Straight from the streets

Straight from the streets

Down foodpath

Straight from the streets

Officially, I started my culinary journey in 1997 but my love for food began much earlier. I come from a family of hoteliers so I’ve grown up watching the culinary business. My family has multiple restaurants in Maharashtra that have been passed on from one generation to another. I would often go and spend time there.

Now I am the executive chef at ‘Citrus’ in The Leela Palace Bengaluru. Though I specialise in pastry and Western food, I like to try my hand at other cuisines as well. Creating new dishes is always fun. You get to experiment with flavours, ingredients and everything else that brings the dish together. The ‘Passion Fruit delice’ and ‘Chocolate parfait’ are some of my favourite desserts that I like preparing.

I never really thought of becoming a pastry chef. When I started working in the industry, I imagined myself working in an Indian kitchen and creating recipes in that category.

Pastry was something that came to me by fluke. However, I’m not complaining because I am still a part of a kitchen and can bring a smile to people’s faces and watch them enjoy the food that I prepare.

At home, I let my wife take charge of the kitchen. Having worked in the hotel industry for so long, I’ve become used to the luxurious ingredients and setup that we get to work with. But at home, I have to do everything from scratch. So I would rather sit back, relax and let my lovely wife handle all that. As part of the hotel industry, we are always looking forward to creating something new or making our own version of something that already exists. That’s why we came up with the concept of a ‘Street Food Festival’ that many of our guests requested for. Bringing my team together was an enjoyable process as all of them belong to different parts of the country. They gave their inputs and we put together some of the popular street food items. It includes dishes like ‘Thenga maanga sundal’, ‘Kothu paratha’ and ‘Kumbakonam degree coffee’ from the South, ‘Pav bhaji’ and ‘Vada pav’ from Mumbai, ‘Khandvi’ and ‘Dhokla’ from Gujarat and much more. I have also used my pastry techniques in some of the dishes.

That’s where the recipe for today ‘Goli baje’ has come from as well. The ‘Goli baje’ is a classic street food dish that can be recreated and made in a way to suit your palate. It’s a four ingredient recipe that makes for a perfect evening snack. Dip it in some chutney as you eat and you are good to go until dinner time.”

Chef Mir Ali Zafar
(As told to Anila Kurian)

Goli Baje
*Curd, 100 gm
*Refined flour, 200 gm
*Chopped green chillies, 10 gm
*Chopped ginger, 5 gm
*Finely chopped coriander, 10 gm
*Grated coconut, 20 gm
*Curry leaves, 5 gm
*Asafoetida, 2 gm
*Salt to taste
*Refined oil, 500 ml
*Vegetable soda, 5 gm

*Finely chop the coriander, curry leaves, green chillies and ginger. Keep aside.
*In a wide mixing bowl, take the chopped coriander, green chillies, ginger and curry leaves. Also add grated coconut and asafoetida.
*Add curd, vegetable soda or baking powder and salt. Mix very well.
*Add refined flour and mix uniformly to form a smooth  batter.
*The batter has to be elastic as well as in dropping consistency.
*Cover and allow to rest for two to three hours.
*Heat sufficient refined oil for deep frying.
*Dip your finger in water and start making lemon- sized spheres. Drop them in heated oil one by one.
*Keep the flame low to medium as the spheres gradually start turning golden brown in colour.
*Remove the spheres, once they’ve attained a full golden brown uniform colour, from the oil and serve hot with coconut chutney.

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