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Hyderabad food festival: Rich, tangy, spicy at Indyaki


Hyderabad: The food festival of Hyderabad Royal Kitchens can be described as rich, tangy, spicy at the multi-cuisine Indyaki eatery at the Radisson Blue Hotel in Paschim Vihar.

On offer is an amalgamation of Mughlai, Turkish and Arabic food, derived from the princely legacy of the erstwhile nizams of Hyderabad state and is curated by Chef S K Saibjan, a master of the genre who has been specially brought down here from the southern city for the festival.

“Opened five years ago, Indyaki often comes up with various food festivals round the year to stand out in the midst of stiff competition,” Vivek Chandra Joshi, Indyaki’s assistant food and beverage manager said.

“These food festivals from across states ensure good business at the restaurant,” he says, adding: “On our way forward we want to explore such fests with the southern cuisines.”

“Providing new and authentic recipes from various regions brings us a new clientele base as well as sustains the existing one,” said Ranvir, the head chef at Indyaki.

The response to The Royal Kitchens of Hyderabad has so far been very good, Ranvir added.

Elaborating on Hyderabadi dishes, he said the cuisine emphasises the use of ingredients that are carefully chosen and cooked to the right degree of perfection. Among the condiments used in various delicacies are kabab cheen, pathar ke phool, chirounji, rose petals, sandal and pan ki jad.

Nuts, especially almonds, peanuts and cashew nuts, as also copra (dry coconut), have a major presence in the cuisine, Ranvir elaborated.

Sipping an Indyaki Punch cola, infused with rock salt, and garnished with mint and lemon actually makes you feel you are being punched and revived. I took a walk around the eatery to study its interiors.

The walls have various pictures showcasing the many cultural entities of Hyderabad city, making for a delightful and serene environment for foodies to savour the lip-smacking delicacies.

Then, it was time to sample the fare. First came the zaituni malai paneer tikka – paneer marinated in yogurt and spices, with the eternal mint chutney. Mutton seekh kebab, tender nizami murgh tikka and the crispy methi malai machi and gobhi65 followed in quick succession.

Surrounded by these gastronomical delights, I actually forgot all the tiredness of the day and worries of tomorrow. Also, a hope glimmered inside me – if the starters were so delicious, what would the main course be like?

Being a little biased towards non-vegetarian food, I quickly went to the counters serving them for the bouffet element of the fest.

Having heard a lot about the Hyderabadi biryani I delved straight into that.

“Kache ghosht ki biryani (lamb biryani) is raw mutton marinated with garam masala, degi mirch, brown onion, coriander powder, mint leaves and ginger garlic paste and kept for four hours and then cooked on the slow fire, in the famous dum cooking style,” Saibjan explained.

The tanginess of mirch ka salan, the mouthwatering chicken and mutton pickle accompanied the yummy biryani.

I next opted for a dish that was a great favourite of Chef Saibjan.

Haleem – made up of lentils, daliya, and meat – was completely new to me. Yet the very sight of it brought home to me the labour that went into making it.

Chef Saibjan said that haleem is made during Ramadan – the Muslim holy month of fasting – and is cooked on a slow fire for about 4-5 hours.

It is semi-liquid in form and when consumed before daybreak – when the fasting period begins – has the necessary proteins to keep one going for the 10-12 hours one has to remain without food or water.

“You need extra patience to cook haleem,” the chef said, adding: “Ithmenaan (patience) is the key and slow-cooking is the hallmark of Hyderabadi cuisine.”

Finally, catering to my sweet tooth were double ka meetha, which was, as the name suggests, doubly sweet; mauz ka meetha – bananas slow cooked with milk, sugar, cardamom and saffron; and gil-e-firdosh made up of bottle gourd cooked with thickened milk, sugar and garnished with elaichi and chopped dried fruit.

In a nutshell, the festival, which is on till February 22, is a must try if you want to indulge in a royal affair and for a mouthwatering experience at the Indyaki. (IANS)(

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Pentavalent vaccine: Doctors raise red flag

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive

the new Hepatitis B vaccine for adults is called Heplisav-B.
India's PV to be reexamined because of its harmful effects. .
  • Pentavalent vaccine was introduced in India six years ago
  • It is since then have been a cause of many deaths
  • Doctors want it to be reexamined before continuing its use

Pentavalent vaccine (PV), that was introduced by India a little over six years ago, doubled the deaths of children soon after vaccination compared to the DPT (Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus) vaccine, according to a new study that calls for a “rigorous review of the deaths following vaccination with PV”.

Health officials have launched a campaign targeting nearly 24 million people with a one-fifth dose of the vaccine. Wikimedia Commons
PV has been cause of many deaths in past years. Wikimedia Commons

Government records show that there were 10,612 deaths following vaccination (both PV and DPT) in the last 10 years. There was a huge increase in these numbers in 2017, which the Health Ministry has promised to study. “The present analysis could be a starting point in the quest to reduce the numbers of such deaths,” authors of the new study say.

The study by Dr Jacob Puliyel, Head of Pediatrics at St Stephens Hospital, and Dr V. Sreenivas, Professor of Biostatistics at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), both in New Delhi, is published in the peer-reviewed Medical Journal of Dr D.Y. Patil University.

PV is a combination of the DPT vaccine and two more vaccines against Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) and hepatitis B. Starting December 2011, PV was introduced into India’s immunisation programme to replace DPT vaccine in a staged manner with a view to adding protection against Hib and Hepatitis B without increasing the number of injections given to infants.

Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons
Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons

But sporadic reports of unexplained deaths following immunisation with PV had been a matter of concern. Puliyel, Sreenivas and their colleagues undertook the study to find out if these deaths were merely coincidental or vaccine-induced.

The authors obtained data of all deaths reported from April 2012 to May 2016 under the Right to Information Act. Data on deaths within 72 hours of administering DPT and PV from different states were used.

For their study, the authors assumed that all deaths within 72 hours of receiving DPT are natural deaths. Using this figure as the baseline, they presumed that any increase in the number of deaths above this baseline among children receiving PV must be caused by this vaccine.

Also Read: With Medicine Running Out, Venezuelans With Transplant Live in Fear

According to their analysis of the data provided by the government, there were 237 deaths within 72 hours of administering the Pentavalent vaccine — twice the death rate among infants who received DPT vaccine.

Extrapolating the data, the authors have estimated that vaccination of 26 million children each year in India would result in 122 additional deaths within 72 hours, due to the switch from DPT to PV.

“There is likely to be 7,020 to 8,190 deaths from PV each year if data from states with the better reporting, namely Manipur and Chandigarh, are projected nationwide,” their report says.

It is important to make sure that these vaccines are reexamined peroperly. VOA

The authors note that while the study looks at the short-term increase in deaths (within three days of vaccination) it does not calculate the potential benefits of PV on infant mortality, for example by protection against lethal diseases like Haemophilus influenza.

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive. “These findings of differential death rates between DPT and PV do call for further rigorous prospective population-based investigations,” the study concludes. IANS