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Aloo Tiki Chaat by Chef Ayaz Nathoo, H&S Chef Of The Month

Aloo Tiki Chaat by Chef Ayaz Nathoo, H&S Chef Of The Month

H&S Chef Of The Month

H&S Chef Of The Month: Meet Chef Ayaz Nathoo
Chef Ayaz Nathoo

Nationality: Kenyan

Interview With H&S Magazine

Who Is Ayaz Nathoo?

I’m a 39-year-old chef from Kenya, deeply passionate about cooking, painting, swimming, travelling, and cherishing moments with my loved ones. Living life as an honest, down-to-earth person, I’ve been fortunate to traverse a rich and diverse culinary journey.

My culinary adventure began in childhood, experimenting with flavours in the kitchen at home. This passion fuelled my desire to expand my skills, leading me to pursue further education at SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where I earned a degree in Culinary Arts.

Throughout my career, I’ve had the privilege of exploring culinary landscapes across Kenya, Canada, UAE, Oman, and Malindi. Now, I find myself back in Mombasa, where I proudly own a cosy family-style restaurant.

 

Type Of Cuisine?

I’ve been fortunate to study and work in various countries, an experience that has greatly influenced my palate. I have a deep appreciation for all types of cuisines and thoroughly enjoy experimenting with diverse ingredients. However, my preferred culinary passion lies in baking. It not only challenges me as a chef but also keeps me focused, tapping into my artistic side and precision.

 

What Inspired You To Become A Chef?

As a child, I always found joy in cooking. Growing up in a family of excellent home cooks greatly influenced my career choice. I was fortunate to have my mum and both my grandmothers nurture my interest in cooking. After completing high school and contemplating my future, I seized a training opportunity at a hotel. The moment I stepped into the kitchen, I felt a sense of belonging. Witnessing the smiles that food brought to people’s faces sealed my decision. I knew then and there that this was my calling, and the rest, as they say, is history.

 

What Is The Biggest Challenge You Have Faced In The Culinary Industry?

As local Kenyan chefs, we encounter several challenges in this industry. Among them are inconsistencies in the availability of products, equipment, and training, often accompanied by exorbitant prices when they are accessible. Additionally, there’s the issue of salary disparity. It’s disheartening to see that Kenyan chefs, despite possessing comparable or even superior skill sets, are often underpaid compared to their foreign counterparts.

 

What’s Your Biggest Achievement In The Culinary Industry?

There have been numerous achievements throughout my culinary journey, from the fulfilment of opening my own restaurant to the privilege of cooking for esteemed celebrities such as Sir Elton John, Neve Campbell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Akon, just to name a few. Additionally, I’ve had the honour of winning several culinary competitions along the way.

 

When It comes To Cooking, What Is More Important To You, The Technique, The Ingredients Or The Creativity?

Personally, I believe they are all equally vital and work hand in hand to create the perfect dish and experience for the client. Technique provides the foundation and basic skills that a chef needs to create an outstanding dish. The ingredients set the flavours and quality of the dish, while creativity pushes the boundaries and inspires innovation in the culinary creation.

 

Recipe Of The Week: Aloo Tiki Chaat

aloo tiki chaat
The Aloo Tiki

Ingredients:

• 2 cups mashed potatoes
• 1 cup of mixed veggies (carrots, red onions, cilantro, green chilli (optional), diced fairly small, sweet corn and green peas)
• 1 egg, beaten
• 1½ Tbsp flour
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• 1 tsp ground coriander
• 1½ tsp turmeric powder
• Salt to taste
• Lemon juice from 1 small lemon
• Chili powder to taste
• About 2 cups flour, enough for coating the patties
• About 2 cups bread crumbs, enough for coating the patties
• oil, for frying

The Green Chutney (optional)

Ingredients:

• 1 cup cilantro (approximately 1 small bunch)
• 1 Jalapeño (or 3 small green chillies)
• 1⁄3 cup pistachios
• 2 Tbsp lime juice
• 1 Tbsp oil
• 1⁄3 cup yogurt (preferably Greek)
• Salt, to taste

 

Preparation: The Aloo Tiki

Heat oil in frying pan to medium heat. In the meantime, in a bowl mix the mashed potatoes, add the veggies, cumin, coriander & turmeric powders, salt, lemon juice & chilli powder. Allow to stand for 10 minutes. Shape the patties with your hands, smoothing over the top (you can add some oil on your hands to avoid the mixture from sticking), then dip in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs and gently drop into the hot oil. Fry each side until golden brown. If doing in batches, you can keep warm in a 200-degree oven.

Preparation: The Green Chutney

In the meantime, blend the cilantro, jalapeño, pistachios, lime juice and yogurt into a smooth consistency. Add salt to taste.

 

Plating

Plate the aloo tikis with sev, and you can garnish with tamarind, raita, and mint chutney or green chutney, and fresh pomegranate.