MY DOUBLE TREAT
It’s a treat to beat all treats. A Double Treat, whichever way you look at it. And Im not only referring to the delicious nutritious dates (which I cant stop eating) but also my delightful dates from South India. The brilliant Executive chef Thirimalai Murugan ‘s award winning dish blends South India and Dubai so is it any wonder that the dish was given highly prestigious UAE award? The creative and hard working chef from kanyakumari has not only honed his talents all over the world, but has also spearheaded many a hotel pre-opening team.
Over the years, Chef Murugan has been showered with awards, Hotelier Middle East Awards and Caterer Middle East Awards. He has been crowned Chef and won the prestigious Hoteliers Middle East Award under the Category – Excecutive chef of the year. He has only recently taken over as executive chef of the Double Tree Hilton but has also been the Winner of Most Creative F&B Idea. Murugan enjoys varied interests and hobbies including culture, food and community activities. As do my other friends from South India. Anita Kuruvilla from Kottayam and Cathereen Alex, both hoteliers of distinction in their fields of Business Development and Reservations.
MY DATE WITH HEALTH AND TASTE
We all know that dates have been around for centuries. But did you know they are cholesterol-free and very low in fat? They sure are energy boosters, and also a very suitable snack for the health-conscious.
While Im writing this, Im eating the most divine, juicy dates. Chef Murugan has been enlightening me not just on the nutritious benefits of dates but also how to use them creatively in cooking. Please take a look at the photo: what you can see are jars of the most delicious dates, Chef Murugan’s award winning dish and ofcourse the three South Indians who are making waves in Dubai. What you cant see is the beautiful blue sea and private beach just outside this restaurant where I shot the photograph. It’s not just the location on the beautiful beach that has Double Tree Hilton in such demand but also their wonderful attitude of caring and creativity (the dish being a case in point).
What a long list of vitamins and nutrients there are in the small date fruit?mnganese, copper, and magnesium. It keeps getting better, the date fruit also helps improve digestion. How? It has soluble and insoluble fibers and amino acids help to improve the digestive system. And sure! Dates are high in sugar, but it is pure, natural sugar.Here’s an interesting experiment conducted by scientists in the UAE.
CHEF ADVISES: When choosing your dates, look for plump ones with unbroken, smoothly wrinkled skins. Look out for and avoid those that smell rancid or are hardened. Dried dates keep for up to a year in the refrigerator while fresh dates should be refrigerated in tight, sealed containers and can keep for up to eight months.
CHEF ‘S RECIPES WITH DATES
Boil milk with dates in the morning, use dates to sweeten your kheer and payassam, sprinkle dates on your salad…be creative says Chef murugan use dates wherever and whenever you deem fit. He has incorporated them into his award winning recipe (please see photo) and ofcourse all the flavors of South india, the coconut, rice and coriander infuse this award winning recipe too.
MURUGAN’S AWARD WINNER
Roasted Chicken with Scallions, Coriander & Date Rice and Coconut curry sauce
Baby Chicken 1/2 per portion 5 portion /Basmati long grain rice, uncooked 200 gram /Organic Olive oil 50 ml /Organic Dates 50 gm /Coriander leaves fresh, chopped and sprig for garnish 30 gm
Organic Onion Red Sliced 100 gm
Scallions and carrot 40 nos small/Natural Fruit Sugar 25 gm /Salt & pepper to taste
Organic Tomato fresh, chopped 50 gm
Low fat Coconut cream 50 ml /Chilly powder, turmeric, coriander, cumin mixer 30 gm/ Ginger, Garlic, dry lemon 20 gm /Bay leaf, peppercorn few / Water to cook nice/dry lemon 1 no
Rub the half a ginger and garlic in the Baby chicken, marinate with Organic Olive oil and rock salt and freshly ground pepper, keep aside in the fridge for 30 minutes. In the mean time heat up the pan and add some olive oil add the bay leaf and peppercorn and Sliced red onion 50 gram. Once the onion is brown enough then add raisins and the Rice in to that and sautee for a minute and add the water. Please do not rinse the rice before or drain after cooking due to the fact of retain the Vitamins. Seasoned rice. Add chopped coriander leaves, cover with lid, simmer and cook until the rice is ready. Heat up the pan add corn oil and rest of the ginger and garlic and sliced onion with dry whole lemon, once the onion is brown add the tomato chopped and add the spices, chilly, cumin, coriander and turmeric powders. Then cook it until the spices are cooked well, add the salt and chopped coriander leaves and little water to get good consistency and add the coconut milk and cook well. Then blend and pass through the strainer and check the seasoning. Place the banana leaves in the base and arrange the rice in the mould place the carrot, scallions and roasted Chicken on it. Serve with coconut curry sauce.