Singapore - India Culinary Inspirations
Executive Chef Sanjeev Chopra of India's Gateway Hotel Ganges Varanasi and Executive Chef Chua Yew Hock from Singapore's Grand Park Orchard introduced the two dishes which were the results of a collaborative effort by Singapore and Indian chefs who had participated in a pilot programme of Global Chef Exchange (to be held in October 2011).
Chicken Satay is a local favourite. Over the years, the chicken satay that I've eaten at various hawker stalls around Singapore seem to be getting increasingly sweeter or am I getting pickier? The chicken chunks were well-marinated and grilled perfectly such that each bite yielded a succulently spiced morsel. The satay had strong notes of ground coriander seed and ground cumin seeds. I was pleased to discover that the satay was not sweet and that the ground peanut sauce that accompanied it was fragrantly nutty without being excessively sweet. The Black Pepper Fried Flat Noodles was essentially stir-fried al dente Fettucine. The dish was spicy with the strong woody flavour of black pepper. However, it had just a little too much tomato ketchup for my preference.
Chef Chopra and Chef Chua were eager to introduce two other dishes that they had created.
The dish drew it's influence from an amalgamation of Chinese and Indian cooking techniques. In traditional Chinese cooking, claypot rice is often cooked over a charcoal flame. The crust (ie burnt rice at the bottom of the claypot) is desirable because of the smoky fragrance and flavour that it imparts to the dish. The crust is sometimes boiled with some stock to yield a smoky porridge.
The traditional Indian method of cooking Briyani is by cooking the rice dish over a charcoal flame and tightly covering the pot so that the food cooks in their own steam, thereby retaining the flavour and aroma of the ingredients. This process is known as "Dum", which refers to the development of the flavours through this method of steaming the food.
This was an interesting take on Briyani with the burnt crust adding an additional layer of smokiness to the warm flavours of the spice-infused rice grains.
When I saw this dish, I couldn't help but think to myself that it looked like a Wasabi Mayo Prawn dish albeit sans wasabi. This was cooked employing the same techniques as that of Wasabi Mayo Prawns but instead of wasabi, ground coriander seed was used to season the prawns. Chef Chua shared with us that the prawns were marinated with ground coriander seed, cornstarch and egg white and deep-fried to yield the crisp coating on the prawns. This dish was delicious as the coriander flavour was not overpowering but added a nice touch of warm spiciness. This was a change from the sharp yet latent heat of wasabi.
The Laksa Lemak is not very spicy but pleasantly flavourful. Worth a try if you are a Laksa fan and do not have a high tolerance for spice.
If you are a fan of Takoyaki, give this pizza a try. The thick teriyaki sauce and the generous squirting of mayonnaise over the pizza reminded me of the strong sweetness of takoyaki sauce married with the mildy, tangy flavour of mayonnaise.
Price: S$ 30 ++ per adult
Operating Hours: Daily: 12pm to 2.30pm & 6.30pm to 10.30pm