As Hindi music wafts around, Hussien Sheikh scoops tandoori masala jhinga from a copper lagan on to his plate, and shoots for the lassi station.
Clutching a glass of the mango flavoured drink, the physician says, “I have never visited Punjab but am relishing its food here. It’s a treat for people like me who’ve never tasted the State’s cuisine.”
However, other States’ flavours are also on offer at the 10-day Punjabi food festival that began on July 6 at the Gateway hotel here.
Pointing at phirni , a rather cloy Mughlai dessert from Chandni Chowk in Delhi, executive chef Shreedhar Punna says, “We have prepared dishes from across the north Indian region as tastes and cooking styles converge.”
Sixteen vegetarian and seven non-vegetarian dishes from Haryana, Garhwal, Delhi, and western Uttar Pradesh feature on the buffet that is priced at Rs. 1,000 a plate. While live counters for kathi rolls, kebabs and parathas would assure a delectable experience, lal mirch ka tandoori kukkad, kadhai murgh, ajwaini macchi masala , khumb te mutter di subzi, sarsoon ka saag, dal makhani and peshawari chana would make it a concoction of tastes for connoisseurs between 7.30 and 11 p.m.,
Mr. Punna says local dishes, for instance kai kuralu iguru and bendakai vepudu , have been cooked Punjabi style.
“Butter, cream, cloves and garam masala, all favourites of Punjabis, have been used for local dishes,” he says. “Conversely, gongura leaves have been added to some Punjabi dishes,” he says.
A variety of podis, and even chicken dum biryani cooked Hyderabdi style are on offer to cater to guests looking for different tastes.
In the past, the hotel had conducted the regional food festival for Andhra and Rayalaseema cuisines. Another festival is scheduled for August.