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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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To Avoid Catastrophic Damage, Humans Need To Change Their Diet: Study

We need governments to help accelerate the change by aligning national dietary guidelines with healthy and sustainable requirements

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Food, Meat, damage
This is the "Impossible Burger," made from wheat protein, coconut oil, potato protein and other ingredients, shown in Bellevue, Neb., Jan. 11, 2019. A report released Jan. 16, 2019, by a panel of nutrition, agriculture and environmental experts recommends a plant-based diet. VOA

The way humanity produces and eats food must radically change to avoid millions of deaths and “catastrophic” damage to the planet, according to a landmark study published Thursday.

The key to both goals is a dramatic shift in the global diet — roughly half as much sugar and red meat, and twice as many vegetables, fruits and nuts — a consortium of three dozen researchers concluded in The Lancet, a medical journal.

“We are in a catastrophic situation,” co-author Tim Lang, a professor at the University of London and policy lead for the EAT-Lancet Commission that compiled the 50-page study, told AFP.

Currently, nearly a billion people are hungry and another 2 billion are eating too much of the wrong foods, causing epidemics of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

Food, Meat, Damage
The key to protecting human and planetary health is a dramatic shift in the global diet — roughly half as much sugar and red meat, and twice as many vegetables, fruits and nuts — a consortium of three dozen researchers concluded in The Lancet. VOA

Unhealthy diets account for up to 11 million avoidable premature deaths every year, according to the most recent Global Disease Burden report.

At the same time the global food system is the single largest emitter of greenhouse gases, the biggest driver of biodiversity loss, and the main cause of deadly algae blooms along coasts and inland waterways.

Agriculture — which has transformed nearly half the planet’s land surface — also uses up about 70 percent of the global fresh water supply.

“To have any chance of feeding 10 billion people in 2050 within planetary boundaries” — the limits on Earth’s capacity to absorb human activity — “we must adopt a healthy diet, slash food waste and invest in technologies that reduce environmental impacts,” said co-author Johan Rockstrom, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Change Impact Research.

“It is doable but it will take nothing less than global agricultural revolution,” he told AFP.

The main culprit

The cornerstone of “the great food transformation” called for in the study is a template human diet of about 2,500 calories per day.

Meat, Food, Damage
Beef products are displayed for sale at a grocery store in McLean, Va. VOA

“We are not saying everyone has to eat in the same way,” Lang said by phone. “But broadly — especially in the rich world — it means a reduction of meat and dairy, and a major increase in plant consumption.”

The diet allows for about 7 grams (.25 ounce) of red meat per day, and up to 14. A typical hamburger patty, by comparison, is 125 to 150 grams.

For most rich nations, and many emerging ones such as China and Brazil, this would represent a drastic five- to tenfold reduction.

Beef is the main culprit. Not only do cattle pass massive quantities of planet-warming methane, huge swaths of carbon-absorbing forests — mostly in Brazil — are cut down every year to make room for them.

“For climate, we know that coal is the low-hanging fruit, the dirtiest of fossil fuels,” said Rockstrom. “On the food side, the equivalent is grain-fed beef.”

It takes at least 5 kilos of grain to produce a kilo of meat.

meat, Damage
The big challenge is making meat that looks, feels and tastes like the real thing. Pixabay

And once that steak or lamb chop hits the plate, about 30 percent will wind up in the garbage bin.

Dairy is also limited to about one cup (250 grams) of whole milk — or its equivalent in cheese or yogurt — per day, and only one or two eggs per week.

At the same time, the diet calls for a more than 100 percent increase in legumes such as peas and lentils, along with vegetables, fruits and nuts.

Grains are considered to be less healthy sources of nutrients.

“We can no longer feed our population a healthy diet while balancing planetary resources,” said Lancet editor-in-chief Richard Horton. “For the first time in 200,000 years of human history, we are severely out of sync with the planet and nature.”

Pushback

The report drew heavy fire from the livestock and dairy industry, and some experts.

meat
FILE – Professor Mark Post holds the world’s first lab-grown beef burger during a launch event in west London, Aug. 5, 2013. Mosa Meat, a Dutch company that presented the world’s first lab-grown beef burger five years ago, said July 17, 2018, it has received funding to pursue its plans to make and sell artificially grown meat to restaurants from 2021. VOA

“It goes to the extreme to create maximum attention, but we must be more responsible when making serious dietary recommendation,” said Alexander Anton, secretary-general of the European Dairy Association, noting that dairy products are “packed” with nutrients and vitamins.

Christopher Snowdon of the Institute of Economic Affairs in London said the report “reveals the full agenda of nanny-state campaigners.”

Also Read: Eat Less Meat To Meet Climate Targets: Study

“We expected these attacks,” said Lang. “But the same food companies pushing back against these findings realize that they may not have a future if they don’t adapt.

“The question is: Does this come by crisis, or do we start planning for it now?”

Some multinationals responded positively, if cautiously, to the study.

“We need governments to help accelerate the change by aligning national dietary guidelines with healthy and sustainable requirements, and repurposing agricultural subsidies,” the World Business Council for Sustainable Development said in a statement. (VOA)