Arun Sundararaj, Executive Chef, The Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi spoke about his favourite cuisine during an informal chat. Starting his career with Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai as a trainee, he rose to the position of executive chef at Taj Mahal Hotel Delhi.
While he has travelled far and wide, experiencing culinary worldwide and experimenting with new food technology, he strongly believes there is no comparison to Indian traditional cuisine. He feels the use of herbs and spices makes Indian tradional food truly fabulous and lipsmacking. It is the aroma that stands out, if one were to compare with global cuisine.
He strictly feels even during new experiments, one should not forget the essence of the dish. Talking about Achari Fish Tikka, one of his favourites, he recommends following authentic recipe where one should:
- Wash and clean the fish and marinate it with ginger-garlic paste, turmeric pickle paste, yellow chilli, mustard oil and salt and rest for four hours.
- Put warm mustard oil, turmeric powder, yellow chilli, powder, salt, chaat masala, lemon juice, kasoori methi and hung yoghurt to the spice mix.
- Then add marinated fish and coat it and allow it to rest for 2 hours. On a thick skewer, gently put the fish tikkas and cook in moderate tandoor for 12 minutes by just turning once.
Let’s take a sneak peak at this mastermind’s views:
Born into a family of doctors, becoming a chef was not the most conventional choice for me. However, as a child, I was lucky to have the opportunity to travel extensively and the exposure to different cuisines intrigued me. That was the beginning of my journey. I joined the Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai as a trainee chef almost 23 years ago and I have never looked back.
From molecular gastronomy to reinventing cuisines, food has changed enormously. Innovation in cuisine has no boundaries much like an artist who works on his imagination with no restrictions. Chefs today have started to incorporate more and more of these techniques in their ways of cooking.
More and more restaurants have started experimenting with gastronomy ingredients and are curating food the way minute details need to be covered when one resorts to a scientific way of cooking food.
The only key to remember is not to lose the essence of your dish in the process of innovation or experimentation.
Some of the key trends in the food technology are developing innovative indigenous food processing technologies, risk assessment of both biological & non-biological hazards in food, food allergies and intolerances, food and risk assessment and new developments in food engineering packaging technologies.
India & THE world
The traditional food of India has been widely appreciated for its fabulous use of herbs and spices. Indian cuisine is known for its large assortment of dishes.
The cooking style varies from region to region and is largely divided into South Indian & North Indian cuisine. India is quite famous for its diverse multi cuisine.
The remarkable diversity and variety of foods it encompasses isn’t unlike the country itself—and that’s what makes it in many ways so appealing. India basically is home to a wealth of food diversity, delicacies, and innovations.
Trend among foodies
In today’s day and age, guests are open to trying out new things and therefore more open to experimenting and trying different kinds of cuisines.
- Chicken mince mixture
- Chicken leg boneless 450 gms
- Butter 30 gms; Shahi jeera 5 gms
- Kidney fat 45 gms
- Garlic peeled 15 gms
- Ginger 10 gms
- Green chilly 10 gms
- Coriander stems 30 gms
- Mint fresh 25 gms
- Onion 100 gms
- Deghi mirch powder 15 gms
- Salt 5 gms
- Garam masala powder 5 gms
- Javitri elaichi powder 10 gms
- Sugarcane stick (5-6 cms in length) 3
- Bread crumbs 50 gms
- Egg 2 no
- Papercap 3 no
- Chive 3 no
- Aamchoor chutney 45 ml
- Mince together ingredients from 1- 14 for ganderi mince.
- Skewer this chicken mixture on top the sugarcane sticks like candy in shape of lollypops.
- Roll these sticks in bread crumbs
- Beat egg together with salt and deghi mirch powder and dip the crumbed sticks in this egg mixture.
- Deep fry these sticks in hot oil (at 150 degree celsius) till golden brown in colour and cooked, remove and dry on absorbent paper.
- Pour chutney in shot glasses and serve these sticks as shown in photograph
- Potato (boiled) - 500 Gms
- Salt - 10 gm
- Degi Mirch Powder- 15 Gms
- Cumin Powder - 5 Gms
- Dry Apricot Chopped - 75 Gms
- Raw Mango Chopped - 100 Gms
- Ginger Chopped - 15 Gms
- Green Chilly Chopped - 15 Gms
- Salt - 3 Gms; Chaat Masala - 10 Gms
- Green Corriander Chopped - 30 Gms
- Ghee - 150 Gms; Curd Dips
- Thick Curd; Black Salt
- Sugar Grain; Apricot Stew
- vinegar -30 Gms
- Salt 5 Gms; Degi Mirch Powder 15 Gms
- Dry Apricot Whole - 50 Gms
- Sugar - 50 Gms
- Aamchur Chutney - 75 Gms
- Mint Chutney- 50 Gms
- Corriander Leaf Sprig- 30 Gms
- Black Chaat Masala- 5 Gms
- Cumin Roasted & Crushed 5 Gms
- Stew apricots with degi chilly (Boiling whole apricots with degi chilly powder,salt,sugar and vinegar.boil till soft, remove and cool the stewed apricots).
- Grate the boiled potatoes and mix with ingredients 2-4,divide it into 2 portions.
- Mix all ingredients from 5-11 and stuff this mixture into 2 balls of potato mix and make cakes and griddle fry the potato cakes.keep them aside.
- Divide the curd into 2 parts. To one add black salt and roasted crushed cumin and to other add sugar and beat well to mix.
- In a deep pasta plate pour sweet curd and place the 2 potato cakes on top.
- Sprinkle black chaat masala on top of potato cakes,drizzle the two chutneys on top.
- With a spoon place 2 pcs each of stewed apricot on left and right side of the potato cakes and garnish with the corriander sprig.
- Black organic rice 30 Gms
- Curry leaves 1Gm
- Mustard seed 1 Gm
- Whole red chilli 1 Gm
- Whole cashewnut 4 Gm
- Coconut oil 4 Ml
- Onion 15 Gms
- Coconut milk 15 Gms
- Green chilli 2 Gms
- Ginger 2 Gms
- Shrimps 100 Gms
- Turmeric 2 Gms
- Deggi chilli 2 Gms
- Salt 2 Gms
Missi roti crisp 1 no.
- Take a thick bottom pan and boil black rice with some salt, when cooked strain and keep aside and let it cool.
- In a non-stick pan add coconut oil, whole cashewnut and curry leaves add black rice and season well.
- Take another pan add coconut oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves, onions, whole red chilly, turmeric powder, prawn shells and coconut milk. Make fine gravy and strain well.
- In a nonstick pan add coconut oil, mustard seeds, chop onion and sauté well add prawn and toss with little turmeric and red chili powder when cooked add coconut milk to bind it together.
- Garnish with missi roti crisp. Serve hot.