Aab’solutely hearty Punj’Aab’i food at the celebration of the Land of Five Rivers at the Cubbon Pavilion of the luxurious ITC Gardenia. Punj-aab meaning Five waters, has always been known for its fertile soil and rich foods.
The special menu at this festival at the ITC Gardenia, has been curated by Chef Arshdeep Singh and aims to showcase food that is different from the ubiquitous Punjabi dishes as we know them.
So if you want to discover what lies beyond the makhanis and bhatures and choleys, this is the place to ask that well known question – Choley ke peeche kya hai ? !!!
We were guided through our meal by the chef who served us his special handpicked dishes.
We began with a tandoori chicken called Chirga which was milder and tangier than what we normally have. The Quazleela Talli with its tender batter fried fillets of Sole fish ensconcing a tangy mango relish, was another unusual item.
The vegetarians has the Lal mirch paneer tikka which was not that spicy, despite its name.
The main course had the Murghabi Pistadarh, with large but succulent pieces of duck in a pista gravy. I learnt that in Punjabi, Murghabi meant Duck and not ‘The rooster too’
This, along with the Shikar Qorma with its melt in the mouth mutton falling off the bone, was also mopped up with soft Naans, Laccha parathas and rotis and the crisp Missi roti.
The vegetarian fare included the exotic Aloo Bukhara kofta, deep fried savory balls made out of dried plums, nestling in a creamy gravy. The creamy Dogra Dal, made from whole green mung was quite the favorite at the table.
The surprise choice however, was the Bharwan Karela Aloo, a recipe from the chef’s own home. Many helpings were taken, of the soft bitter gourd filled with a fried onion masala and dum cooked to a delicate softness.
The Makki ki roti and sarson da saag eventually sneaked up on us, for I guess there is no Punjabi meal without them 😀
I was quite full by this time and while the tummy quailed at the thought of more food, the Quail pulao was a temptation I could not refuse. Known as Bataer pulao, this was indeed an interesting dish and the bony little bird did manage to deliver a satisfactory amount of meat.
The food was accompanied by the 120 ml Patiala peg for those who were brave enough to down it (read the story of the peg in the picture). The rest of us opted for the Lime and black salt shikhanji laced with vodka.
Though we were too full for anything else, they did not take no for an answer and we were compelled in true Punjabi style hospitality to taste the dessert platter.
The decadent gulab jamuns, the refreshingly chill kulfi falooda and the mildly sweet gajar halwa whipped up from Delhi carrots, beckoned sinfully and urged us to discard all good sense and dig in … a decision we did not really regret 😀
The festival is on, only at the dinner buffet from Feb 17-25, 2017 and is priced at Rs 1850 ++
For more pictures see My Facebook – ITC Gardenia-Land of Five Rivers