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Masterchef Australia – The Hindu Wedding – What An Effort

I thought it was ironic that Masterchef Australia was catering for a Hindu wedding on a night that Dumb Drunk And Racist aired on ABC 2 last night, and that the star of the episode was top Indian chef Kumar Mahadevan who did a great job of mixing humour with whipping the contestants into shape.

Dumb Drunk and Racist could not decide to which “laneway” it was sitting in. Was it observational documentary, reality TV or a mockumentary. I took it as a mockumentary as it appeared to be taking the piss out of everyone and was more contrived than any episode of Masterchef. Not sure what taking an Indian to Bondi and making them swim in a rip so they could be rescued had to do with racism in Australia.  However I was amused at the irony of the Indian’s being shown how racist  Australians are towards muslims when in fact India was partitioned after the end of the British Raj on religious grounds. But maybe if this show is screened in India it might send of message to be tolerant to muslims and help improve the ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan. By the way there has been a lot of complaints about the Say No To The Burqua mural but hey don’t let the facts get in the way of one good made for TV extremist.

Recently on reality TV on we have seen a better representation of people from different ethnicities doing more for breaking down cultural stereotypes that currently exist. Amina who wears the hijab has the majority of Masterchef fans in her corner not just because of her cooking but because she is a great girl. Hell she cracked the best joke on last night’s episode. The Amazing Race last year had Mo and Mos the affable muslim guys who seriously need their own radio show, and this year we had the hot indigenous guys who unfortunately were eliminated far too soon.

Hell the cast is far more diverse than the newly announced series of Celebrity Go Back To Where You Came From where SBS cast all anglo-saxon people for the series. But this will lauded as great TV, and the first series was, but lets be frank it was aimed at it’s viewer demographic which is the white middle class. So I am not sure how many perceptions of their viewers they changed.

However it would be good for the four Indians to meet Julia who might be able to tell her Indians can in  fact afford potato mashers in fact the middle class can afford to pay the extortionate fees to send their kids to overseas unis so they may also have an electrical appliance in their cupboards as well.

It could be argued, and that is another blog post, that shows like Masterchef Australia, and The Amazing Race show greater diversity than other shows on our screens. Also there WILL be a blog post on Dumb Drunk And Racist, but after I have seen a couple of more episodes to ensure I don’t make too many generalisations….

OK back to the recap….

It was a mega challenge the teams had to cook for a Hindu wedding of Sri Lankan Tamils.

The red team was Jules, Audra, Andrew, Alice, Julia, Sam, Mindy and Andy.

The Blue team was Emma, Wade, Beau, Kylie, Ben , Tregan, Amina, and Debra. Jules was captain for the red team and Beau for the blue team.

Like the yum cha challenge the captains had to cook off with the winner gaining an advantage of picking the dishes. They had to make raita something Ben had never seen tasted or heard of before. Are there no Indian restaurants in Tasmania?

Though having castigated him I was thinking why are they getting fry pans out to make raita? Duh to cook the spices…

By the way is Masterchef cutting costs on their medical staff?  Amina who is a nurse rushed over to Ben to hold his finger up which he cut on the grater. Pity she did not give him a bollocking for stuffing up the raita. Jules is looking like she is a good cook with a wide knowledge of cuisines she might make top ten.

Jules picked Eggplant Pakoras and Potato Fritters for entree ,  Dahl and Potato Curry for mains and dessert was the Jackfruit rice.

The blue team had to do paneer kebabs and fried cauliflower, mains okra and vegetable curry and dessert was semolina.

The teams went shopping at Coles, however did they get the okra there?

They had a whole day of prep before coming back for another day of getting the dishes ready. And it was hard and heavy work, which must have made some of the contestants re-think their food dream.

Amina really did seem in her element, and she cracked me up when she was crying and she sobbed “There is going to be wedding so beautiful” then she laughed and said “Its the onions”.

Also I had to laugh at Julia’s cultural epiphany when she said. “This is how the women in India do it, they don’t have fancy gadgets, machines or moulies or french appliances they are probably just smashing it in a pot”

Kumar turned into the Gordon Ramsay of the Masterchef Kitchen when he told Ben off about using the big cauliflowers for the vegetable curry when he need them for his entree. He told him to get some new ones and of course Ben sent a girl to the supermarket…

Even though the the judges thought the red teams entrees were better and the blue teams mains were thought to be tastier. The vote was up to the wedding guests where they had to vote for their favourite dish.

However If thought it was rude of Matt Preston telling Kumar that he preferred the red teams potato fritters better than his as they were crispier. But is that how they should be served Matt?

Also there was criticism of the red teams dahl. Gary Mehigan put it into perspective that they were cooking for 450 people and some of the 16 had not cooked Indian before.  Yes I was shocked at that it is a pretty mainstream cuisine in Australia these days.

After the curse of Andrew had the desserts fall over, yes it was Audra’s fault but Andrew does always appear to be in the epicentre of stuff ups. However they had extras so disaster was averted it was time for the result.

The red team won and the blue team looked disappointed as they would be as it was as such a mammoth effort  by both teams. There appears to be some drama tonight with the Ben saying he won’t go up against Emma. What is all that about? A big brother thing or don’t tell me they are hooking up?



1 littlepetal { 06.21.12 at 5:41 pm }

Andrea-They should get us to be the scriptwriters. :)

2 brain dead dave { 06.21.12 at 5:52 pm }

Beige Ben might be able to take out Eyebrows, Beau or Tregan with a Taco n’ Tears but no chance against Amina or Deb. He might as well throw himself against a wall like a soft chickpea.

3 littlepetal { 06.21.12 at 5:57 pm }

Or he can be a smashed potatoes by crashing into the pot

4 JStar { 06.21.12 at 6:06 pm }

@Andrea. Interesting theory. I can see him doing that if Tregan was already announced as one of the final two contestants. Maybe not Wade as the guys are all buddy-buddy – (they are an endangered species in the house). Although, it begs the question, why are the contestants constantly coddling Emma. She was not the youngest competitor – (Matt was). And she isn’t the only one gave up a huge chunk of her life just to go on the show and get paid slightly more than welfare recipients.

@EH – I might have to get that MC magazine to see how Mindy did her murtabak recipe. I note that on te MC website, there is no mention of kecap manis or bean sprouts.

@littlepetal – do you know where I can find that recipe for the char kway teow? What was “wrong” with it? Was it too anglicised to be deemed “Malaysian” anymore?

@Joseph Skyrim – hope you didn’t get into trouble at work as I’m constantly being told off to stop surfing the web and actually do the job I’m paid to do!

5 EH { 06.21.12 at 6:12 pm }

Love your theory, Andrea. 10 females, 6 males left. My guess: a female to go. Ben safe. Tregan go home.

6 EH { 06.21.12 at 6:25 pm }

JS – I just compared the magazine vs online version. Yup, slightly different. The dough/roti recipe in the magazine only has 2 ingredients: flour & ghee (no tepid water etc.). As for the filling, the amount of mince is different 300 vs 350g. It says bean shoots online but 1 cup bean sprouts on magazine. You can clearly see the bean sprouts in the magazine picture too. I misread (I read it a while back) soy sauce as ketchup manis. But still soy sauce should not be included in a Mamak/Indian dish.

7 littlepetal { 06.21.12 at 8:51 pm }

JStar- Can’t find Mindy’s Char Kway Teow.

Have a look at Food Safari:

This one is quite good.

8 littlepetal { 06.21.12 at 8:53 pm }

JStar-Another version of the Char Kway Teow.

With the above recipe, you can omit making the chillie paste if it is too much work. Chilles Sambal will do the job.

Now I feel like a Chay Kway Teow!!!!!

9 EH { 06.21.12 at 9:03 pm }

Boo! If Emma continued to cry for another hour, she would have been evaporated, not dehydrated.

10 JStar { 06.21.12 at 9:13 pm }

Thanks littlepetal. If you live near a heavily populated Asian suburb, you can dash out now and tuck in to this fantastic dish. I prefer the second recipe, mainly because it uses belacan. If Mindy’s recipe did not include this ingredient, then she should never have made it past the audition stage and Matt P should hang his head in shame. Matt is the only one who should know Asian flavours as the other two are clueless (particularly George). I remember during Season 1 finals week that I pretty much went all Annie Wilkes at the TV when George and Gary kept on interchanging the words, “Malay” and “Malaysian” cuisine as if they were one of the same.

Not sure who Annie Wilkes is? Here’s a link from the film, Misery. I was pretty much like Annie from the 52 second mark onwards, jumping out of my chair and yelling at the television. Come to think of it, I was pretty much like that during all of last year watching MasterChef.

11 littlepetal { 06.21.12 at 9:24 pm }

There is a nice Char Kway Teow near my home. Maybe I will cook that tomorrow.

12 EH { 06.21.12 at 9:46 pm }

JStar / Littlepetal – Mindy’s CKT recipe is in MC magazine May issue. Just checked. No belacan but she used a chilli paste made of dried & fresh chilli and eshallots. She also used fish sauce.

13 littlepetal { 06.21.12 at 9:49 pm }

Mindy uses lots of fish sauce in her dishes. NO fish sauce in Char Kway Teow.

14 JStar { 06.21.12 at 10:02 pm }

Thanks EH for that! I’m with littlepetal on this. Am very surprised there is no belacan (which is a really concentrated and potent fermented shrimp paste. You don’t need to use a lot. I store mine in a glass jar or else it will stink up the pantry). The fish sauce is not really the best substitute given that the MC pantry can apparently house a pig’s head or an ox tongue – so why wouldn’t there be belacan or the Thai equivalent (kapi)? Mindy is huge with South-East Asian flavours but I would personally hesitate to cook her version of Char Kway Teow knowing it does not have shrimp paste but fish sauce as a quasi substitute.

15 brain dead dave { 06.21.12 at 10:25 pm }

I feel for the people in Perth still experiencing the culinary cryfest. Soon it will be finished and we can talk about it.

16 Robbo { 06.21.12 at 11:22 pm }

I suspect that Tregan visiting Coles for cauliflower was filmed some other time as Greenacre is nowhere near the Masterchef kitchen. The whole Coles buying experience was extremely sus as I can not imagine checking 70Kg of spuds out through a register and I have never seen okra in Coles and doubt if they would ever consider having 450 serves of same. Delivery was in a Coles truck and almost certainly an order placed by Kumar and not the random stuff picked up by the contestants. n.b. Masterfoods product placement. Kumar would not use that crap. This show is seriously spiralling downhill from last years low.

17 Marie { 06.21.12 at 11:49 pm }

I was so amused by Amina crying over the onions! Wade is finally getting some screen time which is good.

When Deb took the coriander I am pretty sure she said something about Kumar instructing her to do it. As much as I dislike Deb I hated the way Audra grabbed her wrist and didn’t listen to her. A vicious streak for sure!

I couldn’t believe this whole challenge. What a thing to risk! I feel like the judges were being a bit nicer in their crit so that the show didn’t get hate for ruining a wedding. Not that the contestants did ruin it of course. Just that all the crit was delivered in a nice compliment sandwich (except for the cauliflower).

Nobody needs to tell me Julia was just mistaken or made a bad phrasing of what she meant: I covered both of those in ignorant and offensive. It is just annoying when some people treat all Indian’s like they are straight out of the start of slumdog millionaire. Someone has asked me if there is internet there for instance, so the consistent amalgamation of class into one stereotypical constructed experience does make me roll my eyes. It was a silly thing to say.

18 Marie { 06.22.12 at 12:08 am }

Oh! I forgot to say how Amina rushed over to tend to Ben’s grated hand after the time was up (she seems a very caring person). Maybe the MC producers are coating costs and don’t have any medical staff on hand while there is still a nurse in the comp.

19 Fides { 06.22.12 at 1:18 am }

Robbo – Tregan was at the function venue in The Croatian Club which is in Punchbowl, so heading to Coles in Greenacre makes sense.

Marie – I think everyone just wants Amina to take care of them but agree it did seem a bit strange to see her immediately tend to the finger. She’d be such a lovely, happy and calm presence on a paediatric ward.

20 Jess { 06.22.12 at 7:37 am }

Yeah, the judges aren’t all that knowledgeable when it comes to “Asian cuisine,” as they say. Even excluding the whole Malay=Malaysian thing from Poh’s Malaysian challenge in season one, they still manage to mix up Thai and Malaysian flavours a lot. I can’t imagine a contestant serving up a Spanish style dish, telling the judges it’s French, and then having the judges all nod in agreement. Or someone using olive oil, Greek yoghurt, and mozzarella to make a German dish, and talking to the camera about how they’ve picked “European flavours” from the pantry.

To their credit, at least George and Gary don’t claim to be experts on Asian food. But to the detriment of MasterChef, they seem to bring in Kylie Kwong to fill that role. And she, supposedly a Chinese chef, leverages her ethnicity to appear authoritative on the cuisine, but she actually doesn’t know very much about it at all. (Did anyone see that show where she went to China, went up to a street vendor selling Japanese food, and talked about how the tastes and smells were so familiar?)

21 librarygirl { 06.22.12 at 7:46 am }

Hope you post about last nights ep soon RR!!
Tregan’s face! her reaction! Just gold….

22 J-Ko { 06.22.12 at 8:57 am }

@Jess, Kylie Kwong obviously did a “Luke Nguyen” whereby she visited her home town and dabbled a bit of cooking, the disadvantage she had was she did not know the language.

23 Marie { 06.22.12 at 8:59 am }

Librarygirl- Tregan is going to have the funniest montage when she leaves the comp at this rate! Her laying eggs when J. Oliver arrived plus some of her general expressions haha!

24 PollyB { 06.22.12 at 9:04 am }

George made something ‘Greek’ on masterclass a couple of weeks ago. He used coriander and star anise along with a couple of other ingredients that I wouldn’t think were Mediterranean. What also shits me big time is the use of olive oil in dishes that are Asian of any persuasion.

25 EH { 06.22.12 at 9:30 am }

Jess & J-Ko – Don’t get me started on the Aussie ‘Asian Experts’ – Kylie Kwong & Neil Perry. A lot of authentic Chinese recipes are written in Chinese. My favourite online source is:

JStar & Littlrpetal – Re authentic South East Asian recipes, go to Gourmet Traveller magazine website and search for recipes by Melbourne chef Tony Tan. He is originally from Penang and the recipes he has written for the magazine stay true to SEA flavours. Some with a nice modern twists. He is well known by the industry but not much recognized by the public.

26 brain dead dave { 06.22.12 at 9:34 am }

Wow – that was one of Ma$terchef ‘s greatest ever episodes…for contestants crying. I thought I was watching Ridge and Chloe from Bold And The Beautiful grappling with a tragedy.

It was an embarrassing kick in the guts to find out Emma was from Adelaide…….we’re not all as soft as that. I think the apprenticeship idea was just bluster for Ma$terchef.

Beige Ben’s -“I haven’t made this before..”…not again. He’ll find a way to make damper Mexican, just wait.

Jowl$y gave Emma a mega plastic goodbye hug….glad to get rid of her, I thought. The judges had to tip toe around her with her feedback to avoid another Wivenhoe Dam like spillover.

27 Joseph Skyrim { 06.22.12 at 9:39 am }

@BDD – hehe, I actually really liked last nights ep. Will wait for RR’s post before I put more detail. As a side note – is the Bold and the Beautiful still going? I loved that show! :p

28 brain dead dave { 06.22.12 at 9:49 am }

4.30 weekdays on Ch 10( who else?), Joseph. You mean you haven’t got your own Bold And The Beautiful coffee cup like me? If you love trash TV , B&B delivers in spades and the cougars are smoking.

29 Reality Raver { 06.22.12 at 9:52 am }

Up now guys sorry about the delay was out last night. And I forgot to record and did I get in trouble from partner as he wanted to watch it.

30 Reality Raver { 06.22.12 at 9:53 am }

BDD – Jesus I just saw that last comment – Bold and Beautiful? Really? LOL

31 Joseph Skyrim { 06.22.12 at 12:09 pm }

Hey B&B is awesome. Totally agree with BDD – i don’t drink coffee or tea though, hence no need for the cup! ;D

32 brain dead dave { 06.22.12 at 12:24 pm }

The cup is awesome. One side is Ridge saying ” I love you, Doc” , the other side he says ” I love you, Logan”. Polarising conversation piece, for sure

I got it from where Ma$terchefs shop and it will get a workout with Milo during the Tour de France.

33 Reality Raver { 06.22.12 at 1:20 pm }

Socs – I meant to respond yesterday thank you for lurking and now commenting. I hope it is not the last time. *waves*

34 Jaime { 06.24.12 at 4:14 pm }

I havent read this blog for ages so I dont know if ive missed the How annoying is Alice talk? She is SO annoying… whats with daggy glasses?

35 Moonstruck { 06.25.12 at 8:13 pm }

Here’s a clip from kumar’s own wedding which an arranged one from the time he and his wife appeared on an Insight program on SBS.