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Secret Recipes by Chef Ajmal Salim, JW Marriott Pune

When I’m in the kitchen, I’m at peace, whole and inspired. I love food, and every step in the making of that beautiful dish– from the fresh picks from the farms to the colorful spreads of the produce in the market to the kitchen where they’re being chopped, diced and mixed over the hot stove to the table where they divinely plated and ready to be devoured.

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Cooking is therapeutique. It’s my kind of self-indulging. I could be a mess in the kitchen all day to prepare a loving meal for my family and guests, and enjoy being rewarded with smiles when food touched their lips. I cook new dishes every day. The favorites are being repeated regularly. But I love to explore different dishes, cuisines and trying new ingredients. I love experimenting on new recipes, finding new dishes to work with in my kitchen. I adore cookbooks, especially the ones with beautiful pictures.

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Last Saturday I along with my foodie friends, Pune Foodiez, were invited to the cooking demonstration of some recipes from the book Secret Recipes by the Chefs of JW Marriott Pune. The author, Chef Ajmal Salim, showed us how to whip up some amazing dishes from the book, Summer Fruits and Seasonal Vegetables Salad, South Indian Style Fried Chicken Drumsticks, and Chiffon Cakes with Mangoes.

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Chef Ajmal guided us through the recipes which were simple and easy to follow. It’s something you can do at home and need no fancy equipment. Fresh ingredients are essential to bring out the bright flavors in the dishes.

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The Summer Salad was fresh and had interesting texture. The vibrant tang of Orange Vinaigrette really shined through. But I didn’t necessarily like the dish mainly because I don’t like Arugula. At home, I would do this dish with snow pea sprouts and edible flowers.

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I absolutely loved South Indian Style Fried Chicken Drumsticks, Kozhi Porichathu. I’m very familiar with South Indian, and we even do similar fried chicken at home often. The aroma of the fried chicken was very inviting. The result was delicious, too. The meat was succulent on the inside while the thin layer of masala crusted the outside beautifully.

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The Chiffon Cake with Mangoes looked stunning. I loved fresh fruit on top on the cake with simple whipped cream– so simple and fresh. I wish the cake we tried that day was softer and airier. I will have to try out this recipe with strict measurement and see how it turns out. Though I expected to see more complicated dishes from the book, I really had a great time learning these recipes.

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After the cooking demonstration, Chef Ajmal signed us copy of this beautiful book.

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Secret Recipes is one of my favourite Cookbooks at the moment. It’s beautiful. There are so many colorful pictures inside. There are also tips and techniques shared in the book.

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I love the varieties of dishes collected in this book. There are simple homely recipes like home style chicken curry and many healthy salads– to a taste bud bursting dishes like Kao Soi and Grilled Shrimp with Spicy Tamarind Sauce– to other pure satiate dishes like Caramel Banana Crumble and Orange Chocolate Cake.

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I would love to try most of the dishes in my kitchen where I would tell you more about that later.

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Secret Recipes by Chef Ajmal Salim is available at Pune Baking Company, JW Marriott Pune for Rs. 1,500. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Tes (Tweet to me at @Testerfly)

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