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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Revisiting the royal kitchen

Somya Abrol, Hindustan Times   November 26, 2012
First Published: 16:28 IST(26/11/2012) | Last Updated: 16:29 IST(26/11/2012)

When the chef commences the dinner by saying, “In Lucknow, the cuisine is divided into two types—one is the rich non-vegetarian Muslim food, what we usually associate Awadhi cuisine with, and the other is the pure vegetarian Baniya food—that’s where I come from,” you know your palate is in for a roller-coaster ride.

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The ongoing food festival at JW Marriott, Daawat-e-Lucknow, invites you to taste Awadhi delicacies, while making sure what you’re being served is authentic Lucknawi food, not Hyderabadi, informs chef Pallav Singhal, executive chef, JW Marriott, Sector 35, Chandigarh.

For the food fest, chef M Rehman was brought in with his team especially from Lucknow (complete with their secret pocket spices and metal tandoor), to give denizens the privilege of indulging in the royal cuisine. Though the chef bid adieu to the hotel after kick starting the fest, his team stays on.

Getting right down to the food, amongst the eight vegetarian and 12 non-vegetarian starters, the ones you must try are Arvi Anjeer Kebab—melt-in-mouth arbi (colocasia) fried patty stuffed with crunchy figs, light on spices yet high on flavour—and the Murg Tikka Mirza Hansu—succulent chicken pieces, with a strong garlic flavour, cooked to perfection in the tandoor (clay oven).

For the main course, something you absolutely cannot afford to miss is the Dal Gomti. The look of it might lead you to mistake it as the regular maah ki daal (black lentils) cooked at home, but a spoonful, and you’d know better. Though it is the regular daal that’s a favourite at Punjabi households, the taste is immaculate. Over the years, with most of us being in a hurry and restaurants promising to deliver quick food, the concept of cooking this daal overnight seems to be fading. The daal at the fest, however, reminds us why we should follow what our grandmothers taught us.

For the maasahaaris, a must-try is the Lagan Ka Murg—prepared especially in a copper vessel, this chicken dish is engulfed in the flavours of royal condiments such as cardamom, saffron and cashew nuts. For vegetarians, there is Tale Aloo Ka Salan—fried baby potatoes in spicy gravy with a distinct taste of black pepper—besides the Paneer Lazzatdar.

As for the breads, we’re going to be partial towards the Khameeri Roti and the Kalaunji Aur Saunf Ka Naan, and we have no intentions of stating a reason for the same. When you bite into one, you’d know.

If you plan to go a little adventurous for dessert, try the Mirchi Ka Halwa. Crazy as it may sound, this uncanny dessert spells magic. Though extremely high on calories (being cooked with khoya and chashni), the rich halwa redefines the usage of our beloved hari mirch, while obviously adding on to it, significantly. But then again, who’s counting?!

Cost of a meal for two: R2,300 (approx)
On till November 30

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