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Award-Winning Chef To Prepare Meal For Obama Fundraiser

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Famous chef Vikas Khanna will be the chef at a campaign fundraiser for President Barack Obama Monday at the Rubin Museum of Art. NY1's Shazia Khan filed this report.

Inside the spice room at Junoon, an Indian restaurant in Flatiron District, Chef Vikas Khanna displays a jar filled with star anise.

Khanna will add this aromatic spice to crab cakes he plans to serve President Obama at an upcoming fundraising dinner.

Singer Ricky Martin is hosting the Obama campaign event Monday at the Rubin Museum of Art, where the Michelin-starred chef will prepare a multi course meal that includes rosebud-infused rice.

"I think President Obama is the president of the world. One thing which is great about him is that he loves food. I think it's a great opportunity for any chef to be serving a man who loves food and who loves people," he said.

The meal is Himalayan-inspired, in part because the Rubin Museum is home to a rich collection of art from the Himalayas.

While Khanna wants to keep the menu mostly a secret, he did dish on one item.

"I'm making the national dish of Bhutan, which is called ema datshi, which means chilies and cheese. This is one of the dishes [that if] you go to any home in Bhutan, they are going to serve you this dish," he said.

Khanna, a native of Punjab, India, moved to New York in 2000. A filmmaker, food writer and humanitarian, he now mostly splits his time as executive chef at Junoon and as host of the Indian reality show "MasterChef India."

President Obama is no stranger to Khanna's award-winning culinary craft, having had him previously prepare a meal at the White House.

So what does it mean to be the chef behind a fundraising dinner where tickets are upwards of $35,000 and the guest of honor is the nation's president?

"The most important meal which I prepare is for my mother. The rest, everybody is equal. It's like cooking for any guest. I will honor the food, I will honor my beliefs," he said.

Below is a recipe for mushroom ema datshi posted as exclusive web content.
Mushroom Ema Datshi

Serves 4 to 6 people

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and coarsely chopped
½ cup fresh hot green chilies such as Thai bird or serranos, stemmed and coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup water
16 ounces blue cheese, preferably Maytag blue, crumbled
½ teaspoon salt, or more, to taste

Procedure:
In a medium, heavy bottom skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.

Add the mushrooms, chilies and garlic and cook, stirring until the mixture is well-combined and the mushrooms are cooked through, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Add 1 cup water, bring it to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low and add the blue cheese and salt, stirring continuously until the flavors are well combined, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve the ema datshi warm or at room temperature.

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