Food

Dine like the Nawabs at this Awadhi Food Festival in Visakhapatnam

Delicacies on display at WelcomHotel Grandbay which is hosting a ten-day Awadhi Food Festival at Oceanic Restaurant in Visakhapatnam Photo : K.R. Deepak / The Hindu

Delicacies on display at WelcomHotel Grandbay which is hosting a ten-day Awadhi Food Festival at Oceanic Restaurant in Visakhapatnam Photo : K.R. Deepak / The Hindu   | Photo Credit: K_R_DEEPAK

Fill up your senses with the smell, texture, taste and good looks of Awadhi cuisine at the Food Fest at WelcomHotel Grandbay

“It is not what spices go into the food but the way they are used to attain the flavours that make Awadhi cusinie stand out,” says chef Luqman Farooq firmly as he walks me through the Awadhi Food Festival at WelcomHotel Grandbay’s Oceanic restaurant. Luqman is a true-blue Lucknowi and a chef at Kebabs and Kurries, ITC Gardenia, Bengaluru.

His father was a chef too and food was an integral part of his childhood. He learnt the nuances of Awadhi fare from his Dad. “Awadhi food is all about slow cooking so that the vegetables and meat absorb the flavours of the spices. Since it is the cuisine of Nawabs, there is both richness and delicacy in it. Lots of spices and dry fruits are used yet the flavours are subtle. Ghee and saffron are used in abundance in the dishes,” he adds.

Smell the food before you put the food in your mouth, advises Executive chef of the hotel, Jayesh Karande. “The dum-style cooking of Awadhi food makes aroma significant to the cuisine,” he explains.

Murgh Zafrani Pasandey
Photo: K.R. Deepak / The Hindu

Murgh Zafrani Pasandey Photo: K.R. Deepak / The Hindu   | Photo Credit: K_R_DEEPAK

I follow his advice and breath in the subtle spicy flavour of the Murgh Zafrani Pasanday that is served with chilled mint chutney. The grilled chicken, marinated in garlic and chilli powder, I learn, is so tender that I can slice through it like a hot knife through butter. I come to appreciate the texture of the food as well as I get a crunch of cashew filling hidden in the Nimona tikki, a green peas patty. However, one needs to coat the tikka in the pudina chutney, otherwise it can be a tad bland.

For the main course I am served Methi Panner, Gosht Nihari and Dum ki Machili along with Khamiri Roti and Sheermal. As I dig into the Dum ki Machili, I am treated with a perfectly-spiced boneless Kingfish that is served dipped in smooth and creamy gravy. It makes a great combo with Sheermal, a flatbread made with refined flour, ghee and milk. Sheermal was also a perfect accompaniment to the spiced cubes of cottage cheese in Methi Paneer. The taste of methi lingered long after the course.

@Oceanic, WelcomHotel Grandbay
  • Hits Gosht Nihari and Gosht Dum Biryani
  • Miss Nimona Tikki
  • Cost for one ₹999
  • Contact 0891 660 0101

Nihari traditionally means slow-cooked mutton stew. In olden days, the mutton was cooked overnight with spices like cardamom, cinnamon, chillies and bay leaves to pack the meat with flavour. Chef Luqman has cooked the stew for over two hours. It is a riot of flavours as I bite into a piece of the mutton that is served in a pool of dark brown stew peppered with caramalised onions and sliced ginger. The juicy meat of the mutton goes well with the soft and chewy Khamiri roti.

There is more meat as the Gosht Dum Biriyani arrives, redolent with the flavours of basmati rice and spices with a special smokiness to it. Thankfully it is not smothered in too much masala.

Sheer Quroma and Zauq-E-Shahi Photo : K.R. Deepak / The Hindu

Sheer Quroma and Zauq-E-Shahi Photo : K.R. Deepak / The Hindu   | Photo Credit: K_R_DEEPAK

My culinary odyssey of Awadh ends with the Sheer Qorma made with fine- seviya and served with generous topping of dry-fruits. I can’t resist it so I also eat the Zauq-E-Shahi made with gulab jamun and rabri. All is well with my world as I slurp in tiny soft gulab jamuns and the creamy rabri.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 11:07:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/dine-like-the-nawabs-at-this-awadhi-food-festival-in-visakhapatnam/article30760649.ece

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