What happens when a doctor becomes a chef? You imagine that healthy food which helps the body to digest well will be served. Dr Izzat Hussain does so but with some surprises. He likes to surprise his diners by abstaining from water and curd.
He is showcasing his culinary skills at Ghiza-e-Awadh, a food fest at Park Hyatt, Hyderabad. He qualifies for this by being a member of the royal family of Awadh, a celebrity chef, a culinary guru and an Unani doctor.
Curious that he abstains from water and curd? He explains, “Yogurt is a probiotic that is consumed to help our stomach digest food faster and help the body cool itself. When we marinate and cook anything with curd, we heat the curd above 40 degree Celsius. As a result, lactobacillus bacteria – the most important property of yogurt – are destroyed. When curd is cooked it turns into fat. Some amount of fat is already present in meat or fish, so why not add more?”
Chicken Pineapple Kebabs
Talking about his interest in cooking, he says, “I come from a royal family from Lucknow; Everyone knows how much love the royals of Lucknow had for food. Food was in my genes and as an Unani doctor, I realized the fault lay with our diet. After all, our body is a place of worship and we are what we eat. Treating patients made me delve into the process of cooking and over the years, I became a food consultant.” ,
Dispelling the notion that Lucknowi food is purely non-vegetarian, he says, “I make around 15 dals, which I will showcase at the festival.”
Can anyone think of cooking rice without water? Izzat says, ‘There is a difference between boiling and cooking. Rice is boiled in water. However, water isn’t the only ingredient that gets gravy. I cook my lentils in milk; Do not boil or cook. To get the required consistency of the gravy, I use ingredients like tomatoes, onions, milk, etc.”
To make his point, the chef serves chicken kebabs. The kebabs were succulent and tender, with a mild flavor of ghee and spices like cardamom and nutmeg. After the first bite, he revealed the ingredients: The chicken was marinated in pineapple juice. They say that any juice with citric properties can be used as a marinade; He prefers pineapple because he believes that pineapple juice has a balanced taste.
While cooking, Izzat is also mindful of the health benefits of spices. “I was a research associate on spices at several universities. Then I learned about the benefits of the different spices that we use.”
He shares a cooking tip – replace javitri with nutmeg. “Nutmeg has antibacterial properties, whereas mace does not. We eat food to nourish our body, so we must know how to balance the ingredients and spices.
As a physician-cook, Ezzat insisted that diners should know what they were eating. “I don’t believe anyone who claims to have a secret spice/ingredient. Knowing what someone is eating will help them be alert to allergens.
Having said that, respect provides a Bread. ,This bread is my specialty; It is made from five different flours including millet. It is kneaded with milk so it is soft. I have named it ‘Izzat Ki Roti’. More filmy!
Chicken Champa | photo credit: special arrangement
Recipe by Chef Izzat Hussain
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Type: Main Course
Dietary Preference: Carnivore
250 grams chicken
½ cup brown onions
60 ml desi ghee
3 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
3 tsp green chili paste
30 ml tomato puree
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
2 pinches kasoori methi
6 tsp Bengal gram powder (besan)
150-200 ml milk
salt to taste
2 tsp fresh coriander leaves
1 inch ginger julienne
1 green chili
In a pan add desi ghee, red chili powder, turmeric powder, kasoori methi and green chilies. Now turn on the gas and stir all the spices on medium flame for one to two minutes. Add ginger-garlic paste and tomato puree and cook till the raw smell of spices and tomato puree goes away. Then add the pre-steamed boneless chicken and brown onions and salt, mix well. Adjust the flame to low.
Take a bowl, add milk and gram flour and mix well with the help of a whisk. Sieve it so that there are no lumps. Pour it slowly into the pan, stirring continuously to avoid lumps. Cover it and let it cook on low flame for three minutes.
Add the gram flour masala, mix well and transfer to a serving bowl. Your Chicken Champa is ready to be served.
Serve with roti or rice.