Recipes from three continents

Mar 23, 2014, 04:51 IST | Phorum Dalal

With Chef Kunal Kapur’s book, A Chef In Every Home, impressing guests will be easy. Here’s how to whip up Porcupine Chicken or Charmoula-rubbed Fish with locally sourced ingredients

Stepping into a professional kitchen and donning the chef’s hat at a time when it was considered a career option for ‘losers’ who would end up becoming ‘halwais’, Chef Kunal Kapur has come a long way. After hosting the television food show, MasterChef India, his book, A Chef In Every Home, brings the world to your kitchen with simple recipes that can be cooked using local ingredients.

Chef Kunal Kapur

“The Indian kitchen is no more bound by dal roti. People are finally realising that one does not need to be an ace cook to create international cuisines. The aroma of global, gourmet food is wafting through Indian kitchens,” says Chef Kapur, whose book includes Middle Eastern, Indian, European, Italian and South East Asian recipes.

While Kapur offers authentic recipes for each, some of the dishes, like the Porcupine Chicken, have been tweaked. Inspired by an American recipe of meat balls, Kapur transforms this into an Asian dumpling. “Here, I replaced beef with chicken. One thing I noticed was that home cooks find it difficult to fold dumplings. So, I thought of rolling them in a bed of rice.”

Another dish is the Charmoula sauce, which is a traditional Moroccan, Tunisian and Algerian sauce. While the sauce, a combination of parsley, coriander, lemon and cloves, goes best as a fish marinade, it makes for a flavoursome dip, too. “During the early years of my career, I was running an Indian restaurant in Kuwait. I learnt most of the Middle Eastern dishes from a Syrian lady who was the owner’s friend.”

For dessert, he takes the Italian Pannacotta and adds the zing of Indian paan (betel leaf) to it. “The recipes will take you on a delicious world tour,” says Kapur.

Cost: Rs 599, published by Random House India

Paan Supari Pannacotta

>> 500 ml fresh cream
>> 75 ml sugar (fine grain)
>> 15 gm gelatin
>> 10 betel leaf
>> 1 tbsp betel nut mixture, supari mixture
>> 2 tsp kewra water
>> 25 gm gulkand
* Remember, intensity of kewra water differs from one brand to another, so use according to its strength
*Gulkand is rose petals wilted in sugar. You can find it in a grocery or paan shop

The Paan Pannacotta is a novel take on the popular Italian dessert

>> Soak gelatin with equal amount of cold water in a bowl and keep aside
>> Pour the cream in a pan and bring it to a boil Remove from heat and add sugar and kewra water. Let it rest till it is turns warm
>> In the meantime, put the betel leaf in a blender and add two ice cubes
>> Make a puree but make sure it does not turn brown
>> Heat the gelatin in a pan till it melts
>> Add it to the warm cream. Add the betel leaf puree and supari
>> Pour the mixture in a mould of your choice and refrigerate for two hours
>> Demould and serve topped with some gulkand

Charmoula-Rubbed Grilled Fish

For the sauce
>> 1 cup coriander, finely chopped
>> 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
>> 6 garlic cloves
>> ¼ cup lemon juice
>> 1 ½ tbsp cumin
>> 1 tsp red chilli powder
>> ½ cup olive oil
>> Salt to taste

Charmoula sauce is commonly found in the cuisines of Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco. It goes best with fish

For the fish
>> 600 gm whole fish, cleaned and gutted
>> 5 tbsp charmoula
>> Salt to taste
>> Pepper powder to taste
>> 1 tbsp lemon juice
>> Lemon wedges for garnishing

>> For the sauce, lightly roast the cumin and transfer on a flat counter. Crush using a rolling pin. Separately crush garlic  add garlic it to the mixture
>> Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together. Keep refrigerated
>> Pat dry the cleaned and gutted fish. Using a sharp knife, make small slits on the flesh of the fish on both sides, from top to bottom
>> Apply lemon juice and sprinkle salt and pepper. Keep aside for 10 minutes
>> Rub the charmoula on the fish and leave aside for 10 minutes
>> Preheat an oven to 170°C, and bake the fish for approximately 25 minutes

Porcupine chicken

>> 250 gm chicken mince
>> 1 tbsp garlic, chopped
>> 3 tbsp carrots, finely chopped
>> 3 tbsp spring onions, finely chopped
>> 1 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
>> 1 tbsp soya sauce
>> 1 tbsp oyster sauce
>> 1 tsp sesame oil
>> 1 tsp pepper powder
>> 1 egg
>> ½ cup rice (small, thin grain)
>> Oil for greasing
>> Salt to taste

This Asian steamed dumpling has steamed rice rolled over the chicken mince

>> Wash and soak the rice for two hours. Drain the water and keep aside
>> Place the chicken mince in a bowl. Mix all the ingredients well and divide it into equal-sized balls
>> Roll these balls in the soaked uncooked rice and carefully place these small porcupines on a greased plate.
>> Get the steamer ready and steam theseon high heat for 15 minutes.
>> Remove and serve these cute chicken porcupines with soy sauce on the side

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