Mangalorean Food Festival: Taj Treats Delhi with the Flavors of South India

by September 2, 2018 0 comments

Mangalorean Food FestivalMaster Chef Mahesh Naik of Vivanta by Taj Ambassador, New Delhi, decided to showcase the less-explored Mangalorean cuisine at the Yellow Brick Road restaurant as part of a special food festival which will continue till 2 September. The reporter Shalini Saksena has suggested going and exploring the ongoing festival.

Experimenting with cuisines is a done thing these days. Be it food from outside India — Roman Festival or Sri Lankan — or exploring cuisine from within the country — Manglorean — which finds its origins in Tulu Nadu, a region in Kerala.

What sets this cuisine apart from anything that people in the North have eaten is the diversity of its food — vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Each dish is differently spiced. And, Chef Mahesh Naik travelled all the way from Mangalore to serve his culinary skills at Vivanta By Taj Ambassdor’s famous Yellow Brick Road restaurant in the Capital for a 10-day celebration that ends today — September 2, 2018.

The festival came by because Delhiites are now more open to experimenting. They are well-travelled and want to try different things, including foods from other regions.

“The young brigade is definitely open to trying different cuisines from other countries. However, at the same time, they may not be aware about the authentic cuisine from down South. The idea, therefore, is to introduce this different kind of food to the people here,” Vikas Parimoo, General Manger of the property, tells you.

Different it is. It all begins with the delicately red kokum drink from the Western Ghats. For this reason it is also referred to as Malabar tamarind. The sweet and sour drink is a welcome sip just as you enter, given the present almost oppressive heat in the city. The soups, and there are two — kokum rasam (roasted garlic and red kokum broth with a tinge of jaggery and other spices) and Kori Saaru (chicken soup cooked with the subtle flavour of lemon and aromatic spices) — help whet the appetite before you dig into the Chicken Ghee Roast and Anjal, Mangalorean fish tawa fried and Maasa Sukka, Mangalorean mutton cooked with coconut and spices as starters. That both will be spicy is a foregone conclusion. It is refreshing to come across dishes served at a 5-star property that are authentically hot and spicy and not tailored to bland palattes.

There are options for vegetarians too. Bhendi Podi (crunchy okra bites) and Neeruli Bhajji (crisp golden fried spiced onion fritters) may not be something that Delhiites may relish but after the spicy non-vegetarian starters the sweet flavours of the onions is welcome on the palatte.

The next on the menu is mutton stew (Kerala style mutton stewed in coconut milk flavoured with whole garam masala). Those who don’t like coconut milk may not like it but the subtle use of spices in this dish is worth a try. One can savour this with a variety of breads, including the neer dosa. But it you find this somewhat watered down version of appam a bit slimy, go for boiled rice.

A must try is Kori Gassi which is a fish curry served over crisp and dry rice wafers. The crispness of the wafer which turns sour with the spicy curry is flavourful and something that one would not get in any regular restaurant.

To end the meal go for Kadalebele Payasam (roasted gram and cashewnut stewed in coconut milk and jaggery) or tender coconut  payasam.

Writer: Shalini Saxena

Courtesy: The Pioneer

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