Coronavirus has been a wake-up call for everyone (and everything), including the restaurant industry, and the post-pandemic world will be all about maintaining hygiene standards, believes Chef Vicky Ratnani. In an interview with indianexpress.com, he talks about cooking trends during lockdown, maintaining one’s immunity and also shares some recipes.
Coronavirus has brought a major change in the way people are eating and interacting with food — what do you think the post-pandemic scenario will be like?
Coronavirus has been a wake-up call for everybody; it is impacting the psychology of people along with their habits. It is anticipated that post-COVID when restaurants and food joints reopen, people will be more cautious about what they are eating and where they are doing it. Overall, hygiene will be of utmost importance and very rightly so. People will prefer a place which lives up to good quality food and hygiene standards.
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Many people have stopped eating chicken due to the fear of catching the virus, incurring heavy losses for the poultry industry. Is it safe to consume non-vegetarian fare?
It is safe to eat chicken, depending on where it is sourced from. If you are buying it from a reliable store or chain and they have processed it in hygienic ways, maintained the right temperature in cold supply while transporting it — it is safe to consume. Frozen chicken would be a better option as its nutritive value will remain intact and it will have a longer shelf life, keeping in mind the current health crisis and lockdown.
Does eating non-vegetarian food help build one’s immunity?
In order to enhance immunity, a balanced nutritive diet comprising carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and protein is required; where protein helps to build and repair body tissues. Chicken is a great source of lean, low-fat protein and is a rich source of iron, potassium, amino acids, vtamins A, B and K, which help to boost immunity and health. It is highly recommended for one to consume proteins, especially now more than ever to build their immunity.
What steps, according to you, does the F&B industry need to take to bring back normalcy?
The industry is looking forward to strong measures to prevent any further spread of the disease and even after the situation improves, it is always better to take precautions and be safe. Some of the steps in times to come should include:
- Training the staff to maintain hygiene.
- Safety regulation for the staff.
- Sanitisation protocols to be followed.
- Safeguarding the staff and customers by regular temperature check.
- Operational hours need to be cut short.
- Shorter, simpler and seasonal menu.
- Avoiding the rush, minimal cover, etc.
How, according to you, can the delivery mechanism be made safer? And who does the onus lie on — the food delivery aggregator or restaurants?
The delivery mechanism can be made safer by maintaining good hygiene, right from the time of the preparation until the food is cooked, prepared, packed and delivered. Also, the hygiene standard of the delivery person should be monitored closely, while keeping tabs on the delivery process.
Could you suggest a few healthy foods tips/hacks that people can try at home during a lockdown?
As it is summer, a lot of yoghurt-based smoothies and lassi should be included in your daily intake to keep the body cool, besides some sprout chaats as it provides energy and is refreshing at the same time.
The chef also suggests a few recipes that you can try at home:
Red Masala Chicken Leg
3 – Chicken legs (cut into thigh and drumstick)
1.5 tbsp – Ginger garlic paste
8 – Cloves
2 – Cinnamon quills
6 – Green elaichi
2 – Black elaichi
7-8 – Black peppercorns
1.5 cups – Water
3 tbsp – Red chilli powder
1.5 tbsp – Coriander powder
2 tbsp – Lemon juice to finish
Coriander leaves (for garnish)
*Simmer the chicken legs in water, ginger garlic paste and the whole spices with 1 tbsp salt.
*Cook for 15 minutes until the water is almost down to half. Then add chilli powder, black pepper powder, coriander powder, and cook until the chicken is cooked and the liquid has turned into a spicy sauce.
*Rest the chicken for 30 minutes in the sauce.
*In another pan, heat oil/ghee and sear the chicken to a brown colour.
*Squeeze lemon over it, garnish with coriander leaves.
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You Can’t Beet this Chick
1/3 cups – 1/2 cooked beets
1/3 cup – Tomatoes (cut into chunks)
1 cup – Chickpeas (cooked)
2 cups – Mixed lettuce leaves
2 tbsp – Feta cheese (crumbled)
A few carrots shaved with a wide peeler
3 – Almonds (grated)
3-4 – Cranberries
*Mix all the ingredients together and toss.
Lemon Pepper Dressing:
1 tsp – Olive oil
2 tsp – Lemon juice
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Cracked black pepper
*Whisk the above to mix dressing.
*Pour over salad and mix. Serve.