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Go to Flames while it's open

india Updated: Nov 22, 2012 16:28 IST
Serena Menon
Serena Menon
Hindustan Times
“It becomes very hard to run an open-air restaurant as the weather does not permit it. That is why we reopen it every year roughly from October to March

If you don’t get a chance to visit this eatery by March 2013, you’ll only be able to make your next reservation in October or November. Not because it remains booked for months, but because Flames — a seasonal city eatery — is open for only five-six months of the year.

“It becomes very hard to run an open-air restaurant as the weather does not permit it. That is why we reopen it every year roughly from October to March,” says Merajuddin Ansari, executive sous chef, Hilton Mumbai International Airport.

Since its inception in 2001, Flames, which remains open only for dinner, has been reinventing its menu with varieties of European fare. But this year, in a first, it is serving up Awadhi cuisine. “We’re creating authentic dishes. For instance, we’re serving Dum Phukt Dal Makhni with the kebabs. A dish called Chapli Kebab is originally from Pakistan, and so far, it’s been quite in demand,” adds the chef.

DIY Awadhi Tandoori Kukad
1 (3-pound) chicken, cut into serving pieces, skinned and trimmed n 1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon grated or crushed ginger root
1 tablespoon round cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
Vegetable oil for brushing
Fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish
Slices of cucumber, red (Spanish) onion, tomato and lemon, for garnish

Prick the flesh of the chicken all over with a fork. Using a sharp knife, cut slashes in the flesh to allow the marinade to seep in. Place the chicken in a nonreactive large, shallow dish.

In a bowl, mix the yoghurt, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, cumin, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, cardamom, cloves, black pepper and salt. Stir until well-mixed, then pour the mixture over the chicken and rub into the flesh, turning the chicken several times. Cover and refrigerate for eight hours or overnight. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking.

The chicken may be grilled or roasted (we cook it in the tandoor). If you’re using a charcoal grill, prepare a fire for direct-heat cooking. Position the grill rack 5 inches from the fire.

Allow the coal to burn until white ash covers them and the heat is moderate.

Remove the chicken from the marinade, pressing lightly to extract any excess, and brush with oil. Place the chicken pieces on a well-oiled grill rack and grill, covered with the vents open, turning 3-4 times for 45 minutes or until the juices run clear when a piece is pierced near the bone with a knife. If roasting, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan, brush with oil and cook; turning only once for 25 to 30 minutes until the juices run clear when a piece is pierced near the bone with a knife.

Serve with cilantro, cucumber, laccha onion, tomatoes and lemon.

Firdausi Aloo
3 potatoes
3 tablespoons grated paneer
8 small cashew pieces
1 teaspoon raisin
1 finely chopped green chili
Pinch of turmeric
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon chaat masala
Pinch of garam masala

For Marinating
1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
3/4 teaspoon kashmiri chili powder
1/2 teaspoon aamchoori
1/4 teaspoon black salt
2 teaspoon oil
1/2 teaspoon tandoori masala
Pinch of fenugreek

Boil potatoes for 5 minutes.
Scoop out their middle portion.
Put the stuffing ingredients in the scooped potatoes.
Marinate them with the above mentioned items and keep aside for half an hour.
Cook potatoes in tandoor.
Serve hot with green chutney and chopped onions.
(Recipes by Merajuddin Ansari – executive sous chef, Hilton Mumbai International Airport)

GalawatGalouti Kebab


1 kg lamb, very finely minced

1 tablespoon ginger paste

2 tablespoons garlic paste

2 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons raw papaya paste

1/2 teaspoon red chili powder

1/4 teaspoon mace powder

4 tablespoons Bengal gram flour, lightly roasted

Salt to taste

3 tablespoons oil/ghee to fry the kebabs

Add all the ingredients (except the ghee) to the lamb mince and mix well. Refrigerate the whole mix for one hour.
Remove the mix from the refrigerator and make patties.
Heat the ghee on a
heavy-bottomed skillet (on a medium flame) and fry the kebabs till golden on both sides.
Cool on paper towels. Serve with mint chutney and laccha onion.