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Chicken Tikka: Is it from India or Pakistan?

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Image source: youtube.com

Dubai, UAE: Food has the power to bring enemies together and this time, it’s the lip-smacking appetizer, the chicken tikka, that has managed to bind neighbors India and Pakistan together in Dubai.

The chicken tikka has managed to bind neighbors India and Pakistan together in Dubai.

Mohit Bhargava from India and Shamoun Bhatti from Pakistan, chefs at Dubai’s seven-star Burj Al Arab hotel, say they “work like brothers” and love to serve the best of their countries’ delicacies to their consumers who don’t inquire about the recipes’ nationality.

For its authentic Arabic cuisine or Far East Asian or Modern European dishes, the hotel sources ingredients from across the globe, says 34-year-old Bhatti from Karachi.

“Some of the spices and herbs come from India and Pakistan, as we don’t find them here. You will be amazed to know that many people term Pakistani dishes as Indian food here and I feel proud. I don’t think chicken tikka has any nationality. You wonder if it is from India or Pakistan? I feel it’s chicken tikka, that’s it,” he said.

The Bab al Yam restaurant in the hotel, where he showed some of the food items prepared by him, has a contemporary and sophisticated concept with floor-to-ceiling windows offering stunning views, breathtaking spacious terrace and plush shisha (hookah) lounges.

“I think it’s not the people but the governments that are making a hue and cry. There are so many politicians and all of them have their own reason for hating each other. Even in the recent Pathankot episode, Indians and Pakistanis were blaming each other. I feel this type of thing creates bad relations,” says Bhatti.

While he shifted to Dubai 10 years back for work, 32-year-old Bhargava, who hails from Lucknow, moved to the United Arab Emirates city with his wife two and a half years back.

“We work like brothers and it’s always good to have someone around who understands your language,” said the chef while giving a pat on the shoulder of his Pakistani counterpart.

Mohit Bhargava from India and Shamoun Bhatti from Pakistan, chefs at Dubai’s seven-star Burj Al Arab hotel, say they “work like brothers” and love to serve the best of their countries’ delicacies to their consumers who don’t inquire about the recipes’ nationality. Image source: littleindia.com
Mohit Bhargava from India and Shamoun Bhatti from Pakistan, chefs at Dubai’s seven-star Burj Al Arab hotel, say they “work like brothers”
and love to serve the best of their countries’ delicacies to their consumers who don’t inquire
about the recipes’ nationality. Image source: littleindia.com

He also pointed out how Dubai has opened up for Indians, especially in the food sector.

“It’s a home away from home. People love Indian food here, especially chicken tikka masala that has become universal. Some of the other dishes in demand are lamb rogan josh, biryani and, of course, masala dosa,” he said, pointing out how Indian restaurants are doing well in Dubai.

“There are many local restaurants which are coming in. Moti Mahal and Raaga are here. We also have a new restaurant in Taj. There is one at Shereton by chef Vikas Khanna called Junoon, then we have chef Vineet Bahl’s restaurant Indego. So, you have a large choice where you want to dine,” he said.

The distinctive sail-shaped silhouette of Burj Al Arab is more than just a stunning hotel, it is a symbol of modern Dubai.

Repeatedly voted the world’s most luxurious hotel, the magnificent destination offers people the finest service and facilities throughout — right down to an optional chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce.

Not surprisingly, it’s the hot spot for all the Bollywood, Hollywood and other A-list celebrities.

It boasts of serving celebrities like Hollywood actor Vin Diesel during the shooting of “Furious 7” in Dubai, southern star Mahesh Babu with his family and tennis legend Roger Federer.

Bhargava recalls one customer: “There is one Russian lady who is very regular here and she always asks me about Indian food. She has a liking for different cuisines.”

Niamh Keohan, director of marketing and PR for Burj Al Arab, said hiring an Indian and a Pakistani together was not a “well planned strategy” but people are very open to all the “spicy foods” that India is known for.

(The article was first published in Little India)

  • Akanksha Sharma

    It doesn’t matter where it came from. It is one of the tastiest dishes.

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Vikas Khanna’s Upcoming Book To Focus On Grains And Northeast

Khanna also prepared recipes using Quaker Whole Oats, a new variant made from "uncut A grade oats"

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Vikas Khanna's Upcoming Book To Focus On Grains And Northeast
Vikas Khanna's Upcoming Book To Focus On Grains And Northeast, flickr

Michelin-starred Chef Vikas Khanna, who was here for a masterclass and launch of Quaker Whole Oats, says his next book will focus on grains and will also talk about India’s northeast region which he feels still holds its rich culture intact through food.

“My next thing (book) is only about grains and about north east. They are a culture which inspite of being modernised still holds on to the value of their grains and how they do farming. I was obssessed with their fish paddy farming,” Khanna, also PepsiCo India’s nutrition ambassador, told IANS on the sidelines of the event here.

At the event, Khanna also prepared recipes using Quaker Whole Oats, a new variant made from “uncut A grade oats”.

With the aim to showcase oats as an appetising and nutritious breakfast option, Khanna’s masterclass took food enthusiasts on an experiential journey. He used two recipes.

The Thandai Oats was loaded with the richness of dry fruits and aromatic ingredients, layered together with overnight soaked whole oats, spinach puree and topped with candied nuts.

grains
grains, Pixabay

The Curd Oats with Parmesan crisp was a mix of dried herbs, spices, cherries, plums, and baby vegetables like broccoli, beans, beetroots, carrots, cauliflower and corn, which gave regular “dahi” a makeover and amped it up for a tastier version.

Asked about how aware people have become when it comes to not skipping breakfast, Khanna said: “I think because of Internet and because of media, there is whole lot of awareness… The industry is changing because of requirement of people,” he said.

Also read: Michelin Star Chef Vikas Khanna joins Amritsar Farmers for Diwali at ‘Organic Diwali Farmers Fest’

“Breakfast is essential and everybody needs to understand that if stomach is empty, brain starts becoming extremely aggressive,” he added. (IANS)