Signature dish “Surf & Turf Indiana” recipe after the jump.
When working for Lookeast Magazine I had the chance to sit and talk with many Bangkok chefs. One of these was Arijit Ghosh, then new Executive Chef at Café 11. He’s a soft-spoken, gentle chef in an age of increasingly more exaggerated “personality chefs”.
Arijit was born in India and considers his mother the best chef he’s ever tasted, but doesn’t specialize in Indian cuisine himself. He considers whatever dish he’s preparing at the moment to be his favorite, but if pushed he’ll admit to, “possessing a bit more flair with French and Italian cuisine.”
Arijit feels that being an executive chef means being a good administrator. This means attention to the customer in the front of the house and to detail in the back of the house. Out front, you can find him socializing and talking to guests to ensure the dishes meet their needs. He’ll even go so far as to prepare pasta for an Italian guests one way and for an Indians a different way. In the back of the house he’s very stubborn and focused on food quality. Arijit will watch to ensure that recipes are held to the letter. If a recipe calls for two drops of balsamic it will only get two drops of balsamic.
He feels that many chefs today have lost sight of quality. He feels, “… they were hard working and sincere when they began, but now people don’t put their heart in to things. They want to grow too fast.” Arijit worked 8 years in different kitchens before taking on his first executive chef position.
That doesn’t mean Arijit feels he’s “arrived”. He feels that, “as a Chef at every point of life you are learning and the kitchen offers unlimited opportunities to grow and learn.” He embraces this constant learning with new positions, studying overseas, and anything else that will push his career, palette, and generally teach him something new.
Recipe for “Indian Surf & Turf”
Prawns (med sized) 50 gms
Jasmine rice 25 gms
Yellow moong lentils 20 gms
Blanched spinach (chopped) 20gms
Chopped onions 15 gms
Chopped garlic 8 gms
Corriander leaves 8gms
Chopped tomatoes 10gms
Cayenne pepper 4gms
Turmeric powder 3gms
Cumin powder 3 gms
Cumin seeds 3 gms
Salt 6 gms
Heavy cream 8 ml
Unsalted butter 10 gms
Lemon juice 2 ml
Parmesan cheese (grated) 5gms
Brown sugar 5 gms
White wine 5ml
Shell and de-vein the prawns with tails on. Marinade with lemon juice, salt, turmeric powder and cayenne pepper powder and keep aside. Heat half of the butter in pan and add the cumin seed.
Once the cumin seeds start crackling, add 4gms of garlic followed by 9gms of onion and saute. Then add the rice & lentils and cook for 3 minutes. Add white wine to the rice and lentil mixture and saute. Add vegetable stock or water and cook till 90% done.
Then add the cream, parmesan cheese, cumin powder, corriander leaves and finish with seasoning. Heat the rest of the butter in a pan and saute the onion & garlic. Add the spinach and cook. Season with salt and 1gm cayenne pepper.
Now cook the prawns on a grill. Melt the brown sugar in a pan and add 1gm cayenne pepper. Dip the grilled prawns and roll to make the caramel stick on. Take a plate and place the khichdi as a tian. Put the saute’ed spinach on the khichdi. Place the grilled prawns with the tails up in a triangular manner and serve hot. Garnish with caramalized shallots and chilli oil around the khichdi.Pin It