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Passion on a plate: Sensuous recipes by Vikas Khanna

July 17, 2013 15:50 IST

Passion on a plate: Sensuous recipes by Vikas Khanna

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Michelin starred chef Vikas Khanna offers recipes for your loved ones!

Over the last 10 years, I have been hosting and creating Valentine’s Day menus and presenting them in new avatars. I take inspiration from a spice or ingredient which is believed to be aphrodisiac in nature, and weave a dish around that ingredient.

I bring to your kitchens Khanna Sutra: Food Lessons in Love, developed with passion, simplicity and pure regard for love.

Khanna Sutra is a collection of recipes celebrating the tradition of sensuous eating. There are many ingredients believed to promote passion but we will confine ourselves to the culinary ingredients that have wonderful scents, flavours and textures, and that also stimulate us visually.

These recipes are not strictly Indian in the classical sense of traditional Indian cuisine but they are definitely Indian in terms of their orientation towards the country of my birth.

Click NEXT to read more

Excerpted with the publisher’s permission from Khanna Sutra: Food Lessons in Love by Vikas Khanna, published by Om Books International; Pages: 184; Price: Rs 895


Image: Cover of Vikas Khanna's book Khanna Sutra: Food Lessons in Love
Photographs: Vikas Khanna

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1. Avocado Soup with Spicy Salsa

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Avocado Soup with Spicy Salsa

Serves 4

Ingredients 

  • 1 vine-ripened red tomato
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 fresh Serrano or jalapeno chilly, seeded and chopped
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 4 ripe Haas avocados, peeled, pitted and cut into chunks
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1-quart vegetable stock; more, if required
  • Salt

Method

Quarter and seed the tomato. Dice and transfer it to a bowl. Stir in half of the chopped onions, cilantro, Serrano chilly, salt, and half the limejuice. Cover the bowl and put it into the refrigerator.

In a large non-reactive mixing bowl, toss the avocados with the remaining limejuice until evenly coated.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium to high heat and add the remaining onions and garlic, and saute. Stir continuously for about 5 minutes until the onions are translucent.

Add salt, avocados and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and puree in a blender, adding more stock if the mixture is too thick.

Refrigerate and serve chilled, topped with tomato salsa.


Image: Avocado Soup with Spicy Salsa
Photographs: Vikas Khanna

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2. Crispy Okra Salad with Dried Mango Strips

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Crispy Okra Salad with Dried Mango Strips

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh okra
  • Vegetable oil, enough for deep frying
  • 1 tsp dried mango powder
  • 1 tsp red chilly flakes
  • 1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 sheet (about 2 ounces) of dried mango slice, cut into think strips
  • Salt

Method

Rinse the okra and pat dry thoroughly with a kitchen towel. Trim the tops and cut lengthwise into thin strips. In a large, deep skillet, heat the vegetable oil to 350° F.

Working in batches, fry the okra strips for about 4 minutes, stirring a few times until golden and crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried okra to a large paper-towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.

Sprinkle with some of the salt, dried mango powder and red chilly flakes. In a large bowl, gently toss the fried okra with the red onion, cilantro and lemon juice.

Season the salad with more of the spice mixture and salt, and serve immediately, garnished with dried mango strips.


Image: Crispy Okra Salad with Dried Mango Strips
Photographs: Vikas Khanna

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3. Ginger and Sesame Seeds-Coated Wild Salmon

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Ginger and Sesame Seeds-Coated Wild Salmon

Serves 4

Ingredients 

  • 4 salmon fillets (6-ounce), about 1-inch thick
  • 1 tsp dark sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup mixed sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp finely minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 lemons cut into very thin slices
  • Salt to taste

Method

Rinse the salmon fillets in cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place them on a shallow glass or ceramic platter. Evenly drizzle oil over the fish and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Combine the sesame seeds, ginger, cilantro and salt in a shallow dish. Evenly dredge the fillets in sesame mixture.

Spray the inside of the aluminum foil with cooking spray. Place several lemon slices on the foil and lay the fillets on top of them. Wrap each fillet, folding the edges and ends tightly.

Place in a shallow pan and bake in a pre-heated oven at 425° F. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the fillets flake easily with a fork.


Image: Ginger and Sesame Seeds-Coated Wild Salmon
Photographs: Vikas Khanna

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4. Chocolate Mousse with Mixed Berries

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Chocolate Mousse with Mixed Berries

Serves 10

Ingredients

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped into even pieces
  • 1-3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup mixed berries

Method

In a double boiler, whisk the yolks and 1/3 cup sugar for 2 to 3 minutes or until sugar has dissolved. Turn off the heat and quickly whisk in the chopped chocolate until melted and well combined. Let it cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, whip the cream with the remaining sugar until soft peaks form. Whisk half of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture.

Layer 4 glasses with the chocolate mousse, the remaining whipped cream and berries. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.


Image: Chocolate Mousse with Mixed Berries
Photographs: Vikas Khanna

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5. Artichoke and Lamb Stew

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Artichoke and Lamb Stew

Serves 2 to 4

Ingredients 

  • 6 baby artichokes
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 (2-inch) piece cinnamon stick
  • 2 dry bay leaves
  • 1 lb lamb, thoroughly trimmed of fat, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 can (28-ounce) crushed tomatoes
  • Salt

Method

Using a sharp paring knife, trim the outermost layer of leaves from each artichoke. Trim stems, and cut off top half of each artichoke. Place them in a medium bowl and add lemon juice, and toss to evenly coat them. In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the butter over high heat.

Add the cinnamon, bay leaves, and lamb, and brown well on all sides. Add onion and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until fragrant. Add flour and stir for about 2 minutes until well combined.

Add tomatoes and artichokes and pour over enough water, about 1 1/2 to 2 cups, to just cover the meat. Reduce heat to a low, cover and simmer for about 1 hour. Serve immediately.


Image: Artichoke and Lamb Stew
Photographs: Vikas Khanna

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6. Red Potatoes with Almonds

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Red Potatoes with Almonds

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-1/2 tbsp Bengali spice mix (recipe below)
  • 1-1/2 lbs baby red potatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp coarsely ground fresh
  • Tellicherry peppercorn
  • 1/4 cup almonds slivers, lightly toasted
  • Salt

Bengali Spice mix

  • 1/2 tsp nigella seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds

Method

Preheat the oven to 425° F.

In an oven-proof pan, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the Bengali spice mix and cook, stirring continuously for about 2 minutes until darker in color and very fragrant. Add the potatoes and stir to coat evenly.

On a rimmed baking sheet, evenly spread the potatoes in a single layer and season with salt and pepper.

Roast for about 30 minutes, turning the potatoes once halfway through cooking, until golden brown and crisp outside and tender inside. Toss the potatoes with almond silvers and serve hot.


Image: Red Potatoes with Almonds
Photographs: Vikas Khanna

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7. Jalapenos Stuffed with Japanese Eggplants

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Jalapenos Stuffed with Japanese Eggplants

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 Japanese eggplants, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 6 large jalapenos, halved and seeded
  • Salt

Method

In a medium skillet heat the oil on medium to high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and onions, and cook stirring constantly until golden brown. Add the tomatoes and salt, and continue to cook until the mixture becomes dry - which should take about 5 to 6 minutes.

Add the eggplants and stir, cooking for 3 to 4 minutes until all the flavors are well combined. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.

With a small spoon, fill each jalapeno with about 1-1/2 tablespoons of eggplant mixture. Place the jalapenos on a parchment or aluminum foil-lined baking sheet and bake until cooked through and bubbling, for about 10 minutes.

Rotate once in the oven for even cooking. Serve hot.


Image: Jalapenos Stuffed with Japanese Eggplants
Photographs: Vikas Khanna
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8. Mussels in Coconut-Cardamom Curry

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Mussels in Coconut-Cardamom Curry

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Penn Cove Mussels 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 2 cans (14-ounce) unsweetened coconut milk Yz cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces Salt to taste

Directions

Rinse and scrub the mussels under cold, running water. Using your fingers or a paring knife, remove and discard the beards.

In a large pot.with a tight-fitted lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cardamom and cook, stirring for about 2 minutes until fragrant.

Add the coconut milk, wine and salt and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes. Add mussels and cover; increase heat to high. Cook for another 5 minutes till all mussels are open. Stir in the lemon juice and butter. Remove from heat and discard the mussels that have not opened. Serve with the broth


Image: Mussels in Coconut-Cardamom Curry
Photographs: Vikas Khanna

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9. Blackberrv and Jalapeno Chutney

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Blackberry and Jalapeno Chutney

Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger 
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped 1 cup fresh blackberries 
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar 2 tablespoons brown sugar Dash of salt

Directions

Heat the oil in a medium-sized pot on medium heat. Toss together the onions, ginger and jalapenos and fry for 3 to 4 minutes until the onions turn transparent.

Add the blackberries, vinegar, sugar, and salt and stirring frequently, cook for another 5 to 7 minutes until the liquid reduces and the flavours are well combined.

Transfer the chutney in a bowl and cool. It can be covered and refrigerated for up to two weeks.


Image: Blackberrv and Jalapeno Chutney
Photographs: Vikas Khanna

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10. Cardamom Chai Panna Cotta with Candied Violets

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Cardamom Chai Panna Cotta with Candied Violets

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons gelatin Y2 cup whole milk
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream Y4 cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom seeds 1 tablespoon chai powder
  • Candied violets
  • Citrus short breads

Directions

Bloom the gelatin in milk. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and chai powder and bring to a simmer. Let it stand for

5 minutes, then stir it into the gelatin mix. Strain and pour into glasses and let set overnight.

Serve cold, garnished with candied violets and citrus short breads.

Excerpted with the publisher’s permission from Khanna Sutra: Food Lessons in Love by Vikas Khanna, published by Om Books International; Pages: 184; Price: Rs 895.


Image: Cardamom Chai Panna Cotta with Candied Violets
Photographs: Vikas Khanna

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