Styling Desi Vs Firangi Food

Hello All!

Don’t worry, I am not here to take some lessons on how to style food—simply sharing my perspective about how styling Indian food is different from styling Continental/ Non-Indian Food.

Believe me, most styled Indian food is like a Band Baaja Baarat wedding – more glamour.. Whereas styled continental food is a classy, elite marriage. Here’s why I say so!

Food itself
a) Indian food includes heavy duty items like gravies, dals, rice dishes, Mithais, fried items which are fried, roasted, tempered or thickened.

b) Whereas conti food includes low calorie food items which are mostly blanched, tossed, steamed, grilled or baked.

a) Indian food that is styled , the portion size is tummy full(pet bhar ke) , more quantity, bowl full almost upto the rim. Desserts, Sweets for that matter are stacked in quantum. Have you ever seen a single gulabjamun isolated in any of the styled food photographs.

b) On contrary , to this you can find a Baklava, or a single portion of caramel custard or brownie- they are not stacked ample – minimal is classy for them.

Garnishing & Plating
a)Indian food is garnished in ample quantity , with edible garnishes – kheer with loads of dryfruits & kesar, mithai with warq or dal Makhani with cream – onion rings ,mint leaves , chopped coriander.

b)In context to this , continental food is garnished with a small sprig of micro green / a sprig of parsley- no heavy garnishes but elegant garnished are seen.

Portion Size
a)Its just not acceptable to half fill a Biryani / Chhole bowl. It has to have a heap showing more portion size of food. This is because Indian palate is stomach full.

b)As opposite to this a sprouts or salad bowl or a main course curry can be shown half filled – very much in tune with their calorie conscious behavior about how much they eat.

Look and Feel
a)Butter Chicken , Fried Fish etc needs to look juicy / oily and rich at the same time well cooked aswell. Indian food, there is no term like half done/half cooked.It is always cooked!! Period.

b)Conti food doesn’t look oily – It may be just brushed with butter or tossed in salad dressing to give it a shine. Blanched, tossed are common practices in this type of cooking. Eg Glazed Carrots or beans simply blanched (colour retained well) tossed with butter, salt and pepper, That’s it!

a)Most Indian food is served with lots of accompaniments. A simple Dal chawal shot can have a cluster of papad, pickle, salad along with it.That’s the precise reason I say there are too many baaratis here.

b)Continental Food , the scenario is different . Mostly their dishes are self sufficient , standalone dishes. Sauce is may a times drizzled over the dish. No much accompaniments are there with it.

a)Indian food photos need glamour and hence variety of items or props are used to beautify it. A simple Mithai is also decked up with ribbons, satin, beads, flowers, some antique props so on and so forth.

b)Exactly on the contrary , Conti food photos concentrates more on food itself rather than props.

Well! Styling both is fun and challenge – after all it’s the food which is the Hero, rest all are side actors.

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