A Healthy Healing Diet
Chef Elangovan Shanmugam, Executive Chef of Vivanta Dwarka Delhi, explores the importance of the Vedas in delectable new recipes.
CHEF ELANGOVAN Shanmugam, Executive Chef of Vivanta Dwarka, Delhi, fondly addressed as Elango by his teammates, has introduced an amazing range of healthy food options in his menu. “Some cuisines mentioned in the Vedas describe different cereal grains and their use in our daily life. As a matter of fact, what may be a luxury in the West comes handy and in everyday use for Indians, so why not evolve in our food offering and make recipes that are tasty as well as healthy,” he said.
Chef has been on a constant journey of exploring cuisines that have traditional cooking methods and extremely beneficial. And this is evident in the breakfast and lunch menus offered at this iconic MICE property in Dwarka sub-city.
“More and more guests travel on business trips and are now becoming health-conscious. The demand is about low-calorie meals and healthy shakes served during the breakfast.” So why does chef highlight this food in his regular menu? The reason is simple. “I belong to a farmer’s family and spent most of my time in the paddy fields, learning about all the fresh produce from my father. These memories have influenced my cooking and helped me connect with nature and farm-fresh produce so naturally that every ingredient used in my recipe is relevant to our wellbeing and works as an important element in cooking,” he said.
Stressing on the importance of Vedas, Chef has also explored new healthy recipes especially during the breakfast, which he says, “is the first and the most important meal of the day.”
Slow fame cooking keeps the nutrient value of the ingredients alive that’s why he has introduced ‘Ghar ka Khaana’ cooked in slow flame during lunch hours. “Ghar ka khana is something that we usually miss during our travel. Our hotel largely caters to corporate business travellers who enjoy small and light meals during the day. In regular breakfast menu, we host healthy water and shakes. Flavoured water made with ingredients like cumin, fenugreek, pomegranate, lemon, mint, thyme, basil, turmeric and orange peels are an essential part of our meals and very natural to consume. In this manner, we nurture healthy eating and healthy living through different set menus,” he added.
One of the biggest advantage of working in a MICE hotel is the wide use of innovative themes during events. “The theme-based weddings do involve a lot of culinary skills and this is where we bring in our expertise by doing ingredient-based themes. For example, green theme is based on green vegetables. Red theme has chillies, bell pepper, tomatoes. Sometimes we even serve ‘halwa’ made of tomatoes or even set up the royal kitchens of North India with cuisines from places like Amritsar, Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan,” he added.
According to Chef, the USP of the hotel is health-based food offerings. For instance, they serve lactic-free milk for vegans, wheat milk with honey, rice and prunes; barley with figs; low GI food, ragi or millet dosa, millet shakes – that used to be part of the grandmother’s recipe book and have been forgotten today find place in his menu. Even desserts offer Teppanyaki ice cream and pies, cucumber and mint and vegetable-based smoothies.
Talking about his favourite things while working in the kitchen, Chef loves to cook fish in spices and likes to work on displays with grand themes.
For our readers, here are two of his favourite recipes that he likes to prepare the most.
PAN SEARED SALMON WITH BUTTERED ASPARAGUS AND APRICOT BEURRE BLANC
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
No of portions: 4 portions
1. Norwegian salmon fillet – 800 grams
2. Cous Cous – 200 grams
3. Blanched Asparagus tips – 16 /20 nos.
4. Dried Turkish apricots – 50 grams
5. Sun dried tomatoes – 50 grams
6. Chopped shallots – 20 grams
7. Chopped garlic – 20 grams
8. Celery chopped – 20 grams
9. Fresh basil leaves – 6/8 nos.
10. White wine vinegar – 100 ml.
11. Sea food stock – 100 ml.
12. Unsalted butter -100 grams
13. Olive oil – 100 ml.
14. Crushed black pepper – 10 grams
15. Fennel leaves – for garnish
16. Bay leaf – 1 no.
17. Salt – to taste
1. Cut and divide the salmon fillet into four portions.
2. Take cous cous in a mixing bowl and pour luke warm water just to cover. Now cover the bowl with a cling film and let it moisten.
3. Take a pan add white wine vinegar, bay leaf and chopped shallots. Let this mixture reduce to half the quantity and strain. Take a separate pan now mix the strained mixture and the sea food stock. Add chopped apricots to it and cook until apricots soften and the mixture reduces to half the quantity. Keep this base for the sauce aside.
4. To finish the cous cous take a pan, add olive oil and add chopped garlic, sauté the garlic until light golden brown in colour .Then add chopped celery and soaked cous cous and roughly chopped sun dried tomatoes. Add salt and crushed black pepper and finish with fresh torn basil leaves.
5. Marinate the salmon steaks now with salt and crushed black pepper. Heat a non-stick pan and add olive oil, sear the salmon steaks (skin side down first) for about 2/3 minutes from each side on a medium heat.
6. To assemble the whole dish: place the warm cous cous on the center of the plate .Arrange buttered asparagus on the sides; Put the cooked salmon steaks on top of cous cous.
7. Finish the sauce by re-heating, adjusting the seasoning and adding butter.
8. Drizzle the sauce on the plate and serve garnished with chives.
RED MILLET SHAKE
Ragi is a whole grain which is rich in fibre and carbohydrates. It has several benefits like weight loss, reverts skin ageing, battles diabetes also reduces anxiety, depression and insomnia.
GREEN MILLET SHAKE
Green millet shake has several benefits. It detoxifies body, controls cholesterol levels, reduces blood pressure, increases metabolism of the body and aids in digestion.
RED/GREEN MILLET SHAKE FOR 4 PAX
• Red/Green Millet Flour 70gm
• Rice flour 30gm
• Water 200ml
• Curry Leaves 3-4 no.
• Shallots 4no.
• Green Chilli 1no.
• Curd 100ml
• Salt to taste
• Take a pan and cook red/green millet flour and rice flour with water properly.
• Keep it aside and let it cool.
• Scoop out half a ladle mixture of cooled green millet flour mix and soak in butter milk for min 4- 6 hrs.
• Take cut green chilli, shallots and curry leaves in a blender.
• Add curd and cooked red/green millet mixture with salt
• Blend it properly and serve it chilled.
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