If you look closely, India is packed with culture and flavor. Every region has got their own feel and touch to the cuisines. With all these cultures brimming, food serves as one of the essentials to represent cultures. But despite all that, there are recipes, which can just be heard and not tasted. That’s where, Chef Angshuman from Marriott Hotel & Convention center, Hyderabad, has made an earnest attempt to curate such long-forgotten cuisines and recipes from Mughal era to the British era. Some magnificent years of magic reciprocated into a plate.
But, as you get decked up for this unique experience, you can also be rest assured to pace up and down the lanes of History about these dishes. However, the curations of these recipes are an attempt to bring back the flavors along with their stories. Honestly, I was honored to be part of the culinary preview.
We started our session with some flavorful vegetarian starters. Mewa Shahi was the first one to reach our table. These Kebabs were the vegetarian equivalent to the meaty seekh kebabs. It was made out of cheese, khoya, yogurt, spice and dried fruits, something which was very close to Aurangzeb’s heart. Then we had the Kebab e Burghul. It was the vegetarian version of the galouti kebab and an absolute favorite of Aurangzeb. It’s believed that he turned vegetarian by the end of his reign and developed a varied taste. Along with the array of vegetarian starters, there was this unique pineapple chutney with hints of sesame seeds which just elevated the taste of every dish to a different level.
After a soulful vegetarian starter platter, it was time for some non-vegetarian starters. The Pathiya Sekiya Kukkad was the first one. It’s a lost recipe from “Granthgarh”, a small village or pind in Punjab. The use of black peppercorns adds the tinge of black to the chicken. It is originally cooked over “Pathiya” (cow dung cakes) used as fuel, and this helps the kebabs to cook properly without getting charred. It was juicy yet imparted a mild flavor. The next two dishes were reminiscent of the British influence on Bengali cuisine. Fish Kabiraji was one of the major favorites and it’s a fried fish wrapped in a lacy egg net. It was crunchy outside, while juicy and tender from the inside. Lastly, it was the mutton cutlet. The minced mutton cooked with spices was an absolute hit – super crunchy yet so soft.
After a roller coaster ride, it was time for some surprise. There came a clay pot, which had Parindey mein Parinda, a bizarre Mughal dish in which a chicken is stuffed with a quail and egg. It was quite unique. Both the birds were marinated and then cooked in their own juices before assembling. Both the chicken and the quail had a distinct taste of their own. This dish was a truly a witness of the complexity of Indian cuisine in terms of techniques and amalgamation of the flavors. Next was Boti ni Akuri – a mutton dish cooked with spices and towards the end, the eggs were slowly scrambled along with it. It’s a favorite among the Parsis. It was a truly delightful dish among others.
Now, let’s talk about mains. For mains, we were served Murgh Zamin Doz – a loved dish by the great Akbar, so much so that it got a special mention in A’in-I-Akbari. Lightly pounded chicken marinated in yogurt and spices which was then cooked in a clay pot sealed with a rumali roti. It was truly splendid.
But nothing ends without desserts. We were served three desserts in a single platter. I tried the Kabi shambardhana Sandesh, made by Rabindranath Tagore’s niece for his 50th birthday and the recipe is known to very limited people. The baked Sandesh tasted amazing. The other dessert was Ras Kheer – delicious and divine.
“ The lost cuisines of India” is there till Aug 5th (dinners only) for a unique yet brilliant experience.
Give it a visit!