Indian Accent & Chef Manish Mehrotra
Longform's association with Old World Hospitality started with becoming the communication strategy partner of Indian Accent a decade ago, on to Chor Bizarre and then Comorin.
Chef Manish Mehrotra’s path breaking menu at Indian Accent is a result of his inventive approach to Indian cuisine. He reinterprets nostalgic Indian dishes with an openness towards global techniques and influences. Chef Manish has been called the most exciting modern Indian chef in the world today.
Read on as he spills the beans on some of his most coveted recipes from the Indian Accent kitchen.
Potato Sphere Chaat with White Peas Ragda
Chaat is one of the most-loved street foods of India. Every Indian has a favourite and feels the best chaat is available in their city. To me, chaat is a perfect dish, combining different ingredients and tastes—salty, sour, sweet, spicy, crunchy—in one mouth-watering delight which satisfies all our senses. Listening to the myriad requests made by customers to a chaat-wala, which are all miraculously (or so it seems) satisfied by him without a mistake, I have realized that the one common request is for the potato patty to be crisp. At Indian Accent, we have replaced the potato patty with a crisp potato sphere, topped with yogurt and spicy chutneys, to make a delectable starter.
Pulled Kathal Phulka Taco
Kathal, or jackfruit, is used widely in India. In Kerala, the ripe yellow chakka is eaten as a fruit. In North India, the green (raw) kathal is used to make a curry. Kathal is called ‘meat of the vegetarians’, as the fibrous texture of the cooked jackfruit is said to resemble that of cooked mutton (goat meat), often served in vegetarian households for non-vegetarian dinner guests. For a non-vegetarian variation, kathal can be replaced with shredded pork belly.
Meetha Achaar Spare Ribs, Sun-dried Mango, Toasted Onion Seeds
I’ve always pictured pork spare ribs as a sticky, sweet and juicy dish. This dish raises a toast to my first job as a chef in a South-East Asian restaurant. I have added an Indian twist with a sweet mango pickle sauce, and this dish has always been a bestseller at the restaurant. I chose the sweet mango pickle as it is available in almost every Indian kitchen all through the year. For this dish, use meaty pork ribs without too much fat.
Lentils are a staple of Indian cuisine, and in no other country are they used in so many ways to make such a variety of dishes—stews, fritters, salads, snacks and this chaat. Made with the humble split moong dal, this famous chaat from Moradabad, a small town in northern India, is a favourite of mine. My mother hails from Moradabad, and when we visited my maternal grandparents during vacations, we looked forward to eating Dal Moradabadi, rushing out to buy it from the chaat-wala ringing his cycle-bell to announce his arrival on our street.
At Indian Accent, I temper the boiled dal with a variety of ingredients. As the dish is thick and pasty, it is accompanied with a chur chur paratha.
Warm Doda Barfi Treacle Tart
Doda barfi, a sweet with a grainy, fudge-like texture, is not very popular, except during Diwali when it is included in the boxes of sweets that are distributed among friends, colleagues and family. A piece of doda barfi warmed in the microwave and served with a drizzle of cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream is usually how I eat it.
Creating a dessert using doda barfi which everyone would like was a challenge. Living in London in 2007–08, I was reminded of doda barfi when I ate a Sainsbury’s treacle tart for the first time, and inspiration struck. When customers ask the staff to recommend a dessert, and we offer doda barfi treacle tart, most of them tend to be wary. However, once they taste it, they become converts, making doda barfi treacle tart the highest selling dessert at Indian Accent.