For Chef Aabhas Mehrotra, the festive season is all about family, lights and, of course, great food. “Back when we were kids, we would all get together and have an entire spread on the table with everyone getting something, like a potluck. Even if we didn’t meet that much all year round, it was a tradition that we had to come together for Diwali and celebrate together by playing cards and eating good food,” said Chef Mehrotra, on his most enduring festive season memory.
The Culinary Director at W Goa, Chef Mehrotra says that his core food philosophy extends to the feast he whips up for his loved ones for Diwali.
“Minimalism and the small plate trend is going to be big in the future,” said the chef, “The thing I love the most about it is that it allows people to taste a wider variety of food without getting full and it’s super easy and non-messy way to eat. This is basically my food philosophy.”
This is also why the chef places planning the festive menu at the top of his priority list when it comes to hosting during Diwali. “You should never overproduce. We always end up wasting so much food during the festive season and we should be careful while planning the menu.”
Speaking of festive cooking, Chef Mehrotra is all about experimenting with local Goan ingredients and cooking techniques for his festive menu. At our request, the chef shared the recipe for his Goan Diwali Cracker, a dish that showcases the rich history of Goan sausages in a stuffed canapé format, balancing the entire flavour with a rich burrata cream.
“The idea is to make it easy to grab and eat, making it ideal for the evening card party and cocktail parties,” he said.
Chef Aabhas Mehrotra’s Recipe for Goan Diwali Cracker
150g Rice Flour
10ml Soybean Oil
For Chorizo Pate
150g Goan Pork Chorizo
For Burrata Cream
2g Sea salt
Gold warq and Edible flowers for Garnish
For making Forminhas
1) Make a rough puff by adding flour, rice flour, butter and oil.
2) Crumble the entire mixture such that the butter is incorporated into the same.
3) Mix the salt and water together and make sure it is diluted.
4) Now slowly add in the water. Make sure the water is chilled or it might melt the butter.
5) Shape in a tart mould while removing all the unwanted extra trimmings.
6) Blind bake the tart in an oven at 160 degrees for around 9 to 10 minutes. For blind baking dry chickpeas or beans can be used. This acts like a weight preventing a tart to swell.
NOTE: Make sure you rest the dough occasionally so the fat content in the tart is retained.
For making the chorizo mixture
1) Start by processing the chorizo, making sure no casing/ thread is present in the mixture.
2) Heat the pan and add a drop of oil. Once you cook the chorizo a, lot of fat will be released as well.
3) Add in garlic and capsicum. Allow them to sweat for some time.
4) Add in the processed chorizo and allow it to cook through. A bit of water can be added for it to cook slowly.
5) Make sure you skim away the extra fat. Once the chorizo has softened, allow it to cool
6) Blend the mixture in the processor for a fine texture.
For Burrata Cream
1) Strain the burrata overnight in a sieve.
2) Blend the burrata with rosemary salt and a pinch of garlic.
3) Preserve the same in the refrigerator.
4) Assemble and garnish the tart on pretty platters. These can be paired with some more cheese and olives, based on your preference.