The Spicier, The Better

Trident’s executive chef Manik Magotra says, cooking to him is liberating and he never restricts himself to one style. He shares his culinary philosophy with City Express

Published: 01st July 2015 05:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st July 2015 05:26 AM   |  A+A-


Executive chef Manik Magotra says, “Adhering to one particular style makes one rigid and stops you from being open to feedbacks from different palates. According to me good food means doing justice to the ingredients used in creating a dish. I also enjoy photography as it provides me the joy of being able to capture the perfect moment.”

Spicy Telengana dishes

Telengana food has lot to offer and is influence by Andhra food in terms of spices used. Biryanis and kebabs are famous due because of the Nizams’ legacy in Hyderabad. Apart from the meat dishes, the natives make extensive use of the local ingredients like, chiguru, parwal, sem, tindli, tori, etc., in their food. Telengana cuisine is one of the most spicy throughout the country.

First shift in a kitchen

The first job I was assigned was to make tomato concasse (an Italian sauce) from 120 kg of tomatoes. This was enriching yet a hectic schedule of blanching, peeling, deseeding of tomatoes and letting them cook in their juice. Considering it was my first time, it took me 10 hours to finish the job single-handedly. Now I am able to do it in no time.

Kitchen @ home

It’s as basic as any other kitchen in any household. People expect chefs to be cooking at home as well. Trust me I don’t do it very often as domestic kitchens are too confined for me and there is no pressure of serving a number of guest within a stipulated time.

Favourite part

I enjoy every moment of my job – right from receiving the fresh food to serving the guest a satisfying meal. It is exciting to train team members and budding chefs on the techniques, recipes and kitchen fundamentals.

What you never got right or gave up cooking?

Nothing comes to my mind as such, but yes every time I try to replicate someone’s recipe I struggle and so I avoid such practices.

We share ideas; keep our basics in place and dishes will come out just fine. They may be a bit different though.

Guilty food pleasure

A perfectly churned out Belgian chocolate ice cream with truffles, orange peel and sea salt made in my kitchen. The combination of bitter chocolate with the sweetness of the sugar, perfectly complimented with Umbrian black truffles and sea salt crystals.

There is so much of truthfulness and richness in the gelato that it’s really difficult to resist the flavours.

It gives pleasure to all the senses.

Food Trend

The next biggest food trend will be marriages and combination of foods and ingredients from various places with a bigger role and influence of Asian flavours.

Michelin star chefs are travelling to east to experience umami flavours and are trying to incorporate the same in their food. Asian flavours are full of freshness and aromas and are very light as compare to rich and heavy flavours of west.

Flavours of lemon grass, gari, pokchoy, Chinese cabbage, cilantro, fenugreek, radish, morning glory are being accepted in kitchens now a days which was not the case in the past.

Most underused ingredient

Flax seeds-linseed or alsi in Hindi are the most common ingredient found in India and is not at all used to its potential.

As far as the health benefits are concerned, flax seeds reduce the risk of asthma and Parkinson’s disease. With the presence of omega 3 fatty acids and lignans they reduce the risk of heart diseases too.

Also they are a very high source of fiber and thus helps in lowering the cholesterol levels in people.

Chef shares his favourite apricot malpua with rabri recipe


  •  Take a thick-bottomed pan pour milk and add 150 gm of sugar
  •  Keep cooking to decrease it to a fourth of its original volume
  •  Take if off the fire and let it cool and then chill in the fridge. The rabri is ready.
  •  Mix together in a pan equal amount of sugar and water
  •  Boil till a single-thread consistency is achieved
  •  Add saffron threads and cardamom powder to mix well
  •  Soak apricots in hot water for 2 hrs.
  •  Keep four to five pieces as garnish and make a puree of the rest and keep aside
  •  Put them aside for later use
  •  Mix together condensed milk, flour and baking powder in a large mixing bowl to make a smooth batter.
  •  Add the apricot puree
  •  Heat sufficient ghee in a deep-frying pan to cook the malpuas
  •  Pour the batter into the oil to make circles
  •  Keep cooking until it gets golden brown



Milk 1lt

Sugar 150gm

Water 150gm

Saffron 0.1gm

Cardemom 5gm

Condensed milk 400gm

Refined flour 500gm

Baking powder 0.25gm

Almonds 20gm

Dried apricots 100gm

Pistachio 10gm

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