A taste of history.
History never tasted so good before … at the festival of Bygone recipes of the Mughals at Le Jardin, The Oberoi Bangalore … or as I will temporarily rename – the MughaL-e-Jardin
The talented duo Osama Jalali and his mother Begum Nazish, during this annual visit of theirs, bring to us once more their expertise on a plate and this time via the forgotten dishes from the royal Mughal kitchens.
In their laudable quest for lost recipes, they have sought to learn from the kitchens of old timer cooks (khansamas). Working at times even without clear cut recipes, they have used whatever information they have gleaned to recreate these dishes in a praiseworthy attempt.
I was invited to be a part of this meal that showcased some of the various precious recipes that they have resurrected in their noble aim to document them to keep them from being forgotten.
Not the regular Mughlai as we know it, this cuisine uses only pepper to provide the heat and in a very subtle manner too. There is also a generous usage of dry fruits and sugar, thus creating a sweetness in even some of the meat dishes, a flavor that is not commonly expected.
Some of these are an acquired taste but the ‘foodie’ in me is always open to experimenting new tastes and textures.
We partook of the meal in Osama’s knowledgeable company as he narrated the stories behind each dish. We had the Murgh pateeli kebab which were pockets of chicken breasts filled with dry fruits and spices cooked in a ‘taambe ki pateeli’, a deep vessel usually of copper.
Macchli ki shammi was a pan fried, smoked and spiced fish tikiya filled with yoghurt, onion, fennel and ginger.
Yakhni kebab is made from what we refer to as pulled meat, where the lamb cooked in Yakhn or broth, is then pulled apart and pounded on a stone and shaped into patties and pan fried.
Emperor Aurangzeb was a vegetarian and hence there were a few vegetarians creations that came about during his time. We had the Kebab e burghul, a delicious patty made from broken wheat, pepper, coriander and lentils, served with a spicy mint chutney.
There was the melt in the mouth Kachche kele ke kabab made from raw banana and also the smoky Paneer dhungar.
The main course had the unique tasting Mutanjan pulao, with layered rice and chicken along with cloves, orange, cardamom, dates and figs. This was accompanied by the Amba qaliya which again was a sweetish preparation of absolutely tender braised lamb with raw mangoes, onions, ginger, coriander, dry fruits and saffron. This was followed by portions of the Murg musallam, whole chicken cooked in an onion gravy.
Kancha gola, the hollow lamb dumplings, came accompanied by the story behind them. The hollow in this kofta was created by using a marble sized dollop of frozen ghee to provide core support to the meat that was patted around it. On slow cooking, the ghee would melt and ooze out, leaving the kofta devoid of a center but certainly not devoid of flavor !!! CongratGola’tions were certainly due to the chef for this innovation
Sweet Meats took on a literal meaning as we had our dessert of Ghosht ka halwa. Yes a sweet concoction made by slow cooking meat, spices and sugar for several hours until it all broke down into a creamy Maas (pun intended ) that one would never guess was made from mutton !!! Just ghosht’to show what can be done with sufficient imagination.
There was a potato halwa (Alu zarda) for those who do not eat meat.
The festival is on from Nov 9-13,2016 at lunch and dinner.
The set meals are priced between Rs 1600 – Rs 1800 per person.
Go there to appreciate the history and the experience of exotic cuisines.
There are times when one should not let Bygones be Bygones. This is one of those moments !!!
For more pictures see My Facebook – Bygone recipes of the Mughals