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CHEF OF THE WEEK

With more than a decade’s experience, chef Uday Rawat is a perfect example of starting from scratch and rising through the ranks by his sheer hard work and sincerity. Over the years, he is credited with having worked with well known brands such as Punjab Grill, Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra and Tresind. Humble for what he has accomplished, he still shines through in his newest project, Farzi Café at Aerocity.

In a candid conversation, he talks about himself and his work:

Your philosophy on food?

I believe in warm and soulful food. Every plate that passes my kitchen should be flavoursome, beautiful and playful. I strive to find a balance between the modern techniques and traditional flavours.

And so all the dishes produced from my kitchen have the familiar (traditional) flavours enhanced by modern techniques, like precision cooking and in-depth knowledge of modern ingredients.

Your fav cuisine?

My favourite cuisine is the cuisine of my home, the Garhwali cuisine of the hilly region of the Uttrakhand State. My home cuisine is as seasonal, local and light as any modern chef would want his own cuisine to be.

Your idol?

Chef Bharat Singh Solanki. He works like a machine, so fast, accurate and efficient. He gave me the inspiration when I was a young cook still figuring things out. He was my mentor and my chef.

Your fav spice?

Betki chilli from south India. A dish called ghee roast is made using this, by cinching it for six hours. It’s one of the most versatile spices and is a base of half of the south Indian cuisine.

Your hot-selling dish?

Tandoori Goat Shoulder with Pudina Parantha. We cook the goat shoulder for five hours with spices, curd and stock, before straining and pulling the meat from the bone then tossing it with a sauce made from the reduced cooking liquid.

Lessons learnt in the kitchen?

How to be humble because no matter how much time you spend with the subject there is always something more you can learn, explore and do.

How do you like to de-stress?

Talking to my wife as I have often lived away from her. Apart from that I like to discuss new ideas with my team and see what ideas the young guns are brewing in their heads.

How do you define yourself?

I feel that I have spent my whole life trying to become a chef — a word which in its essence means a leader. Yet there’s still a long way to go for me to deserve this prestigious title.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about the industry, and everything it takes to be good at our trade. After a while, one divides the different aspects of what it means to be a good at something. And so I find it a duty job to make sure that establishments where I work are the best in the pool.

If you were offered your last meal on earth, what would you choose?

Bal Mithai, a fudgy bar of caramelised rabri coated with white sugar pearls. It reminds me of celebrations and festivals in my childhood. It is said to be the official dessert of the state of Uttarakhand now.

Recipe : Dal Chawal Arancini

Ingredients

Chana dal 50g

Tur (arhar)dal            50g

Masoor dal               50g

Moong dal                50g

Rice                         Half cup

Ghee for frying

Garlic                       3 pieces

Onion                       1

Tomato                     1

Green chilli              As per taste

Deggi mirch              As per taste

Turmeric powder      A pinch

Salted butter             1 tbspn

Coriander                 5-6 leaves

Salt                          As per taste

Parmesan cheese     50g

Method

– Mix all dals, soak for half hour and then boil

– Temper the boiled dal with the list of ingredients under the tempering list apart from rice.

– Add boiled rice to the above and cook further for 2 minutes

– After allowing to cool, add parmesan cheese, fresh chopped coriander and chaat masala to the mixture

– Make small balls out of the mixture and coat with panko and refined flour mixture.

– Deep fry

– Garnish and serve with pickled mayonnaise, mint chutney and roasted papad