Master chef's winter special

Master chef's winter special

Down foodpath

I was born in a Punjabi joint family where I was the only boy surrounded by cousin sisters. When the family would unite on Sundays I would refuse to play with the girls.

So I ended up where all the men of the house were and it was the kitchen. The men in my family, especially my father loved cooking. So he would make me sit on an inverted Dalda tin and allowed me to stir whatever he was cooking. Whenever he added an ingredient to the pan, he used to tell me about it.

Even as a child, I knew the difference between cinnamon and clove. I still remember he taught me to bhuno meat (fry) on slow flame till it leaves the oil before adding tomatoes. I somehow enjoyed the entire process of cooking in that old kitchen with everyone laughing and talking.

In college, it turned out that I knew more about cooking than anyone else in the batch. I got appreciation from my teachers that motivated me to further study about food and cooking.

Then again my first job was with The Taj hotel as a trainee. I started my career 15 years back and at that point of time, being a chef was not recognised as a good career option.

I admit I was not the best chef trainees when I started but I never gave up. Then came the award at The Leela Gurgaon for the best Indian restaurant. It was the turning point in my life as this made Star Plus to approach me for Master Chef India.

With the show, I entered the television space that made me a recognisable name and face. It made me overcome my fears of public speaking and gave my trade a huge acceptance in India.

The recipe that follows is a dish that is made in almost every Punjabi house. It is a typical winter dish and comprises the goodness of slow cooking and the love of home cooking. I have given it a subtle twist by using seasonal and organic oranges. The pairing of fresh citrus rind with earthy panjeeri makes a great combination.

Orange Rind and Cinnamon Scented Besan Panjeeri



* Ghee: 6 Tbsp

* Gaund (edible gum): 40 gm

* Makhana (foxnut): 40 gm

* Almonds chopped 2 tbsp

* Char magaz (melon seeds): 2 tbsp

* Besan (gram flour): 250 gm

* Powdered sugar : 150 gm

* Organic orange rind chopped: 25 gm

* Cinnamon powder: 1 tsp 


* Heat ghee and add gaund.

* When mixture puffs up, remove and crush using mortar pestle. In same oil, fry makhana. When they puff up, remove from pan.

* Add almonds and char magaz. Cook until light brown in ghee and remove. In same pan, add besan. On dim flame cook until besan emits pleasing aroma and becomes dark in colour.

* Remove and allow it to cool completely. Mix in gaund, makhana, almonds, char magaz and powderedsugar.

* Add in orange rind and cinnamon powder. Mix well and place in an airtight jar.

* Number of Portions: 5

* Preparation Time: 10 mins

* Cooking Time: 20 mins

* This roasted gram is spiked with citrus rind, cinnamon nuts.

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