Mastering Valencian flavours

Mastering Valencian flavours

Down foodpath

Since I come from an army background, I had to relocate constantly. I got the opportunity to experience a variety of food from various cultures that made me realise my passion and the need to have a career in food.

I began his culinary journey at the Amrutha Castle – Best Western in Hyderabad as a management trainee back in May 2000. Over the years, I’ve worked at many hotels such as the Park Royal Hotel, Grand Hyatt, Marriot Hotel, The Claridges Hotel and Kempinski Hotel in Jordan and have recently joined Shangri-La’s — Eros Hotel, New Delhi as the
Executive Chef.

Among my international stints, I’ve been associated with The Garibaldi, Singapore, Hulhule Island Hotel, Maldives, Princi London, The Ritz Hotel, London and was also a part of the opening of an Italian fine dining restaurant, Toto’s in London, with Michelin star chef
Gennaro Vito.

I’m passionate about gastronomy and got the opportunity to work closely world-renowned chefs like David Fenstra of Molecular Gastronomy fame, Frans Dijksman, Dennis Out, Austrian Chef Markus Moser, Spanish Chef Jeorge Acereto and Chef Andreu Genestra.

I joined Shangri-La’s - Eros Hotel, New Delhi as an executive chef. I have been instrumental in planning, implementing and overseeing the diverse and unique food and beverage offerings at the hotel. I’m responsible for creating menus for all the upcoming restaurants, which are scheduled to open in 2015.

When it comes to cooking, I believe in being honest to my profession. However,
other than cooking, I really enjoy playing cricket.

The recipe I’m sharing is Seafood Paella.

The dish plays an important role in my culinary journey, as it was one of the first dishes to be created and included in the menu of the restaurant where I played an instrumental role in curating the menu.Chef Neeraj Tyagi Shnagri-La's - Eros Hotel

(As told to Puja Gupta)

Seafood Paella

*Raw bomba rice 150 gms
*Garlic chopped     25 gms
*Onion chopped     35 gms
*Chorizo sausages 75 gms
*Chicken thigh boneless 100 gms
*River sole dice     30 gms
*Small prawns- deveined and clean 30 gms
*Clams 30gms
*Green lipped mussels’ 30 gms
*Paprika powder     25 gms
*Green peas     25 gms
*Green beans     25 gms
*Tomato pilati     150 gms
*Saffron     1 gms
*Salt and pepper   To Taste
*Olive oil     75 ml
*Flat leaf parsley- chopped 20 gms
*Basil leaves     5-6 nos
*Lemon wedges For garnish
n Chicken stock 250 ml

Take a paella pan, heat over medium flame, and pour in olive oil .Sauté garlic and onion until it turns light brown in colour, then add sliced chorizo and diced chicken and cook the same for a  few minutes. When the chicken starts turning light brown in colour, add         the bomba rice distributing it evenly over the pan and fry for a few minutes, moving it around in the pan.

*Add all the prepared seafood, green peas, French beans together and sauté it for a few more minutes before adding tomato pilati, saffron in fused water, basil leaves and stock. Cook  it for about 10 minutes.

*Season it with salt and freshly ground pepper. Once this is done, the paella should not be stirred anymore.

*For the last 1 to 2 minutes increase the heat to medium-high, until the bottom layer of rice starts to caramelise, creating wha the Valencians call “socar rat”.

*If the rice starts to burn remove the pan from the heat immediately.
*Garnish the paella with lemon wedges and chopped parsley.
*Serves 2 portion.

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