For Chef Rishi Anand Khatri, our newest café special is in fact an old family favourite. His earliest memory of eating Bhatti Chicken is aged 7 or 8, and he recalls his father – the late Khatri Saab – cooking it regularly, thanks to the tandoor on their Delhi terrace. (Bhatti refers to the scorching flame that the chicken is roasted over, until succulent).
Unlike tandoori chicken, its somewhat milder, more commercially-famous cousin – Bhatti Chicken is a dish typically made at home, for family. You will know it instantly by its potent flavour and distinctive black-hued masala, which includes whole lindi pepper, fragrant fennel and earthy dagar ka phool or black stone flower. Khatri Saab, who dreamed of opening his own restaurant one day, also chose to accentuate his masala with the inventive addition of fresh rose petals.
The outcome proved as popular with Chef Rishi’s neighbours as it was with his family. So much so that it was eponymously referred to as Khatri Saab Ka Chicken – Mr Khatri’s Chicken. Today, though the original Khatri Saab is no longer with us, his family Bhatti Chicken recipe (complete with rose petals) continues to live on in Chef Rishi, his son – and now as the Chef’s Special at Dishoom Battersea.
The trick to its rich, deep flavour lies in the double marination: once with its masala blend, and then again with more masala, lemon juice and a generous amount of yoghurt. But equally important is how it is finished: with a hearty helping of butter, chaat masala and cream. As Chef Rishi tells us, this final touch is Bhatti ki jaan: literally, the lifeblood of this very special dish.
We warmly encourage you to try it for yourself on your next visit to Dishoom Battersea. Available in both full and half portions, and accompanied by heapings of vibrant green chutney and onion salad, it makes for a most excellent pairing with our roomali roti. Wash down with the tipple of your choice – teetotal or otherwise.
With February comes a gladdening of spirits, lighter morning skies and discernibly louder birdsong. It is also the month to bid farewell to our winter cocoons (at least partially) and tune back into the world beyond our blankets. Allow us to ease the de-hibernation process, by sharing some of the things piquing our interest this month.
“Who wants to see some magic?” Chef Arun calls out. He flings the rolled out dough into the air, sending it soaring above the counter. It spins and twists, a graceful dancer in the air. The children watch its arc, their eyes wide with wonder, until it lands gently back in the chef's hands. The children shriek in delight.
January is a most divisive month. For some it heralds the hopeful turning over of new leaves; for others it is a month to trudge begrudgingly through towards the promise of spring. Whichever camp you find yourself in, we have plentiful diversions to share. See them as the cherry atop your already gleeful January cake, or a welcome distraction while you await winter’s end.
I AM HERE, dear reader, slovenly and slouched, staring into my drink at the end of the bar in our new restaurant in Battersea. My mind is still down and out, sifting around in the dregs of ’23 but of course it knows that I should really straighten my back, raise my chin and look squarely up into the cold new light of ’24. My drink – Choti’s Punch – clear and strong, sweet with a little salt, may help.