It was just a couple of months back that I was working closely with Chef Rakesh and Chef Srikanth of Kangan, Westin Raheja Mindspace for an article about the secrets of the Tandoor. The article was to be published in the Premier Starwood Online Magazine Momentum Travel. It was then that I was totally intrigued with the immense knowledge that Chef Rakesh had to share. You come across people in the hospitality industry who teach their trade and then there is the second kind. The kind of Chef who live and breathe their passion of food and Chef Rakesh belonged to this latter kind. More about the Secrets of the Tandoor can be read in the attached hyperlink.
With an invite for the Nawabs and Nizams festival, I was quite excited to catch up with the astounding dishes that the Chefs at Kangan were to put up. Starting with a marvelous soup of Shorba-e-Barkhus which had tinge of spiciness and refreshing aroma of mint in the lamb trotter soup. It was the Starters which were the highlights.
There were the succulent Kakori Kebabs which were so soft that they literally melted in the mouth. I quite liked that they’d kept with the tradition of serving the Kakori Kebabs with the Sheermals on the side as was the norm during the times. The Murgh Angare Tikka came along with a beautiful marination of the chicken on skewers in a whole lot of spices with bay leaves,mace, fenugreek leaves and chilies among others.
The one dish which quite left me puzzled and quite new too have experienced was the Ande ki Nazakat. It wasn’t just your usual eggs but egg whites which had been beaten, frozen and then cut into cubes. These cubes of eggs were then marinated in Indian Spices and then cooked in the tandoor.I can so imagine how hard it’d be to work a tandoor in such a case when cooking a egg in it. With the temperatures of the Tandoor reaching quite high, it takes a master to gauge the perfect cooking time o the eggs which would be just about a couple of minutes. In the end when served at our tables, it’s resemble more as cubes of Paneer than eggs.
The Tawa Machli which was served on our plates next had a bit of tanginess of lemon juice beautifully accentuated with a crush of curry leaves and spices. Among the vegetarian starters was the Hara Channa Aur Shakarkhand ki Tikki made of green chickpeas and sweet potatoes. The Mushroom Galawati rounded off our appetizers for the night as we took a short break for the main course.
A while had passed and over some lovely conversations across the table, it was time for the main course. The Phaldari Kofta was a raw banana dumpling dish bringing with it the perfect balance in the gravy with sweetness from the cashews and sourness from the yogurt. It went well with the Naans served on the table. Also unique to the festival was the Dum ki Dhuli, which was white gram dal tempered with an exquisite aroma of onions and garlic.
My favorite among the main course was the Gosht Badami which had been cooked in dum in a pot. The lamb morsels were so tender and soon as our server opened up the lid, out wafted a smoke resplendent of cloves. Also among the main courses for the night were some beautiful dishes like the Murgh Rizala, Bater Mussalam and Dum Aloo Bharwan.
Considering that the festival was showcasing both the best of Awadh and Hyderabad, the difference between the two princely states Biryani was a must. So along came the Awadhi Style Murgh Biryani and the Nizami Mutton Biryani. Talk about favoritism but I’m mostly inclined to the Nizami Style of Biryani than the Lucknowi version of the Biryani.
The night ended with a platter of splendid desserts. The Shahi Khubani Tukda was an unique attempt at bridging the gap between Awadh and Hyderabad with the sandwiching of the Shahi Tukda and Khubani ka Meetha. The apricots had been made into a compote placed between sweetened bread and topped off generously with reduced milk. The Yaquti was my favorite among the desserts which was a pudding made with white lentils.
The Nawabs and Nizams Food Festival is on till 28th January 2017 at Kangan, Westin Hyderabad Raheja Mindspace for dinners.