Thursday 17 October 2019

Award-winning chef Sunil Ghai of Pickle brings a taste of north India to Ireland

Aloo tikki with spiced peas and sweet and sour yoghurt
Aloo tikki with spiced peas and sweet and sour yoghurt
Fauzi Chicken wings with Chilli and tamarind pulp
Sunil Ghai

Sunil Ghai's menu combines traditional street food and family-inspired dishes. Sunil's mother was the pickle-maker for the household and his restaurant on Dublin's Camden Street is named as a tribute to her, an acknowledgement of her influence and his roots, and a mark of respect for the homemade and the authentic.

Sunil's passion and knowledge of ingredients is evident in each dish, and his sophisticated approach to traditional North Indian food has gained recognition throughout the food and hospitality industry here. He shares a number of his recipes today with Weekend readers, including scallops cooked tandoori-style with a butternut squash purée and crispy potato cakes stuffed with spiced peas and sweet and sour yoghurt. The chicken wings dish was inspired after Sunil visited his brother-in-law in an army camp in India - Fauzi comes from the word Fauji, which means army/soldier in Urdu.

Fauzi Chicken wings with Chilli and tamarind pulp

Fauzi Chicken wings with Chilli and tamarind pulp

Chicken shoulder wing lollipops are best for this recipe and your butcher can do this for you. Serves 3-4


400g chicken wings

For the marinade:

1 tbsp ginger garlic paste

1 tbsp deggi mirch

2 tbsp tamarind pulp

Salt, to taste

Mixed spice rub:

1 tsp star anise powder

1 tsp fennel powder

20 curry leaves, chopped

2 green chillies, chopped

1 tsp crushed black pepper

2 tbsp rice flour

2 tbsp corn flour

2 tbsp tamarind pulp

25g deggi mirch

Salt, to taste


1 tsp vegetable oil

1 whole red dried chilli, broken in two

1 large red onion, chopped

1 tbsp garlic, chopped

1 tbsp chopped pepper (red or green)

1 tbsp tamarind pulp

1 tbsp chilli powder

1 tsp honey

Salt, to taste

To serve:


Toasted sesame seeds, to garnish


Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl. Add your chicken wings to the marinade and allow them to soak up the flavour in the fridge for 3-4 hours.

Mixed spice rub: Combine all of the spices in a bowl with enough water to make a paste before removing the chicken wings from the fridge and covering in the rub, coating well.

Using a heavy-based frying pan, heat some oil and shallow fry the wings until dark and juices run clear.

To temper: In a heavy-based frying pan, heat the oil before adding the whole red chilli (break in two to release more flavour), before adding the chopped onion and garlic to the pan. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes before adding the remaining ingredients and stirring to release the flavours. Check seasoning and add salt to taste.

Serve in a bowl with your choice of chutney and garnish with toasted sesame seeds.


Aloo tikki with spiced peas & sweet and sour yoghurt

Aloo tikki with spiced peas and sweet and sour yoghurt

It is important to boil the potatoes the day before as the potatoes become too starchy if grated while warm. The potato cakes will benefit from being prepared in advance, ideally the day before, and then pan-fried in oil. You can, however, cook them straight away. Serves 4


4 large potatoes, boiled from the day before

2 tbsp ghee

Salt, to taste

For the stuffing:

2 tbsp oil

½ tbsp ginger, minced

1 green chilli, chopped

120g peas, cooked, or defrosted from frozen

20g sultanas, chopped

1 tsp dry roasted cumin seeds, coarsely ground

Red chilli powder, to taste (optional)

Salt, to taste

1 tbsp ghee for pan-frying

For the yoghurt:

100g natural yoghurt

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

½ lime, juiced

Chutney (mango or tamarind works well)

Gram flour vermicelli (or Bombay Mix)


Boil the potatoes in their skins until tender, then drain, cool and place in the fridge until needed. Peel the cooled potatoes and grate finely before adding the ghee and salt to taste. Knead until properly mixed and divide into 12 equal portions.

For the stuffing: Heat a heavy-based pan and add the oil. Add the minced ginger and green chilli and sauté for 1-2 minutes before adding in the peas and sultanas. Mix in all the spices and check seasoning, adding salt to taste.

For the patties:

Taking one at a time, gently flatten each potato ball into a round patty, about ½ inch thick. Place a portion of stuffing in the centre. Fold the edges together very carefully so that the mixture does not ooze out. Gently flatten into a 2-inch patty and repeat until you have used up all of the stuffing and have 12 patties.

Heat 1 tsp ghee in a non-stick pan over a low heat. Pan-fry patties on both sides until crisp and golden brown, making sure not to crowd the pan. Add more ghee if required.

To make the sweet and sour yoghurt, combine the natural yoghurt, sugar, salt and lime juice. Serve the potato cakes with the yoghurt and chutney, then sprinkle gram flour vermicelli on top. They add a nice, crispy crunch.


Curried scallops with crispy gram flour vermicelli, peanut chaat & butternut squash purée


Serves 4


12 large scallops

½ tsp turmeric 

½ Kashmiri chilli

1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

½ tbsp gram flour

For the crispy peanut mix:

100g puffed rice

80g red skin toasted peanuts

100g gram flour vermicelli

(Or 200g Bombay mix if you cannot find these ingredients)

For the scallop base:

100g gram flour vermicelli or 200g Bombay mix

1 large chopped tomato 

2 medium size red onions, chopped

20g coriander leaves, chopped

2 green chillies, chopped

1 tbsp ginger, chopped

1 tbsp garam masala

1 tsp sugar

Salt, to taste

3 tbsp tamarind water

3 tbsp mint chutney

1 tbsp fresh pomegranate seeds

1 tbsp vegetable oil

80g butter

Juice of 1 lime

For the purée:

½ tbsp vegetable oil

1cm chopped ginger

2 star anise

200g diced butternut squash

¼ tsp fresh turmeric

80ml water

100ml coconut milk


Clean and pat dry the scallops. Marinate them with the turmeric, chilli and freshly chopped coriander and set aside.

For the scallop base:  Mix all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl before adding the tamarind water, mint chutney, fresh pomegranate seeds and lime juice. Leave to rest.

Heat the oil in a pan and dust the scallops with gram flour. Pan fry them for around 90 seconds each side. Melt the butter and use it to glaze the scallops.

For the purée: Heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the ginger and star anise for 1 minute. Add the diced squash, turmeric and a pinch of salt. Stir gently for 8 to 9 minutes. Add 80ml of water, put the lid on and cook further until it has reduced, and all the ingredients are soft. Add the coconut milk, blend and strain. Season to taste.

Top the purée with the scallop base mix, and place the scallops on top, allowing three per person. Serve with the crispy peanut mix.


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