Usher in the first-ever print food fiesta — HT City Culinary Fest — we invited renowned chef Sabyasachi Gorai. Saby, among friends and fans, is known to seamlessly fuse the old with the new. With his roots in Asansol, Saby often injects his homegrown culinary traditions into his innovations. Take for example, the gondhoraj lebu (a flavourful, aromatic lime used in Bengali households), that found its way into his exclusive creation for our fest — Machhli Mein Parinda. This dish is a fun take on the classic, Surf and Turf, spruced with Indian spices.
What is Surf and Turf ?
“Surf and Turf was popular in almost all coffee shop menus in India during the 80s and 90s. It slowly vanished with the influx of modern dishes. In 2003, while working in Sydney, I came across this dish again in a sophisticated form. It’s always a combination of something from the seas (surf) and something from the land (turf). The most exotic version had meat steak with lobster tail. I am doing a dish inspired by the same. I am presenting it in a modern style — tapas portion (bite sized), with quail eggs and prawns,” says chef Saby. Read on, as we take you on a food journey that started in Mehrauli market and culminated into a lively demonstration at the chef’s brainchild, Lavaash By Saby.
Here’s the recipe:
1) Boil the quail eggs for five minutes and submerge in cold water. Then, de-shell and keep aside. Now, chop prawns with a knife, till a fine paste consistency is acquired. Add the spice mix and crushed chillies to the prawn mixture.
2) Make round sheets/ discs out of prawn paste (six prawns will be able to create five 2-inch round small sheets), by lining them on a cling wrap (or plastic sheet). Place one boiled quail egg on the center of one sheet and dust with additional crushed chillies and seasalt.
3) Now, create a pouch (a small potli) out of the layered cling wrap, prawn sheet and the quail egg. One whole egg goes inside one prawn disc. Tie a knot around each pouch, readying them for the boiling process.
4) Submerge all of your egg-stuffed prawn potlis in simmering hot water for another five minutes. Be careful not to over boil and keep the temperature consistent.
5) Once you pop the pouches out of the boiling water (be careful!), it’s important to see if your eggs are perfectly boiled. De-robe the potlis by removing the cling wrap. Then, cut the prawn egg potli into half.
6) Once all the pouches are cut open, line your plate with the halves. Serve the quirky Macchli Mein Parinda with an extra drizzle of the spice mix, micro greens, a wedge of gondharaj lemon and toasted red chillies.
And here it is, the finished product:
Presentation is as important as the preparation, so make sure you impress your guests with not only the indulgent flavours, but the beauty of the creation too.