Lal Maans and
fnbworld bureau/New Delhi
It is rare that you will find the oldest, richest and most authentic Indian cusines under one roof in an eatery that is authentic, hygienic, aesthetic, boasts of courteous service and yet reasonably priced.
In a festival of sorts, currently underway at the India Habitat Centre's food court run by the Old World Hospitality, that is celebrating the month of India's Independence from the colonial rulers, the Eatopia (food court) has brought truly fantastic cuisines such as Kashmiri, Awadhi, Hyderabadi, Goan, South Indian, Rajasthani and Punjabi.
And, on popular demand, this festival is bringing the finest cuisines from 7 distinct regions of India has been extended for another month! The Kashmiri dishes are the Rogan Josh and Tamatar Chaman, served with plain rice, although there are many kinds of breads on offer, be it naans or parathas. The Awadhi platter brings the most tender and succulent Nihari that is painstakingly cooked in original goat fat without adding any water. This comes with the soft Ulta Tawa Parantha.
Another amazing dish is the Hyderabadi biryani with Mirch Ka Salan. The Goan Mutton Vindaloo is served with Pao, and thechefs have made indeed toned down the spice in the otherwise fiery Vindaloo. The south Indian platter comes with Chicken Chettinard/Veg Korma with Malabar Parootha. Equally delicious are the Rajasthani Lal Maas, Paneer Laung Lata (made in white sauce) and the Punjab Platter comprising Rara Meat/Kadhai Paneer with Lachcha Paratha. The price ofeach of the non-vegetarian platers is kept at Rs 180, while the vegetarian platter is for Rs 140.
This festival is truly unique and we recommend it strongly , especially for the meat lovers. Fnbworld's Ravi V. Chhabra caught up with Chef Rajiv Malhotra to find out more about this gastronomical voyage. Excerpts: Fnbworld: Whose brainchild is the Foods of India festival at Eatopia. Chef Rajiv: It is a team effort. We have organized Foods of India festival at the Pahalwan's Dhaba at Eatopia's Food Court and More, Habitat World, IHC this month. Since August is the month of Indian Independence, we are serving regional cuisines of India to mark the celebrations.
Fnbworld: What makes Nihari stand out amongst other goat meat dishes.
Chef Rajiv: Nihari, being the most popular Awadhi meat dish prepared for Mughal emperors on 'dum' by their special cooks stands out due to the right combination of various spices. Though it is a breakfast item & quite rich in nutrients, it also goes very well with Khamiri Roti. To relish the taste of Mughal emperors, we are serving it with Ulta Tawa Parantha at the festival which is appreciated by most of our diners. Fnbworld: From where did you source the major spices for this food festival?
Chef Rajiv: Most of the spices of reional dishes were procured from respective states only such as Todi Vinegar from Goa for Mutton Vindaloo; Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder, Saunf Powder from Kashmir for Kashmiri Dishes and Special Potli masala from Lucknow for Awadhi Dishes. To add to the authentic flavour, we have special cooks from Hyderabad to especially prepare Biryanis. The art of giving the authentic flavour to all the dishes lies in using the spices appropriately and add them in the dish at the right time and in the right proportion. Fnbworld: Since the response for this celebration of Indian cuisines has been excellent, do you intend repeating it or adding/including it as a part of other restaurants (like Delhi 'O' Delhi)?
Chef Rajiv: As the festival did very well this month, we are continuing with it next month also. In the members' only restaurant like Delhi 'O' Delhi, we do a food promotion every month and given the response to Foods of India, we will feature it there as well soon. Fnbworld: Which is your personal favourite Indian meat dish, Indian vegetarian dish and Indian sweetmeat (Mithai) and why?
Chef Rajiv: I have a few favourites among the Indian cuisine and the ones I like the most are Nihari Gosht, Galouti Kabab & Gosht Nali Korma.
All these dishes have a distinct aroma and can be enjoyed most with Ulta Tawa Parantha. I also like Hyderabadi Biryanis due to its extra spicy taste & a refreshing flavour of mint. Mutton Vindaloo, Tamatar Chaman (Kashmiri) and Dal Makhni (Punjabi) are also my hot favourites. I like finishing my meal with sweet nothings i.e. Seviyon Ka Muzaffar which is a rich Mughlai preparation with lots of nuts, flavored with small cardamom & saffron. I am exceedingly fond of regional cuisines as we keep working on to discover and develop more such dishes.