Even before the pandemic struck, the focus of diners was shifting to healthy food, and in this time of COVID-19 crisis, it has increased manifold.
According to many restaurateurs and chefs in Kolkata, not only diners visiting the restaurants but those ordering from home are also asking about the ingredients to ensure they are eating healthy food.
Chef Prakash Chettiyar, Executive Chef, JW Marriott Kolkata, succinctly described the situation, “The effects of the pandemic on the kitchen are largely about how we adapt to the shift in context and priorities. Our cornerstone will be understanding and encouraging responsible food choices. Now more than ever, we look forward to recognising the importance of aiding health and wellness in the community.”
He says that JW Marriott Kolkata has incorporated wholesome options for breakfast at their restaurants and in the JW Lounge menu as well; for example, an immunity boosting salad in their all-day dining menu. “Each item on the wellness menu comes with nutritional components and calories, allowing our guests to make an informed choice while ordering and helping them understand what is best for their wellbeing during this time,” said chef. Their “Marriott On Wheels” home delivery spread also has a wellness menu.
Chef Chettiyar shared some of his favourite nutritious recipes with us.
Vegetables and Barley Soup
Carrot 50 Gms
Onion 50 Gms
Celery 25 Gms
Leeks 25 Gms
Barley 100 Gms
Salt 30 Gms
Vegetable stock 600 Ml
Thyme 10 Gms
Olive oil 20 Ml
Lemon juice 5 Ml
Boil the barley keep it aside to cool it down.
Cut the carrot, onion, celery, leeks, into small dices.
In a pan on medium heat, add olive oil, sauté all the vegetables, and add vegetable stock.
Simmer the soup, then add barley.
Add salt, thyme and lemon juice, serve hot.
Home-Smoked Bekti Salad
Bekti fish 250 Mi
Iceberg lettuce 55 Gms
Romaine lettuce 100 Gms
Arugula lettuce 50 Gms
Cherry tomatoes 50 Gms
Caper berries 20 Gms
Marination for fish
Dijon mustard 5 Gms
Salt 4 -5 Gms
Pepper 5 Gms
Lemon juice 15 Mi
Fresh lemon juice 45 ml
Dijon mustard 10 Gms
Salad oil 50 Mi
Salt 3 Gms
Crush black pepper 3 Gms
Gondraj Lemon zest 1 number
Marinate the bekti with Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and lemon juice. After a while, sear the fish on a pan, and keep aside. In a container, add some charcoal, place a perforated tray (make sure the tray is not in contact with charcoal). Add butter on charcoal bed for the smoke, place the perforated tray with bekti on top, close the container tightly, and keep it for 2 hours at room temperature to complete the process. Then remove it and cool it for a minimum of 1 hour.
In a bowl, mix all the lettuce, cherry tomato, caper berries.
Add smoked fish in lettuce, add dressing, and toss it well.
Serve it cold with some bread and olive oil.
In keeping with their concept of Responsible Luxury, ITC Hotels has gone a step further and introduced an immunity boosting welcome drinks for their guests. Their Ama Haridra Tikasna uses raw turmeric and hand-pounded black pepper while the Amla Rama Tulsi Panaka is made with Indian gooseberry and basil, which they say will aid in the overall well-being of the guest.
According to Chef Varun Mohan of ITC Royal Bengal, India’s ayurveda is a repository of knowledge about healthy and immunity developing food. The range of Indian spices, such as cumin, turmeric, pepper, etc. have long been known for their medicinal values. Chef Mohan believes by rekindling our interest in traditional Indian cooking styles and food, we can build immunity which will stand us in good stead in this time of crisis and always.