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A Chef who practices cooking as his religion and chooses the sunny side of life to begin with each and every day...

Regular visitors to Good Cooking have probably read about Chef Rajeev Bansal. In the last article about him, he was working at a Taj Coral Reef Resort as its Executive Chef, in the Maldives. Rajeev and others survived the big Tsunami a few years back, while working there.

Rajeev has a new assignment in New Delhi, India and has sent Good Cooking some pictures of the hotel where he now works and several recipes.  Here is Rajeev, some information about him, the hotel and his featured recipes!

Chef Rajeev Kumar Bansal 

Formerly Executive Chef with Taj Hotels in the Maldives,

Chef Rajeev Kumar Bansal is now working as Senior Executive Chef with Jaypee Vasant Continental Hotel, New Delhi, India

Chef Rajeev Bansal studied Hotel Management at the premier hotel institute in India--The Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology at Mumbai, and subsequently joined the Taj group of Hotels as a management trainee in 1989 and grew with the organization. Formerly Executive Chef at Vivanta by Taj - Coral Reef Resort at the Maldives, Chef Rajeev has traveled far and wide and has worked in various properties in India, Maldives and Nepal. He has also been accredited for Hotel Management Studies by the Business Management Association, London and Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne for Effective Kitchen Management studies. 

Chef Rajeev found himself learning kitchen chores at a young age and what it took to whip up a home-cooked meal or two. While his parents wanted him to become an Engineer, after schooling he found himself studying hotel management and then donning the Toque for Taj Hotels for almost 19 years. Now he unleashes his culinary mantra at Jaypee Vasant Continental Hotel in New Delhi .

He is firm in his belief that to understand cuisine one has to delve deeper into the character and roots of the cuisine and its strong fundamentals,  i.e correct usage and combination of a range of ingredients to present them in the most beautiful manner to the discerning guests . Chef's belief in this philosophy is clearly evident from the fact that to get into Italian food, he spent two years learning the language at the Italian Cultural Centre, New Delhi. A strong advocate of Global cuisine, he has been working on creating innumerable successful concepts at various hotels and restaurants and conducted successful culinary tours across the country. He believes strongly in fundamental culinary norms along with a strong penchant for a systems approach in food production with training leading to high quality and guest satisfaction. He emphasizes food safety and hygiene related controls, above all safe and GOOD COOKING.

Currently Chef is researching finer, unexplored parts of the incredible Indian cuisines and is working on taking Indian food offerings to the next level. 

He would not say much when I asked him what is he working on next? 

"Degustation Menus" was his smiling reply before he rushed to cook for a group of guests in his studio kitchen....
 
Before leaving, previously during the course of discussion Chef Rajeev said-"My idea of a good Chef is a skilled and creative personality with a wide knowledge and skill base and somebody who understands human emotions apart from various other necessary requirements that go in. The role that Seniors play in a Chef's formative years influences his learning, creativity and success and shape his career to a large extent..
 
When asked about his free time. He said, "I would love to be by a quiet place listening to some soft flute and at times playing it myself too. At times dabble in poetry, tennis would be another fancied sport but it takes two to tango….."

Good Cooking Team wishes him the very best...

John Vyhnanek

Notes for Recipe Ingredients:

(the measurement (no---means each, i.e. 2 baby chickens)

(hung yoghurt is yoghurt drained in a strainer or cheesecloth over night in a refrigerator to remove excess liquid)

(ginger and garlic paste is each chopped very fine and then mashed into a paste with the back of a knife)

(cream is heavy cream)

(ground nut oil is corn, canola, peanut or vegetable oil that has a neutral flavor)

(cornflour is cornstarch)

(white butter is unsalted fresh whole butter)

Tandoori Murgh- The undisputed King of Kebabs

   (Full Size Picture)

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 no Baby Chicken, 600 gm each
5 gm Red Chili Powder
60 ml Lemon Juice
60 ml Melted Butter for Basting
Seasoning to taste

Marinade

120 gm Hung Yoghurt
100 ml Cream
15 gm Ginger Paste
15 Gm Garlic Paste
5 gm Cumin Powder
5 gm Aromatic mixed spice (Garam Masala)

Method
1. Clean and de-skin the chicken and place incisions on legs and breast for marinade to seep in.
2. Rub the chicken with a mix of salt, lemon juice and red chili powder- keep aside for 20 minutes.
3. Take the ingredients for marinade and blend them to a smooth mix.
4. Steep the chicken in this yoghurt marinade and leave it for 3-4 hours in the refrigerator for chicken to soften and take up all flavors.
5. Skewer and roast the chicken in a clay oven for 7-8 minutes, then rest the skewer on a hanger for a while so that extra moisture can drip off.
6. Baste with melted butter and bake again for 8-10 minutes- Carve and serve hot, as desired.

Murg Malai Tikka- Creamy chicken kebabs with a hint of lilting Indian spices and cheese

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Serves 4

12 Chicken Leg, Boneless Pieces
30 gm Ginger Paste
30 Gm Garlic Paste
5 gm White Pepper Powder
Seasoning to taste
Melted Butter for Basting

Marinade
1 no Egg
60 gm Grated Cheddar Cheese
4 no Chopped Green Chili
30 gm Chopped Coriander Leaves
180 ml Cream
2 gm Mace powder
2 gm Nutmeg powder
15 gm Cornflour

Method
1. Clean the chicken leg boneless pieces and cut them into two. Rub with Ginger garlic paste, pepper and seasoning and keep aside for 20 minutes.
2. Make the marinade by blending in all the marinade ingredients and steep the chicken pieces in this marinade for 3-4 hours for chicken to soften and imbibe the flavors.
3. Skewer the chicken pieces a bit apart and roast in a clay oven for 6-7 minutes and then rest the skewer on hanger for a few minutes for extra moisture to drip off.
4. Baste and roast the kebab again for 7-8 minutes and serve hot with salad and chutney.


Seekh Kebab- Mouthwatering Mutton Mince Kebabs absolutely addictive!!

  (Full Size Picture)

Serves 4

900 gm Lamb, Lean, Minced
150 gm Minced Lamb Fat
40 gm Finely Chopped Onions
40 gm Chopped Ginger
8 Chopped Green Chili
20 gm Chopped Coriander
75 gm Finely Pounded Cashew Nuts
2 Eggs
60 ml Groundnut Oil
3 gm White Pepper Powder
Seasoning to Taste
10 gm Garam Masala
Melted Butter for Basting

Method
1. Add all the ingredients in a bowl, except butter, rub and mix well. Keep aside for 15 minutes and then divide into 12 balls.
2. With a moist hand, take a ball and roll it into the skewer into a Kebab of 4 inches size and a couple of inches apart with 3-4 each on a skewer depending on the size of Tandoor.
3. Roast in a clay oven for 7-8 minutes. Then hang the skewer for extra juices to drip off- Baste with butter and roast to a nice brown color and tasty aroma.


Kunna Gosht- A delectable Punjabi mutton stew with whole spices

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Serves 4

Ingredients
12 No Mutton Shanks
150 gm Ghee or Clarified Butter
500 gm Sliced Onion
10 gm Crushed Coriander Seeds
10 gm
Seasoning to Taste
10 gm Red Chili Powder
400 gm Yoghurt
5 gm Turmeric Powder
50 gm Ginger Paste
50 gm Garlic Paste
2 no Black Cardamom
4 no Green Cardamom
5 no Black Peppercorns
4 no Whole Dried Red Chili
1 no Cinnamon Stick
5 no Cloves
5 gm Broiled Cumin Powder
250 ml Mutton Stock

Method
1. Heat ghee/ clarified butter and crackle whole spices namely cardamoms, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, Cloves and whole red chilies. Add onions and sauté till golden brown and then add ginger garlic paste. Add mutton pieces and pounded spice powders to this and sauté till mutton pieces are browned.
2. Now add yoghurt and keep stirring till fat separates from the masala.
3. Add the mutton stock and approximately 400 ml water- Bring the stew to a boil, cover and simmer till lamb is cooked and the gravy becomes thick.
4. Adjust the seasoning and serve hot with steamed rice or Indian breads.

Dal Makhani- Pride of Indian cuisine… a magical lentil preparation

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Serves 4

Ingredients
150 gm Black Lentils
15 gm Split Bengal Gram
Seasoning to taste
20 gm Ginger Paste
20 gm Garlic Paste
5 gm Asafetida
125 ml Tomato Puree
5 gm Red Chili Powder
125 gm White Butter
120 ml Cream

Method
1. Pick and soak the lentils overnight.
2. Drain the lentils and boil them in 2 litres of water till 2/3 water gets evaporated.
3. In a separate container crackle asafetida, sauté ginger garlic paste and add tomato puree, red chili powder, most of butter- keeping aside some for garnish. Then add cream. Now add boiled lentils to this and cook for 30-40 minutes.
4. Adjust the seasoning and serve hot garnished with a napping of cream and butter.

Chef Bansal's Recipes from when he was the Executive Chef of the Taj Coral Reef Resort, North Male' Atoll, Republic of Maldives.

Jaypee Vasant Continental, New Delhi, India
http://www.jaypeehotels.com

Jaypee Vasant Continental, New Delhi (on right)
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