While working on a cruise liner, Dipak Adhikary of BKC's The Good Wife, had the opportunity to travel to Spain and enjoy its cuisine. "I found that saffron, which has been synonymous with all things Indian, was extensively used in Spanish food," he says.
Years later, when he joined the BKC restaurant, Adhikary decided to experiment with saffron in European dishes. "It offers an intense flavour, colour and taste, and has qualities that blend beautifully with European cuisine," he says, moving on to list ways in which the ingredient can be used.
To prepare the saffron hollandaise sauce, a fragrant mix with a hint of sweetness, you need 125 gm clarified butter, two eggs, 2 ml white wine, 2 gm thyme and 2 gm fennel seeds. "First, add 1 gm saffron to 50ml lukewarm water to get the saffron water ready," he says, instructing us to extract the egg yolk, add the reduction and vigorously whisk the yolk with clarified butter. Once done, we are asked to place the bowl in a saucepan containing simmering water. "Continue to whisk until the mixture thickens. Then, slowly, drizzle the saffron water till you are content with the consistency." This simple recipe, he adds, is the perfect accompaniment to veggies.
Chef Dipak Adhikary makes grilled asparagus with saffron hollandaise sauce. Pic/Tanvi Phondekar
If savoury is more your style, he has a tangy alternative in the form of steamed rawas with saffron fennel sauce. The ingredients include 50 gm fish bones, 20 gm carrot, 10 gm celery and 180 gm rawas. Take a pan with water, place the fish in, add lemon juice, salt and pepper and let it cook. He says, "Strain the stock, add the butter saffron [same technique as the hollandaise], wait for it to thicken and the sauce is ready."
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