Kitchen Stories – Bishnu Tiwari and Barnasi Dass at Gandhi Curry House
For Bishnu Tiwari, cooking has always been a family affair. And while the position of family chef was taken by the matriarchs, Bishnu says his passion for food started at a young age, as he hung off the folds of his mother’s sari. “I always wanted to help my mum cook,” he reminisces. “After moving to Harayana (India) from Nepal, my uncle would take me to restaurants and with every visit, my desire to be a chef grew,” he says. His co-chef at Gandhi Curry House, Banarsi Dass, also remembers vividly his first matriarchal cooking experiences. “Everyone, even the boys, learn to cook from their mothers.”
Specialising in authentic Indian cuisine, Gandhi Curry House is dedicated to local produce. “My favourite Queensland ingredients are the wonderful fresh coriander and mint available and of course, the tomatoes,” says Bishnu. “It’s easy to use Queensland produce,” adds owner Don Abeywardena, framed by a colourful mosiac frieze adorning the wall inside the Little Stanley Street institution. “Most sub-continental ingredients are available from North Queensland, which has a similar climate to India and Sri Lanka,” he says, crushing a curry leaf – sourced from Cairns – between his thumb and forefinger, the stringent aroma piercing the air. “In fact there’s a better variety of ingredients available more often in Queensland,” Don says.
Both Bishnu and Barnassi admit they’ve had to alter their methods to accommodate differences in produce – but the opportunity to cook traditional cuisine in a relaxed setting is what inspires their craft.
Queensland onions are more watery so we don’t sauté for as long.
1kg green peas
500g potato (cubed)
1 onion (chopped)
1 tomato (chopped)
2 garlic cloves (chopped)
50ml vegetable oil
1tsp coriander powder
1tsp cumin powder
Fresh coriander and fresh ginger to taste
|Heat olive oil in pan, add chopped onion and garlic and cook until golden brown, add tomato, salt, coriander powder and cumin powder and mix well.
Add eggplant, green peas and potato, stir through and simmer for 20mins. Serve with fresh ginger and coriander garnish.