Wednesday 19 June 2013

Chicken Ham and Peppy Tomato Oats Muffins and a meet-up with Chef Vikas Khanna

“All the effort in the world won't matter if you're not inspired.” 
                                                                  Chuck Palahniuk

Good food, amazing conversation and great inspiration!! 
Every time I go for a bloggers meet, I come back enriched with so much more. Apart from having a fantastic time, these meets also provide a great learning experience, which I rate beyond comparison. It is wonderful to meet up with like minded bloggers from all walks of life, who are so committed and share the same interests as yours. Exchanging ideas and experiences with them helps hugely in providing you with the inspiration to push yourself to try your limits and to constantly better yourself, helping one to grow as a blogger and most importantly as a person.
Because of these very reasons, I was really excited when last week, I received an invite to attend an event organised by ‘Saffola Masala Oats’ at Blue frog, Mehrauli. The invite, which was couriered to each one of us personally, came as a surprise, in the shape of a cute little yellow box with a tinda, brinjal and karela nestled inside the box, with a catch line emphasizing the theme of the event, “ Health ya taste which side do you sway most of the time?”  The chief attraction, of course was meeting  the Michelin star Indian Chef Vikas Khanna who would also be cooking for us to demonstrate  how healthy can be tasty too.
photo courtesy Sangeeta Khanna
The event started with Chef Vikas Khanna showing us a demo of how a boring vegetable like tinda can be turned into something exotic and tasty. His method of stuffing the tindas and later poaching it, certainly grabbed my attention and the thought which immediately ran across my mind was, “Wow!! what a great way to feed tindas to my kids and hubby!!” Talking of tindas,  there’s another story, which goes back 18 years, apparently which is the main reason why my husband detests tindas so much. As the story goes, when I was pregnant with my daughter, I had strong cravings (which is not unusual in pregnant women) for having tindas and only tindas and  according to him we had ‘ tinda subji’ day in and day out!!  (though I personally feel, there is a bit of exaggeration here and he is just using this as a cover-up for his childhood dislike of tindas).  And the onslaught was so much for his senses that the poor guy totally swore off tindas, unless of course compelled under dire circumstances!!  So here, seeing chef Vikas cook tindas in such an interesting way, inspired me totally, making me see a ray of hope to convert and win over the ‘tinda haters’ in my house.
Later on, he also showed how to make a simple crostini with bell peppers and peppy tomato oats  topping. We did not get to taste any of the dishes made by the chef but by the ‘oohs’ and the ‘aahs’ in the crowd, definitely indicated they were a great hit and appealed to the health conscious amongst us. The event was also dotted with various competitions where the bloggers got to show their talent by cooking innovative dishes with the boring baingan and the much under-rated oats.
 The participants in the contest came up with some really innovative  ideas and  made upma with oats, croquets and even an oats pizza base.  The winners got to take home wonderful prizes like the kindle (jealous!) and all participants got a personally autographed wooden chopping board by chef Vikas khanna (even more jealous!).
And of course, we too did not come home empty handed. All the attendees got a huge basket, full of Saffola masala oats and the Vikas Khannas recipe book ‘Khanna-Sutra’.
It was an afternoon filled with fun, laughter and of course great food. The highlight of the event was of course meeting with chef Vikas Khanna. Right from the start of the show to the end, he was the true star of the show, winning us all over with his smiling countenance, twinkling eyes and a down to earth attitude. Despite of being such a famous personality, one found him so grounded and still so deeply connected to his roots. It was touching to hear him talk fondly about his childhood days in Amristrar, where he grew up in a large family and his grandmothers traditional home cooking, which was inspirational in his becoming a chef. One thing that he talked about struck a chord with me is that how one doesn’t need cookery books to cook, but the recipes should come from one’s heart!! So true!! I couldn’t agree with him more. It was nice to see how he made it a point to connect with each and every blogger in the audience personally, young and old alike, not once getting ruffled, by the constant request for autographs and pictures with him.  His comic one liners in his desi-amristari lingo kept us in splits throughout the event keeping the ambience light and captivating our attention throughout the show.
I feel lucky to get this great opportunity to have met a such a wonderful human being and a humble  personality like him. 
Thanks Saffola Masala Oats  for such a well organised event. I really enjoyed it and look forward to many more such events.
Back home totally inspired after meeting with the chef and armed with a basketful (literally) of masala oats, I too decided to put on my thinking cap and came up with these “Chicken Ham and Peppy Tomato Oats Muffins” using one of the many flavors of masala oats in the basket gifted to us. I must say they turned out pretty delicious. They were light with a slight hint of tomato flavour. The chicken ham, though was a bit of a disappointment as it was slightly bland. Maybe next time, I will go in for bacon for a little stronger flavor. 

Here's the recipe for you to try:-
Chicken Ham and  Peppy Tomato Oats  Muffins
100 gms chicken ham, finely chopped
1 small packet Saffola peppy tomato oats (40 gms)
2 eggs
¼ cup mozzarella cheese, grated
150 gms flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
100 gms margarine melted
2 tsp Keya’s garlic bread seasoning

Preheat oven to 180 C.
Sift the flour with the baking powder in a large bowl.
Add tomato flavored oats, cheese and stir to combine.
Make a well in the center.
Combine milk, egg, melted margarine and pour the mixture in the center of the flour.
Using a large metal spoon, stir until just combined, careful not to over mix.
Spoon mixture into muffin pan until ¾ full.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the skewers inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the pan for a minute.
Serve warm.

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