The climate of a place dictates its possible food habits which in turn give birth to a cuisine boasting of indigenous ingredients. Keeping this in mind, Executive Chef Nikhil Rastogi, Eros Hotel, Nehru Place has conceptualised the idea of introducing a food festival, Taseer-E-Hararat to lend depth to the existence of the following ingredients: Kesar(saffron), Laung(cloves), Pista(pistacheos), Lahsoon(garlic), Gosht(mutton), Makai(corn) and Mirchi(chilli).
All recipes created using these ingredients provide warmth to the body and soul in this chilly weather. ‘Taseer-E-Hararat,’ is what class might sound like; loosely meaning the hot/warm effect of an ingredient in our body, the idea of the festival is to incorporate ingredients that help one to keep warm in the winters.
The warm ambience, the welcoming aroma and the soothing tones of live ghazals at Singh Sahib will accentuate the dining experience of any gourmet. One can tour around the live kitchen set-ups, and choose from the available menu. Each ingredient has been used to prepare starters, mains and desserts in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian variants. It might come as a surprise to stumble upon something as oxymoronic as ‘Lahsoon ka kheer.’
Some of the highlights from the festival would be:
‘Bhutte aur kismish gulak,’ from Makai ki Ronak is delicious deep fried corn raisins balls stuffed with cheese. This starter will make you go nomnom forever, but do not gorge on them so much so that you miss out on the rest of the brilliance in the menu.
‘Saag makhni lasooni paneer pasanda,’ is probably the most flavourful sarso ka saag I have ever tasted. Coming from Lahsoon ki Mahak, this heavenly dish will have you asking for more.
‘Gosht Nurani shorba-te-khameeri roti’ from Gosht ki Najakat, is a lamb broth served with fermented bread. The silk like texture of the soup, accompanied with the classic khameeri roti can be anybody’s comfort food on a wintry evening.
‘Kunri murgh tikka,’ from Mirchi ka Chaunk with its power packed flavours of masala and the heat from chillies will blow a chicken lover’s mind away.
‘Shigdi ke khumb’ from Lavaung ki Dungar is a mushroom based dish cooked in burning charcoal. Another delight for vegetarians, this dish is juicy and succulent with appropriate quantity of mushroom, yoghurt, cheese and masala throwing a party to your taste buds.
Some other mention worthy dishes would be ‘Chudidar Pista Aloo,’ ‘Adana kebab,’ ‘Makai murgh hareesa’ and ‘Pista mawe di seekh.’
To end your dinner on a sweet note, you may choose from the display of some of the most beloved Indian desserts. But the one which won my heart was undoubtedly ‘Akhrot ka halwa,’ a walnut and sugar syrup dessert flavoured with cardamom and garnished with almonds and pistachio. Once you insert a spoonful of this halwa, and it melts away in your mouth releasing the rich flavour of desi ghee and quality walnuts, you would not want to open your eyes lest the dreamy feel might escape you!
After this sumptuous meal, stroll around in the yard with a happy and satiated tummy, enjoying the chills of winter and return home hot!