Tyler Kenny takes us to an Unexpected Dinner in London's Mayfair, hosted by Heineken.
Dry January ended with full fanfare as Heineken hosted its Unexpected Dinner in the heart of Mayfair. The world's most international brewer has added alcohol-free beer to its diverse portfolio and threw an intimate dinner at Benares to fete Dry January and healthy drinking.
The team at Heineken partnered with twice Michelin-starred chef, Atul Kochhar, to create a four-course Indian-style meal with perfect alcohol-free beer pairings. Bespoke dishes ranged from Heineken 0.0 Cured Salmon to a Chocolate Curry Venison. In keeping with the unexpected theme, each dish was inspired by something which those looking to lead a ‘healthy' lifestyle would generally avoid. Indian street-food, chocolate, Goan delight all came with a modern twist. Surprising indeed, but fresh and delicious too.
The event, which was hosted by London-based content creator Sug Sean, demonstrated the ability to lead a balanced lifestyle whilst enjoying a 0.0 beer. Our glasses were never empty, as the beer and conversation flowed throughout the night – a testament to the premium taste of 0.0, which mimicked beer in every sense without the foggy Uber ride home and hangover the next day.
Check out some of our favourite photos from the night, and read on for a truly unexpected recipes from chef Atul Kochnar in partnership with Heineken 0.0.
Main Course – Guilt-Free Chocolate Curry Venison
Lean New Forest venison with spiced seasonal vegetables, spiced spinach, dark chocolate curry, served with a yellow dal, whole wheat tandoori naan bread and steamed rice.
Method for Chocolate Curry Venison
For the venison haunch steaks, toast whole spices in a dry frying pan over a medium heat, stirring, until aromatic, then use a spice grinder to grind to a fine powder. Sift the powder through a fine sieve. Place the spice powder on to a plate and roll the venison steaks until they are covered, then set aside.
For the chocolate curry, heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onions and sauté over a medium heat for three – five minutes until translucent. Add the garlic, bay leaf and ginger, and sauté for a further one – two minutes until the garlic is softened. Stir in the ground coriander, chilli powder, turmeric and cinnamon, and stir for one minute. Remove the bay leaf, transfer the mixture to a blender and blitz until a fine paste forms. Add 200ml of the venison / alternative meat stock. Simmer for fifteen minutes. After fifteen minutes add the organic chocolate and remove from the heat. Stir until chocolate is dissolved.
To cook the venison, heat oil in a non-stick frying pan and sear on each side. Place the haunch of venison on a roasting tray and keep in a pre-heated oven for five minutes at 170°C. Remove and rest for five minutes before serving.
Make a stir-fry by heating a table spoon of olive oil in a wok with blanched green kale and chestnut mushroom and little kadhahi masala / one teaspoon of garam masala and one teaspoon of chopped garlic, onion and tomato. Add lemon juice and salt to taste.
To serve, slice the venison steak and accompany with stir-fried vegetables and chocolate sauce. Serve rice and dal in separate serving bowls.
Method for Yellow Dal
Put the lentils, salt and turmeric into a thick-bottom pan with a litre of water. Simmer for fifteen – twenty minutes until the lentils are soft and cooked.
In a sauté pan, heat the oil and fry the garlic to a light brown colour, add the red chilli powder, sauté for a minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for three – four minutes, then add the cooked lentils and simmer for ten – fifteen minutes. Sprinkle with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.
Method for Naan
Stir the yeast and sugar into warm milk and set aside for twenty minutes, or until frothy. Sift the our and salt into a mixing bowl, then add the yogurt, two tablespoons of melted butter and the yeast mixture.
Mix together to make a soft dough, then turn out on to a floured work surface and knead for eight – ten minutes until smooth and elastic. Return to the bowl and leave in a warm place, covered with a damp cloth, for one – two hours, or until doubled in size.
Divide the dough into eight pieces, then shape them into balls and leave to rest in a warm place for ten minutes. Roll out each ball into a circle and then pull out one side to make a teardrop shape. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C.
Mix together the poppy and sesame seeds (if using). Brush melted butter and the naans and sprinkle with the seeds. Place on baking sheets and bake for five – seven minutes until brown specks appear on the surface. If the breads are not brown enough, put them under a preheated grill for a minute or so.
Method for Rice
Tip the rice into a sieve and rinse under the cold tap until the water runs clear. Transfer to a saucepan with water to cover by 2.5cm and salt to taste. Bring to the boil, then boil for five – eight minutes until tender. Drain well and keep warm until required, or serve immediately.
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