Celebrated chef Amninder Sandhu shares a rare heirloom recipe that's rooted in tradition
Mumbai-based chef Amninder Sandhu has carved a niche for herself when it comes to unconventional, slow-cooked dishes rooted in the traditional technique. From using copper lagans, earthen chattis to live sigri, her methods are steeped in old-world nostalgia. The pioneer, who has appeared as a guest judge on MasterChef India and participated in The Final Table on Netflix, helms the outlet Iktara in Mumbai. She was also once called the 'the girl with gold in her fingers’ by the legendary Chef Marco Pierre White. Amninder tells us how she discovered one of the rare dishes from Arunachal Pradesh. When she visited her uncle’s place, they would inevitably go for a picnic in the dense, gorgeous forest of Deomali — the place inspired the name of the dish — a village in Arunachal Pradesh. “All of us — cousins, siblings and my maternal uncle would trek into the forest to spend the day by the river. We would catch fish or hunt, and cook the game in bamboo on coal like the local tribe. It is served with Alpinia Leaf Wrapped Jasmine Rice,” reminisces the award-winning chef. She adds that every time she cooked the dish, it made her think of her uncle, who taught her the family heirloom recipe. “He made me realise that cooking could be so interesting,” she says. Amninder also travelled across India to meet with members of the Fakiyal tribe in Naharkatia and the Mishing tribe in Majuli, who cook rice wrapped in Alpinia leaves — an ideal combination with Deomali. And that’s why she started incorporating the same technique as it helps help impart a delicate flavour. “Cooking in bamboo is popular in Naga cuisine. Slow cooking in a bamboo, seals in the juices, enhances flavour and results in a far better texture of food,” says the chef who spent her early years in North Eastern India. Before signing off, she gave us the recipe. Do try this at home with ample time and patience!
Mutton boti, boneless: 200 grams | Ginger garlic paste: ½ teaspoon
| Finely chopped onions: 50 grams | Yogurt: 50 grams
|Chilli flakes: 1 teaspoon
| Whole garlic cloves: 2-3 |
All spice leaf: 1 | Salt to taste
| Chopped green coriander:
1 tablespoon | Dried Whole Red
Chillies: 4 | Also need, a whole bamboo hollow cylinder 8 inches height and 2.5 inches mouth diameter soaked in water.
● At first, carefully skewer the boneless mutton boti on bamboo skewers. Alternate and use whole garlic cloves and whole red chillies.
● After that mix the rest of the ingredients.
● Once done, place the skewer into the pre-soaked bamboo cylinder. Make sure to pour the rest of the masala in it.
● Wrap and seal the bamboo with aluminium foil.
● Cook for 20 minutes on charcoal or wood.
● Remove the foil and continue cooking for ten more minutes. Make sure to keep the mouth sealed. Also, the bamboo must be in an upright position.
● The dish is best served hot with rice.
For the Rice Wrapped in Alpinia leaf Jasmine rice- 200 grams
Alpinia leaf (If you can’t find it, you can also use turmeric leaf)
● Before you start cooking, do soak rice in water for 20
● Place the rice (about three tablespoons) in the centre of the leaf. Later, create small parcels with them. They can now be tied with trussing thread.
● Fill water in a pot, about four inches deep and place the parcels in it.
● Slow cook for 20 minutes, make sure to cover with a lid.
● It is ready to serve and savour with the bamboo smoked
mutton with parcels of rice.