ITC Royal Bengal celebrates Delhi's rich culinary culture with Dehlnavi cuisine pop-up
The dinner buffet celebrating Delhi's foodscape will be on at Grand Market Pavilion till October 1
With different races coming and settling in Delhi for centuries, the Indian capital has always been known for the varied and acquired palate that it so proudly flaunts and caringly preserves over the years. Delhi food comprises everything you can think of --- be it the zesty streetside chats in Lajpat Nagra area, the paranthas served in Moolchand neighbourhood or the smoky kebabs and Mughlai cuisine available in every nook and cranny of Chandni Chowk and Red Fort area, or the sudhh desi khana served lovingly at homes.
Be it the Punajbis, the Kayasths, the Mughals or the baniyas (trading class), each of the races has left an indelible culinary impression on the city that has assimilated the various tastes seamlessly in its palate. To trace the gastronomic history and appreciate the rich tapestry of food, ITC Hotels has come up with an exquisite smorgasbord called Dehlnavi cuisine pop-up that captures the history and diversity of India’s capital.
It is a celebration of the cuisine of the major communities that had settled and made a mark in Shahjehanabad. Dehlnavi cuisine combines Mughal magnificence and Punjabi effervescence, as well as the gastronomic charms of the Vaishyas, Kayasths and Marwaris as well as the inimitable Anglo-Indian food culture.
This multi-city culinary tour is right now stationed in Kolkata till this Sunday at ITC Royal Bengal, Grand Market Pavilion and we were there to taste the same. The culinary showcase is led by Chef Rais of ITC Maurya.
The food trail starts off with chaats such as papdi chaat, and the unique kulle ki chaat, Bhe ke Kebab, Tulsi ke kebab from the walled city. Kulle ki chaat, for the unversed, is made by scooping out the centres of boiled potatoes, sweet potatoes or summer specials like watermelons, and filling them with a mixture of chickpeas, pomegranate seeds, spices, and tangy chutneys. The stuffed potatoes or watermelon are then garnished with a variety of toppings such as sev, coriander leaves, and chaat masala, which is a spice blend commonly used in Indian cuisine.
Besides the chaats, Dehlnavi cuisine trail also features kebabs and fish fry. While lotus stem kebabs were unique in taste, the other offerings such as Purani Dilli Fried Chicken and Fish Fry display the vast variety of Mughlai kebabs and street foods of Delhi.
The main course, however, was the highlight of the fare and perhaps for the first time ever, the vegetarian side seemed more enticing with Dal Dehlnavi served with a crisp and flaky roti. The tantalizing fragrance of slow-cooked split moong dal, infused with the flavours of chopped chillies, roasted cumin, and ginger julienned was surely heady.
The Nimona pulao was intriguing for its unique spin with matar stuffed salan mirchis! The matar paneer maize had rustic flavours and a smooth, creamy texture thanks to the pine nuts.
The non-vegetarian fare too was as royal as it could get. The all-time favourite Dilli Butter Chicken had a luscious gravy with a velvety texture and an indulgent buttery taste. The succulent chunks of boneless chicken doused in the buttery gravy left a lasting impression on the taste buds. The extravagant Nihari and Gosht Pulao too were irresistibly delicious.
The dessert platter offered a perfect conclusion to the hearty meal with Barf Ki Handi and the decadent kheer (Khurchan) and gulab jamun winning our hearts.
The Dehlnavi Food Trail can be experienced as a part of dinner buffet till October 1 for Rs 2,100+ per person at Grand Market Pavilion, ITC Royal Bengal. Timings: 7-11 pm.