There’s a popular saying, that the higher you want to rise, the closer you should remain to your roots. The moment you lose contact with your roots, you start losing ‘something’ unexplainable! The same concept applies to food. Keep it close to it’s roots, as close to it’s original flavor as possible, and people will keep coming back to it, again and again. In a country with as diverse cuisines as ours, the options are unlimited when it comes to taking your taste buds on a trip. Take a trip down memory lane with us, and savour some authentic Awadhi food from the land of the Nawabs at the ongoing Awadhi Food Festival at Dilli32, Kempinski Ambience Hotel, Delhi. Read on for a mouth watering journey 😉
Dilli 32 is all about ‘Indian-ness’, with finesse. You’ll spot pots of spices and mortars in the decor, and a trail of spices on their ‘spice wall’, amidst the finest of china and cutlery to up your dining experience.
Coming to the Awadhi food now. The cuisine is all about slow cooking over prolonged periods of time, mostly featuring the ‘dum’ style of cooking, where food cooks in a sealed container over slow fire for upto 48 hours in some instances. The ‘dum’ style of cooking ensures that all the moisture and nutrients in the ingredients are retained, and the food cooks in it’s own juices. Hence, expect soft, melt-in-the-mouth textures and delicate flavors from the regions of Awadh.
We’ll take a look at some of the menu items below..
- Chaat tokri– chaat served on a crispy bed of fried potato juliennes. It is always interesting to see a mix of textures and temperatures going on in one dish.
- Shammi kebab– With flavors that were spot-on and melt-in-the-mouth texture, this one’s not to be missed! These were my favorites!
- Doodhia kebab– Amazingly well made veg paneer/ cottage cheese kabab, I was quite surprised by how much I liked this veggie option 😛
- Jhinga saufia– A very interesting preparation of prawns in fennel (saunf)
- Murgh potli kebab– chicken stuffed with chicken mince, made into these potlis, this was one of my favorites amongst the starters.
- Murgh ki khas nehari– I’m not a big fan of chicken nehari/ nihari. I wish this one was a mutton based dish 🙁
- Rattan manjusha– Another vegetarian dish that was the talk of the table! Spinach dumplings stuffed with mushrooms, in a rich gravy. You MUST try this one!
- Bater hara salan– A coriander based gravy with succulent quail, this was a delight to have!
- Band gosht– Delicious mutton curry with succulent mutton. If you love mutton curries, don’t miss this one!
- Murg musallam– Stuffed chicken in gravy, the richness from the stuffing and the subtle flavors! Yum!
- Dum ki raan– Hands down my most favorite dish on the menu. A dish that portrays Awadhi flavors & technique in all their glory! Another must try!
- Chilman biryani– Mutton Biryani cooked on dum with a seal of crisp puff pastry (chilman= purdah, covering, a separation from the rest). The flavors were spot-on!! Loved loved loved this one!
- Shakahari khichda– A meal on it’s own with veggies, lentils and spices.
The breads served with the mains like Ulta tawa parantha, Warqi parantha, Sheermal and Khameeri naan just add to the whole experience. Must try the Ulta tawa parantha and Sheermal with Awadhi cuisine!
- Kacche aam ki kheer– Kheer with subtle flavors of raw mango, an interesting take on the regular kheer!
- Jauzi ka halwa– Said to be the Nizam’s favorite dessert, this one was a sticky pudding made with wheat with the flavors of cardamom and saffron.
- Malai paan, kishmish aur gond ke laddoo– Gond (edible gum) ke laddoo are a household favorite in India. Elevate the dish with a stuffing of dry fruits and paan and you have a dish fit for the Royalty!
The Mirch ka halwa, a dessert made with capsicum, this one’s a part of their regular menu, and is not to be missed at any cost!
If you love the flavors of Awadh, the Awadhi Food Festival is something you shouldn’t miss out on!
Food festival dates: 21- 30th August 2015
Timings: Dinner. Table reservation recommended.
Meal for two: INR 1700+++
Restaurant: Dilli32, Kempinski Ambiance Hotel, New Delhi