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We as humans have evolved from a civilization of gatherers. There was time when royals would venture out on hunting expeditions which sometimes lasts days. The game meat then had to be cooked in the wild using rustic cooking methods. This gave evolution to the Sand and Stone cooking methods.

The Sand pits were quite popular in desert and arid areas where the meat was packed in a parcel and placed inside the hot sand. This heat cooked the meat evenly giving way to a dish which was nearly fall-apart. The marinades for the meat could be of different types based on the spice availability of the region. The sand cooking technique was liberal in it’s use of spices making the food, fiery hot. This led to the body giving of sweat which in turn acted as a cooling mechanism. There’s always so much history to learn through the evolution of food. And this is exactly what Chef Angshuman and Team at Bidri, Marriott Hyderabad showcase with their ‘Sand & Stone’ Festival.

Pathar ka Paneer Tikka

Two years ago Bidri had organized a Stone and Wood Fire festival. This time there is an extension of selection in the food options which have lot of vegetarian options too. Off the vegetarian side of the menu my favorites were the Bharwan Karela and the Sand smoked mushrooms. I absolutely love bitter-gourds unlike many, especially when it comes with a filling. With the Sand Roasted Bharwan Karela, the chefs have filled the bitter-gourd with spicy potatoes, nuts and cilantro and cooked it in sand. Bidri has actually built a make-shift sand-pit in the outdoor area which heats the sand from the bottom.

Arbi Aur Chnna ka Shammi

The Pathar ka Gosht is quite a familiarity with Hyderabadi cuisine. If you ever venture out to the Old City, you’d find a lot of street vendors making this famous Hyderabad dish on a slab of granite. Thin strips of meat are let to break down with raw papaya. This helps in cooking the meats to cook much easier on the stone slab. The rest among the non-vegetarians include Pathar ka Pomfret, Prawns among many other. My favorite among all the dishes was the Sikandari Raan where a whole leg of lamb was marinated in a mix of malt, vinegar, spice rub and cooked in the sand. The meat was deliciously tender and beautiful.

Sikandari Raan

Sometimes you want to sit down for a meal and not have to think on what’s happening on your plate. The traditional Indian style of cooking methods have always been special and will continue to do so. Kudos to the chefs of Bidri for truly showcasing Indian history on a plate.

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It’s in recent times that a lot of regional dishes have been getting a platform to showcase their dishes through Pop-ups. Many such pop-ups are held in Mumbai be it the Bohri, Assamese and so many more among them. When we think of Himalayan Food, the first which comes to mind is those of either Jammu or Kashmir. The Wazawan and Kashmir Brahmin food has been getting its due but the idea of Himachal food hasn’t struck yet with the masses. That’s when the #HimalayanPopUp at Bidri comes of utmost importance. To be honest I’d heard of some of the Himachali dishes earlier while reading through articles, but never really got a chance to taste them personally.

Methi Macchi

Sepu Vadi

The Himalayan Pop-up at Bidri, Marriott is being curated by Sherry Malhotra and Chef Yogendra Pal. With my first tryst with Himachali food, a lot of the dishes came out as simple and refreshing. High on flavor, low on spices and more so to do with fresh produce. I found that a lot of the dishes on the menu are made using Yogurt and upon enquiring with Sherry she said that each household has their own cattle, hence the abundance of milk and yogurt across seasons which is used in the food.

Chef Yogendra Pal And Sherry Malhotra

The menu is a mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Both the sides have options aplenty. We started with the Channe ki Tikki. The pan-fried tikkis made of chana or chickpeas were delicious to munch on with a filling of fresh fenugreek and tomato relish. The Patode makes for a great snack before a meal. Made of Arbi (colocassia) leaves, these were delicious especially for a person like me who enjoys arbi.

Channe ki Tikki

Moving on to the non-vegetarian side of starters, I can easily say that the Dahi ke Chaap floored all of us at the table. The lamb chops had been braised in buttermilk and fennel seeds and were full of flavor. It was rustic and easily one of the best stuff I’ve had in a long time. You definitely have to get your hands tucked in to relish the chaap, with the meat having been cooked beautifully with the flavor of mustard oil standing out with each bite. The Macchi Fry is made originally using trout but at the Himalayan Food Festival made use of Seer Fish and was pan-fried with freshly ground spices that you got it uniformly over with each bite.

Dahi ki Chaap

Macchi Fry

Like stated earlier, most of the Himachal food makes uses yogurt and buttermilk. They sure do like their food tangy and that aspect of cooking was inherent in every dish we had that night. The Chaa Gosht is made with buttermilk added to the mutton gravy best had with Babru. The Babru is similar to the bature and real heavy. I had like one and I had been complete full by then.

Chaa Gosht

Among the vegetarians dishes were Channa Madra where the boiled chickpeas are cooked in a tangy gravy along with lotus seeds. Replace the chickpeas with potatoes and you have the Aloo Palda with the gravy a little dense compared to the Madra.

Chana Madra

Main Course

Sepu Vadi was the one dish with left me with a lot of memories from the Himalayan Pop-Up at Bidri. It was simple yet heavenly and one I couldn’t stop telling the others at my table to try. These Urad Dal dumplings are first steamed and then cooked in a spinach puree. I couldn’t control myself from taking a little extra helpings of the vadi.

Main Courses

Kali Dal

Among other dishes that night were the Bhey (Lotus Stem cooked in yogurt), Kaale Chaane ki Maani and Methi Macchi.

Bhey

Dahi aur methi ki macchi

The dinner ended on a sweet note with Meetha Baath, a popular dessert which is sweetened basmati rice flavored with saffron and garnished with dry fruits. The Khus Khus aur Makhane ki Kheer had the flavors beautifully blended and the perfect end to a glorious meal.

Meetha Chawal

Khus Khus Aur Makhane ki Kheer

It takes passion to come up with such a unique menu and kudos to Chef Yogendra Pal and Sherry Malhotra for bringing the food of Himachal Pradesh to the city of Hyderabad. Regional cuisines of India is where some of the most interesting dishes lie and it’s time they come out at the forefront. The #HimalayanPopUp for me was just not only about the food but the unique insight into a cuisine yet unknown.

The Himalayan Pop-Up is on at Bidri till the 28th of February, 2016

Address: Marriott Hotel, Tank Bund Road, Necklace Road, Hyderabad
Phone: 040 27522999

 

 

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There is seldom a time when a restaurant takes a step back into history, not with specializing in a cuisine but with style of cooking. We as Indians have varied different styles of cooking steeped in our history. From coal to firewood, stone to different styles of utensils. These form the premise at the ongoing “Stone and Wood Fire” food festival at Bidri, Marriott Convention Center.

Stone And Wood Fire Food Festival

For anyone who’s been to Bidri, sure would have experienced the durbar-like dining it offers. The mellifluous live classical music, the beautiful arches and even the lighting of the restaurant. The stone and coal has been set-up on the outer premise of the restaurant and the preparations starts at 5 PM. As the coal heat stabilizes and you’re ready with beautifully made dishes for your dinner.

Bidri

The menu is thoughtfully-crafted and covers the regions of India extensively. For the night we started off with the Yakhni Shorba. Soon as they poured the Yakhni Shorba in my bowl, the first to hit me was the lovely smell of the smoky infusion in the shorba. As I partake my first spoon, I knew this was one of those dishes I ain’t gonna stop raving about later. It was simply delicious and packed so much flavor in every spoonful.

Yakhni Shorba

The Pathar ka Gosht had been marinated for quite a while in raw papaya, spices and rose petals. Soon as the chef put it on the hot stone, the crackle and sizzle of the meat on stone was music to the ears. They say food is about satiating not the stomach alone, but the senses too. The Pathar ka Gosht did exactly that. The Matka Kebab was chicken mince packed in small mud pots and cooked over charcoal.

Appetisers At Bidri

It’s hard cooking quail coz of the size of the bird and also the tenderness of the meat. And over a char grill is even harder because you might just loose the moisture in the meat if not cooked uniformly at the right temperature. But the chefs at Marriott had done a great job with the Bhatti ka Bater. Marinated in yogurt and kashmiri chilis, the quail dish had been given it’s due.

Char Grilling

We had taken a walk to check the rows of utensils where the food had been cooking over the stone and coal. Everytime the Chef opened up the lid to serve, I couldn’t help smile at the amazing smell of the dishes that the air around was thick with. Personally I love a good Dum ki Nalli. You know that it’s a good Nalli dish simply running the gravy through your fingers. It’ll be sticky and yet leave no residue behind. The Dum ki Nalli at the “Stone and Wood Fire” festival was simply brilliant. With a side of butter naan or sheermal, I couldn’t have asked for more.

Cooking On Stone

Seldom have I seen chicken cooked with colocasia, but the Murgh aur Arbi ka Salan was an entirely new dish I got to experience. Marriott has always been proud of it’s Bidri Dal. Their take on the Dal Makhni, the Bidri Dal isn’t as heavy as the regular Dal Makhni though. The other dish to not give a miss is the Bharrey Aloo ka Korma. The potatoes in the gravy are filled with inside with spiced potatoes and nuts.

Kache Gosht ki Biriyani

For the desserts, we absolutely loved the Sheermal Pudding. It was innovation at it’s best by Chef Yogendra. A take on the Crème Brûlée, this gave the dessert a Nizami twist. The baked Gulab Jamun and Sitaphal (custard apple) Rabri were also terrific, but there was no denying that the Sheermal Pudding trumped it all.

Desserts At Bidri

The ‘Stone and Wood Fire Food Festival’ isn’t just about the dishes but the very dynamic nature of cooking that the chefs at Marriott took it upon them to come up with something like this. These age old techniques give food a more robust and beautiful flavor which is hard replicating in a kitchen. And we absolutely love the fact that here a platform is given to the style of cooking more than a particular cuisine or dish.

Chef Yogendra

The Stone And Wood Fire Festival is on at Bidri, Marriott Convention Center until Oct 17th, 2015.

Bidri - Marriott Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Bidri in Marriott, Hyderabad has a beautiful setting. The live ghazals and the soothing ambiance has that calm effect which envelopes you from the moment you enter. From the vast deserts of Rajasthan, food from the kitchens of the Kings of Mewar and Marwar came alive right at our tables in Bidri.

An excellent Rajasthani Food Festival has been curated by Chef Bhik Singh. There’s more than the Laal Maas, Ker Sangria that define Rajasthani food explains Chef Bhik Singh from the Jaipur Marriott Hotel  He is a Rajasthani master chef who proudly explained to us each dish and the history behind the dishes bought to our table that night.

 

The Menu For The Night

The evening started with a Baajre Ki Raab, a deliciously warm soup made of millet and yoghurt. It was lightly spiced with roasted cumin and was a perfect blend of light flavors.

Bajre Ka Raab

 

The Appetizers included a platter of Murgh Ka Soola which is succulent boneless chicken cubes marinated in yogurt and smoked with cloves. Perfectly cooked in the tandoor, it was the highlight of the evening but that is until the Dhungar Lagi Boti. The Dhungar Lagi Boti was tender lamb meat which had been skillfully smoked and braised with onion  and was melt in the mouth.

Dahi ke Kebab was the only veg starter we had that day and the curd blended perfectly with the semolina crust and proved to be a tantalizing affair. Chef Singh has put together a careful selection of authentic delicacies that will appeal to both vegetarians as well as meat lovers.

Starters At The Rajasthani Food Festival

 

Rajasthani fare would be incomplete if one did not indulge in the robustly flavourful Laal Maas or the tastefully prepared Dal Bhatti Churma

For the main course, there were too many items to choose from and we were surprised when the Chef got us all the dishes plated on the extravagant Thali. The thali was humongous and we were glad to try so many dishes together. Chef Bhik Singh and Chef Yogender Pal, the executive chef at Bidri Hyderabad explained to us each of the dishes and how they were made. The Laal Maas cooked with onion, tomato and whole red chilly had been beautifully cooked and the Chef Bhik Singh mentioned bringing all the spices and the meat from Rajasthan himself. There were vegetarian dishes like the Jodhpuri Gattey which was exquisitely cooked in fenugreek and yoghurt gravy is definitely a delight to eat.

Rajasthani Thali At Bidri

Ker sangria, wild berries and beans cooked in the typical spicy Rajasthani way and made for a perfect addition to the complete Rajasthani thali. The Mangodi Leela Kaanda had  been made from scratch and the chef blended it perfectly with the yoghurt gravy.

The Masala Baati was very different and was stuffed with spicy potato. Unlike the regular baati, this was way more softer and tasted spicy along with the Dal Panchmel. The desserts didn’t disappoint either and we loved the Mawa Mishri Ka Laadu  and the Choorma laddu that was served to us on the thali.

Chef Bhik Singh

The Rajasthani Food Festival is on at the Hyderabad Marriott and Convention Center till the 25th of May in their Indian specialty restaurant Bidri.

Bidri

Address: Tank Bund Rd, Hussain Sagar, Khairatabad
Phone : 040 27522999

Bidri - Marriott Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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