An award winning chef has developed his own answer to fears of washing raw chicken – he’s serving up breasts fully cooked in a dishwasher.
Dishwasher chicken is heading for the summer menu at Moksh, the popular Cardiff Bay restaurant which specialises in Indian cuisine with a technological twist.
Stephen Gomes is already known locally as Heston Blumen-”dhal” – for his fusion of the molecular gastronomy made famous by Heston Blumenthal with traditional Indian cuisine like the humble dhal lentil curry.
Now he has gone from the appliance of science in the kitchen to using a kitchen appliance to cook chicken – while the dishes are simultaneously washed in detergent.
His radical approach comes after a Food Standards Agency alert this week warning that washing raw chicken before it is cooked may cause food poisoning.
Cardiff grandfather Peter Clarke, 79, has also spoken out after being hit by a nasty stomach bug thought to be linked to a family chicken meal he served up at his home in February.
He contracted a campylobacter infection, and shed 9lbs in just a few days, which it is assumed he caught as a result of washing the raw chicken he served to guests before cooking it.
Dishwasher chicken, cooked at a searing heat which sterilises dirty dishes and kills all known germs, offers a tasty and risk free way of beating the bacteria, according to chef Gomes.
“This is the cleanest way to eat chicken without any hygiene risk at all. You cook it in the dishwasher while you are doing your dishes, on the highest temperature programme,” he said.
“If this can remove the curry stains from my curry bowls then it can take care of any bacteria, and it’s healthy, this isn’t low fat, it’s no fat. I haven’t needed to use a spoonful of olive oil and its a tasty, steamy, succulent and cooked to perfection.”
There is more to dishwasher chicken, however, than just slamming a tasty length of breast into the appliance and pressing the on button.
About 2ft of cooking foil is needed for each 450 gram serving of chicken breast which is trimmed and cut to shape, smothered in garlic and ginger paste, cumin, pink peppers, chilli powder, salt and lemon juice.
“The chicken has to be properly wrapped and sealed into the foil. Make sure there are no holes and it’s airtight – you want the chicken to be succulent not soapy.
“When it’s finished it should look like an oblong chocolate bar. For best results it should be left in the fridge for 24 hours so it can all marinate. Then put it in the dishwasher on the hottest programme for a 10 minute cycle.”
He added: “This is ideal for when you are at home and too lazy to cook. It is so healthy and it can be eaten with all sorts of salads. You can stuff it in a wrap or put it in pitta bread and it’s delicious.
“The best thing about this recipe is that you can cook your dinner while you are doing the dishes.”
Preparing a portion of dishwasher chicken in his restaurant this weekend a surprised customer was taken aback to be offered a free tasting while awaiting the meal she had ordered.
Nikki Simpson, from Bridgend, was out celebrating her 40th birthday at Moksh with two friends.
“It’s really nice, once you get round the idea that it was cooked in a dishwasher. Very good, succulent. I’d recommend it to anyone. This is why we are here, the food is good, but also exciting.”
Chef Gomes said the chicken will now figure as a starter on his Great Kebab Factory menu served alongside Moksh chicken, a variety of “jerky” or dried fowl, and chocolate orange chicken tikka.
Reporter Antony Stone and photographer Andrew James tested out chef Stephen Gomes’ creation – here’s the verdict:
We approached tucking into a plate of Britain’s favourite fowl cooked in a dishwasher on a 10 minute high heat cycle with a degree of trepidation.
Could a chef even of Stephen Gomes’s award winning talents convert two sceptics?
The answer was a resounding “yes”.
The breast of chicken proved to be a succulent and mouthwatering culinary treat despite the highly unorthodox method by which it was cooked.
Snapper Andrew said: “It’s tender, succulent and really does melt in your mouth. It has a beautiful spicy taste and I would never believe it was cooked in a dishwasher if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.”
Or man Antony added: “What more can I say. It’s amazing but true, dishwasher chicken is a culinary treat.”
Stephen Gomes’ instructions for how to cook ‘dishwasher chicken’
– Place a a 450 gram chicken breast portion in a large folded 2ft section of baking foil.
-Trim off all fat, cut the edges to equalise the shape and make small incisions in the meat.
– Smother both sides in a garlic paste already liberally mixed with chopped ginger.
– Add one teaspoon of pink pepper corn.
– Add half a teaspoon of chilli pepper – “the mother of all spices.”
– Add one teaspoon of ground cumin.
– Add one teaspoon of salt.
– Pour on a liberal amount of lemon juice.
– Wrap the chicken tightly making sure the foil is airtight and has no holes.
– Leave to marinate in the fridge, ideally for 24 hours.
– Place in a dishwasher on the hottest cycle for 10 minutes when you do the dishes.
– Serve in pitta bread, in a wrap, with a nan or any of a variety of summer salad.