Premium ingredients have no place in my kitchen; I focus on the complexity of spices: Chef Himanshu Saini

Express press service

There are dishes, and there are destinations, and then there is a chef’s deep knowledge of a culture that makes them create an adventure in every dish. Chef Himanshu Saini, whose Tresind Studio restaurant in Dubai recently became the only Indian restaurant to win a Michelin star in the city’s restaurant guide’s first-ever list, is a culinary genius, committed to celebrating his culture through stimulating gourmet dishes. preparations.

“I believe in creating vegetable-based dishes, where animal protein, if used, complements the vegetables on the plate. Not the other way around,” says the 34-year-old chef, whose Dubai offerings at Trèsind and Trèsind Studio were ranked 18th and 4th, respectively, in the inaugural edition of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list in the Middle East. and in North Africa this year. Saini, who cut his teeth at chef Manish Mehrotra’s iconic Indian Accent in Delhi before heading to Dubai, said:

“My cuisine reflects the evolution of Indian cuisine. As we pick up ingredients from around the world, go on foraging trips there, I think we need to have a balance of regionality and comfort on the menu.

A good example is the Trèsind Mumbai’s 14-course tasting menu launched in June: arugula panipuri served with pear confit and feta crumble; dal vada with carrot kanji and lime pickle; khandvi ice cream paired with pickled papaya and chilli; thakkali thoku with asparagus and jaggery chutney, butternut squash dumpling on a spinach cracker; raw banana varuval, his take on Delhi chaat that arrives with a twist of coconut lassi, curry leaves and banana chips as opposed to the usual imli and mint chutneys.

Its strength lies in creating comfort food. “Premium ingredients have no place in my kitchen. We need to focus on the complexity of our spices; only our garam masala is a fragrant blend of 15 spices. Galouti celebrates 18 spices in one skewer. We don’t need to look beyond our roots for inspiration,” says Saini, who believes food doesn’t need crazy equipment to be interesting. “I work with emotion” , he said.

It invests the most in its human capital, the central kitchen team. “I grew up in my maternal grandmother’s large ancestral home in Delhi, where meals were cooked for 50 family members every day. Duties were distributed in the kitchen, from making roti to chopping, washing utensils and serving. Winning is not a solitary sport,” he says.

What’s next on the horizon for the chef? “A second Michelin star. Why can’t an Indian restaurant win a second one? This is my next big challenge and I will get it for India,” he said. For the Manchester United fan, it will be just another great kick. Rev on.

Chicken Coffee

Ingredients (Cafereal Base)
✥ Coriander 700g
✥ Coriander seeds 30 g
✥ Whole black pepper 7gm
✥ Star anise 5g
✥ Fennel seeds 5 g
✥ 3g cloves
✥ Cinnamon stick 3g
✥ Ginger 10g
✥ Garlic cloves 20 g
✥ 1 onion
✥ White vinegar 500ml
✥ Refined oil 30 ml (Cafreal)
✥ Julienne chicken 160 g
✥ Julienne onions 80 g
✥ Juliennes of green pepper 80 g
✥ Coriander 20g
✥ 8 shiso leaves
✥ Tempura flour 80g
✥ Water 60-80ml
✥ Smoked aioli 40 g

Method
✥ Soak all base ingredients in vinegar for one hour
✥ Grind into a fine paste. Save the remaining vinegar.
✥ For the shiso leaf, make a paste with tempura flour and water.
Whisk well and pass through a fine sieve to remove all lumps.
✥ Take 4 sheets and sprinkle them with cornmeal, and shake off the excess cornmeal.
✥ Dip the leaves in the batter and fry.
✥ Take the chicken juliennes and fry them until half cooked.
Drain the oil. Set aside.
✥ Fry the onion and bell pepper juliennes. Drain the oil. Set aside.
✥ In a frying pan, pour the oil and let it heat up. Add the coffee base and cook. Once cooked, finish with coriander leaves.
✥ Add the fried chicken juliennes, the onion juliennes and the green pepper juliennes and mix
✥ Let the chicken cook for 2-3 minutes
✥ Take a plate and place a crispy tempura fried shiso sheet on it. Place some of the cooked chicken mixtures on the sheet and place the smoked aioli on top.

“I believe in creating vegetable-based dishes, where animal protein, if used, complements the vegetables on the plate. Not the other way around,” says the 34-year-old chef, whose Dubai offerings at Trèsind and Trèsind Studio were ranked 18th and 4th, respectively, in the inaugural edition of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list in the Middle East. and in North Africa this year. Saini, who cut his teeth at chef Manish Mehrotra’s iconic Indian Accent in Delhi before heading to Dubai, said:

“My cuisine reflects the evolution of Indian cuisine. As we pick up ingredients from around the world, go on foraging trips there, I think we need to have a balance of regionality and comfort on the menu.

A good example is the Trèsind Mumbai’s 14-course tasting menu launched in June: arugula panipuri served with pear confit and feta crumble; dal vada with carrot kanji and lime pickle; khandvi ice cream paired with pickled papaya and chilli; thakkali thoku with asparagus and jaggery chutney, butternut squash dumpling on a spinach cracker; raw banana varuval, his take on Delhi chaat that arrives with a twist of coconut lassi, curry leaves and banana chips as opposed to the usual imli and mint chutneys.

Its strength lies in creating comfort food. “Premium ingredients have no place in my kitchen. We need to focus on the complexity of our spices; only our garam masala is a fragrant blend of 15 spices. Galouti celebrates 18 spices in one skewer. We don’t need to look beyond our roots for inspiration,” says Saini, who believes food doesn’t need crazy equipment to be interesting. “I work with emotion” , he said.

It invests the most in its human capital, the central kitchen team. “I grew up in my maternal grandmother’s large ancestral home in Delhi, where meals were cooked for 50 family members every day. Duties were distributed in the kitchen, from making roti to chopping, washing utensils and serving. Winning is not a solitary sport,” he says.

What’s next on the horizon for the chef? “A second Michelin star. Why can’t an Indian restaurant win a second one? This is my next big challenge and I will get it for India,” he said. For the Manchester United fan, it will be just another great kick. Rev on.

Chicken Coffee

Ingredients (Base Coffee)
✥ Coriander 700g
✥ Coriander seeds 30 g
✥ Whole black pepper 7gm
✥ Star anise 5g
✥ Fennel seeds 5 g
✥ 3g cloves
✥ Cinnamon stick 3g
✥ Ginger 10g
✥ Garlic cloves 20 g
✥ 1 onion
✥ White vinegar 500ml
✥ Refined oil 30 ml (Cafreal)
✥ Julienne chicken 160 g
✥ Julienne onions 80 g
✥ Juliennes of green pepper 80 g
✥ Coriander 20g
✥ 8 shiso leaves
✥ Tempura flour 80g
✥ Water 60-80ml
✥ Smoked aioli 40 g

Method
✥ Soak all base ingredients in vinegar for one hour
✥ Grind into a fine paste. Save the remaining vinegar.
✥ For the shiso leaf, make a paste with tempura flour and water.
Whisk well and pass through a fine sieve to remove all lumps.
✥ Take 4 sheets and sprinkle them with cornmeal, and shake off the excess cornmeal.
✥ Dip the leaves in the batter and fry.
✥ Take the chicken juliennes and fry them until half cooked.
Drain the oil. Set aside.
✥ Fry the onion and bell pepper juliennes. Drain the oil. Set aside.
✥ In a frying pan, pour the oil and let it heat up. Add the coffee base and cook. Once cooked, finish with coriander leaves.
✥ Add the fried chicken juliennes, the onion juliennes and the green pepper juliennes and mix
✥ Let the chicken cook for 2-3 minutes
✥ Take a plate and place a crispy tempura fried shiso sheet on it. Place some of the cooked chicken mixtures on the sheet and place the smoked aioli on top.

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Sharon D. Cole