Majorsaab... dinner will be served now!
With Republic Day around the corner, it's the perfect time to salute our Armed Forces. The Ultimate Army Cookbook A Memsahib Cooks by Kikky Sihota, revels in diverse gastronomic indulgences, with a mix of recipes, anecdotes and musings from Army kitchens, lavish dinners, high teas, picnics, shikars and other events that life in the armed forces entails. We pick some of the quirkiest recipes that reflect the Army way of life
Border Ranger’s Kebabs
1 kg Chicken thighs, washed, remove excess fat, pat dried
1 Onion, large
6 Garlic cloves
3 tbsp Vegetable oil
1/2 cup Tomato paste
Salt and pepper (kali mirch)
1 tsp Red chilli powder
3 tbsp Butter
1/2 cup Chicken stock
1/2 Onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Green coriander (hara dhaniya), chopped
1/2 cup Mint (pudina), chopped
* Grind the onion and garlic in a blender till puréed.
* Heat the oil in a pan; fry the onion-garlic purée till it begins to brown. Add the tomato paste, and cook for a minute. Remove from heat.
* Add the salt, pepper, and red chilli powder. Mix this paste with the chicken thighs. Keep covered in the fridge for 3-4 hours.
* Half an hour before serving, heat the butter in a large frying pan and add the marinated chicken.
* Cook on high heat for about 25-30 minutes or till the chicken is cooked.
* Keep adding a little stock at a time, when the mixture starts drying up.
* Remove from heat and stir in the sliced onion, green coriander and mint. Serve hot.
For the crunchy layer
2 cups Cornflakes
100 gm Semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 cup Butter
1/4 cup Honey
2 tbsp Icing sugar
1/4 cup Cocoa
1 Chocolate sponge 4" x 10"
1 cup Butter
1 1/2 cups Icing sugar
1/2 cup Cocoa
a little Hot water
1 cup Almonds (badam), ground
1 tsp Almond essence
1 cup Cream
2 tbsp Sugar
1 tbsp Instant coffee
2 tbsp Brandy
1 tsp Vanilla essence
1/4 cup Chocolate, grated
For the ganache
1/4 cup Semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup Cream
1 tbsp Cocoa powder
4" x 10" loaf pan, lined with greased foil
* For the crunchy layer, place the cornflakes in a bowl. Break the chocolate into small pieces and put in a saucepan along with the remaining ingredients and place over hot water. Leave for a few minutes till it melts. Remove from heat and allow it to cool and thicken a little bit, then mix with the cornflakes.
* Press the cornflakes into the base of the lined loaf pan, crushing them a little. Put in the freezer for 1 hour.
* Cut the cake into 3 horizontal layers. Make a butter icing by creaming butter and icing together, till they are light and fluffy. Divide into two bowls. Add the cocoa to one half. It will get very stiff, so add a little hot water, a spoon at a time, till it is of a spreading consistency. Spread this over the cornflake layer, and put a layer of cake on this. Press down firmly. Keep in the freezer for 30 minutes.
* Add the ground almonds to the remaining icing along with the vanilla essence. Spread on top of the cake layer, and cover with another layer of cake. Put in the freezer.
* Whip together the cream, sugar, coffee, and brandy along with the essence till stiff. Gently mix in the grated chocolate. Spread this on the cake, and top with the third piece of cake. Cover and keep in the fridge for an hour or two.
* Make the ganache by melting together the chocolate and cream. Add the cocoa and mix till smooth. Cool a little.
* Remove the cake from the fridge. Invert to remove from the loaf pan, then place it, crunchy side down, on a serving plate. Carefully peel away the foil. Run
a knife around the sides to neaten them.
* Cover the cake with ganache and put it back in the fridge to set.
Kikky says: This recipe was inspired by the famous Italian 7 veils cake.
The Memsahib Special
4 Chicken breasts, large, boned, skinned
Meat from 2 chicken legs, minced
1/2 cup Dried apricots (khubani)
1 tbsp Ginger (adrak) paste
1/2 tsp Cardamom (elaichi) seeds
8 Black peppercorns (sabut kali mirch)
2 tsp Fennel (saunf) seeds
2 tbsp Vegetable oil
1 Onion, medium-sized, ground to paste
1 tbsp Lemon (nimbu) juice
1 cup cream
A little Butter
2-3 tbsp Almonds (badam), slivered
a few Mint (pudina) sprigs
Salt to taste
Thick string to tie the chicken pieces
* Soak the apricots in cold water for an hour or so. Keep 8 apricots aside and finely chop the rest. Mix the chopped apricots with the minced chicken, 1/2 tsp
ginger paste, and some salt. To get a really smooth mixture you can process this for a few seconds. This is the filling for the chicken breasts.
* Pound the chicken breasts with a meat hammer or rolling pin till they are flat and of a uniform thickness.
* Divide the filling mixture into 4 portions and spread this over the chicken, leaving an uncovered border all around.
* Roll up the pieces like Swiss roll and tie securely with thick string to keep the shape. Keep aside till required.
* Grind together the cardamom seeds, black peppercorns, and fennel seeds.
* Heat the oil in a pan; add the onion and fry till golden. Reduce heat and add the remaining ginger, cook for a minute.
* Add the ground spices along with some salt. Stir and cook for a minute or so.
* Then add 1/2 cup water. Bring to boil. Add the lemon juice and the chicken rolls.
* Cover the pan and cook on medium heat till tender. Stir from time to time and if the water dries up too quickly, add a little more.
* Add the remaining apricots just before the chicken is tender. Remove from heat when done.
* Remove the chicken rolls from the pan. Discard the string when cool enough to handle. Place in a serving dish.
* Add the cream to the remaining ingredients left in the pan which should not be boiling hot. Pour over the chicken.
* Heat the butter in a pan; fry the almonds till pale golden. Pour over the chicken. Place 2-3 mint leaves in the corners of the dish.
* Cover the dish and put in the oven to keep warm till time to serve.
* To serve, uncover the dish, remove the wilted mint leaves and replace with fresh ones. Serve hot with rice.
(Makes 1 glass)
45 ml Peach schnapps
Orange juice to top up
Pour the peach schnapps in a glass and top up with chilled orange juice.
Kikky says: I fell in love with this drink and I had downed three before realising what a kick this packs.
The Ultimate Army Cookbook A Memsahib Cooks, Kikky Sihota, Roli Books, Rs 795. Available at major bookstores.