Two master chefs take food connoisseurs on a delightful culinary journey

When two chefs from two different regions battle it out in the kitchen, what emerges is a gastronomic delight.

And the battle gets all the more interesting and palatable, when the twosome engage in a friendly banter. In the great war of the Hyderabadi Nawab (read biryani) and the Awadhi Kebab at Marriott food fest, the victor is the diner.

The jugalbandi of the two chefs — Italaq Qureshi, part of the legendary Qureshi family that reinstated Awdhi cuisine in India and Chef Aziz, the Senior Sous Chef at Bidri a Hyderabadi from the heart and hand, is mouth-watering to say the least.

Sample this: “Awadhi cuisine is all about scent. While we wear ittar, they use it in their food,” laughs Aziz. Not to be outdone, Querishi retorts rather in a tongue-in-cheek manner, “khusboo khane ka swad badhata hain.”

Aziz challenges Quereshi “we have the famous Hyderabadi biryani,” and the latter immediately retorts, “well, how about lohe ka tandoor ka khana.”

The ‘tu tu, mein mein' over the two different cuisines continues, even gets bigger with both the chefs unrelenting to give up. Aziz says ‘salaam haleem', Querishi counters ‘kamaal khichda.' Aziz gets back with ‘Palak ki katli and ambare ki katli', Querishi says ‘aloo firdaus' and ‘daal saath salaam.'

The food gurus do not stop there and continue in defending their turfs. And so we have Aziz vouching for ‘dum ki nalli', Querishi's answer is ‘nawabi shehnai kurma.'

Unravelling the secret behind the cooking process, Qureshi says, “Hyderabadis use kacchi gost while ours is 60 percent cooked meat and 40 percent cooked rice.”

Aziz points out how Awadhi cuisine lacks the saalan (gravies). Both use ghee lavishly, but on the oil front, the cuisines differ.

Hyderabadi food is cooked in groundnut oil, Awadhi food uses ‘sarson ka tel (mustard oil).'

To bring a smile to the faces of the two secret keepers of spices and taste we divert their attention by enquiring about cooking styles.

“Styles differ and that brings out the difference in the taste. The jari-buti each of us use to develop the unique taste is our secret,” Aziz and Qureshi for once agree.

The differences are just in lighter vein. They both extol each other's dishes. Aziz likes Awadh's ‘kakori and galauti', Querishi sings hosannas about ‘khubani ka meetha' and ‘mirchi ka salan'. And the jugalbandi ends in an amicable note.

Nizam aur Nawab ki Jugalbandi––the food feud between the Nizams of Hyderabad and Nawabs of Lucknow at Hotel Marriott is on till March 7.