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5 Secrets and a Luscious Recipe From Chef Saby

Travel Secret #359

Chef Sabyasachi Gorai, popular as “Saby” is among the brightest stars on India’s culinary firmament. We chatted with him over cocktails at his lovely, laid-back Armenian-Bengali restaurant, Lavaash, located in Delhi’s leafy Mehrauli.

chef

Saby’s Secrets:

Unforgettable food: Dinner at Casa Monini in Spoleto by Chef Angelo Franchini. Fresh truffle, great quality olive oils, freshly made gnocchi, risotto, and some of the best wines of  Italy. It was a  skillfully crafted menu, and the in-house feel made it an experience of a lifetime.

Gourmet goodies you always buy during your travels: Olive oils, chocolates  and wines. I always try to grab the specialty of the place, and if I see a new or unique variety, it definitely goes into my basket.

Favourite dessert: It has to be Bengali Misti Doi. I like it a lot. I have also made bruleed misti doi  and misti doi cheesecake to give a twist to this classical dessert.

Favourite food city:  Though there are many, Madrid, Barcelona and others; Paris would always be on top of my list.

The biggest cooking blooper you ever made:  I once made a roulade at my IHM Chef competition. I forgot to put salt; didn’t even taste it as it was a red meat which I didn’t eat at that time. I was badly criticized by the judging panel of the competition which comprised of some of the best chefs of India.

The Recipe: Created Exclusively for Travel Secrets

Photos: Nitin Gopal Srivastava

Baked Kofta With Oil-free Shahi Gravy

Recipe for 4 portions

For kofta

Potatoes, medium size: 2

Paneer: 50 gms

French beans, chopped: 5 tablespoons

Carrot, finely diced: 5 tbsp

Broccoli, finely chopped: 5 tbsp

Spinach cleaned, blanched: ½ cup

American corn, blanched: 4 tbsp

Garam masala powder: 1 tsp

Salt to taste

Degi mirch powder: to taste

Picante pepper, red: 8

Picante pepper, yellow: 8

Bread slices: 8

Olives, pitted: 8

Feta cheese: 2 tbsp

Saffron: a few strands

Coriander leaves, chopped: 2 tsp

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For gravy

Olive oil: 1 tsp

Onion, chopped: 3 tsp

Garlic chopped: 1 tsp

Cauliflower florets: 2 cups

Milk: 4 cups

Salt to taste

Pepper powder to taste

Star anise: 3 to 4

Bay leaf: 2

What You Do:

Kofta

1. Soak saffron in 3 tbsp warm water.

2. Remove the sides of the breads.

3. Boil the potatoes; finely mash them.

4. Mash the paneer. Mix it with the potato.

5. Fine chop the spinach; add to the mash.

6. Blanch all the vegetables; add to the potatoes. Mix well.

7. Add garam masala , coriander, salt and degi mirch to the mixture. Mix; divide into 8 equal parts.

8. Fill the olive with crumbled feta cheese. Stuff the olive into one yellow picante pepper; then stuff this into the red picante such that it forms layers. Repeat the process for all the olives.

9. Mix soaked saffron into 2 cups of water.

10. Oil your hand; flatten one part of potato mixture. Put stuffed picante in the middle; fold it inside the potato mixture. Shape into ball. Repeat with all the mixture.

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11. Now that the potatoes are ready, dip one slice of bread into saffron water. Carefully take it out; squeeze excess water. Put one potato ball in the centre; fold the soaked bread around it. Shape the stuffed bread with wet hand. Similarly complete all the koftas.

12. Bake these kofta into a preheated oven for 5 to 6 minutes at 220 degree Celsius.

Gravy

13. Soak cauliflower in salt water; clean it in running water. Heat milk in a pan. Add star anise and bay leaf. Add the cauliflower; cook till it gets soft.

14. In another pan heat oil. Add onion, garlic. Sauté till transparent.

15. Remove cauliflower from the milk. Blend it with sautéed onion, garlic into a fine puree. Return the puree to the pan. Remove bay leaf  and star anise from milk; add it to the cauliflower puree. Cook till it gets rich gravy-like consistency. Adjust salt and pepper.

16. Pour it over hot koftas; garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot.

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