Michelin Starred Chef Rohit Ghai Opens Up About His New Cookbook ‘Tarkari’
Image Credit: Image credit: https://rohitghai.co.uk/

“I am a home boy!”, exclaims Michelin-starred chef Rohit Ghai proudly, when I ask him about the inspiration behind his new cookbook. Chef Rohit Ghai has poured his love for vegetarian Indian meals steeped in comfort and nostalgia, in his new cookbook, ‘Tarkari’, which is now out for grabs and is creating quite a sensation among desi foodies. 

Ghai became a name to reckon with, after heading premium Indian restaurants in London such as Benaras, Jamavar, Trishna, Gymkhana and Bombay Bustle. He won his most coveted Michelin star honour in Jamavar, within ten months of the restaurant’s opening. Now, he heads Kutir. The solo venture comes after years of hustling and working with the who’s who of the business. In Kutir, chef Rohit strives to pay homage to India’s rich culinary heritage through a modern approach. Chef Rohit Ghai, sure has his plate full (pun intended), but that did not, for once, affect the sheer research and effort that has gone into the making of his latest cookbook. In a freewheeling chat with Slurrp, he opened up about his cookbook, new food trends, comfort food and more.  Excerpts...

1. What inspired you to write your latest cookbook 'Tarkari'

There's been a lot of talk about reducing meat intake in recent years, and truthfully this is how I eat now and ate growing up. It's better for the planet and better for you personally and so a vegetarian and vegan book was a natural step for me.


2. There is an upward swing in the trend of vegetarianism and veganism around the world. Did you deliberately choose to include only veg recipes in your book because of this trend, or were you always drawn towards this dietary principle?

I have always been inspired by seasonal fruits and vegetables and growing up in India there was no question that this was the basis of our diets. But I have also listened to the recent conversations about it, and been motivated to respond positively.  

 3. You are one of the most renowned Indian chefs in UK, how would you compare their love for Indian food today versus when you started.

I love Indian food more now than ever - my understanding of the cuisine grows every day as I see the impact it can have on a diner and how they can enjoy the variety of it.

4. You say your book is a homage to homely food. Explain that.

I cook very special, celebratory food at work, but for me, there's nothing more important than the food you cook for those you love in your own home, and this book is a celebration of that.  

5. What is so special about 'Indian' vegetarian fare in specific, that you decided to write a whole book on it

The sheer variety! I could have filled ten cookbooks on it no problem - in fact, I might!  

6. What are your favourite recipes in the book and why. Also, can you share one recipe with our readers.

The Aloo Paratha in the book is my Mother's recipe, and I'm also serving it at my restaurant Manthan in Mayfair, London. It's our signature home bread and when I eat it, I have happy memories.  

7. Do you also turn to cookbooks often? Some recently published cookbooks that caught your fancy?

I do, I love Georgie Hayden's books - she's a young talent here in London. And you can't go wrong with Ottolenghi either, his new Test Kitchen book has been fun to experiment with at home.  

Rapid fire:

Q. What does your comfort food look like

Aloo paratha, or if I'm feeling indulgent Judy Joo's fried chicken - the best!

Q. The most bizarre request you have heard from a diner

I was once asked to make a bespoke, off menu curry for a client's dog (to take it home)

Q. Kitchen tool you treasure the most

My Japanese knives.

Q. Where do you like to dine out in India

My mother's house

Q. A celebrity you loved cooking for the most

Pierre Koffman - an absolute legend in Europe and someone I admire greatly.  

 Chef Rohit Ghai’s Recipe Of Aloo Paratha

 Aloo paratha is one of the most popular breakfast dishes throughout western, central and northern regions of India.

  • 2 medium potatoes, boiled and grated
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped
  • coriander leaves
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon toasted ground cumin
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon Garam Masala (see page 16)
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon dried mango powder (amchur)
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 2 tablespoons rapeseed oil, for cooking
  • salt

For the dough

  • 250g (9oz) wholemeal flour
  • 1 teaspoon rapeseed oil
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt


1. First, make the dough. Mix together the wholemeal flour, oil and salt in a bowl. Mix in the water a little at a time, kneading as you go, until it forms a smooth, soft dough. You may not need to add all of the water. Cover and leave to rest for 15–20 minutes, then divide the dough into 4–6 equal parts.

2. To make the filling, put the grated potatoes into a bowl with the coriander, green chilli, toasted cumin, garam masala, dried mango powder, red chilli powder and some salt. Mix until everything is well combined.

3. To make the paratha, take a dough ball and roll it into a circle, using a rolling pin. Place 2–3 tablespoons of stuffing in the centre –don’t overfill it, or it will be difficult to roll.

4. Bring all the edges together and pinch to seal, then flatten the ball using your hands. Now roll the dough ball to a circle 18–20cm (7–8in) diameter. The trick here is to apply equal pressure while rolling. If you do that, your paratha will become round automatically.

5. Transfer the rolled paratha onto a hot griddle or tawa. Cook on both sides for 1–2 minutes, then oil the side that’s facing up and flip it over again. Now again oil the side that’s facing up, so that both sides have been oiled.

6. Press with a spatula and cook the paratha until both sides have golden brown spots on them. Repeat with the rest of the dough balls.

7. Serve aloo paratha hot, with butter, pickles and a cup of chai!