Nothing succeeds like chilli roulette: Chef Ali Akbar Baldiwala shares his hottest recipes

“I wasn’t a devotee of chillies during my early days but have learnt to experiment with the different flavours.”  says Executive Chef Baldiwala, Slink & Bardot, Mumbai

author_img Shilpi Madan Published :  03rd July 2022 09:59 PM   |   Published :   |  03rd July 2022 09:59 PM
Executive Chef Ali Akbar Baldiwala

Executive Chef Ali Akbar Baldiwala

Nothing succeeds like chilli roulette,” says Executive Chef Ali Akbar Baldiwala, Slink & Bardot, Mumbai. The pepper pasha brings suave strokes of chillies to his dishes. Take the Green Hot Chilli Poppers. “I wasn’t a devotee of chillies during my early days but have learnt to experiment with the different flavours.” His latest crush is the Bhavnagri chilli with its singular spice quotient. “You can never tell which piece will pack the maximum punch,” he grins.

His spicy repertoire brings in fine Korean chilli powder in the bold gochujang he douses the sweet pineapple in, with wasabi buttermilk, in the tropical ceviche. “You can even give the classic chicken wings an edgy twist as I do with the fermented berry hot sauce—it unleashes the punch.” Chillies work differently in different dishes for Baldiwala as he goes about marrying flavours to temper the pungent shot. Blame his vivacious culinary journey that began at his father’s restaurant specialising in Mughlai and Chinese cuisine, and took him to Grand Hyatt, Ellipsis, Trattoria, and Masque before he took to shaping gourmet gospels at Slink & Bardot.

“I love the complexity the chilli varieties bring with them. The big daddy of jalapenos—the Mexican chilli, ramos—is usually served with cheesy chicken or meat filling. My vegan version brings a chickpea tofu belly to the fiery pick,” he shares. “The chile de árbol wraps up earthy flavours and works great in salsa. Byadagi chillies add a beautiful aroma and colour to dishes. You need to understand that there are two types of heat quotients that chillies bring in: The fresh, herb-like Bhavnagri that texturises dishes with warmth or the dried versions that hit the throat with a vengeance. By combining both in skilful measures, you can play with the spice level in anything you prepare.” 

Green Hot Chilli Poppers 

Ingredients (for four people) 

✥ Bhavnagri Chillies (medium) - 300gms
✥ Refined Oil - for deep frying


✥ Soaked Chickpea - 80 gms
✥ Reserved Soaking Water - 80gms
✥ Almond Flour - 80 gms
✥ Coriander (Chopped) - 5gms
✥ Mint (Chopped) - 2 gms
✥ Scallions (Chopped) - 5 gms
✥ Miso Paste - 2gms
✥ Raisins (chopped) - 7 gms
✥ Salt - to taste


✥ Refined Flour - 160gms
✥ Corn Flour - 40gms (plus extra coating)
✥ Baking Powder - 1gm
✥ Ice Cold Water - 350 gms

Salsa Roja

✥ Kashmiri Chillies - 20gms
✥ Byadgi Chillies - 20gms
✥ Unsalted Peanuts without skin - 40gms
✥ Garlic Cloves - 30gms
✥ Coriander Stems - 80gms
✥ Jaggery - 36 gms
✥ Water - 600gms
✥ Oil - 50gms
✥ Salt - to taste


✥ Char the Bhavnagar chillies for stuffing. Let them steam in the residual heat. Peel their charred skin and de-seed. 
✥ Blend soaked chickpeas till they are fine. Strain with a muslin cloth. Transfer this liquid to a flat baking tray and steam this mixture for 20 minutes or till the liquid solidifies resembling tofu. Cool it. Now combine this with almond flour and blend to form a thick paste. Take it out in a bowl and add in the remaining ingredients for the stuffing and transfer it to a piping bag. Stuff the chillies with them and put them in the freezer for at least an hour.
✥ For the Salsa Roja, roast the chillies, peanuts and garlic in the oven at 150 C for 15 minutes. Combine these with the water, coriander stems, and jaggery in a pot and let it boil till the chillies become soft. Cool this mixture down and blend with oil and salt, to make a smooth emulsified sauce.
✥ Combine the dry ingredients for the batter and add water, while whisking. Coat the chillies in the remaining cornstarch. Dip them into the batter and fry.