Vineet Bhatia's favourite dishes at his new Dubai restaurant - Indya by Vineet
Vineet Bhatia, the flag bearer of Indian cuisine for the last two decades, shares some of the dishes that inspire his new Dubai restaurant, Indya by Vineet.
1 Son papdi chaat
This is an Indian street food dish from Mumbai — but with a twist. Instead of the traditional raw onions, this dish has burnt, blackened onions alongside yogurt and potatoes. The garnish used is saffron. It’s a classic dish, just in a new avatar. Having grown up on this dish, I’ve always wanted to come up with my own take on it since I love street food, but preferably with a little more glamour.
Usually samosas are triangular in shape, but we decided to do something different with this dish. We take a normal classic, vegetable samosa with the same dough, except that it looks like a Swiss roll. We basically deep fry it once it’s cool and crispy with a lovely flavour to it. We serve it with a desi ketchup, which is regular tomato ketchup, cumin, garlic, coriander, ginger, lemon and a small amount of dark soya. That is very typical Bombay street food. I wanted to capture the street food of my youth, but make it worthwhile for customers to come to a Vineet Bhatia restaurant. It’s not just your typical street food.
3 Saag and sweet corn koftas
I love spinach. It’s probably my favourite food, especially considering my Punjabi heritage. It’s a very north Indian dish. Food is all about memories, so this, once again, is a throwback to my childhood. We do sweet corn and fresh corn koftas that are shaped like an egg. Instead of cooking the koftas with the sauce, we cook them both separately and we sprinkle it with a little bit of coriander and lemon juice. The velvety texture of the spinach contrasts with the crunchiness of the corn. It’s just a beautiful dish.
4 Chicken tikka with zatar and black olives
This dish is an ode to the Emiratis. I’ve called Dubai my home for the last 20 years and it’s a really special place for me, so I decided to create this dish as an ode to the people of the UAE. It’s basically a chicken tikka with zatar and black olives. We cook the chicken tikka in a tandoor, but it’s flavoured with zaatar leaves, a few roasted sesame seeds and black olives. We serve the dish with a sauce made out of yogurt and we add a butter chicken sauce to it. What you get in the end is a nice smooth, thick raita. It’s a cross between a butter chicken, labneh, and chicken tikka. A true blend of Indian and Emirati cuisine.
5 Lamb Seekh Kebab
This is basically my cheat dish. Even though it’s against the doctor’s orders to eat this, I just can’t help myself. The lamb sheikh kebab is cooked in a tandoor, so it’s quite lean meat. We use the lamb bones to make a sauce - that’s kind of like rogan josh- and we toss the lamb sheikh kebab in the sauce so it’s a lot more moist. As a kid, I remember eating this meal on Sundays with a whole wheat parantha with the lamb on top. It’s a refined version of my mom’s food. It’s flavoured with ajwain, which is from the thyme family and we serve it with pickled baby onions soaked in vinegar and a slice of lime.
Indya by Vineet, Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina. Daily, 7pm to 12am. Tel: +971 4 399 5555.