Prawn again for the palate

When all my friends were out playing on the field, as a little boy, all I wanted to do was stay back home with my mother and grandmother and help them in the kitchen. Experimenting with recipes, watching the whole process of raw food becoming a delicious masterpiece and spreading the love of food to people makes me feel like I’m on top of the world.

So when we had some financial issues at home after my 10th standard, I went to work in a kitchen and follow my true passion. It was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had and I’m glad I chose that path.

I’ve learnt a lot from watching my mother and grandmother cook. The way they use each ingredient and the way it’s mixed together makes all the difference. My mother is famous for making biryani, kurma and channa bhatura.

I’ll never forget the first time I cooked for my family. I made daal tadka, jeera rice and fish fry. Everyone absolutely loved it, although my mother did say that the daal was a little too spicy. But I’ve learnt from my mistakes and I’ve definitely improved in balancing ingredients to make my food better.

When I decided to become a chef, it wasn’t a big surprise to anyone. I have been a ‘foodie’ for as long as I can remember. I love learning about new cuisines and putting the puzzles together to make something amazing out of it.

I’ve been in the hospitality industry for the past 20 years and I have no regrets. I’m used to working 14 to 15 hours a day — it feels extremely awkward if I don’t work that much. I always felt that the power of a chef’s coat is truly wonderful. It gives me the opportunity every day to make others happy with what I’ve created.

Yes, it may not taste the same every single day, but it’s the challenge that I have to accept and ensure that there is consistency in whatever I decide to dish out for my guests.

You would usually hear about people in the hotel industry who love their day off and don’t want to enter the kitchen. I’m the exact opposite. I love cooking during my weekends, especially for my wife and son. I usually wake up to make scrambled eggs and toast for my son and something more Indian in taste for my wife. It involves everything from upma to aloo paratha to start our day. But my wife prefers making the lunch and there are times when we go out for a meal or two as well.

They say that you need a balance in everything you do. And I think I’ve found that balance with my life and the food that I prepare. I love Indian and Continental food. It has a mix of both easy and complex factors to it which makes it so mysterious and delicious at the same time.

The recipe that I’m sharing today is of Jhinga Nisha which is very simple to make. It’s something that you can quickly make when you want to throw a party or on a day when you don’t want to spend much time cooking. It’s usually served with green chutney which is made with raw mango, tamarind, coriander, ginger and garlic.

Chef Shaikh Istekhar Mohammed
Executive branch chef at Indian Kitchen


Jhinga Nisha

Ingredients
n Jumbo prawns, 6 pieces
n Curd, 50 gms
n Saffron water, 1 ml
n Cashewnut paste, 30 gms
n Cream, 50 ml
n Ginger paste, 25 gms
n Garlic paste, 25 gms
n Kewda water, 1 ml
n Jeera powder, 2 gms
n Kitchen king, 2 gms
n White pepper, 1 gm
n Cheddar cheese, 10 gms
n Green chilli paste, 5 gms
n Laccha pyaaz, 50 gms
n Green chutney, 50 gms
Method
n Make the marination mixture ready with all the above given ingredients.
n Marinate the jumbo prawns in this
marination mixture
and keep it aside for sometime.
n Skewer eight pieces of prawns and cook it in the tandoor for 10 to 12 minutes.
n Serve hot with laccha pyaaz and green
chutney.

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