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Sea of choice

The Coastal Cuisine Festival at the Taj Coromandel is a treat for seafood lovers

THE ANNUAL Coastal Cuisine Festival is back at the Taj Coromandel. On till December 7 at the hotel's Southern Spice restaurant, the festival offers some of the best-known coastal delicacies of South India.

From the exotic lobster and jumbo prawns to the commonplace nethili and veraal, there are over 52 varieties of dishes from the seafood family to choose from.

Fried crackers, an assortment of tomato vadam, banana chips and pappadam with dips of coconut, onion, coriander and garlic chutney are served on the house along with a sweet starter.

For soup, try Konkani seafood. The subtle use of spices makes it refreshing, but the dish could have been bettered with a bit more salt. The Kalera Varuval, tender juicy lobster morsels tossed with shallots and garlic, priced at Rs. 795, though might make a dent in your wallet is a must try. The flavour of its mouth-watering masala will linger for a long time.

The Kothamalli Thakkali Era, marinated shrimps served in a freshly opened coconut, is another in-house speciality. This cold starter is quite similar to the Continental shrimp cocktail. "For the health conscious, this steamed dish is a perfect beginning to a meal," says Vishnu Varadharajan, senior chef.

Yetti Sanna, steamed rice cakes with shrimps reminds you of idlis and is stuffed with shrimps. .

Coming to the main course, the Malabar Prawn Pepper Stew, king prawns with crushed black pepper and Meen Gassi, fish cubes in coconut, coriander and bedgi chilli gravy, a Mangalorean dish goes well with the flower-shaped appams and string hoppers. You can also choose biriyani, dosas or Ceylon parathas with a filling of egg, crab or prawn.

Malarum Muthukkal, flavoured shrimps with Basmati rice and vegetables wrapped in banana leaf is yet another delectable accompaniment. The dish is steamed in a specially designed clay pot. The Rasa Kori, a Mangalorean dish, is unique in its preparation. "The chicken used is dressed on the spot and this helps in retaining its aroma and freshness," says Varadharajan.

Among the vegetarian items Thamarai Thandu Varuval (lotus stem fried) and the Allepey vegetable curry deserves special mention. There are also Urulai Kodamilagai Peratal, Tomato Pappu, Babycorn Porichathu and host of others to choose from.

For dessert, try the Perichampazha Payasam, seedless dates in honey, mixed with condensed and coconut milk. And wind up your meal with a `degree coffee', Tamil Nadu's answer to Cappuccino. For details, call Taj Coromandel at 2827 2827/2827 3223.


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