Review: ITC’s new ‘Biryani and Pulao collection’ serves heritage platters from across the country
If Indian heritage were taught with biryani tubs instead of textbooks — history might be better remembered. We have this bright idea as we devour our way through boxes of rich Keema Pulao from the Malabar Coast and Metiabruz Biryani from Kolkata. Both are part of ITC’s recently-launched 10 item ‘Biryani and Pulao collection’ across its hotels. Under research through the lockdown, we are told, the list covers North, South, East and West and although prepared in five-star kitchens is delivered at a fraction of the cost (INR 625 to INR 825 for one portion).
Minimalist, eco-friendly packaging of corrugated paper tubs tell a little story behind each pulao. Although, lucky for us, we get a detailed version, straight from corporate chef Manisha Bhasin. The flavourful Metiabruz with the goodness of golden potatoes and succulent cubes of mutton gets its name “from the historic Metiabruz locality (implying Mud Tower) in Kolkata, where Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, the last Nawab of Awadh had created his own miniature version of Lucknow after being deposed by the British” she shares. The cherry on top is a custom sarson (mustard) raitha — that you might quickly run out of because it is delicious by itself as well.
We also sample a vegetarian option — the Kale Moti Pulao. The latter, which hails from Mughal kitchens of yore pairs fragrant basmati rice with chickpeas and we enjoy it with a sweet, pink Anar Kheera raitha speckled with pomegranate rubies. However, after speaking with chef Manisha, we are now curious to taste the Nimona Mirch Pulao, which she tells us is a delicate preparation from Old Delhi. “Nimona means mattar, while the mirch refers to the large salan mirch that is filled with peas purée and cooked along with aged basmati rice,” she explains, as we wrap up with a complementary Shahad-e-Jaam (gulab jamun) dripping in sweet, golden syrup.
Also look out for Konaseema Kodi Pulao, a robust chicken and rice preparation from the South, Gosht Bohri Biryani and Bibi Ka Pulao from undivided Punjab.“That means bebe’s recipe — the elderly lady in the Punjabi household who would sit in front of a slow fire and gently simmer chicken along with rice and brown onion,” says chef Manisha, conjuring up a rustic visual for us.
Forget the turkey and pie. As we ring in the New Year, this menu brings diversity alongside a familiar sense of comfort that satiates the appetite and the soul.
Available on food aggregrator platforms and ITC’s own app. Delivered via the hotel’s in-house car fleet for safety purposes.