From chess to cookies – The New Indian Express


Express News Service

CHENNAI: If you were ever aware of August 4 being Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, chances are you might have binged on cookies with dollops of ice cream, as it was originally meant to be consumed. Others, like pastry chef Subhamoy Chatterjee at Kaldan Samudhra resort, Mahabalipuram, took it a notch or several further, as he baked what is supposedly the biggest cookie in Chennai.

A welcome break
The event was held for the guests at Kaldan, all of whom are participants at the Chennai Chess Olympiad. Nestled in a 10-acre property overlooking the sea and with over 100 rooms, two villas and a swimming pool, Kaldan Samudhra, with its façade reminiscent of Rajasthani architecture complete with jharokhas, seemed the perfect way to unwind. The competition-weary guests from eight countries gathered around the chef inside the dining area, who began walking them through each stage of the cookie-making process.

Laid out in different plates and bowls were the various ingredients butter, castor sugar, brown sugar, egg, flour, baking soda, cinnamon powder, oats, walnut, dark chocolate and vanilla essence as the chef demonstrated how the various ingredients are mixed and in what order. “We start with the butter,” he said, as everyone around watched eagerly. After the butter, he proceeded to add the castor sugar and brown sugar. “Now we’ll bring all three together until the sugar melts into the butter,” he said while giving the ingredients a thorough mix.

Next to be added into the mixture were the eggs, followed by vanilla essence. As he did so, Subhamoy explained, “The vanilla essence cuts down the smell of the eggs.” Another round of mixing followed until it achieved a creamy texture. “One has to be careful not to let the dough stick to the bowl. In case it does, we scrape it and add it to the mix,” he added. All that needed to be added were the dry ingredients, which he did one by one.

He then went on to describe the nutritional value of the cookie he was about to bake. “This cookie contains 298 calories, 3.6 g protein, 38.9 g carbohydrates, 15.6 g of fat, 35.8 g of cholesterol, and 165.8 mg of sodium. As you can see, it is quite rich in nutrition.”

Next came the kneading part. The dough was carefully transferred onto a large tray; here, the guests were invited to join. Hands that moved chess pieces were now working on the dough until it transformed into a gigantic circle, 26 inches in diameter. One trip to the oven and there it was, the largest cookie in Chennai. For a few minutes, it was the center of everyone’s attention and the subject of a dozen photographs, before it was quickly dismembered and distributed to the gathering.

Kaldan’s Outreach
For the team at Kaldan Samudhra, which was opened six months ago, events like these are ways of reaching out to tourists who expect a stay different from the norm. Says Srishar Thota, general manager, “We create Culinary and Cultural experiences for our guests who are looking for a stay different from what they are used to.” The custom of greeting guests at the resort with a Rajasthani turban was part of the novelty of the experience, but it did not end there.

While the overall ambience might be Rajasthani, the cuisine certainly offers far more. “Someone who might want a taste of Rajasthan, Agra, or Goa or even international can find all in one place as a Global Cuisine,” executive chef Lawrence Amalraj added.

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