Magic of Punjabi flavours
HEY SANTA! Lets eat a Punjabi yaar. Arre Banta, Delhiwala more tashty yaar! That's how the banner reads for the Delhi-Punjabi Food Festival at the Garden Cafe of Radisson GRT Hotel (Tel: 2310101).
Executive chef Rajesh Gopalakrishnan has painstakingly designed an interesting dining experience for the foodies of Chennai that is on till February 3.
What's so different about this Santa aur Banta Khana Mania that is on offer at the numerous multi-cuisine and Punjabi restaurants that the city is replete with? It's the authenticity.
With spices, herbs, real sarso ka saag flown in specially from Delhi and chefs Rajiv and Anchal brought in from Jalandhar, one gets to taste the real earthy flavours of the Punjabi food.
Radisson GRT has gone all out to recreate the vigorous magic of the North, with a `bale bale' Bhangra DJ and decor to match. The delicious buffet at Rs. 325 plus taxes leaves one confused with an overdose of choice.
Appetiser is a lightly flavoured Tamatar dhaniya shorba with just an elusive flavour of cloves enough to make the gastric juices churn. The sweet and salt lassi, which is an authentic starter for any Punjabi meal sets the mood for the `khana mania'.
A novelty is the kunji (juice of black carrot). A `chaat gaadi' sports authentic Shakarganch ki chaat (sweet potato), and the chicken tikka chaat, gol gappas, a variety of salads like dhingri hare pyaz salat (Mushroom and spring onions), Modh dal sprout salat (sprouted sentils) and also a range of Punjabi papads don't miss out on the potato papads.
Forget the usual butter chicken and mutter pulao. Highly recommended is the mouth watering sarso ka saag partnered with rich, hot makki ki roti prepared right before you at the buffet station. The saag meat (succulent mutton cooked with spinach) and the subzi tak-ka-tak would make you wonder whether to go for a reserve or try something else. The latter is advisable.There's so much more excitement waiting! Delicious pakodi ki karhi (lentil fritters cooked in a rich gravy flavoured with curd), lahori dal and the typical roongi masala (lobhia which can only come alive when the asli Punjabi cooks it) and baigan ka barta.
Don't forget to try Machi amritsari with saunth and mint chutney.
These can be accompanied with the tingling achars. The crunchy lasoon/adrak ka achar or the gajjar gobi are not worth missing. For those who prefer the sweet and spice, there is aamla ka murruba.
No meal is complete without sweets. Take your time, but stay on and pamper the palate with an assortment of asli Punjabi mithai brought specially for the food festival. Gud patti, til patty and the gud shakarpara will simply take your breath away.
Moong dal/carrot halwa is also a clincher. The live station will be more than pleased to dole out hot jelabis accompanied with rabri.
Round off this irresistible dining experience with `paan daan'.
When you leave, you will surely want to come back to have another go at this easy-on-the purse gourmet treat.
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