NRIs like it hot, rather too hot
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NRIs like it hot, rather too hot

Vibhuti Agarwal takes you around the foodstalls at the 4th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, currently on in Hyderabad.

india Updated: Jan 08, 2006 08:26 IST

From Mr Motwani to Ms Shetty, the 'special' invitees bickering over their positions in serpentine queues while the rest being shoved aside, the foodstalls at the 4th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Hyderabad are a real fun-filled experience.

The first day of the mega event only adds up to the excitement with NRIs turning up in full force to get a taste of different delicacies.

"Umm! The mouth-watering Shahi cuisine of Hyderabad. It is almost like enjoying home-cooked food after ages," says Ramini Kaushal, a US-based NRI, who has come to attend the mega event.

For the foodies, there is no dearth of food at the 3-day Pravasi festival. The trump card of the Andhra food is the world famous 'Hyderabadi cuisine'. So much so that when one talks of the food out here, visions of the sumptuous biryani come to mind.

As soon as a person hears the mention of Hyderabadi biryani, he starts whetting his appetite. The wafting aroma hits you before you set your eyes on the delicious mounds of fragrant, steaming rice with tempting sight of traditionally cooked chicken peaking out.

"The aroma of mutton biryani used to linger even while having all the junk food in London. I was waiting for this day to have this mouthful...nothing can beat this," Dr Koteshwar Rao, a pathologist working in a Leicestershire hospital says, licking his fingers.

Similar gluttony could be witnessed among other participants as well. Like Jigar Patel from Gatwick says, "It was impossible to sit through the meetings, as I was just thinking of the sumptuous lunch waiting outside. Gajar ka halwa and kheer...haven't had since I started living in UK."

Moving over to the pickling story, there are infinite powders and chutneys along with simple vegetable preparation. By the way, the NRIs got that extra touch of pep by licking the pickles from the forefinger.

As they move from one stall to the other, the waiters keep asking, "What will you have?" Reeling off the names of the items on display, what caught the fancy of Delhi-born Sanjeev Arora from Pennsylvania was MLApessaratu -- a spicy pancake made of pulses.

One could see him hogging it with a self-satisfied smile.

There is also an exciting variety of non-vegetarian dishes including kebabs, khormas and kheema methi.

For somebody looking for a quick and filling snack, there are many fast food stalls offering pizzas, pastas, burgers and sandwiches.

The unique food court centre helped NRIs revive old memories, exchange pleasantries and hold discussions on various topics ranging from philosophy to politics to the latest rumours.

For the adventurous, Punjabi-dhaba style stalls have been organised and there are quite a few stalls serving spicy snacks like chats, bhelpuri,panipuri, tikki, pao bhaji.

And as far as the desserts go, one can have a pick from Dil-e-Firdaus (a rich, milk-based sweet) to Apple Struddle.

"The aroma kindles your appetite. The food here is a dream of consciousness," expresses an avid foodie Shiraz Aliyar, from Saudi Arabia.

So while the biryani cooks, there is just one statement that can in a nutshell describe the Andhra kitchen -- "It's hot, rather too hot!"

First Published: Jan 07, 2006 16:11 IST