Murgh Dakshini (Chicken Curry from the Southern Coast of India)

India’s language, religion, customs and food differ from place to place within the country, but nevertheless possess a commonality. India is the only country in the world to have so many religions and beliefs. The food culture of India is an amalgamation of these diverse subcultures spread all over the Indian subcontinent and traditions that are several millennia old. Despite this diversity, some unifying threads emerge. Varied uses of spices are an integral part of food preparation, and are used to enhance the flavor of a dish and create unique flavors and aromas. Cuisine across India has also been influenced by various cultural groups that entered India throughout history, such as the Persian, Mughal and European Colonists. In this blog I again try to illustrate a simple Chicken curry inspired from the southern coast of India – Kerala, also referred to as Chicken Malabari. I have slightly tweaked the recipe with the addition of Hing – also known as Asafoetida (a spice well known for its digestive aid and a flavour enhancer.) and boiled eggs. 




Serves 4

Cooking time 45 Mins



1 Kg Chicken Breast diced

4 Medium Onions (finely chopped)

3 Fresh Tomatoes (finely chopped)

1 Tbsp Ginger Paste

2 Tbsp Garlic Paste

2 Sprigs of curry leaves

2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh Coriander

3 Fresh Green Chillies (finely chopped)

1 Tsp Mustard seeds

1/4 Tsp Hing Powder (Asafoetida)

1 Tbsp Kashmiri Red Chilli powder

1/2 Tbsp Turmeric Powder

1/2 Tbsp Coriander Powder

1/2 Tbsp Cumin Powder

1/4 Tsp Finely crushed Black pepper

1/4 Tsp Fennel Powder

300 ml Coconut Milk (Unsweetened)

1 Tbsp Desiccated Coconut (pan roasted)

1 Tbsp Fresh Lemon juice

200 ml vegetable oil

Salt to taste

4 boiled eggs

IMG_3933 IMG_3954



1. Heat oil in a cooking pot. Add hing and mustard seeds, once the seeds crackle add the curry leaves.

2. Add the chopped onions and cook until golden in colour. Now add the ginger-garlic paste and cook for further 5 mins.

3. At this stage lower the heat and add the dry spices. Stir for 30 seconds and add 1/4 cup of warm water and cook for further 5-7 mins.

4. Add the chopped tomatoes, mix well and cook on high heat for 5 mins. Now add 1 cup of warm water and cook further for 8-10 mins on medium heat until tomatoes are cooked and incorporated.

5. Add the chicken and salt. Stir until the masala evenly coats the chicken. Reduce the heat, cover the pot with a lid and cook for 10-15 mins until the chicken is tender and cooked through.

6. Remove the lid after 10 mins and increase the heat. Add the chopped green chillies, coconut milk and cook for further 5 mins until the gravy slightly thickens.  Add the boiled eggs and chopped coriander, continue cooking for further 2 minutes. Finish with lemon juice.

7. Transfer into a serving bowl and garnish with desiccated coconut and coriander leaves. Serve hot with appam or malabari paratha and perfectly paired with a glass of 2010 Mandala Sauvignon Blanc .

I have added a small video that guides you through the steps.



Couture Canapés by Ashish Bhatia


When i started working for The Red Turban around 4 years ago we saw a huge gap in the Indian catering market in terms of the product being offered, after an extensive research we learned that there wasn’t that wow factor. Dishes were pretty standard across the board, served in the same traditional manner, all menus were the same with more or less the same dishes just tweaked a little bit around. So after a good month of brain storming “Grain of Salt” was born delivering bespoke catering services, something that was never done before in the Indian wedding market. Now the challenge was to create products that were bespoke and stood out of the box and would create our own identity and a niche in the market . Hence i was back in my test kitchen creating new dishes.

I figured out that first course to be served was really important as it was the first meal the guest would taste and they had to be blown away. So there i came up with idea of serving canapés – also known as Mis En Bouche typically served as an appetiser before the main meal. I started creating a canapé menu with Indian Ingredients inspired by classic french techniques. Again little did i know that this would be a revolution in itself. Image

Chicken Tikka served on mini roasted poppadums

Initially it was a huge challenge to get the balance of complex Indian spices and the subtle French ingredients right but after days of experiments i came up with an array of beautifully designed canapés perfectly worthy of any grand reception. Below are an example of a few canapés that we serve.


Curried Creme Fraiche with a hint of roasted garlic in cucumbers.


Lamb keema vol au vent


Bhel Puri in Tarts


Seared Scallops served on a bed of kadai wild mushrooms