Food

For the love of kebabs

Masala Paneer Tikka Kebab Photo: Anton Babu   | Photo Credit: Anton Babu

Legend has it that, way back in the 14th century, the Persians invaded Hindukush and left behind a trail of destruction, and well, the kebab too. The kebab has now travelled down south to conquer foodies in the city at ‘From the tawa, with love’ kebab festival organised at the Hotel South Park .

I settled comfortably into one of the chairs, an ear out for the live music in the background, as I scanned the menu for the kebabs available. There were seven each in the vegetarian and non vegetarian sections, along with the option for a platter with four kebabs of one’s choice.

I decided to ask the chef for his recommendations. Joginder Pal Singh, the executive chef, who hails from Punjab, delighted me with stories of how kebabs originated, along with his recommendations. “The Shammi Kebab is said to have been invented by a chef for a toothless Nawab of Lucknow,” explained Joginder, as we enjoyed the soft, hot kebab. The meat was tender and so finely ground that it simply melted in my mouth. There was also a bit of hide and seek in play, with bits of onion adding a bit of crunchiness to the softness of the kebab.

Our next choice, Paneer Tikka, might have become common place in South India nowadays but authentic Masala Paneer Tikka continues to be a rarity. Joginder’s version had paneer marinated with north Indian spices and grilled on a tawa, along with sliced onion and pepper.

Rubiyan Pasanda, a prawn kebab was the true Nawab of all dishes.

Even Joginder claimed it was his personal favourite. No wonder, the coconut-coated shallow fried prawns was brilliant in texture and subtle in flavour. The hot crisp exterior could hardly hold fort against the juicy meat inside, which just floods your mouth with its freshness. “The escalopes are thinned out meat or fish, often pounded to cook it faster, without loss of moisture,” said Joginder, when quizzed about the juiciness of the kebab.

Awadhi Hara Kebab, which gets it name from the green colour of the spinach, is made from patties of spinach and lentil stuffed with cashew nut bits, green chillies, ginger, lemon juice, grilled on a hot plate. The coarseness of the cashew in contrast to the softness of the kebab created a magical duet for my gastronomic senses.

All the kebabs were served with pounded onion cilantro chutney and cumin roast pepper chutney.


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Printable version | Jul 26, 2021 8:34:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/Food/for-the-love-of-kebabs/article6503168.ece

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