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Only kababs on plate... and print

The first book exclusively on kababs is now available as Chef Davinder Kumar at Le Meridien comes out with his cookbook. It is the result not of a spirit of competition, but the desire to put on record this rich food legacy, he tells RAN A A. SIDDIQUI... .

BE IT Old Delhi's Kareem's or Kabab Wali Gali, Hazrat Nizamuddin's small hotels or Okhla's roadside food sellers, they have one thing in common - customers making a beeline for kababs, shami, sheekh or gilawat. But there are many vegetarian foodies who lament the dearth of vegetarian kababs. Again, there are many who can hardly extract time to go out for a leisurely plate of kababs in the hustle-bustle of daily life. But now, their wish of preparing both vegetarian and non-vegetarian kababs at home is granted - along with chutneys and breads to accompany them.

Chef Davinder Kumar of Le Meridien, New Delhi has come out with "Kebabs, Chutneys and Breads" which he claims is the "first book in India only on kababs".

The cookbook, priced at Rs. 325, published by UBSPD and running into 202 pages, clubs approximately 175 recipes of kababs including 44 non-vegetarian varieties plus 15 types of chutneys and a range of breads including paranthas and rotis. It also has information on hot spices or garam masalas, tenderisers, marinades and basic kitchen equipment.

The recipes for the vast assortment of kababs are neatly arranged according to the base. There are 54 types of chicken kababs and tikkas - the names of which are equally delectable -- murg seekh noorani, chandi murg tikka, and so on; lamb kababs that once again pamper the glutton in you - champ-e-Lucknowi, raan patiala shahi, Rajasthani boti kabab and a lot more. There is also a range of seafood that includes dariya ka rattan, mahi gulmerg, Amritsari machhli kabab and 18 others. For those who go for a lightly spiced yet mouth-watering vegetarian menu, the chef has carefully chosen vegetables of almost all seasons to perk up the appetite - Lahori paneer tikka, arbi ke kabab, kabuli chane ke kabab, etc.

But kababs can never be savoured alone. Davinder's 15 varieties of chutneys include pudina, dhaniya, nariyal, mooli, til, dakshini, moongphali ki chutney to name a few. They not only add flavour to kababs but also coax one to bite voraciously into them. What's more, you have tandoori paneer kulcha, methi tawa roti, sheermal or taaftan among the 34 varieties of breads to go either with kababs or just chutneys.

Chef Davinder Kumar - a graduate of Delhi University - is proud of his book on kababs, tikkas and other such items that have never been recorded but passed on from generation to generation. "I wanted to immortalise our rich food legacy that is born and nurtured in Indian since ages, hence the book."

Davinder is also the first Indian to be elevated to the post of Executive Chef at a leading five-star hotel in the country. He got this status at The Oberoi in 1982. In 1983 he received a gold medal for presentation of Indian food at the International Food Festival organised in Japan. As it is, he has a track record of commendable achievements in the domain. In 1976, he led a team to Paris and presented Indian cuisine to the French. All this and more was a result of constant hard work that started soon after he completed his graduation and joined The Oberoi as Kitchen Management Trainee.

"Loaded with work," this 46-year-old chef is yet geared up to come out with "more varieties of kababs" soon.

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