Monday, January 3, 2011

In the kitchen with Steve - finally!!!

I'm paying close attention - pen and pad in hand with Chef Vinay Koushik. Looking good in my ahem 'Chefs whites' eh?? Clearly a very casual classJ That is NOT my hat.

Now I needn't remind myself the name of this blog, nor the main reason why I decided to take this trip around the world malarkey, but remind myself I will. I wanted to, in order of importance:
1. See the world.
2. Experience the cuisine, and;
3. Learn how to cook at least a few dishes!

Since I've been in India, I have been gorging on curries and naan, and loving every second of it. So it was with HUGE excitement that I finally made my way into the kitchens of Shanti Home Hotel in Delhi to work with the Chefs, and learn how to make a great (at least I think so) Indian curry, among other recipes. Word of warning: I won't say that this is the ONLY way to make it, as techniques will differ from place to place, region to region, even home to home. I did, however, learn some pretty cool tips, so I thought I'd share some curry recipe information. I even went out and bought myself some traditional copper serving dishes that Indian restaurants and homes used to serve the curries and rice, you know, just to give myself that extra incentive to cook this at home. Not that I needed it!

The picture below gives an idea of a typical mise en place the hotel uses for preparing chicken curry. I'll try to be exact with the amounts of ingredients used but I may be off mostly because Chef just sort of threw it in and I had to make an educated guess (I liked doing that though!). I'm also using the US measuring system (cups, tablespoons etc) instead of the metric system I learned at school (and should be using now) to make it easier to follow. Now let's see if my culinary writing skills learned at school haven't entirely left me.

Starting from the back, left to right:

Back row: 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces, with bone (you could probably substitute the chicken for beef too); tomato gravy (very easy to make – just cook 1 can of tomatoes with 1 chopped onion and puree - it freezes quite well too).

Third row from front: Dal lentils (separate recipe); spinach puree (separate recipe); tomato and onion mix, roughly chopped).

Second row from front: julienned ginger; paprika; pureed garlic and ginger; Kitchen King Chicken Masala (store bought powder – I know, I was surprised too!); Garam Masala spice.

Front Row: Kasouri Melti (herb); whole spices plate featuring two large cardamom pods, three small cardamom pods, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 bay leaf, 2 Maize (also called javitri)pods, 4 peppercorns; Tofu (separate recipe – they call it cottage cheese); turmeric powder

Not included in the picture: Tomato puree (cooked tomatoes, onion and cashews pureed); turmeric sat – salt and turmeric powder mixed together; vegetable oil, and; about two cups of water.

What to do:

Heat about 2 tablespoons of veg. oil in very hot iron skillet.

Add all the whole spices to the oil and cook for about 2-3 minutes.

Add chicken to brown; add about two teaspoons of turmeric salt and additional two teaspoons of turmeric to the chicken. 5-6 minutes.

Add garlic and ginger puree (about two teaspoons) and cook until golden brown. 1-2 minutes

Stir in tomato and onion gravy, about a cup, then add about half a cup of water.

Add in garam masala and Kitchen King masala – two teaspoons of each.

Add about a half cup more water, turn down heat and simmer for about ten minutes

Finally, add in tomato puree, about two - three tablespoons, and a sprinkle of Kasouri Melti herb. Cook an additional 5 minutes. Salt to flavor.

Serve hot!!

Should look like this:

Mmmm looks good eh? Tasted even better!

Thank you Chef(s) and Shanti Home for the fantastic opportunity to learn a lot more about Indian cooking and cuisine!Should anyone decide to make their curry dish this way, please let me know how it turns out!

. Up next the Taj Mahal.





  2. Hey Vinni - just noticed you wrote this!!! Anytime man and best of luck, you're gonna be a great Chef!!!!

  3. Chicken Masala....grrrrr *Homer Simpson drewwwl