At Renaissance Cairo Mirage City Hotel
We met Chef Ahmed Emad, Sous Chef at Renaissance Cairo Mirage City Hotel, for an interview that immediately turned into a pleasant chat with a man who is passionate about what he does. Chef Ahmed
also shared with us his take one of our favourite dishes in Ramadan, he reveals the best way to prepare a gourmet chicken fetteh from a culinary expert’s point of view.\
How did you start your career and since when? Do you have any famous accreditations?
I started my career with Marriott International 15 years ago with the JW Marriott in Cairo,then I transferred to the Renaissance Hotel in Cairo Mirage, where at that time I worked in various outlets within the kitchen, yet my favorite was banqueting. Moreover, I participated in many competitions around these years.
What is the business like since Corona?
During Corona, the business is mainly individual, we are following all safety precautionary measures especially during weddings, the buffet is always served by chefs and not by the guest. We are experiencing a very challenging time. However, we are doing our utmost to
follow all hygiene and safety measures to take care of our guests.
How is Ramadan different from the rest of the year?
Ramadan is an exceptional month by all means. That is why most businesses diversify their styles in terms of delivery and seated menus to cater to the fasted guests who wish to break their fasting immediately. Therefore, we control the timing and quality of the meals to properly serve our guests on both Iftar and Suhoor.
What’s your specialty cuisine?
My specialty is International cuisine.
What’s a secret ingredient you always use in your special dishes?
My secret ingredients are garlic, parmesan cheese and olive oil.
What’s your favorite Ramadan dish? please share it’s recipe?
I recommend a chicken fatteh dish in Ramadan, and here’s the recipe.
4 bone-in chicken breasts, skins removed
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 dried bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
4 whole cardamom pods, lightly crushed
Extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp sweet Spanish paprika
1 tsp ground sumac
10 gm toasted pine nuts
10 gm cup toasted sliced almonds
Fresh parsley leaves for garnish
2 loaves Lebanese pita bread, toasted in the oven until lightly brown, and broken into chips
200 gm plain low-fat yogurt (not Greek yogurt)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
5 gm chopped fresh mint (or 2-4 tbsp dried crushed mint)
Prepare the mint yogurt sauce. Place the yogurt, garlic, mint, and salt in a small bowl. Mix with a fork until well-combined. Cover and refrigerate for now.
If you like, prepare Lebanese rice according to this recipe and set aside. Prepare Mediterranean salad according to this recipe; cover and refrigerate for now.
Arrange the chicken breasts in a single layer in the bottom of a heavy cooking pot or Dutch oven. Sprinkle with salt. Add apple cider vinegar, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, and cloves. Pour in enough cold water to cover the chicken by 1 inch or so.
Place the pot of chicken on the stove-top over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Skim off the white foam that collects on the surface of the water. Turn heat to low, cover and cook another 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through registering an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the cooking broth and place on a cutting board to cool. Strain and reserve the broth for later or other use.
When cool enough to handle, remove the bones and shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
In a large cast iron skillet like this one, heat 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 4 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so. Add the chicken, paprika and sumac. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until the chicken is well-coated. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the chicken is warmed through.
Remove from heat and add the toasted nuts. Garnish with fresh parsley leaves.
To serve, divide toasted pita bread among serving bowls. Add the Lebanese chicken;top with a generous scoop of the mint yogurt sauce and more toasted nuts, if you like. If you’ve gone a step further and prepared the rice and salad, then make room to add them next to the Lebanese chicken fatteh.