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Food fiesta

From rich offerings of the Lucknowi kitchen at Taj Banjara to the refreshing cuisine from the sun `n' sand of Goa at Taj Residency, it is a feast for the gourmet

LUCKNOW CALLING: For a regal experience.

FOR AN evening with melodies from Begum Akhtar and Talat Mehmood, a candlelight dinner in an ambience of mehraabs and drapes on the lakeside and palate of the palaces, it is the Lucknowi Food Festival (October 18-27) at Kabab-e-Bahar, Taj Banjara.

"The food is delicate in its appeal. Instead of the whole masala, finely powdered and sieved spices are used in preparation," says Chef Abdul Haleem flown in from Lucknow for the food festival.

CATCH THE SIZZLE: The kebabs at Taj Banjara offer a unique gastronomical experience. — Photos: Mohd Yousuf

The a la carte menu has popular shorbas (soups) kebabs, quormas and pulaos including the galavat ke kebab, dora kebab and mahi tikka kali mirchi. It is Gobi mussalam and subz baghian in the vegetarian kebabs.

With lagan ka murgh-succulent pieces of chicken simmered in rich gravy and dum ki champ-ribs of lamb cooked in a deg on slow fire, emphasis is on the uniform and comprehensive cooking of the food in the shallow vessel lagan and in the dum tradition.

For the veggies, Chef Haleem recommends Aloo Ganga-Jamuna and Paneer khush-rang. The layered varqui paratha and sheermal, Dum pukht and Navrattan biryani line up for the saffron-flavoured basmati spread. On the sweet side you could dig into the annannas ka muzaffer-the pineapple flavoured rice dessert, shahi tukra and rabri lacche daar.

"We are bringing in the festival for the fourth time on demand, and every time we offer new recipes apart from the popular dishes here," say Avijit Chaturvedi, F&B manager Taj Banjara. The Lucknowi Food Festival is on from 7:30 p.m. For reservations you could call 6669999.

And for refreshing food from a coastal paradise, it is the Goan Food Festival (October 18-27), at the Blue Flower, Taj Residency where fishnets, thatched coconut roofs and a Goan band simulate the beachscape for the holiday people. Meat is the staple diet and the local brew feni is de rigueur. "Red wine goes well with Goan food," says Chef Rego-Executive Chef, Taj Holiday Village Goa who has been flown in for the fiesta.

"The three important aspects of the Goan food are sweet, sour and pungent. For sweet we use coconut, the souring agents are tamarind, toddy, vinegar and kokum and chilly for the pungent element. Freshly ground spices are used for cooking," says Rego.

The coconut, kokum and green chilli sole kadi appetiser, fotas -the shallow fried pan cakes with vegetable filling and the prawn and coriander option in starters, served with peri peri a traditional sauce, is sure to entice you for the main course. One can check out mackerels, pompfrets, murrels, surmai and prawn delicacies such as the Nisteachi koddi-fillet of fish simmered in a moderately spiced coconut curry. Chef Rego recommends Galinha cafreal-pan fried chicken breast marinated in an aromatic mix of Goan green herbs.

The vegetarian spread is as interesting with Dal varan-yellow lentils cooked with raw mangoes and Caldeen de verdure-seasonal vegetables cooked in a coconut extract and Goan spices. To round up the fare is the multi-layered Goan coconut cake Bebinca and `burfi' Dodol.

Open for lunch (12:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m.) and dinner (7:30 p.m.-11:45p.m.), the buffet offers a vivid fare of exotic Goan cuisine for Rs 325 (non vegetarian) and Rs 245 (vegetarian) and Rs 200 for children. You also get a mug of beer or fresh juice on the house. Contact 6662323 for reservations.


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