Nothing succeeds like chilli roulette,” says Executive Chef Ali Akbar Baldiwala, Slink & Bardot, Mumbai. The pepper pasha brings suave strokes of chillies to his dishes. Take the Green Hot Chilli Poppers. “I wasn’t a devotee of chillies during my early days but have learnt to experiment with the different flavours.” His latest crush is the Bhavnagri chilli with its singular spice quotient. “You can never tell which piece will pack the maximum punch,” he grins.
His spicy repertoire brings in fine Korean chilli powder in the bold gochujang he douses the sweet pineapple in, with wasabi buttermilk, in the tropical ceviche. “You can even give the classic chicken wings an edgy twist as I do with the fermented berry hot sauce—it unleashes the punch.” Chillies work differently in different dishes for Baldiwala as he goes about marrying flavours to temper the pungent shot. Blame his vivacious culinary journey that began at his father’s restaurant specialising in Mughlai and Chinese cuisine, and took him to Grand Hyatt, Ellipsis, Trattoria, and Masque before he took to shaping gourmet gospels at Slink & Bardot.
“I love the complexity the chilli varieties bring with them. The big daddy of jalapenos—the Mexican chilli, ramos—is usually served with cheesy chicken or meat filling. My vegan version brings a chickpea tofu belly to the fiery pick,” shares Chef Ali Akbar Baldiwala. “The chile de árbol wraps up earthy flavours and works great in salsa. Byadagi chillies add a beautiful aroma and colour to dishes. You need to understand that there are two types of heat quotients that chillies bring in..
Shilpi Madan for Sunday Standard