Chefs' prescription for exotic food this festive season

From left: Chef Wayne Walkinshaw, executive chef at Radisson Blu Upperhill and Sanjit Gupta, Group Pastry Chef at Sarova Hotels. PHOTOS | FILE | POOL

It is the season of twinkling lights, joyous melodies and the unmistakable scent of pine in the air. A time of togetherness and joy brings with it a unique aura of magic.

Christmas is around the corner and the culinary landscape is set to dazzle with plenty of exotic flavours, transporting diners, hosts and also guests on a gastronomic adventure like never before.

From opulent spices to rare ingredients. Chefs are incorporating rare ingredients, often sourced from far-flung regions, to add an element of exclusivity to the dining experience.

Here are exotic food recipes to serve this festive season from top chefs.

1 . Pickled ox-tongue with sweet mustard

Recipe by Chef Wayne Walkinshaw, executive chef, Radisson Blu Upper Hill


• 1 whole ox-tongue

• 3 bay leaves

• 2 whole cloves

• 1 tablespoon black peppercorns

• 1 carrot (chopped)

• 1 onion cut into quarters

• ½ teaspoon slat

• 1 tin condensed milk

• 3 tablespoons hot English mustard

• 15ml whisky


Mustard sauce (make this 1- 3 days in advance)

• Pour the condensed milk into a mixing bowl, add the whiskey and mustard

• Use a whisk or spoon and mix well.

• Place in a sealed jar in the fridge (the longer the mustard stands the better it gets)


• Rinse your ox-tongue with cold water, just to make sure it is clean.

• Place ox-tongue, bay leaves, peppercorns, carrot and onion in a saucepan (pot)

• Fill pot with water making sure tongue is covered (you will keep adding water as tongue is cooking to make sure tongue is covered with liquid)

• Place pot on a gas flame, and cover with lid, once the water comes to a boil remove the lid and let tongue cook (making sure you keep enough water in pot.

• Cook the tongue for about 1 ½ to 2 hours. check if the tongue is cooked by using a wooden or metal skewer. Insert the skewer at the biggest part of the meat if you can remove the skewer easily without giving any resistance and or lifting the meat when pulling the skewer, then the tongue is cooked

• Remove the ox-tongue from water and place on a paper towel on cloth and pat dry

• Now you need to remove the hard skin of the tongue. this needs to be done while the tongue is still warm, once the tongue is cold it is much harder to remove the skin.

• Once the ox-tongue is cleaned, cover and leave in the fridge till needed. (serve cold)

To serve

• Place the ox-tongue flat on the chopping board

• Thinly slice the ox-tongue and lay it on a serving platter (see photo)

• Serve mustard on the side

• Ox-tongue is a nice addition to a cold meat platter or picnic served with assorted salads, breads etc.


Chef Wayne Walkinshaw, executive chef at Radisson Blu Upperhill. FILE PHOTO | NMG

2 . Spiced Festive Fruit Cake

Recipe by Sanjit Gupta, Group Executive Pastry Chef Sarova Hotels & Chef Yvonne Kiambi Sarova Woodlands Hotel.


For fruits marination

• Water or apple juice – 250 gms

• Sugar – 250 gms

• Raisins – 100 gms

• Dry Mixed fruit - 200 gms ( glazed cherries, dry apricots, prunes, figs, orange peel, mixed fruit peel etc.)

• Lemon zest – 1 no.

• Orange zest – 1 no.


• Warm up the water, mix all ingredients with warm water and leave it overnight to soften up, (pour some rum if you like). It enhances the flavour.

• Next day, strain all the liquid (preserve liquid in a separate bowl), using your hand and strainer press out as much as liquid from the fruit as possible to reserve the liquid.

For Cake

• Butter - 225 gms

• Brown sugar or normal sugar – 250 gms

• Eggs – 4 nos.

• Egg Yolk – 2 nos.

• Molasses or Maple Syrup – 5 TBSP

• Vanilla essence – 10 ml

• Cinnamon Powder, Ginger Powder, All Spice powder – 1 TSP each

• Chopped Nuts (almond, pistachio, hazelnuts) – 100 gms total

• Flour – 225 Gms


• Cream butter and sugar until fluffy, scrape the sides using a spatula or scrapper.

• Add eggs one at a time till the mixture gets fluffy and sugar is dissolved into the mixture.

• Add molasses or maple syrup and mix it gently.

• Mix drained dry fruits with flour and spice powder, add it to fluffy butter and egg mixture, and mix it gently.

• At last, add chopped nuts and pour mixture into the baking pan.

• Bake at slow heat 160*C till when you insert a skewer in the centre of the cake and it comes out dry.


When the cake is warm out of the oven, brush the top with drained juice from the dried fruit or the dark rum.

Top with handfuls of nuts and decorate with candied fruit and icing sugar.


Sanjit Gupta, Group Pastry Chef Sarova Hotels. PHOTO | POOL

3. Grilled Molo Lamb Rack with Charred Cauliflower, Button Mushrooms, and Chocolate Lamb Gravy

Recipe by Chef George Otieno Odera, Sous Chef at Hotel Travellers Mombasa


For the Lamb Rack:

• 1 Molo lamb rack

• Salt and pepper to taste

For the charred cauliflower:

• 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets

• Salt and pepper to taste

• Lime juice

• Garlic powder

For the Button Mushrooms:

• Button mushrooms, cleaned

• Salt and pepper to taste

For the Chocolate Lamb Gravy:

• Lamb bones

• Onion, chopped

• Carrot, chopped

• Leeks, chopped

• Celery, chopped

• Water

• Dark chocolate

• Fresh mint leaves

• Salt and pepper to taste

For the Mint and Olive Oil Puree:

• Fresh mint leaves

• Olive oil

• Salt to taste


Grilling the Lamb Rack:

• Season the Molo lamb rack with salt and pepper.

• Grill the lamb rack until it reaches a medium-rare to medium doneness.

• Slice the grilled lamb rack.

Charred Cauliflower:

• Marinate cauliflower florets with salt, pepper, lime juice, and garlic powder.

• Grill the cauliflower until charred and tender.

• Grilling Button Mushrooms:

• Marinate button mushrooms with salt and pepper.

• Grill the mushrooms until cooked.

Mint and Olive Oil Puree:

• Blanch mint leaves and blend with olive oil to create a smooth puree.

• Season with salt.

Chocolate Lamb Gravy:

• Bake lamb bones in the oven until brown.

• In a large pot, cook browned bones, onion, carrot, leeks, and celery for 10 minutes.

• Slowly cook for almost 4 hours with covered water.

• Strain to obtain lamb stock.

• Reduce the stock to create a thick sauce (gravy).

• Add dark chocolate and mint leaves to the reduced sauce.

• Sieve the sauce for a smooth texture.


• On a plate, create a base with the mint and olive oil puree.

• Scatter grilled cauliflower and mushrooms around the plate.

• Arrange sliced grilled lamb on the plate.

• Drizzle chocolate lamb gravy over the lamb.

Optional: Create a paste of mustard and spread it on the edges of the lamb for colour.

Garnish with chopped parsley.

Serve and enjoy your Grilled Molo Lamb Rack with Charred Cauliflower, Button Mushrooms, and Chocolate Lamb Gravy!

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