Laal shaak (saag), or amaranth as it is otherwise known as, is a popular Bengali starter dish. The cooked leaves are eaten at the start (after the bitters) of a traditional full course meal. But did you know that Pappu Singh, Executive Chef of Kolkata’s iconic The Oberoi Grand, has used this humble leafy vegetable to make a tasty but nutritious flatbread which can be eaten with a side of vegetarian or non-vegetarian curry? “This naturally gluten-free plant is a major source of protein and vitamin C,” he pointed out. We requested him to share this recipe as part of our festive special menu and he graciously agreed.
So this Diwali, go ahead and make the amaranth kulcha and who knows it may turn out to be your star dish when everyone is clamouring for immunity boosting food?
Ingredients (Serves 4)
100g Wheat flour
15ml Refined oil
2g Cumin seed
10g Garlic chopped
5g Green chilli
200g Amaranth leaves
5g Coriander powder
5g Coriander leaves
2g Poppy seed
Make a soft dough with wheat flour and water, keep it aside.
Clean and chop the amaranth leaves.
Take a thick bottom pan, heat refined oil, add cumin seeds and fry to a crackle.
Add the chopped garlic and chilli and sauté well.
Add the chopped amaranth leaves to the sautéed mix.
Cook well, add salt and coriander powder.
Once the water dries up, add coriander leaves and poppy seeds. The filling is ready.
Now make ‘peda’ with the dough, fill it with the amaranth mixture and roll it like a ‘chapati’.
Heat the iron griddle and cook the ‘kulcha’-s. Finish with ghee or butter.
Standing amidst the chaotic heart of Kolkata, on top of the Esplanade, the more than a century old Oberoi Grand is not only a picture of solid calm but is also layered in history. The hotel has presented the city with a series of restaurants over the years, each as famous as the one before or after it.
“Bengal’s colonial history, especially as the capital of British India has given rise to an exciting cuisine – Anglo Indian food,” said Executive Chef Singh. “The culture of dishes from the dak bungalow, railway curries, jhal frazies and roasts were a roaring success and continues to be a popular pick among our guests till date.” Chef chose the Dak Bungalow Murgi Roast as an example of the glorious recipes that have stayed on.
Dak Bungalow Murgi Roast
One (900-1100g) Whole chicken with skin
50g Ginger garlic paste
100ml Mustard oil
20g Red chilli powder
5g Green cardamom
5g Star anise
10g Black salt
5g Red chilli whole
2g Cinnamon stick
5g Cumin seed
5g Coriander seed
70g Whole onion
50g Whole garlic
20g Coriander leaves
Marinate the chicken with ginger garlic paste, chilli powder, salt and lemon juice. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Roast whole spices together and make a powder.
In a medium bowl, combine yoghurt, mustard oil, red chilli powder, black salt and cumin powder. Mix to a smooth paste.
Spread the yoghurt mix and powdered spices on the chicken and keep aside.
Add sliced onion, tomato, potato and garlic to the marinated chicken.
Preheat the oven at 200° Celsius, place the marinated chicken on a greasing tray and cook for 20 minutes.
Add boiled egg, baste the roasting chicken with the remaining marinade in between to seal in the flavours.
Cook for another 10 minutes till fully done. Serve hot.
Diwali is never complete without sweets. Chef Singh has used the famous and flavour-packed mishti doi (sweet curd) of Bengal in a baked avatar with pistachio and saffron, as a hat tip to the origin of the festival of lights.
“All desserts at the hotel, including the Indian and Bengali mithais, are homemade by our team of talented chefs,” said the chef.
Pista and Saffron Baked Yoghurt
Ingredients (Serves 4)
120g Fresh cream
120g Condensed milk
Preheat the oven at 160° Celsius.
Whisk yoghurt, fresh cream and condensed milk well till smooth.
Now add saffron and chopped pista into the mixture.
Bake on a water bath at 160° Celsius for 7 minutes.