Tuesday, February 4, 2014

4 Classic Recipes from Vikas Khanna's 'Savour Mumbai'

Michelin Star Chef Vikas Khanna's book 'Savour Mumbai' published by Westland Books is a fine smorgasbord of the choicest recipes from Mumbai's best known eateries. Ranging from 5 Star Hotel restaurants such as 'Nawab Saheb' and 'Saffron' to iconic stand-alone restaurants such as 'Trishna'  and 'Soul Fry Casa' as well as popular road side eateries such as 'Bade Miyan Seekh Kebabs', this book brings the eclectic flavours of Mumbai to your dining table. 

Here are 4 exclusive recipes from the book in the following order, to give you some idea on this must-buy book for all foodies:

1. Kachhe Kele Ki Ashrafi- recipe from 'Saffron' restaurant, Mumbai
2. Kaju Kothimbir Vadi- recipe from 'Diva Maharashtracha' restaurant, Mumbai
3. Chicken Cafreal- recipe from 'Soul Fry Casa' restaurant, Mumbai
4.Khubani Ka Shahi Tukda-recipe from 'Kangan' restaurant, Mumbai

(Spiced green banana patties) Serves 4

Asharfi were the thick gold coins issued by the Nizams and Nawabs, imprinted with their names on one side and Arabic verses on the other. Asharfi in culinary terms refers to thick round sweet or savoury delicacies, sometimes shaped in moulds depicting a royal seal. I am sure these mildly spiced, golden unripe banana patties would have found a place in any royal dastarkhwan or banquet.

2 tablespoons oil
2 large onions, finely sliced
6 unripe green bananas, boiled in their skins      
4 potatoes, boiled
1½ tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
2 tablespoons finely chopped
fresh coriander
2 teaspoons red chilli powder
2 tablespoons gram flour (besan)
½ teaspoon green cardamom powder        
2 medium capsicums, tops cut off and cleared of seeds and white pith
1½ cups clarified butter (ghee)

To serve
Coriander and Mint Chutney
Dahi ki Chutney

Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onions and fry till 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 and Dahi ki Chutney.

(Steamed cashew and coriander squares) Makes 24

Bengal gram flour, locally known as besan, features in many Marathi recipes, especially snacks. One of these is Kothimbir Vadi, which are available at every Mumbai eatery serving local Marathi food. The everyday snack, which is soft and silky on the inside and slightly crisp on the outside, has been gussied up with cashew nuts, which provide an interesting texture and flavour.
Served with a spicy green chutney, it is the perfect evening snack to accompany garam chai (hot tea), or cut into small cubes and served as hors d’oeuvres.

1 cup gram flour (besan)
30 cashew nuts
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
2 tablespoons finely chopped
fresh coriander
4 tablespoons oil, plus for shallow-frying -


In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except oil. Add 1½ cups water and mix well to make a very thick batter.
Heat 4 tablespoons oil in a frying pan over a low heat. Add the prepared batter and cook, stirring continuously, for 15 to 18 minutes till the mixture comes together to make a thick doughy batter. Remove from heat.
Grease a small tray and spread the mixture evenly 1 inch thick. Set aside to cool and set. Cut into 2-inch squares.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and shallow-fry the squares till golden and crisp. Remove and drain on absorbent paper.
Serve hot with Coriander and Mint Chutney (page 10) or ketchup.

Serves 4

The Portuguese left a very strong imprint on the cuisine of Goa. Chicken Cafreal is a local adaptation of a dish brought over from the Portuguese colonies in Africa. In the original dish, chicken was marinated in a blend of of piri piri, the potent African bird’s eye chilli, and local spices and grilled over hot coals. The marinade of the Goan version has plenty of fresh coriander and the chicken is usually pan-fried. Try this recipe with fish as well and cook it on a grill for a barbecued flavour.

1 cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped          
5 green chillies, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon roughly chopped ginger
5 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon poppy seeds (khus khus), roasted and soaked in warm water
5 black peppercorns
1-inch stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon tamarind pulp
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
3 cloves
½ kg boneless chicken chunks
5 tablespoons oil

In a grinder, combine the coriander, chillies, ginger, garlic, poppy seeds, pepper, cinnamon, cumin, tamarind pulp, turmeric and cloves. Add 1/4 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 pão (bread).

(Rich dried apricot and fried bread sandwich)Serves 4

This is one of those hauntingly delicious dishes that remain in one’s memory long after the first encounter. Slurpy apricots sandwiched between crisp sugar-soaked fried bread and topped with creamy rabdi (thickened milk) and pistachios — luxury and excess on a plate! Give me more!

3 cups whole milk
½ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon green cardamom powder

Shahi Tukda
1 cup granulated sugar
100 gm dried apricots, soaked overnight and drained
1 cup whole milk
¼ teaspoon saffron strands
Clarified butter (ghee) for deep- frying         
4 slices white bread
2 tablespoons pistachios, finely chopped
2 sheets edible silver leaf (varq)

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 the 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.
Add the drained apricots to the syrup and cook till tender. Remove apricots from syrup and set aside.
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.
Remove to a serving dish and top with the apricots and rabdi and some varq for garnishing.

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