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Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie.. Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... I Am crazy about music,books,friends and my doggie... :)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Awadhi Food Festival, The Verandah at Vivanta by Taj-Connemara







Is it coincidence or just an act of fate I wondered??? For only last week I was talking to a group of friends about visiting Lucknow. Was doing some research and found the place had quite a bit of history and culture tucked away, not to forget some delightful food as well. And that is when I read that the cuisine from Lucknow city is called Awadhi. A week later I read about The Verandah in Vivanta by Taj Connemera having an Awadhi food festival.

I discovered that the cooking patterns of Lucknow are similar to those of Central Asia, the Middle East, and Northern India, and they gave equal importace to both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Their meals consisted of elaborate dishes such as kebabs, kormas, biryanis, kaliyas, nahari-kulchas, zarda, sheermal, roomali rotis, and warqi parathas. The richness of Awadh cuisine lies not only in the variety of cuisine but also in the ingredients used like mutton, paneer, and rich spices, which include cardamom and saffron [ not in small doses, mind you].

It was then I realized that the Land of Nawabs is a total foodie's paradise! So when I met the folks who hailed from Lucknow at Taj, I knew I was going to reach out to them for inputs when I did plan my trip here. 

What was amazing about this festival was that in true Taj style they had flown down Shamshad Ahmad, Master Chef from Vivanta by Taj, Gomti Nagar, Lucknow who had brought with him hundreds of recipes that would become a part of the Dinner buffet menu for the ten days of the festival. While chit chatting with the Chef we learnt they used what is called Potli spices [spices in a bundle] and when we probed all he told us was it had Cloves, black pepper, cardamom and few other spices. But would not reveal the ratio or the process. It was a secret he guarded with his heart!! :D

The evening begin with the delicious Tomato dhaniya ka shorba (Tomato coriander flavoured soup) followed by a whole range of starters Panner tikka hariyali (Mint and coriander flavoured tandoori paneer);  the showstopper Khoya khubani ke kebab (Apricot infused khoya kebab) and Tandor Subzi [ clay oven cooked vegetables]which was tad too spicy for my taste buds. These were served with the dip that had too much coriander if you ask me [ I love the subtle mint yoghurt chutney]

We then took a nose dive into the mains-Rumali roti, Sheermal [ the saffron flavoured flakey bread of sorts], the beautiful  Dum kofti biryani (Kabuli channa kofta biryani) that was served alongside Shahi panner (Paneer dum cooked in Mild rich gravy); Gobhi taka tin(Cauliflower cooked dry on hot plate with Awadhi mild spices);  Dum aloo dhaniya wala (Baby potatoes cooked in a green dhania  gentle spices- once again I felt the coriander was over powering),  Shahi urad dal (Creamy rich dal from Nawabi kitchen).. and the show stopper here was the Lasooni Palak [ Garlic flavoured spinach] – I couldn’t stop eating this!

And then came the finale, a trio of desserts - Shahi tukra (Rich creamy dessert of bread slices, dry fruits, nuts and saffron); Sheer Korma (Vermicelli, saffron, raisin & date kheer); and  Zarda Ananas [ sweet rice flavoured with saffron and pineapple]

By the end of the meal, I had learnt so much about Luckow and Awadhi cuisine that my resolve to visit this city was strengthened further..

Another amazing thing about this festival is that it is available only for the dinner buffet and the entire buffet has dishes from the festival menu.. Oh and make sure to catch the live bread stations set up outside near the pool- it is such a treat to watch..  

The festival is on from October 16 to 26  |  Dinner buffet  |  
INR 1500 plus taxes


Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon App├ętit :-)

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