Dig into different recipes at the Mamis Samayal food festival at GRT Regency

In an attempt to rediscover some of the forgotten vegetarian recipes of South India, the GRT Regency has come out with the Mamis Samayal, an exclusive vegetarian buffet prepared in home style.

But a food festival without a single non vegetarian dish on its platter and that too for Madurai public? “We too had the same apprehension. But the overwhelming response from our guests has really made us happy. It was a right decision,” says U.P.Dhanesh, Food and Beverages Manager.

GRT could not have come out with this festival at a better time. Purattasi is an auspicious month when many households stay away from preparing non-vegetarian dishes at home.

From the welcome drink Sambrani Charu to the Murungai Milagu Rasam soup, from Oats upma to the Tulsi Vada, Vazhaipoo Veppudu to Sundakkai Kariveppilai Pirattal, food is cooked with great deal of attention to the balancing of nutrition, flavour, texture and variety.

“Food prepared for this festival is based on home style, as the spices we use have many medicinal values. Fenugreek is a good digestive aid, dried legumes and beans are great protein sources while pepper is the best home ready for common cold and cough. Sundakkai (Turkey berry) is used in Ayurvedic medicines. It has diuretic properties and also good for digestion,” says R.N. Shrinath, Sous Chef.

The kitchen staff paid attention in preparation of traditional welcome drinks. The Sambrani Charu is prepared with the roots of Sambrani and Vettiver. The flavoursome drink is a perfect opening. Though the Sabzi Briyani did not go well with its bland taste, the Vengaya Thalai Ellu fried rice is a good compensation. Pickle rice is creative.

“We researched for four months to bring authentic recipes to our guests. We met several expert cooks. We wanted to do something different and decided why not try this pickle rice. They also provided a lot of tips. For example, they suggested more use of shallots instead of onions in preparing traditional dishes. They also wanted us to use more of pepper and traditional dry chilli,” says Shrinath.

Steamed rice with the Achari Bhindi made a perfect combination. The tangy Rajasthani dish went well with the bland sambar rice or spicy pepper rasam. It is okra cooked well in pickle curry to make it hot and spicy.

There is a fusion of south Indian and north Indian cuisines. Apart from the Achari Bhindi, the Chinna Vengaya Nei Khurma and Avarai Pulicha Keerai Kara Kuzhambu are derived from Andhra cuisine.

To add more spice to the spread, the chaat counter gave the visitors an opportunity to make their own chaat items while the live spot counter presented Pesarattu and Rumali Roti.

The condiments section attracted guests with the Thinai flour with honey, Ellu Urundai (black sesame with jaggery) besides pressed rice, puffed rice, fried gram dhal. The yummy dessert is a combination of North Indian and south Indian recipes from the tasty Shahi Tukda and Rasgulla to the Ladoo and Jawarasi Payasam.

The Mamis Samayal would be incomplete without the ubiquitous ‘filter’ coffee. The froth on the cup and the dark coffee layered on it made the evening perfect. “Just for this festival we bought brass filters to get coffee extracts. We also did some research on good coffee making like the milk boiling heat and the proportions,” says Shrinath.

The festival is on till October 13 at the Ahaaram restaurant from 7 p.m. to 10.30 p.m. The tariff is Rs.500 plus Tax for adult and Rs.400 plus Tax for children. For details contact 9994341135.