Travel Secret #359

Chef Sabyasachi Gorai, popular as “Saby” is among the brightest stars on India’s culinary firmament. We chatted with him over cocktails at his lovely, laid-back Armenian-Bengali restaurant, Lavaash, located in Delhi’s leafy Mehrauli.


Saby’s Secrets:

Unforgettable food: Dinner at Casa Monini in Spoleto by Chef Angelo Franchini. Fresh truffle, great quality olive oils, freshly made gnocchi, risotto, and some of the best wines of  Italy. It was a  skillfully crafted menu, and the in-house feel made it an experience of a lifetime.

Gourmet goodies you always buy during your travels: Olive oils, chocolates  and wines. I always try to grab the specialty of the place, and if I see a new or unique variety, it definitely goes into my basket.

Favourite dessert: It has to be Bengali Misti Doi. I like it a lot. I have also made bruleed misti doi  and misti doi cheesecake to give a twist to this classical dessert.

Favourite food city:  Though there are many, Madrid, Barcelona and others; Paris would always be on top of my list.

The biggest cooking blooper you ever made:  I once made a roulade at my IHM Chef competition. I forgot to put salt; didn’t even taste it as it was a red meat which I didn’t eat at that time. I was badly criticized by the judging panel of the competition which comprised of some of the best chefs of India.

The Recipe: Created Exclusively for Travel Secrets

Photos: Nitin Gopal Srivastava

Baked Kofta With Oil-free Shahi Gravy

Recipe for 4 portions

For kofta

Potatoes, medium size: 2

Paneer: 50 gms

French beans, chopped: 5 tablespoons

Carrot, finely diced: 5 tbsp

Broccoli, finely chopped: 5 tbsp

Spinach cleaned, blanched: ½ cup

American corn, blanched: 4 tbsp

Garam masala powder: 1 tsp

Salt to taste

Degi mirch powder: to taste

Picante pepper, red: 8

Picante pepper, yellow: 8

Bread slices: 8

Olives, pitted: 8

Feta cheese: 2 tbsp

Saffron: a few strands

Coriander leaves, chopped: 2 tsp


For gravy

Olive oil: 1 tsp

Onion, chopped: 3 tsp

Garlic chopped: 1 tsp

Cauliflower florets: 2 cups

Milk: 4 cups

Salt to taste

Pepper powder to taste

Star anise: 3 to 4

Bay leaf: 2

What You Do:


1. Soak saffron in 3 tbsp warm water.

2. Remove the sides of the breads.

3. Boil the potatoes; finely mash them.

4. Mash the paneer. Mix it with the potato.

5. Fine chop the spinach; add to the mash.

6. Blanch all the vegetables; add to the potatoes. Mix well.

7. Add garam masala , coriander, salt and degi mirch to the mixture. Mix; divide into 8 equal parts.

8. Fill the olive with crumbled feta cheese. Stuff the olive into one yellow picante pepper; then stuff this into the red picante such that it forms layers. Repeat the process for all the olives.

9. Mix soaked saffron into 2 cups of water.

10. Oil your hand; flatten one part of potato mixture. Put stuffed picante in the middle; fold it inside the potato mixture. Shape into ball. Repeat with all the mixture.


11. Now that the potatoes are ready, dip one slice of bread into saffron water. Carefully take it out; squeeze excess water. Put one potato ball in the centre; fold the soaked bread around it. Shape the stuffed bread with wet hand. Similarly complete all the koftas.

12. Bake these kofta into a preheated oven for 5 to 6 minutes at 220 degree Celsius.


13. Soak cauliflower in salt water; clean it in running water. Heat milk in a pan. Add star anise and bay leaf. Add the cauliflower; cook till it gets soft.

14. In another pan heat oil. Add onion, garlic. Sauté till transparent.

15. Remove cauliflower from the milk. Blend it with sautéed onion, garlic into a fine puree. Return the puree to the pan. Remove bay leaf  and star anise from milk; add it to the cauliflower puree. Cook till it gets rich gravy-like consistency. Adjust salt and pepper.

16. Pour it over hot koftas; garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot.