Fun with flavours

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By Innovation is the name of the game for Preetika Gill Malik as she dishes out delicacies for the capital's foodies As told to Chitra Papnai; Photographs by Rupinder Sharma
  • Published 5.03.11

At WelcomHotel, Sheraton, New Delhi, you find senior sous chef, Preetika Gill Malik, experimenting with different marinades and creating unusual flavours. There’s pesto-flavoured vegetables, cranberry sauce-tinged chicken and even oat-crusted fish. “The idea is to make the dishes rich in flavour yet keep them healthy by cooking them in olive oil,” says Preetika who heads Baywatch, the Sheraton’s coffee shop.

The daughter of veteran chef Manjit Singh Gill, corporate executive chef, Hotels Division, ITC, Preetika always wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps. She joined the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering and Nutrition, Pusa, in Delhi. After finishing the three-year course, she was selected to join Welcomgroup Management Institute for the kitchen executive training programme, which she completed in 2002. She joined ITC Sonar when it opened in Calcutta in 2002, as junior sous chef.

After her marriage in 2004 she moved to Jaipur’s Rajputana Sheraton and worked there for two years before being promoted as sous chef. She moved to Delhi in 2005 and joined WelcomHotel Sheraton’s coffee shop. Apart from managing the hotel’s coffee shop she also looks after the Western banquets.

Says Preetika: “Our guests are well-travelled and know their food. So, you have to serve them the best quality.” She shares some of the innovative dishes that are popular with guests.

Mediterranean Vegetable Tiers

Ingredients 1 green zucchini 1 yellow zucchini 3 red bell peppers 3-4 baby aubergines A bunch of assorted lettuce Salt to taste Pepper to taste 10gm dried oregano

For the pesto 75ml olive oil 3-4 cloves of garlic 25gm pine nuts 100gm basil leaves 75gm Parmesan cheese

Method Slice the zucchini and aubergines into 1cm thick roundels and slice the peppers, discarding the seeded core. Cut the bell peppers into roundels and marinate all the vegetables in salt, pepper, olive oil and dried oregano. Grill for 5-8 minutes at 100°C to 120°C. Make the pesto by combining all the ingredients (olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, basil leaves and Parmesan cheese) in a food processor till it becomes a thick paste. Add salt. Glaze the cooked vegetables with the pesto and layer one on top of the other. Serve with a mixed lettuce salad, dressing it with the remaining pesto.

Grilled Chicken with Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients 2 chicken breasts 75ml olive oil Salt to taste Pepper to taste 30ml Balsamic vinegar 150ml cranberry juice 75gm butter 20gm sugar Frozen or fresh cranberries (optional) 1 bunch bok choy

Method Clean and then marinate the chicken in olive oil, salt, pepper and some Balsamic vinegar. Refrigerate the marinated chicken for up to one hour. To make the sauce, in a pan add sugar and when it starts caramelising, add the berries. Now add the cranberry juice and let it reduce to half the original quantity. Grill the chicken on a hot griddle and cook for eight to 10 minutes till three-fourth done. Add the chicken into the sauce and let it cook. Correct the seasoning to taste and thicken the sauce by adding cubed butter. Blanch the bok choy in salted boiling water. Serve the chicken along with the sauce topped with the blanched bok choy.