“Enjoy yourself. It’s later than you think.”
Chinese proverb

TK’s Oriental 20 Anniversary celebration, Hyatt Regency DelhiI was at the Hyatt Regency Delhi a few days ago to shoot part of their new menu as the season changes. It was a fun, exciting and colourful shoot as always. My last one covered the very sweet stalwart corporate pastry Chef Bungla. This time around I was in for another exciting day as I spent a large part of it shadowing the energetic, persevering and friendly Chef Rohilla, chef de cuisine at TK’S Oriental Grill. With TK’S Oriental 20 Anniversary celebration starting from 21st September 2015, the timing couldn’t have been better!

TK’s Oriental 20 Anniversary Celebration, Hyatt Regency Delhi

It’s always a great learning experience to shadow a chef, this one seemed rather young and new. Yet once he got down to business, he sparkled! Passionate, efficient, good team leader and very easy going, he’s another feather in the Hyatt’s cap. An Indian teppanyaki specialist who has trained under the experts, Chef Rohilla adds his own set of secret sauces and creativity to this popular restaurant.

Lamb Chops, TK’S Oriental, Hyatt Regency DelhiAn avid fan of cricket and Hindi movies, this young spirited chef  is a jovial, meticulous and down-to-earth person. With nearly 11 years of experience in kitchens across the Indian subcontinent, Chef Rohilla has built a strong foundation for his preferred cuisine type, oriental cuisine.

Chef Rohilla. TK’S Oriental, Hyatt Regency Delhi

TK’s Oriental 20 Anniversary Celebration, Hyatt Regency Delhi 4Tossing eggs as high as vegetables, he enjoys every minute of what he does, and the attention he gets. I watch with my fingers crossed. He’s good at it! As good as he is with stirring a mean sauce, as making a spicy chicken salad, as adding that special crispy touch to the lamb chops. The chef animatedly talks you through his experiences, his food influences and much more. As busy as he is clearly popular, his young team exudes the same positivity and enthusiasm.

Chef Rohilla and his team, TK’S Oriental Grill, Hyatt Regency Delhi

TK’s Oriental 20 Anniversary Celebration, Hyatt Regency Delhi

Chef Rohilla and his team, TK’S Oriental Grill, Hyatt Regency Delhi Working in perfect sync, it was an absolute delight to see them get the menu together. Bit by bit, each bowl is plated with love and care, each platter lavished with attention, the aesthetics balanced beautifully, the passion shining through. Here is some of what you might savour at  TK’s Oriental 20 Anniversary celebration.TK’s Oriental 20 Anniversary Celebration, Hyatt Regency Delhi Ever since it’s opening in 1995, the reputation of TK’S Oriental Grill has been built on its fine food and  lively atmosphere. Widely recognised as one of the first teppanyaki kitchen-style dining venues in Delhi, it is also one the oldest restaurants to serve authentic Japanese cuisine.. The live sushi preparations and the drama of the chefs in action behind the hot grills makes TK’S Oriental Grill an entertaining dining option.

Do join them as they celebrate their 20th!!

{The celebration is on from September 22 to October 1, 2015 & October 20 to 29, 2015. Only dinner. For more information, please contact Chandan on + 91 98713 45577 }

TK’s Oriental 20 Anniversary Celebration, Hyatt Regency Delhi

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“The more you know, the more you can create. There’s no end to imagination in the kitchen.”
Julia Child

Smoked Bhopali Köfte with Turkish spicesSo I made Smoked Bhopali Köfte yet again a few days ago, this time a twist of taste with Turkish spices. I thought I’d shared the original recipe earlier, but just found it in my drafts! So here it is again, a recipe from an old aunt in Lucknow, one that is infinitely adaptable to taste as most curries are. This time it’s inspired by Turkish cuisine. Köfte or kifte, or kofte aka meatballs are found in possibly every cuisine and across different cultures. It is interesting to follow the trail to see how different cuisines have their own version of simply put, minced meal balls. India offers a smattering of vegetarian koftas as well – paneer, lauki, banana etc.

Kofta is a meatball or meatloaf and is a part of Jordanian, Albanian, Afghan, Azerbaijani, Arab, Armenian, Balkan, Bangladeshi, Greek, Indian, Israeli, Iranian, Kurdish, Pakistani and Turkish cuisine. In the simplest form, koftas consist of balls of minced or ground meat—usually beef or lamb—mixed with spices and/or onions. In Bangladesh, Pakistan, Turkey and Iran, koftas are usually made of lamb, beef, mutton or chicken, whereas Greek and Cypriot varieties are usually made of pork, beef, veal or mixtures of them.

Turkish pidesOne of my favurite cusuines is of course Turkish cuisine, very adaptable to the Indian palette, very flavourful and fun. Takes me to back to Turkish flatbread pizzas or pides I made a while ago, or these Turkish Adana Kebabs which I make quite often. Turkey, once widely acknowledged as the centre of the ancient world, is a gateway between the civilizations that surrounded the Mediterranean and the Far East. It has long been called home by enterprising and hardy traders who introduced exotic spices and flavours between the two civilizations. Fertile land encouraged a varied cuisine, rich in meat, grains, seafood, fruit and vegetables.Smoked Bhopali Köfte

[print_this]Recipe: Smoked Bhopali Köfte
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Summary: Lightly spiced, moist, flavourful lamb mince Smoked Bhopali Köfte with a Turkish influence. Enjoy them in this Indian style curry, else grill them as kebabs if you like. Serves 4

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hours

  • Köfte
  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced {reserve 1/2 tsp}
  • 1tbsp sumac powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp oil for frying
  • For smoking
  • Piece of coal for smoking
  • Few drops of ghee
  • Betel leaf or small piece of aluminum foil
  • Gravy
  •  3 onions {1chopped, 2 minced}
  • 1tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp thick yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 2 tsp coriander / dhania powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder


  1. Köfte
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the mince, onions, garlic, sumac, paprika, garam masala and salt.
  3. Heat the coal over an open flame until red hot. Make a hole in the mound of minced meat, cover with a pan/betel leaf or piece of aluminum foil. Put hot coal on the leaf, topped by the reserved half tsp of garlic paste. Quickly drizzle the few drops of melted ghee over, and immediately cover the sizzling coal with a small bowl /steel katori pressed into the mince. Cover the bowl with a heavy lid, and leave to smoke for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Now discard the coal and  betel leaf, hand mix in the chopped fresh coriander and mint, and make small meatballs/köfte.
  5. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a heavy bottom pan, and gently fry the köfte over medium high flame until golden. Reserve in a covered bowl.
  6. Gravy
  7. In a bowl, mix the minced onions and all the ingredients for gravy, except chopped onion and velvetier.
  8. Heat the remaining oil in the same pan and fry chopped onion until golden brown.
  9. Add the onion and masala mix. Add salt to taste and simmer covered until the masala is roasted and the oil leaves sides.
  10. Gently slide in the köfte one by one, stir gently to coat and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes.
  11. Sprinkle over with velvetier if using.
  12. Serve hot with naan, parathas, rice etc, with a salad on the side.


If you get a chance to travel through Turkey, do try to make a point of seeking out traditional food, and we don’t mean to stick only (pun intended) with their mouthwatering kebabs. They have a heritage of well over 1300 years of history and a long and storied tradition in the making of delicious, must-try Turkish dishes sourced from the best of local ingredients. Here are some typical Turkish dishes that you should make a point to sample when you are fortunate enough to drop by for a visit via last minute package holiday deals with the family. Holidays also allow you to put your feet up and relax while you enjoy the delicious local dishes and delicacies on offer:

6 Must Try Turkish Dishes

1. Lahmacun translates from its Arabic roots as dough with meat, coming originally from Syria. The meat is minced lamb or beef with chopped onions, that has been cooked and flavoured with spices, usually cinnamon, allspice and chilli, although each recipe will be someone’s family tradition. This is spread over a flaky, flat bread, similar to pizzas, but traditionally rolled up to eat on the move, long considered as one of the original fast food in Turkey.

2. Menemen is renowned by travelers throughout Turkey as a hearty, tasty meal that sets you up for the day. The base is chopped onions, peppers and tomatoes, simmered in a frying pan with some paprika and black pepper, topped with eggs, which are either cooked whole, or stirred into the dish. Another very budget-friendly Turkish comfort food.

3. Börek are all essentially a form of pie, with a filling wrapped in pastry, usually containing meat, cheese, potato or spinach, or a combination of one or more of these, and come in a variety of shapes and styles. There are various shops that sell the pies, but the best come from specialist Börek shops, which are worth seeking out for your first experience of this dish. Ask for the house specialty and you are sure not to be disappointed as their pride and reputation will be at stake.

4. Köfte are a type of kebab made by forming a delicious mix of minced meat and spices, typically lamb and cumin, on to skewers, before broiling them over an open flame. You will find these all over Turkey, which is always a good sign, where they are eaten served with pitta bread, or served with a salad or in a fresh tomato sauce.

5. Bulgur Pilavi is similar to a rice pilaf but made with bulgar (cracked) wheat instead, and is a typical central Anatolian dish. The grains themselves have a pleasant, nutty flavour, but they simply form the base for a wide variety of additional ingredients, most commonly onions, tomato, peppers and mint.

6. Dolmas refers to a style of dishes that are very popular throughout the country. Meaning in Turkish simply ‘stuffed’ they cover a range of vegetables with either a meat or vegetable filling. The meat ones tend to be served hot and the non-meat cold.

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“Remember, there are cookies waiting here for you.”
Dean Koontz

Wholegrain brownie cookiesWholewheat & Oat Dark Chocolate Brownie Cookies. A new baking recipe. An easy baking recipe. A chocolate chip cookie recipe gone healthier, yet still deeply satisfying. This is not your everyday quintessential chocolate chip cookie. This one is better. Deep dark chocolatey + chewy + fudgy = pure comfort food! I’m quite glad I got pushed into making it!

Wholewheat & Oat Dark Chocolate Brownie CookiesI’ve had a busy few weeks. Getting back to routine after a vacation is never easy. So much and more needs to be done, everyone and everything needs ‘urgent’ attention for some silly reason. So the boy complained the other day that I don’t bake nice stuff often enough any more! It took me a while to figure out what the issue was because the baking never stops here. Ahem. Too much fruit in baking of late; he was cringing something chocolate! On prodding further, the words tumbled out. “Chocolate chip cookies or chocolate cake Mama please”!

Wholewheat & Oat Dark Chocolate Brownie Cookies Looked like it was cookie baking time again! I’ve done loads of chocolate cake recipes of late, and as always I was thinking of a new baking recipe for cookies. Not the trusted old wholegrain chocolate chip cookie recipe. That lives in my head; I’ve baked it SO OFTEN! That is what the kid asked for. I knew exactly the thing, Wholewheat & Oat Dark Chocolate Brownie Cookies. The idea has been sitting in my head for long. Just took a few words from the bitterly complainingcookie monster‘ to get it off the back burner and into the oven.

Wholewheat & Oat Dark Chocolate Brownie CookiesSo I brought the brownie into the cookie, made it a healthier version, trimmed the butter, cut an egg, skipped the APF. In went wholewheat and oats, loads of dark couverture chocolate … the result was a deep, chocolatey, and very delicious chocolate chip cookie. Soft and melt in the mouth! Next time I might go for a gluten free version, maybe try going eggless.

Wholewheat & Oat Dark Chocolate Brownie CookiesEasy to bake recipes are fun. This was just that. Not quite a single bowl recipe like I would have wanted it to be, but pretty close. You can hardly go wrong with staple ingredients, but playing around has sometimes led to disasters. This one worked well thankfully, and the monster was happy that day! A healthy baking recipe which turned out to be delicious too was spot on!

Chocolate on vintage weighing scaleWhen things go well, it leaves me motivated to shoot. Even though I find chocolate a little tough to shoot, I enjoyed doing it this time. A lot. Actually the main motivation was this old weighing scale that I recently added to my ever growing prop collection. I find it so charming, that I want to shoot it all the time!

[print_this]Recipe: Wholewheat & Oat Dark Chocolate Brownie Cookies
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Summary: Wholewheat & Oat Dark Chocolate Brownie Cookies. A new baking recipe. An easy baking recipe. A chocolate chip cookie recipe gone healthier, yet still deeply satisfying. This is not your everyday quintessential chocolate chip cookie. This one is better. Deep dark chocolatey + chewy + fudgy = comfort food! Makes 1 1/2 to 2 dozen cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

  • 125g dark couverture chocolate {I used 72%}
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 30g good quality cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • 100g brown vanilla sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 15ml yogurt {1tbsp}
  • 80g oats {I used Saffola breakfast oats}
  • 75g wholewheat flour
  • 50g dark chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line 2 cookie trays with baking parchment.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl [in the microwave or over a double boiler}, whisk until smooth, then stir in the cocoa powder.
  3. Place egg and yogurt with brown sugar in a large bowl, and whisk until fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract, salt and baking soda.
  4. Beat in melted chocolate mix.
  5. Fold in oats, whole wheat flour and chocolate chips. Allow to stand for 5 minutes for oats to absorb moisture. {If the dough feels a little ‘loose’, add an extra spoon or two of oats.}
  6. Scoop out dough with cookie scoop or drop spoonfuls on a tray, shaping as you go, at least an inch apart.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the top feels set for a soft fudgy cookie, and extra 5 minutes for a firmer cookie. {I use double cookie trays for baking chocolate chip cookies, and the lower element only in my oven}
  8. Leave to cool on tray for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
  9. Since these are quite soft and it is excessively hot here these days {42-45C}, I stored the cookies in an airtight box in the fridge.


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