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Flavours from the desert

The Sindoori Hotel is hosting a 10-day Rajasthani and Gujarati Food Festival, starting tomorrow, for foodies with a penchant for North Indian vegetarian cuisine.


THIS IS one food festival for veggies who have a taste for North Indian cuisine. The Sindoori Hotel is hosting a 10-day Rajasthani and Gujarati Food Festival, starting tomorrow, for foodies with a penchant for khandvi, palak, batti, dhokla, bhaingon ka bartha, methi roti, badam ka seeda, jaljeera and more.

Though the festival will be served as a buffet, the visitors are given thalis with 10 bowls instead of porcelain plates, "because there are many sabzis in Rajasthani and Gujarati food," explains Sant Kumar Singh, executive chef. He will be assisted by Amit Srivastava from Ahmedabad and Baktawar Singh and Jeevram Bhai, who specialise in Gujarati and Rajasthani food, and are part of the Sindoori Hotel's staff from Ahmedabad. The décor too captures the essence of the desert with bright thorans, bandhini tablecloths and waiters in traditional attire, complete with huge bright turbans. A live band playing desert tunes adds to the ambience.

Most of the food has milk and milk-products as a base, even the aloo gobi has a creamy taste because of the milk added to the masala. Apart from the more exotic Rajasthani breads, the buffet also includes methi and pudhina paratha that Chennai-ites are familiar with. One of the specialities is the batti, stuffed and fried bread that takes nearly one-and-a-half hours to prepare, says Chef Singh. Though most of the ingredients are sourced locally, some of the herbs and spices are being brought from Rajasthan and Gujarat for "authentic flavouring." Lassi and jaljeera flows in plenty at this festival and there is a selection of delectable sweets including kala jamun, basundhi, shreekhand and khoya. "The festival is being held now so that people celebrating rakshabandhan and saawan can get authentic Rajasthani and Gujarati food. We're planning a Bengali Food Festival during Navarathri," says Singh.

The buffet is priced at Rs. 200 a head plus taxes and is open only for dinner. The "Dhamaal — Gujarati and Rajasthani Jamvanu Thevar" is on from August 1 to 10, from 7.30 p.m. onwards at The East India Company, The Sindoori Hotel, 26/27 Poonamallee High Road, Parktown, ph: 25387777/ 25386647.

SHALINI UMACHANDRAN

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