Chef Karl Benjamin, from Chennai, Tamil Nadu in southern India, recently spent three days in St. Paul at Regions Hospital. His visit was part of a month-long residency program in which he visited college campuses and hospitals across the U.S.

The program is called Global Chef, and it is organized by Sodexo, an international company that provides food service to 75 million consumers in 80 different countries every day, including at Regions.

Finding better-for-you food options and expanding flavors is nothing new for Karl, who works in a hospital setting in India. Traditional spices and marinades uses in Indian cuisine are known anti-oxidants and are also good for digestion.

We asked Karl a couple of questions about his visit.

Sodexo is dedicated to providing healthy food that patients and hospital visitors will enjoy. Is that a challenge for you?

Back home, we spend time with our patients. We try to educate them. It’s really quite a big challenge, satisfying your patient. What we try to tell them is that the food they take is not for pleasure, it’s part of your medication. That very moment when I talk to patients, or the clients we serve, when they are satisfied or really happy, it gives me a feeling of, ‘mission accomplished’ and that’s a great feeling.

I show them what I do, and when I leave [the local chefs] can incorporate this into their menu, and chefs here will make changes for themselves. Rather than me just teaching them about Indian cuisine, there is a lot of learning for me as well. It gives me a lot of knowledge.

Recipes from Karl to help you eat healthier

Murgh Mlai Tikka (Chicken breast marinated in Cardamom, ginger and lemon skewered. Serve with potatoes and cauliflower seasoned with cumin, coriander, turmeric and cilantro leaves) Serves six.

  • Boneless Chicken – 2.8 lbs
  • Yoghurt Hung – 3/4 cup + 1 1/2 TBSP
  • Chickpea Flour, roasted – 2 1/2 TBSP
  • Cheese, grated – 2 1/2 TBSP
  • White Pepper Powder – 1/2 TSP
  • Salt – 1 TSP
  • Heavy Cream – 2 1/2 TBSP
  • Mace, powdered – 1/2 TSP
  • Oil – 1/2 TSP
  • Ginger Paste – 3/4 TBSP
  • Garlic Paste – 3/4 TBSP
  • Green Cardamom, powdered – 1/2 TSP
  • Green Chili, chopped – 1 TSP
  1. Wash and cut Boneless Chicken into about 2 oz cutlets
  2. Apply Ginger/Garlic Paste, White Pepper Powder and Salt
  3. Prepare the marinade with Yoghurt, Grated Cheese, Cream and Roasted Chickpea Flour
  4. Add Powdered Mace and Cardamom
  5. Add Chopped Green Chili
  6. Allow the chicken to marinate for 3-4 hours in the cooler
  7. Skewer the chicken pieces and roast
  8. Baste the skewered chicken with oil

Aloo Gobhi – (Side dish with potatoes (aloo), cauliflower (gobhi) and Indian spices) Serves six.

  • Potato, diced – 1 3/4 lbs
  • Cauliflower Florets – 1 lb
  • Tomato, chopped – 1 cup
  • Onion, chopped – 3/4 cup
  • Salt – 2 3/4 TBSP
  • Red Chili Powder – 1 3/4 TBSP
  • Coriander Powder – 1 3/4 TBSP
  • Turmeric Powder – 1 1/8 TBSP
  • Cumin Seeds – 1/4 oz
  • Oil – 2 1/2 TBSP
  • Water – 1/2 cup + 2 TBSP
  • Green Coriander Leaves – 1 TSP
  1. Peel and wash potatoes; cut into small dices; par boil with Salt and Turmeric; then sauté and set aside
  2. Cut the Cauliflower into small florets; Par boil with Salt and Turmeric
  3. Heat Oil and Crackle the cumin seeds
  4. Add chop onions, sauté until brown; add chopped tomato and sauté
  5. Add the powdered dry spices, cauliflower and potatoes
  6. Sauté until the vegetables and masala are mixed well
  7. Season with salt and garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves

Patra Ni Macchi (Steamed fish topped with chutney and wrapped in a banana leaf) Serves four.

  • Fish (Single Bone Flat Fish OR Fillets) – 2.25 lbs
  • Salt – pinch
  • Lemon Juice – 1.5 TBSP
  • Banana Leaves – 4

Green Chutney

  • Coriander Leaves – 1/3 cup
  • Mint Leaves – 2 TBSP
  • Minced Garlic – 1 1/4 TSP
  • Ginger – 1 TSP
  • Green Chilies (optional) – 1/8 TSP
  • Cumin – 1/8 of TSP
  • Salt – pinch
  1. Portion the fillets as required, marinate with Salt and Lemon Juice
  2. Mix all ingredients for the Green Chutney into a paste
  3. Marinate the fillets of fish with chutney
  4. Wrap each piece in banana leaf and steam for 15 – 20 minutes