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veggies rejoice

Chef Vicky Ratnani’s book, Vicky Goes Veg, has been nominated for the Gourmand Awards. Here he selects the favourite ones for btw

Vicky is on high. Chef Vicky Ratnani’s book, Vicky Goes Veg, has been nominated for The Gourmand Awards, his Vicky’s World on YouTube is gathering eyeballs like nothing and his new TV show, Vickypedia, will soon be aired on Zee TV in April.

“I want to treat vegetables as meat,” says Vicky as we meet at Juhu-based Harry’s.

Vicky who has worked on Ocean Liners and hotels abroad is bursting with ideas. Ideas he says he is unable to contain. Soon he plans to start a restaurant, start a YouTube channel on home-made recipes etc.

As ‘Oscars’ are for movies The Gourmand Awards are for food and will show in Yantai, China, in June. The Best in the World Awards will be announced during two awards ceremonies, one for food culture and the other for drinks culture

Vicky Goes Veg has a collection of different and out of the box recipes for vegetarians like Garlic Soup, Chickpeas and Almond Croquettes, Green Chillies and Raw Mango Risotto as well as the general favourites like Braised Plantain with Thai Spices sharing space with Hing-roasted Pumpkin, Vegetable Shepherd's Pie, and so on. The recipes here are not the usual, mundane ones. The dishes hail from all over the world but come with an Indian twist.



1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets; 700ml milk; 2-3 saffron strands; ½ pod of vanilla; 10g red bell pepper, diced into small pieces; a handful of capers, rinsed; a few coriander leaves, chopped; 6-7 mint leaves; 1 plum, destoned, chopped into thin slivers; ½ medium-sized onion, diced; a handful of raisins, plumped in hot water, drained; 5 ml red wine vinegar; a pinch each of salt and black pepper; a small blob of butter; 60ml cream (optional).

For the cauliflower puree, put some cauliflower florets in a pan along with milk, saffron and vanilla pod. Boil till the flavours infuse. Blend to a velvety, bright yellow, creamy puree. You can add butter and cream to the puree as an option to make it even more rich.

For the cauliflower salad, grate the remaining cauliflower florets with a very sharp grater for it to look like couscous. Add red bell pepper, capers, coriander leaves, mint leaves and plum (keep some aside for garnishing), onion, raisins, white wine vinegar and some salt and pepper. On a plate, squoosh the cauliflower puree. Top with the cauliflower salad. Serve this garnished with mint leaves and plum. A great warm and cold combo. While the cauliflower puree is nice and warm, the cauliflower salad is chilled and refreshing.



3 medium/large red bell peppers; 2 tbsp olive oil; ½ stalk of spring onion, diced; 30 gm leeks, diced; 2 celery stalks, diced; 1 tbsp ginger, diced; 1 cup cherry tomatoes or ripe tomatoes, diced 1 tsp smoked
paprika powder; 1 medium red chilli; 60 ml tomato juice; 1 lt vegetable stock; Orange zest from ½ an orange; 1 tbsp flat leaf, chopped; 1 tsp parsley; A few sprigs of oregano; 3–4 basil leaves; 1 bay leaf

In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat the oil and sweat down the red bell peppers, spring onion, leeks, celery, a bay leaf, ginger and tomatoes for 5-6 minutes. This is literally pan roasting all the veggies and things for extracting the best flavour. Add the smoked paprika powder, red chilli and tomato juice. Cook for 6 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and cook for 20 minutes till all the veggies are soft. Blend the soup in a mixer or with an immersion blender to get it silkysmooth. Strain into a bowl. Finish with orange zest, flat leaf, parsley and oregano. You can serve it hot or cold, depending on whether it’s a cold winter day or a muggy summer afternoon. Garnish with fresh oregano leaves or sprigs of basil.



4 medium-sized bitter gourds, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeds and flesh scooped and discarded; For the filling: 2-3 medium-sized onions, chopped into fine cubes; ½ yellow pepper, chopped into fine cubes; 1 head of broccoli, florets and stems chopped into fine cubes; 4 tbsp olive oil; a pinch of cinnamon powder; a pinch of clove powder; a pinch of red chilli flakes ½ tsp brown sugar; a dash of balsamic vinegar; ½ cup Emmental cheese, diced into cubes.

For the spice dust: 2 ½ tbsp chickpea flour 2 ½ tbspcornflour; 1 tsp onion powder ½ tsp cumin powder; salt and pepper to taste.

Soak the bitter gourd in a bowl of salted water for an hour or so. Then remove, squeeze, press and pat-dry.

For the filling: sweat the onions, yellow pepper and broccoli in some olive oil for 2 to 3 minutes. Add cinnamon powder, clove powder, red chilli flakes, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Remove and cool the filling. Mix in the cheese.

Season to taste. Spoon the filling into one half of the bitter gourd and then firmly cover it with the other half. Roll into a sausage shape using cling wrap or aluminium foil. Let it rest in the refrigerator for 40 minutes.

Prior to pan-frying remove the aluminium foil or cling wrap, roll them in a mixture of chickpea flour, cornflour, onion powder and cumin powder. Pan-fry until golden brown. Remove and slice into roundels. Serve hot.



120ml milk; 120ml double cream; 4g gelatine (vegetarian) vanilla paste, scraped from ½ pod 1 small stalk of lemon grass; lemon zest from ½ a lemon; juice of 1 lemon; 1 tsp sugar; a pinch of salt; 2 – 3 basil leaves

Pour the milk and cream into a saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Soak the gelatine in 1 tsp water. With a tip of a sharp knife, split the vanilla pod in half lengthwise and scrape the vanilla bean paste. Add it to the milk and cream along with the lemon grass, lemon zest and lemon juice. This will give the milk and cream a fab lemony flavour.

Take 1 tbsp of this warm mixture and dissolve the soaked gelatine in it. Whisk to dissolve the gelatine and
then add it back to the rest of the milk-cream mixture. Add the sugar and salt. Stir well and strain so that you don’t have any lumps, lime leaves or lemon grass stalks. Pour it into glasses or bowls and then pop into the fridge to set.

Once it’s nice and wobbly, garnish with bits of basil. Grab a spoon and dig in!



8 broccoli florets, washed; a dash of olive oil; salt (to taste); pepper (to taste); 100g ripe papaya, diced into bite-sized chunks; ½ a sweet lime, peeled, cut into crescent-shaped segments; 30-40g black beans, cooked; 2-3 new potatoes, cooked, diced into quarters; 30-35g diced onion, chopped; black salt (to taste); cracked black pepper (to taste).

For the dressing: ½ tsp chaat masala; ½ tsp Tabasco sauce; ½ tsp green mango powder (amchoor); 1 tbsp olive oil; 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar; 1 tbsp honey

Splash a little olive oil on the broccoli florets. Season with salt and pepper. Char on a griller or roast in a preheated oven for 10 minutes. You can also steam or sauté if you want, whatever suits you. Just love what you do! Once the broccoli is charred, keep it aside. In a mixing bowl, add the papaya, sweet lime, black beans, new potatoes and red onion. Season with black salt and cracked black pepper. Add the charred broccoli to the mixing bowl. Toss well.

Whisk the chaat masala, tabasco sauce, green mango powder, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey together for the chaat dressing. Dress the chaat and don’t chaat the dress! Double check the seasoning. Plate up and garnish with fenugreek to give it some extra crunch!


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