Dishes inspired by travels

Dishes inspired by travels

Working in the culinary world for over two decades has been a roller coaster of a journey. I've learnt a lot of new things and continue to learn every single day. One of the most important lessons I have learnt is to explore the place, understand its people and culture to really understand the food.

I have worked in various hotels and have helped set up many new restaurants across the world. European cuisine is my forte. But what truly helped me understand the cuisine well was when I went to Italy once in a year and lived there. I would stay there for a month or so and mingle with the people there. Understand the local markets, what are the people like, their taste buds and why they like certain things the way they do. This has helped me learn much more than I could have if I had just read a book or heard from someone else.

The one cuisine that is close to my heart is North Indian, especially Punjabi food. Though I work throughout the week in the kitchen, I love cooking for my children every Sunday. My 18-year-old daughter loves to help me in the kitchen and we make something exciting every time. But my wife is definitely a better cook than I am. So I believe that it's not just a family who eats together that stays together, but also a family that cooks together that stays together.

I now work in the city as the corporate chef at 'Dhaba - Estd 1986 Delhi'. The food served here is authentic North Indian dhaba food, just as the name suggests. I always make sure that the authenticity of a dish isn't tampered with. In order to study that, my team and I visit Punjab every year and explore the various dhabas there. We try out some of the signature dishes at the place. It's not that we go looking for recipes; we go in search of ideas and inspirations. It's wonderful that you can learn things when you travel. So when we come back home and make the dish, we prefer to keep it as authentic as possible. I try to remain within my culinary limits but still give it a style that I would.

The recipe that I've shared today is also inspired during one of my travels. The 'Bathinda Chicken Curry' is one of those dishes that you can have with hot rotis or rice. It doesn't have an overdose of masala and it's just perfect for any occasion.

Bhatinda Chicken Curry

Ingredients
Whole chicken, 1
Chopped onion, 150 gm
Salt, 12 gm
Turmeric powder, 4 gm
Coriander powder, 6 gm
Kashmiri chilli powder, 10 gm
Garam masala, 4 gm
Cumin powder, 4 gm
Tomato, 500 gm
Green chilli, 10 gm
Ginger, 10 gm
Coriander leaves, 10 gm
Refined oil, 200 ml
Ginger garlic paste, 20 gm
Chilli powder, 8 gm
Chilli flakes, 5 gm
Black pepper, 2 gm
Crushed coriander, 2 gm

Method

Wash and cut the whole chicken into eight pieces.
Heat refined oil in a pan, add chopped onions, saute and then add ginger garlic paste, chopped tomato and saute.
Add all dry powdered spices one by one and continue to saute for a while till oil leaves the masala. Add enough water for gravy.
Add the chicken pieces and continue cooking.
Remove the chicken pieces when cooked, strain the gravy through a fine sieve.
Heat little oil in a pan, add the crushed spices, saute for a while and then add the strained gravy and chicken. Cook till done.
Check for the seasoning.
Then serve the dish hot, garnished with fresh chopped coriander.

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