Kitchen scientist Krish Ashok turns the SIBF 2023 cookery corner into a creative space for culinary experiments
SIBF 2023

Kitchen scientist Krish Ashok turns the SIBF 2023 cookery corner into a creative space for culinary experiments

Nov 6, 2023

Sharjah International Book Fair audiences take a closer look at the fascinating science behind cooking

“I inspire kids to understand that the kitchen is the greatest physics, chemistry, or biology lab
they will ever have access to in life. It will teach them more about science than anything in
school or college. And the side effect of this is a skill that will keep them healthy for a long time”.
Krish Ashok set the Cookery Corner at the 42nd Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) ablaze
with science, regaling an excited audience with interesting anecdotes as he prepared mouth
watering Indian food items.

“I’m actually a techie who thinks about cooking through the lens of science”, noted Ashok who
prefers not to be called chef as he revealed a delectable pan-Indian menu featuring Paneer
Pakora (cottage cheese fritters), Kerala Fish Curry and Masala Tea to demonstrate; not only the
cooking process but also the science that guides it all.

“When preparing the pakora batter, if you blend gram flour (besan) with rice flour, each of the
powders will lose water at a different rate when you start frying the fritters, making the pakoras
even crispier.”

Having dedicated his bestseller cookbook, Masala Lab: The Science of Indian Cooking to his
grandmother, Ashok said he gathered most of his cooking know-how from practical
observations made in home kitchens.

“I feel there is a need to document our grandmothers’ methods not as recipes but as scientific
lessons. Do you know why mustard seeds are added to hot oil first? It is to test the temperature
of the oil. If it sputters quickly, the oil is too hot. If it doesn’t crackle, the oil is not hot enough”.
Krish, who was given free reign to explore the kitchen at a young age by his mother, shared a
long-held socio-cultural observation: “What has always struck me is that how nobody really recognised the fact that the approach that women have been taking to cooking for generations
is in fact more scientific than simply following traditions passed down to them”.

“This fact was not given any importance, probably because they were women and also because
they were expected to cook,” he added.

With a strong social media following of almost 650k on Instagram and another 40k on YouTube,
Ashok’s culinary journey began at the age of 15.

2033 publishers are showcasing more than 1.5 million book titles from 01-12 November 2023 at
the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF). The UAE, Egypt and Lebanon are leading the list of
Arab publishers attending the event while publishers from India, the UK, and Turkey top the list
of international publishers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *