Taste the royal flavours of Uttar Pradesh at Keys Hotel’s ‘Awadhi and Rampuri’ food fete

Rich, exotic and relatively unexplored, the cuisine of Uttar Pradesh comes knocking and Keys Hotel at Housing Board junction has thrown open its doors for an ‘Awadhi Rampuri Food Festival’.

The food of the royals of the northern part of the country is a rich amalgamation of local cuisine and those of Central Asia, Persia and Mongolia, brought to our shores by invaders from these lands. Awadhi and Rampuri styles of cooking owe their lineage to the food prepared in the royal kitchens of the Nawabs. In these styles, food is cooked on a slow fire for a long period, which ensures the finest taste and gradual release of each and every flavour. The richness of Awadhi cuisine lies not only in the variety of cuisine but also in the ingredients used in creating such a variety. For instance, curds and a choice mix of spices are used to create a marinade. Ingredients such as melon seeds, pista, badam, and yellow chilli powder are also commonly used. All these ingredients and many more have been wonderfully worked into the a la carte menu at Keys Hotel.

“Three chefs whose forefathers once worked for aristocratic families have been specially brought in from Lucknow for the fete. The food is absolutely authentic,” says Abhilash V. S., Guest Service Manager, Food and Beverages. “Some of the ingredients used for the cooking such as charoli nuts are not locally available. It has been brought all the way from Lucknow,” he adds. Bhaskar Mandava, Guest Service Manager, Production, chips in: “All the ingredients are fresh. For instance, saffron has been used to lend the colour yellow to Sheer Korma, a popular dessert, and Kashmiri chilli powder to bring the colour red to ‘Dum ka Ghosh.’”

All the items on the extensive menu are worth checking out. In the soup section, for example, one can choose between ‘Paya Poltli Shorba’, a mutton soup, and the ‘Bhune Badam Ka Shorba’, an almond soup made with mild spices and milk.

Other must tries include the delightfully exotic ‘Nasheela Jheenga’, which is prawns marinated with fresh coriander, mint and a dash of rum, ‘Lagan ka Murg’, lightly-flavoured chicken cooked with melon, cashew nuts and yogurt in a special copper utensil called ‘lagaan’ that helps to retain the essence of the spices and the herbs, and ‘Dal Gomti’, black lentils infused with cream, butter and tomato pulp.

Since kebabs are the integral part of Awadhi and Rampuri cuisine, an assortment of them – deep-fried, shallow-fried or grilled – have been included in the menu. If you want a sampling of all of them, then go for the customised ‘Kebab Khazana Platter’.

For the cost conscious diner, there’s also a thali meal option. The vegetarian thali (Rs. 475) includes a paneer dish, a dal curry, three vegetarian dishes, two kebabs, raitha, rice, bread and a dessert. The non-vegetarian option (Rs. 500), has a choice of non- vegetarian dishes in addition to the items on the vegetarian thali.

As for desserts, there is ‘Sheer korma’, a vermicelli preparation, and ‘Zafani Kheer’, a milk pudding made of rice.

The fete is till June 30, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Contact: 8086079917.