Food

From the bazaars of Hyderabad

Unusual spices, intriguing flavours and a wholesome array of dishes make up the Hyderabadi Food Festival at Fairfield by Marriott

A whiff of spices invites me to Nizam’s Khana, the Hyderabadi food festival at Fairfield by Marriott. Waiters are clad in white kurta-pyjama and traditional prayer caps on their heads. A live counter at a side serves fish, chicken and beef kebabs. I settle down to a glass of Hyderabadi lassi to start that somehow reminds me of the flavour of sweet paan. G. Somu, the head chef tells me why. “I have added a twist to the drink by adding gulkand in it that is used in meetha fan, an integral part of Hyderabadi cuisine.” He recommends I try Haleem. Garnished with caramelised onion and mint leaves on top, it is gooey and has a strong flavour of lamb meat and ghee. “Muslims in Hyderabad usually break their Ramadan fasting with haleem. It is rich in proteins and has almonds, pistachio, cashew, oats, ghee, broken wheat,lamb meat and chana dal as it’s ingredients. It takes nearly 12 hours to make haleem in the traditional way. Even the bones of the lamb have to melt into the meat during this process,” explains the chef who lets me into a secret that he has a technique up his sleeve that cuts down on time of preparation.

From the bazaars of Hyderabad

I savour the tender chicken pieces that are in the Murg Badami Shorba. I like its mildly spiced flavour. The beef kabab is perfectly grilled and the pudina chutney is a perfect companion to it. I am served some small sized puris, which I learn are Lukmi - crisp on the outside and stuffed with spinach and corn. I spoon up the tangy Lagaan ka Murg with the sheermal, a flat, slightly sweet bread. There is saffron in the sheermal and it is often eaten with Haleem too, I am informed.

I am expecting a spicy biriyani but I am pleasantly surprised when I eat the Kacche Gosht Ka Biriyani. I taste a hint of cinnamon and am regaled with a story about its origins by the chef as I dig in. “Long ago in Hyderabad, during a battle, soldiers found they were running out of rations. Their chef was instructed to come up with a dish that could be eaten by itself without any side dish. He suggested a rice dish made with spices and was both healthy and delicious. This was the Biriyani.” Chef Somu says the Kacche Gosht Ka Biriyani took him two years to master. “The meat used is not cooked before marination, hence its name. And there are less known ingredients such as Khus Ki Jad and Pan Ki Jad that are also added to give it its unique flavour,” he says.

The Kubani ka Meetha is the perfect finale with its apricots, rabdi, slivers of cashew and badam. It is delicious and I can’t leave for home without a second helping.

Info you can use

The fest is on till June 17; 7.00 pm to 11.00 pm

Cost is ₹677 plus taxes

Call 7094446622 for reservations

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 11:54:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/unusual-spices-intriguing-flavours-and-a-wholesome-array-of-dishes-make-up-the-hyderabadi-food-festival-at-fairfield-by-marriott/article24151758.ece

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