The Mysterious Dish Behind MasterChef's Toughest Taste Test Ever
You're not alone if you haven't heard of the 'pasta not pasta' dish featured on MasterChef: Back To Win.
The popular menu item is served up at EnterViaLaundry, a restaurant that serves regional Indian cuisine with native Australian ingredients that's tucked away in an unassuming suburban Melbourne home.
The dining experience welcomes just ten patrons per week (via the laundry, of course) with over 1600 people on the waiting list, some who put their name down more than 18 months ago.
EnterViaLaundry's Helly Raichura works full time as a HR advisor for a tech company but has followed in the footsteps of her grandmother by honouring her passion for food on top of her day job.
The contestants in tonight's Pressure Test looked puzzled as the approached judges Melissa, Jock and Andy on a freshly mown lawn in the suburbs but soon looked extremely worried when they found out they had to pass a taste test to avoid round two.
Underneath a woven cloche, Helly revealed the dish that's never been off her menu -- the now infamous 'pasta not pasta'.
Containing 20 ingredients, the dish is comprised of silky ribbons that resemble handkerchief pasta, a delicate pool of coconut milk dotted with splashes of green and red and a scattering of flowers and herbs.
"There have been some absolute humdinger MasterChef taste tests before," Andy told the contestants, adding that he's definitely been part of them.
"But this is a contender for the toughest ever," he added.
The contestants had just five minutes to write down the ingredients they could taste, smell or see -- but the 'pasta not pasta' with its refined flavours had pretty much everyone stumped.
Even Tessa, who scored the highest number only got ten ingredients out of 20 correct.
Helly has described the intricacies of the meal on Instagram, explaining that while it's cheekily called 'pasta not pasta', the signature dish has a rich history far removed from any imitation of the Italian staple.
Khandvi is a common snack in the state of Gujarat on the Western coast of India made with chickpea flour.
"She looks delicate but she takes a lot of arm strength to transform from just chickpea flour and water into beautiful silky ribbons," Helly wrote on Instagram.
"The Vaghar over coconut milk along with Thai basil oil, lemongrass oil, kafir lime and garlic flowers makes this dish complete."
For many, the dish will be an introduction to Indian food that hasn't been classified into the vast, vague category of 'curry' -- something that Helly is keen to showcase with her menu.
"At EnterViaLaundry it's not only about spice, we showcase the evolving side of our cuisine and most importantly showcase the lesser known dishes from regional India. With no single curry in sight.
"You will find dishes unheard of from Gujarat, Orissa, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Karnataka, Kerala, Kashmir that are yet to be explored and enjoyed by the world!"
While coronavirus has forced EnterViaLaundry to temporarily close its doors, Helly is normally serving up traditional Indian dishes using Indigenous ingredients like a Bengali thali with warrigal greens or an Undhiyu using seasonal root vegetables, paperbark, quandong chutney and kangaroo.
Probably not a bad idea to think about booking a table now!