Chef Miraj ul Haque has some magic in his hands. Actually some more magic lies in his attitude towards food and learning also. Bees saal se chala raha hoon karchhi, ab tak ban nahi paya baawarchi. That means, I have been cooking since 20 years and haven't yet become a chef, this is what he says about himself. In fact he is a khandani chef whose many generations have worked in the field, fine tuning the techniques to bring the best in the food they serve.
That humility, the eagerness to share the intricacies of cooking and sharing tips generously makes him the person who believed in 'sharing is learning'. He told us that he feels happy to answer any queries regarding cooking as he doesn't want his pupils making mistakes in the kitchen, after a 3 hour long masterclass and volley of questions these words affirm our faith about Awadhii cooking being delicate in temperament.
People were seen recording his masterclass and taking pictures to document the process. Of course for instagraming and facebooking too :-) This one was even more crowded than the last masterclass I attended.
The most intriguing kabab was a Jaitooni Tawa Paneer that was made very innovative. A block of Paneer was hollowed and a black olive mix was stuffed in it and the block was tawa fried. This was the most amazing dish in looks and taste.
The other vegetarian kabab that was really interesting was a Sarsonwali Broccoli. I love my steamed broccoli so much that I rarely douse the broccoli with anything else. I have made a grilled mustard broccoli earlier but this one was a notch above. With the addition of cashew nuts, hung curd and cheese in the marinade the flavours are rich and textures very melt in the mouth type.
I am sharing the recipe card so you can cook it yourself to see how good it is.
Note that the use of cheese in these marinades is very clever. It holds the marinade, makes the mouth feel more creamy and adds the umami factor to the dish. Wonderful trick.
Another interesting recipe he shared was a Kesari Raan-e-Murgh, a saffron infused chicken leg that is grilled at high temperature to retain the juiciness. Here the marinade is hung curd based but processed cheese is used again even though there is delicate saffron to flavour.
One can always skip processed cheese for home cooking, I feel the flavour of saffron will be better if done so.
A fish preparation, Karare Tawa Pomfret was good, more like a deep fried pakoda but done well.
Chef Miraj also taught Soyabean ka Shikampuri Kabab and Hussaini boti kabab, both were great in their own right. I am meaning to cook both of these soon and share the recipe in a little detail here.
Later we sat down for a lavish lunch and tasted the secret recipe Galouti kabab again. The galouti kabab as I said last time, are the best you get outside Lucknow, the overall flavour being a bit robust as compared to Lucknow, the texture is creamy and rich just as the original.
And I tasted the breads this time. The garlic bread and Lachha tandoori roti is really good, in fact I ate more roti than I usually eat.
I tasted daals too, the peeli daal and kali daal both were done perfectly well, finger licking good type. Homely, rich and yet not cream laden fatty mix of lentils.
Desserts that I liked were the same as the last time. Kulfi is not to be missed, I enjoyed the whole stick slowly.
Jalebi is crisp and thin, I had a few bites of it without the rabri which is not as good as it should be.
But most of the other guests love this jalebi rabri combination there, I am biased with rabri as I have tasted the best in Banaras. Sharing the best rabri and doodh from Banaras really soon, haven't been free to sit and write about those gems of Banaras at leisure. But I will correct that really soon.