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A Fasting Treat

By Madhulika Dash

This Ramadan, three chefs put their unique twist to classic Ramadan dish – and here’s what makes it a must-have

One of the most incredible things about Ramadan – for the non-observers at least – is the chance to experience some of the finest traditional food. Think keema samosa, biryani, paya, Haleem, pakora, the best of dates or even a beautifully moist pilaf topped with few pieces of rustic patthar kebab. One of the many reasons that have egged chefs across the globe to find dishes that embody the spirit of Ramadan to add to the flurry of gastronomic dishes on offer during the time.

This year, four of India’s finest chefs talk about their most inspiring dishes in recent years – and why these are one of the highlights of this Ramadan too. 1

CHEF VIKAS MILHOUTRA, EXECUTIVE CHEF, TAJ DUBAI IN BUSINESS BAY
DISH: JAREES


“It’s more popularly called the Haleem, but outside India, this decadent pleasure also goes by the name of Jarees, an Arabic dish with meat and pounded wheat as the main ingredients. Said to have been introduced by the sixth Nizam, Mahbub Ali Khan in Hyderabad, many believe that Haleem is a modern-day interpretation of the Harees or Jarees. The difference between the two dishes? While the earlier iteration is mildly spiced in keeping with the Iranian/Persian culture, the latter version, which became the seventh Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan absolute favourite, is more robust with spices. It is said that Osman had turned Haleem into a Ramadan must-have simply by adopting this army barrack’s comfort food as a Ramadan evening staple. And it worked too, after all post a day’s of fasting demanded, it is a calorie and carb-rich porridge that can sooth your soul – and prepare the body for the next day. “

In Chef Milhoutra’s version, Haleem gets a more DIY approach. 2

CHEF VINEET MANOCHA, VP CULINARY, LITE BITE FOODS
DISH: ZAFFRANI GOSHT KORMA



“It’s the ultimate treat for staid palates – it’s rich, creamy with that fabulous hint of sweetness.Korma, it is said was derived from the Persian Koresh, a ghee-based mild stew that the great Mughals reconstituted by using cream, yogurt, ground almonds, saffron and aromatic spices. Some also believe that the Korma has central Asian roots and is referred to askhorma, qorma, kurma and kavurma. But if old books are to be believed, the famous Korma was created in Emperor Akbar’s court in the 16th century under the watchful eyes of Mir Bakawal, the master of kitchens and hakims, who helped design it as both as an indulgence and a healthy, healing meal.”

In Chef Manocha’s version, the meat is slow-braised in clarified butter to crank out the maximum flavour to the dish with saffron, a bitter spice, used more as a fragrance.

Click here for the recipe(http://www.bawarchi.com/recipe/gosht-kofte-ki-cut-tgupprecghiai.html). 3

CHEF SAURABH UDINIA, CORPORATE EXECUTIVE CHEF, MASSIVE RESTAURANTS DISH: KUNAFA NEST (SAFFRON CHENNA BALLS, CRISPY KUNAFA NEST, ALMOND SLIVERS)


“Of all the dishes that maketh the Ramadan feast – and that of Eid too – the crispy kunafa nest, served along with saffron infused chenna dumplings along with warm condensed milk, is perhaps the most delicate. And yet it is one dessert that with its layers of interesting texture, sweetness and velvetiness can rival any rich dessert. Traditionally, served on a warm bed of rabri, kunafa or Kanafeh Nabulsieh, a Palestinian special originating in the city of Nablus, is made of mild white cheese and shredded wheat surface that is covered with a fragrant sugary syrup.”

In Chef Udinia’s version, this famous Middle Eastern dessert is transformed into a crisp kunafa base to represent the nest with chenna dumpling masquerading as eggs. 4

CHEF DOMINIC GERARD, EXECUTIVE SOUS CHEF, THE LEELA PALACE, BENGALURU
DISH: GOSHT KOFTE KI CUT



“This Bengalorean signature dish predates to the Silk Route era. Once considered to be the hearty, warm welcome meal to traders who made the cities their residence before sailing again. In fact, the present version of Gosht Kofte Ki Cut, which gets its culinary influence from the trading community, is one of the finest showcase how meat was once considered to be a flavourant to more nutritionally important ingredients – in this case Horsegram, which was considered to be a powerfood that could not only satiate a hearty appetite but also keep you going for long hours. It was this single quality of horsegram that made it a part of the Ramadan diet years later. Of course, the warmth of the dish worked like a charm to make it a traditional Ramadan favourite. Yes, Bengaluru once had a much cooler weather than it has today. In fact, it is one of the dishes we wait for Ramadan to prepare – it tastes the best this season.”

In Chef Gerard’s version, the classic remains untouched. The meat is still rendered in its fat first to give it that nice sweet, well done feel. And the slow cooking gives it that velvety richness that is both indulging and soothing.