Love for food runs in the family

Vicky Ratnani won the Chef of the Year award in 2015.

Becoming a chef was not a childhood dream but I had always loved eating; in our joint family, I was always surrounded by people who loved food. I used to love eating food from other children’s tiffins in high school so the palate for different cuisines was developed from a very young age. I used to be aware of which house in my society cooked what delicacy on which day. 

I still go to Amritsar every year, to eat and to pray. 

One dish which reminds me of my childhood is my mother’s biriyani or kadhi chawal. For me personally, the chicken biriyani is among my strengths. 

As a chef, it’s my responsibility to make sure that people are well-fed. More than a commercial act, which is also important, it’s about the unconditional passion.

To get to a stage like this, a lot of experience and exposure is necessary. You have to taste all the good and bad things to realize what tastes really good and what does not. There have been challenges, including inconsistency in the way people work, the products available and laws concerning the food and hospitality industry here.

The pressure is not a challenge for me though; I love it. I feel that pressure is healthy as it keeps you on your toes and motivated. I draw inspiration from  Ananda Solomon and Manjit Gill in India and Chef Daniel Boulud from the US.

My personal favourite cuisines would be South Indian, Japanese and Korean. I love cooking Mediterranean, Italian, Spanish as well as Indian food — it all depends on my mood and who’s eating.  Two ingredients that you would always find in my kitchen are good olive oil and cranberries. 

    Today I am sharing the recipe for ‘Methi-Malai US Cranberry Chicken’. There is a certain flexibility in this recipe; the cranberries gel well with all the other ingredients like garlic and chillies, while the methi gives it a unique taste. The fusion of Indian spices with the cranberries makes it even more tasty.

 

Recipe: Methi-Malai US Cranberry Chicken


Methi-Malai US Cranberry Chicken

Ingredients (serves two)

- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts           

For marinade      

- 1 cup dried US Cranberries

- 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste   

- 1/2 tsp kasoori methi          

- 1 tsp besan   

- 1 tsp cumin powder

- 1 tsp red chilli powder        

- 1 tsp garam masala 

- 1 tbsp cream            

- 1 tbsp yoghurt         

- 1 tsp olive oil

Preparation:

- Wash and pat dry the chicken breast.

- Blend the ingredients for marinade into a smooth paste.

- Marinate the chicken breast and set aside for 2 hours.

- In a hot pan, add olive oil and sear the chicken breast on both sides for four minutes.

- Add the remaining marinade to the pan. Add ½ cup cream and a cup of water; simmer the breast until it’s cooked and tender.

- Serve the chicken with sauce over or on the side.

Vicky Ratnani, Celebrity chef

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Love for food runs in the family

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