Savour Mumbai – recipes by Vikas Khanna
A celebration of Mumbai’s food with three recipes from the book by the Michelin Star winning Chef, ‘Khubani ka
Shahi Tukda’, ‘Chicken Caferal’ and ‘Kacche Kele ki Asharfi’.
A natural flare with crowd and with a gift of gab, this handsome Michelin star winning Chef did not fail to win a thousand hearts during the Delhi launch of his book ‘Savour Mumbai’ at Imperial hotel yesterday. An event organised by the Imperial’s culinary club had the food enthusiasts absolutely awestruck by the humbling smile and down to earth attitude of super Chef Vikas Khanna, who needs no introduction I am sure. In the star chef’s words ‘It’s not just about cooking or the food’, ‘It’s much more beyond that science’, of course what he meant was ‘unmatched love and endless memories that counts’, and I couldn’t agree more for that is exactly what cooking in India is about. The little anecdotes from his ‘biji’s’ kitchen when she would ward them away as they tried to steal dry fruits as children, or even how the use of dry fruits was limited to occasions when super-special guests arrived, were not just amusing but they also took many of us in the audience a little back down our own memory lanes.
The book Savour Mumbai, also the first that he started to write atleast 4 years back, took him longer than anticipated for he wanted to capture the vast food culture of the city and do justice to the extent that at the end the readers could sigh with emotion “Aamchi Mumbai”, he said with fervour. The book that he describes as ‘A culinary Journey through India’s Melting pot’ is a tribute to the city where his culinary journey as a Chef began. Mumbai, he describes the city as ‘smorgasbord’ of delicious and multi-flavoured food options ranging from Maharashtrian to Parsi to Gujrati or Konkani, street food and much more. ‘Savour Mumbai’ is essentially the story of his affair with the city replete with stories of his visits to some of his favourite restaurants and eateries, their select signature dishes that have been helpfully modified and adapted for the benefit of the home cooks.
The carefully selected delicious and challenging gourmet options handpicked from distinct cuisines which find their popularity in Mumbai and were chosen for the live cook out included Kaju Kothambir Vadi from Maharashtra, Khubani Ka Shahi Tukda from Lucknow, Guava and cottage Cheese salad from Allahabad, Kacche kele ki Asharfi from Hyderabad and Chicken Cafreal from Goa.
As Vikas Khanna aptly expressed his thoughts at the launch “If you cannot make a food pilgrimage to Mumbai soon, here is a piece of Mumbai we have created for your kitchens”, I’d take the liberty to say – If you cannot get a grab of the book immediately, here are three of my favourite recipes from the five dished he cooked for us last afternoon. Bon Appetite!!
Kacche-Kele ki Asharfi Recipe
- Oil: 2 tbsp.
- Large Onions finely sliced: 2 nos.
- Unripe green Bananas boiled in their skins: 6 nos.
- Potatoes, boiled: 4 nos.
- Ginger-garlic paste: 1 ½ tbsp.
- Fresh Coriander, finely chopped: 2 tbsp.
- Red Chilli powder: 2tsp.
- Gram flour (besan): 2 tbsp.
- Green Cardamom powder: ½ tsp.
- Salt: to taste
- Medium Capsicums, tops cut off and cleared of seeds and white pith: 2 nos.
- Clarified Butter (ghee): 1 ½ cups
- Heat oil in a fry pan over medium heat
- Add onions and fry golden. Remove and drain on absorbent paper. Finely chop the browned onions
- Peel the bananas and potatoes and mash well
- In a mixing bowl, combine the mashed bananas and potatoes with chopped browned onions, ginger-garlic paste, chopped coriander, chilli powder, gram flour, cardamom powder and salt, and mix thoroughly
- Fill this mixture into the cleaned hollow capsicums and stuff well. Using a sharp knife cut the stuffed capsicum horizontally into 2-inch thick slices
- Heat the clarified butter in a frying pan and shallow-fry the stuffed capsicum slices till the capsicum softens slightly and the filling is golden and crisp. Remove, drain on absorbent paper and serve hot with Coriander and Mint Chutney or Dahi ki Chutney.
Chicken Caferal Recipe
- Fresh Coriander, roughly chopped: 4 cups
- Roughly chopped, Green Chillies: 5 nos.
- Roughly chopped Ginger:1 tbsp.
- cloves Garlic: 5 nos.
- Poppy seeds (khus khus), roasted and soaked in warm water: 1 tsp.
- Black Peppercorns: 5 nos.
- 1-inch cinnamon stick: 1 no.
- Cumin seeds: 1 tsp.
- Tamarind pulp: ½ tsp.
- Turmuric powder: ¼ tsp
- Cloves: 3 nos.
- Salt: to taste
- Boneless Chicken chunks:1/2 kg
- Oil: 5 tbsp.
- In a grinder, combine the coriander, chillies, ginger, garlic, poppy seeds, pepper, cinnamon, cumin, tamarind pulp, turmeric and cloves. Add ¼ cup water and salt, and grind to a smooth paste
- In a mixing bowl, combine the chicken with the ground paste. Mix well and leave to marinate overnight or for at least 6 hours
- Heat oil in a frying pan; add chicken along with marinade and shallow-fry till chicken is tender and crispy around the edges. Serve hot with pao (bread)
Khubani ka Shahi Tukda Recipe:
- Whole Milk: 3 cups
- Sugar: ½ cup
- Green Cardamom powder: ¼ tsp.
- Granulated Sugar: 1 cup
- Whole Milk: 1 cup
- Saffron strands: ¼ tsp.
- Clarified Butter (ghee) for deep frying
- White Bread: 4 sices
- Dried apricots, soaked overnight and drained: 100 gms.
- Pistachios, finely chopped: 2 tbsp.
- Edible silver leaf: 2 sheets
- For the rabdi, heat milk in a kadhai (wok) over medium heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook, stirring continuously, till it thickens to a consistency of a custard sauce.
- Remove from heat, add sugar and cardamom powder and stir till sugar dissolves. The mixture will thicken on cooling.
- For the shahi tukda, combine the sugar with 2 cups water in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring till sugar dissolves and the syrup thickens to one-string consistency.
- In another saucepan, combine the milk with saffron and prepared sugar syrup and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.
- Heat the clarified butter in a kadhai over medium heat, and deep fry the bread slices till golden and crisp. Remove and drain on absorbent paper.
- Soak the fried bread slices in the warm milk for 2 minutes.
- Sandwich the cooked apricots between the softened bread. Add the drained apricots to the syrup and cook till tender. Remove apricots from syrup and set aside.
- To serve, arrange the sweet apricot sandwiches on a plate and spoon rabdi over. Sprinkle over with pistachios and garnish with silver leaf. Serve warm