From stomach to the soul
Chef Vikas Khanna on his new book, and his film with the Dalai Lamaindia Updated: May 18, 2012 01:08 IST
"The next film from my Holy Kitchen series will see his holiness Dalai Lama in it… it’s based on the traditional Buddhist kitchen. I was in awe of the Buddhist mealtime philosophy, where every morsel of food is had with reverence, with a prayer and thought that says, ‘Am I worthy of it?’" says the 40-year-old chef, who spent a "short vacation" with the Tibetan spiritual leader in Bodh Gaya in February, and says it left him "at peace" after the tight schedules of MasterChef 2.
Ask the New York-based chef what he considers as the benchmark of success? "To be able to cook a perfect bowl of daal," beams Khanna. "Good food is all about the perfect flavour. That’s the essence of my book too — the story of the journey of an individual, who adapts to a foreign culture without losing his roots," says Khanna.
Jalapeños Stuffed with Cashews and Coconut
(Makes 24 peppers)
Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 pound russet potatoes ( about 3 medium potatoes)
1/3 cup raw cashews, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1 tsp cumin powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
12 jalapeño peppers (see note)
1/2 cup gram (chickpea) flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp carom seeds
1/2 cup water
Vegetable oil for frying
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a baking sheet with oil and arrange the potatoes on top. Bake until a bit overcooked. Let it cool, peel and cut in half. Grate potatoes on the large holes of a box grater. Place them in a medium-mixing bowl.
Combine it with cashews, coconut, cumin, and 1 tsp salt. Cut a short slit into each jalapeño pepper. Remove as many seeds as possible. Stuff jalapeños with the potato mixture. In a bowl mix the flour, carom seeds, and the remaining 1/2 tsp salt.
Add 1/2 cup water to it. Whisk until the batter is slightly thickened and has a smooth consistency. Line the baking sheet with paper towels. Heat a deep-fryer or a large saucepan filled with at least 2 inches of oil to about 350°F.
Test the oil by putting a few drops of batter in the oil. The batter should begin to bubble and brown within a minute. Dip the jalapeños in the batter and frying till evenly brown. Serve hot.
Chocolate Basmati Rice Soufflé
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into even chunks
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar; 1 cup milk
5 tbsp basmati rice flour
5 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
7 egg whites
Melt chocolate and set aside to cool. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat the bottom and sides of six 6-ounce ramekins with butter and sprinkle sugar evenly. In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tbsp butter. Stir in rice flour and cook until the mixture begins to bubble.
Add milk, chocolate and salt and cook over medium-low heat until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool. Whisk in beaten egg yolks and vanilla. In a bowl, beat egg whites until foamy.
Add sugar, beating until stiff. Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and pour into soufflé dishes. Sprinkle a little extra sugar on top of the soufflés. Bake until puffed and browned. Serve immediately.
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