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One chef, one recipe: Murg Malai Tikka by Chef Suraj Prakash

At the Araiya Palampur in Himachal Pradesh, the menu offers up a variety of cuisines using the freshest ingredients, many of them, locally sourced.

With its picturesque locales, warm locals and myriad cultures, Himachal Pradesh is one of the most popular destinations in the country. Although the local cuisine is rich and diverse, there’s a lack of global options. Araiya Palampur, with its new ala carte menu, is trying to change this.

Says Chef Suraj Prakash, who leads the kitchens for the property, “We are introducing international cuisine to locals and offering a variety of options to visitors. There aren’t really any options in the region.”

chef suraj prakash
Chef Suraj Prakash’s philosophy involves using only the freshest of ingredients in his kitchens. In fact, several international dishes on his menu use locally-grown produce as substitutes for ingredients that are only available frozen.


However, the chef’s philosophy on ingredients has resulted in quite a unique take on cuisines from across the world. The idea is to ensure that all ingredients used are fresh. “Even when it comes to something like pasta, we try to make it ourselves,” says Chef Suraj.

The hotel’s farm-to-fork approach means several ingredients in international dishes are replaced by high-quality locally-grown substitutes. In fact, certain produce such as herbs come from the property’s own gardens.

“Mexican food, for instance, uses a lot of beans. We use local Himachali beans for these dishes. Instead of sourcing frozen American corn, we get fresh corn. The important thing is to ensure the quality of the food is very high,” says Chef Suraj.

Of course, Himachal Pradesh itself has a bounty of unique local produce, and several ingredients such as wildflower honeys, fruits and river trout, among others, are used to create recipes, including traditional ones.

Given that most consumers today are health conscious, emphasis is also laid on organic processes when it comes to local growers. And seasonal produce plays a big role in deciding what goes on the menu.  

Although the menu does have a variety of global offerings, when asked to recommend one dish off it, Chef Suraj falls back on a favourite Indian one—murg malai tikka. If you don’t know when you’ll have the chance to visit Araiya Palampur next, you could also try your hand at it at home.

Murg malai tikka

Murg Malai Tikka

Ingredients:

  • 1kg chicken thigh

For first marination

  • 25ml lemon juice            
  • 20gm ginger garlic paste
  • 3gm salt
  • 25gm green chili paste

For second marination

  • 75gm hung yoghurt
  • 3gm black cumin
  • 5gm fenugreek powder
  • 50gm cashew paste
  • 5gm mace powder
  • 15gm chopped coriander roots
  • 15gm chopped ginger
  • 6gm green cardamom powder
  • 150ml fresh cooking cream

Method:

First marination

Season chicken with salt, ginger garlic paste, green chili paste and lime juice. Leave the marinated chicken in refrigerator for 4-6 hours.

Second marination

In a flat mixing bowl add yoghurt and cream it with the palm of hand.

Add cream.

Add spice powders.

Apply the marinade on chicken and leave in refrigerator for 3-4 hours.


Once done, skewer the chicken pieces on metal skewers.

Cook chicken in tandoor until golden brown.

Remove the chicken and let it rest for a minute.

Baste the chicken generously with melted butter.

Sprinkle with chat masala, chopped coriander and squeeze fresh lime on top and serve with mint sauce.



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