India Unplated: A crash course in the cuisine of the subcontinent



New series

Thursday, 8pm, SBS Food

<i>India Unplated’s</i> Helly Raichura.

India Unplated’s Helly Raichura.Credit:

For all our rich foodie culture, Australians have much to learn about Indian cuisine. So says Helly Raichura, who presents, along with TV chef Adam D’Sylva and 2019 MasterChef alumnus Sandeep Pandit, SBS Food’s 10-part recipe series India Unplated. In the program, which follows on from Asia Unplated with Diana Chan, the three present traditional dishes and contemporary fusions to extend the palate beyond palak paneer and butter chicken.

“We have some amazing culinary schools that focus on French, Japanese, Italian and other cultures, but Indian hasn’t been that well documented or taught,” says Raichura, a boutique communal restaurateur who made her television debut as a guest judge on the 2020 season of MasterChef. “I want everyone to give it a go, even if they’re not confident that it’s going to be perfect.”

She says Indian cooking is about more than knowing which spices to use.

“It’s very important to recognise how diverse the regions are and how each has something unique to offer. There’s a lot of history that has got each cuisine to where it is now. There’s a modern side and there’s the old side, and then there’s the native side.”

In the quaintly named hobby restaurant Enter Via Laundry that Raichura started at her home in the Melbourne suburb of Box Hill, the former HR adviser would serve dishes from Gujarat, where she grew up. In the country’s north, it’s a dry, vegetarian region known for its creative use of available produce.

“There are lots of lentils and legumes and pungent flavours – lots of fermenting and preserving.”