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Hyderabad food festival: Rich, tangy, spicy at Indyaki

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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)(image-2.bp.blogspot.com)

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Hindus In Delhi Push For A Temple On The Ruins Of a Mosque

The Supreme Court has delayed hearings into the disputed site but hardliners have vowed to lay a foundation stone next year regardless.

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Supporters of Vishwa Hindu Parishad gather during a rally in New Delhi, Dec. 9, 2018. The group gathered thousands of supporters to demand the construction of a Hindu temple on a site where a mosque was attacked, demolished in 1992. VOA

Tens of thousands of hardline Hindu protesters marched in New Delhi on Sunday, calling for a grand temple to be built on the ruins of a destroyed mosque in a flashpoint Indian city.

Trident-waving devotees clad in saffron filled a huge parade ground in the Indian capital under tight security, where speakers warned Prime Minister Narendra Modi they would not let up until the temple was sanctioned.

Some of Modi’s supporters feel the Hindu nationalist leader has not done enough to raise a shrine at a site in Ayodhya, a city believed by many to be the birthplace of the deity Ram.

The site was home to a medieval mosque for 460 years until Hindu zealots tore it down in 1992, kicking off riots across India that left thousands dead, most of them Muslims.

Its future has been tied up in courts for decades but some hardliners want Modi, who is seeking reelection in 2019, to push parliament to guarantee the temple by law.

World Hindu Congress, Hindu
Hindus don’t oppose anyone, don’t aspire to dominate: RSS chief

“The gathering here is telling you that Hindus won’t sit back until the temple is built, and our wishes are respected,” said Champat Rai, the leader of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) group that organized the protest.

Demonstrators chanting “Praise be to Ram” packed the Ramlila Maidan, a vast ground capable of holding more than 50,000 people, and filled the surrounding streets.

Some carried maces and tridents — weapons traditionally wielded by Hindu gods — and traveled great distances by train and bus to reach the rally.

“We have come here to protect our religion and Hindu pride. We want a temple for our Lord Ram,” Hitesh Bharadwaj, a teacher from Delhi’s satellite city Noida, told AFP.

The hardline VHP has applied pressure on Modi in recent weeks, staging a huge show of force in Ayodhya itself last month.

Hindu, Mosque
Photo credit: theguardian.com

A close ally of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the group is spearheading a push to raise the Ram temple, and is calling for more protests as the premier prepares to go to the polls by May.

The BJP was on the margins until the 1980s when its top leaders, including Modi, backed a growing movement for the construction of the Ram temple.

Its advocates want parliament to introduce a law bypassing legal hurdles blocking the temple before Modi’s term ends.

Also Read: Delhi’s Air Quality Leads To Ban On Trucks And Construction

The Supreme Court has delayed hearings into the disputed site but hardliners have vowed to lay a foundation stone next year regardless.

“We don’t care about the courts. A grand temple will be constructed in 2019,” Sushil Chawdhary, a VHP leader, told AFP. (VOA)