Ongoing “Gramathu Samayal” is a welcome relief from the run-of-the-mill restaurant menu
On for the last six days, the village food festival at Hotel Fortune Pandiyan indeed has plenty on offer. Filled with an array of traditional stuff made with hand ground ingredients, it is a delicious culinary journey. Buoyed by the success of their earlier street food festival, this time round the organisers have recreated a village, ‘Pandipuram', complete with dazzling lights and festoons, from a temple to a well. Folk artistes from Department of Art and Culture add to the atmosphere with some scintillating performances.
“We have made a sincere effort to loop in impressive recipes from obscure places to make it into an alarming medley of flaming delicacies with varieties of non vegetarian and vegetarian food,” says Ramesh Metla, Food and Beverages Manager.
Some of the items on the menu are unusual. For instance, ‘Tender coconut sherbet'. The welcome drink is a heady mix of tender coconut water and ‘nannari' sherbet. When this natural coolant is mixed with wonder herb ‘sarasaparilla' (popularly known as nannari), it makes a perfect drink for the summer.
“We accidentally stumbled upon a shop offering this drink during our routine scouting. It immediately caught our imagination and we wanted to try it out,” beams Mr. Ramesh. The chilled succulent pieces of tender coconut floating on the drink soothe the throat. Besides, there is ‘kammang kool' and butter milk too. ‘Nattu thakkali poondu saru' and ‘aatukkal' are impressive as soups.
The ‘kongu nattu kozhi biriyani', ‘viraal meen kuzhambu' and ‘vellai attu kudal kuzhambu' make the non vegetarian platter. Try out ‘kozhi poondu porichadu', fried chicken cubes twanging with garlic flavour and fiery ‘viraal meen kuzhambu'.
“We brought ‘vellai attu kudal kuzhambu' from Chekkanoorani, a village near the Madurai Kamaraj University. Right from the tedious cleaning process to preparing the dish, every single job is meticulously followed to achieve desirable result,” says Mr. Samrat Ashokan, chef-de-partie, South Indian cuisine.
In the vegetarian section, there is ragi puttu and ‘kai kuthal idiyappam', ‘pavakkai puli enjii', ‘middukka vathal kuzhambu', ‘thengai paal kuzhambu', ‘pidhukku paruppu sambar', ‘mochai verkadalai piratal', ‘senai kizhangu vadai' and ‘manga pachadi.'
“I got the ‘thengai paal kuzhambu' recipe from a relative in Kerala. Very simple to prepare, I used turmeric and cumin seeds with concentrated coconut milk to make this dish. Similarly, ‘pavakkai puli enjii' is cooked in tamarind water which absorbs the bitterness of the vegetable and finds favour with the eaters,” he points out.
On-the-spot doasa and kara paniyarams were doled out. ‘Paruppu boli', ‘sigapu arisi payasam', ‘vellai poosani halwa' and ‘thenga bun' made the desserts equally memorable.
The festival is on till May 16 between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. For reservation dial 9790410101 and 9791410101.T.SARAVANAN