Butter Chicken Flies to the Masterchef Australia Kitchen

Contestants of the successful food show try to nail the flavours of this popular Indian dish in the pressure test presented by guest judge Saransh Goila.

Sayoni Bhaduri

Butter chicken, India’s most loved export, just made it to the Masterchef Australia kitchen, when Sarash Goila, the man behind Goila Butter Chicken, presented his rendition of butter chicken to be recreated by the three pressure test challengers. Episode 41 of the 10th season of the show features  Goila as a guest judge in this crucial round.

Goila invites contestants Chloe Carroll, Sarah Clare and Jess Liemantara to create the recipe, with a side of coriander chutney, sirke wale pyaaz and roomali roti. According to Goila, the original recipe took 6 months to perfect and for it to be ready for the Masterchef kitchen; he had to test the recipe 4 times in a week to ensure it could be replicated by the challengers using local Aussie ingredients. “Every small detail was tested to a T. There are many aspects of Indian cooking that are obvious for us, but out there, you cannot assume anything. Even the smallest detail was considered while drafting the recipe,” he tells us. The recipe was even tried and tested independently to see the ease of following the recipe and its degree of difficulty.

As to how the Masterchef Australia journey began, Chef Goila says, “It was when Chef George Calombaris was in India last year and I had the opportunity to serve him my butter chicken.” Calombaris confessed to the young chef that until that point, he had only tasted either greasy or sweet butter chicken, which left much to be desired. Smitten by the delicate balance of flavours, the Australian chef invited Goila to educate Australia, Melbourne in particular, on how great this Indian dish can be. This was how Chef Goila ended up in Australia for a butter chicken pop-up as part of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival.

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In the meanwhile, Chef Goila’s brand manager, Kavneet Sahni, was in touch with the Masterchef Australia team to understand how the guest judge selection process works.

“I was invited to be part of Masterchef Australia because of the product—butter chicken—and not because of the chef behind it,” Goila says, continuing, “ It has been an incredible opportunity for me to showcase not just myself as a chef, but India as a land of incredible culinary diversity.” A single episode has allowed him to break many stereotypes about Indian food and highlight the nuances and techniques involved in Indian cuisines.

The Masterchef pressure test was not just for the three contestants, who are vying for the top spot, but also for him, Chef Goila admits, as he had to maintain composure and put his best food forward. “Pitampura to Melbourne,” he is often known to joke, but the underlying thought behind it has always been that there are no boundaries when it comes to food—it is a universal language. Ironically, 7 years ago, Chef Goila himself was a winner of an Indian food reality contest.

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What is next for Chef Goila? The movie-buff quotes Spider-Man (2002), “With great power comes great responsibility,” to explain that the pressure is on and he is more than up to the challenge. He does not intend to rest on the laurels of his #GoilaButterChicken but narrate the Indian culinary story to the world by bringing to limelight our nation’s diverse cuisine.

Images courtesy: Chef Saransh Goila.


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