• 4 cups grated carrots
• 250ml thickened cream 
• 125ml full cream milk 
• 50g glucose syrup
• 1 tsp cardamom powder 
• 4 egg yolks
• 80g caster sugar

INGREDIENTS FOR MALAI RABRI :

• 500ml full cream milk
• 150g condensed milk
• 4 tbsps almond meal
• 4 tbsps full cream milk powder 
• 6 saffron threads
• 15g pistachios
• 3 cardamom pods
• pinch-dried rose petals

INGREDIENTS FOR SUGAR SYRUP:

• 1 cup caster sugar
• 1 cup water
• 4-5 saffron threads
• 3 cardamom pods
• 2 tsps lemon juice
• 1⁄2 tsp orange blossom water
• pinch-dried rose petals

INGREDIENTS FOR GHEVAR :

• 1⁄4 cup ghee
• 1⁄2cupplainnaturalyoghurt 
• 1 tsp lemon juice
• 1 cup plain flour
• 1 tbsp chickpea flour
• ice cubes and ice cold water 
• vegetable oil, for frying

INGREDIENTS FOR GARNISH :

• pistachios, crushed 
• saffron threads
• dried rose petals
• edible flowers

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE CARROT SORBET :

1. Chill an ice cream machine and prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.
2. Place the ghee into a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the carrots, cover, and cook, stirring regularly for about 10 minutes until soft.
3. Meanwhile, place the cream, milk, glucose syrup, cardamom powder into a medium saucepan.
4. Add the softened carrots to the milk mixture and bring to a simmer.
5. Remove the mixture from the heat, and use a stick blender to process until combined. Set aside.
6. Place the egg yolks and caster sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk until pale and fluffy. Slowly add the carrot and the milk mixture whilst continuing to whisk until combined.
7. Return the mixture to the saucepan. Stir continuously with a silicone spatula over medium heat until the mixture reaches 83°C.
8. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl, and place over the ice bath to cool.
9. Churn in ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Place sorbet into a covered container and freeze until firm.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE MALAI RABRI:

1. Place ingredients into a wide, shallow, non-stick pan over low heat. Cook, stirring regularly, until the mixture has thickened, for about 17-20 minutes.
2. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE SUGAR SYRUP :

1. Place ingredients into a saucepan on medium heat and simmer until light syrup forms, about 5 minutes.
2. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE GHEVAR:

1. Add enough oil to fill a deep saucepan until it’s one quarter full, and preheat to 180°C.
2. Place the ghee and two ice cubes into a blender, and process until combined. Add half of the yoghurt and lemon juice, and blend. Add the flour and chickpea flour in small batches, alternating with yoghurt and ice-cold water and blend until you achieve a smooth consistency.
3. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl with a few ice cubes, and whisk in enough water to achieve a runny consistency. Continue to add a few ice cubes to keep mixture chilled.
4. Using a spouted ladle, carefully and slowly pour the mixture into the hot oil from a height of about 20cm. Each ghevar should need 2 large ladles or 1/3 cup of the mixture to make. As the mixture is poured slowly into the hot oil, the mixture should separate and form a web of crispy batter in the pan. Once the web formation is dense, holding together, and golden, use tongs to carefully remove the fried ghevar from the oil and set aside on paper towel. Repeat with remaining batter if desired.
5. To serve, pour some sugar syrup over the ghevar and drizzle with some malai rabri. Sprinkle with garnishes and finish with a quenelle of carrot sorbet.

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