This review of the Purani Dilli food festival isn’t just about the amazing food that are part of the menu at Kanak. It’s about nostalgia, about experiencing traditional home-cooked food of Dilli Muslim households in an elaborate atmosphere. I like the fact the path the Trident is taking on in recent times to promote some of the most interesting food in their food festivals. From the Turkish food festival last month to Rivaayat at Kanak which had been my favorite so far.
Mr Osama Jalali is well known in food circles as a renowned food critic and researcher. I’ve been following the Lost Recipes of India to know the interesting discussion which happen on the forum. So with a menu curated by Mr. Osama Jalali after years of research on the authentic dishes of Delhi along with his mother, Chef Nazish Jalali who hails from Rampur, this definitely was one not to be missed.
But before delving into the food festival at Trident, let’s take a walk among the bylanes of Old Delhi. Now this isn’t where you can get through in your car but to be navigated by foot or on a rickshaw. The smell of juicy meat lingers in the air, the towering Jama Masjid in all it’s resplendent beauty. The Seekh Kebabs at Karim’s, Changezi Chicken and Fried Fish/Chicken. Parathas and Naan at Kake di Hatti and down a huge glass of Sherbet or Falooda right beside it.
That’s Chandni Chowk for you. It is lively, pure energy flowing among those lanes and a food lover’s paradise. And why did I talk about Chandni Chowk? Coz the food at the Purani Dilli Food Festival at Kanak reminded me of that. They’d been so perfectly made that I couldn’t find anything out of place when it came to experiencing Delhi food. We started the evening with the Kachi Keema ki Tikiya. I found it a welcome change from the heavy ghee and oil laden tikkas with this being so light. If you’d had the chance to dine at any of the houses at Shahjanabad, you’d know what I’m talking about. The Macchli Fry (Fish Fry) was perfect Old Delhi. Exactly like the ones being fried at the roadside eateries in the evening at Chandni Chowk. A side of Mint Chutney and onions and you’re set. The Kacche kele ki Shammi kebab which is raw bananas marinated in spices and shallow fried makes a good option for the vegetarians. But I’d prefer the Mewa Kebab which was simply delicious. Cheese, khoya, yoghurt, dry fruits all go into making this kebabs making it one of the must-haves.
The main course has a vast variety to choose from which juggles between Rampur and Old Delhi. The Arbi ka Salan, a colocasia preparation which is almost part of every Old Delhi household along made for a great side with the Vegetable Tehari and Chane ki Dal ka Bharta.
The Food Festival aims to keep the ethos of the dishes intact while also giving them a platform to be showcased. But for everyone at the table, the Chicken Ishtew and Keema Hari Mirch came out to be as favorites. The Keema Hari Mirch deserves special mention because the mutton had been pounded to perfection and the hit of green chilies, leaves with a satisfied smile across your face.
It was now time for the desserts. This is one section of the Purani Dilli food festival which is going to leave you quite intrigued. The Gosht ka Halwa was simply brilliant. This was the second time I had the opportunity to taste a dessert made of meat which when served without the name, you’d definitely never be able to guess it’s been made of meat. A smooth texture and lightly sweetened, this Halwa is worth the try. The Aloo ka Zarda is also quite a nice addition to the desserts menu.
The festival is on till 30th of November at Kanak, Trident. And it’s one of those rare festivals which you walk out from not only with amazing food but great memories.