I was 10 when I began cooking for my siblings

I was 10 when I began cooking for my siblings

Ajay Chopra

I was 10 years old when my brothers made me enter the kitchen to serve food for the family. My mother was a teacher and she would often come home late. We would mostly have cold food. And since I was the youngest in the family, my brothers found it easier to ask me to heat up the food before our mother came home. 

Though it became a daily chore, I slowly started loving the process. Whenever I went out to sweet stalls, I would come back home and try to replicate it. But I never thought I would make a career out of it. 

I always wanted to become an architect but somewhere something told me to go for hotel management. It was definitely the best decision as I knew this is exactly what I meant to do after I finished my culinary degree. 

One of the things that I continue to preach and practise is that we should explore more Indian cuisine. I have a motto — India needs to know India. It’s great that our country is diverse and there are so many things to explore. While we might be used to our regional dishes, trying to understand our cultures and their food will only broaden our horizons. Thanks to my frame of work, I discover new things every day and it only motivates me to go looking for more.

Though not an Indian dish, I absolutely love dim sums. Shanghai Soup Dumplings was a discovery I made years ago and man, was it a good one! At that time, I had only heard of the dim sum that had soup in it. But when I finally got to taste it, it was heavenly. It’s important one remembers to be careful when having this; you easily burn your tongue. Like our Indian cuisine, dim sums too, have a number of options to try. 

Today’s recipe is ‘Chicken Thigh Thai’ which makes the perfect for a family get together. The ingredients are quite easy to come by and after a good 6 to 8 hours of marination, it makes for a great barbecue night. 


Chicken thigh with skin, 200 gm
Brine Salt, 30 gm
Turmeric, 10 gm
Water, 1 litre

For Marinade 2

Thigh bird chilli, 2 gm
Lemongrass, 10 gm
Ginger, 10 gm
Kafir lime, 5 gm
Lemon, 1 
Jaggery, 10 gm
Lite soy sauce, 10 gm
Thai red curry paste, 5 gm
Salt, 2 gm 

For Dipping 

Sweet chilli sauce-15 ml
Tomato ketchup, 15 ml
Fennel powder, 1 gm
Chopped pineapple, 10 gm


Make brine solution using water salt sugar turmeric and brine the chicken overnight.

Using a mortar and pestle grind all the ingredients of the marinade to a rough paste and marinate the chicken for two hours.

Grill the chicken skin side down for four minutes each side repeating the process twice till the chicken is cooked completely. ​

Serve with dipping sauce and cocktail sauce.

For dipping sauce - sweet chilli, tomato ketchup fennel powder and chopped pineapple.

Chef Ajay Chopra
Brand ambassador of Sumeru Foods

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