The Wazwan-e-Nazakat festival brings back memories of childhood

There are certain words in my life which have fond memories attached to them. One such word is ‘wazwan’. It reminds me of a marriage I attended in Kashmir when I was in school. I found it quite funny when at the back of the kitchen I saw wazas(chefs) pounding the meat on a stone with wooden hammers.

When I asked the wazas what they were doing, they told me they were preparing delicacies such as gushtaba and rista. It was my introduction to the world of Kashmiri cuisine.

The memory came flooding back when I visited the ongoing Wazwan-e-Nazakat, a Kashmiri food festival at The Creative Kitchen, Radisson Blu Suites Gurgaon’s multi cuisine restaurant. And to replicate the tastes of the valley chef Mujeebur Rehman has been called along with his team of wazas from Kashmir.

As I have known chef Rehman for a couple of years, I was assured that I would be tasting some delicious food.

For a change, I started with the kahwa, the Kashmiri tea, and it was refreshing and delicious.

The aroma of the herbs mesmerised me. Once my palate was set, chef Rehman served me tabak maas. This lamb preparation is one of my favourite appetisers. It was made almost to perfection. It was so tender that even the bones and cartilage were chewable.

Next came the rajma ke kabab, which I would never eat after tabak maas. Kababs were fine but a bit spicy and dry.

As I wanted to try the gushtaba, I asked the chef to serve me my main course. Within a while my table was laid with a bowl of gushtaba, rista, rogan josh, aab kukur and nadroo ki subzi. Without wasting any time, I tried the gushtaba with a naan. Traditionally, it is supposed to be served with plain rice.

The texture of the gravy was a bit thick but flavourful and tasty. The rogan josh was perfectly spiced and seasoned. Aab kukur, a chicken dish, was rich and tasty while the nadroo ki subzi was worth eating. A little feast, so to say.

To satisfy my sweet tooth the chef served me kesri kheer along with his specialty mattar ka halwa and sheer khurma. Sheer was bit salty but the other desserts were refreshing.

The festival ends on February 3.

Meal for two: Rs. 2198 plus taxes


Mouthful of jannatJanuary 23, 2013