Pierre Hotel RestaurantThe Pierre on a Plate
It’s not just Indian-inspired décor that makes Two E at the Pierre feel like an escape. As crowds throng buzzy Lavo next door, the lounge offers a mellow and low-key hideout – without compromising on drinks. And now Executive Chef Ashfer Biju has produced a culinary menu as exceptional as the Pear Soirée cocktail. The tasting menu highlights the Asian fusion menu’s greatest hits: chicken samosas, shrimp wonton soup, a rice-paper crab roll that’s so light you feel healthy just eating it. Those crowds next door don’t know what they’re missing.
Light as air, this roll synthesizes a variety of unexpected flavors. The sharp tastes of garlic and chili offset the fresh green notes of cilantro and mint.
Yields 4 portions.
Drain off all excess liquid from crab meat; lightly season with fish sauce and lime juice. Soak rice paper in a tray of lukewarm water for 30 seconds, turn it over and let it soak for another 45 seconds. Remove from water; place on a towel.
Arrange 3 oz of crab meat on one end of rice paper lengthwise. Place carrots, cucumber and herbs in a lengthwise fashion. Roll the paper by lifting one end of the towel, prepare a tight roll, keep aside for 3–5 minutes; cut into 5 bite-size pieces.
To prepare the dressing, place garlic and chili in a mixing bowl. Add all other ingredients, one by one, gently mixing in to dissolve sugar. Taste to ensure balance of flavors are achieved; finish with fresh cilantro. Serve cold with dipping sauce.
Deep-fried in hot oil, the samosa dough takes on a crispy consistency. The shell bursts open to a filling of exotic Indian flavors, from cumin to ginger to the unexpected nigella seed.
Yields 4 portions.
Heat ghee in a cast-iron wok, add cumin seeds, let them crackle, releasing their aroma into fat. Add ginger and green chili peppers; sauté for 30 seconds. Add in chicken mince and turmeric powder; sauté for 5 minutes. Add tomato puree, cumin powder and cook further until chicken is cooked. Take the mixture off heat, add other spices and cilantro; keep aside.
To prepare samosa dough, sift together bread flour and atta, add salt, cumin and nigella seeds. Add ghee, one teaspoon at a time, rubbing it in as if to make a shortened pie dough. Add water, form the dough, cover with a damp cloth and rest for 30 minutes. Dough should be semi-hard and resemble a pie dough in texture.
Divide the dough into 1.5 oz portions and roll to a flat tortilla of 0.1” thickness. Cut the tortilla into two, resulting in a semi-circular sheet. Roll the semicircle into a cone sealing one side using water. Fill the cone with a little over 1 oz of chicken filing. Close the pastry, sealing it using water; crimp the edges using a fork.
Deep-fry in hot oil (350–380°F) until golden brown; serve hot with chutneys.
The most common samosa filling is potato and fresh peas. However, minced chicken, lamb and beef are popular among certain communities. There is no real substitute for ghee in flavor. However, clarified butter and vegetable shortening may serve the same purpose in texture while making dough. Chat masala and garam masala are two very common spice blends which are easily available in Indian/Asian food stores. If you like to engage more and own a nice spice mill, these blends can be prepared in-house. Main ingredients in chat masala are cumin, black salt and dry mango powder. Garam masala can have over 15 different spices, including cardamom, cinnamon and cloves.
The soup is as much about its Far Eastern tastes as its evocative appearance. Focus garnishes on the center for a sophisticated, artful presentation.
Yield 4 portions.
To prepare wonton filling, mix minced shrimp with ginger, egg white, sesame oil, fish sauce and white pepper. Brush wonton wrapper with egg white; place a teaspoonful of mixture in the center. Bring edges together and twist together sealing the edges.
Heat chicken stock in a stock pot; add the wontons and boil for 2 minutes until the pastry is cooked (shrimp mixture inside should remain soft and raw inside.) Remove wontons and keep aside.
Bring the broth to a boil; skim off the top ensure a clarity. Add vegetables and sauces; cook for 2 minutes. Add sugar, lime juice, check for seasoning. Return wontons to the soup, simmer for about a minute.
Finish off the soup by adding sprouts, fried garlic and scallions. Serve hot with half lime as an accompaniment for extra tart.
This soup is a great one-pot-dish, which is also very light and flavorful.
Wontons can also be prepared with chicken or pork as desired, following the same recipe. Cooking times will vary. It is nice to have an assortment of mushrooms and it adds to the flavor heavily, but omitting one of them will not change the soup’s character drastically.
The parfait has the texture of a Swiss meringue with Thai basil, curry, curry leaves and Asian Kalamanzi. The proper meringue should whip up into a fluffy and light confection.
Soften gelatin sheets in cold water and heat over a warm water bath until the mixture is homogeneous. Mix melted gelatin with room-temperature mandarin puree. To prepare a meringue (Swiss meringue method), beat sugar and egg whites over a hot water bath until the mixture reaches 120 degrees°F (a little over body temperature). Place the meringue in a stand mixer and whip until it triples in volume and is cool. Fold in mandarin and gelatin mixture into meringue; add orange rind oil. Fold in soft whipped cream using a spatula. Portion and freeze in a desired shaped mold.
To prepare Thai basil sorbet, place all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Blend using a stick blender until the mixture is homogeneous. Use a pacojet or a home ice cream maker to prepare sorbet that is firm and smooth.
To prepare Kalamanzi essence, heat Kalamanzi puree and sugar for 2 minutes. Pour hot mixture over basil seeds and let them swell overnight. Heat sliced strawberries, curry leaf and sugar in a saucepan until strawberries are soft. Puree with a stick blender until smooth.
Let it cool, then add fresh lemon juice and add Versa Whip powder by hand, whisking it in slowly. Place the mixture in a stand mixer with whisk attachment and whip until light and frothy, with a meringue consistency.
Instead of freezing the parfait in a mould, the components of this dessert can be layered in a parfait glass. Versa Whip is a molecular gastronomy product and creates volume for fat-free liquids. Mandarin parfait can be made without gelatin, but will have consistency like a soft pudding. Kalamanzi is an Asian lime which is sweeter and more floral in flavor.