As part of our weekly look at the latest news and trends in Indian cooking, we asked the experts at Indian restaurants to share their take on why baby meat is such a big deal.
“You need to prepare your meat and cook it to your liking,” says Kirit Somaiya, an executive chef at the acclaimed and well-regarded Chikkurkuri restaurant in Mumbai.
“It’s a very tender, juicy, fatty meat, but with a light, crispy texture.
It’s a dish that you can easily incorporate into a meal and serve over rice or a porridge.”
Somaiya says that the meat in baby meat “doesn’t go bad.
It can be served with rice or cooked with rice.”
But he adds that the dish’s popularity among Indian moms, who are traditionally sensitive about meat and eating out, is partly due to the fact that they’re willing to eat more than they otherwise would.
“In the last 10 years, Indian mothers have grown more conscious about food, especially meat,” Somaiyasays.
“And they have an appetite for it.”
The problem is that baby meat has been around for centuries, he adds, and is still often used as a dish.
“You have to have it on hand in case you need it, so that you won’t have to eat anything else.”
Sosakshu, an award-winning chef who runs the Chikkuri restaurant, says that he often makes baby meat during special occasions.
“I don’t know why, but it’s just like eating something fresh or something new,” he says.
Sosaki adds that, as with many things in Indian cuisine, he does it on his own.
“If you’re at home, you don’t have time to cook it.
You have to make it at home,” he adds.
Soma, the executive chef, says he likes to use baby meat to accompany dishes like sous vide rice.
“The meat is cooked and it’s very tender.
It tastes really good.
I like to add it to rice dishes because it is so tender.”
Soma says he does not serve the meat to his mom.
“There are times when I don’t want to eat the meat.
I only eat it on special occasions,” he admits.
“When I’m at home with my family, I don´t cook anything else.
It just doesn’t make sense to me.”
The dish, according to Somaiyan, is also popular with vegetarian moms.
“They do it for a special occasion.
You serve it to mom and dad and they are all happy,” he explains.
“But if you are vegetarian, I advise you to wait for a little bit longer and prepare your own baby meat.”
But there is a downside to baby meat.
Sosaki says that many people are afraid of it, especially when they are pregnant.
“People say it can cause problems,” he warns.
“What’s worse, when a woman becomes pregnant, she can’t cook anything because of the meat.”
Somsakshuk, the owner of Chikkurs Restaurant, agrees that there is fear among some Indian moms about baby meat and that it can make them feel anxious and irritable.
“A lot of them will cook it on their own, and then they go to the hospital to get it checked,” he agrees.
Somaki says he doesn’t mind cooking it on the table, as long as it is cooked to his liking.
“Because it’s a tender, fatty and juicy meat, it’s not too heavy,” he clarifies.
“Most people love it.”
“That’s the biggest difference between us and them,” he concedes.
“We like it a lot.
They don’t like it.
We have a special relationship with them.”
Sokaiya adds that he doesn´t think that Indian moms will stop eating baby meat any time soon.
“For now, we have a very good relationship with our customers,” he assures.
“My mom loves it.
I think she’ll eat it again.”
Someshuk agrees, and says that baby is the best way to go when it comes to the meat’s tenderness.
“As a chef, it´s important to prepare the meat and then cook it so that it’s tender.
If it’s cooked too soon, it won´t be tender enough,” he points out.
Sokaki adds, “It tastes good.
It´s very good.”
Somalaiya thinks that baby should be cooked for a long time.
“Sometimes, they are cooked for four or five days, and you have to add some seasoning,” he observes.
“So I think it needs to be cooked in a long, long time.”