A taste of traditional India

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Cooking is no longer an art for the passionate but a science that is measured in milligrams and teaspoons. Kitchens have become cold and mechanised and chefs think twice before adding even a pinch of salt. But there are many culinary experts who cook by instinct, who dabble with spices and salts by just the feel and look of it.

In an attempt to discover a different side to India’s multi-faceted culinary world, The Oberoi group of hotels took a journey to discover recipes that date back hundreds of years. Chefs from the hotel picked up recipes from the royal gharanas of Delhi, Amritsar, Rampur, Awadh and Hyderabad in a five-day workshop. They worked alongside khansamas from these regions to reconnect with their roots and came up with a menu called Rivaayat.  

Chef Amit Wadhawan, the executive chef, says he has learnt a lot from the experience. “It was a live cooking experience. We all sat together and cooked; I learned a lot from the khansamas.”

As part of the menu, chef Amit brought back appetisers from Old Delhi, Rampur and Hyderabad. Delhi, known for its chaats, had a pan-fried aloo tikki to bring to the table. The delicious potato patty flavoured with Indian spices and swimming in curd was the perfect starter and the ‘zing’ that the ginger added was the cherry on the top. He also combined a seekh kebab from Rampur and haleem from Hyderabad. The spiced lamb and wheat porridge was just right, warming the stomach for the main course.

Breads from Awadh and Old Delhi warmed the table and broke without effort. As an addition, there was pindi chhole, a traditional lentil preparation from Punjab tempered with onion, garlic and tomatoes, mahi kaliyan from Hyderabad, which is fish cooked in sesame, tamarind and peanut gravy, taar gosht, a lamb preparation from Rampur with onion and tomato gravy and saag murgh kofte from Old Delhi, which is soft chicken dumplings cooked in spinach gravy.

There is also a biryani from Hyderabad – kache gosht ki biryani – which is marinated lamb and rice cooked with mint, spices and saffron. For dessert, one can have a sweetened milk pudding with rice and coconut called Gulathi, from Rampur, or khubani ka meetha, which is native to Hyderabad.


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