Nizami cuisine: A royal affair

Nizami cuisine is not very spicy, but it is definitely rich in terms of flavours.

Published: 10th March 2018 02:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th March 2018 08:53 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI: During my childhood days, whenever my mother prepared kathal ki tikka, the aroma would lure me into the kitchen. I would watch her carefully drop the tikkas into the oil. She inspired me to cook. My uncle and brothers are chefs, too. At some point in my childhood, I started spending a lot of time in the kitchen, experimenting with different ingredients. When I turned 17, I moved out to work. The first dish I made was murgh malai in 1996. I served it to my general manager and he loved it. Feedback always motivates us to cook. Twenty two years later, I have now travelled to several parts of the country including Bengaluru, Chennai, Kuwait and Qatar.

I cook different cuisines, my expertise lies in Nizami cuisine. The speciality about my cooking is that I try and include as many homemade and natural ingredients as possible. I am quite health conscious and so I ensure that what I cook is healthy too. I make it a point to give my customers a satisfactory meal and not a bad stomach (laughs).  I am very particular about the flavours and ingredients I use, and most of all, sticking to my roots.

When it comes to Indian cuisine, people often perceive that all cuisines in India are the same. Yes, they may have many similarities in terms of ingredients, but there are a lot of differences when it comes to the flavours and also the method of cooking — like more or less use of oil and/or ghee.

Nizami cuisine is not very spicy, but it is definitely rich in terms of flavours. We have a huge variety of kebabs, naans and even chutneys. Some of the commonly seen ingredients are cashew (mostly in the paste form), spices such as patthar ke phool. And it depends on the dish as well, some are sour while others are creamier. So the amount of the ingredients put into it changes accordingly. And for non-vegetarian dishes, we use chicken, mutton and fish.

I would love to explore and try my hand at more south Indian food. I felt that the food in Karnataka is influenced by the flavours of the north. I tried the local Tamilian food after coming down to Chennai. I loved the thali and fish. I want to do some fusion later on.

Sirka pyaz murgh aur hari mirch

● Chicken leg, boneless: 200 g
● Bell pepper red: 50 g
● Ginger: 50 g
● Whole green chilli, methi, coriander: 5 g each
● Chaat masala: 5 g
● Ghee: 10 g
● Tomato puree: 50 g
● Garlic: 3 g
● Salt: 5 g
● Cumin: 4 g
● Cream: 10 g
● Saffron: a pinch

Method

Marinate the chicken with all spices for eight hours. In a pan, add ghee, garlic, tomato puree and bell peppers.  Now add the spices and sauté till it becomes thick. Now add the marinated chicken into the mixture and cook.  Garnish with  coriander leaves and cream.

 

Raan-e-hasan

Ingredients

● Baby lamb leg: 1 (800gm)
● Ginger garlic paste: 10 g
● Kashmiri chili powder: 20 g
● Salt to taste
● Malt vinegar: 300 ml
● Mustard oil: 100 ml
● Raw papaya paste: 20 g
● Whole garam masala: 10 g
● Cashewnut paste: 20 g

Method

Clean and remove the blood from the bone of the lamb leg and make an incision on both sides. Wash and dry it. Apply the ginger garlic paste, papaya paste, Kashmiri chili powder, malt vinegar, whole garam masala and a bit of water. Keep aside for at least two hours. Steam the lamb for 2.5 hours. Dry out the excess water and cook it in a pan. Serve with a dash of cashewnut paste.

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