Punjab Express Turns Into A Time Machine

Decades ago, my maternal uncle, a vegetarian, went to Tokyo for a medical seminar. He lived through three days of culinary nightmare. So when my brother and I grew up a bit, my mother, a vegetarian herself, ensured that we ate non-vegetarian food as well. She argued, ahead of her times, that the world will become smaller as we grow up. She was right. It was, in short, because of her that big brother and I could relish delightfully the joys of the Butter Chicken, and Tandoori Chicken that our neighbours so enthusiastically loved to feed their guests. As soon as my taste buds were subjected to carnivorous flavours, I became an instant fan of Punjabi cuisine. Its rich tastes, myriad textures, heady aromas, and abundance got me hooked. 

So it was a delight when Chef Jyoti Arora, a master Chef Finalist, got some of the most timeless Punjabi foods together, in her “Rasoi” menu, at JW Marriott’s Lotus CafĂ©. It was one of the most “true in spirit and rustic in form” meals I have had in recent times.
From the “Almond Sharbat” and “Pedhe Ki Lassi”, served in Earthen Glasses, to the “Gur Ki Kheer” wrapping up an impressive ensemble cast of culinary stars, this was one rare meal where pretty much everything seemed to be in place. A variety of flavours ensured that the taste buds did not have a dull moment. Amritsari Fish was followed by Chicken Chaap, which saw Tawa Paneer move in a while later. I lost count of the dishes, but remember that everything on my plate had its own distinct character, and would have been a great meal, all by itself.

Chef Jyoti and I got talking, and her enthusiasm and dedication for home style cooking is apparent and unwavering. This showed amply in her cooking. She is pretty forthcoming with cooking tips and was kind enough to share the recipe for her delectable Cream Chicken and Amritsari Chole with the readers of BreakfastProjekt. If you aren’t much of a cooking enthusiast, head to JW Marriott, for Chef Jyoti’s Punjabi flavours. But hurry! She isn’t going to be around forever.

Cream Chicken

Chicken Leg Boneless: 150 gms
Onion: 2 nos.
Cashew: 100 gms
Fresh Cream: ½ cup
Ghee/Clarified Butter: 1 tbsp
Ginger-Garlic Paste: 1 tbsp
Salt : to taste
Black Pepper Powder: to taste

Marinate Chicken leg boneless with salt & ginger-garlic paste.
Boil together onion & cashew, blend to smooth paste. 
In a pan heat Ghee/Clarified butter add the onion-cashew paste & sautee for 15-20 min. once it leaves oil add chicken & sautee.
As chicken gets cooked add fresh cream, fenugreek powder and season the gravy.

Amritsari Chole

Chickpeas : 1 cup
Cumin Powder :1 tsp
Dry Mango Powder:1 tsp
Coriander Powder:1 tsp
Red Chili Powder:1 tsp
Garam Masala Powder:1 tsp
Ginger-Garlic Paste: 1 tsp
Ghee :1 tbsp
Salt :to taste
Black Pepper Powder

Soak the chickpeas overnight.
In a pan heat ghee & add ginger-garlic paste, sautee for 4-5min. Add all the spices powder and cook for 2-3 min.
Add chickpeas & water, boil till chickpeas are cooked.
Adjust the seasoning.

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