MasterChef India season 2 Winner Shipra Khanna journeyed around the Alps and brought back a delicious mash up of Swiss and Indian flavours. Here’s what she has to say about her new masterpiece:
‘Cooking at the Alps! Unbelievable experience with Swiss tourism and Cox and kings..!Getting the Nations together with food..Created a new recipe “SwisInd Chicken” (Swiss and Indian flavors) ’.
Want to try it? Let’s help you make it first.
2 pieces Chicken (leg and thigh)
1tbsp chopped garlic
1tsp ginger finely minced
1 cup ground cashews
1 cup cream
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp olive oil to sauté chicken
2 tsp freshly garam masala
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp lime juice
In a bowl, marinate chicken with salt, pepper and lime juice and keep aside for 10 minutes.
In a pan heat oil and fry chicken till light golden in colour.
In another pan heat oil and sauté garlic and ginger till light brown ,then add cashews and sauté till light golden in colour.
Once done add garam masala and season with salt and pepper and add two cubes of butter to it mixing till well incorporated.
Add the fried chicken to it and along with it add Cream, milk and cook on low flame for 10 minutes.
Then add water and cook further for 10 minutes on medium flame.
While it is cooking, in a separate bowl toss spinach and cut cherry tomatoes in balsamic vinegar and olive oil season according to taste.
Once the chicken is cooked take the pieces out on a plate.
Sieve the gravy and serve the chicken with smooth gravy along with spinach salad.
Shipra Khanna has been taken on board by Tourism Australia and Cox & Kings as their culinary patron. Her culinary trail celebrates food and wine experiences in Switzerland with cookery sessions, local food market visits and MasterChef inspired recipes.
L 51 to 54, 2nd Floor, Outer Circle, Connaught Place, New Delhi
Reviewed by Ashwin Anand
Cuisine: World cuisine
On the Menu: Twist of Bliss, Khao Suey soup, Mushroom galouti with kesari puff, Tandoori Chicken Roulade, Chicken meat ball in piri piri, Nalli da Korma, Dal Makhani
The Experience: Look, I don’t know how to describe this place. Is it a fine-dining restaurant, is it a lounge, is it a bar? Reading this, you would be forgiven for being confused and possibly discouraged. But to be perfectly frank, herein lies the charm of Ambrosia Bliss. The flamboyant fine-dining area, the humbly lit lounge, the laid-back outdoors, the private booths – there is something to fit every mood and it works well.
The first thing that strikes you as you enter the restaurant is the space. Living in Delhi, you are not used to hearing the word “spacious” in Connaught Place. But that’s exactly what you get here. The next thing to hit you in the décor which is dominated by black, white and gold. And there’s a lot of gold! But perhaps surprisingly, it doesn’t seem gaudy. It looks good and suits the place.
We happened to eat there on a dry day, and began with their signature mocktail, Twist of Bliss. A mixture of cranberry juice and passion fruit soda, the drink failed to excite. I’m not a big fan of canned juice and that’s what it tasted like. The Mushroom Galouti with Kesari Puff lived up to its meaning—it melted in the mouth and was delicious, though the kesari puffs they were served on were a little tough. The Tandoori Chicken Roulade, a modified version of the popular malai tikka, starred juicy, tender chicken—one of the highlights of the evening. The Khao Suey, a personal favourite, was everything a good Khao Suey should be. Chicken Meat Balls in Piri-Piri featured meat balls and potato wedges slathered in delicious piri-piri sauce—best suited for an evening with friends, over beer. Simple, delicious, comfort food.
The main course was Dal Makhani and Nalli da Korma with garlic butter naans. Thankfully, Ambrosia Bliss joins a handful of restaurants in Delhi to deliver a delicious dal. It is just what you expect – rich, delectable and sinful! Staying true to the traditional flavours, the saffron-infused nalli da korma delivers with a bang. The gravy is rich and the meat falls off the bone. A highly recommended dish at Ambrosia Bliss. We rounded off the meal with Molten Lava Cake with Vanilla ice-cream. While the dessert wasn’t the best I’ve eaten, you can’t go wrong with oozing chocolate!
The Verdict: The food lives up to the restaurant’s name—ambrosial and blissful. The service is good, but the waiters could be trained better in understanding the food they serve. There is a large variety of starters, but the main course is limited and predominantly Indian. Presentation and finish need some working on.
Meal for two: Rs. 2,000 with Alcohol
3 Point Impression: Spacious. Comfortable. Delicious.
Cuisine: Traditional Indian cuisine with a new look. Think of it as a super cool grandma in a saree, riding a bullet, winking through her sunglasses.
On the Menu: You will struggle not to smile at this masterpiece of a menu. It will take you on a trip to your childhood, make you yearn for home and marvel at the versatility of age old Indian recipes.
Start with the “Sharing plates” – for us it was “Bhatti da Paneer with Eggless Cashew, Mint and Tomato hollandaise” and “Chipotle Chicken Tikka with Avocado Raita” – served on steaming iron boxes! The burning coals send out wisps of flavour that binds the food well.
Before we could move ahead from the starters page, the chef sent in a dish that we would gladly go back for. Does the name “Biryani Croquettes with Salan Aioli” confuse you? Here’s a simple explanation – shallow fried balls of Biryani. Not only did the thought behind this dish impress us, the flavours were a five minute trip to Hyderabad.
From the city of Nizams to Old Delhi, “Warm Samosa Deconstruct with Aam Pappad Chutney” was mashed and mixed right at the table. Spicy and tangy, this dish was easily the evening’s favourite. My other choice from the salad list would be “Idli, Deviled Prawns, Pinchoes and Cucumber with Roasted Tomato Salsa”.
“Sweety Saag Chicken from a friend Sweety Singh” and “Brar jee ki Mashoor Rasmalai Makhni” from the main course menu are clearly credited to their creators. My friend who tried “Sarson ka Saag and Makki di Roti with Gur ki Dalli Moti Moti”, wasn’t particularly impressed despite the balls of jaggery trying their best to mellow out the bitterness. But I was drooling over the “Ambala Cantt Mutton Curry“ – the meat cooked to perfection and soaking in thick gravy, served in a military issue white mug.
For desserts, it was “Badam Halwa Baklava with Shrikhand” and the original “Jamaluddin ki Kheer from Badal Beg Masjid, Old Delhi”. However, we were looking forward to the most interesting name on the menu – Bachpan Platter. Kisme toffees, Phantom Cigarettes and an assortment of other memories from the 90s. Sadly, we never got to lay our eyes on this nostalgic dessert spread, as it it was not available at that time.
The in-house drinks called “Modern Cocktails” deserve a special mention. My picks: Desi by Roots and the Desi Champagne. The former served in a Khullad with bits of lemongrass and the latter in a Champagne flute, with distinct desi flavour.
The experience: Your arrival is announced by a smiling attend with a bell. The cafe we walked into was tastefully decorated with a smattering of vibrant chairs, tables and couches. But what really caught my eye was the wall showcasing icons of the past – vintage cameras, radios and other knickknacks. The head waiter leads you through the “Gali”, which gives you a sneak peek into the tidy kitchen. The main dining area and bar is comfortably spacious with long tables ideal for families and large groups.
Before you tuck into what you ordered, the staff will offer a tiny mason jar to clear your palate. Open the lid and the aroma of Coconut Chutney, Mint and fried Dal meets your senses. The tiny “Paruppuvada” may be soggy from the chutney, but worth the unique experience. More chutneys, dips and sometimes dishes are served in mason jars – keeping their flavours and aroma intact for your table.
As you leave the restaurant, get your wish locked on the “Jali” – concept borrowed from the “Love Locks”of Paris, I guessed. You can keep the key and use it if the wish comes true on your next visit.
Verdict: Pleasingly unique yet comfortably familiar. Chef Rajiv Sinha and his team did impress us with the flavours and concept. The ambience is ideal for large family get-togethers or meet-ups with friends. The open spaces may not be appealing for a date night. The staff is courteous and attentive. Special appreciation goes to the head waiter, who patiently explained the story behind each dish and carefully instructed us on the right way to get the best out of the flavours.
Meal for Two: Rs. 1,200 plus taxes (without alcohol)
If you enjoy a long and leisurely drive, we know just the place. And a five-star chef, no less, tipped us off on this one: it’s called Sharma Dhaba, and it is located on the fringe of Jaipur city. Wind your way to Sikar Road and almost anyone will be able to point you to it.
Order the aloo paratha, and you’ll thank us for recommending the place. Sizzling hot and oozing filling, the paratha comes with a terrific pickle, yoghurt and subzi. The Sharma brothers have run this place for over two decades now, and the sheer number of moodhas and tables in front and at the much cleaner back section are testimony to its thumping success.
The brothers said their best-seller is the Mawa Paratha, which comes filled with khoya and dry fruit. We didn’t particularly enjoy the idea of a sweet filling, but maybe you will.
A meal for two here will cost you about Rs. 350. And the fare is all vegetarian.