Like so many other master chefs, Chef Arun Sundararaj, the Executive Chef of Taj Hotels, Resorts & Palaces, finds cold-pressed Mustard Oil an exciting ingredient to work with. He believes that it is one among very few ingredients that stands apart because of its distinctive flavour, typical pungency, a silken texture and a warm aroma. According to him, this creates a unique experience for diners; when a dish is prepared in Mustard Oil, it has a signature flavour that is unmistakeable.
To illustrate his point, Chef Sundararaj mentions two dishes that are extremely popular at Taj restaurants – Mustard Prawns and Bhatti Ka Murgh.
Prawns have a distinct taste of their own and Mustard Oil balances that taste beautifully. The other flavours in the Mustard Prawns recipe are relatively muted – a bit of spring onions, some garlic, a touch of pepper and a few other basic spices. It’s the Mustard Oil that brings this dish to life. The same recipe made with any other cooking oil just doesn’t rise to the occasion.
Another one of Chef Sundararaj’s specialities is Bhatti Ka Murgh – a traditional Indian charcoal-grilled chicken cooked in a clay oven. This dish is a variant of the famous Amritsari Bhatti Da Murgh from Punjab which, as we all know, has a culinary heritage that leverages the flavour of Mustard Oil in many different ways.
Of course Chef Sundararaj uses other cooking oils as well, depending on the nature of the recipes, their geographical origins and the need for authenticity, but when it comes to creating a unique and multifaceted flavour for his guests, it is Mustard Oil that wins hands down.