An Israeli chef showcased the best of Middle Eastern cuisine in a culinary workshop in Mumbai at the end of November.
Efrat Devir has been living in southern India for years, in the state of Tamil Nadu. While she usually focuses on hosting Israeli tourists and introducing them to Indian dishes, this time Devir was happy to rise to the opposite challenge.
The event was organized by the Consulate General of Israel in Mumbai for a group of twenty local food influencers. The guests had the opportunity to learn all the secrets and flavors of Israeli cuisine, from the technique to roll rice in vine leaves to the differences between Middle Eastern maqluba and Indian biryani (both featuring rice, meat and spices).
“When I first took off for India—an Israeli woman living a typical middle-class lifestyle—it did not seem like my natural place,” she explains while introducing her cookbook “Happiness Tastes Like Curry: My Indian Kitchen”. “I simply wished to spend some time with myself, and India seemed right. I set out for one month, but India had a different plan.”
In India, Devir found love and began to cook, ending up staying.
“My kitchen migrates between the Middle East and India, particularly Tamil Nadu, where I have lived since 2000,” she adds. “For me food is, first and foremost, a connection—something we share, we speak of, we tell stories about. Cooking is an adventure, a journey in new flavors, and a longing for something that we cannot always explain. Sometimes food allows us to express on a plate what we cannot put into words.”
Indeed, during her cooking demonstration she was able to offer a taste of Israel through hummus, baba ganoush and tahini not only to the guests but also to their hundreds of thousands of followers and readers.